Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Horror Available at Yellowstone

I finished my novella about a cook wintering in Yellowstone National Park, meeting ghosts, turning to extreme measures to feed her crew. Without giving too much away, lets say I was inspired by the many bloody ghost stories associated with probably what is now my favorite place on earth.

We've had new snow, we've made some toboggans out of cardboard and plastic.

Everyone up here is so great, I hope they realize none of them are in this horror story...at least I changed all the names. We're only one month into the season. Way too early for all the fatalities that happen at the Man Camp in Primal Cut. You can get it at Amazon.com. Click on the link below the photo of the book cover.

Primal Cut is available at this time exclusively for Kindle and PC owners. Its available free for those in the lending program. Otherwise, you can still get it for only $2.99.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tracking Bison or Griz?

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Skiing towards Fishing Bridge I circled back and came upon fresh prints. They were distinctive, showing a large animal had passed this way, heading south. After following them a quarter mile, I decided they belonged to one large, lone bison. The split hoof and path indicated it didn't belong to a griz.
Periodically, I paused, glanced around, making sure I didn't follow too close, ending up in danger.
 
 
This photo taken just after sunset at Lake Yellowstone.

The Yellow Hotel, November 21, 2012

 
 Construction sight at sunset.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gear Review-Lightning 50 Backpack



Points I love about this pack:

totally adjustable fit, which means you can buy it without knowing the exact torso length of the person going to use it,

and it can be used for growing kids, so they can have good gear which will fit them for years to come.

I love the many zippered pockets, the outside pockets for water bottles, and the cinch straps in key locations. I love the fact the zippers are substantial, not skimpy nylon teeth which always give out.

I love the fact its not blue or orange. The color is a nice stealth dark gray, with green highlights.

The pack weighs just over 3 pounds, with 3,000 cubic inches interior space. With all the various straps, you can carry additional gear on the outside.

For me, the straps are excessively long because I'm only 5 foot 2 inches. A bigger person needs this length to adjust  for waist and shoulder girth.

I found the system very quick and easy to use.

I really like the  hip belt pocket. Now my camera has a good home.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Don't Dilute the Experience

Working up  here at the Man Camp at Yellowstone Lake, I'm basically on foot or at the mercy of others to "get Out" on my days off. My car is parked at the west entrance.

What most find hard to believe is I don't want out. I want to experience 6 months here in the snow. A remote, wild, extreme experience.

Like hiking a long trail, if a person takes a couple days off every week or slack packs a lot, they won't have the same intense experience as one who lives out of their backpack for 5 months straight. When they head to town, they re-supply, eat a good meal and get back on the trail.

Backpacking like that, you create serious friendships with trail bums like yourself. Those friendships last for a lifetime. This kind of trailing is unlike anything else. Your home, your work, your play is all about the trail. You eat, think, sleep, love trail.



My suggestion, for those planning a long hike, don't dilute this once in a life time experience by spending several nights in town, going to movies, hanging out in bars, acting like you aren't on a life changing journey.

People ask me what I'll do if cabin fever sets in., I say I'll ski, I'll write, I'll read. Maybe make snowmen, go sledding , taking a cardboard box as my toboggan and slide off the mountain near Lake Lodge. There's a great view from there. There's a clear path all the way to the road. I'll take my new pack out on a survival winter camp out.

There's so much to do on my days off. Diluting the experience by spending time in West Yellowstone or Gardiner or running into Bozeman for a shopping trip is not part of the plan.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Gear Review -Cabella's Avalanche Hoodie

When I landed my job at the Man Camp up at Lake Yellowstone, I knew my Georgia winter gear would not suffice. I found a catalogue for Cabella and started shopping.
 
 
 
 
 
 

I knew wintering at minus 40, wind chills at who knows what, required lots of layers. When I called to place my order, Cabella's Customer Service was excellent. I told them to put Two Polar Fleece sets of base layer down, then, with the incentive of free shipping and a sale in progress, proceeded to choose a hoodie.

The one pictured here is called the Avalanche. It's hood and neck are snug and toasty, fitting exactly right. This color is called Clover, a light purplish. I usually go for stealth colors, and this one actually compliments my wardrobe of blacks and forest greens. The zipper goes well up into the neckline, which I learned is pretty essential for cold weather. I had a black one from some other company whose zipper ended below the collar line. Not good. You end up needing a scarf with that, or turtle neck base layer.

The Avalanche is perfect. One cold day, I went skiing wearing just the polar base layer from Cabella's and this jacket. It was perfect. The side pockets are big enough to hold mittens, a second layer I put over my basic gloves. There is an elastic drawcord at the bottom hem. I chose a medium in both base layer and mid-layer. I didn't want sleeves too short, or hem lengths hitting me above the hips. In winter, you need plenty of overlap where different pieces of clothing meet each other, forming good pockets of insulation.

There are two inner pocket, just opposite the outside hand pockets. This feature somewhat compromises the capacity of either one, but so far its not an issue. The jacket and lining are 100% polyester, fast drying, on sale was $54.

The outside is a knit texture, the inside is plush. I especially like the contoured tailoring, making it a great layer beneath my Brooks-Range Mountaineering down jacket.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Video of Man Camp

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Here's the promised video of the Man Camp. We're busy preparing things to get the go ahead to move into our rooms and start cooking. The Inspection will be on Monday. Today I cleaned bathrooms in a trailer that had no water, heat or electric. It had been used and when the hot steaming water hit the floor, it started to freeze. I had to haul the water and work fast.
 
Every Wednesday the group changes, men going home for a week off. The new crew comes in for seven days. They work from 7 a.m until 8 p.m with half an hour meal breaks. Hard work.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Villan Dies

Back in Georgia, the guy who served as the villain of my first novel, AN END of DAYS, has died. He didn't know I patterned Jack Trader after him, never knew he ended up living in Chicago, working for the Contributors, selling out his one time neighbor, Carla.

He didn't know he eventually was cannibalized. This neighbor lived up on the hill behind us. He died at age 65, not really so bad, because really he didn't live very healthy.
 
 
You can find this book at  Amazon.com  along with the next two in the series.
 
I kind of felt bad making him the villain and now he's dead. His wife is still alive, back in the woods.
They still have the same set up I used in the fictional book.