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Trail Building and
Maintenance Trail Building and Maintenance  by DamOTclese

Have you ever wondered how the hiking and nature trails get built, or how theyre maintained (if theyre maintained at all?) Well, its hard work, as you might expect, probably the hardest unpaid volunteer work one can do out in the outdoors and still have a whole lot of fun while doing it.

Almost a year ago a band of extremely hearty and physically fit individuals undertook to clear every downed tree from the Mount Waterman Trail located in the Angeles National Forest of Southern California, a very popular hiking trail that has a good view of the Mount Wilson Observatory facility way off in the distance.

Meeting the Great Bear Meeting the Great Bear  by Bob Sihler

There is probably no other animal quite as iconic in the American West, and perhaps in the American psyche, as the grizzly bear. 800 or so pounds of sinew and flesh (they can get up to 1500 pounds, but the largest in the Rockies are "only" around half that), claws and fangs the size of a man's finger and as sharp as any cat's, the short-burst speed of a thoroughbred horse, and a skull so thick that anything but a perfectly placed shot from a high-caliber gun will only enrage it and virtually guarantee certain doom for the unlucky or unwise antagonist-- that is the monster that haunts the forests and the slopes of the Northern Rockies.

But it is less than a monster, and more. Far fewer humans have died under the claws and the teeth of grizzlies than grizzlies have died through the gunsights of rifles wielded by the ultimate predator-- Man. Well more than 95% of the time, when a grizzly and a human meet, it is the grizzly who either runs in terror or ignores the other. No, it is no monster. Yet it more than just a beast. The grizzly has a spiritual connection to the ancient, wild world; it is both honored and feared in native tradition, and it is a bellwether for the health of the larger ecosystem. It vies only with the wolf as the enduring symbol of the American wilderness, and as the creature most demonized.

Water, How Much is Too
Much? Water, How Much is Too Much?  by FlatheadNative

On January 12, 2007, a 28-year old Californian wife and mother of three children died from drinking too much water. She was found dead at her home after drinking an estimated two gallons in a short time during a contest to win a Wii machine. Despite noticeable discomfort and complaints the promoters continued the contest. She died of water intoxication.

Water, How Much is Enough? Water, How Much is Enough?  by FlatheadNative

It is said that “Humans can live forty days without food, about three days without water and about eight minutes without oxygen.”

Without water life ceases very rapidly. Water is critical in aiding all functions of the body.
As the basis for sustaining life the balance of fluid level must be maintained. About 10 cups of water are lost each day by sweating, restroom routines and through the respiratory system. Those are just normal things that all of us do …. day in and day out.

Climber’s Guide to Prevention of Sun Damage A Climber’s Guide to Prevention of Sun Damage  by FlatheadNative

As we all know sunlight is a powerful source of energy. While sunlight is crucial for many processes on the earth such as heat and production of oxygen through photosynthesis; sunlight can also be damaging to the human body with just a little exposure.

Sunlight is measured in what is called “solar constant” which is equal to the amount of power the sun deposits in a specific area. Without the atmosphere protecting the earth, the solar constant would be 1,370 watts per square meter. But due to the atmosphere the solar constant drops down over 20 percent to 1,000 watts per square meter. The higher in elevation the less protection we receive from the atmosphere. In comparison consider that a toaster requires about 1,000 watts to toast four slices of bread.

Traveler Uncertain Traveler  by StumblingBear

Travel is always an inexact endeavor, that’s what makes it adventure. Popocatepetl is an uncertain Mexican volcano that exceeds in height any mountain in the Lower Forty- eight of the U.S. My atlas says the peak rises to 17,930 feet above sea level making it the fifth highest mountain in North America and second highest in Mexico. A variety of publications list a variety of heights for “El Popo” as the peak is affectionately known, with National Geographic listing it at 17,802. So what’s 128 feet? Climbing the 17,930 foot volcano in 1973, I got to understand this uncertainty.

Finding the
Dead in the Mountains Finding the Dead in the Mountains  by Vic Hanson

Living in a deep canyon in the Andes Mountains gives me lots of opportunities for hiking and exploring. One thing it doesn't provide are leisurely "walks in the park", which is fine with me. I don't particularly like flat trails, either hiking or mtn. biking. Ups, downs and curves are what make a trail interesting and enjoyable. Here you can follow the rivers up the canyon or down the canyon. You can hike down to the river or up to the mountain peak or ridge. And if you are making a round trip of it, you will be doing both up and down. There are very few level trails. Even those that traverse a mountain usually go up and down because of cliffs and gullies, as well as the fact that the villages are at different elevations. There is also no such thing here as a recreational trail, they are all either used by people and animals to get from village to field or village to village, or they were used for that in times past, during the Inca and Wari (pre-Inca) cultures. Most people here can't quite comprehend why I am out hiking just for fun, and not because I have to get from one point to another.

In memory of Wanda
Rutkiewicz (1943-1992) In memory of Wanda Rutkiewicz (1943-1992)  by Ivona

I would like to remind SP community of a wonderful woman,because of the 16th anniversary of her disappearance on Kangchenjunga, 12th or 13th May in 1992. This summit would have been her ninth 8000 meter peak and then she could probably have been the first woman who would reach all 14 8000-meter peaks. She wanted to do it. She died on Kangchenjunga somewhere above 8000 meterss, while attempting via the southwest face route.

Predator Predator  by Gangolf Haub

A hornet zommed by close to me, probably 1m (3 feet). Out of the corner of an eye I saw that there was something in its fangs. I turned, following the insect with my eyes. It settled on one of the olive trees under which we were taking our break. I quickly stepped closer, camera ready to shoot.

The time it took me to adjust the camera much had happened. The hornet was hanging from one of its limbs, the other five holding a bee. The hornet quickly turned the bee in its legs and with a sickening crunch its fangs tore off wings and legs. Before I could take aim - 10 seconds at most - the bee's head was gone!

Vita Oskar Bühler Vita Oskar Bühler  by reinhard2

Oskar Bühler was born on January 4th, 1911 in Nuremberg, Bavaria. He enjoyed a caring relationship with his family. Aged just about 13 years, he soloed his first climbing adventures in his rocky Franconian homeland. These were limit experiences which did not, however, prevent him from starting a livelong climbing and alpine career. Looking for climbing mates, he found contact with other climbers via the local YMCA, and joined at the age of 15 Section Nuremberg of the German Alpine Club (Deutscher Alpenverein). Already in this summer 1926 he had his first occasion to see the Alps, making a trip with his youth group to the Lechtal and Verwall area, where he summited his first 3000m peak. 3 years later he participated in an ice climbing training in the Zillertal Alps, led by the later famous ski filmmaker Oskar Kühlken, and immediately afterwards he graduated in a climbing course headed by the also famous Walter Flaig in the Verwall group. Flaig was destined to become his climbing guru, and with both Kühlken and Flaig he maintained a livelong friendship. In the consequence, Bühler undertook as early as 1929, at the age of 18, independent climbs in the Zillertal Alps and in Wilder Kaiser. One year later, he made his first „14er“, mounting to Monte Rosa with skis.

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