What is The Nature of Hiking?

An Introduction to The Nature of Hiking

Beauty of Nature Hiking

Hiking Tromso—GuideGunnar Arctic Norway (Flickr.com)

This website, TheNatureOfHiking.com, is dedicated to the art and joy of hiking in the great outdoors. We cover most of the topics of concern and interest to both inexperienced, casual hikers to the most avid. These topics range from safety, survival and equipment issues to those more internal factors which are our motivations that make us WANT to hike. These motivations vary widely and often change over time as we hike different areas, discover new interests, and mature as individuals.

The nature of hiking is that it provides human satisfaction for many varied drives within each individual. The following list is intended to “paint a picture” – a picture of why people love to hike. It encompasses a very wide assortment of activities that touch the human soul through our multiple senses in a way that leads to strong feelings of satisfaction, joy, and peace. It leaves us with a special “connectedness” with nature. Read this list slowly to let the overall picture develop. Visualize it, feel it..
> > > > Click Here to LEARN MORE < < < <

Filed under: The Joy of Nature

My Life as a Wild Turkey

My Life as a Wild Turkey

Strutting Tom - brooklynbrewery.com

Strutting Tom – brooklynbrewery.com

Last nite my wife and I watched an excellent NATURE movie (on Netflix) called “My Life as a Turkey” by Joe Hutto. In our extensive travel around the US we’ve seen probably a thousand wild turkeys, so we’re pretty familiar with them. A decade ago when we lived in North Carolina we used to feed a herd of them every day.

Well, we like turkeys and were curious about this movie even though it didn’t really sound too exciting. Thought it would at least be interesting. Turns out it’s really good!

It’s cute and funny and sad and happy and surprising and even tragic, but most of all, the photography is STUNNING. Since you guys love birds too, We wanted to let you know about this. There are just excellent shots of all sorts of wild animals, not just the “stupid” turkeys. Watch it; you’ll likely be impressed.

Joe Hutto is a naturalist who raised a large clutch of wild turkeys from eggs. He dedicated about 1 1/2 years to this project and spent full time with his adopted family.

Wild Turkey Eggs - via flickr.com

Wild Turkey Eggs – via flickr.com

Turkey poults - www.suprmchaos.com

Turkey poults – www.suprmchaos.com

Awesome Turkey Colors - imgfrm.index.hu

Awesome Turkey Colors – imgfrm.index.hu

I found this film on the internet today, so you don’t even have to join Netflix. Don’t forget to press the “full screen” button on the lower right corner of the video…

My Life as a Turkey awarded Emmy for Outstanding Nature Programming! Watch the full film:

After a local farmer left a bowl of eggs on Joe Hutto’s front porch, his life was forever changed. Hutto, possessing a broad background in the natural sciences and an interest in imprinting young animals, incubated the eggs and waited for them to hatch. As the chicks emerged from their shells, they locked eyes with an unusual but dedicated mother. One man’s remarkable experience of raising a group of wild turkey hatchlings to adulthood.

Here’s a really interesting followup Q&A session with Joe answering many excellent questions from people who viewed the film. Click My Life as a Turkey Q&A


If you have any views on this, or experiences of your own you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.

And if you’ve enjoyed this post, please don’t forget to “Google+” it, “Like” it and Share it with your friends!

Jack
TheNatureOfHiking.com
Birdnut.wordpress.com
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Filed under: Bird Watching

Survivalists – Food for Thought!!

Survivalists – Food for Thought!!

BathTub Survival

BathTub Survival

Who are they?

Just who and what are Survivalists? Also known as “Preppers”, they prepare for potential upcoming hard times. Although some of the photos in this article make light of the subject, it is indeed a very serious and even terrifying topic. Read on…

Technologies we Rely On

Power Grid Lines

Power Grid Lines

Highway Interchange

Highway Interchange

Electronics

Electronics

At NO TIME in the history of mankind such a high percentage of the Earth’s populace been LESS PREPARED to handle physical and financial disasters. This is primarily because we’ve become so used to the power of technology. Particularly in the more developed countries, our very lives depend almost totally on the technology we take for granted every day:

Electricity and Electronics for

  • home and highway lighting
  • refrigeration and air conditioning
  • appliances and tools
  • water pumping
  • entertainment TV, radio, computers

Fuel for

  • cargo transportation: ships, trains, aircraft, trucks
  • people transportation: trains, aircraft, trucks, cars, motorcycles
  • heating: businesses and homes
  • small engines: generators, lawnmowers, chainsaws, snowblowers, etc.

Communications for

  • cell phones and landlines
  • 911 emergency police and fire service radios
  • TV and radio broadcasts
  • cable and high speed internet

physical infrastructure for

  • roads, highways and interstates
  • power plants: coal, nuclear, hydroelectric
  • power grids, substations
  • water mains and piping
  • sewer lines and sewage treatment
  • cable and telephone lines

What does this Technology Provide?

Hi Tech Trucking

Hi Tech Trucking

Computerized Hurricane Tracking

Computerized Hurricane Tracking

Cellphones Everywhere

Cellphones Everywhere

Here’s some of what we get from the above technological infrastructure that we barely even think about…

1. Water at the turn of a faucet usually within 50 feet of us day and night. It arrives there through countless miles of hidden pipes and water mains pumped using electricity from wells drilled deep within the earth by machines most of us have never even seen. Also dispensed in nifty clear plastic bottles from machines that eat lots of our coins – more expensive than gasoline!

2. Food from all over the world at our local well stocked supermarkets, restaurants and fast food joints. We even get our choice of organic or pesticide treated, genetically modified frankenfoods and highly processed fat-laced “foods” in almost every package type and brand imaginable. ALL of it (good and bad) depends on trucking, fuel, and highways to get it to within arms reach at the grocery store.

3. Vehicles for transportation of products and food throughout the world. shipping and trucking, mass transportation (people), and personal vehicles by the millions. In the USA, we have an average of just about two vehicles per household.

4. Instant worldwide mass and personal communications, entertainment, news, emergency services, and GPS navigation

5. Practically unlimited electricity anywhere, anytime, a cords length away.

What if…

What if through large scale natural disasters, or wars, or financial collapse much of this infrastructure were to stop functioning?

Our forefathers learned how to “live off the land” from their fathers. They learned the essential skills to utilize the natural environment to provide for the real necessities of life. In today’s world we have specialized to the point that very few people have the knowledge and skills to survive for even short periods – let alone through winters and droughts and pillaging by the starving unprepared masses.

Needed Skills…

Do YOU know how to plow and plant a garden or use hydroponics or aquaponics, preserve foods for the coming winter, identify edible wild plants (while avoiding the poisonous ones), hunt for game, and a myriad of other basic survival skills?

Chances are, since you’re likely to be a hiker and probably have experience as a backpacker and camper, you’re already better prepared than the majority of people who grew up in crowded cities. Most of them have had a total, lifelong dependence on what other people have built and provided for them – and will be without a clue on how to provide for themselves.

Unfortunately, many of them would resort to stealing and robbing others for what they need. They would see no other choice. Can you prepare and defend yourself against them taking what you may have carefully planned and stored?

These are very scarey and serious thoughts.

This is what Survivalists and Preppers are concerned with.

So…What to Do???

The world is, right now many think, on the brink of a potentially very serious financial crisis. The full extent and timing of this or other disasters can’t be known ahead of time. Unfortunately, this means that we either guess where things might go and take appropriate steps, or prepare for the worst case scenario.

This leads to a very wide spectrum of preparedness options. The vast majority of people will choose to believe the media, the banks, and the politicians that everything is OK and will do NOTHING to prepare for any hard times ahead. Some will be nervous enough to take steps to divest themselves of bonds and stocks and buy a little gold and some extra food. And try to keep their gas tanks full. A few will take far bigger steps. To find out what steps and which are most important, visit some of the many websites dedicated to Survivalism. Even a small amount of preparation could make a big difference to you and your family.

What you choose to do after becoming more aware of the alternatives is up to you. Choosing to do nothing is the easiest – and the most dangerous if things go bad. Choosing to be even partially prepared will force you to make some very difficult decisions about your lifestyle, and require a different way of thinking about today’s world.

Here are some links to websites that discuss possible upcoming catastrophes, the most likely of which is massive economic meltdown in Europe, the USA, and the rest of the world. Many will dismiss these warnings as being too alarmist and extreme. Perhaps so – but WHAT IF????

Much Food for Thought!

Try some web searches on “Economic Meltdown in America” or ” Global Financial Crisis” and follow some links – prepare to get scared! There are just too many very credible sources for these predictions to be unthinkable, unrealistic, or “crazy”.

The American Apocalypse (long video, ad at end)

The Deadliest Bubble in 237 years (long video, ad at end)

Survivalists – The Survivalist Boards (forums)

Survivalists – Why Prep?

Survivalists – SurvivalBlog’s Philosophy

Aquaponics Basics

Aquaponics Basics

Camo Girl

Camo Girl

CellPhone Hammer

Yet another use for a CellPhone

Spam"

Never liked Spam anyway!

Prepper Mobile?

Prepper Mobile?

Armor Head

Can’t wait to get one of these!

Spot On

Spot On

Prepper Game Controller

Prepper Game Controller

Fresh Air Anyone?

Fresh Air Anyone?

Sure they will.

Sure they will.

Radiation causes Baldness.

Radiation causes Baldness.

The Prepper's Creed

The Prepper’s Creed


These are two of the best survival books you can own. A great place to start your library of hard copy survival and prepper books in case the internet stops working!


If you have any views on this, or experiences of your own you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.

And if you’ve enjoyed this post, please don’t forget to “Google+” it, “Like” it and Share it with your friends!

Jack
TheNatureOfHiking.com
Birdnut.wordpress.com
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Filed under: BushCraft

Symbiotic Relationships

Symbiotic Relationships

Symbiotic Relationship - morkelerasmus.com via pinterest

Symbiotic Relationship – morkelerasmus.com via pinterest

Simply, symbiosis is the close and often long-term interaction between two or more different biological species. More broadly, a symbiotic relationship can include not only mutually beneficial interactions (mutualism – both organisms benefit), but also those in which only one partner benefits and the other is unaffected, or one benefits and the other is harmed (parasitic) or even killed. Some symbiotic relationships are obligate, meaning that both symbionts entirely depend on each other for survival. All this is a bit boring to most hikers

Here we want to talk about symbiotic relationships in the animal/plant world between common species we may encounter during our excursions outside. Many examples exist and can be very interesting.

Man forms many such relationships. Pets, dogs and cats for example, can provide us with loyal (sometimes) companionship and other benefits, while we give them food, shelter, protection and love. Horses, especially in bygone times, provided us with companionship, transportation, and power to run our tools (plows, for example). Cattle provide us with meat, milk and leather.

On the wild side, nature abounds with such relationships…

Cattle and Man - Sylkie Bien-Aimé via pinterest

Cattle and Man – Sylkie Bien-Aimé via pinterest

Symbiotic union - by Peace Correspondent, via Flickr

Symbiotic union – by Peace Correspondent, via Flickr

The symbiosis between plants and insects is very widely known. If it weren’t for the bees, butterflies and other insect pollinators, there probably wouldn’t be many flowers, crop plants or fruit trees on Earth.

Sea Anemone and Clownfish - aquaviews.net via pinterest

Sea Anemone and Clown Fish – aquaviews.net via pinterest

3 Toed Sloth -  Leeav via Lindsey Reeves at pinterest

3 Toed Sloth – Leeav via Lindsey Reeves at pinterest

Clown Fish live in Sea Anemones and the two have a symbiotic, mutualistic relationship – that is they each provide a benefit to the other. The clownfish eat small invertebrates that might be harmful to the anemone and the anemone feeds off the fecal matter of the fish. The anemone is venomous and so provides protection to the clownfish which develops an immunity to it.

Sloth fur acts as a complete ecosystem, usually hosting at least two species of symbiotic cyanobacteria (which provide camouflage) and many species insects and other organisms. These range from moths, beetles, and cockroaches to ciliates, fungi, and algae. One study found 950 species of beetle living on one sloth.

Over 40% of the estimated 10,000 species of ants form associations with one or more of the known 4,000 species of aphids. Aphids feed on the sap of plants, and as they feed they excrete “honeydew” droplets from their anus. The tending ants ingest these honeydew droplets then return to their nest to regurgitate the fluid for their nestmates.

Honeydew, a sweet secretion from the aphid, is the only food source for certain species of ants. Between 90-95% of the dry weight of aphid honeydew is various sugars, while the remaining matter includes vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Aphid honeydew can provide an abundant food source for ants (some aphids can secrete more honeydew droplets per hour than their body weight.

In return for the food, the ants serve a bodyguard function for the aphids and repel aphid predators.

Symbiotic Relationships are all around us. We depend totally, breath by breath, on the oxygen/CO2 cycle between animals and vegetation. Becoming aware of these relationships increases our appreciation of the complexity, beauty, and wonder of our natural world.


If you have any views on this, or experiences of your own you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.

And if you’ve enjoyed this post, please don’t forget to “Google+” it, “Like” it and Share it with your friends!

Jack
TheNatureOfHiking.com
Birdnut.wordpress.com
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Filed under: The Joy of Nature

Animal Tracking Basics

Animal Tracking Basics

AnimalTracks

Animal Tracks

Animal tracking lures us on an amazing journey into the world of nature, and encourages us to open all of our senses to its subtle clues hidden everywhere.

Basic Tracking

Since you’re reading this, you must have at least a passing interest in learning about where, when, how and why animals travel in their environment. You’re interest may focus on only one of several area involved in animal tracking:

  • Animal identification – from the tracks themselves and other sign
  • Trailing – following animal footprints over long stretches
  • Track aging – discovering how long the tracks have been there
  • Gait interpretation – seeing how animals moved through an area without actually having seen them
  • Identifying activity – how fast were they moving, why, what were they eating, who did they meet; and more!

Here’s a link to an excellent post about Tracking in a Forested Landscape. This author provides excellent insights into what is required to track in difficult environments.

Quote: “When most people think about “animal tracking” they imagine footprints. But forested landscapes, such as the dense conifer forests of the West, often don’t lend themselves to recording the passage of an animal’s feet on the ground. Except during winter snows and occasional rare open grounds, the forest tracker cannot rely on just footprints to do their tracking.”

Advanced Tracking

Advanced tracking techniques encompass all of these narrow areas plus a much broader study of the environment to put it all in perspective. Highly skilled trackers speak a language which is based not only on a thorough knowledge of tracks, trails and sign, but also on a rich grounding in the natural history, anatomy, and behavior characteristics of animals and the ethnobotany of plants.

Bio-region/Eco-region -These look at the vast and diverse areas of the earth including topographic and climate influences. Studying range maps for individual species can help you create a list of what to expect in a certain area.

Habitat – Within smaller areas of an ecoregion are a variety of habitats such as meadows, forest edges, cliffs, talus fields or semi-desert regions.

Microhabitat – What specific part of a habitat the tracks or signs are located in. Are you in the middle of a vast field of jumbled boulders, or right on the very edge, where the talus gives way to a flat, grassy, valley bottom? Either way this might give you important information about how the animal in question is using the landscape.

Track Pattern and Sign Pattern – Take all of the tracks or signs you have as a whole. Is there a pattern to them? Perhaps you notice that the grasses along the entire edge of the talus field are much shorter than the grasses further out in the valley.

Individual Tracks and Signs – After sifting through each of the above levels, come back to the initial marks that drew your attention and explore them in detail, and you will discover a whole new level of appreciation for and awareness of their maker! Hopefully this has made your journey of identifying animal tracks more accurate and more satisfying at the same time.

Animal Tracks

Here’s a guide to animal tracks of the Northeastern US…

Animal Tracks of the NorthEast US

Animal Tracks of the NorthEast US

And here are a couple short videos on tracking…

Whatever level of interest you may have in animal tracking, there are many resources available online – including a number of in-depth courses.

Happy Tracking!!


If you have any views on this, or experiences of your own you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.

And if you’ve enjoyed this post, please don’t forget to “Google+” it, “Like” it and Share it with your friends!

Jack
TheNatureOfHiking.com
Birdnut.wordpress.com
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Filed under: The Joy of Nature

Best Backpack for You!

Best Backpack for You!

Do you wonder what type and size backpack you need for your dayhike/overnight jaunts? How about for longer trips of a few days, or for spending months on some of the longest trails in the world? Varying trip durations will require different choices of packs and equipment to optimize comfort, efficiency and safety.

Thanks to REI for the following infographic on How to Choose and Use a Backpack. Pay particular attention to the instructions on packing your cats. This information is unusually difficult find.

Toooo Much

Toooo Much - www.dreamstime.com

Cats can be Sneaky

Cats can be Sneaky - www.lol-cat.org

Canyon Hiker

Canyon Hiker - blog.tortugabackpacks.com

Backpacks Infographic: How to Find the Right Backpack for You

To help find the Best Backpack For You try this great selection of quality backpacks – Click Here.

Here are two links giving much more detail on WHAT to pack: First and Second.
Also, don’t miss the video below on “How to Backpack Light”.

Caution: The following Amazon Backpacks may add significant BOUNCE to your step ;-)

 


If you have any views on this, or experiences of your own you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.

And if you’ve enjoyed this post, please don’t forget to “Google+” it, “Like” it and Share it with your friends!

Jack
TheNatureOfHiking.com
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Filed under: Trail Tips

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