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Re-imagining Shangri-La

I was surprised to see the sharp cut in the volcanic surface. It was visible from the road. After camping close to it, there were plenty of opportunities to do dog-walks into this canyon, if that is what you should call this humble slot in the black volcanic rock. The one thing that seemed certain was that the canyon was small, but sharply cornered at its top. But I didn't know what else to expect. How nice! A few trees were decorating the canyon with the marvelous light greenness of new leaves. Unleafed-out sycamores stood out with their white bark.  The canyon bottom was strewn with large round rocks -- the product of water flow apparently. All of this was such a glaring, but pleasing, contrast with the sharp-cornered top edge of the canyon. It was hard to imagine how a canyon like this could have been formed. Was there some kind of discontinuity in the lava surface where water flow got started, way back when? I guessed right about the depth of the canyon. Usually the sidewal

Problems With the 'Net'

What a morning! It was getting pretty late, 830 or so, and yet it was still dead calm. I liked how the mountain bike ride started off, but then again, there was nothing in particular to focus on. Hmmm... Except these spider webs. Thirty of them were catching the glancing morning light.     Typically there was a one inch diameter hole underneath the spider web. It seemed like the perfect size for a mouse. But how did the mouse get through the spider web without tearing it up? Could the hole be the residence of the spider itself? A tarantula needs a residence that big. Do tarantulas weave webs, too? Think how big the fiber would have to be to support their weight! There is so much about nature that I need to learn. But I had to chuckle when I realized why these spider webs grabbed my eyes, besides the glancing light: the last few posts have been about adapting to summer, by several means. Among them is switching from sleeping on thermal insulators to sleeping on screen/mesh/netting. The

Life Finds a Way

Was I just imagining the New Mexican landscape as more barren than usual in spring? At any rate it certainly affected me. If a thesaurus were handy, what would the perfect adjective be? 'Disconsolate' might do, although it sounds a bit odd when applied to a landscape. But why fight it? It was impossible to look at this landscape and not sink into hopelessness. We turned a corner and lost some altitude as we approached the mighty river of this area. I couldn't believe what I was seeing: an effusion of light-greenness from the leaves of cottonwood trees that lined the river. Is the green of young leaves special to their newness, or is it just that the brain hasn't seen anything but grey and brown for the last six months? I wanted to scream with relief. Soon we crossed the mighty river, all of four inches deep and four feet wide, and yet it must be responsible for that marvelous verdancy.  It would be interesting to use an auger to drill down 10 feet or so, and then point

Finding a Non-insulating Bed for Summer Camping

Gringos, that is, people from a northern European culture, have no appreciation for architecture in warm climates. I learned that when I went to Mexico a couple times in my RV, where I just loved the interior courtyards, high ceilings, bougainvilleas growing over a cheap wooden lattice overhead, etc.  Or think of a languidly rotating ceiling fan in a dark room with high ceilings and protected with bug or solar screens, while a dusky maiden in a loose and gauzy dress, with a tropical flower in her hair, pours a chilled drink for you. (Eyelash-fluttering emojis are needed!) More generally, the Gringo is totally mal-adapted to hot, sunny climates. Their clothing, their sleeping in the cool mornings, and their high activity levels in mid-day... They are even so stupid as to deliberately expose that delicate white skin of theirs to the Western sun.  The garment industry has outdoorsmen -- bicyclists especially -- brainwashed into buying tight-fitting, plasticey garments that are torture cha

Pop Quiz on Summer Camping

  It has been a long time since I popped a quiz on the readers. I suspect they've been getting soft. One hint: this photo pertains to "thermal management" for summer camping, that is, how to stay cool when camping in summer. Gladiator cargo net for holding loose loads down in a pickup truck. All kidding aside, I am really excited about the possibilities of this. It is not cheating to go to the link for a better photo. Perhaps my questions are too obscure. Very well then, here is another hint: Polyester mesh installment by gulfcoastalaluminum,com