After completing the laborious task of reformatting and uploading nearly 1,000 previously published columns to our sibling site, Back in the Same Boat, we wrote the first new article for the site just one year ago today. At the time, it was our settled intention to continue a tradition of weekly columns that began in 1999, when our debut piece for what was then Paddling.net appeared. But as someone — Churchill, perhaps, or was it Keynes? — once observed, sensible people change their minds whenever circumstances change. And since we like to think we’re sensible people, we’ve done just that. So this will be our last new Back in the Same Boat column. If you’d like to know why, read on.
by Tamia Nelson and Farwell Forrest | October 31, 2018
The summer just past was preternaturally hot and humid, a harbinger of summers yet to come in our New Model Climate. It was also preternaturally lifeless. We saw no bats, few warblers or flycatchers, and even fewer butterflies. As for the once-ubiquitous blackflies and mosquitoes, … Continue reading »
Water captivates us. It can be tranquil or terrifying, healing or destructive. It soothes us and frightens us by turns. Whatever its mood, water is always fascinating — and mysterious. It carries us along with it, and the destination isn’t always one of our own choosing.
by Tamia Nelson | October 27, 2018
Originally published in different form on July 22, 2008
There’s something about a swamp that captures our imaginations. Maybe it’s the close, clinging, humid air. The constant drone of insect life. Or the heady perfume of rot and renewal. Or is it the green, shadowy, inviting labyrinths, the channels that wander everywhere but end up going nowhere? Or maybe — this is the likeliest explanation, I think — it’s all of these things. And of all the swamps I’ve known, one stands out above the rest. It’s nameless, at least on the maps, and it’s nothing much to look at, but the locals know it’s something special. To them, it’s always been The Swamp, and that’s what I call it, too.
I caught my … Continue reading »
Every year there are unfortunate incidents during hunting season, and this year is no exception. A mountain biker on a popular French trail was shot and killed by a hunter who mistook him for a deer. So do your bit to avoid a similar tragedy, and that does not mean having to stay out of the woods.
by Tamia Nelson | October 19, 2018
Last weekend in France, close to the border with Switzerland, a 34-year-old mountain biker was shot dead by a 22-year-old-hunter while the cyclist was riding a popular mountain track. The hunter is reportedly suffering deep shock, and his father claims that the young man mistook the cyclist as a deer. This tragedy is a sober reminder to all cyclists and hikers who take to the trails during hunting season to do what you can to avoid “looking like a deer.” I don’t know of any deer who wear “hunter” or international orange clothing. (I have never seen a deer that rode a bike, either, but that’s another issue.)
Most of … Continue reading »
Almost all backcountry trips go smoothly, but every now and then something goes wrong — and on really bad days trekkers can find themselves alone with only the clothes on their backs and the contents of their pockets to help them make it through the night. Which is why every prudent explorer needs a “Pocket Protector,” the survival kit that always stays with you.
by Tamia Nelson | October 15, 2018
The Ten Essentials should be along with anyone venturing away from the beaten path. But what happens if you’re separated from your pack when trouble strikes? Maybe you think that can’t happen. Well, take it from me: It can. Sooner or later, every dayhiker gets turned around and every boater goes for an unplanned swim. If you can’t get out of trouble before sunset, you’re in for a hard time unless you’re equipped with…
A Few Important Things
But these things have to be with you at all times. Of course, the sort of worst-case scenarios I’ve described are very rare, but that’s no … Continue reading »