Nov 12 2015
Sultry days and firefly nights are now but a memory throughout much of northern North America. The sun has fled the field, leaving General Winter in unchallenged possession of the ground. But at least the mantelpiece clock is once again in harmony with heaven’s great dial. That’s something. And what of our boats? They repose quietly in their cradles, awaiting the quickening of the waters in the spring to come. Last week I described how we stowed our trekking gear in preparation for the enforced idleness of winter. The implication of my words was unmistakable: Our mothballed kit was now surplus to requirements, and it would remain so until the sun once again climbed north of the equator.
But was this true? Not entirely. Winter means more than leafless trees and chilly nights. It also means storms. And since most of the country relies on wires strung from poles to carry electrons from place to place, winter storms often spawn power outages. Many of these last only a few hours, but some endure for days or even weeks. And those of us who don’t live “off the grid” must also endure, coping as best we can until the lights come back on.
That’s where we campers are in luck. The gear on our shelves (and in our closets) stands us in good stead when the grid goes down. Colin Fletcher characterized a long‑distance walker’s impedimenta as “the house on your back.” In much the same way, a paddler’s camp kit constitutes the house in your closet… Read more…
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