Backcountry wanderers and campers walk a thin line in our dealings with the furred and feathered natives on whose doorsteps we camp. We want to be accepted by them, but we also want them to know their place and keep their distance, and it’s much harder to strike the right balance than it used to be. But it’s up to us to help the wild creatures stay wild.
by Tamia Nelson | June 1, 2015
Ah, wilderness! The annual flight from the cities and suburbs is about to get under way in earnest. Soon many popular waterways will boast their own traffic jams, as canoes and kayaks jostle tentatively with darting jet-skis and lumbering party barges. Lighting out for the territory just ain’t what it was in Huck Finn’s day. But some things don’t change. Beyond the boundaries of the tent-cities now springing up in established campsites—the line of demarcation is easily identified by the sudden and unexpected appearance of lower limbs on trees—the natives go about their business as best they can. That’s natives … Continue reading »
Have you ever revisited a favorite spot in the backcountry or along a quiet back road, only to find it transformed into a passable imitation of a poorly managed landfill? That’s been happening more and more often to Tamia these days. Now she’s wondering if it’s just a local phenomenon, or if the problem’s bigger.
by Tamia Nelson | May 22, 2012
Let’s talk trash. It’s a big subject, and if what I see on trails and canoe launches is any indication—to say nothing of what I find scattered along the roads I travel—it’s getting bigger by the day.
What’s the explanation? Well, one of the leading citizens in Garrison Keillor’s fictional Lake Wobegon memorably described the early settlers in the neighboring hamlet of Millet as having come to the New World “to get drunk and throw away their garbage,” implying that their descendants were keen to continue this proud tradition. Maybe this is all the explanation that’s needed. Or maybe not.
In any case, I guess I live in Millet.
That isn’t the impression you’d get … Continue reading »
If you’ve been cycling for some time, you’ll no doubt have concluded that there are some essential truths about riding bikes. As I pushed up a hill into the wind yesterday, with the sun hammering down in 90-degree heat and soaring humidity, I occupied my mind by listing the ten most common ones.
by Tamia Nelson | May 28, 2019
If you’ve been cycling for some time, you’ll no doubt have concluded that there are some essential truths about riding bikes. As I pushed up a hill into the wind yesterday, with the sun hammering down in 90-degree heat and soaring humidity, I occupied my mind by listing the ten most common ones. These Truths are valid for rural cycling:
1. The wind is always in your face.
2. There are always dogs.
3. Vicious dogs will come at you when you’re climbing a steep grade.
4. If by some stroke of freakish good luck there are no dogs, then there will be chickens (I prefer the chickens!).
5. There’s always broken glass on the … Continue reading »
Many cyclists find it hard to eat well on the road, but there’s no reason to add your name to the list. With just a little effort, you can make every tour a movable feast, even if all you have to chose from is a rural convenience store.
by Tamia Nelson | April 26, 2014
Cyclists, like armies, travel on their stomachs. So it’s no wonder that cyclotourists spend a lot of time thinking about food. If a tour is short, you can carry all you can eat on your bike, but since food weighs in at somewhere between two and five pounds a day (depending on your menu, and not counting water), the grubshed dividing short tours from long comes pretty early. Most cyclists can carry the meals for an overnight or weekend without feeling overburdened, but by Day Three or thereabouts, many of us will be looking to restock. That’s where foraging skills come into play.
Of course, if this were an ideal world, you’d find a well-stocked grocery store on the roadside at … Continue reading »