When I was a young boy I, like many other kids, read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I didn’t like it enough to read any of the other books in the series (Michael Moorcock’s Elric books were more my speed), and I remember very little about it, aside from the lion and the wardrobe.
But for some reason I do remember that one of the kids was tempted by the evil queen with something called Turkish delight. The way it was described, it was obviously some sort of a sweet, but aside from that, I had no idea what the stuff was.
In a recent article in the Oneida, Tennessee Independent Herald titled Back Yard: Cairns are hikers’ calling card, writer Ben Garrett talks about the phenomenon of rock cairns—those little towers of rocks you see by the trail or by some landmark. Many hikers build them to mark where they’ve been. Other hikers build them because someone else built one on that spot.
Now I’ve never built a cairn myself (but my kids have at Angkor Archaeological Park in Cambodia), but I have seen plenty in my wanderings throughout the trails of Southern California.
Garret writes that cairns “often serve no purpose” and comments on how some hikers—even park rangers—relish knocking over these finely balanced towers of stone.
I agree that seeing hundreds of cairns piled atop one another isn’t really something that’s of interest to me as someone seeking a bit of solitude in the outdoors.
However, when I hiked the John Muir Trail, cairns often served to mark the trail when it wasn’t obvious, and, at those times, I was really glad to see them.
Puck Walsh, a man who calls himself a thru-hiker in training (as are we all), hiked the John Muir Trail in the summer of 2014. He took a picture of the trail every half-mile (!) and shot a 360-degree video at the top of every pass.
He recently finished stringing it all together and the final result is a 21-minute video that’s well worth your time. Check it out:
Watching it makes me want to hike the JMT all over again.
The Rim Fire was a devastating wildfire that broke out in 2013 near Yosemite National Park.
A fire needs three things to burn—oxygen, heat, and fuel. The conditions were just right for a monster fire, and when an illegal cooking fire got out of control, all it took was a stray ember to set off the Rim Fire, the largest wildfire in California’s history.
Yosemite National Park recently released The Rim Fire, a 10-minute film explaining how the Rim Fire turned into such a devastating wildfire and what can be done to help better control forest fires in the future.
I ignored the Ostrich Pillow for a long time, because, well, it’s ridiculous. Just look at it. But it keeps showing up on lists of things people need, so I couldn’t remain silent any longer. So let me just start off with this: no, you do not need an Ostrich Pillow.