On Turkish Delight

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.

Turkish Delight

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.

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Nice Cairns!

In Defense of Cairns on the Trail

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.

Rock cairn in Southern California
A rock cairn in 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.

Traim Cairns on the JMT
Where’s the John Muir Trail? Just line up the cairns …



Stuff You Don’t Need: Smart Spray Smartphone Case

Personally, I like to try to keep liquids away from my electronic devices, but not so the inventors of the Smart Spray Smartphone case.

Nope. Don't need it.
When was the last time you thought, “I wish my smartphone could squirt liquids.” Yeah, me either.

This thing is billed as “an innovative and cool smart phone case with an integrated sprayer that can be filled with any fluid for any use.”

There’s supposedly a Kickstarter coming soon (good luck!), but no word on price or availability. But that’s okay, because you don’t need this thing.



Nice Stop-Motion Virtual Hike of the John Muir Trail

A Video Hike of the John Muir Trail

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.


Video Examines Rim Fire and Fire Management Techniques

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.

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Girl Scout Cookies are Better With Bourbon

Girl Scout Cookies Paired With Bourbon

The Perfect Way to Eat Girl Scout Cookies

My disdain for the sales practices of Girl Scout cookie peddler parents has been well documented. However, it’s important to note that I don’t dislike Girl Scout cookies themselves—especially if those Girl Scout cookies are paired with bourbon.

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