Negligence In A National Forest

I woke up and strolled out into my front yard and found shattered bottles. Slithers and chunks of glass strewed amongst my grass and flowers, glittering in the early sun. Eye catching in the most disappointing way…

I then ventured out further for a walk around the neighborhood and was surrounded by food wrappers and old weathered pages of newspapers softly crinkling in the breeze…

Disgusted, I continued on my walk only to see something even worse, soiled toilet paper stuck in holes and splattered on neighboring trees…

Where would you guess I live? Where would you guess I was walking?

I live in a National Forest.
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While living in Coconino National Forest Darwin have noticed an astounding amount of human negligence. I have come across numerous camp spots where rocks and small boulders have been defaced. I am not just talking campfire chalk, I am literally meaning they have a new painted face. I have seen rocks painted with quotes, aliens and various abstract designs. Don’t get me wrong, I love art but painting random rocks in a Natural Forest is for one illegal and two appalling. A very unnatural part of nature now left to smirk and seemingly enlighten the next unsuspecting camper.

Besides defaced rocks and boulders here is a list of other litter I have found: Newspaper, toilet paper (it does not degrade if it’s not buried properly and regardless it does not degrade as quick as you think), a stupid amounts of broken glass bottles, 1 un-shattered glass bottle of Vodka, 1 shattered glass lantern, 1 completely untouched microwaveable dinner (not joking), 1 satchel/purse, 1 hypodermic needle, over 12 bottle caps, 2 bullet shells, 1 full sugar packet, numerous amounts of food wrappers, 2 beer cans, 1 toothbrush, 1 CO2 cartridge, and so many pieces of bits of paper I have lost count.

Amongst the litter, Darwin has come across a huge bonfire size campfire in a very clearly marked “No Campfire” area. He approached the camp of three men and asked if they knew they were in a no-burn area. One of the men started to say that campfire fires were allowed after a certain time, but Darwin cut him off. He strongly informed them that they were literally less than 100 feet from a sign that said “No Campfires”. The men just shrugged and said they would let it burn out. As soon as Darwin hiked just a half mile more to camp, we called the Forest Service. I think I may start recording Smokey the Bear talking about forest fires to play it in such situations…ridiculous!

Two days later we were driving into Flagstaff on a service road and came face to face with a fire truck parked right at the bottom of the road. We didn’t even have to pull over to see why the firemen were there, we saw smoke. Someone (not the same men from before) had dangerously left a smoldering fire abandoned.

I really don’t understand why people don’t care, why they don’t heed warnings and why they can’t follow simple rules set for their own protection and for the protection of the wilderness around them. Some of us feel entitled and above the laws of both man and of nature.

I have always been a little sensitive to these things and even more so now as we currently reside in a National Forest. Besides ranting about this what have I done/am I doing to help and no longer be apart of the problem?

1.) I personally have carried out two bags (thus far) of trash from in and around our campsite and will continue to do so. I want to make sure to leave this area of forest, better than what it was when we found it. I vow to continue to do this no matter what the trail and no matter where we camp.

2.) I refuse to just walk by anymore. When I notice that someone is littering, starting a fire in a no burn zone, going off into a regrowth area, etc. I am no longer the bystander, I will say something. Perhaps the person(s) are not familiar with the rules of the area, maybe they missed the sign, maybe somehow they do not know about Leave No Trace Principles, maybe they don’t know the story of Smokey the Bear…

3.) I am choosing to carry out all my toilet paper if I use it (I try to use pee rag if possible). I refuse to chance a toilet paper tulip! After seeing all the partially degraded toilet paper around our current campsite I am totally disgusted. I have picked up what I could and had to bury partially degraded toilet paper left behind by careless individuals. It takes longer then you think for toilet paper to break down and even longer when it is not buried.

These are only a few small ways that I am actively helping and no longer aiding in the problem. What are some other things you and I can do to help?

Check out the link to see more information on Leave No Trace Principles HERE

 

 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts/Website Posts And Recent Other Doings:

Another Book Review Concerning the AZT! – Coming Soon!

Other Posts You May Have Missed: 

Painted Blazes: Hiking the Appalachian Trail with Loner – Review

Random Thoughts and Happenings While Living in a National Forest…

 

ROAM Silicone Rings – Review

Reviewed By: Snuggles

***Use the code “Darwin” if when you make a purchase with ROAM and get 20% off! 

***See Product Review Updates As Of 6/23/18 At Bottom

Introduction:

For the last several months Darwin and I have switched over from traditional Gold and Silver wedding bands to silicone as the traditional metals were no longer suiting our lifestyle. We originally started wearing a more well-known brand of ring, however we were then contacted by ROAM, Products Inspired By Simplicity and were intrigued. Are all silicone rings created equal? From my experience it depends on your lifestyle.

Most of the following review are from both myself and Darwin’s personal experiences. Please note we are not being paid by any companies for this review.

First Impressions:

When first ordering our silicone rings, I was looking for a simple band and was overwhelmed by the many versions of a silicone ring you could pick from. ROAM however stays true to their mission statement of simplicity selling only plain silicone bands. The color options you have to pick from are also for the most part kept simple. Other brands are the market would be great for the fashionable silicone ring wearer as you have options to order many colors and designs and to even further customize them. ROAM I found is for the functional and minimalist ring wearer; you get a ring, put it on and forget it’s there. Simple.

Quality and Durability:

ROAM advertises rings as hypoallergenic and we have not been able to prove it otherwise. Both the men’s and women’s versions are 1.5mm thick and 6mm tall. For other companies this will vary depending on what design you choose. Most companies do list dimensions, strength, elongation, and other qualities for each specific ring type and or style. When compared to other brand’s classic versions of rings, most are found to be wider then ROAM’s. I prefer a wider band then what ROAM offers however this is more of a personal preference.

I previously found my skin underneath other silicone bands would be at times moist having trapped in sweat and other moisture. I have not experienced this to the same extent with my ROAM ring. Moisture no matter what the design is going to build up under a silicone ring, however I again experienced this less with ROAM.

The Elongation or stretchiness of the ROAM rings have proven to be minor in the last month and a half of wear. Both rings have been worn full-time during hiking, bathing, lifting weights, construction work, cycling, yard work, running, other daily work duties, etc. and have shown no wear or tears. Darwin specifically wore his during his last month working at a local bike shop and the ROAM ring held up. It must be noted that Darwin specifically purchased a ring from a larger known company which is supposed to hold up to various chemicals and be temperature tolerant. Within less than a month of purchase, the ring had begun to wear down noticeably and slowly developed a small tear.

Price:

When it comes to price ROAM is very affordable with each ring starting out at $12.00. You do have the option to buy a package of two for $20.00 or three for $30.00. These prices are for both the men’s and women’s versions and do not include shipping. When it comes to other companies you will notice that prices vary depending on style of ring. Some companies do offer packages for rings as well however the prices again vary depending on style of ring being purchased.

Product Guarantees and Replacement:

Some companies offering silicone rings do offer one replacement ring if a ring is damaged, ripped, stretched etc. Some even asking for pictures and information on how the ring was damaged in order to better improve their products. ROAM does not advertise the same.

Conclusion:

Overall I feel that ROAM rings are definitely worth a try especially for those active persons who like to keep their jewelry simple. Although there are similar products on the market, ROAM stands alone in their simplicity. They truly seem to be “inspired by simplicity” and do not lose sight of that with any of their products. The durability of their rings also seem to stand up during testing in various activities and environments where similar products have failed.

You can check out their rings for yourself via ROAM’s website by clicking HERE!

 

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*** Product Review Update As Of 6/23/18

Totally still diggin my Roam Rings! I switch up the colors of my ring here and there when I even remember I have it on. I never feel it on my finger so I tend to forget its even there! The more I travel and adventure the more I enjoy not wearing a piece of metal on my finger. If you have ever seen a picture of a “degloved” finger you’ll understand! Plus, I never have to worry about losing it out on the trail, it something is damaged or lost I have three others back at the van! Darwin has at some point lost/ripped off his ring and because its so comfortable and light, didn’t even notice it was gone for almost a day. Overall, still very impressed and have no thoughts of switching to another type of ring or brand.         – Snuggles

Darwin’s 2017 AZT Section Hike

Base Weight  – 7lbs 11 oz (without Food, Water, Clothes Worn, & Poles)

Pack
ZPacks Nero – http://www.zpacks.com/backpacks/nero.shtml
W/ Shoulder Pouch – http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/shoulderpouch.shtml

Shelter
EE Recon Bivy (7D prototype) – https://enlightenedequipment.com/recon/
ZPacks 8.5 x 11 Cuben Tarp – http://www.zpacks.com/shelter/tarps.shtml
12 Zpacks Sonic Stakes – http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/stakes.shtml

Sleep System
EE Enigma 30 (7D prototype) – https://enlightenedequipment.com/enigma/
ThermaRest Z-lite Torso Length (Cut) – http://amzn.to/2wMnqxn
Sea to Summit Aeros UL Pillow – http://amzn.to/2pBDfH7

Cook System
*Stoveless*
Sea to Summit Spork – http://amzn.to/2nqpICn
Soaking Jar (empty Talenti Jar)
OPsak Food Bag – http://amzn.to/2xtAUBu

Water Filtration
HydroBlu Versa Flow Water Filter – http://amzn.to/2yii4ed
2 – 1L SmartWater Bottle
1 – Cnoc Vecto Water Container – https://amzn.to/2JRNEtb

Electronics
Fenix E05 Flashlight (w/clip) – http://amzn.to/2xtPmcF
Anger PowerCore 10000 Charger –http://amzn.to/2xtBijq
Canon G7X Mark ii – http://amzn.to/2xnpSMt
Iphone 6 Plus – http://amzn.to/2xnzgjl
Skull Candy Headphones – http://amzn.to/2xnLmc3
Various Charging Cables

Clothes
OR Helium ii Rain Jacket – http://amzn.to/2jTH2hZ
EE Torid APEX Jacket (7D prototype) – https://enlightenedequipment.com/torrid-apex-jacket/
Ice Breakers T-Shirt – http://amzn.to/2wM43Vc
Patagonia Capilene LW Tights – http://amzn.to/2wFDDJf
GooseFeet Gear Down Socks – https://goosefeetgear.com/products/down-socks/
Darn Tough Socks – http://amzn.to/2oj9ESc

Clothes Worn
Columbia SilverRidge Lite LS Shirt – http://amzn.to/2ocpLAv
Nike Pro Running Shorts – http://amzn.to/2wH3KQ8
Buff – http://amzn.to/2oc9yLM
Mesh Back Hat
Darn Tough Socks (Low) – http://amzn.to/2wMlULm
Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Shoes – http://amzn.to/2xWDNfC
Dirty Girl Gaiters – dirtygirlgaiters.com

Other
Cnoc Vertex Carbon Cork Trekking Poles – http://amzn.to/2xGdruV
ZPacks Ditty Bag – http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/dry_bags.shtml
Leuko Tape (wrapped around Poles) – http://amzn.to/2xYkDGr
Spyderco Knife – http://amzn.to/2wHxmwZ
Small First-Aid Kit
Chapstick
Toothbrush w/ Paste
TP (Shit Tickets)
1 Extra AAA Battery

 

Gear thumb 1
(DISCLAIMER: This Post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps support the channel and allows us to continue to make content like this. Thank you for the support!)

Painted Blazes: Hiking the Appalachian Trail with Loner – Review

I was very excited to receive a signed copy of Painted Blazes from Jeffery “Loner” Gray. I have not read any books concerning the Appalachian Trail since we started our hike in 2015. When on trail, I wished I could remember every detail of each author’s experiences at certain landmarks and sections but being the human that I am, could not. I thus vowed to reread a few books to see how my experiences were compared to others. I have again failed to do so. Needless to say I was totally ready to hit the trail again via Loner’s book.

I was not expecting at all what I read. What I had expected, was to simply read and enjoy Loner’s perspective on his solo, ultralight, hammock hanging hike in 2012. Not only did I feel I was hiking with Loner but I also learned A LOT. I hiked the Appalachian Trail starting in 2015 and made that final summit in 2016 having no idea I could possibly learn more about the trail. Loner totally schooled me on tons of historical landmarks and happenings in towns the Appalachian Trail passes by or goes through to specific details of historical events or landmarks that are only vaguely mentioned in a guidebook. To be honest I had hiked right on past a lot of the places mentioned in this book and now wish I would have spent more time exploring them. This book is not only one hiker’s story on the Appalachian Trail but should be considered a light, easy to read history lesson that I have yet to find in any other hiker’s memoir or journal.

Through out the entire book the reader will come across “Hiker Tips” explaining how to utilize mail drops, defining hiker lingo, discussing places to avoid, to how to hang a bear bag. Loner breaks down and explains a lot of topics new hikers may have questions on as they apply To his hike. This allows the reader to not only hike along with Loner but to also learn from him and other hikers he meets. I also greatly enjoyed his “Fun Facts” ranging from episodes of Sesame Street, Breaking Bad, to Moose, Monarchs and Tyvek, Loner gives tons of facts that the reader would have never known if not for reading the book. I found myself both giggling and learning from these Fun Facts.

When Loner summits that final mountain Katahdin, he does not leave the reader there. His journey then continues briefly into life after a thru-hike. He discusses the exhaustion with finishing up a section that he had to previously skip, to how friends and some family reacted to his homecoming. He also shares personal thoughts and encouragement to any readers thinking of hiking. For those hikers that Loner and reader meet along his trek, a thoughtful follow-up on most of them can be found in the back of the book.

But wait there is more! Loner continues by sharing a gear list including each item’s individual weight and price. I always find gear lists exceptionally helpful and Loner’s did not disappoint being very detailed. Loner also takes the time to share an impressive list of hiker vocabulary which I have never seen the likes of before! He shares definitions for deli blazing, duff, gorp, logbook, tramily, whoopie slings, yogi, and so many more.

Overall I absolutely loved this book and have not one compliant. Well I guess the only complaint I could have is that Loner had not written this book sooner (preferably before my hike started in 2015). I will recommend this book to any potential thru-hiker as it is not only a memoir of Loner’s hike but a source of educational material in regards to the Appalachian Trail and the emotions that come with thru-hiking. Loner has done his research for this book and it clearly shows as I found even myself learning from him. It was a great pleasure to experience the trail through Loner’s perspective.

Painted Blazes can be found on the official website: PaintedBlazes.com

Print books or eBook can be found on Amazon.com here: http://amzn.to/2hdjCiJ

Loner’s YouTube video series closely follows the book text if you would want to follow along while reading or just check out his channel click HERE.

 

 

 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts/Website Posts And Recent Other Doings:

My first solo video! BetweentheBlazes was so kind as to feature me on the channel giving a Hiker Tale. Check it out here and be sure to watch tons of other Hiker Tales!

Our Etsy Store TravelandTrail Is Full of Fun Travel Finds! Go For A Look-See!

Other Book Reviews I Have Done:

The Stranger In The Woods – Review

The Long-Shadowed Forest – Review

Looking Back Into the Wild

DISCLAIMER: This Post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps support the channel/website and allows us to continue to make content like this. Thank you for the support!)

 

 

Lifestyle Review: The ROAM Wallet

Reviewed By: Darwin

***Use the code “Darwin” when you make a purchase with ROAM and get 20% off! 

Introduction:

I was first introduced to ROAM when approached by the company specifically concerning their wallets. I was unaware of this product before however have discovered they are great way to safely carry personal information, cash and credit cards or other small needed essentials without the trouble of dealing with the full weight and bulk of the everyday wallet or small pouch.

Please be aware I am not being paid by this company for the following review.

First Impressions & Design:

At first I have to admit I was hesitant about carrying this wallet in either the Premium or Minimal versions. I was somewhat doubtful that either would actually hold anything securely with such a simple design. Each wallet is basically a wide piece of elastic with a small carabiner on one side to attach to a pack, belt loop, etc. The Premium has an additional layer of elastic creating three slots for the more organized individual (3.5 inches wide and a little over 3 inches tall). The Minimal is a simple one pocket design (3.5 inches wide and 3 inches tall).

When I first put my driver’s license and credit card in the Minimal Wallet along with a few folded bills, it occurred to me how exactly the wallet worked. The elastic material used is cut slightly smaller than the average credit card, identification card, etc. allowing each to fit snuggly and securely into the pocket. The elastic simply grips each item being stored. A very simple design that left me wondering “Why didn’t I think of that?”. Before hitting the trail I flung the wallet around like crazy. I shook it upside down tossed it around in the air and my cards and cash remained snug and unaffected.

When I did the same with the Premium Wallet with the same items, I did notice some slight movement. This however is probably due to not having a enough items to put into the wallet as it does have three slots to utilize. From my experience the Premium Wallet works better when all pockets are in use allowing the wallet to grip and stretch completely. The Premium Wallet is also designed to allow the user to carry lip balm as well or even a pen as needed.

Each wallet comes in a variety of designs to pick from. ROAM also features a few select artist designs.

Quality and Durability:

Although simple in design, both the Premium and Minimal Wallets have proven to be quality made. I have taken both out during overnight backpacking trips, numerous bike rides, a few runs and carried both wallets for normal day use over the course a month and a half. I have found that neither wallet has stretched out and both continue to perform as designed.

Personally I have found little to no use for the small carabiner attached to either wallet and eventually have removed it. This again is of personal preference as I typically store my wallet inside my pack while on trail. I have had one loop come unstitched over time. This may cause more of an issue for an individual using the carabiner or using the loop to store lip balm.

It should be noted that no matter the design (Premium or Minimal) neither are waterproof. Although I have carried a small amount of change in both I would not recommend it. Carrying change takes away from the snug fit and or grip each wallet has on the items being carried inside. Each wallet is designed with an open top which again is easy for change to fall out of.

Price:

I found each wallet to be priced reasonably with the Minimal at twelve dollars and the Premium priced at fourteen (price does not include shipping). Select artist designed wallets are at no additional cost.

Product Guarantees and Replacement:

I have found no product guarantees or replacement policies for ROAM’s wallets but thus far have not needed to use them.

Conclusion:

Overall the initial doubts that I had on using ROAM’s Wallets have been proved wrong. I have not had any issues with items falling out of either wallet design and in fact have no intention of returning to my old cloth folding wallet. It is surprising how much I carried in previous wallets because I had the space to do so. With ROAM wallets I realize now how much I carried that I never used causing additional weight and bulk in my pocket, pack, etc. ROAM’s simple design allowed me to simplify another part of my life and I recommend them for any individual regardless of lifestyle.

You can check out the various styles of ROAM’s Wallets by visiting their website just click HERE!

 

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Random Thoughts and Happenings While Living in a National Forest…

I am not sure if there is any place left in the United States where there are no signs of man.

Digging a cat-hole, using the cat-hole and burying the contents of said cat-hole is very difficult when hiking attached to a Bowie Dog. Bowies don’t really have patience to wait or care if you fall into to the cat-hole. (I’ll let you imagine this for a moment)

Not all visitors to National Forests follow the rules concerning pets and allow them to run amuck. This is distressful to other visitors who follow the rules and to Bowies on a leash.

Time passes slower in the forest.

I still use a lot of toilet paper and thus have reunited with an old friend, Pee Rag!

I am pretty sure I could live off books, tea, and the wilderness.

Solar power is very thought provoking…Does anything need charged? Do we have enough charge? When is the best time to charge this? Why is solar power not used for more? Why didn’t we use solar sooner?

Darwin has gotten recognized a lot since arriving in Flagstaff and because of this, I have gotten recognized as well. I however some how forget that I write this blog so when I finally meet someone who reads it that I don’t already know, I get caught off guard. What? Someone besides my mom reads this? Awesome! It’s been really neat to talk with people who follow Darwin’s media or mine.

Stars….I forgot about them! The moon! It’s still there too! The views at night here are breathtaking! Just don’t look up with your mouth open…

The internet thankfully doesn’t reach everywhere.

I enjoy being dirty. Someone already asked me how we shower…

My response: “We don’t for several days…HIKER TRASH!”

Their response: “Well you can come by and use our shower if you need too.”

My reply: “Nah, we are good, I like to smell….HIKER TRASH!”

 

bowie

(Majestic Bowie) 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts/Website Posts And Recent Other Doings:

My first solo video! BetweentheBlazes was so kind as to feature me on the channel giving a Hiker Tale. Check it out here and be sure to watch tons of other Hiker Tales!

Viking at BetweentheBlazes gives back to the AT with proceeds from his handcrafted Katahdin Signs. Great for any thru-hiker or section hiker!

Upcoming Book Review: Painted Blazes: Hiking the Appalachian Trail with Loner (I am very excited about this. Its really, really good!) 

Our Etsy Store TravelandTrail Is Full of Fun Travel Finds! Go For A Look-See!

COMING SOON: Full tour of our camper! I PROMISE DARWIN IS WORKING ON IT!

Recent Posts You May Have Missed:

Goodbye Albuquerque!

Crying In The Woods

The Stallion Gets Broken Into

The Unprepared Backpacking Trip

 

Goodbye Albuquerque!

Dear Albuquerque,

We are leaving you for a time but I am sure we will be back someday. I have enjoyed many of your trails and thank you for the adventures we found there. I have experienced many of your historic places and cruised down most of your section of Route 66, playing the tune with our tires.

I will miss your sunrises and sunsets as they I feel are one of a kind. I will miss being greeted by early morning hot air balloons and traveling by bike path. You are truly a land of extremes; if you’re not hot as hell your pouring down with rain and hail or blasting your people with wind. You will still however, always hold a special place in my heart as you have shown me my first real tumbleweed and lets not forget your seemingly pre-historic Road-Runners (yes, Caron they do exist).

I will never forget our brewery rides and the good friends you introduced me too. You have been both kind and cruel and given us many lessons to learn. Thank you ABQ for all the good and the bad.

We’ll be seeing you,

Snuggles

IMG_0207

(Portrait Of Darwin and I By Our Dear Friend Abbey!)

Interested in her art? Contact her at abbey_stokes@yahoo.com

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts/Website Posts And Recent Other Doings:

Upcoming Book Review: Painted Blazes: Hiking the Appalachian Trail with Loner

Show some love to more hiker trash at BetweentheBlazes! Viking makes great videos and gives back to the AT with his handcrafted Katahdin sign. Check it out!

Our Etsy Store TravelandTrail Full of Fun Travel Finds! Go For A Look-See!

Look out for a full video tour of our new camper! Coming Soon!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

The Origin of Snuggles

3/16/15 Trail Magic & Tray Mountain

3/19/15 The Awful Day