Wild Animals I Have Known – Review

Several years ago I read a story about a man who became obsessed with hunting down a wolf. I thought the story was sad but learned that after the wolf was dead, the man greatly regretted what he had done. The wolf’s death changed the man’s life forever. Fast-forward to a few months ago, I unknowingly started watching a documentary about this same man, Ernest Thompson Seton and discovered he had become a writer and helped develop what is now known as the Boy Scouts of America, acting as its first Chief Scout. I have since picked up one of Seton’s book’s Wild Animals I Have Known, and it now seems only fitting that I finished his book while sitting in the shadow of Mount Baden-Powell; dedicated to the man Robert Baden-Powell, who is largely credited with the scouting movement and a friend of Seton’s.

Seton begins Wild Animals I Have Known with a note to the reader ensuring that each story is true, although he explains that some animals and events have been combined for the ease of the reader. He also explains his own thoughts on humans and the rights of wild animals. I felt this was only a touching example of his naturalist side; a vast difference from the obsessed hunter I had learned that he was before. When narrating from his own perspective, Seton often writes that he chooses to admire the wild beauty of an animal. He refuses to participate in the madness that others fall victim too while trying to conquer the wildness in a creature. Knowing Seton’s past, I felt this was a touching way to try to absolve his own mistakes. This explanation or note to the reader I found interesting in another way as well.  Later after this book was published, Seton would be targeted for his emotional or humanistic stories which he openly explains his reasonings for in this section.

Once in the first chapter, Wild Animals I Have Known seemed to have an easy flow and I feel it can be compared to that of a children’s chapter book. Seton even provides the reader his own illustrations of his animals another common characteristic of a children’s chapter book. The first story is Lobo: The King of Currumpaw, which felt only right, as this is Seton’s personal story of his obsession with hunting a wolf (Lobo). He seems to try to pay homage to Lobo by sharing of his life story. Within this first telling, I was reminded that it was written in 1898 as some language Seton uses reflects the time. Throughout this book, Seton uses words that seem to have a lost meanings. This verbiage, however, will not take away from the stories being read.

The full book is made up of eight different stories of wild animals and each are written with very human characteristics and the animals often cross over into another’s story. There are many books to date written in this style however it is very obvious that Seton had actually spent enough time in one area, to observe the wildlife there. Having done so, it would not be surprising that he would observe the same crow or rabbit going along its daily habits; their lives all connected. What adds to his childlike stories is the fluff in between that Seton applies to his animals. Much like how we imply on our dog that he feels regret for eating out of the trash; we can tell he feels regret by that “sad look” in his eyes. Seton weaves this same tactic with his stories along with facts, science, and the brutal truths that can be found in nature.

Although I felt as if I was reading a children’s book, Seton does not shy away from the harsh realities of human nature and the cycle of life. When a man is present in his stories so is man’s wild savagery that only seeks to tame or conquer the wild things he encounters. This possibly is a reflection of his own cruel actions, this ruthlessness seems to be an underlying tone of each story where man and wild collide. I was at times sickened by the heartless treatment of animals presented in his stories.

Seton also describes the life cycle for many of his animals along with the realities of life and death. He doesn’t hide the truth that no wild animal lives “happily ever after”. Death is often ignored in storytelling but these are a reminder that death is simply apart of life. These harsh realities described, however, are probably more appropriate and truthful than some media the younger generation takes in. I, however, feel it is something to consider mentioning as I have previously compared this book with that of a children’s book.

Wild Animals I Have Known is a wonderful read and in my opinion a piece of history, not only for humans, but also for the animals Seton writes about. During my reading and now after, I have found myself pausing a little longer when observing some form of wildlife. They are more than just cute little creatures but wild survivors living a life where death can be waiting for them with every step, trod, hop, slither, or flight. Although written with a little fluff for the entertainment and understanding of human readers, I found this book to be an elegant preservation of nature and its wild creatures.

I personally think it would be helpful to do your own research on Ernest Thompson Seton before reading this book. It will help you understand his human characters and his animals, along with his style of writing.  It may also give you a better perspective of the underlying meaning of his stories. This is a man who spent his life trying to make up for the death of Lobo, the wolf that seemed to haunt him but motivated him to try to change the mindset towards wild animals. We, humans, are so much the same as our wild brothers and sisters.

You can find Wild Animals I Have Known via Amazon using this link https://amzn.to/2JDigua or check it out at your local library!

Learn more about Ernest Thompson Seton here!



(A Few illustrations As Shown In Seton’s Book)

Book Reviews Will Be Now Published On Mondays When I Have One To Share! Keep A Look Out For More! 


Other Book Reviews You May Have Missed:

The Last Season – Review

Girl In The Woods – REVIEW

The Hidden Life of Trees – REVIEW



(DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links! This means that if you click on one of the product links and buy something, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps supports Darwin’s YouTube Channel and allows us to continue to make content via the Snuggle Diaries! Thank you for the support!)

A Few More Hikers I Have Known

I knew she was out on the trail but I wasn’t sure if I would see her. The “her” is Bean Dip. Darwin and I met Bean Dip and her mom Birdie out on the AT. Now, she is hiking the PCT with her sister Moonshine. When Darwin hit Big Bear, CA Bean-Dip was already there and we were able to rehash old trail stories and catch up on life. We hadn’t seen each other for almost two years as Bean-Dip returned to her home in Australia.

Just when I felt my eyes water as Darwin hit the trail again, she saved the day and invited me to join her and her PCT Tramily while they ate pie. I listened to their stories and laughed along with them enjoying their company easing the ache from Darwin’s departure. The next morning I drove Bean-Dip, Moonshine, Heidi, and Seeker back to the trailhead. They lingered around the van for a few minutes trying to find motivation against the cold, until finally, the trail called them away.

About a week or so later I met with Darwin to keep him company while nursing a bum shin in Wrightwood, CA. While in town I ran into two hikers I had met before, Foxtrot and Raven. Foxtrot at one point, had hiked along with Darwin and I first met him while doing trail magic outside of Julian, CA. A hiker possibly closer to my own age, Foxtrot has hiked the PCT before and always has great stories to share about life on and off the trail. He seems to have a confidence and joy that is nothing but infectious. He’s also the second hiker I’ve seen carry a fanny-pack; they are making a comeback!

When I first met Raven, it was actually his birthday. I gave him a ride into Big Bear, CA and promised him a birthday beer. I never had the opportunity to play out this promise, which I reminded him again that I owed him. If I’m not mistaken, the PCT is Raven’s first thru-hike and he seems to be enjoying every minute of it. I gave both hikers a ride to and from a hotel outside of Wrightwood and greatly appreciated the conversation with them. From naked old men at hot springs, trail terrain, to moose on train tracks, the short time I’ve spent with both hikers was filled with laughter.



(A Few Scenes Of Beauty I Was Able To Take In) 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Stuffs:

Bean-Dip and Heidi are both documenting their hike via YouTube. Click their names to follow their journeys!

Since I’ve been on the road I have found another helpful website in finding a place to park or camp…if your traveling anytime soon you may want to check this site out…freecampsites.net

Thanks so much to Sarge at Big Bear Hostel! He so graciously allowed me to pop in for a shower!

Book Reviews Will Now Be Published On Mondays When I Have One To Share! Keep A Look Out For More!

Cool Thingys That I Also Do:

Our Etsy Store: TravelandTrail

Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries 

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

Back To Nature

A Few Hikers I Have Known

And So It Begins…


Darwin’s 2018- PCT Thru-Hike

ZPacks Arc Blast-  https://zpacks.com/products/arc-blast-backpack?aff=7
W/ Shoulder Pouch – https://zpacks.com/products/shoulder-pouch?aff=7

Shoulder Water Bottle Holder

ZPacks Duplex Tent- https://zpacks.com/products/duplex-tent?aff=7

8 Ti Shepherd Hook Stakes – https://zpacks.com/products/6-5-titanium-hook-stake-w-red-head?aff=7

Sleep System
EE Enigma 20 Quilt – https://bit.ly/37b1iSs

ThermaRest Neo Air (Long) – http://amzn.to/2nSABeB

Sea to Summit Aeros UL Pillow – https://amzn.to/2Ha13c1

Goosefeet Gear Down Socks – https://goosefeetgear.com/products/down-socks/

Cook System
BRS UL Stove – http://amzn.to/2snl8rw

Vargo Ti 700 BOT – https://www.vargooutdoors.com/titanium-bot-bottle-pot.html

Sea to Summit Spork – https://amzn.to/2GWYvjA

Bic Mini Lighter – http://amzn.to/2Bnzyeb

Zpacks Cuben Food Bag (w/line)- https://zpacks.com/products/bear-bagging-kit?aff=7

Water Filtration
Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter – http://amzn.to/2G4aiZo

3 – 1L Disposable Bottles

1 – Cnoc Vecto Water Container – https://amzn.to/2JRNEtb

UCO Air Headlamp (Modified) – http://amzn.to/2sp0RBQ

Anker PowerCore 10000 Charger – http://amzn.to/2xtBijq

Canon G7X Mark ii – http://amzn.to/2xnpSMt

UltraPod Tripod – https://amzn.to/2Eklksd

Iphone 7 Plus –http://amzn.to/2G1dzIM

Apple SD Card Reader – https://amzn.to/2GRAWbY

Various Charging Cables

Zpacks Vertice Rain Jacket –  https://zpacks.com/products/vertice-rain-jacket?aff=7

EE Torrid APEX Jacket – https://bit.ly/3a13Pkf

EE Wind Pants – https://bit.ly/3mclwjb

Ice Breaker Merino Wool T – http://amzn.to/2smmmmP

Hand Knitted Beanie

Zpacks Vertice Rain Mitts – https://zpacks.com/products/vertice-rain-mitts?aff=7

OR Liner Gloves – http://amzn.to/2CbzJ95

Darn Tough Socks – http://amzn.to/2Ex7mXZ

Clothes Worn
Columbia SilverRidge Lite LS Shirt – http://amzn.to/2ocpLAv

Nike Pro Running Shorts – http://amzn.to/2wH3KQ8

Nike Pro HyperWarm Tights – http://amzn.to/2Cc4NW6

UV Buff – https://amzn.to/2JkUiEQ

Mesh Back Hat

Darn Tough Socks – http://amzn.to/2wMlULm

Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Shoes – http://amzn.to/2xWDNfC

Dirty Girl Gaiters – dirtygirlgaiters.com


Cnoc Vertex Carbon Cork Trekking Poles (Modified) – http://amzn.to/2EVMoQnZ

ZPacks Ditty Bag – https://zpacks.com/products/small-dry-bag?aff=7

Leuko Tape (wrapped around Poles) – http://amzn.to/2src0CgSpyderco

Knife – http://amzn.to/2wHxmwZ

Deuce of Spades Trowel – http://amzn.to/2EhAV0p

SMD Silver Shadow Solar Umbrella – https://www.sixmoondesigns.com/products/silver-shadow

OR Active Ice Sun Gloves – https://amzn.to/2uRbmiK

Small First Aid Kit

Chapstick Joshua Tree Sun Stick SPF 50 – https://amzn.to/2GU9ny

Toothbrush w/ Paste

TP (Shit Tickets)

Sierra Gear: 

Bear Canister: BearVault BV 450 – https://www.amazon.com/BearVault-Resistant-Canister

Ice Axe: Camp Corsa – https://www.amazon.com/CAMP-Corsa-Ice-Axe-Green

Micro Spikes: https://www.amazon.com/Kahtoola-MICROspikes

New Gear For The Last 500 Miles:

Pack: Waymark Thru-40L 

Shoes: Altra Olympus 3.0 – https://www.amazon.com/Altra-AFM1859F-Mens

Filter: Katadyn BeFree 1.0L – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075X5R67T


The Last Season – Review

I was recommended The Last Season a few months ago by one of the staff at Mountain Crossings in Georgia. He told me it would be a great read before or during my travels along the Pacific Crest Trail. Unknowingly I had already passed this book up at a friend’s house but timing is everything and the Universe didn’t want me to read it yet. Now having finally read it, I feel like the book spoke to me in a way it wouldn’t have a few months ago.

The Last Season at its basics is about Randy Morgenson, a National Park Backcountry Ranger who after almost thirty years of service and a lifetime in the wilderness, left for patrol and never returned. In explaining Morgenson’s life and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance, author Eric Blehm also reveals the lesser-known world of backcountry park rangers. He allows the reader to share in Morgenson’s personal life and feel as if they are an active part of the search for him. Blehm seamlessly combines years of research, interviews, and Morgenson’s own private writings resulting in a beautiful preservation of Morgenson’s life and accomplishments.

Blehm is able to paint a picture of Morgenson as a mountain man who is as much of a part of the Sierra Nevada as the meadows that grow there. Reading the excerpts from Morgenson’s journal presented throughout the book often felt like reading a love letter to a muse; both inspiring and passionate. Morgenson’s words are timeless still applying to today’s current issues on land protection and seemed to speak directly to me even though some were written over fifty years ago.

With a combination of interviews with fellow rangers, family members, reports, and various logbook entries, Blehm is able to humanize Morgenson allowing the reader to see him as a mortal man with flaws, not a superhero. This quality of Blehm’s book makes clear the state of mind Morgenson was in at the time of his disappearance and the full impact his life had on friends, family, strangers, and the National Park System itself. Although you may not agree with all Morgenson’s actions or thoughts, you will surely find something in his character that captivates you.

Blehm’s honest presentation of the facts also brings to light a lot of issues within the National Park System. Several of these issues can be seen as a direct result of Morgenson’s disappearance. It can be frustrating to witness mistakes and what tends to come off as the negligence of the park system. It would not surprise me if the National Park System saw The Last Season as an embarrassment.

I did at times find it hard to visualize some of the landscapes Blehm describes which I found broke the flow of the book for me personally. I sometimes found the descriptions to long and would stop reading in order to research specific areas in the Sierra Nevada myself. This, however, was more of a personal issue with a lack of exposure to the backcountry of the Sierras. This did not dissuade me from finishing the book as I felt immersed in the search for Randy.

Although I basically knew the ending before I began, The Last Season still lingers in my mind leaving a lasting impression. Randy Morgenson was not a perfect man, but he sets a high standard for what a park ranger, hiker, and overall human should be. I’m confident that you will be inspired by his life and will find yourself rethinking how you interact with both people and the wilds around you. I only wish that the story had ended differently wondering what more could have been learned from Randy.

If you would like to read The Last Season you can find it on Amazon using this link https://amzn.to/2GlgrVD or you can check your local library!

You can check out other books by Eric Blehm here.

(Photo and book cover as featured on ericblehm.com)

Book Reviews Will Be Now Published On Mondays When I Have One To Share! Keep A Look Out For More! 

Other Book Reviews:

Girl In The Woods – REVIEW

Looking Back Into the Wild




(DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links! This means that if you click on one of the product links and buy something, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps supports Darwin’s YouTube Channel and allows us to continue to make content via the Snuggle Diaries! Thank you for the support!)

A Few Hikers I Have Known

I have been hovering around Julian, CA this past week and I have met many hikers. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to locate the trail exactly but it didn’t take long to get my bearings. I had unknowingly parked the Clydesdale close by a side trail that some hikers take to get water. Sunshine Trailhead is right off the PCT around mile fifty-nine and never seemed to fail at providing me, hikers.

One morning not long after waking up, a young woman approached me. I knew instantly she was a hiker by her sunned skin, pack, and a small sense of concern. She and her two traveling companions were out of water and the tank was dry. I, of course, gave them all I had which luckily was the exact amount they needed. While they were filling up we talked pleasantries about their hike and their homelands, Poland and Germany. They left me at the trailhead surprised at my good fortune at having my day start with such pleasant people and of course their beautiful accents.

Another time I was at the post office sorting some mail when I overheard the postmaster giving information on possible rides to a trailhead. I hadn’t even noticed the hiker at the counter. I interrupted them both by introducing myself and informed the hiker I would be glad to help after I finished sorting and mailing. The hiker turned towards me revealing a smile, slightly hidden by a long white beard. This was Tinker a hiker whom if I’m not mistaken is thru-hiking at the age of sixty-nine. He very lovingly spoke with Bowie and gave her a few pets before jumping in the Clydesdale. We chatted as we drove down a mountain to an area known as Scissors at mile seventy-seven.

Tinker was very charming and immensely polite. We swapped stories of our ventures on the Appalachian Trail as he had thru-hiked in 2016 and discussed his attempt at the Pacific Crest Trail just last year. In no time we had chatted right past our turn allowing us a few extra minutes of trail talk. Tinker was very gracious for the ride and as I watched him hike into the desert I only hoped I would see him up the trail again.

I also had a chance meeting with The Quinns, A family of hikers out doing a section of the PCT. The family was made up of a husband and wife, their two teenage sons, and grandmother too! I was totally impressed that the whole family was out getting some vitamin trail! Out of all the family vacations to choose from theme parks, cruises, beaches, etc. they had chosen to spend their time together backpacking. Their family along with a few other hikers filled the Clydesdale to a record six hikers with packs. We shall see how long this record stands!

There are so many more hikers I could tell you about, those with trail names and others still without. I have met hikers from all over the world each taking on the trail in their own way. It is a privilege to meet such amazing people. Each is on a quest of some kind and if you have ever talked to someone on a quest, you know they have the greatest stories.


(A Few PCT Hikers Enjoying Some Water & Trail Magic) 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Stuffs:

Almost Done! – A book review about a National Park Ranger gone missing….

Cool Thingys That I Also Do:

Our Etsy Store: TravelandTrail

Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries  I am now trying to post at least weekly while on the road! 

Other Posts You May Enjoy: 

And So It Begins…

Traveling Alongside the PCT…

Lifestyle Review- Monkii Bars 2: Adventure Kit

Reviewed By: Darwin & Snuggles

Adventure Kit Includes The Following When Purchased:

  • Hand Holds
  • Straps
  • Foot Straps
  • Phone Holder
  • Mobile App Information
  • A few other fun examples of the companies humor


Although we (Darwin & Snuggles) have often discussed hiking as the best form of training for a hike of any kind, we do enjoy other types of workouts. Yoga, running, cycling, and weight lifting are also ways we enjoy exercising and find them great ways to cross train. It is, however, difficult to justify the extra weight and space a set of weights takes up when traveling full-time in a trailer or van. This, however, was a problem that we suspected would be resolved with using Monkii Bars 2.

First Impressions:

When the Adventure Kit was first shipped we did encounter a few issues due to weather and a tight schedule solely on our own behalf. Monkii Bars 2 was more than accommodating and very understanding of our lifestyle. When the equipment actually arrived we were surprised by the packaging for such a simple thing. It was packaged in a box close to the size of an average shoebox. The box had die-cut designs and many examples of the company’s good sense of humor were found inside along with the actual bars (we will leave the specifics as a surprise). The company though small delivers a big personality, which we found very likable.

At first setting up the Adventure Kit in any setting proved to be slightly challenging. This may, however, be due to our fear of not setting it up correctly and falling on our face. It took us several times watching the setup videos to finally feel confident enough to actually try the equipment out. We were also slightly confused noticing the bars shown in setup videos are sometimes another version of the bars. Upon further research, we found the Monkii Bars 2 had been redesigned making them smaller, lighter and more compactable. We do however still have issues packing up the bars exactly as they came. We can only hope continued practice will make perfect!

The system itself uses an individual’s own bodyweight instead of actual weights; a suspension system. This along with the lines provided in the kit, allows the intensity of the workout to be adjusted as needed for every individual’s level of fitness. We found the workouts provided by the Monkii Bars App a great aid and motivator. The follow-along workout videos are presented in a very relatable and relaxed way. Often workout equipment is introduced by somewhat intimidating model-like figures. Monkii Bars provides informative videos by the people who have actually had a hand in creating the product and still use it.

The specific workouts provided by the Monkii are yet another example of the companies humor and approachability. With workouts named “Quarter-life Crisis”, “Legs Like A Sequoia”, and “Core of Destiny” to only name a few, you will no doubt stay interested in the workouts. The workouts involve the entire body making it in our opinion, a great way to cross train or simply allow a rest day from our typical workouts.

Quality & Durability:

The Adventure Kit is named such for its ability to be taken and used almost anywhere. It is easily packable taking up a small amount of space for a piece of equipment that provides multitudes of ways to work out. We have used our kit indoors and outdoors via front doors, van doors, and trees.

The Adventure Kit (along with all versions of Monkii Bars) is able to convert to the “Ultralight Kit”. Allowing the system to be used anywhere and put it into use just about everywhere using just the basic equipment (i.e. no extra straps, case, phone holder, etc.). This has allowed us to use the bars among the trees and is a big part of why we have found the Monkii Bars 2 so fun and convenient to use.

Monkii Bars 2 Kits are made from within the USA and are advertised as using the highest quality materials possible, including Spectra Line. Monkii Bars 2 is incredibly strong but as most exercise equipment does have a weight limit of 250 pounds. Although there have been reports of people using the bars successfully beyond this limit, the company does not recommend doing so.


Compared to some similar workout equipment, Monkii Bars 2 is actually cheaper than others. The Adventure Kit can be purchased for $195.00 and will be shipped for free within the USA when using a free promo code currently being offered on Monkii.co.

Because of the cost, Monkii is very understanding that this may not be reasonable for everyone. They, however, want everyone to enjoy their product and benefit health wise by using it and so offer information on making a DIY version of the bars. You can find this information on their website HERE.

Product Guarantees:

Monkii offers a 100% guarantee and a full refund all within 30-days of delivery. After the 30-day guarantee repairs and replacements will be issued if the equipment was used as it was intended causing the need for repair or replacement.

Monkii also offers free Spectra Line replacement if the line is breaking down in some way due to normal use. For a full list of product guarantees and replacements, please review the information on Monkii’s website HERE.


Although similar to other products known on the market, Monkii Bars 2 has the ability to work within your current lifestyle and the company itself is very personable. These were the characteristics that caught our attention at first without even trying anything out. Now having used The Adventure Kit for over two months we have no plans of stopping. Although the results of any workout equipment depend on the individual using it, along with their workout goals, we (Darwin and Snuggles) feel we have only benefited from having introduced Monkii Bar workouts into our personal routines (hence this review!).

If you are interested in trying out Monkii Bars 2 for yourself, you can find them and their variety of kits HERE.

UPDATE 5/1/18: Monkii just put out a KickStarter! Check it out HERE!










And So It Begins…


The night before Darwin’s hike was filled with laughter, a delicious home cooked meal and friends. Gear was packed and repacked as I watched from a safe distance and then sleep came. In the morning we woke up and talked over coffee then loaded up for the drive to Campo, CA.

We found our way up a dusty bumpy hill unsure if we were in the right place until the monument popped into view. Along with the monument was Phantom, a joyful PCTA volunteer answering questions and providing the first trail register for hikers to sign. I watched as Darwin scribbled his name, making the start of his hike even more official. I had the urge to sign it too but realized it was not mine to sign this time. This was not my path to follow.

I took pictures of Darwin and his friend Jaymes who would be starting out with him. I hugged Darwin and tried to bury myself in his beard, breathing him in.  It was time. I could see it in his eyes. He was no longer mine but the trail’s and he turned to answer its calling.

I drove away from the monument and into a day full of driving, grocery shopping, and new responsibilities. I was able to help my first hiker. I found him on the side of the road barefoot, never a good sign. He was of course experiencing foot issues and so I gave him a ride into town. He apologized for his smell and I thanked him for it. He was already talking about home; I tried to tell him to stay.

I have ended my day close to the trail, hikers camping in the distance. I’m exhausted from the wide array of emotions I have felt. I peer sleepy out of the window of the van; the sky is big and full of stars. A large moon lights up the desert floor. I try to be part of all this.


(A Morning View From My First Night Solo In the Van)

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Stuffs:

Coming Soon! – A book review about a National Park Ranger gone missing….

Cool Thingys That I Also Do:

Our Etsy Store: TravelandTrail

Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries  I am now trying to post at least weekly while on the road! 

Other Posts You May Enjoy: 

Traveling Alongside the PCT…

Desert-ey Things I Have Discovered and Pondered This Week…

A Blooming Desert