top tips for women hikers

top tips for women hikers

tips for women hikers

This came via email today-

From hygiene to safety, Katie Levy – skilled outdoors woman and Cairn (www.getcairn.com) Outdoor Ambassador – has smart recommendations for women who want to enjoy the outdoors for the day or the adventure of a lifetime.

Below are nine top tips for women hikers. [Actually this is great advice for hikers of any sex-  JK]

Here are Katie’s top tips for women hikers:

1. Study Up. Whether you’re doing a day hike or something more ambitious, do your homework. Learn in advance about any permits you need, weather restrictions and general rules. Most public lands are managed by state or federal organizations with staffed offices you can call to ask questions of in advance.

tips for women hikers

2. Know What to Bring. Seeking help from someone experienced with the type of trip you’re taking goes a long way. At a minimum, know the essential emergency items you should have, test out layering systems, and break in a solid pair of hiking boots. You can also stay up to date on the latest outdoor products by subscribing to Cairn to receive an array of outdoor essential each month.

3. Know What Not to Bring. Be prepared, but don’t be bogged down by items that are usually unnecessary. This includes massive backpacks; too many clothes; multiples of gear and anything that can’t be replaced, like jewelry.

4. Stay Found. Review paper maps, understand area topography, and keep an eye out for landmarks. GPS tools are helpful but not always functional in remote areas. If you’re not hiking with a group, communicate your itinerary with someone in advance, and plan frequent check-ins if you can.

5. Stay Well. Consider a Wilderness First Aid course, which is specifically geared toward situations that could happen on a hike or camping trip including twisted ankles, windburn, hypothermia or spider bites.

6. Get Physically Prepared. Hiking for hours, especially with a pack, can be a serious challenge. Sustained cardio workouts, core strength training, weightlifting and training hikes can make a huge difference.

7. Stay Up to Date on Outdoor Gear. Research products and brands suited to your needs. For example, tall or petite hikers may gravitate towards certain brands. Subscribing to a monthly subscription service like Cairn can also help inspire you, and introduce you to new products.

tips for women hikers

8. Understand Your Options for Hygiene. Unless you’re headed on an adventure that comes with a full bathroom and running water, understanding how to manage doing your business in the backcountry with Leave No Trace principles is important. If it’s that time of the month, know you’ll need to pack out any sanitary napkins or tampons. They can be stored in an opaque Ziploc bag. Menstrual cups are also an option.

9. Trust Your Gut During Human Encounters. Most hikers I’ve come across have been friendly, but remember, if you meet someone on the trail who makes you feel uneasy, you’re not obligated to talk to them or spend time around them. Carry pepper spray if it helps you feel safer, and always have a whistle with you. The universal call for help is three blasts on the whistle.

And those are the top tips for women hikers from Katie Levy at get cairn.com!

John Kumiski



Pauline Armand Valois Kumiski Barber

Pauline Armand Valois Kumiski Barber

Pauline and Richard

Pauline and Richard

It’s been an emotional week. I lost my mom. I lost a good friend. I’m in Alaska and will miss my wedding anniversary tomorrow.

The oldest of nine children, the early part of my mom’s life was tough- poverty, polio, problems with learning the language of her home country (she spoke French as her native tongue, even though she was born in Massachusetts), all made her life difficult. While in her twenties she married my father, not an easy man to live with. Although he died young, and she was his principal caretaker during his lengthy illness, at least he left her a paid-for home and no debt.

Pauline with her first child, 1952.

Pauline with her first child, 1952.

While I was in grade school I was in the school band, and played little league baseball for a year. She came to all my rehearsals and practices, something she continued to do until I was in high school. I finally asked her to stop because the other guys were giving me so much crap about her always being there.

She would always be there, for everything.

She met all my teachers. Because I was an indifferent student, they were always calling her in for conferences, and Dad would never go.

When I was in my late teens I did or said something that greatly upset her. She went to hit me. I grabbed her arm. “Mom, you will hurt yourself more than you’ll hurt me.” She never tried to hit me again, although I probably deserved a few good smacks from time to time until I turned 25 or so.

Me, Mom, and sister Cheryl, around 1976.

Me, Mom, and sister Cheryl, around 1976.

She had a couple more tough years after my father died. The house was empty because Cheryl and I were away at school, adults now. Somehow, in Boston, she met Richard. Ten years after my dad died they married. They had squabbles as any couple does, but he was good to her and I was happy for her. It was the most security she would ever know, and it lasted for the rest of her life.

Pauline and Richard on my wedding day.

Pauline and Richard on my wedding day, 1980.

She decided to move to California while Sue and I were in Brazil. She spent some time there, then came to Florida to be near Sue and I. She didn’t like it there and was going to move again when Sue became pregnant. Mom never left, and lived in Florida until she passed away. All but one of her eight brothers and sisters ended up there too!

My Mom with her surviving siblings- Norman, Pauline, Huguette, Rudy, Leo, Donald.

My Mom with her surviving siblings- Norman, Pauline, Huguette, Rudy, Leo, Donald.

She and Richard were an enormous help in raising our kids. Their childhood was extraordinarily rich in experiences that Sue and I would never have been able to provide any other way. For this I could never thank either of them enough. Of course, Maxx and Alex were the only grandchildren Pauline and Richard would ever have, so all their attention was channeled into our boys.

Mom plays a game with Maxx.

Mom plays a game with Maxx.

 

Mom with Alex.

Mom with Alex.

Mom could converse with anybody anywhere, a skill that unfortunately was not passed to me. She made friends easily and had lots of them, folks from all walks of life.

One thing I did get from her was the drive to be active. Mom did water aerobics at the local Y six days a week for years. She said it kept her pain-free and certainly kept her active. There was an undeniable social aspect to it, too. She made lots of friends there. I feel bad for them. They will miss her.

Not as much as I will, though. She and Richard live just across the street from us. I could pop in anytime and see her. We had them over for dinner frequently.

Mom lived a long life, a good life. She was a good person. She had no long illness. She was lucid until the end. While perhaps there is no happy ending, hers was close to as painless to her as it’s possible to be. While her loss hurts and leaves an unfillable emotional void in me, I celebrate her life as I mourn her death.

A family photo taken a couple years back. Mom is in the center of the back row.

A family photo taken a couple years back. Mom is in the center of the back row.

I love you mom. May you rest in peace.

John Kumiski




Diet of Florida’s Elusive Red Widow Spider

Diet of Florida’s Elusive Red Widow Spider Revealed by MU Biologist

Beetles: it’s what’s for breakfast—at least for the red widow spider of Florida’s “scrub” habitat, according to a study by University of Missouri biologist James Carrel. The study provides a first glimpse at the diet of this mysterious spider, revealing that it primarily preys upon species of scarab beetles common to the scrub habitat. Carrel’s findings shed light on red widow spiders’ restriction to the Florida scrub habitat and the need for habitat conservation efforts.

red widow spider

The red widow spider (Latrodectus bishopi) gets its name for the reddish-orange coloring of its head, carapace, and legs. Although venomous, no bites from this spider have been recorded. (Photo courtesy of J. Carrel)

“The pine scrub habitat, found on sandy ridges in Central and Southeastern Florida, is one of the oldest in North America,” said Carrel, Curators Professor Emeritus in the MU Division of Biological Sciences. “Many of the plants and animals found on these ridges, including the red widow spider, are restricted to these high, dry areas. Our research suggests that red widows have evolved to specialize on scarab beetles because they are reliable food sources.”

Carrel said that red widow spiders are difficult to study due to habitat confinement and the hidden nature of their webs, which are built in palmetto shrubs. Red widows conceal their funnel-shaped retreats in unopened palmetto leaves, making them difficult to spot. The only clues to the spiders’ presence, visible solely on foggy mornings during four months of the year, are the threads spun loosely between tips of palmetto frond.

Since 1987, Carrel has been monitoring populations of this spider at the Archbold Biological Station, which protects a 5,193-acre Florida scrub preserve near Lake Placid. Only twice in those 23 years – in March 1989 and in May 2003 – have enough webs been located to study the dietary habits of these elusive spiders. The scientists identified 43 species of insects among the 98 specimens collected. The study revealed that the primary prey of the spider, especially in early spring, are five species of scarab beetles endemic to the Florida scrub habitat.

red widow spider

The scrub palmetto scarab (Trigonopeltastes floridana) is one species of scarab beetles endemic to the Florida scrub that the red widow spider preys on. (Photo courtesy Tim Lethbridge)

“The scarab beetles, which often are larger and stronger than the spiders themselves, fly just above the tops of scrub vegetation,” said Mark Deyrup, senior research biologist for the Archbold Biological Station, who co-authored the study. “Sometimes beetles hit the web strands between tips of palmetto fronds and tumble into the denser tangle of threads below, catching them in the red widows’ webs.”

Carrel has monitored red widow spider populations at the Station since 1987, but has found enough webs to study red widows’ dietary habits only twice. During both time periods, Carrel worked alongside Deyrup to collect and identify prey from spiders’ webs.

Carrel’s study, entitled “Red widow spiders prey extensively on scarab beetles endemic in Florida scrub,” appeared in the March issue of the Florida Entomologist. Funding for the study came in part from a grant from the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO.



Two Birds to Watch While Fishing

Two Birds to Watch While Fishing

One of the pleasures that fishing so generously provides to its participants is the opportunity to watch some spectacular bird life. Two birds to watch while fishing in central Florida waters include the migratory white pelican, and the resident roseate spoonbill.

White pelicans migrate here to central Florida for the winter, arriving somewhere around Thanksgiving. Summer finds them in the Dakotas and the prairie provinces of Canada, where they nest on isolated islands.

two birds to watch while fishing

Watching them feed I often wonder how they catch enough fish to maintain that large body. Unlike brown pelicans they don’t dive; rather, as they swim they dip their bills into the water to catch their fish. They usually fish in groups, finding it more efficient that way. They actually herd the fish to make them easier to catch. Ease of capture is important, since each bird needs at least three pounds of fish daily. That’s a lot of minnows! Actually, white pelicans can eat fish ranging in size from minnows up to three pounds or so.

White pelicans fly very gracefully. A flock will ride thermals, circling higher and higher for no apparent reason other than the sheer joy of flying. An observant angler will see hundreds of tiny specks elegantly circling together, thousands of feet above the water, an aerial ballet if you will.

Large, pink, spectacular roseate spoonbills do live here all year. If you want to see some, the area around the Merritt Island wildlife refuge is one of the best places in the state to look. They feed while wading in shallow water, sweeping their spatulate (duck-shaped), partly opened bill from side to side. The moment any small aquatic creature touches the inside of the bill—an insect, crustacean, or tiny fish—the bill snaps shut. They need to feed many hours each day to find adequate food. Their dabbling technique only works well when there are lots of small organisms in the water.

two birds to watch while fishing

Watching these and any of the many other types of birds out there can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of any fishing trip- especially when the fishing is slow. It’s good to take a break from chasing fish and observe what else is out there sometimes. The white pelican and the spoonbills are two birds to watch while fishing.

John Kumiski
http://www.spottedtail.com

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2014. All rights are reserved.



New Mobile Marine Service Central Florida

New Mobile Marine Service Central Florida

There is a fantastic new mobile marine service in central Florida.

Started last fall, Orlando Mobile Marine is the baby of Mr. Fernando Fonseca, who brings over 20 years of experience in marine services to his new business. Fernando is a certified master technician for Johnson/Evinrude and Yamaha. He also services Mercury, Honda, and Suzuki outboards as well as Yamaha Wave Runners and other brands of personal watercraft.

He also performs boat repairs- custom lighting and rigging, electrical work, mechanical work, and detailing.

Fernando says, “Reliability and attention to detail are very important to my customers and to me. Customers are welcome to watch me to see what I’m doing as I work on their boat. It helps them understand the workings of their vessel better.”

Fernando says his rates are comparable or less than those found at other marine service centers in central Florida.

Fernando just rigged a new 70 horsepower Yamaha four stroke engine on my friend Karl Dienst’s venerable Hewes Bonefisher, replacing the old 90 hp that had powered the boat for the last 18 years. Karl was thrilled with the work Fernando did. “Fernando did a great job. I was impressed with his ability to work quickly, neatly, and with precision, without overcharging. He did not try to sell me other services or parts that I didn’t need or want. I am very, very happy with the work, and the boat runs like a scalded dog now.”

Mind you, this is a mobile marine service. That means he brings the shop to you. For this service there is a one-time fee of $60 per job. If he has to come out two or three times to get the job finished, you only pay the service fee once. Of course, parts and labor are additional, but compare favorably with any other shop in central Florida. And you get the benefit of Fernando’s extensive experience and attention to detail.

Orlando Mobile Marine, the fantastic new mobile marine service in central Florida. When your boat needs work, visit their website or give them a call at 407.232.4749.

John Kumiski
http://www.spottedtail.com

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2014. All rights are reserved.



Make a Home for Florida Bats

Make a Home for Florida Bats

florida bats

Bats. From as early as I can remember (and probably long before that) they’ve been associated with Halloween, haunted houses, ghosts, and such nonsense. Bats are actually very cool little mammals, the only ones that can fly, and they perform many useful functions for humans.

Here in Florida bats are the most important controller of night-flying insects, including many agricultural pests. One small bat can eat up to 3,000 insects in a night!  Unfortunately, many bat species are disappearing at alarming rates.  Disturbance or destruction of roost sites due to development and vandalism constitute the greatest threat to the Florida’s bats.

Here in Florida thirteen species of bats are permanent or seasonal residents. Bats often live in natural structures such as caves when available. We don’t find many caves in Florida, so where do the bats live?

Most Florida bats prefer to roost in mature trees, or large dead trees (snags). However, many bats take up residence in buildings or other manmade structures, due to loss of habitat. If you would like the benefits of having bats live near your property, but don’t want them in your house, you can always put up a bat house.

Bat houses provide alternative roost sites for Florida’s colonial bat species.  A bat house in your backyard will offer local bats a much needed place to live.  They will also do you a return favor by helping to control the insects in the area. You can buy one already made, or if you’re handy build your own.

If you would like to build your own bat house, you can obtain plans for a triple chambered bat house by clicking on Bat House Plans.  To see photographs of the bat house under construction, click on Construction Photos. To watch Florida Bat Conservancy volunteer, George Fenner, describe how to build a quality bat house, click on http://wildflorida.tv/bats/downloads.html.

Of course, like any other wild animals bats will benefit from having natural, undeveloped areas. You can help bats, birds, and all kinds of other wildlife by supporting the work of organizations such as the Nature Conservancy and the Audubon Society. There are also organizations that works on behalf of bats, the Florida Bat Conservancy and the Lubee Bat Conservancy. They put on an annual bat festival you can attend to learn more about these fascinating, little understood mammals.

florida bats

Consider putting a house for Florida bats on your property. The bats will appreciate the love, and you’ll appreciate the sudden disappearance of mosquitos and other biting insects.

 

John Kumiski
http://www.spottedtail.com

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2014. All rights are reserved.



And Now for a Little Good News

This good news is shamelessly copied from this week’s TMQ column by Gregg Easterbrook  (because sharing is caring)-

When “Tweet” Means Something Else: Half a century ago, Rachel Carson’s famed book “Silent Spring” predicted the extinction of North American bird life — thus a silent spring, without chirping. Now the New York Times warns the ever-rising North American bird population is an increasing hazard to aviation.

Carson’s predictions were wrong because her work helped inspire environmental reforms that prevented the calamity she foresaw. This dramatically hit home a few days ago when a bald eagle — a species close to extinction in the contiguous 48 states a generation ago — soared over my suburban Washington, D.C., home. Not only was the eagle itself impressive, but even its shadow was impressive.

Once on the verge of extinction, eagles now soar above TMQ’s suburban abode.

The best gauge of bird numbers is the Audubon Society’s annual census, conducted during the Christmas season since 1900. The most recent Audubon bird count for Pennsylvania, Carson’s home state, found “a record 209 species,” along with highest-ever numbers for bald eagles, sandhill cranes and black vultures, “exceptionally high totals” of many birds, and declines for only a few, including American kestrels. Some sharp-eyed Pennsylvanian observed a Ross’s goose, the sort of moment on which birding reputations are made.

The big factor in bird population numbers is assumed to be declining releases of toxic chemicals, down about 40 percent since 1988. (Diveinto the data.) Declining toxins are probably a reason cancer deaths are down. Greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, but most other environmental indicators — declining smog and acid rain, improving water quality and forest health — have been positive for decades. Regardless, voters tell pollsters they think the environment is getting worse. If misconceptions rule on issues like bird populations and air quality, where the evidence is all around us, how will the nation ever to come to grips with abstractions like the federal debt?

NOAA to Eliminate Paper Maps

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administratio...

NOAA to Eliminate Paper Maps

This is sad news- NOAA to Eliminate Paper Maps.

Following the path of books and music which are moving to a digital model, paper maps are getting the “heave-ho” from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as the organization sails into a digital world.

As early as April 2014, NOAA will discontinue printing its lithographic nautical charts in favor of its increasingly popular digital versions, saving the organization millions of dollars in printing and updating.

With both novice and more experienced mariners having access to technology that can provide accurate readings in a store-bought hand-held device, maps are experiencing a type of “geospatial evolution.” Avenza Systems already works with the NOAA on creating a working geo-referenced digital map for use on hand-held devices –more than 2,100 NOAA maps at this point. The popularity of digital maps has grown with consumers as well as how traditional map publishers are dealing with the change from the paper world to a digital one.

So if you still believe the nautical chart has a place in your dreaming, scheming, or navigation, you’d better get a hold of the ones you want pronto. Christmas is coming- add them to your list.

John Kumiski
http://www.spottedtail.com

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2013. All rights are reserved.



Mitzi Skiff for Sale

mitzi skiff for sale2008 Mitzi Skiff for Sale

 

My 2008 Mitzi Skiff  17 is up for sale. I’m buying a friend’s boat and selling mine, with some mixed emotions. That Mitzi has been real good to me. You can see in the photos below that it’s in excellent condition.

Here are the details on the Mitzi Skiff for sale:

2008 Mitzi Skiff 17 hull (weight empty 650 pounds)

2008 Yamaha F60TLR 4-STROKE Series, Outboard Power Tilt/Trim (60 HP) with a Stainless Steel 3-Blade Propeller. It does not have an hour meter but I would guess it’s around 1000 well-maintained hours.

2008 aluminum EZ Loader Trailer with torsion bar suspension, spare tire holder, plastic fenders,  oil immersion wheel hubs. The torsion bar was added on, by EZ Loader, in 2011.

-21′ G. Loomis carbon fiber pushpole

-MinnKota bow mount trolling motor, 56 lb. thrust, with new battery

-anchor and line

-docking lines

-all required USCG safety gear, including three PFDs and a fire extinguisher

-I have all service records. The only service it’s had has been for routine maintenance. It’s been bulletproof!

-my achey-breaky heart  🙁

JUST ADD WATER!

This boat has been awesome and I will miss it, but things change. I’m getting a different boat.

Asking $12,500

John Kumiski
407.977.5207

Here are a plethora of photos of the vessel:

mitzi skiff for sale
mitzi from poling tower

 

mitzi skiff for sale
mitzi from bow

 

mitzi under port gunnel

mitzi skiff for sale
Mitzi under gunnel rod storage
mitzi skiff for sale
mitzi console port

 

mitzi skiff for sale
mitzi under front deck, trolling motor battery, 6.5 gallon fuel tank

 

mitzi skiff for sale
mitzi poling tower; yamaha

 

mitzi skiff for sale
mitzi splash well and rigging

 

mitzi starboard storage locker

mitzi skiff for sale
mitzi storage lockers
mitzi skiff for sale
mitzi live well

 

mitzi skiff for sale
mitzi helm

 

mitzi skiff for sale
mitzi yamaha lower unit

 

mitzi skiff for sale
Mitzi in action, mosquito lagoon

 

mitzi skiff for sale
Mitzi in action, mosquito lagoon

 

mitzi skiff for sale
Mitzi in action, gulf of mexico

 

Mitzi in action, Atlantic Ocean
Mitzi in action, Atlantic Ocean

And those are the details on the Mitzi Skiff for sale.

John Kumiski
407.977.5207

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The Poop-A-Seat

The Poop-A-Seat

The company that makes the Poop-A-Seat does not call it the Poop-A-Seat. I find my name much more fun and descriptive than theirs. The company, Cleanwaste, calls the Poop-A-Seat a very sanitary-sounding Go Anywhere Portable Toilet.

Rodney and I are bringing one with us on the Indian River Lagoon Paddle Adventure.

Rodney got us on the topic by sending an email to everyone who is participating in which he asked, “Where are we going to go?” A fair question. My response was, “Bring a trowel.” On past trips we would always dig a hole, poop into it, then bury the mess.

One of our paddlers, Kristin by name, objected to this idea. She said that the spoil islands that she paddles to around Sebastian are disgusting because of all the people who are “going” there and not burying it. I’ve certainly seen that around some of the boat ramps I use. It’s dangerous to walk into the woods. Kristin has been using the Go Anywhere Portable Toilet for years and insisted that we all use one too.

I went to the link Kristin sent me and found this description of the product:

“Enjoy dignified convenience with our safe, sturdy, thoughtfully engineered, premium quality GO anywhere portable toilet®.  Our compact toilet weighs just 7 pounds and folds closed to standard briefcase size.  It provides the comfort, height and ease of use of a standard toilet, supports up to 500 pounds and is stable on uneven ground.  No mixing, messy chemical waste storage tanks or dump stations required.  No assembly required.

GO Anywhere Portable Toilet

The GO Anywhere Portable Toilet, a.k.a. the poopaseat.

“The most sanitary, safe, environmentally-friendly, portable toilet solution available-complete with toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Prevents spread of disease with no spills, splashbacks or waste contact.  Our toilet kit is the ONLY biodegradable solution that traps, encapsulates, deodorizes and breaks down waste with a NASA-developed gelling agent.  Use it, seal it and toss it in normal trash.

“Each Kit Includes:

  • Waste bag.
  • Poo Powder® gelling/deodorizing agent.
  • Secure puncture-resistant zip-close disposal bag.
  • Individual toilet paper.
    -Hand wipe.”

So the Indian River Paddle Adventure will be using the Go Anywhere Portable Toilet, the Poop-A-Seat, thus keeping our poop out of the lagoon system.  We’ll be putting the poop into the landfill.

Folded up, the seat is the size of a briefcase. We can find room for it in the canoe.

The Poop-A-Seat. Clearly, if you’re going to be going outdoors it’s an idea whose time has come. Visit Cleanwaste’s website and be the first on your block to have the latest fashionable status symbol for the real outdoorsman or outdoorswoman!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2013. All rights are reserved.