Ultralight Hiking:

See also:


Ultralight Hiking Advice

The Upper Yarra Walking Track

Hiking 2019

Hiking 2018

Hiking 2017

Hiking 2016

Hiking 2015

Hiking 2014.htm

Hiking 2013 & Earlier

Steve's Blog

World Travel Kit for Son


G4 Pack Instructions Printable.doc


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Della & I (combined age then 120) heading off from Freney Lagoon on the second day of our walk across Tasmania in 2011. We took seven days. Between us we were carrying @ 20 kilos & enough food (& booze!) for 10 days. These zpacks ‘Blast’ packs are 52 litres including pockets and weigh around 300 grams. Today we would be carrying several kilos LESS.

All about light weight, ultra light hiking, backpacking, bushwalking, hunting, tracks, trails, adventures, gear, reviews…

I have been hiking/hunting now for over sixty years, a little more slowly than I once did, walking in the Victorian Alps & elsewhere often in winter and in all weathers. I have camped out a lot, more than two years of my life in toto. I have seen the failure of just about every type of gear, and experienced most disasters which can befall you in the wilderness, and survived. So, if you dream of doing a bit of camping/hiking, maybe I can offer some useful advice?

This is a ‘work in progress’. I will be adding to it on a regular basis adding new photos, adventures, product/ideas, suggestions, etc. You should also look at HIKING ADVICE also a section of gear advice for my son written in 2011 WORLD TRAVEL KIT FOR SON. You can also see my older posts above, eg Hiking 2017. Hope you find something interesting.

PS: UPPER YARRA TRACK: I have recently created this site The Upper Yarra Walking Track Australia’s oldest (& best), an approx. 10-14 day walk with numerous resupply points, plentiful water and camping spots now extending from Moe railway Station @ 150 kilometres up the Latrobe, Tyers & Thomson River valleys, via Yallourn North, Erica & Walhalla, across the Baw Baw Plateau, along the Upper Thomson River, past the Yarra Falls & Mt Horsefall, along the Little Ada, Ada and Yarra valleys via Warburton to Lilydale Railway Station. Now, complete with Track Instructions


28/12/2021: “An army marches on its stomach, Napoleon is supposed to have said. But unfortunately for the armies of his time, the food available to the stomachs of those hungry soldiers was neither appetizing nor nutritious - consisting primarily of hard bread and salted meat. Napoleon wanted to better feed his army, so he offered a prize of 12,000 francs to anyone who could invent a better way to store and preserve food. The chef Nicolas Appert rose to the challenge. After years of trial and error he eventually perfected a method of putting food in jars and then submerging the jars in boiling water to preserve the food and seal the jars. In other words, he invented canning. Appert won the prize and the fame that came with it. The process he invented is essentially the same process we still use today. Appert is still celebrated and well-known in France (where "canning" is called "appertization"), but he has faded into obscurity in the rest of the world, despite being responsible for one of humanity's most important inventions”.


28/12/2021: Proof that the story of Androcles is true: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hdUCzbCuYk


27/12/2021: Clearance. It’s the diff silly – the real reason why your 4WD won’t go anywhere, but there is a (very expensive) solution. If 4WD manufacturers really wanted us to go ‘off-road’ they would add devices like this to the differentials/axleshafts in the first place (relatively cheaply) to lift the clearance of their vehicles: http://www.tibus-offroad.com/en/products/bolt-on-portals/


27/12/2021: How a battalion of reindeer helped defeat the Nazis in World War II: https://taskandpurpose.com/news/world-war-ii-reindeer-battalion/


26/12/2021: Though I am not a theist there are around two billion Christians in the world and that is largely a good thing something which needs to be remembered from time to time. You might think this essay is a bit ‘over the top’ but it is largely true: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2021/12/the_advent_of_christ_changed_the_world_forever.html


25/12/2021: Millipedes Have Been Living a Lie. No known creature actually had 1,000 legs—until now. They would be hard to count! Also, a reminder of the dangers of eating pomegranate: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/12/true-millipede-1000-legs/621030/


24/12/2021: Free movies online – that is not counting Youtube and the Internet Archive which have many ‘golden oldies’: https://www.popsci.com/story/diy/free-movies-tv-shows-legal/





23/12/2021: Mowgli’s friends attack: https://donsurber.blogspot.com/2021/12/monkeys-kill-puppies-libs-side-with.html


22/12/2021: Time for a good news story about a magpie and a dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BI_ivMZUEQ&t=66s


22/12/2021: 7500 miles across America by canoe: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/348ab130-6237-11ec-b279-fa13aec304af?shareToken=7416e433a553c7e420a0b837134ad1ad


21/12/2021: Is a warp drive just around the corner: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/12/20/humans-have-figured-out-how-to-make-a-warp-bubble/

20/12/2021: Tritium World’s Smallest Light: I have to confess that when I saw the word’s ‘Tritium Vial’ I had to go to DuckDuckGo to see what was meant. Of course I knew what ‘Tritium’ was ever since watching the ‘Heroes of Telemark’ and similar WW2 exploits aimed at crippling Germany’s ‘heavy water’ production.

Like Deuterium, Tritium is an isotope of Hydrogen and is mildly radioactive – though in such tiny (trapped) quantities as these minuscule vials it is nothing to worry about – any more than smoke detectors which also contain a tiny (trapped) quantity of radioactive material. If you worry about such things bananas probably contain more (free) radioactivity. Yes, this is true.

However, it had not occurred to me that you could utilise the small amount of energy from this radioactive decay to produce light but that is just what these tiny vials do. They glow in the dark and will continue to do so for decades but the light will not be enough to read a newspaper by.

It will be enough though (when attached to desired objects such as your glasses etc) that you will be able to find them in the dark – which is really quite handy when you are hiking. You can glue them to things or make small slots for them to fit into in your equipment. They are readily available. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/12/19/tritium-worlds-smallest-light/

20/12/2021: Great Escapes: https://www.awm.gov.au/visit/exhibitions/great-escapes


19/12/2021: Someday, sooner than we think we must all take The Road to Tinkhamtown. Let’s hope we take it so well as this: https://www.fieldandstream.com/story/hunting/fs-classics-road-to-tinkhamtown/


19/12/2021: Interesting weather at 11:00am today!



18/12/2021: Plenty of organics still on Mars – that at least is a good indication of life elsewhere in the universe: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/12/17/nasas-perseverance-mars-rover-makes-surprising-discoveries/


15/12/2021: The only photosynthetic animal: https://www.thesized.com/leaf-slug-animal-photosynthesize/?fbclid=IwAR0SqZvMXajSbtfIPHJLs8qU77eMkY2HJSsEUCFO6KoqsBL505HlwoLjYkg


13/12/2021: Huge Blue Whale And A Dolphin Stampede: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WfnOtHTgc8&t=109s


12/12/2021: Dog Booties: Does your dog rip holes in your sleeping mat (see photo below), your pack raft or canoeing dry bag with their sharp claws even if you keep them trimmed. Instead of leaving Spot (or Honey) at home you could get yourself some dog booties to prevent such disasters. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/12/11/diy-dog-booties/





12/12/2021: Wildlife fights back: https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/racoon-attacks-in-massachusetts-70-year-old-woman-fights-for-her-life/ & https://nypost.com/2021/12/10/man-attacked-by-gang-of-otters-i-thought-i-was-going-to-die/


11/12/2021: Wind in the Willows – nice break from all the doom and gloom: https://www.shakespeareaustralia.com.au/productions/the-wind-in-the-willows-2021-melbourne?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI0bOd8d7X9AIVD4NwCh3qHAigEAEYASAAEgLR3fD_BwE


10/12/2021: Handy 16.7 Gram Cap Torch: The 14.8 gram 650 lumen Awesome Flashlight I wrote about recently which can be made into a head torch like this

 can also be converted into a cap light by using the supplied 1.9 clip. This A5X model is absolutely brilliant. You could just use the side LEDs (without the silicone diffuser I suggested as a useful addition) to make into an excellent tent lantern. I highly recommend this wonderful Nano A5X – A$57.99 (Dec 2021). Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/12/09/handy-16-7-gram-cap-torch/



09/12/2021: What a tree: https://www.officialworldrecord.com/the-tule-tree-in-oaxaca-mexico-is-the-tree-with-the-largest-trunk-diameter-in-the-world


05/12/2021: Happy Birthday to my beautiful Della who agreed to be my girl fifty years ago when she was a gorgeous lass like this. Here she is a couple of years later signing her life away. And what a wonderful life it has been with you. Here also a couple of photos of her taken this year to show that she is just as beautiful fifty years on as when she was as a slip of a girl. May we have another fifty as joyous years together.



03/12/2021: Bear-faced trespass: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXt3FjQ24to&t=47s


02/12/2021: Can this DIY project send a crewed rocket to space? https://spectrum.ieee.org/diy-rocket-program


02/12/2021: MH370: Maybe sometime soon we will have an answer. The detail of this new data is astonishing. Clearly the plane is right where Godfrey places it. Also clear is that it was under human control right till the very end: https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/health-safety/british-expert-pinpoints-precise-resting-spot-of-missing-flight-mh370/news-story/b8e48bf96eaf6d7eabeb4924ff591019 & https://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2021/12/credible-compelling-new-report-with-data-suggesting-location-of-missing-flight-mh370.html


01/12/2021: This may just be a problem with self-driving cars. This one does not see the camel: https://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2021/11/tesla-v-camel.html


30/11/2021: Wonnangatta #24.1: Well, I was wrong. Who can imagine how this guy made so many mistakes yet eluded police for so long. Clearly he did confess. At least the families can have some closure now and bush campers can breathe a sigh of relief: https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/police-to-search-for-bodies-of-russell-hill-and-carol-clay-near-grant-historic-area-in-east-gippsland/news-story/a6cdb668f664f06263ec9b7cd8eb87be


30/11/2021: Imagine hooking into one of these next time you go fishing: https://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2021/11/hold-on-this-might-get-rough.html


27/11/2021: Wonnangatta #24: Frankly I am surprised that police can actually charge Lynn on the ‘evidence’ revealed to the public so far. I admit they may have other ‘evidence’ which they have not revealed. I agree that ‘painting’ him as a double murderer seems the most likely explanation so far but that hardly adds up to ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.


As I said in my last post about this (10/11): attempting to flee the crime scene along a route which you did not know was open (and finding that it wasn’t – and you with a car/trailer full of dead bodies you could not turn around) is colossally stupid, and yet the real murderer was able to perform the job well enough and quickly in the first instance that police were not convinced for months that there had been a murder!


All along I said that the (competent) murderer would have come out by a route which he knew was open, eg by returning the same way he entered, preferably doing both in the dark without lights, ie with night vision goggles - supposing he had targeted them and knew their location because of their radio call – as discussed in an earlier post. A friend of mine tells me he has informed police of a chap he has seen driving around that area in just this way. If you waited (off the track) until after midnight you should not encounter anyone. You would be the invisible man. As I have said many times a competent murderer would have had his phone turned off during the entire ‘operation’ such that police should be investigating people (likely linked to the couple) whose phones did not move for just such a protracted period.


If you really were the murderer and you made the mistake of finding the first route blocked you would have surely returned and exited by the Zeka Track likely how you go there in the first place instead of continuing along on a complex route which might be blocked again and again and may contain many other unexpected problems (witnesses for a start). This is more like what a tourist would do.


First police need to establish that there has been a crime – and indeed murders. For nearly six months they refused to admit that such an explanation ‘fitted’ the case. So, there was clearly nothing from the ‘crime scene’ which could undeniably establish that. There has been no subsequent revelation of any bodies or even DNA which might indicate bodies. Only a couple of weeks ago police were still asking about the elderly couple/s seen at Black Snake Creek and elsewhere subsequent to the ‘disappearance’ so they still believed then there remained a possibility the couple may have still been alive.


The highly unlikely possibility still exists that there is another explanation (other than murder) even something as unlikely as this: that one of the people who disappeared killed the other, transported their body to a hiding place (eg a hollow tree) off the road some distance away, returned, set the camp on fire then returned to the hollow tree, immured themselves also therein, then took their own life so that they would never be found.


Of course that never happened but there are many other possibilities. Suspicions have almost exclusively concentrated on folks entering and leaving the valley by vehicle. Many people I know or know of (including myself) have entered or exited (or both) in other ways eg on foot, by bicycle, horse, canoe/pack raft, even by ultralight aircraft…They might have left no more sign of their presence than a ghost.


That era of (Nissan) 4WD are very ‘collectable’ so people frequently spend more than the (new) purchase price doing them up and modifying them. It is no surprise that it might have been innocuously repainted (around a year later). If all they have is a photo of him and his trailer on the Great Alpine Rd 80 km away and 12 hours later I think they have too little and he certainly can't be found guilty even if it was him.


They may have a couple of other phone ‘logs’ consistent with the route they say he took from the Wonnangatta, but he has (evidently) admitted to being camped in there (like many other people) and been interviewed about it in 2020.


Of course not being able to locate the trailer as well doesn’t look good (for him) but when you dispose of a rusty trailer (as I have) frequently there would be no reason to keep a record of where it is now especially if was just taken to the tip (for example). It is also clear (from photographs) that he has replaced that earlier camping trailer with a more dedicated model as we can see it in photographs in his driveway. That too is perfectly normal behaviour and a reasonable explanation for having disposed of the first trailer. Of course 2-3 such things taken together look bad. But that is still purely circumstantial, unless he lies about them (which might be that extra piece of ‘evidence’ I mentioned at the beginning).


If he transported the bodies in the trailer and the car has been resprayed and detailed there will very likely be no DNA in the car. We should remember though that the Falconio murderer has been convicted on the basis if a microscopic speck of blood on an item of clothing. If the trailer has gone to scrap there will be none to be had there either. Even if it has not and is eventually located but he had gurneyed it thoroughly and it has subsequently been left outdoors (as most of us do) for nearly two years it is unlikely there will be any evidence left. So even if he did it (and there are no witnesses) and he did not keep anything (eg the phones/drones etc) then there may be no evidence. He would have to ‘walk’ even if it was him.


Even the bodies if found might not provide anything pointing to a potential culprit. Unless you shot them and failed to extract and dispose of the bullets it is unlikely that there would be anything in their remains after two years to ‘point’ to a particular culprit. Even if a hair from the culprit’s head had fallen near the bodies what is the chance that it would still be there (birds’ nesting material) or would not be too degraded to be useful for identification purposes – or that a single hair could be found?


The single biggest mistake would be if he left them in the sleeping bags he is suggested sometimes to have taken them away in. It is all too likely that in the process of getting them into those bags some minuscule piece of one’s own DNA gets into the bag which might well keep it contained and preserved for a very long while. I have seen sleeping bags, pillow cases and the like left for years outdoors which preserved their integrity and contents. After all scientists have extracted ‘useable’ DNA from creatures as ancient as dinosaurs.


If he chose to continue up the Wonnangatta Track, which was presumably gated at Van Damme’s Helipad to head for Myrtleford etc that is hardly surprising. One of the few (destination) signs in the Wonnangatta valley I remember is the one at that intersection at the top of the valley, so lots of people who come in elsewhere would think to drive through and exit that way. Clearly he did not come in that way. The fact that he was apprehended at Doolans Plain suggests familiarity with the Howitt Plains area though, suggesting he came in via Zeka Track - or perhaps the Eaglevale Track (as most people do one or the other).


Frankly I am astonished that the (lazy) Parks people had not placed a sign at the beginning of that track saying that the exit was closed. No-one would expect it to be closed on a long weekend. By the time the vehicle tracks turning around at the gate were viewed at least a week later (and after some rain had ensued) they could surely have been made by a number of different vehicles over that time.


There has been some odd speculation by police/journalists about his route after being turned back at that gate. Some suggest he exited via the Blue Rag Track which is (famously) one of the longest and steepest dead-end tracks in Victoria – and so cannot have been used. The mention of ‘Blue Rag’ might simply mean that his phone was logged in the vicinity of Mt Blue Rag, which seems fairly likely as it is one of the highest points on the High Plains Rd.


If he traveled down Rileys Creek Track and finally out past Grant rather than going back into the valley he would have risked passing many other campers (as there are lots and lots of campsites along that route). A ‘guilty party’ would more likely have returned to the Wonnangatta then exited via the Zeka Track where he would (likely) be seen by many fewer campers, if any – as he would have known too if he entered from there. Of course people do behave quite irrationaly at times - not least by murdering complete strangers!


I do find taking a station wagon and a well-loaded trailer into the Wonnangatta rather strange – especially if you were by yourself! I just can’t imagine what you would need with all that gear – or what the strange flat object (approx 1.5 x 1.5 metres) is tied on top of the trailer in the roadside camera snap. Is it a folded table tennis table? It is as weirdly distinctive as the strange black 4-6” pipe on the right hand side of his roof rack and the four ‘rod holders’ (?) on the left hand side of the bull-bar. If you were intent on disguising the vehicle you would get rid of those strange objects long before two years had passed – or never have had them in the first place.


Having all that gear indicates (to me) that he had other/s with him. It also suggests that neither they nor he is saying anything much about who was there or about the trip in general. Saying nought is not in itself suspicious either. Surely many of us who have lawyer fiends have been long-since counseled by them to say nothing to the police. They have a long, sordid history after all of ‘fitting up’ people for hard-to-solve crimes especially. The case of Timothy Evans (wrongfully hanged for his wife’s murder – by another man) is an important reminder about the awful consequences which can arise in cases of miscarriages of justice.


I think it likely if he said anything much during those three trying days of questioning that the police would seem to know more than they obviously do. For example they would know pretty much exactly where the bodies are – and the trailer. It seems unlikely that his wife or son or anyone else has told police anything more either – or there would be some indication from the media. Police ‘evidence’ seems pretty thin on the ground at this point. It may also be the case that he said very little because he knew very little – as the murderer is not him.


If there was a double murder, something which I concluded as the most likely scenario (ie 90%+) at the outset, the perpetrator had extraordinary good luck in his getaway eg with no-one reporting the burned-out campsite for nearly a week even though it must have been seen by many people in that time – and was indeed discovered at 2:00 pm on the day after. This ‘withering’ of evidence may make the perpetrator seem much cleverer than he in fact was, but the fact that the (expert) police did not conclude for many months that there had indeed been ‘misadventure’ is rather telling  too. It does not indicate a stupid person likely to make obvious mistakes – like driving up closed tracks or past lots of campers or having one’s phone on. The last seems particularly unlikely of you are a (guilty) airline pilot used to sophisticated electronics and the importance of turning them off.


I have never been so lucky. When I leave my car unattended up the bush (to go hunting/canoeing etc) I always now leave a note on the dash because too many times the car has been reported to police on the same day I left it by ‘helpful’ folks. This has happened to others I know as  well. A friend had some embarrassing explaining to do to his work when he took a day off to go hunting once and had his car reported as ‘abandoned’ in the bush.


Lynn has clearly been able to employ one of the best lawyers in Victoria – so he is well advised. Police will need to come up with rather more evidence than they seem to have at this juncture if they expect to secure a conviction – even if he is the perpetrator.


26/11/2021: Today I’m going to dissolve my weiner in acid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bO9rvqp49qg


24/11/2021: A Hawk in the Hand: You've heard the saying, "A cat among the pigeons"? Della keeps a whole cage of these white homing pigeons just because she likes them. Unfortunately so do hawks. They sometimes catch and kill one but sometimes too they foolishly find their way into the loft and become trapped. Then they get a trip in a pigeon carrier cage to a distant spot from where hopefully they aren't 'homing hawks'. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/11/23/a-hawk-in-the-hand/


24/11/2021: The very last C19th person dies at 124 years old: https://www.the-sun.com/news/4125578/oldest-ever-human-francisca-susano-dies/

23/11/2021: Setting Free the Turtles: There has been a veritable 'plague' of Long-Necked Turtles on the roads around here lately. Perhaps it is 'nesting' season. Yesterday I 'rescued' a couple for liberation in our dam to join a couple of local denizens who after all may be same-sex. It would be nice to have them breeding here.

We plan an extension to our water features on our farm over time so that we have over a dozen inter-connected dams/ponds with overhanging trees, nesting boxes & etc. Together with our fox-proof fences this should create a wonderful wetland wildlife haven for water birds and water creatures: turtles, eels crays, fish - who knows we may even attract some water rats? See More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/11/23/setting-free-the-turtles/

21/11/2021: Olympus Mons –three times the height of Everest. Mankind’s next big step: https://mars.nasa.gov/gallery/atlas/olympus-mons.html


21/11/2021: Hunting for CO2 on the moon: https://www.popsci.com/science/moon-carbon-dioxide-cold-traps/


19/11/2021: DIY 20 Gram Rechargeable Head Torch + Tent Lantern: I will be using the Nano A5 (glow in the dark) 14.8 gram 650 lumen rechargeable torch for this mod though the pictures here are for the A1 which I already own (which is a whole gram heavier and does not glow- alas!) I have often added a simple O-ring,  a length of 1mm dyneema cord and a micro-cord lock to make a small torch into a head torch as I did with the Nitecore Tube in this post 11 Gram Rechargeable Head Torch.This is quite a satisfactory arrangement unless you wear glasses (as I do now – though I did not need them for over fifty years). The torch then tends to reflect annoyingly off the back of the glasses.To avoid this I have just thought to add another piece of cord and a mitten hook so I can sit the torch above my neanderthal brows. This will work quite satisfactorily around the camp. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/11/18/diy-20-gram-rechargeable-head-torch-tent-lantern/



19/11/2021: Are Musk’s Boring Co Tunnels Are the Future of Transportation: https://www.tesmanian.com/blogs/tesmanian-blog/the-boring-co-tunnels-are-the-future-of-transportation


18/11/2021: Cancer’s ‘magic bullet’ may be on the way: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-11-scientists-off-the-shelf-immune-cell-therapy.html


18/11/2021: Cheap Tasty Hiking Meals: I have often written about this. You should refer to the post A Hiking Food Compendium but here are a few we have been gnawing on lately. I long ago suggested you should just buy from the supermarket instead of the expensive (and largely inedible) specialist hiking meals from camping shops which even our dogs won’t eat!


You should also try out some of my own recipes put together from dry (supermarket) ingredients – particularly the dahl soups. I have also suggested before you should ‘mix and match’. Some of the (eg Contintental) dehydrated meal packs (rice, pasta etc) are a bit bland, but can be ‘spiced up’ a bit by adding some ingredients eg sachets of tuna, or salami and cheese, etc – and by adding actual spices eg simple curry powder to make them more appetising. I always carry a small snap-lock bag with some curry powder – likewise some salt and pepper similarly.


Here are some ‘for examples’ we have been eating on recent trips. None of them uses any more than approximately 20 mls of alcohol (meths) to cook (& simmer). I also think this is important. Of course they use no (weight of) fuel at all if you use a simple (DIY) twig stove like my Ultralight Titanium Hobo Stove which weighs around 20 grams and costs around $5 and ten minutes (max) to make. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/11/14/cheap-tasty-hiking-meals/



17/11/2021: Awesome Flashlight: These ‘Nano’ rechargeable (lithium) torches are quite amazing. I thought I would try the A1X (weight 16.8 grams = 650 lumens) just to see how it turned out and I must say I am delighted. I will probably buy a three pack now of the A5Xs to go in my hiking pack as my go-to torches on the trail. These tiny spotlights weigh in at only 14.8 grams and are glow in the dark which s a useful feature when sleeping in a dark tent. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/11/16/awesome-flashlight/



17/11/2021: A great era for DIY: Do-It-Yourself artificial pancreas given approval by team of experts: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-11-do-it-yourself-artificial-pancreas-team-experts.html


15/11/2021: All about Otzi: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/tzi-the-iceman-what-we-know-30-years-after-his-discovery?cmpid=org=ngp::mc=crm-email::src=ngp::cmp=editorial::add=SpecialEdition_Escape_20211110::rid=0BE1689690A4BEB6E8876A8F4E63485E


15/11/2021: A History of Postmortem Portraiture (as an addendum to my post of 03/11): https://www.ancient-origins.net/history-ancient-traditions/post-mortem-portraits-0016061


14/11/2021: Best Hiking Headtorch: Nitecore's NU25 rechargeable torch is very hard to beat - though no doubt it will be (by their next model). It weighs around 28 grams without the band (which weighs another 23 grams). You can save 22 of these grams (as I have done here) by fitting a piece of dyneema cord and a micro-cord lock which work just as well around camp bringing the overall weight of the torch with headband to 29.5 grams! Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/11/12/best-hiking-headtorch/



14/11/2021: The ancient ‘bull leapers of Knossos, Crete have their modern equivalents: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Q33H055G1Q


14/11/2021: Shades of Robert Heinlein – we are going to space: https://www.slashgear.com/spinlaunch-kinetic-launch-system-celebrates-a-successful-test-flight-12699130/


13/11/2021: This was a surprise to me too - Oldest preserved woven fabric made of oak, not linen or wool: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/62659


13/11/2021: Bring it on: New compound provides innovative pain relief: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-11-compound-pain-relief.html


12/11/2021: Eccentric dog breeds that vanished: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20211105-the-bizarre-dog-breeds-time-forgot?ocid=ww.social.link.email


11/11/2021: 20 Gram Raincoat: Let it be a golden rule with you that you always carry some form of shelter with you when you are out and about. You can lose heat very quickly in cold. soaking rain and soon be in desperate trouble unless you have some form of shelter. The humble garbage (or trash) bag is quite good enough to save your life, weighs only around 20 grams, only costs cents and will fit in any pocket – and you almost certainly already own some. If nothing else always have one about your person. It can be configured in a variety of ways, though as a cape rather than as a vest (particularly if you are at all wide n the shoulders) it will probably keep you driest – though you will not have as much freedom of movement as you may like for your arms and hands. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/11/08/20-gram-raincoat/



11/11/2021: The Commute: Four days paddling the Tarago River in Gippsland. This guy is inspirational. Shades of Travels in a Donkey Trap. People need to get out exploring their local area more thoroughly like this. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/11/08/the-commute/




Beau Miles: “Following two rivers, one drain, one sea and one creek, it turns out that paddling to work, which ends up being mostly a drag, over four full days, is bloody hard work.


11/11/2021: Buckley’s Chance: Or “Buckley’s or none”. These are (or used to be) two common sayings in Australia indicating that the chances of survival were pretty slim. I have posted some other remarkable survival stories here such as those of Hugh Glass, John Colter and Everts for example. William Buckley’s survival in the wilds of Victoria in the C19th shrinks them all into insignificance. 32 years alone in the wilderness! Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/11/08/buckleys-chance/



11/11/2021: Ada, What a cracker of a life. (So like our own parents’ stories). Too many people have it too easy today and appreciate life too little as a result: https://latrobevalleyexpress.com.au/news/2021/11/07/tales-of-the-valley-from-thruppence-to-thriving/


10/11/2021: Hats off to the Nimblewill Nomad: https://www.npr.org/2021/11/07/1053389943/nimblewill-nomad-oldest-hiker-appalachian-trail?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=203207


10/11/2021: Wonnangatta #23.9: Yet another 4WD ‘identified’ as the culprit. Why the change of colour I wonder? Whatever happened to the white ute whose owner was going to receive a door-knock months ago? Vicpol have long since revealed themselves to be inept and brain-dead on this case (and many others). A cursory look at the news.com photo of the 4WD will reveal that a search of the registry database and telco logs would identify the owner. That is without photo-editing revealing the number plate on the trailer (which I can read some parts of even in the 28K image in the news item with just a small amount of enhancement). If this vehicle was actually seen at Russell & Carol’s campsite that would be a big break-through (and likely not true) but (without that) there is zero evidence it was the vehicle which turned around at the Myrtleford gate and a snapshot of it on the Alpine Highway 80 kilometres away is no different than a photo of a car in the main street of say Bairnsdale or Maffra a similar distance away. If Insp. Stamper could not identify the owner of this car as soon as the image came into his hands he should no longer be in the job. How many 1990s blue Nissan Patrols (a dealer could identify the exact year) whose owner also has an unusual trailer like this do you think there are in the world – and whose owner’s phone was driving along the Alpine Hwy on that night too? Good Lord! The only possible reason for publishing it is that he is hoping for someone else to help ‘dob’. He should do his own job. Vicpol keep signaling to the real murderer that they have no idea who he is, instead of perhaps alerting him to what they really do know (supposing they want him to panic or confess – does this ever happen though?) BTW: A murderer this inept deserved to be caught on the same day. Imagine attempting to flee the scene of your crime along a route which you knew contained a gate which may be locked, or any route which you had not traveled on your way in so that you knew it was safe and clear. I suspect the real murderer was nowhere near so inept: https://www.heraldsun.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts-victoria/fourwheel-drive-clue-emerges-in-search-for-missing-campers-russell-hill-and-carol-clay/news-story/387cfbb3fc5aad63294637cc895774f4  & https://www.news.com.au/national/victoria/news/police-release-images-of-mystery-vehicle-in-case-of-missing-campers-russell-hill-carol-clay/news-story/2f9d425bdc15680158ac931ef96d4308


09/11/2021: You think you can grow potatoes: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2021/11/08/largest-potato-guinness-book-garden/


08/11/2021: One of the lesser problems of living in California: https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/bear-breaks-into-california-house-feasts-on-bucket-of-kfc/


06/11/2021: Rewriting Shakespeare?  I Can go as far as translations in brackets or in the margins: https://assistantvillageidiot.blogspot.com/2021/10/not-understanding-shakespeare-again.html


06/11/2021: Can Feminist Robots Challenge Our Biases? https://spectrum.ieee.org/human-robot-interaction


04/11/2021: Fascinating: the real Indiana Jones: https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2021/10/how-the-fbi-discovered-a-real-life-indiana-jones-in-indiana


03/11/2021: Tips and tricks of postmortem photography: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/victorian-post-mortem-photographs


01/11/2021: Edgar Rice Burroughs phone home: https://www.space.com/earth-inner-core-mushy

27/10/2021: A River Somewhere: Spot and I have been away for a few days enjoying camping next to a lovely fishing hole along one of our remote Victorian mountain rivers. This small trip has highlighted for me more than anything else how much I need a new knee. Though it was only six trackless kilometres each way over fairly rough ground it was actually very tough going and was not undertaken without Panadeine Forte! Only a couple of years ago I would easily make 30-40 such kilometres in a day - and enjoy it, without pain. Old age is definitely not for sissies! Still, I am glad we went as from now on the weather will be too warm and it has been practically our only opportunity to get away up the mountains for months mainly because of absurd government restrictions.

I had often seen this large hole in the river from up high and canoed past it a couple of times without giving it serious investigation. There are thousands of such spots along our remote waterways which vehicle based campers will never enjoy - thank goodness! From above as well as from the river it doesn't look as if there is a suitable camping spot even though the vast width and depth of the hole would make it an excellent spot to catch a few large trout - or even a couple o crays for one's evening meal. It also appears from on high as if it could only be approached by a fairly precipitous descent - but looks can be deceptive, and as it turns out there is a modest sloping ridge which leads right down to it and underneath a steep bank there is quite a long flat bench mostly above flood level where indeed several tents could be set up (after a little 'improvement'). See More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/10/27/a-river-somewhere/


27/10/2021: Deer are definitely fighting back – they hate cyclists too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpJ2hqe08lc&t=30s


23/10/2021: Wood without trees: https://www.bambooimport.com/en/how-is-bamboo-lumber-made


21/10/2021: How to help birds avoid crashing into your windows: https://www.popsci.com/diy/prevent-bird-window-strikes/


20/10/2021: The Promise of Vagus nerve stimulation: https://health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/what-is-vagus-nerve-stimulation


18/10/2021: I would be sticking to my G & T myself: https://www.instyle.com/celebrity/queen-elizabeth/queen-elizabeth-give-up-drinking-recommendation?did=685318-20211015&utm_campaign=instyle-celebrity_newsletter&utm_source=instyle.com&utm_medium=email&utm_content=101521&cid=685318&mid=69497544544

17/10/2021: Too Fat? It’s all about carbs not calories folks: https://www.statnews.com/2021/09/13/how-a-fatally-tragically-flawed-paradigm-has-derailed-the-science-of-obesity/?utm_campaign=rss

16/10/2021: Steve Intent: I have been making a new floor for my Grey Flyer Tent. You should understand that this tent doubles as a hammock tarp. The roof in this 1.15 oz/yd2 material weighs around 310 grams with tie outs and guys. As you can see it is big enough for two people, two dogs and lots of gear and stays wonderfully dry inside even in heavy rain with the door open so that you can still enjoy a toasty warm fire out the front under your trusty Fire Umbrella to stop it going out in the rain. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/10/15/steve-intent/



15/10/2021: ET Call Home: https://phys.org/news/2021-10-strange-radio-emerge-galactic-centre.html


14/10/2021: Dismantling and reassembling a jeep in under 4 min: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBtYXFXa5Ig


13/10/2021: They can hold their breath a long time: https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/deep-sea-fishermen-make-a-surprise-catch/


13/10/2021: An 100 year old aircraft saves the world: https://www.19fortyfive.com/2021/10/b-52-stratofortress-bomber-the-air-force-has-big-plans/


12/10/2021: The Ancient Fisherman: https://www.realclearscience.com/articles/2021/10/08/humans_had_advanced_fishing_technology_12000_years_ago_in_israel_797959.html


10/10/2021: “Finley, the seven-year-old pooch from Canandaigua, New York, can hold six tennis balls in his mouth at once, beating the previous record that was held for a whopping 17 years by another golden retriever in Texas who could fit five” https://notthebee.com/article/welcome-guinness-book-of-world-records-good-boy


08/10/2021: The Great Houdini – if only we could find where all those elephants went they would not be ‘endangered’: https://newcriterion.com/issues/1986/10/the-case-of-harry-houdini


08/10/2021: Columbus not the first then: https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/latin-text-america-0015901


07/10/2021: ‘Beam me up Scotty’ on the cheap – well $50K actually but who’s counting: https://spacenews.com/world-view-revives-plans-for-stratospheric-balloon-passenger-flights/


06/10/2021: Beware of the sheep. They may strike back: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qu-yuQkaFRI


06/10/2021: Not an EV – Bugatti breaks the 300 mph record. Go, you beauty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuS_bXJNync


06/10/2021: The Ultimate Resource? This is an enormously important essay – potentially life-changing: “The stock of knowledge, which a community owns, grows when people are driven by curiosity or self-interest to risk exploring new ideas and concepts, individually or in co-operation with others. A social climate that favours individualism, enterprise, risk-taking, trust, independence and rivalry (competition) has always been conducive to the growth of knowledge. Where the gains from risk-taking and investigative discipline can be appropriated thanks to secure private property rights, knowledge tends to flourish”… Productive effort is no longer considered the main source of a good living standard. Instead, all must now be equal, irrespective of intelligence, effort and luck… Redistribution by the visible hand—by taxing and subsidising, intervening and regulating—has become a central function of government. Yet, egalitarianism stifles competition. Alas, many now deem the spontaneous capitalist order with its strictures and disciplines obsolete or objectionable…” Do read it: https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2021/09/the-power-of-knowledge-and-the-forces-of-ignorance/


05/10/2021: This woman made a video to prove her dog is a vegetarian and it did NOT go as she planned: https://notthebee.com/article/this-woman-made-a-video-to-prove-her-dog-is-a-vegetarian-and-it-did-not-go-as-she-planned


03/10/2021: Where are you God? https://newatlas.com/biology/self-replicating-protocells-life-missing-link/


02/10/2021: Some pretty fair surgery 600 years ago (not by bhe Ottomans though): http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/62355


02/10/2021: Your next car the Mercedes AA +? Maybe not: https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2021/09/are-electric-vehicles-a-joke.php


01/10/2021: What a great world record Orville. Look at him go: https://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2021/10/congratulations-100-year-old-orville-rogers-on-your-new-record-60m-sprint.html


01/10/2021: Good news for lunar explorers: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2291545-oxygen-and-water-for-lunar-explorers-can-be-extracted-from-moon-rocks/


01/10/2021: The ‘new’ Land Rover Defender: https://www.carsguide.com.au/car-news/watch-out-toyota-hilux-and-ford-ranger-2023-ineos-grenadier-4x4-dual-cab-ute-confirmed-for PS: The price of old Landies has been shooting up ever since production ceased. We are sitting on a goldmine here with four of them!


30/09/2021: What a great torch. Must get one of these:  https://countycomm.com/products/ra-18650-right-angle-flood-flashlight-by-maratac?utm_source=AV_All_Users&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=AV_EMAIL%20-%20New%20Product%20FULL%209%2F29%20%28WHVkig%29&_kx=OXzQrt-IPEH7582zs4GtQqSMB7ovo6CosVZ3Em78pLRr00IogjSRt_1QwtkdMEYc.TN7xPM


30/09/2021: Interesting links at AstralCodex. I particularly liked #9 the AI Movie Posters: https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/links-for-september


29/09/2021: Della will want one of these, but where to put it: https://www.artkunight.com/products/wooden-kinetic-hummingbird-sculpture



27/09/2021: When You Thought You Had Everything - Hand-Carved Balinese Skulls: https://skullbliss.com/blogs/news/5-reasons-why-everyone-falls-in-love-with-skull-bliss-carved-animal-skulls?utm_campaign=1%20-%20TOF%20-%20WW%20-%20Conversions%20-%20PO&utm_content=5%20Resons%20why%20Post%20-%20Single%20-%20Vintage%20Mandala%20-%20LP5%20-%20Copy&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=facebook&utm_term=WW%20TOP%20-%20Frequent%20international%20travelers%3Eskull%2C%20skeleton%20%20exp.%20int.%20-%20LC%20-%20PO


27/09/2021: The Invention of Gunpowder – an interesting read: https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/medieval-gunpowder-0015865 Soon no doubt you will need a security clearance to read such stuff.


27/09/2021: Alfred Hitchcock – there has been no-one quite like him since. You can still watch hs films again and again with enjoyment, and I do. Cinematographers today mostly need to learn how to tell a story. Here’s some thoughts about his greatness, “Along with suspense, horror, and romance, Hitchcock movies depict cinematically another basic human sentiment, and do so better than any other filmmaker has done: anxiety. Donat in The 39 Steps, Grant in North by Northwest, James Stewart and Doris Day in the remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much, and other characters in Hitchcock movies find themselves in a world whose physical features are familiar but in which they are buffeted by sinister forces that they do not understand and cannot control. Their world has suddenly and unexpectedly become both baffling and frightening. They have, somehow, to navigate their way to safety in a threatening environment” : https://www.americanpurpose.com/articles/the-inescapable-alfred-hitchcock/


26/09/2021: The Human Story Gets Older and Older – and clearly these early folks had serious ocean navigation skills: https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/fossil-footprints-show-humans-north-america-21000-years-ago-rcna2169


25/09/2021: Off-Road Power Board: https://newatlas.com/outdoors/ungoverned-powerboard-electric-vendetta/


25/09/2021: When the most exciting object you have ever encountered is a ‘mummified’ a hazelnut cake: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/62298


24/09/2021: Top 10 Totally Rad Animals God Should Have Created: https://babylonbee.com/news/top-10-totally-rad-animal-ideas-god-should-have-created


23/09/2021: Journey to the Centre of the Earth: A 676 km Long Cave: https://www.sciencealert.com/explores-have-mapped-even-more-hidden-passages-in-the-mammoth-cave-system


23/09/2021: Jericho was apparently destroyed by a meteor – maybe we do need to boost our space defences after all, a la the Bruce Willis movie ‘Armageddon’ (1998): https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/09/21/bronze-age-city-destroyed-by-bolide/


22/09/2021: Menagerie Manor : (Della): Home is often a bit of a ‘menagerie manor’ during lambing, but this little fellow takes the cake. Born prematurely to a maiden ewe a couple of weeks ago, we rescued him from a mud puddle next to his expired twin and brought him inside to see if we could save him with warmth and milk. We have tried, with limited success, to get him feeding off his mother, and thought they were getting somewhere until the ewe managed to stomp on him and break his leg a couple of days ago. Now he is hobbling about with a splint but hasn’t lost any of his sparkling little personality,  preferring to leap (3-leggedly) out of his box next to the fire and cuddle up on a lap. We have been telling him that he will need to learn to be a paddock sheep, but he just nuzzles our hands and settles down for a nap.



22/09/2021: 9:18 am Big Earthquake at Jeeralang Junction Just Now. Everything OK.


22/09/2021: Everyone loves a puppy: https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/puppy-held-hostage-for-three-days-by-wild-monkey/


21/09/2021: Some good news for once. I need a new knee soon – hope the docs are on top of this by then: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-09-antimicrobial-coating-orthopedic-implants-dangerous.html


19/09/2021: Just a Taste of George Mackay Brown the Shakespeare of the Orkneys:


The Road Home


As I came home from Kirkwall

The ships were on the tide:

I saw the kirk of Magnus

Down by the water side:

The blesséd brave Saint Magnus

Who bowed his head and died.

His shining life was shorn away,

His kirk endureth to this day.

As I came home from Kirkwall

The ships were on the tide.


As I came home from Birsay

A sower, all in tatters,

Strode, scattering the seed, immense

Against the sunset bars,

And through his fingers, with the night,

Streamed all the silver stars.

I watched him (leaning on a gate)

Scatter the glowing seeds of fate:

As I came home from Birsay

Against the sunset bars.


As I came home from Sandwick

A star was in the sky.

The northern lights above the hill

Were streaming broad and high.

The tinkers lit their glimmering fires,

Their tents were pitched close by.

But the city of the vanished race

Lay dark and silent in that place.

As I came home from Sandwick

A star was in the sky.


19/09/2021: Interesting Idea: Purple Paint Law=Private Property No Trespassing. No Hunting. No Fishing etc. Enacted in: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas…An interesting idea for a law. No Trespassing signs often are vandalized or blow away. Painting purple on trees and fence posts is more permanent giving those trespassing no excuse.


18/09/2021: More than 90 years after starting, Maine's oldest lobster harvester is still doing it at age 101: https://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/wireStory/101-shes-hauling-lobsters-plans-stop-80051138

18/09/2021: Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0807014273/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0807014273&linkCode=as2&tag=helentag-20&linkId=ec77f79f436f10db3c27ea1cc02a8bb2&asin=0807014273&revisionId=&format=4&depth=1 Also available at PirateBay.

16/09/2021: Don’t rush out and start eating sticky tape by the handful but this looks promising: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-09-fountain-youth-ageing-stem-cells.html

Making haste slowly on aging: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-09-protein-reverses-aging-skeletal-muscle.html

12/09/2021: Hang Gliding With a Flock of Wild Geese: https://twitter.com/i/status/1436504348637507587

10/09/2021: So many good things about this photo I had to share it: https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=397035308448619&set=a.205848817567270

09/09/2021: Anarchists!

08/09/2021: When animals fight back. Let's hope they don't get guns: https://www.sciencealert.com/a-complex-form-of-empathy-boars-hatch-breakout-plan-to-save-two-piglets

06/09/2021: At last a biodegradeable shoe: https://laughingsquid.com/sneature-biodegradable-shoe/

05/09/2021: The Smoke of a Candle After Blowing It Out: https://twistedsifter.com/2021/08/the-smoke-of-a-candle-after-blowing-it-out/

04/09/2021: I suspect I need this book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1735728500/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1735728500&linkCode=as2&tag=helentag-20&linkId=33e98b0643da683ee8e1de63c6b94dbe

02/09/2021: Honey & Spot's news: Four lovely Jack Russell puppies. Three girls and a boy. Here he is:: white with a fawn spot on his head. She was giving birth this morning as I did my Facebook posts about a metre from my computer. Parents and puppies doing well. We are allowed to sell them (vaccinated) in a couple of months time. PM us if you want to put your dibs on one.

02/09/2021: DIY Ultralight Camp Shoes: I get it that you might not be able to sew but I don’t get that you can’t learn and can somehow afford to buy $500+ tents and other such nonsense but you can’t buy a $200 sewing machine and make your own even better tent for <$50, but maybe I can start you on that road with a very cheap very light camp shoe.

If you have maybe tried out the 15 gram Blue Foam Flip-Flop I posted about here or the slightly better Toughened Foam Flip Flops or maybe had a go at the New-Sew Sandals or these Ultralight Thongs you might like this mod of the Toughened Foam Flip-Flops which someone is now selling. ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’ they say. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/09/02/diy-ultralight-camp-shoes/


02/09/2021: Sub 100 Grams Carbon Fibre Hiking Poles: We have been using the Naturehike Carbon Fibre Poles at 128 grams for quite a while now but we admit that we would benefit from saving an ounce per arm with these little guys so we are going to try a pair out at US$88 per Pair. If you would understand why you should read these posts: A Lazy Man’s Guide to Hiking and Hunting & Ultralight Hiking #102 Mastering the Hiking Energy Budget. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/08/29/sub-100-grams-carbon-fibre-hiking-poles/

02/09/2021: Skinners 2.0 Camp Shoes: If you can’t sew yourself a pair of my Sub One Ounce Per Pair Camp Shoes you might consider buying a pair of these Skinners 2.0. They started with them on Kickstarter here. They are all over the internet at the moment. About the lowest I have seen them is around $15 a pair though that might be a Facebook type scam. They are certainly on Ebay from around A$30. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/08/28/skinners-2-0-camp-shoes/

02/09/2021: Beer drinking just has to be good for you if people have been doing it for 9.000 years: https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/926955

31/08/2021: Are mobile phones about to have a satphone feature? About time actually one did not have to carry 2-3 peieces of equipment. This will save lives: https://www.cnet.com/tech/mobile/apple-iphone-13-to-reportedly-feature-satellite-connectivity/

31/08/2021: An important post from the everythingcaravanandcamping website: “Why do people not put the toilet seats down in the caravan parks? It drives me crazy I am so scared one day a snake is going to bite my backside. After he has gone in there to get the frog that had gone in. Most parks have signs about it” Now you know the correct answer to this age-old question folks.

30/08/2021: There really are things you can do to help yourself – of course you might not want an extra decade of life: https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2021/08/28/heart-attack-get-healthy-add-years/4771630095484/

28/08/2021: Wildlife will have to learn to adapt to foxes. That is all: https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2021-08-25/rambo-fox-pilliga-forest-wildlife-conservation-/100404864?utm_medium=social&utm_content=sf248881757&utm_campaign=fb_abc_news&utm_source=m.facebook.com&sf248881757=1

26/08/2021: How soon will we return to the moon: https://www.sciencealert.com/spacex-thinks-it-can-return-humanity-to-the-moon-before-2024

25/08/2021: A New Rocket Engine: https://www.inceptivemind.com/japan-tests-rotating-detonation-engine-first-time-space/20698/

24/08/2021: India’s answer to the postie bike: https://newatlas.com/motorcycles/ola-electric-scooter-india/

23/08/2021: A useful book - The Mini Farming Bible: The Complete Guide to Self-Sufficiency on ¼ AcreGet ready preppers: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1629144908/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1629144908&linkCode=as2&tag=helentag-20&linkId=8e38f00ace7acccd2d9bf6cc64861366

21/08/2021: Honey Locust Uses: Metheglin was one of the favorite drinks of the American colonies. It was a favorite of Kentucky for over a hundred years. In Virginia, large plantations of honey locust trees were planted for the sweet beans. The beans were ground and mixed with honey, and fermented.

20/08/2021: Time to buy a copy yet? https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1493046942/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1493046942&linkCode=as2&tag=helentag-20&linkId=42f04432bd957643df9621270c110c73

18/08/2021: Back to Basics – a Complete Guide. We have oodles of books of this type in our library and have learned much from them over the years. It is why we have a home of our own built by our own hands and a self-sufficient farm, no debt, a comfortable independent retirement & etc: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1629143693/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1629143693&linkCode=as2&tag=helentag-20&linkId=d4be7379ca515706acf919e56164a809&asin=B00NS42CYW&revisionId=&format=2&depth=1

17/08/2021: You’ve seen the ad? And it was real: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9lxeGllhTQ&t=101s

16/08/2021: Cheap Ultralight Pots: Tim Tinker has  once again come through with a great idea. This time he has alerted me to where you can purchase some pretty good ultralight pots. A set costs as little as US$10 on AmazonAliexpress & Ebay. They are usually advertised as 'mixing bowls' and come with plastic lids for fridge storage etc. Of course you will have to add the (5-10 grams) weight of an Ultralight Pot Lifter to the bowl. There appear to be a number of different manufacturers. Some feedback is requested (below).

We are talking about 1 litre pots which weigh as little as 56 grams or 1.4 litre pots which weigh 63 grams. You can't beat that with any of the commercial hiking cook pots and they cost many times more. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/08/16/cheap-ultralight-pots/

15/08/2021: Now practically all we can do is hold hands while we sleep (as sea otters do) to prevent us drifting apart: https://twitter.com/i/status/1425764905983033348

14/08/2021: ‘Burning Daylight’ by Jack London. I just read this fine book. I thought I had read every Jack London book as a teenager, but not so. I’m sure you agree with me that ‘Call of the Wild’ is the greatest animal story ever written. Maybe you should try this one too. Available free here: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/746

14/08/2021: Camel Botox! A beauty pageant for camels: https://gulfnews.com/world/gulf/saudi/saudi-arabia-video-showing-camels-ruptured-lips-due-to-botox-sparks-outrage-1.1628470585656

14/08/2021: Rewilding – the future, but NB. “My point is that management is indispensable to maximising biodiversity”: https://thecritic.co.uk/issues/august-september-2021/playing-the-wild-card/

11/08/2021: You too could eat an iron age meal like the Tolund Man – perhaps before you were also hanged? I used to own a wonderful book about this, ‘The Bog People’ by P.C. Glob but someone borrowed it way back in 1974 and I have never been able to replace it. Such people deserve to be hanged!: https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/tollund-man-0015600?fbclid=IwAR2FcYcoW9kOyVtStp1iOjb9H8PzJwfA8xBGatUbnNDfJxS98sjEKQLs8v0

11/08/2021: Make way for Jurassic Park – at least the ferret version: https://earthlymission.com/black-footed-ferret-died-in-1988-cloning-science-willa-elizabeth-ann/

Welcome back mammoths – pretty soon anyway: https://earthlymission.com/28000-year-old-woolly-mammoth-cells-brought-back-to-life-by-scientists/?fbclid=IwAR23tlkrngmx9p-K1YGF8Pfin-i7kEM6rjjusjpehZGktboqKWsnh1BPzEs

09/08/2021: Louis L’Amour The Last of the Breed – I really enjoyedtis book. One of the great adventure and survival stories. Lots of his titles available free here. His complete works available on Zoogle: https://archive.org/details/Novel57LastOfTheBreed1986LouisLAmour

08/08/2021: Ringworld Discovered – Was Larry Niven Right? https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/08/06/huge-rings-around-a-black-hole/

08/08/2021: Not so long ago Preppers and other ‘Conspiracy Theorists’ looked like lunatics but they look a lot less crazy now: https://www.theepochtimes.com/mkt_morningbrief/preppers-quietly-stock-up-for-the-perfect-storm_3935935.html

05/08/2021: The Ultralight Wilderness Hut: You should read this post as an accompaniment to the posts Wilderness Hut and Debris Hut. There just can’t be too many small wilderness shelters out there in the bush. Indeed there are drastically too few – but the situation is always improving, thanks to the ingenuity and industry of many hunters fishermen, cross country skiers etc.

They are not just life-savers in the event of bad weather but they add so much to the amenity of the wilderness experience particularly as they provide a safe opportunity to take the growing family along on your modest backcountry adventures. They do not have to be elaborate or expensive. This post is not an ‘instructable’ but I hope can showcase some of the many methods you could use to construct them.

I suggest you can spend less than $500 to produce a really excellent piece of bush architecture. Most people spend that much on their pack or tent! I guess it will take two people at most two relaxing days to construct but provide them with a great facility and pleasure for many years in the future. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/08/04/the-ultralight-wilderness-hut/

05/08/2021: This looks good: Make Way for Duckling: https://www.amazon.com/Make-Way-Ducklings-Robert-McCloskey/dp/0140564349/ref=pd_bxgy_img_1/134-3053119-7312067?pd_rd_w=jlPln&pf_rd_p=c64372fa-c41c-422e-990d-9e034f73989b&pf_rd_r=2C5F7PSJJ47B7Y4Q8AF0&pd_rd_r=281ab032-9b7c-4a2c-9a57-a0592423e2f5&pd_rd_wg=E6PfY&pd_rd_i=0140564349&psc=1

04/08/2021: The Ancient Walls of Benin in Nigeria: 21,196 Kilometres. Larger than the Great Wall of China: https://thinkafrica.net/walls-of-benin/

04/08/2021: Zippo Hand Warmer as a Hot Water Bottle: A Zippo Hand Warmer costs about A$30 on Amazon. It uses about 2o mls of ligher fluid over 12 hours. If lighter fluid has about the same calorific value as kerosene then a litre produces about 9-10,000 watts so 20 mls produces 180 watts which over 12 hours equals approximately 15 watts per hour. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/08/03/zippo-hand-warmer-as-a-hot-water-bottle/

04/08/2021: Who knew – cleavers are actually good for something? My late old friend Steve Cleaver would have loved this ‘fact’: “You can make coffee from cleavers! Cleavers aka Goosegrass or ‘Sticky Weed’ is apart of the Rubiaceae family. Rubiaceae is the famous coffee family! When cleavers starts to dry in Summer those sticky seed balls that stick to our clothes can be roasted to make a wild coffee. This wild coffee tastes great & has a mild caffeinated kick! It’s fun to make you can roast it fresh over an open fire or create a large batch to enjoy through the year at home.”

02/08/2021: Tankora – yet another flavour I have not yet tried:  https://www.popsci.com/uncategorized/african-spices-meat-grill/

01/08/2021: The Fox Trap: We prefer to fence pests such as foxes, wombats, roos etc out with our Wildlife Proof Fences. If you don’t live in Victoria where practically everything is illegal you might try using a breakneck snare to kill foxes which still manage to find their way through holes in your fences. These (stainless steel) snares cost less than $5 each online (easier than making your own) and work a treat – but in Victoria there is a $60,000 fine and even gaol for using them as it is considered ‘aggravated cruelty’. What nonsense! In the US for example they are common. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/07/31/the-fox-trap/

31/07/2021: 26C degrees here at Jeeralang Junction at lunchtime. Our previous July record was 28C years ago. This is the third day this July over 20C. Global warming? No just weather. We have rain and even snow coming in tonight and tomorrow night. Have moved the lambing ewes to the closest most sheltered paddock so we can try to save frozen lambs over the next two mornings. Have already set up seven pens in the shed with heat lamps for that purpose.

31/07/2021: A Wonderful Frozen Bird from the Dinosaur Era: https://www.geologyin.com/2017/06/this-100-million-year-old-bird-trapped.html?fbclid=IwAR0xQQvptufRu6J1ANTwSjNmkeXynDWQtmbrs9NWBW4mMvJxF_jzI8bB8G0

30/07/2021: Jelly 2 Mini Smatrphone: I have been using these fob pocket sized phones now for about three years - and would never go back to a larger phone. The first one I bought was the Unihertz Atom which I carried for a couple of years. Practically all the photos I posted for the last couple of years here at TheUltralightHiker were taken with it. When an 'improved' model was announced on Kickstarter  last year I ordered two for Xmas 2020 and have been carrying one of them ever since - and it is brilliant. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/07/29/jelly-2-mini-smatrphone/

28/07/2021: Our Finnsheep - 2021 Lambing: As you may know we have the oldest and largest flock of these unique sheep in Australia. I previously posted about them here: Finnsheep. These sheep are a fine longwool type who normally raise triplets or quads in paddock conditions. Some pre-lambing photos. The ewes are expected to start lambing within about a week of these snaps. That will keep us busy. I will update this with some lamb photos in a little while.

Some pre-lambing photos. The ewes are expected to start lambing within about a week of these snaps. A group of particularly gravid ewes looking very content with life.

Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/07/28/our-finnsheep-2021-lambing/

27/07/2021: Great future movie in this news item - Man rescued after days-long battle with grizzly bear at Alaska shack: https://globalnews.ca/news/8051769/alaska-grizzly-bear-attack-rescue/?utm_medium=Facebook&utm_source=GlobalEdmonton&fbclid=IwAR0tOj88sFno7BNPRZOQ7c_CYVz5oWgU6i5DD_qr6ESAHhMhI4FtNRmDcck

23/07/2021: Why ibex are not extinct: https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/nature-is-awesome-2/

18/07/2021: In Praise of Forestry – an important article: https://saltbushclub.com/2021/07/16/save-the-forests/#more-1920

16/07/2021: Just love cryptozoology – shades of Bernard Heuvelmans here: https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-antarctica/pterodactyl-0014884?fbclid=IwAR2H23-6GW7fU6NVrQ-7jzQyDxGHD_kOJeAF9-RNK08zyCEk-nOKRFKB8eM

15/07/2021: Wonnangatta Murders 23.8: The beat-up to beat all beat-ups: https://rangestrader.mailcommunity.com.au/news/2021-07-12/button-man-horror-to-hit-screens/?fbclid=IwAR0ercBL3yAis29in9RkJUjJlCv2sJy59p2rxddw8eAH4Va6h3KuCBbFUzk

15/07/2021: The Cerne Giant (and its 12 metre phallus) brought down to size by a tiny snail: https://www.sapiens.org/archaeology/cerne-abbas-giant/

12/07/2021: My Octopus Teacher: If you haven’t yet seen this enchanting documentary you are in for a wonderful treat. Available on Netflix and PirateBay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7SVpp_QO3Q

11/07/2021: Meanwhile Branson will the first of the billionaire’s going into space tomorrow: https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2021/07/09/richard-branson-virgin-galactic-flight-space/1121625768487/

10/07/2021: The slime moulds are out - at least that's what I think they are. Or maybe they are a kind of coal fungi – who knows? Millions of things have never been classified. There are some really enchanting life-forms out there in the woods though , aren't there? Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/07/10/slime-mould-beauty/

10/07/2021: The Debris Hut: A simple debris hut is not such a trial to construct and you should at least give it a go. It is a skill which also may save you one day. Anyway if you ever find yourself in such a stressful situation you will be much more relaxed if you already have the confidence to be able to do such things as make a simple shelter and light a fire in trying circumstances. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/07/10/the-debris-hut/

How To Build A Lean To Shelter For Survival | I Need That ...

10/07/2021: Birds can smell after all. They can certainly target some clues pretty quickly. Around here for example kookaburras are enormously attuned to burning off and chain-sawing. I have nearly had my hat knocked off by a kookie numerous time who swooped in while I was chain-sawing even though they normally keep their distance: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/07/textbooks-say-most-birds-cant-smell-scientists-are-proving-them-wrong

03/07/2021: The Great Ocean Walk: My friend Chris has just (02-07-2021) finished walking the Great Ocean Walk in South-West Victoria from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles (Port Campbell). You could view this as the beginning of the Great Southern Walk which stretches a further 250 km to Nelson. (I suspect you could begin at Geelong and walk all the way through to Nelson).

He completed the (recommended) 8 day trip in four days. He is neither particularly young nor superman so this gives you a pretty fair idea of how long you may want to allow for the trip. Six days might be a pleasant amble! He went in midwinter and pretty much had the track to himself. Midwinter weather is often fine, so if you enjoy a measure of solitude this might be a good time to plan for. There are plenty of (official) campsites along the way and no doubt other places where you might unofficially camp. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/07/03/the-great-ocean-walk/

02/07/2021: Ultralight Hot Water Bottle: For winter camping warmth. This inspired idea comes from the amazing Tim Tinker, a source of so many wonderful winter warmth ideas, particularly ultralight tent stoves. See for example Mostly Perspiration. You can read all about the idea here. The entire set-up weighs around 67 grams and keeps your sleeping bag toasty warm (in the snow!) for up to 12 hours! Genius!

Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/07/02/ultralight-hot-water-bottle/

02/07/2021: The Human Species: “The ‘Out of Africa’ narrative of circa 2000 presented our own lineage as a superhuman race, the apotheosis of human evolution. The telos of two million years of encephalization, as human brains got bigger and bigger. The latest results do not fit easily into our old hero narrative. Neanderthals win the contest for largest human brains. And ‘Dragon Man’ turns out to have had a very large brain too, in line with modern cranial capacities. All human lineages were getting bigger-brained over the last few million years, not just the lineage that led up to us. . . . Today on our planet there is just one human species, but this is an exceptional moment. For most of the past few million years there were many human species. . . . Our planet was very different 100,000 years ago, and if we could survey that time, we would be astounded by the human diversity across its surface. To enumerate what little we know with certainty, there were at a minimum: modern humans, Neanderthals, at least three to four varieties of Denisovans, and two pygmy Homo populations in Southeast Asia. Likely there were still remnant Homo erectus in Southeast Asia as well, and other diverged lineages within Africa, and a new Homo in Nesher Ramla, Israel, in the Middle East with affinities to Neanderthals.”https://razib.substack.com/p/here-be-humans

01/07/2021: Richer than Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos: https://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-europe/varna-man-002798?fbclid=IwAR0UpYL20UavZDTjLDmUL_GZPvstfm_h-tvA9GAkPKmTMgY77sJKeiYDKLM

28/06/2021: Life on a River: I know Huck had the mighty Mississippi and Mark Twain to extol its virtues but the scale of that is just too vast for me. Instead I reckon one could spend much of one’s life just exploring a small river such as the Tyers, Tanjil, Latrobe, Thomson or Wonnagatta in Gippsland. I know I have but I have still only barely touched on their beauty and wonder.

We took the afternoon ff from our (fallen) tree clean-up activities to have a pleasant drive featuring parts of the Tyers River catchment and lunch at the Erica Hotel (recommended). The Moondarra dam was still overflowing nicely as in the post Moondarra Maelstrom. It should be even more spectacular after some more rain next weekend and early the week after that.  Take a look.

You turn at the Moondarra dam turn-off on the Moe-Erica Rd. It is only about 5 km on a tar road to this bridge. If you go another 300 metres to the beginning of the Wirilda Walking Track you can walk down about half a kilometre to look up ate this spectacular waterfall. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/06/27/life-on-a-river/

28/06/2021: A Complete List of Survival Documentaries – maybe this will help: https://www.shtfblog.com/complete-list-of-survival-documentaries/?fbclid=IwAR0mlGruBUzxbjQ2jeBLJlV8eK4BCTo4Y8BlN70vOC1M_xhpZfs9SEIA7Jo

26/06/2021: The Night Watch Uncroppedwish I had some of the scraps: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/61640

23/06/2021: Keeping Clean on the Trail: I have written various posts about this over time but the issue remains important and the ‘solutions’ not known by everyone. Of course it is much more vital on a longer trip. If you are an ultralight hiker by now you will have discovered that it is not that hard to keep your skin out weight below around 5 kg including perhaps even the means to hunt and fish (eg a Pack Rifle and ultralight fishing kit) to supplement your food supply and so keep you going even longer (and including important survival gear such as rope, a Sat Phone and a Sat Messenger as well as a reasonably comprehensive First Aid Kit).

I usually carry a bit under 500 grams per day in food and fuel, so adding 5 kg to the above total will give me at least an enjoyable ten day trip at approx 10 kg (22 lbs) not counting water. Most healthy people could easily start out with 10 kg more than that, so a 30 day trip is easy enough – anyway when you are young! If you are going where fish and game are plentiful (and you have the skill to take them) then you can easily shorten your rations to 250 grams per day and supplement with fresh-caught game of various sorts, so that a 60 day unsupplied trip is not exceptional, but there will be no bathrooms or laundromats along the way so you must needs shift.

If you can’t keep yourself and your clothes clean you risk a variety of problems so you should give some thought to how it is best done. I guess if you are only out of doors in the warmer months then it is fairly easy just to bathe in the rivers and streams, to wash your clothes whilst you do so and to let them dry on your body as you walk along. I confess I have used this strategy for many years even in cooler weather (say 13C days and 0C nights) though now I am over seventy I do find my courage is waning as I come to the cold daily plunge into an icy winter stream. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/06/22/keeping-clean-on-the-trail/

23/06/2021: The World's tallest tree: who would have believed that this 154 metre mountain ash felled at Healesville in 1872 was 40 metres taller than the largest Californian redwood ever recorded: http://baddevelopers.nfshost.com/Docs/talltrees.htm


22/06/2021: Good advice: How Not to fall Off a Ladder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n28tYo5T1Po&t=486s


22/06/2021: Testing Bullet Resistant Glass – here’s some advice: Don’t argue with a 12 gauge: https://www.theboxotruth.com/the-box-o-truth-6-ballistic-resistant-glass-gets-tested/

21/06/2021: 3 Years Younger in Just 8 Weeks – time to give it a go: https://www.studyfinds.org/aging-reversed-biological-age-3-years-younger-8-weeks/

20/06/2021: Welcome to Pluto: https://www.space.com/pluto-fully-illuminated-observation-suggests-active-surface?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_content=space.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=socialflow&fbclid=IwAR1I3L8X0YDoU2LY2SbewDwwxsW3kSKmkgeEs-a1j1UHZ-cPEgnEv8dTRz4

18/06/2021: 1500th Post: Quite a milestone. Who would have thought six years ago that I would have written so much – well over a million words on this blog and nearly 45,000 photos apparently! I’m sure this would have been more than a life’s achievement for many people, though for me it has been a hobby, one which has perhaps taken too much of my time away from more important jobs – but I hope you have enjoyed it so far. Judging by the considerable feedback I have had, I gather most people have, so I will try to keep it up.

Every hundred posts or so I have summarised the highlights of the previous hundred or so –  which tradition I will continue here. It has taken me a little over a year to write the last 100 posts; a bit of a slow year, the covid year, and I have only spent a bit over a couple of weeks sleeping on the ground during it instead of my more normal more than a month – but next year may be better. We will hope so though I know that most people my age are astonished that we ever sleep on the ground. Worse luck to them, I say. Of course I don’t always post about every camping trip – only if I have something new to say. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/06/18/1500th-post/

17/06/2021: $50 No Spoil Sheep Hay Feeder: The big round bales are definitely the most economic source of hay but there is much wastage if they are not feeding enthusiastically so this is the way around that problem:

I cut a 2.4 metre (8′) piece of concrete reinforcing mesh (about 6 mm or 1/4″ steel diameter and in 8″ or 20 cm squares) in half with the angle grinder or the bolt cutters – whatever is to hand. They cost around $60 each for a 6 metre or 20′ length so this gives me two feeders. I overlap the squares one or two spaces depending whether feeding out silage (which is smaller in diameter) or hay and simply join them with lots of cable ties.

As soon as it rains they get stuck into it:

I source used pallets for free from behind local stores (asking first of course) to sit the bale on, then I cut down a 6′ diameter (if I can get it) beach umbrella to use as a roof and cable tie the ribs to the outside rim of the weldmesh feeder so that the hay does not spoil from rain if the sheep are not feeding very enthusiastically. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/06/17/50-no-spoil-sheep-hay-feeder/

17/06/2021: Droughts and Flooding Rains: Only a couple of days ago ‘Facebook Memories’ reminded me that on this day in 2012 (and again in 2013 – would you believe it?) we had more than a month of rain in a single day – a pretty good fall – but ‘Hughie’ excelled himself yesterday with 7.5 inches, nearly double that in a day, and another 3 the next day. Over 10″ or 250mm mostly within 24 hours.

About the same as an event we had a couple of years after we settled here (in 1993) when our gentle creek turned into a colossal monster, blew out all our dams and fences and deposited over half a metre of debris along the bottom of our property. (We had to replace the creek fence). Yesterday was much the same, though the dams and fences survived (though hardly unscathed) this time.

We have lots of work ahead of us to fix the damage but we are still ‘weathering the storm’ really. we have spent days beginning to chain saw fallen trees/branches off fences and repairing pumps and generators etc. We have had no electricity (out nearly a week – thank goodness for the generator we installed over summer!), patchy mobile phone coverage, no internet. Our radio reception here is internet based and our TV reception is never good. Of course there has been no mail – or visitors!

Just to add insult to injury we have had (main) generator problems (fixed this afternoon) and the main water pump decided to fuse (again fixed this afternoon) – so now we have both just had our first hot shower in two days (bliss!).

Fortunately we have a wood heater so we have been warm and the secondary generator has provided us with lighting and we have even been able to watch a (recorded) series on TV at night – so hardly a miserable time really. And, as always we have each other – what a blessing that is! Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/06/17/droughts-and-flooding-rains/

14/06/2021: Seeing through camouflage – training hunters need: https://www.sciencealert.com/people-can-be-trained-to-see-through-camouflage-and-it-works-better-than-we-thought

13/06/2021: Stay away from whales: https://nypost.com/2021/06/11/lobster-diver-swallowed-by-humpback-whale-near-cape-cod/

10/06/2021: Della: 24 hours without power now and flood damage to our creek and fencing, but we are nevertheless warm and comfortable, enjoying the benefits of our generator and wood fire. The flood damage will be restored with time and a bit of hard yakka and hopefully our power will be restored in a couple of days. Life has its ups and downs, but this is still our piece of paradise. Hope you are all faring as well as possible!

03/06/2021: 102-year-old spends birthday morning walking up Hawke's Bay's Sugar Loaf Hill: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/125307685/102yearold-spends-birthday-morning-walking-up-hawkes-bays-sugar-loaf-hill?fbclid=IwAR1TZ1EMB-1MV-On6Aa1D7rsiiP_CaCxOdKVwUnON9v6MqnFW9wF9Y_Xg2A

02/06/2021: Such an earth-like planet. Musk may be right to want to go there. Let’s hope Kim Stanley Robinson’s predictions of it terraformability in his Mars Trilogy come to pass: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/05/30/nasas-curiosity-rover-captures-shining-clouds-on-mars/

02/06/2021: At last a real chocolate frog: https://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/31466/20210531/surprising-discovery-harry-potter-chocolate-frog-species-new-guinea-stuns.htm

31/05/2021: Wonnangatta 23.6: A couple more ignorant reporters trying to beat something out of nothing –rehashing the most egregious rubbish and exposing thereby there complete ignorance of the bush: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/we-don-t-jump-at-ghosts-here-what-happened-in-wonnangatta-valley-20210520-p57tn5.html

31/05/2021: Why ‘science’ doesn’t work, ‘the finest candlemakers in the world could not come up with electric lights’ (NB Allan Savory has done more good in the world than another 100 scientists – BTW We sare building more and more paddocks): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Savory) : https://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2021/05/on-science.html

31/05/2021: Sounds of Nepal: We were lucky enough to hike the EBC in November 2019 before Covid locked us all away from the world. We expected to have returned for other adventures before now and still hope to do so later this year or maybe next year.

When Della was in Namche she bought this yak bell as a ‘souvenir’ something which would make the place ‘come again’ which can only work if you carried it from there in your pack – which she did (the not so ultralight hiker).

Of course in the absence of yaks it fails to ring out around our hills as the bells did in Nepal, and whilst I guess we could tie it around the neck of one of our sheep they may not appreciate it – preferring as they do to go au naturelle. I have been wondering how I could make it sound for Della, and today in between working on tractor implements I have a device which works quite well – in Tyvek of course!

Naturally this is a prototype and will be further refined in silnylon. The bell itself has started to rust so it will need to be treated with something to preserve it – however I thought you  might like to hear the wind gently blow the striker and ring the bell. It sounds very like the yak trains which I have added below as well for comparison. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/05/30/sounds-of-nepal/

30/05/2021: If something as slow and obvious as a giant tortoise can be out there what else is yet to be discovered: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2021/05/27/galapagos-giant-tortoise-discovery-extinct/9421622129838/

28/05/2021: The Importance of Landmarks: I meant to add a bit (to ‘Ultralight Hiking #102’) – actually quite a bit – about identifying and using ‘landmarks’. A ‘sense of direction’ needs to be learned and cultivated. I have spent so much of my life deep in the bush it seems to be almost unconscious to me, but it can be learned.

It is as important as just always keeping in mind the position of the sun. (I guess people may not be in the habit of doing this). And identifying the overall direction of ‘down’ – what I call ‘the lie of the land’.

As regards the last, so many times eg some novice hunter I have taken out has called me on the radio to say something like this, ‘I am at a/the creek but I don’t know which way to go’ ie to get back to the car etc. My first question is always ‘which direction is the water flowing?’ (eg from the right or the left when you are facing towards the sun).

From this simple piece of information I am instantly able to orient the misplaced hiker/hunter in my mind to the overall topography and sun position, then say something like, ‘OK, turn around so your back is to the stream (and the sun), then walk straight up the ridge which will be in front of you.’ It is always easier to walk up a ridge to arrive at a given point than to walk down one (as they tend to split going downwards).

You just can’t walk so very far in a single day as to get a long way off course. It really should be quite obvious to you at all times during the day almost exactly where your point of origin and destination are. If it is not, practice till it is! Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/05/27/the-importance-of-landmarks/

27/05/2021: Ultralight Hiking #102: First you figure out how to get your pack weight down to a sensible level say <5 kg skin out including your pack, mat sleeping bag, sat phone, sat messenger, shelter, first aid, cookset, clothes, pack rifle, ultralight fishing kit & etc – and hopefully you are able to do this without breaking the budget, ie for under $1,000 all up (sat phones etc are expensive but vital – how much is your life worth?) . You will find many suggestions, budget and DIY ideas on this page to help with those issues.

Then you must figure out how to ration your food and fuel (for less than 500 grams but over 2,000 calories per day) so that you can comfortably undertake say a ten day (unsupplied) hike beginning with a total pack weight of <10 kg (22 lbs). This is also not so hard. Some food ideas here.

I hope that you will have first learned a few things about bush survival and navigation before you go too far though, and that you continue to learn bushcraft skills which will enable you to live off the land and to provide yourself with water, food, warmth and shelter in any eventuality. These eventualities do arrive with alarming regularity. Thousands of people (needlessly) lose their lives every year in the backcountry for the lack of them! Don’t let it be you. As I earlier said, ‘How much is your life worth?’ read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/05/26/ultralight-hiking-102/

 26/05/2021: Happy Sixth Birthday Ultralight Hiker: Lately I have been working on a new website and facebook page for my dad Steve's incredible Hiking Blog "The Ultralight Hiker". If you or someone you know is interested in hiking, canoeing, camping, hunting etc in Gippsland, Australia and New Zealand you might like to take a look or spread the word. The content has been years in the making so you will find hundreds of posts on everything from places to go, the best light weight equipment, inspiring explorers, wildlife and more. Visit: www.theultralighthiker.com for more! Thank you. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/05/26/happy-sixth-birthday-ultralight-hiker/

24/05/2021: When Paddington attacks: https://nypost.com/2021/05/21/alaska-man-survives-horrific-bear-attack-while-on-the-job/

21/05/2021: “The love of hunting is almost a physiological characteristic. A man may not care for golf and still be human, but the man who does not like to see, hunt, photograph, or otherwise outwit birds and animals is hardly normal. He is supercivilised, and I for one do not know how to deal with him. Babes do not tremble when they are shown a golf ball, but I should not like to own the boy whose hair does not lift his hat when he sees his first deer”  Aldo Leopold 1887-1948

20/05/2021: Maybe why your heart blocks up sometimes: https://www.cnet.com/news/nikola-tesla-invention-from-100-years-ago-suddenly-makes-more-sense-today/ The blockages occur because the flow is wrong there and detritus builds up, like a sandbar in a river where the flow is sometimes even reversed, something every canoeist has observed! The flow is wrong because the geometry is wrong. Now however they are forbidding placing stents unless the ‘blockage’ is major when they could prevent the blockage occurring by altering the geometry (with eg stents). I have found all this myself playing around with irrigation systems (and helped ‘fix’ Della’s heart problem in the process), but NB the problem is always worse on the suction side. Cardiologists have yet to ‘discover’ that the heart has a ‘suction’ side. They are a long way behind plumbers!

18/05/2021: A Hiker’s Breakfast: A couple of new (to me) things I have been trying out which are delicious and super-simple. Continental Soup Sensations ‘Moroccan Vegetable Medley’ and Uncle Toby’s ‘Breakfast Bakes’.

The Moroccan Soup is without a doubt the best cupasoup I have ever eaten. I have always sworn by their Lakhsa and Dutch Curry varieties – both of which go well to add flavouring to a pack of two minute noodles (delete the normal flavour sachet) for a more substantial meal by the way. I haven’t yet tried out the new one like that but I ‘m sure it will go splendidly too. I keep buying out my local supermarket (of it) I like it so much. It is 117 calories for a sachet weight of 34 grams (3.4 calories per gram).

If you have it with just one of the ‘Breakfast Bakes – my personal favourite is the ‘Roasted Cashew and Vanilla’ – you will be adding it to 262 calories at 65 grams each (4.03 calories per gram) to give you a 379 calorie breakfast for 99 grams. That is about enough for me usually but I guess if you are really hungry you could have two! Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/05/17/a-hikers-breakfast/

17/05/2021: Cats are tough: https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/cool-cat-survives-5-story-jump-from-burning-apartment/

16/05/2021: A home complete with mountain lions: https://pix11.com/news/national-news/mountain-lions-make-themselves-at-home-on-womans-porch-during-repeat-visits/

13/05/2021: The Ultralight Swagman: I just came across this interesting new poncho which doubles as a swag, the Helikon Swagman Roll Poncho. It would be lighter than the traditional wool blanket which (obviously) can be configured in much the same way (as I explained here). It weighs 1.64 pounds (743 grams). It is lined with Climashield Apex insulation. US$124 (May 2021)

Obviously you can cover it with a waterproof poncho such as Coghlans Emergency Poncho as I recommended here: If you could only carry two things in the bush what would they be? When you wrapped yourself up in it (or other space-type blanket) as a swag of a night this would make it both warmer and more waterproof. Could be very handy to have in your day or hunting pack. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/05/12/the-ultralight-swagman/

13/05/2021: Coffee Straw: Unlike so many people I am not a coffee snob. I am happy with a cup of instant coffee (black). Besides which a cup of coffee never got lighter than that, but if you are a coffee connoisseur you no doubt want to know about every possible wrinkle for making a delicious cup of java on the trail.

This solution is not the lightest I have seen (see post below = 4 grams) but I do like the originality of the idea. Materials: stainless steel & BPA free silicone Weight 2 oz (57 grams) Length 7.77″ (19.7 cm) Filter Diameter .55″ (1.4 cm) US$ 19 (May 2021) Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/05/13/coffee-straw/

13/05/2021: Do you ever wonder what 120 year old chocolate tastes like: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/61357

12/05/2021: Why we have to have a special licence to keep exotic pets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P9B9rTVk4U&t=69s

11/05/2021: So What is Still Good and Cheap? Interesting thoughts: 15 Things That Were Made For Poor People That Rich People Ruined – so what is still good and cheap? https://www.buzzfeed.com/andyneuenschwander/things-for-poor-people-that-rich-people-ruined PS: I am loath to make suggestions unless I get priced out of life!

When I was a kid we ate a lot of prawns which were cheap because ‘toffee noses’ hadn’t discovered them yet. We also used to catch a lot of our own by moonlight around the shores of Lake Macquarie (which wasn’t surrounded by houses back then!)We used a couple of tomato stakes with a purse net suspended between which we dragged through the warm shallow waters ducking under every now and then if we thought a ‘Fisheries’ officer was about. We used to have a four gallon (20 litre) bucket which we would boil them up in over an open driftwood fire around which we would feast until we were so replete we could scarcely walk!

Fortunately you still can take prawns like this eg around the Gippsland Lakes etc – likewise crays and yabbies (in the rivers and streams) which Della simply adores. Oysters were also cheap (I used to catch ‘drift’ oysters with my feet around Lake Macquarie – just as you can take river mussels etc) though I have never liked them as much as pipis, (same method at low tide) still cheap and easy to get along our coasts. Of course Gippsland where we live is still a paradise as compared with many other places today. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/05/11/so-what-is-still-good-and-cheap/

11/05/2021: "Yachtsmen pleasuring in the 'lilies of the sea' will not think favourably of my craft," warned Joshua Slocum: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spray_(sailing_vessel)

11/05/2021: Are you growing fractal broccoli: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanesco_broccoli

09/05/2021: NASA’s Perseverance Rover Hears Ingenuity Mars Helicopter in Flight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5niGi4k9vQ&list=PLTiv_XWHnOZpzQKYC6nLf6M9AuBbng_O8&t=143s

07/05/2021: Playing with expensive toys: https://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2021/05/skills-god-only-thinks-hes-a-fighter-pilot.html

07/05/2021: Can these really be fungi on Mars: https://futurism.com/scientists-fungus-growing-mars

07/05/2021: Ah, the romance of being a castaway on a desert island for fifteen years- the fate and behaviour of these Malagasys is quite astonishing: https://www.damninteresting.com/fifteen-years-forsaken/

06/05/2021: Mars, here we come: Starship SN15 Take-off and Landing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9eoubnO-pE&t=772s

04/05/2021: Interesting thoughts: 15 Things That Were Made For Poor People That Rich People Ruined – so what is still good and cheap? https://www.buzzfeed.com/andyneuenschwander/things-for-poor-people-that-rich-people-ruined PS: I am loath to make suggestions unless I get priced out of life! Some of our ‘wrinkles’ have already been denied to others: building our own house out of earth & etc has become monstrously difficult. Thank goodness we did it long ago. (Someday we may even finish it!) Home car repairs and second-hand cars have become much more difficult. For thirty years our annual car ‘running’ costs were around $300 per car (about half of rego costs now!) But it has become so difficult to fix a modern car. I mostly stick to 20+ years old Land Rovers for that reason – but I also buy insurance write-offs and re-build and re-register them. We are about to launch into club rego for many of our older cars. Enormously cheaper if you have the garage space. We still do a lot of camping and never (absolutely never) pay for a camping spot. We also make most of our own camping gear (See: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/). Likewise we design and build a lot of our own stuff – our tray-back camper, for example. We grow a lot of our own food and almost always cook our food from raw ingredients. We hunt and fish – great savings and great fun! We still do a lot of repairs ourselves (eg clothes). We shop (carefully) often online and try to find the cheapest price for the same goods. If we can make it ourselves or make an alternative we do. Second-hand is also fine with us. By the same token we never really seem to ‘need’ a lot of the things which others ‘must have’. For example, this week I bought a second-hand pair of hearing aids for $220 and will tune them myself, a saving of several thousand dollars. I also bought new glasses from Zenni on a prescription off my phone (which is better than I can get from an optometrist). The (progressive ultralight flexible titanium frame) glasses cost around $61 delivered instead of nearer $700! I will post this advice on my website above and add to the suggestions over time. 

02/05/2021: Everlasting Pen: Even in this electronic age sometimes you need to leave a written message. It helps if you can make it waterproof (these notepads will help) but it is also important that when the time comes to write it that your pen works (and is ultralight, of course!) You could just use a cheap length of pencil. Or a space pen refill (as I have done here). Or you could investigate this idea – a pen which does not use ink and which does not wear out.

I have sometimes needed to leave a message – perhaps tied to a tree eg warning about some trail hazard ahead (a washed out bridge perhaps), or placed in someone’s tent/camp/hut or besides their trailcam, and of course we have all needed to fill out log books in huts etc. It is just on such occasions you find that your trusty biro which you have carried for endless trail miles has gone dry and =that no amount of rubbing an cajoling will bring it back to life.

Space pens are superior in this regard and have never failed me so far, and at one gram for the refill I carry (and little need, as I rarely venture where there are other folks to leave messages for anyway) I am unlikely to carry anything else, but if this description is not you then maybe an everlasting pen is your solution?

These pens would not actually last forever either as they wear away slowly by leaving a thin film of indelible soft metal as a message something like writing a message with the soft tip of a lead bullet something which f you are a hunter you have probably frequently done! Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/05/01/everlasting-pen/

01/05/2021: Oh, to have moose in the garden: https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/mom-theres-a-cute-baby-moose-in-the-yard-taking-a-shower/

23/04/2021: Did Bigfoot murder pot growers: https://www.sfgate.com/streaming/article/hulu-true-crime-sasquatch-murder-cannabis-farmers-16104896.php

22/04/2021: Pompeii take-away menu: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/recreate-the-menu-of-pompeii-ancient-pub

20/04/2021: Ingenuity helicopter flying on Mars: https://phys.org/news/2021-04-ingenuity-helicopter-successfully-flew-mars.html

18/04/2021: New motorcycle carrier. I needed one of these for packrafting. This one is great. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/04/18/motorbike-carrier/

18/04/2021: The Prince’s Land Rover Defender hearse is my must have. Fortunately I own two of them so should not be disappointed when the time comes. (May be their first wash!) They will after all outlast me.

17/04/2021: 2.5 billion T. rex roamed Earth, but not all at once: https://www.msn.com/EN-US/news/technology/study-2-5-billion-t-rex-roamed-earth-but-not-all-at-once/ar-BB1fH8XV?ocid=BingNews Given that each of them needed to consume the mass of approximately one small boy a day, that’s a lot of small boys gone missing.

17/04/2021: Beware of bobcats: https://gutsmack.com/2021/04/husband-goes-full-rambo/

16/04/2021: Wonnangatta Revisit: ‘Calling a Spade a Bloody Shovel’ used to be one of my father’s favourite sayings. I was minded of this yesterday when Vicpol appeared completely unable to tell the difference between the two, and somehow bizarrely believed that two bricky’s spades discarded off the edge of a main highway could have been used to bury bodies in thick fire regrowth (which they seem to be mistaking for pristine wilderness!) nearly 100 km away from where the (likely) Wonnangatta murders took place – as if someone would have spent say four hours on 4WD tracks driving past hundreds of suitable spots so that they could then drive along 2WD roads for a several more hours to dispose of the bodies next to a main artery!

The man who committed this crime was not so stupid. He was quick-witted enough to commit the murders and dispose of the bodies (in the dark within a couple of hours of the couple arriving at the camp site – the camp toilet had not been used) leaving the ‘crime scene’ pristine enough that even after a year many of the police are still not willing to say that the crime actually occurred. He clearly knew he was going to commit this crime and had thoroughly planned it in his head – at least for hours. I imagine that he had them under observation for some time, waited till it went dark and they were in bed then struck. This suggests that he followed them in, or was already there. (I doubt he knew them as in that case he would have killed them on the Thursday night on the Howitt Plains when fewer people were about).

As I am unaware of any witness reports about Russell and Carol driving in then clearly no-one saw a car which followed them in then exited again in the dark either – which leaves open the possibility that it was not the ‘white ute’ that police are seeking (unless it was already there - as I said before).

In my last post about this a reader commented that ‘police’ have the ability to track phones which are switched off (or even have their batteries removed). I admit that I thought this was unlikely however I found indeed it is possible, but I can find no evidence that anyone has this ability unless they have accessed the phone prior to the desire to track it in some way (which would be unlikely in this instance). If ‘police’ had this ability they would long ago have identified where Russell, Carol and the perpetrator's phones were – and made an arrest!

Disposing of two bodies off a 4WD track in the dark involves several technical difficulties which suggest likely spots to search. I have spent over 40 years’ tracking’ along 4WD tracks looking for deer sign to start hounds on. And of course I have often found where people stop to dump dead calves, sheep carcasses and the like. You are not going to stop just anywhere – eg not on a very steep section or right next to a sharp bend ( as someone may come along unexpectedly). You want a level-ish spot with a good ‘drop-off  below where it is easy to drag/roll the bodies down and out of sight quickly.

I have stressed that word. You don’t want to be caught hanging around on a remote track disposing of dead bodies. Remember this was the Friday night of a long weekend. People will be arriving at all hours. You need to stop in a place where you can see lights coming from a long way away – so basically a long flattish section preferably with a slight downhill incline (not such a common spot if you are going uphill) so that your headlights can illuminate what you are doing. You would stop, toss the bodies on the ground then back up so that you can see where you are dragging them (a torch won’t cut it as well), then quickly drag them down 20 yards or so (2 minutes at most) and be on your way – and clearly never come back!

There are several suitable spots like that on the Zeka Spur (most likely eg if you followed them in) and on the Cynthia Range Track on the way out to Eaglevale (for example) the second most likely spot those two being the most common routes. If you are smart enough to have covered all traces at the crime scene (in a few minutes probably) you are not going to be driving out onto a 2WD road on a long weekend where there will likely be police/wildlife officers etc stopping cars eg to check gun licences etc. This is a common occurrence as anyone who frequents the Wonnangatta knows!

I have never been convinced (enough) by the quality of police searches to completely rule out that their (lost) bodies might even be in the bush in the vicinity of the campsite still, (photos show the cadaver dogs there now) but all along I thought this was a one-in-a-million chance. I have actually spoken to the people who found the burnt out camp site six days later but I do not know who found it the  next day and failed to report it. What an irresponsible person! The people six days later drove immediately up to ‘the tops’ so they could phone the police (whose response was evidently about what we are used to, eg in the case of the little lost boy they could not find at about the same time & etc!)

On the seventh day (if I had been the police) I would have been walking along the tracks I mentioned (and similar ones) with my two small Jack Russell terriers who would have immediately told me when they smelled a body (supposing my own olfactory skills were so poor as not to notice!) A year later is just about too late to be bringing out the ‘cadaver dogs’ as they have been doing, though if they look in the right place the bodies will still be there – but not buried! There is absolutely not reason to bury the bodies. The time spent doing so (an hour or more in the dark – oh sure!) would only increase the chance that someone would come along and notice.

This perpetrator is not stupid. I can see several attempts by the police (in reporting) to ‘spook’ him but they are so inconsistent and poorly thought out they would clearly not have that effect on any (evil) intelligent person. For example inconsistently stating the numbers (one/some) of people in the white ute. If you know there are two you say ‘two’ so that the one less guilty will come forward in the expectation that police are close behind. You do not say that the ‘shovels’ were found in bush ‘where no human has even walked’ (when they were obviously thrown/fallen off from a vehicle anyway). Really if no-one had ever walked there how did the shovels get there?

As a policemen you need to give some indication you are smarter than the criminal. This is not the way to do it. You can be sure the perpetrator is closely reading every word that is written about this crime. (NB I note that the reporters may be to blame for some/all of these slips. The reporting of this matter and most others has been appalling)

My own ‘hunch’ about this is that the perpetrator is an evil ‘copycat’ who decided to emulate the very similar 1916 murders in pretty much the same spot where the bodies were also removed from the scene – you would hope police searched the spots where the 1916 bodies were found - though I doubt they would be there. Some recent reports:

https://www.news.com.au/national/victoria/news/police-move-search-for-missing-campers-russell-hill-and-carol-clay-to-mount-hotham-area/news-story/dbc205908ec032aec7c2dc0195548ff3  & https://www.news.com.au/national/victoria/news/police-move-search-for-missing-campers-russell-hill-and-carol-clay-to-mount-hotham-area/news-story/dbc205908ec032aec7c2dc0195548ff3  & https://www.heraldsun.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts-victoria/detectives-pause-search-for-missing-campers-russell-hill-and-carol-clay-await-forensic-tests-for-two-shovels/news-story/c6e4f7462284832ef5cb21b4bbf31ce0  & https://www.9news.com.au/national/mysterious-disappearance-of-campers-russell-hill-carol-clay-mount-hotham-victoria/16ad67b3-d318-4cc5-ac3f-f14b6c8bdc4f &   https://www.news.com.au/national/victoria/news/criminal-psychologist-tim-watsonmunro-believes-missing-campers-russell-hill-and-carol-clay-met-with-foul-play/news-story/9679014d5dd2d4c8fc9577ecc0ed5f47  & https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9472341/Russell-Hill-Carol-Clay-Investigation-missing-campers-PAUSED-discovery-new-clues.html

15/04/2021: South Coast Track Fiordland NZ: Waitutu to Westies: I can't believe it is five years ago today we were there. Time for another trip. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/04/14/south-coast-track-fiordland-nz-waitutu-to-westies/

15/04/2021: Jack Russells fear nothing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1q63v6Dd3c&t=49s

11/04/2021: Knee Cure News: OK, so there is a new thing you can do and I had it done yesterday, so it is early days yet. But…It is called Cooled Radiofrequency Ablation. Put simply it zaps the nerves coming from the knee which are causing you the pain and turns them off for around a year, perhaps two. It’s costing me $400 plus some extra for anaesthetists, hospital expenses etc – cheap at half the price! Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/04/11/knee-cure-news/


10/04/2021: The World’s Lightest Off-Road Motorcycle (60 kg)  – must have: http://www.fxbikes.com/

10/04/2021: Fusion this decade - perhaps: https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/a36065327/nuclear-reactor-makes-fusion-viable-by-2030/

08/04/2021: A technique to produce transplantable livers in the laboratory: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-technique-transplantable-livers-laboratory.html

05/04/2021: Thomson Autumn Packraft: Perhaps the last lovely canoeing day of 2021's autumn. Time to spend a few hours on one of my favourite rivers. As I mentioned in this post Thomson River Packrafting Day Trip you can enjoy a number of different day trips on this beautiful river if you haven't enough time for a multi-day trip like this Only the Moon and Me or How Green was My River. But you should some time.

I have just installed a new motorbike carrier on our old Disco so I was all ready to try it out on a beautiful 26C autumn day with .21 metres of water at Coopers Creek near the minimum - though I have been down the river enjoyably albeit with many scrapes at .18!

I stopped well back Probably nearly 2 km from the end of the track as I do not fancy riding down really steep sections (old bones break too easily) or the difficulties one can encounter 4WDing back up them, so I parked my (Yamaha 225cc) motorcycle here on the Mitchell Creek Track.

This canoe trip takes about three hours. It took me about an hour to get from Cowwarr Weir to the river and about half an hour to go back from there for my bike. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/04/05/thomson-autumn-packraft/

03/04/2021: Hiking Hydro Power: A friend (thank you Bruce) sent me a link to one of these great gadgets which sent me off on a search of the possibilities, since many of us hike/hunt in mountain areas where there is often ample flowing water. Something like this would also be good for providing power to your Wilderness Hut.

What you have here is a Waterproofed DC dynamo powered by a prop (or turbine) basically with a transformer circuit which stabilises the output to 5 volts then charges a battery which can then be used to draw off power for a multitude of uses.

All these are small systems in the range 5 to around 20 watts which would be sufficient for most people's modest backcountry purposes providing they have access to a good steady flow of fast moving water with a good 'head' (ie fall).

This one is the 'Waterlily' one of the best priced units I found. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/04/03/hiking-hydro-power/

02/04/2021: The Raincoat Swag – and other mods: The humble raincoat is so often a life-saver. There is no other item so vital for your survival that you should take into the bush as some type of shelter (even if it is only the humble $2 space blanket which so easily slips in your breast pocket). For most people though that will be their raincoat, so it is important to realise just what you can do with it.

As with so many things such realisations often only come after a lifetime of failing to recognise them (hopefully this is not a fatal mistake!) I recently realised (after nearly 70 years) for example that toothpaste is a liquid. All the disputes about how to best handle toothpaste tubes come to an abrupt end after you understand this, and thenceforth always keep the tube in an upright position standing on its lid. The toothpaste always comes out easily then and keeps on doing so until the very last (unexpected you will find out) drop (or dollop)!

Of course the same is true (ie failing to recognise things) eg  when people continue to wear their raincoats when caught out for prolonged periods eg overnight in heavy freezing rain. Water strips away heat at least twenty times more efficiently than does air (why it is often used to cool things; – think car radiators for example). In such a situation as the above this becomes a life-threatening situation which must be addressed by taking your raincoat off! And holding or securing it above you to create an air gap. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/04/01/the-raincoat-swag-and-other-mods/

29/03/2021: Xiaomi to launch the world's first liquid lens smartphone camera: https://newatlas.com/mobile-technology/xiaomi-mi-mix-liquid-lens/

28/03/2021: DIY Ultralight Pipe Gun: In places where they are legal people might consider making one of these eg for protection from predators of various sorts, survival situations or to secure food for the pot. They can be stowed safely in two pieces and take up very little space and weight.

When separated in its two pieces (eg in separate bags) there is very little to tell that it is a gun at all. In the one pictured below for example, if one was to weld a wheel nut sized socket on the end of the ‘handle’ I think it would pass most people’s inspection as a tool for assisting with removing flat tyres from vehicles when traveling eg around Australia.

One made in .410 gauge (which has a number of shell options including solids) would be flexible, useful, reasonably lightweight without the obvious dangers of the bigger 12 gauge brother which in many cases would be ‘overkill’ – at least for the ultralight hiker. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/03/27/diy-ultralight-pipe-gun/

27/03/2021: Welcome to 3D Printed Houses: https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/homeless-man-becomes-first-person-to-live-in-3d-printed-house-see-inside/

26/03/2021: Bears having fun - FF to about 1 minute in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm8WXtrmjjg&t=184s

25/03/2021: A .30 Calibre Semi-Automatic Air Rifle – what’s not to like: https://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2021/3/21/preview-hatsan-blitz-air-rifle

24/03/2021: Ultralight Tipi Design: I came across this truly brilliant small DIY tipi design over at Quest Outfitters (where they sell a kit for it for US$77.50 – Mar 2021) when I was looking to buy some other DIY supplies. I was so impressed by it I asked Nick, its inventor for permission to reproduce it here and he kindly agreed. Nick has done rather a lot more work than I began with my post Seamless Tyvek Tipi. For example he has worked out where the centre is and a method to close it properly. His website has complete instructions for making the tarp in a variety of sizes. The 9′ wide one (pictured) weighs 23 oz (655 grams) in 1.3 oz/yd2 silnylon (add floor to that) and sets up with a 6′ (1.8 metre) pole. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/03/24/nixitarp-tipi-design/

24/03/2021: Drone Footage of Iceland Volcano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuMeLv9_oS0&t=99s

24/03/2021: Help, I lost my body. I’ll just grow a new one: https://www.popsci.com/story/animals/slugs-organisms-photosynthesis/

23/03/2021: Meanwhile sea shanties are (deservedly) back to Number One on the charts: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-56463078

23/03/2021: Just because we don’t understand prehistoric ‘writing’ doesn’t mean that it wasn’t: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Illustration-of-engraving-phases.jpg

19/03/2021: Moby Dick might have been quite devious after all: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/17/sperm-whales-in-19th-century-shared-ship-attack-information?fbclid=IwAR20F1LOWFBFzHKENoJ-eZmDFgpY4TJX7P8LzJjRsQUvZMY1o4j1EFIvBXQ

18/03/2021: Wilderness Hut: I am so glad there are others who are also not wholly smitten by the ‘leave no trace’ religion. In any number of unlikely places over the years I have come across ingeniously constructed huts and fishing/hunting camps sprinkled (without eg Government or Parks Vic’s blessing or knowledge) throughout our wonderful Victorian mountains.

These are not the (official) huts that ‘everyone’ knows about – and which even appear on maps – like the one at Black Snake Creek on the Wonnangatta River which is nearly a hundred years old now (constructed by the last resident of that 1930’s gold mining town, Harry Gee).

The huts I am speaking of were constructed with great effort and skill away from vehicular access, and usually well camouflaged so that they are not readily found by aerial searches. If a hut is only around 10′ x 10′ (or less) – adequate for comfy shelter for (say) four people on a winter’s night, and has been blotch-painted, it is extremely hard to find on Google Earth – even when you know exactly where it is. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/03/18/wilderness-hut/

15/03/2021: My Octopus Teacher – worth a look: https://www.netflix.com/au/title/81045007

14/03/2021: Windy Old Weather: 'Windy Old Weather'. I guess you have all heard the old sea shanty at one time or another and you know the refrain, 'When the wind blows, We'll all go together'.

If you are high on some solitary mountain top in the Victorian Alps and a 'Southerly Buster' comes rolling in off the Bight, or you are hiking the South Coast Track on the bottom of Tassie in the 'Roaring Forties' it is all too likely your tent will disappear into the night like the Cheshire Cat's smile. There are ways to avoid this. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/03/14/windy-old-weather/

14/03/2021: Awesome Arrow Penetration: https://www.facebook.com/precisioncrafted/ & https://fb.watch/4cXhTOuHwG/

13/03/2021: Ancient Greek Antikythera ‘computer’ decoded: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/mar/12/scientists-move-closer-to-solving-mystery-of-antikythera-mechanism?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

12/03/2021: An Ultralight Hammock: You can now make a hammock which weighs (well) under 150 grams including suspensions system! Given that you can also make a hammock tarp which weighs less than this (too) including tie-outs and pegs, (so a total carry weight of sub 300 grams!) you should seriously consider hammocking as an option, or at least as an alternative choice to your tent when you fail to find a suitable tent site at the end of a long day.

This is particularly apposite (in forested areas obviously) when you can expect very wet conditions (as in Fiordland). If you are unable to camp on the ground, you will be in very serious trouble indeed (there) if you only have a ten or tarp. People die. Be warned. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/03/12/an-ultralight-hammock/

08/03/2021: Trouble With Water Filters: I have learned this about water filters. When your need is greatest they do not filter water! This is a serious problem!

My late uncle Ken Jones used always to wear a felt hat (as did his father George – and so on no doubt into the mists of time). This  was a certainly sound practice and I may have Della making me some to my own design (she is a master/mistress feltmaker).

He used always to place his hat upside down into a muddy puddle using it to filter the worst of the muck then drink from the inside of the hat. At least you get a drink.

A water filter blocks almost immediately if the water is at all muddy – so if it is really only good for filtering tap water, what good is it really?

You need to make use of some sort of garment like this as my uncle/grandfather used to do. Perhaps collecting the water then pouring it though the garment filter a number of times until it is suitable for the water filter (or just for drinking)! Mind you I have drunk black water many times and I am not dead (yet)!'

Yes, this is absolutely true, your 'wonderful' Sawyer Mini or Katahdin etc water filter will block up almost instantly if you are in dire need and must filter really muddy water such as that from a sambar wallow, animal soak, or roadside puddle etc and you will gain no drinkable water at all from it.

It will work well in filtering crystal clear tap or stream water should you think you need to. Many people do not, including myself. It could be useful in removing eg viruses from questionable water sources in rural Nepal or somewhere but in most mountain areas in Australia the water filter will be almost completely unnecessary and largely useless.

A (wool) felt beret or beanie on the other hand will keep you head nice and warm on a cold night and also make a rather nasty puddle into something which is fit to drink. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/03/08/trouble-with-water-filters/





08/03/2021: Wonnangatta Breakthrough? https://7news.com.au/news/missing-person/drone-found-during-search-for-missing-campers-russell-hill-and-carol-clay-in-victoria-c-2307626?fbclid=IwAR37JPvYQDaKzztKBi-cQfC4kus0Kk9WT_uXlKhw3n8DQk8A3coLxI2wAjY


07/03/2021: The perfect bank robber's getaway vehicle - a 75 mph scooter: https://escooternerds.com/fastest-electric-scooters/?fbclid=IwAR1Nb6G4ZiGh7lIS9bUAbswKXcZglhOF2oGMXR9IB6ENsmxsDnqa_nA9wBM


06/03/2021: Wonnangatta Murder Update: A reader has alerted me to this new ‘documentary’ which you my or may not have caught. You can watch it for free by creating an account at the link/s: https://9now.nine.com.au/60-minutes/60-minutes-under-investigation-where-are-carol-clay-and-russell-hill/dfcacbb3-7507-4cd6-aa43-078d242c94a0  & https://www.9now.com.au/under-investigation/2021/episode-1  


As with much of the earlier reporting this one also illustrates the poor quality of journalism in Australia. It is completely unclear whether any of the ‘evidence’ which it presents is at all dependable. The only ‘new’ item to me (which I am willing to accept) concerns the location of the campsite which it now appears was not in a large clearing (as I previously thought).


This does re-introduce the possibility of one of them having been accidentally shot by ‘yahoo’’ spotlighters who then shot the other one to conceal their crime then disposed of the bodies and burned their camp (for like reason). As I said earlier, for this to have happened there would have to have been two perpetrators (one driving the car, handling the lights, the other with the gun).


If only one person, then the person would have realised they were seeing a human in the time between seeing the ‘eyes’ and stopping the car/picking up the gun. Two people would also make it easier to heft the bodies (so a tray truck could be involved).


I still think this is unlikely as surely there were other people within heaing of gunshot/s who would have by now reported same to police so that we would have heard of shooting/s.


The programme makes much of a ‘cowboy figure’ who was involved in the search (wearing a Stetson and leather soled boots no less!) This person reports having found a beheaded deer carcass within 50 metres of Russell’s camp (and ‘many’ others) which was ‘less than two days old’


But ‘his’ search took place a week after their disappearance! If it was shot after the couple disappeared that would be a surprise! If before, then it would not have been ‘fresh’ and would have been thoroughly eaten by wild dogs etc.


This person also claims to have talked to ‘a blackberry sprayer’ who ‘saw’ Russell’s drone flying over their own camp on the Friday ‘night’. This would be interesting ‘new’ evidence if true, but it is highly questionable. For a start police would have certainly mentioned this ‘fact’ much earlier.


Mind you, if it is true it might indicate that Russell realised he had been followed and wanted to get a look at his follower. Suspicion might re-focus on the ‘Button Man’ if this were the case, but I suspect the ‘evidence’ is pretty thin.


The programme also claimed that Russell had camped at ths spot ‘a week before’ and had intimate knowledge of the valley (even having built the Zeka track) but earlier reporting explained how Russell had radioed his friend before he drove into the valley for instructions about how to get there, and claimed that he had (likely) camped at the Crossroads the week before and also the night before.


The ‘cowboy’ further claimed that Russell and Carol’s cards (not credit cards or money) had been taken out of their wallets and scattered around in the car and that the car was left locked and that the keys were missing. Earlier reporting however said that the keys were in the vehicle.


This report claimed that Russell’s elastic-sided boots and both ‘sleeping bags’ were missing as well as the previously mentioned phones and drone. This would be new and interesting/puzzling ‘evidence’ if it had the slightest chance of being true. Goodness only knows.


The ‘forensic fire’ expert and the ex-detective were absolutely hopeless. For example, the former claimed to have examined the flammability of the tent etc and claimed that it would not have continued burning unless there was an accelerant (something police had already given an opinion about), but he missed the obvious fact that the fly had burned away completely in the air even scorching the side of the car where it was tied but not the ground beneath – clearly without an accelerant!

As for the detective, he let the ‘cowboy’ tell of a nearby camper who was allegedly overflown by a drone, then speculate about the couple having been shot by deer hunters though the ‘neighbour’ failed to notice that fairly obvious (loud) fact! Really, the people who put this show together were simply idiots. They do not even seem to have bothered to have read previous accounts and police reports about the incident. They have just decided to try to create something out of nothing.


Unfortunately I do not think the programme adds anything to our knowledge of this mystery. I sill think a careful search (on foot) of the strip of bush within fifty yards of all the tracks leading out of the valley needs to be undertaken (if it has not been already). This might find items of clothing which would lead to scattered remains. It is unlikely though that even finding the bodies now would point us to the perpetrator/s.


This double murder may go down in history as just as unsolved as the two which took place at (nearly) the same spot a hundred years before. The previous murder may even be the biggest clue to this particular mystery. Five police are apparently still working full-time on the case. Older, more baffling cases than this have eventually been solved. People often slip up or blab for example.


06/03/2021: Most of the human story is underneath the sea – like these amazing caves: https://notesonliberty.com/2021/03/04/cave-paintings-and-elementary-science-2/

05/03/2021: A longship twice as long as Colombus’s tub Santa Maria - the Vikings really knew how to travel: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/60885


05/03/2021: Starship X: All that success, and then disaster: https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/breaking-space-x-starship-10-sticks-the-landing/


04/03/2021: New techniques will continue to open ‘boxes’ which are closed to us now (eg the ‘animated faces’ I posted about a couple of days ago), and now this: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/60881


04/03/2021: Back from the Dead. I never thought I would see my father (who died when I was 13, long before there were videos) ever smile again, but here he is. The world is an amazing place. Try it yourself: https://blog.myheritage.com/2021/02/new-animate-the-faces-in-your-family-photos/

Original Photo for comparison:


PS: I have had to turn this into a small GIF to post it here, but on my home computer it is a beautifully clear full screen moving picture. Utterly astonishing.


See Also: https://newatlas.com/computers/deepfake-nostalgia-myheritage-animate-deceased-relatives/ & https://www.deidentification.co/reenactment/#live-portrait


03/03/2021: Worth knowing: T-rex would need to consume @ one ten year old child per day in order to survive. I'm sure we have all known at least one of the latter who would best be utilised in this way (Think: little brother/sister!) Alternatively each T-rex would need about 80 Big Macs, so even a small town could support a few: http://what-if.xkcd.com/78/

02/03/2021: Double the Fun – no licence required (in the US): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUB4apRcsek&feature=emb_title

02/03/2021: You worry about the redback on the toilet seat – this woman was bitten on the arse by a bear in the dunny: https://www.wtxl.com/news/national-news/alaska-woman-using-outhouse-attacked-by-bear-from-below

29/02/2021: Happy Trails: Thanks to reader Normand for this suggestion: People often ask when I am going to start making versions of my DIY tents for sale, and the answer remains, ‘How long is a piece of string?’

It is hard to get into a completely new enterprise post-70. If there is someone out there who wants to partner with me in the development and marketing of some of my ‘inventions’ (and take the lion’s share of the rewards) please get in contact.

Meanwhile, Normand’s suggestion for a similar tent to some of mine is the excellent firm  Appy Trails Lightweight Tents who offer some very economical lightweight shelters though these do not double as hammock shelters as my Deer Hunter’s tent #2, Grey Flyer and 10 x 10 Tarp do.

However, they are available right now from US$39.95 (tarp tent) & US$99/95 3 Person Tent. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/02/28/happy-trails/

29/02/2021: Wow! Haircut Using Chainsaw: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fToKIr0RAY&feature=emb_title

28/02/2021:Wonnangatta Proof Testing: My Kevlar skid pad canoe repairs on a delightful overnight trip on a couple of beautiful warm days with abundant water from Kingwill Bridge to Hut Creek. We planned for a longer trip but Della began feeling unwell (and I blew up a clutch in one of the cars) so we had to cut it short. Thanks goodness we can still hitch-hike – and thanks to Terry and Nick for giving us a lift! Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/02/27/wonnangatta-proof-testing/

27/02/2021: Gerber Folding Machete: The Gerber Folding Machete. What a brilliant idea! Length 15.1 in -38 cm  (unfolded - about half that folded) Weight 18 oz around 500 grams. You can chop, split or shave with it, and it fits comfortably and safely in your pack (or on your hip via the included pouch) US$139 (Feb 2021).

It is probably not a replacement for the World's Greatest Machete for serious track clearing (or this beauty) but it is awesome and handy. You really need to carry a fixed blade of some sort for splitting woods to Light a Fire in the Wet - a point I have made many times before. If you have no other source of water, you need a hatchet or similar cutting tool to get at standing wood in saplings  (See Hatchet). This may be your perfect survival tool. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/02/27/gerber-folding-machete/

25/02/2021: Kevlar Skid Pads : Our Old Town Pack Angler canoes really don’t tolerate hard knocks on rough rapids well. Bruce and I tore a couple of holes in them when we came down the Macalister in late Spring (See Carpe Diem). I ordered the Kevlar to undertake these repairs back then but of course I didn’t get around to doing them until the day we wanted to use them again on a couple of lovely warm days with enough water on the Wonnangatta this week.

Just like everyone else my only experience of fibreglassing is in filling a few rust holes in old bomb cars over the years, but I was ‘willing to give it a go’.  The result works even if it is not pretty. I can see ways that I can improve, and with fibreglass you can always come back and add another layer, or more resin, which this job needs. It also encourages me to try a bigger project some time (such as a complete canoe – who knows? Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/02/25/kevlar-skid-pads/

24/02/2021: On Horseback Among the Eagle Hunters and Herders of the Mongolian Altai: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/22/travel/mongolia-eagle-hunters.html?referringSource=articleShare

22/02/2021: Khoresh: foods I have never tasted: https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/food/articles/khoresh-stew-unites-iranian-jewish-expatriates

20/02/2021: Prunes: (Della) Our lovely prune tree which we planted over 30 years ago has had its last crop. It has been sickly for the past decade or more and its crops of purple skinned, yellow-fleshed prunes had been steadily diminishing until a couple of weeks ago a wind bought down half of the tree, leaving only a small portion of rotted trunk and associated limbs behind.

We have yet to remove the debris, but as the plums on the fallen branches were ready for picking I was able to get a reasonable harvest as the whole crop was within my reach for once! No doubt the birds felt cheated by my advantage. Usually we just eat what we can manage fresh, but this year's haul made me think of drying the prunes. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/02/22/prunes/

15/02/2021: Amazing – music from 18,000 years ago: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/60733

15/02/2021: UFOs – will we soon know what they are: https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/pentagon-drops-ufo-bombshell/

14/02/2021: Bernard Cornwell seems to be right: Stonehenge was moved from Wales: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-56029203

13/02/2021: Forbidden Wilderness: Della and I are just back from a four day backpacking exploration of one of our greatest alpine wildernesses, the Mt Darling Snowy Bluff Wilderness created in 1983. This is a trackless mountain vastness suitable only for the most experienced outdoor adventurers. We return ‘bowed but unbroken’. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/02/13/forbidden-wilderness/

13/02/2021: Yet another reason to use Nexgard (monthly) on your pooch: https://www.portlincolntimes.com.au/story/7110764/worst-fears-realised-deadly-dog-disease-has-already-spread-south/?fbclid=IwAR1Io6Zhce6iTbfClK4SPki20sqk4Ris17qMkc2lVEnQ2DXyysyj7Sszoo8

9/02/2021: The delights of ‘environmentalism’; the Handkerchief. Who knew someone would re-invent an item I have carried in my pocket every day of my life: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/193289139/lasttissue-big-the-reusable-facial-tissue-box/?utm_term=e5e6f242-4ee8-4cf4-92d4-c6d6160e779e&utm_content=23846649217750076&utm_source=23846649217750076&utm_medium=FB&utm_campaign=TRS

9/02/2021: The ‘missing’ universe has been found: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/02/07/student-astronomer-finds-galactic-missing-matter/

7/02/2021: Where do birds sleep? Lots of places, but not in nests: https://slate.com/technology/2014/01/where-do-birds-sleep-roosting-in-nests-water-flocks-cavities.html

5/02/2021: Sub Ounce Per Pair Camp Shoes: I have been (very belatedly) making Della a pair of these using the 'pattern' I made my own with some years ago. That post says they weighed 19 grams but that was including the closed cell foam inserts. 13 without! That was in US Size 9.

Della's in US Women's Size 6 weigh just 10 grams each (without the string and cord lock which will add less than a gram). This probably saves around 300 grams' pack weight as compared with carrying the lightest 'camp shoes' available.

I have included some instructions this time so you could make your own if you have moderate sewing skills. I think you could manage well enough with hand sewing if you do not own a machine. I used the 3.6 oz Dyneema fabric available eg from RipstopbytheRoll as it is a bit lighter than the 4.8 oz. Mine have 'worn' quite well. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/02/05/sub-ounce-per-pair-camp-shoes/

5/02/2021: A Really Long Walk With You. Fifty years ago I first met Della, who has been life itself to me ever since. She was good enough to marry me 48 years ago (next week). Some people set out on a ‘through hike’ (perhaps the Alps Walk or Appalachian Trail) thinking to complete a really long walk. Fifty years with you walking beside me is the real thing. People often say they love someone ‘to the moon and back’ but we have probably walked together something rather like like that distance in our nearly 20,000 days together – anyway several times around the world. I am hoping we can toddle along together a little further yet awhile as it is the best of all possible lives.


04/02/2021: Spot’s DIY Ultralight Dog Sleeping Bag #2: Our Jack Russells, Spot and Honey need new sleeping bags. The old ones, made hastily years ago from scraps of an old poor quality down sleeping bag were never very satisfactory – and were too heavy. I searched the net for designs but could not find a satisfactory one so I started from scratch myself.

Spot is looking pleased as he thinks I got his old bed out as we are going camping – which we are soon, after I have made their new beds, and a couple of other things!

After many models (which did not work), I finally came up with this design which does. The proportions are now good as the Tyvek prototype I made to check out the appropriate size was 2″ short and 1″ too narrow for supreme doggie comfort – though I think they would actually have snuggled down aright.

When I make the final one using the proportions in the diagram it will fit just right. On the left side is a drawing showing the dog (sort of) sleeping inside Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/02/03/spots-diy-ultralight-dog-sleeping-bag-2/

01/02/2021: Useful Advice: How to survive three days in the wild: https://www.popsci.com/story/diy/how-to-survive-three-days-outdoors/

30/01/2021: A land animal as big as a blue whale:  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-9160381/Fossils-98-million-year-old-dino-unearthed-Argentina-largest-land-animal-ever.html

28/01/2021: Handy Tool: https://www.popsci.com/story/shop/mini-circular-saws/

27/01/2021: Tooth Powder: So you have made your ultralight toothbrush spoon but are still lugging around all that heavy toothpaste or painfully drying it. You should know that tooth powder is a thing (and has been for a long time).

You can even buy your favourite brand (Colgate). Some studies even show that it is better for cleaning your teeth - as well as saving you a few grams. What's not to like? Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/01/26/tooth-powder/

26/01/2021: Instant Underpants. Just add water. Great idea: https://mcphee.com/products/instant-underpants

24/01/2021: A Bag Full of Tricks – alternative title: ‘It’s All in the Bag’ – ultralight stuff sacks, ziplocks or ditty bags for hiking. This is not just about weight saving but also about spoilage and organisation. However there are significant weight savings too.

For example the ubiquitous (Glad) Ziplock bag is really quite heavy. Try weighing a standard sandwich bag and you will see what I mean. If you just keep throwing one after another in your pack it will not be very long before you have added 100 grams in storage bags alone.

There are lighter brands if you must use them, and significant weight savings can be made by choosing smaller ones – usually not available in supermarkets.

(.5oz/yd2) Cuben fibre bags with micro cord locks are much lighter (in the same sizes) and reusable many, many times. I have found cuben tends to shred relatively quickly though compared with lightweight nylon so usually I make my own ‘ditty’ bags out of eg .7 oz/yd2 nylon. Instructions here: DIY Stuff Sacks. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/01/24/a-bag-full-of-tricks/

20/01/2021: This is a really great tip: Turn kitchen scissors into good Kevlar shears in seconds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG6ZFA543BI Basically you roughen the edge (not the cutting edge) with a grinder so the scissors ‘catch’ the slippery Kevlar fibre. Now you can think about making your own carbon/kevlar canoe. I am: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/01/03/lightest-carbon-fibre-canadian-canoe/


19/01/2021: Relax This Morning With Dancing Birds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMFfHVGu8-0&feature=emb_title


18/01/2021: A Burial so Poignant: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/60474

15/01/2021: An Ultralight Hiker's Xmas: Many of you perhaps wonder what might be the 'dream' present for your ultralight hiker/hunter beloved. Maybe if I told you about my beloved's choice (for me) for the last two-three 'spoiling' occasions it might give you some inspiration?

For example for Xmas she bought me this beautiful little pack rifle which I have been wanting for some time. May also help me protect her from wild dogs. It is an under 500 gram .22 calibre single shot, but it should do the trick at putting the occasional bunny/duck etc in the pot. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/01/15/an-ultralight-hikers-xmas/

15/01/2021: Save This Brave Pigeon: https://abcnews.go.com/Weird/wireStory/australia-kill-pigeon-crossed-pacific-oregon-75242726

11/01/2021: A Golden Queen: Della: ‘This evening's harvest of Golden Queen peaches and apricots: How beautifully they glow in the early evening light! The wet spring and summer has given us bountiful fruit this year.The blood plums were ready over Christmas and New Year, and the bulk of that crop had either fallen or been eaten by the cockies before we knew it. We have 2 later varieties almost ready though, so we will get a second and a third chance. Meanwhile we have been munching on glorious plumcots and yellow "Simon Demon" plums. The Golden Queen peaches are my favourite yellow clingstone variety, firm and tasty for both eating and preserving. The little stunted tree has outdone itself this year, and I am wondering where I am going to find the time this week to preserve what we can't eat ...A job for another day, most certainly, but with shearing about to begin, I am not quite sure which day it might be’


8/01/2021: Super Ultralight Tent Pegs: Sometimes you just need a really, really ultralight peg. These guys will not have the same 'purchase' as a heavier, thicker diameter or longer peg bu they are super ultralight: only one or two grams each. They might suit for pegging down the edge of your ultralight titanium DIY Hobo Stove for example, or for pinning down your (small) dog sleeping bags. Maybe even for (intermediate pegs) eg on your ground sheet - anything which needs horizontal location without much 'lift' and which does not require too much strength. Probably many other uses. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/01/08/super-ultralight-tent-pegs/

6/01/2021: I have to have one (or two) of these a .50 calibre air rifle: https://www.airforceairguns.com/product-p/u2050.htm Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsSYngXbCc0 More: https://heyshooters.com/best-big-bore-air-rifle/ Wow – a 12 shot .35 calibre air rifle which will take down a deer: https://www.amazon.com/Gamo-Winchester-Bore-70-35-Rifle/dp/B079SYPL6H?tag=deeheyshooters-20

05/01/2021: Lightest Carbon Fibre Canadian Canoe: Here’s the lightest carbon fibre Canadian I could find the Hornbeck Blackjack at 11 lbs (5 kg). An interesting alternative to a packraft. You could make one yourself (say 5 kg) having first made a plywood version such as this Peasemarch 10  or Dengemarsh 10 17-18 kg version as a mould. An interesting couple of weekend’s work. You can buy the carbon fibre cloth cheaply enough from eg Aliexpress. Or: New DIY Pack Raft  – the ultralight version weighs 815 grams and costs $A$ $227.46 (Jan 2021) Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/01/03/lightest-carbon-fibre-canadian-canoe/


04/01/2021: Grand Teton National Park –all those moose: https://twitter.com/i/status/1343655037877317636 - what a hunting opportunity this must be: https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2021/01/10th-circuit-rules-nps-cant-regulate-hunting-grand-teton-inholdings

03/01/2021: Mighty Oaks: As they say 'from little acorns grow'. Yet there are those who debunk some of my modest efforts to reduce minor aspects of my pack weight (such as my recent 'Toothbrush Spoon' post -which saves at least 10 grams), or my DIY Ten Gram Pillow which probably saves you at least an ounce (or 30 grams).

I know even my own son opined that he was quite happy to carry the extra 10 grams even when I pointed out to him that to do so was the equivalent (in kilograms) of moving ten times that number (ie 100 kilograms) a distance of 1 metre. See A Lazy Man's Guide to Hiking and Hunting.

These tiny savings can add up, so that soon you have saved 100 grams or even a kilogram off your pack weight. the equivalents respectively of having moved 1 tonne or ten tonnes a distance of a metre - a considerable amount of work which I pointed out to him would involve his having had to carry quite a quantity of extra food to have performed. Itself something which also requires work, and so on, ad infinitum!

Even though I years ago thought I had pretty much completed all my major pack weight savings, nonetheless every year I seem to find the odd other wrinkle which still makes a difference. You will notice that many of these weight savings were quite cheap or DIY. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/01/03/mighty-oaks/

02/01/2021: 76 Gram Cookset: I am putting together an overnight/weekend kit which is as ultralight as I can get it. I will probably carry it in my 193 Gram Pack. It will definitely include this cook set. The pot is the Evernew EBT278R 55 gram 570 ml pot.You can find it on Amazon for example for US 22.90 (Jan 2021), possibly elsewhere cheaper.

Inside is my titanium roll-up hobo stove weighing 20 grams which you can make yourself in a few minutes using simple hand tools for a cost of US$4. I will need a couple of ultralight tent stakes (not these ones - well, the paint will burn off quickly!) and a wooden spoon (as shown) and I m good to go. I will add one of these 'Hot Lips' so I don't burn my lips. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2021/01/02/76-gram-cookset/