Della & I (combined age then 120) heading
off from Freney Lagoon on the second day of our walk across
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
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
ULTRALIGHT HIKING BLOG:
The Ultralight Hiker on the Dusky Track Fiordland 2017
07/12/2022: New Pack Suspension System: For years I have been quite dissatisfied with backpack straps. They place a quite unnecessary and undue strain on a small area of the shoulders. It seems to me that for horses this problem was solved back in circa the C14th with the invention of the horse collar and associated hardware to allow a horse to pull a heavy load without destroying the horse.
Most pack manufacturers have decided that 'transferring the load' (somehow) to the hips via a hip belt is the solution. It is not. That 'solution' only acts (rather like other forms of torture such as foot binding to transfer the problem elsewhere without solving it at all. A hip belt restricts movement and comfort in just a different sort of way, that is all. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/12/06/new-pack-suspension-system/
06/12/2022: “We are this season’s people. We are all the people there are, this season. If we blow it, it’s blown.” Schlomo Carlebach
05/12/2022: Good dog
01/12/2022: The largest squid weigh half a tonne and live in the deep ocean. Much smaller cephalopods have been shown to be intelligent. Is SETI looking in the wrong place? Should we be making efforts to establish communication with these guys? https://www.livescience.com/what-is-largest-squid
01/12/2022: An important lesson from Willis Eschenbach today, (couldn’t agree more), “I learned early about the importance of sharp tools. My second real job, at 13 years of age for $0.30 per hour ($3.00 per hour in 2022 dollars), was digging out a foundation for a new house with a pick and a shovel. And looking back, I was probably worth about that much per hour.
In those halcyon pre-PC days, working with a shovel was called “Playing the Swedish banjo”. Here’s a recent picture of me doing that very thing:
And I’ve played the Swedish banjo for more reasonable wages a number of times since I was 13.
Perhaps as a result of my work history, I divide folks into three groups:
26/11/2022: Titanaboa: Thank goodness we do not still have these guys in the back garden: https://www.thoughtco.com/titanoboa-worlds-biggest-prehistoric-snake-1093334
24/11/2022: DIY Crampons Equals 4WD Boots: I have had a number of falls and am still suffering from a sore (almost dislocated) shoulder and similarly sprained wrist but there is still much work to do. So recently I bought (from a local Bolt shop) some 15mm hex-headed self-tapping screws. These only came in stainless steel so were fairly dear at $20 per 100, but for this purpose you only need perhaps 20, so it will not break the bank. You can screw them directly into the soles of your boots (i used an electric drill) in suitable spots to create quasi 'hob-nailed boots'. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/11/23/diy-crampons-equals-4wd-boots/
23/11/2022: Sword of Damocles: A wild and windy night! We were checking on the creek and dams this morning after all the bad weather and discovered this new "Sword of Damocles"which had obviously launched itself from the huge blue gum above, embedding itself firmly and deeply in the ground on the track below. So glad no-one was underneath at the time! All the branches below are another blue-gum giant that came down last winter. It is still waiting for the farm to dry out enough so that we can get machinery in to undertake the task of removing it
22/11/2022: Back to the moon: https://phys.org/news/2022-11-nasa-moon-mission-exceeding-expectaions.html
22/11/2022: Reality is not what we think it is. This may not affect how many elephants there are in the room but might affect how many angels there are on a pin-head: https://bigthink.com/starts-with-a-bang/reality-objective-exist/
22/11/2022: Why it is hard to say ‘extinction is forever’: https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-just-spotted-this-large-colorful-pigeon-that-no-one-has-seen-in-140-years?fbclid=IwAR2l_hjt-6ECqR3vY4rlxRhNeirDrFkWKwLkGNCLJluOAyeZ75crWgCeqZ8
20/11/2022: The Joy
of Closed Roads: As a follow-up to my post Find
Your Own Places to Explore can I suggest that for years (in
18/11/2022: And now we have $250 hearing aids. All along it was a scam: https://www.foxnews.com/tech/apple-airpods-cheaper-alternative-hearing-aids
18/11/2022: A great way to teach science: https://bearingarms.com/camedwards/2022/11/15/coolest-high-school-science-class-ever-takes-students-hunting-n64411
14/11/2022: Hydrogen-Boron Fusion Looks like a good idea. A million year’s of electric power available – will that be enough? https://asiatimes.com/2020/04/hydrogen-boron-fusion-could-be-a-dream-come-true/
09/11/2022: Making VR more real, now a VR headset which actually kills you. Great idea: https://www.independent.co.uk/tech/oculus-headset-killer-palmer-luckey-nervegear-b2219992.html
06/11/2022: Tocharus – a fascinating site if you are interested in the importance of ancient history: https://tocharus.substack.com/p/the-diet-of-slaves
05/11/2022: A real anti-aging treatment – bring it on: https://scitechdaily.com/unexpected-scientists-discover-an-anti-aging-mechanism/
05/11/2022: I see the Chinese nearly lobbed a huge rocket on us (and probably you too). Only luck it did not squash us. Not really good enough Mr Xi – Try to emulate Elon in future: https://joannenova.com.au/2022/11/good-citizen-china-carelessly-crashes-23-tons-of-space-junk-on-earth-gets-lucky-but-300-flights-in-spain-delayed/
31/10/2022: House hunting on Mars: https://dnyuz.com/2022/10/29/house-hunting-on-mars-has-already-started/
28/10/2022: Thomson Dam at 99.8%. It’s going to flow over – tomorrow probably. Second time only – maybe you missed it in 1996. Quite a sight. Plus lunch at the Erica, Rawson or Walhalla Pubs, but book: https://www.melbournewater.com.au/water-data-and-education/water-storage-levels#/ PS: It has gone over – view from the power station is the best:
27/10/2022: ‘Free’ Power Bank: 'Waste not, want not' was another of my mother's favourite maxims - one I have certainly taken to heart, as my wife will attest as I has fill our house and sheds up with all sorts of 'mathoms' - hobbit for 'junk'.
I had two 'dead' laptop batteries which I probably ought to have binned or recycled but today (it was raining) I decided to dismantle them instead and stripped off the welded tabs. Each contained 6 x 18650 rechargeable lithium batteries.
Each cell was dead flat. After placing them in the single power bank I recommended here they (surprisingly) all came back 'to life'. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/10/26/free-power-bank/
27/10/2022: "By 2001...a chicken reached the weight at which it would be killed in one-third of the time and after eating one-third of the food compared with the 1957 breed...represents...reduction in waste and in the..land devoted to growing feed per chicken" http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/genetics-bigger-chickens
26/10/2022: World’s dirtiest man dies (at 94): https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/worlds-dirtiest-man-dies-aged-94-months-after-taking-his-first-shower-in-67-years/news-story/257c86cf8ba484dc5c90add6a5c95136
to the North Pole: https://us.ponant.com/destinations/the-arctic Should you think this voyage is down to
‘global warming you shuld realise nuclear subs have been doing it for a long
and that the Vikings always used the North-West passge in their voyages to
Greenland. They had to abandon their
23/10/2022: SpaceX is really transforming space – not to mention communications here on earth. Rumour has it that Musk will ‘soon’ add functionality to Starlink which will allow cellphones to also act as satellite phones (when away from a conventional tower). That would be a game-changer: https://www.space.com/spacex-starlink-group-4-36-satellites-launch
22/10/2022: Hajimari Boomerang Ball – have your kids got this amazing toy yet? https://hajimariball.com/
21/10/2022: The Simplest Electric ‘Motor’ – the black cylinder is a battery and the round object is a magnet. There are so many true and enchanting things children can be taught about the world without stuffing their developing brains with falsehoods and creeds: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg25534051-100-show-children-how-to-make-a-simple-e lectric-motor-with-a-magnet/
16/10/2022: ‘1883’ –
a great new series.
16/10/2022: Disappointments of time travel: https://www.ancient-origins.net/artifacts-ancient-technology/ancient-technology-0017394
16/10/2022: Bring it on: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-10-scientists-osteoarthritis.html
15/10/2022: ‘Derry Girls’,
the funniest thing to come out of
14/10/2022: Find Your Own Places to Explore An ‘extension’ of an earlier post, Gully Walking
I have always liked Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’
even though I realised long ago how much he/it owed toward my even more
favourite poet, Edward Thomas. However I too long ago “took the one less
traveled by, And that has made all the difference” as Frost reflects, and I
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
It is all very well (as a beginner hiker/outdoorsman) perhaps to first experience some of the outstanding ‘great walks’ which abound in your country, but soon you will realize that they are both too crowded and have long since stopped providing quite the bliss of solitude and exploration which perhaps their creation envisaged. But you have to start somewhere.
Before you head off on your own ‘road’ you first need to master some bushcraft skills such as I have been talking about here for quite some time. You need to be able to find your way unaided (ie with just your senses and intelligence through the trackless bush (for days at a time) – and this takes study and practice. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/10/13/find-your-own-places-to-explore/
13/10/2022: More questions for our time: Did Kosciuszko die of acne? http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/65336
10/10/2022: Merrin’s Wiggly Stick: This afternoon as I came out of the front door after lunch to go work on the tractor I saw the largest red-bellied black snake I think I had ever seen just sliding under the fridge on the verandah then it simply disappeared. I poked around under the fridge, even moved the fridge; yet there was no sign of it. I thought ‘No way such a large snake could be in the rat bait station next to the fridge’ but when I lifted the lid there it was. I suspect it had been there before. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/10/10/merrins-wiggly-stick/
08/10/2022: Eating on the Wild Side – cheaper than the supermarket anyway: https://www.amazon.com.au/Eating-Wild-Side-Pharmacologic-Implications/dp/0816520674?asin=B08W9LRC7D&revisionId=e17c26ab&format=1&depth=1
07/10/2022: Be Prepared: 'A word to the wise is enough'. Unfortunately for most people 'a word' is not enough. Every year world-wide tens of thousands of poorly prepared people disappear or meet their end in the back country when they should have just been having fun, admiring the view of that far horizon, peering around the river's bend to see what's there and breathing that clear cool air deeply. I hope I can prevent a few such unfortunate events. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/10/05/be-prepared/
06/10/2022: Might be nice if you like cruising: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EouzzYmXyhA&t=3621s
02/10/2022: Best strategies for longevity: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-09-older-adults-factors.html
30/09/2022: Should we live a riskier existence – an interesting perspective: https://www.city-journal.org/bring-back-risk?utm_source=pocket_mylist
28/09/2022: One Pacific island which is definitely not shrinking: https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/natural-wonders/new-island-discovered-in-pacific-ocean-after-tonga-underwater-volcano-eruption/news-story/2168f014f4b7f78efb2492f1b8a73cfa
27/09/2022: It is not just our family of Joneses which arose from this Ely swamp: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/65203
26/09/2022: Astonishing images from Jupiter: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-11238745/NASAs-Juno-probe-snaps-stunning-photo-Jupiters-clouds-look-like-frosting-cupcake.html
25/09/2022: Very well done: https://www.fieldandstream.com/fishing/kayak-angler-catches-marlin-hawaii/
25/09/2022: Back from the dead: https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/ancient-aphrodisiac-0017316
23/09/2022: How to scan and share old print photos with your phone. Maybe this is a solution? Get the App 'PhotoScan by Google Photos' from the Google Play Store. The App takes several photos of the original and puts them together, finds the edges corrects them & etc. Scan the photos during the daylight maybe on the verandah. You don't want reflected light from an overhead lamp etc. If you have a decent phone camera this will make a beautiful photo in seconds. It works: https://www.google.com/photos/scan/
18/09/2022: The Best Five Backpacking Blogs. Of course we were delighted to have our humble blog chosen to be amongst the best in the world in this comprehensive survey. Feedspot's Best Ultralight Backpacking Blogs. Thank you to Anuj and his staff for their endorsement.
It has been a lot of hard work and is all the more extraordinary in that it is not a commercial site and is pretty much all my own work (with a lot of help and support from Della, my wonderful wife of fifty years. Currently this post is post Number 1573 on our site – millions of words.
I admit my posting has slowed down a bit of late due equally to indifferent health, the demands of other work, the fact that I do not simply publicise every ‘new’ product which comes along whether I like it our not but chose to talk about only those which I like and which I think make a useful contribution to the goals of ‘ultralight’ – but more than anything to the fact that so many of my posts are about my own doings and inventions – and this takes time. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/09/17/best-five-backpacking-blogs/
17/09/2022: NASA finds organic matter ‘treasure’ on Mars: https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/nasa-rover-finds-organic-matter-treasure-on-mars/
15/09/2022: This 31,000 year old amputee’s finding shatters so many notions about the past: https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/earliest-amputee-borneo-0017238
14/09/2022: ‘Rings of Power’: We watched the first two episodes last night and found them surprisingly good (with some migivings admittedly). I really like Galadriel. The visual feast, especially the NZ scenery is a delight: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7631058/
12/09/2022: Just when I had a knee replacement they come up with a better option: https://scitechdaily.com/fixing-knee-pain-new-cartilage-substitute-is-better-than-the-real-thing/
10/09/2022: Icebreaker’s merino wool caps are the best, and they are on special right now. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/09/08/best-deer-hunters-cap-best-ultralight-cap/
09/09/2022: Farewell you great lady, Lillibet. The very last Seekers’ song just released (for Judith’s memorial) is a fitting tribute I think: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwhXSsjHz3k
05/09/2022: Camp chairs have been a thing for a long time: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/65004
03/09/2022: If you can’t afford a boat, how about a giant pumkin: https://www.agweb.com/news/crops/crop-production/squash-record-nebraska-pumpkin-grower-paddles-846-lb-pumpkin-missouri
02/09/2022: Best Tarp Seam Stitch: If you are joining ultralight waterproof material such as Membrane Silpoly as I am just now to make a new version of my 7 x 7 Poncho Multi Tarp this stitch seems to work better than anything I have ever come across before. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/09/02/best-tarp-seam-stitch/
29/08/2022: 7 x 7 Poncho Multi Tarp: This is an addendum to the post Secrets of Shelter. I know some of you just didn't believe my claims about the 7' x 7' tarp so I dug out my old one for a bit of a photo shoot. This 7' x 7' tarp can be used as a ground or hammock shelter or as a poncho - and weighs just over 120 grams. Read more: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/08/28/7-x-7-poncho-multi-tarp/
27/08/2022: Secrets of Shelter: I deem that shelter is the most important primary need which you can supply yourself. You certainly must master the secrets of shelter.
No doubt all of you have heard about Maslow's 'hierarchy of needs'. You will (perhaps) note that amongst the four 'physiological' needs he lists is 'Homeostasis', ie being able to maintain a constant temperature, something you may take for granted being a mammal - but that only means you have not been put to the test! Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/08/26/secrets-of-shelter/
27/08/2022: Why we have biosecurity –
this is how a rabid fox behaves. Della and I both had our rabies shots
before we went to
21/08/2022: Poem for today. (We have had a grandchildren’s sleepover at our house).
The Childrens' Hour
Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
That is known as the Children's Hour.
I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.
From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
And Edith with golden hair.
A whisper, and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.
A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!
They climb up into my turret
O'er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.
They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the
Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!
I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.
And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!
19/08/2022: Laser spacecraft propulsion is coming. “On the eventual upper end, a full scale system (50-100 GW) will propel a wafer-scale spacecraft with a meter class reflector (laser sail) to about c/4 in a few minutes of laser illumination allowing hundreds of launches per day or 100,000 missions per year. Such a system would reach the distance to Mars (1 AU) in 30 minutes, pass Voyager I in less than 3 days, pass 1,000 AU in 12 days, and reach Alpha Centauri in about 20 years.” https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2022/08/technology-to-make-interstellar-missions-possible-and-affordable.html
18/08/2022: Maybe there are no higher or lower creatures: https://www.sapiens.org/biology/evolution-march-of-progress/ 17/08/2022: Good News – hearing aids may soon get to be ‘self-fitting’ and much cheaper: https://www.theverge.com/2022/8/16/23307974/hearing-aids-over-counter-fda-apple-bose
16/08/2022: Nuclear fusion achieved
in the lab at
14/08/2022: Short season crops, ie things which produce a harvest in as little time as possible are something you should be giving serious thought to. You need to be collecting seeds from such plants (not F1 hybrids from which no useful seeds can be collected). Many varieties of all the common vegetables were long ago developed for use in colder climes or to produce multiple crops in warmer ones. ‘Diggers’ is a good source. The mandated increases in the cost of energy (and the really desperate coming shortage if urea) will mean that food will become scarce or very expensive. We are building two greenhouses which will give us an abundance of ‘summer’ crops over winter and really heat dependent crops (eg melons) over summer here in Southern Vic where it is difficult to grow such things.Our vegie garden is also completely planted out already and will be expanded – as will our orchards. I notice greenhouses and seeds are already in short supply. When the urea finally dries up and the trucks stop bringing the produce down from the North things will get tough. Time to get out into the back yard with a hoe.
You can get your plants started early with a $10 propagator next to a window. Here you see several varieties of tomato, eggplant and capiscum already up. They will be in the greenhouse in a bit over a week. Some will produce crops by the end of September!
We will definitely take side trips to Long Point (Lighthouse) Hut and
the Slaughter Burn Hut on the way to/from the
12/08/2022: It would be good if we spent more time talking about important matters as eminent physicist Sir Roger Penrose does here: https://www.whyarewehere.tv/people/roger-penrose/
09/08/2022: A bad week for female
vocalists. Olivia gone now too. I used to run into her lots at
09/08/2022: Your Vitamin D levels are crucial: https://joannenova.com.au/2022/08/handy-tip-vitamin-d-deficiency-causes-chronic-inflammation-which-means-aging-dementia-bad-stuff/
08/08/2022: The Seekers – the
beginning. I just can’t help but post yet another tribute to Judith and her
amazing band mates. I know there will not be any Parliamentary Condolence
Debate as with Archie Roach. Have we lost what it is to be quintessentially
07/08/2022: Farewell Judith Durham 1943-2022. What a voice. Like most of my generation this is how I will always remember her: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mpd_9l9w4RI
07/08/2022: Curiosity – what a great little rover: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/08/05/ten-years-of-curiosity-on-mars/
06/08/2022: Time for some good news: https://nypost.com/2022/08/03/cognitive-decline-can-be-avoided-with-simple-everyday-exercises-new-study-suggests/?utm_medium=SocialFlow&utm_source=NYPTwitter&utm_campaign=SocialFlow
03/08/2022: This looks so promising: https://scitechdaily.com/at-last-an-effective-new-treatment-for-chronic-back-pain/
31/07/2022: NASA’s beautiful Jupiter imagery: https://www.cnet.com/science/space/nasa-spacecraft-images-watercolor-vortices-near-jupiters-north-pole/
30/07/2022: Stunning Footage Of Killer Whales Taking Down A Great White Shark – they are both horrible monsters. I would not want to be in the water with them: https://brobible.com/culture/article/first-ever-footage-orcas-killing-great-white-shark-stunning/
30/07/2022: “Coffee, tea or Bonox?”
Maybe you are old enough to remember the ad? In any case it is still available,
and it is still
29/07/2022: If only you got paid for it…decades after retiring from teaching Della and I still frequently dream about it. I doubt any of our ex-students (some of whom are nearing their 70s) get any subliminal benefit from this nocturnal behaviour– though I admit to feeling a desire sometimes to still correct their spelling and expression in their Facebook posts!
25/07/2022: Who invented ice cream - 2500 years ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bastani
24/07/2022: There are three maxims of
wisdom (which we should never forget) engraved on the
1. Know thyself.
2.Everything in moderation.
3. Certainty is ruin.
23/07/2022: The world’s greatest adventure – paleolithic seafaring. Imagine homo erectus and neanderthal venturing to cross hundreds of miles of open ocean – yet they did, up to 800,000 years ago: https://stoneageherbalist.substack.com/p/palaeolithic-seafaring
17/07/2022: Waterproofing Paper Maps:
I know the old John Donne map store in Little Bourke St Melbourne used to sell
a brush on (wax?) product for waterproofing paper topo (etc) maps called
perhaps 'Map Seal' or the like. I admit I have never used it, or a spray on
silicone normally designated for raincoats, boots etc (eg '
I have betimes laminated a paper map eg when traveling in Fiordland etc - but which makes them significantly heavier!) but for several years now I normally either forego a map, place it in a large snap-lock bag or use a phone app such as 'Paper Maps' and downloaded topo maps such as Vicmaps. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/07/16/waterproofing-paper-maps/
16/07/2022: Wide Shoes: If life came with a user's manual and we read it (unlikely - given how little we read other such manuals - else we would not have the acronym RTFM) we would probably give up much sooner. Now that I have slipped gracelessly into old age I am constantly coming across things which had they been in the manual would have filled me with trepidation if not despair. But enough of my woes!
Maybe it was because my left knee has been so worn out for so long and I was walking with such a pronounced and protracted limp but my right foot in particular seems to have been growing ever wider. This has been happening for a number of years. I used to wear size 8 UK Keen Targhees which were more than satisfactory when I posted about them here though I moved up from a Size 8UK to and 8.5UK because of toe problems encountered on the South Coast Track in 2014 walking out to Port Craig as I now recall. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/07/15/wide-shoes/
11/07/2022: A walk around the world: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/dateline/article/tom-turcich-is-set-to-become-the-10th-person-to-have-walked-around-the-world-his-dog-will-be-the-first/xuh5ani6p?fbclid=IwAR250IjHpnHB2WpWG11dlU_Y48KbVSctVvNs2SXNO1O7lKsHT4-H8W4rljA
09/07/2022: Soon a drug which will allow you to live to 200. Bring it on: https://thred.com/tech/drug-that-increases-human-lifespan-to-200-years-is-in-the-works/
07/07/2022: "Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em, And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum ." Jonathan Swift: https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/cern-atom-smashers-discover-3-new-exotic-particles/
05/07/2022: I think people were more likely to do this sort of thing 100 years ago even though there is clearly more wilderness out there today: http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/37769-Canoeing-with-the-Cree-A-cool-American-story.html
04/07/2022: Fascinating, beautiful noctilucent clouds: https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/rare-clouds-that-glow-in-the-dark-are-the-most-vibrant-in-15-years/ar-AAZ5Nks
03/07/2022: Who’d have thought – the Jurassic dinosaurs loved the cold, just like the Tuatara. No doubt they were warm-blooded and as woolly as any mammoth: https://scitechdaily.com/study-of-ancient-mass-extinction-reveals-dinosaurs-took-over-earth-amid-ice-not-warmth/
01/07/2022: I wonder whether this space-plane will ever fly? I’m sure Al Gore and his associates will want one though: https://www.ladbible.com/news/latest-hypersonic-jet-take-you-anywhere-on-earth-within-one-hour-20220617
01/07/2022: These guys are just getting too big. Soon they will be muscling us out of our homes: https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/06/new-bacterium-roughly-the-size-shape-of-an-eyelash-smashes-size-record/
30/06/2022: Some very big fish still
29/06/2022: Well, 1000km on a single charge – who’d have thought? https://newatlas.com/automotive/mercedes-eqxx-1202km-ev-range-record/
27/06/2022: Oz is back in the space race – a very long while since ‘Blue Streak’: https://www.skynews.com.au/business/science/nasa-launches-rockets-from-northern-territory-space-centre/video/5879fe829043008e2766d7c0b5783080
26/06/2022: Another baby mammoth – soon they will have enough of these little guys to bring them back from extinction: https://yukon.ca/en/news/mummified-baby-woolly-mammoth-found-gold-miner-klondike
26/06/2022: Perhaps getting your flu vax is a no-brainer after all: https://scitechdaily.com/flu-vaccination-linked-to-40-lower-risk-of-alzheimers-disease/
24/06/2022: Here’s a neat puzzle: https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/math/a39818039/missing-square-puzzle/
21/06/2022: Maybe they just got old – we are both having difficulty opening jars now: https://babylonbee.com/news/anthropologists-believe-that-all-female-amazon-tribe-collapsed-because-nobody-could-get-any-jars-open
21/06/2022: Good news I guess, but do I want to know – surely I just forgot where I left my keys: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-06-brain-scan-alzheimer-disease.html
19/06/2022: A robot in your brain: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-06-microrobot-device-brain-hemorrhages-due.html
19/06/2022: Happy 80th Paul MCCartney: https://quillette.com/2022/06/18/mccartney-at-80/ & https://pjmedia.com/columns/chris-queen/2022/06/18/happy-80th-birthday-paul-mccartney-n1606221
16/06/2022: One lucky cat: https://wafflesatnoon.com/cat-on-hang-glider/
15/06/2022: F Break: F Break is
at the end of ‘The Cape’ Road off the
Mind you, no-one much is walking or camping along the beach itself. You can
walk all the way from
It is a very pleasant day walk from Harmers
15/06/2022: Vitamin D it appears is good for many things: https://joannenova.com.au/2022/06/one-in-six-dementia-cases-might-be-avoided-with-vitamin-d/
14/06/2022: Ultralight Towel: Of course the very best ultralight towel is none at all - but you might not enjoy waiting (maybe in a cold wind) to dry off (though you will). It's not so bad in the summertime but can be a tad testy in the colder weather. The same strategy can be applied to clothes washing - and I have done so for many years, ie just put them on wet after I have washed them as best as I can in the river (without soap). Usually I manage to dry them some overnight eg with the clotheslines in my tents, but not always.
They will be dry in around fifteen minutes on your body if they are the (modern) quick-drying type. This is a fairly rigorous regime of a morning I admit. I always dress in my wet clothes immediately before I set out. You do get used to it. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/06/12/ultralight-towel/
14/06/2022: When an elephant doesn’t like you, you’d better watch out: https://www.news.com.au/technology/science/animals/elephant-tramples-woman-to-death-then-attacks-her-corpse-at-funeral/news-story/015696d8a245a347f8c7f75963dfc494
13/06/2022: Remember ‘Mike’ the computer from Heinlein’s ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’ who ‘wakes up’? Well, his name is Lamda. Seems to pass the ‘Turing Test’ as a sentient. I can’t tell. Can you? I have known any number of human beings who could not give as good an account of themselves as this. Scary stuff: https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2022/06/straight-sci-fi-movie-google-suspends-engineer-sounding-alarm-companys-dangerous-sentient-ai-lamda-robot/ & https://cajundiscordian.medium.com/is-lamda-sentient-an-interview-ea64d916d917
13/06/2022: Ingenious DIY
This ultralight wood stove has been designed to burn damp, wet or frozen sticks with minimal preparation and should burn much better than natural draft stick burning stoves when using wet sticks. The blower creates a very hot fire on one end of the sticks. While providing intense cooking heat, the stove also heats and dries the incoming fuel sticks, so that they will burn easily when they enter the burn chamber adjacent to the blower air jet.
The Large/Single- ultralight blower stove rolls up to fit in its own large pot for backpacking. It will cook one large pot at a time. However, with a bit of rock trickery, it can also heat another large pot. It has an ultralight titanium body and an anodized aluminium pot. The titanium stove can be rolled up and all parts pack up inside the aluminium cooking pot. Read More: Ingenious Ultralight Blower Stoves
12/06/2022: DIY Fire Blower: I had been looking at some of erstwhile DIY genius Tim Tinker’s posts, eg Solar Fire Blower, Blower Stoves and USB Fire Blower so I decided to order some 5 volt laptop PC cooling fans from Aliexpress. They cost me US$1.40 each! The 3/4″ (19mm) plumbing fittings were also only 50c or so from Bunnings.
As you can see I have cut one of the fittings down then glued it with Araldite to the cooling fan. I did this so I could attach a roll-up stainless steel foil tube to it (which I did). You could just make the tube by pop-riveting it together as well as pop-riveting it to the fan. This would provide some distance from the heat of the stove you were trying to hyper-oxygenate.
Read More: DIY Fire Blower
12/06/2022: Alas, due to PC ours are
no more, but this is how
09/06/2022: Paragliding could be fun - a young bird I guess: https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/nature-is-awesome/
08/06/2022: Interesting visual illusion. I’m sure the ‘blob seems to grow for you too:
07/06/2022: Oldest most famous baby passes: https://www.yahoo.com/news/ann-turner-cook-original-gerber-165519712.html
07/06/2022: 1,000 Starships to Mars. Elon thinking big. Maybe time you read Kim Stanley Robinson’s ‘Mars’ Trilogy too ($6.52 from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Red-Mars-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B000QCS914) : https://www.theepochtimes.com/musk-plans-to-build-1000-starships-to-transport-1-million-people-to-mars-a-fleet-of-modern-noahs-arks_4513578.html
06/06/2022: Amazing behaviour from bison – I have witnessed similar ‘grieving’ with our sheep. They are not ‘just dumb animals’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twN5udogfwc&t=67s
05/06/2022: Taking ‘bending over backwards’ to new extremes: https://twistedsifter.com/videos/a-mongolian-contortionist-broke-the-guinness-world-record-by-performing-the-marinelli-bend-for-over-four-minutes/
03/06/2022: Happy Birthday Pebbles: https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/south-carolina-dog-oldest-living-world
26/05/2022: The Thanatosdrakon “dragon of death’ with a 30 foot (10 metre) wingspan – sure glad ths guy isn’t still around here: https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2022/05/24/argentina-scientists-discover-dragon-of-death-fossil/8821653431164/
26/05/2022: Can you believe Bob Dylan is 81? Oh, we are getting ancient here at Jeeralang Junction too: https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2022/05/not-dark-yet-contd-6.php
25/05/2022: Cats: I have been
wondering about them. We haven’t had one for very many years ourselves
(though I quite like them personally) and also have a vermin-proof fence so
foxes are excluded (even though I admire foxes but do not appreciate them eg
eating all our lambs). Like everyone else we have had a rodent plague
(especially this year) which other predators (owls, hawks etc) have not kept up
with. I have been wondering whether the ‘demonisation’ of cats is at all
justified. A few years ago I discovered (evidence from the WA government’s cat
and fox baiting strategy) that targeting
foxes alone ended up causing a larger (90%!) drop in native critters (because
of the build up of cats whom foxes also predate) than actually doing nothing.
This rather surprised me. Over there they decided to target both together and
developed a bait for cats (unavailable in the East apparently). I have always
noticed that cats kill a really lot of rodents – at least ten times (I reckon)
the number of birds they also unfortunately do take (one of the reasons we
don’t have one). However, we have had this dreadful build-up of rodents and
possums (and because someone is feeding them) of kookaburras. All these things
are known dreadful predators of birds. Many small birds have almost disappeared
from our garden (despite the vermin-proof fence). Eg we have not seen a wagtail
for nearly two years. The last one/s we saw were disappearing down the maw of
the kookaburras. I am actually wondering whether the anti-cat strategy is
actually harming birds because of the build-up of these other nasty predators
which cats would help to control. Rats and possums (particularly) eat a huge
number of eggs and baby birds. PS: I notice the emerald folk are now calling
for the banning of rodent poisons – if successful, that should add a further
disastrous element to this ecological apocalypse! I really hope
25/05/2022: Another Earth – maybe somewhere to go to get away from this mess: https://www.sci-nature.com/2022/05/its-official-astronomers-have.html?fbclid=IwAR3zPXnPmL5ewNYo3fxIxfmkCZ-3Yefg6YlV8yzp9q9l-5tp0tFPYHSSwlU
24/05/2022: You have some power after all, How to hide your house on every map app: https://www.popsci.com/diy/hide-home-map-apps/
22/05/2022: Should we send them a reply? https://notthebee.com/article/fifty-years-ago-astronomers-detected-what-is-considered-the-best-evidence-of-an-alien-radio-signal-from-space-now-one-astronomer-says-he-may-have-found-out-where-it-came-from
21/05/2022: The Voyage of Pytheas: https://www.ancientpages.com/2021/05/29/pytheass-voyage-to-the-arctic-in-325-b-c-and-account-of-thule-the-strange-land-beyond/?fbclid=IwAR0WGF4bVpsLtXjIVqSf8qGdcJ8b1qsP1qLBb7Bq-4AsUx0a-gXiXP-uYDs
20/05/2022: Soon from Apple ‘augmented reality’ ie the reality they want you to see: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/19/apple-gave-mixed-reality-headset-demo-to-board-of-directors-report.html
20/05/2022: How would we fare in an intergalactic war? I think Stephen Hawkings was right – we should keep a low profile: https://interestingengineering.com/how-to-stop-alien-invasion
18/05/2022: Is it a doorway on Mars – sure looks like one but they would have to be tiny people. Nature is full of surprises: https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/nasa-rover-spots-a-doorway-on-mars/
15/05/2022: 45 years: Gone for a very long walk indeed: https://indefiniteleave.com.au/story-john-the-highway-man/?fbclid=IwAR3LspqrjpCuyOTPAmjPvhty1EAkvd2I2GtKeAQVelXR0NPON8oJ0gxQ-h8
14/05/2022: A magic weight-loss pill? Maybe not: https://doctorbuzz.substack.com/p/a-new-drug-will-help-you-shed-50?s=w
12/05/2022: A New Knee: As you may know I have been having trouble with my left knee (especially) for quite some time – around nine years in fact. I have tried just about everything to make it better as the posts I Kneed You, A Cure for Knee Pain, & Knee Cure News will make clear to you, but finally it became too much and I just had to ‘bite the bullet’ so to speak and go for a complete replacement. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/05/12/a-new-knee/
12/05/2022: May have to get one of these jet-packs as I am certainly not walking up mountains as quickly or easily as I once did: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLrVxEJ7pZ8
07/05/2022: Lakes Entrance: It’s
lovely to take a day off during the warmer months and spend it driving up and
back to Lakes Entrance (Gippsland). Because of the awful fence they have now
built down the middle of the road between
A refreshing walk across the bridge at Lakes to look at the beach and study the bird-life is just about de rigeur but mostly we go up so we can buy a heap of fresh school prawns from the fishing boat there. They usually cost around $25 a kilo but they are the very best prawns you have never eaten. We always by a few kilos so we can have a few really good feeds over the next few months. Somehow we never buy enough and always run our before the next summer! Della and I managed to eat a whole kilo between us for tea! https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/05/07/lakes-entrance/
They are so much more delicious than the ‘cardboard’ prawns you are used to
eating from the supermarket or fish shop. They take my mind back to when I was
a small boy growing up around the shores of
07/05/2022: A print of this painting has been on my bedroom wall for maybe 75 years. I had never been able to determine what it was before but now (thanks to the magic of Google – and Della) I know it is by this guy George Philibert Charles Maroniez 1865-1933. I can see that I can buy a hand-painted reproduction (not this painting) for A$433.85 delivered which I think I will go with – though I would dearly love a better copy of the one I have which my mother must have cut out of a magazine when she was decorating my bedroom before I was born. https://www.1st-art-gallery.com/Georges-Philibert-Charles-Maroniez/Sunset.html He did many similar paintings some of which can be bought for $5-10K. I may also consider that. It is unlikely that they will reduce in value after all.
05/05/2022: So you want to skydive from space. Alan Eustace jumped from 40 km up in 2014 – and lived: https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/solar-system/a39877685/how-to-skydive-from-space/
04/05/2022: DIY Tents: In this post I thought I would pull together my ‘adventures’ with making my own tents/shelters over the years. My experience has evolved from utilising simple tarps/ponchos as shelters to creating a variety of tent ‘prototypes’ in Tyvek often followed by a lighter silnylon model (which I then take up the bush to try out).
I have learned a lot in the DIY process which I highly recommend to you. It will save you lots of money and (finally) result in a better shelter than you would otherwise own from a camping store. It is also very likely to be lighter and more functional, as well as being easier to put up and harder to fall down! Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/05/03/diy-tents/
03/05/2022: A Cool Dry Back: The Vaucluse Cool Dry Frame. This looks like such a good idea and may well work. It is a open hexagonal frame intended to sit your pack of from your back an inch or so to allow air flow and (hopefully) prevent that nemesis of all backpackers, a wet back. You will have to pay for a dry back. It is US$97.95 plus shipping (May 2022).
Rather more than the $3 model I tried out here A DIY Dry Back Hiking Pack (which also worked by the way, but it was a bit awkward). I bought some approx 3 mm carbon fibre tubes intending to make a lighter, slightly more functional model but it has not happened yet. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/05/01/a-cool-dry-back/
02/05/2022: Wow! How promising is this: https://www.studyfinds.org/plant-virus-may-cure-cancer/
30/04/2022: Clever - Printed Circuit Bird Synthesizers: https://laughingsquid.com/printed-circuit-bird-synthesizers/
29/04/2022: What a Bogler: I just bought a new trowel which I am very happy with, a Bogler Ultralight Trowel. Mine weighs 13.45 grams on my scales. It is made from (hardened) aircraft-grade aluminium. It is intelligently designed so it does not wear a hole in your hand which is a decided improvement on most such things so that if you ever need to use it to dig for water in a dry river bend or behind the dunes or dig up tree roots for water & etc you may actually not die of thirst (or bleed to death!) before you succeed. Also good for digging for fish bait (worms, beetle larvae, etc.) Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/04/28/what-a-bogler/
29/04/2022: Back to
28/04/2022: I don’t think I will be swapping any of my Landies (with 1000km range plus jerry cans) for 350 km: https://spectrum.ieee.org/electric-land-rover
27/04/2022: I would probably prefer a .410 shotgun-cane myself but this might do in a pinch: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BYDC5ZL/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07BYDC5ZL&linkCode=as2&tag=helentag-20&linkId=b539432b77c44daace90749f71b7208d
26/04/2022: Autumn in Jeeralang: (Della) No "season of mists" today, but plenty of the "mellow fruitfulness" (a nod to John Keats here, for those of you who have forgotten your high school poetry lessons). Persimmons, figs and macadamia nuts. Thanks to Steve for snatching them from the jaws of sundry possums, parrots, blackbirds, currawongs etc etc etc....Hopefully this batch of fruit will finish ripening off the trees, safe from the jaws of the many other species that regard this garden as their own special pantry. We are still enjoying the autumn ‘fruits’ of the vegetable garden: fresh corn every night, zucchinis, squash, cucumbers, pumkins etc. Life is good: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/04/26/autumn-in-jeeralang/
26/04/2022: After twenty years and many billions on ‘immortality research’ we are still dying: https://bigthink.com/health/immortality-race-to-live-forever/
18/04/2022: Obviously not farm kids: https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2022/04/15/children-farm-animal-same-as-pets/8071650031160/
17/04/2022: New tricks in electronics: https://scitechdaily.com/the-future-of-electronics-new-fermi-arcs-discovered/
16/04/2022: Watch out – carnivorous horses: https://www.ancient-origins.net/history/carnivorous-horses-0016638
15/04/2022: Taking a balloon ride to the edge of space. Same view – much more affordable: https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2022/04/12/space-perspective-unveils-spaceship-neptune/4201649795426/
11/04/2022: E-ink displays for your phone are just around the corner promising huge improvements in battery life: https://newatlas.com/electronics/e-ink-kaleido-3-epaper/
11/04/2022: Maybe not so bad after all - Scientists Finally Have Clues About What We See When We Die: https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a39454993/dying-brain-waves/
10/04/2022: Mysteries of aluminium foil: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/why-aluminum-foil-has-a-shiny-and-a-dull-side/ar-AAKizNQ?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=3a604cdb7bb2495fb21b9344e709bb69
10/04/2022: Private space travel (at US$55 million a ticket). I guess I won’t be going soon: https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2022/04/08/spacex-axiom-private-astronaut-international-space-station/5351649362926/
09/04/2022: This could be the biggest (and smallest) discovery of the C21st: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-60993523
06/04/2022: Ultralight Windscreen or Chimney Closure: This is so far a 'proof of concept but it will soon be a new model of my diy ultralight roll-up titanium stove/windscreen and may be incorporated into sections of chimney for my ultralight tent stove as it will be so much easier to roll up - and there is nothing to get lost. We will see.
I will make the tags longer than this. I stupidly cut it off. I also needed to allow another 1/2" of overlap. You can cut the slot with the super-scissors/snip they sell everywhere after you have drilled two 1/8" holes the correct distance apart. I needed to be a bit more careful about this.
Nonetheless I am very pleased with the idea. it is simple yet strong. It would work fine in .05mm foil which is all you would need for a windscreen alone and would make a pot screen less than 10 grams weight.
I think for my 4" high hobo stove three of these tag and slot joiners will make a very solid connection. I can add additional slots so that the stove can fit outside the pot or inside the pot.
A little experimentation has shown me that the .1mm foil is more than strong enough to support the weight of a 2 litre pot full of water. I use an 1100 ml pot. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/04/05/ultralight-windscreen-or-chimney-closure/
01/04/2022: Ultralight Survival Made Easy: I decided here to update the post The Complete Survival Guide (which you should still read) as it had become a little out-of-date in the three years since I wrote it and I had since written many other useful pieces of advice which I could incorporate in a new post, which this is.
I might have also called it, ‘I tell you we’ll astonish the new chums to see how we travel the land’ after the refrain from the old bush song The Springtime it Brings on the Shearing. (I also mentioned this song in the post Johnny Cakes – which you should try).
And it is a good point because these itinerant C19th bush workers with their swags (or blueys) were wonderful experts at ultralight journeying over the vast distances of the Australian outback which would put to shame any of our current generation. Suppose you wanted to make your own.
I remember reading ‘The Cattle King’ by Ion Idriess when I was a youngster about our great Aussie icon Sidney Kidman – and you should too. You can buy it from Amazon from $8.99. It is just quite wonderful. I believe Nicole is a remote descendant. I think Gina now owns much of the remaining Kidman ’empire’ – another wonderful ‘self-made Aussie hero, so it remains in Australian hands.
Even as an old man (like me) he would regularly leave Adelaide with just his saddle horse, pack horse and his cattle dog and within a few short weeks have crossed the entire continent through the trackless (often waterless) wilderness to the Gulf of Carpentaria – all by himself, and did so many, many times. Old hands still tell of how he would just appear in the darkness sitting by their campfire as they yarned over the billy. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/03/29/ultralight-survival-made-easy/
31/03/2022: Hunting Tales: You will find many, many posts in this blog which mention hunting (particularly sambar deer hunting which has been a passion of mine for much of my adult life) but there are many more which are relevant to the art and skill of hunting.
I have been a hunter since I could walk over 70 years ago now as were several generations of my family before me. Hunting is a great good. It has been valued as such by most of the people who have ever lived for over a million years now. You can ‘deconstruct ‘ values all you like – it would be mighty strange indeed if they were wrong!
Some other posts which you might explore which are relevant to hunting are my many posts about woodslore and survival, my posts about DIY gear, some of my canoeing posts…often other posts contain anecdotes about hunting or relevant advice.
These posts will not be your ‘conventional’ hunting yarns with a dead critter at the end. While that might be the ‘end’ of hunting. It is only a small part of this great sport. They will very often be something quit different from what you are used to, but I hope you enjoy them. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/03/28/hunting-tales/
31/03/2022: Energy from nothing – what we have long thought impossible has apparently been done NB: his may one day work for your phone but it is unlikely to ever be grid scale. However, it does reveal that nature still has many surprises in wait for us: https://www.thebrighterside.news/post/scientists-build-circuit-that-generates-clean-limitless-power-from-graphene
30/03/2022: DIY $4 & 20 Gram Roll-Up Titanium Stove: I have just completed making this titanium version of my roll-up hobo stove (as threatened here) and the carbon fibre cosy to go with it. I started with a 500 mm by 100 mm piece of titanium sourced from Aliexpress for less than US4. As stated in my earlier post You can buy the titanium foil to make the 20 gram one from Aliexpress for A$3.87 delivered. I have marked off the circle/hexagon for the fire door here. Note the ‘V’ at the bottom and top so it will roll up and fit in the billy. The circle is 2 1/2″ (62mm) in diameter. The door is 1/2″ from the bottom. You can build it with just a pair of craft scissors, a drill and a pop riveter. I use stainless steel rivets so they will not melt. Here it is complete. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/03/28/diy-4-20-gram-roll-up-titanium-stove/
29/03/2022: Other Uses for a Garbage Bag: Many of you no doubt use a trash bag as a liner for your pack – which is a great use for them. As a spare ultralight raincoat is another. Still another is re-purposing one as a pad inflator (bag). I almost never carry the inflator bag (because of the weight which came with my sleeping bag, preferring to dry it out properly when I get home and taking the chance that mould etc will shorten its life – but I am incurable.
You may prefer to make yourself a less than one ounce bag inflator with a trash bag and a bottle cap. You can use an ordinary drink bottle cap or if you hunt around you will find an even lighter alternative. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/03/27/other-uses-for-a-garbage-bag/
29/03/2022: Mighty Oaks: A lot of
PC here (as compared with a single C19th French shepherd who famously
reforested tens of thousands of acres with oaks in
28/03/2022: Ultralight Ratchet Tie Down: Here’s a handy little gadget I picked up from Bunnings yesterday for A$14 per pair (Mar 2022)
Each 6′ (1.8 metre) tie down weighs 44 grams. Each metal hook seems to weigh about 10 grams whilst the plastic ratchet itself weighs only 14 grams so that if you wanted to dispense with the hooks for weight you could. You could also substitute a different length/weight of 3 mm cord if you wanted a device which was longer/shorter. I can envisage numerous uses for such a device including a secure means of attaching your pack to your pack raft or hauling your shower into the air from a branch.
They also come in 2.4 metre lengths. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/03/27/ultralight-ratchet-tie-down/
27/03/2022: Responsible Sambar Deer Hunting: As I recover from my total knee replacement operation (five weeks now -and going well so far, thank you), every morning my attention is drawn to this sight outside my kitchen window. I know as a responsible farmer I should not allow this guy even to exist, but no-one is perfect - and it is so cute and will soon succumb to some awful disease anyway. (The blackberry also craves attention).
NB If you took a second or two to see the rabbit (I would have seen it instantly) it is because you are not ‘looking through’ but ‘looking at’. This is the most important hunting skill, and the first you must master.
He first cleans himself diligently then lies in the sun on his tummy like that for over an hour every morning on a little platform he has constructed under a shrub on the slope behind the house. This is a well-established habit. All creatures fall into a pattern of such habits - even human beings. A moment's refection of your daily routines will cause you to admit that you are no different in this than your wild brethren. The successful hunter can utilise careful observation and such recurring habits to ensure success in harvesting nature's annual bounty for the table.
And that is what responsible hunting is - it is not pest management. Its goal is not the eradication of some undesirable feral species but the careful nurture and management of a noble creature and desirable food source. Just as a farmer (such as me) manages his flocks to ensure that they increase and multiply each year (and are healthy and content) to the maximum extent of the available food source so that in autumn when that food supply begins to decline they will be sent off to market for the benefit of other people's tables rather than slowly starve as the lean times of winter hit. This is nature's cycle.
27/03/2022: Golden Earrings (1947) –
what a ripper of a film. Ray Milland’s segue of facial expressions on
seeing the earrings in the first minutes of the film is one of the greatest
acting feats of the cinema: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Earrings
PS It is avaialble on
27/03/2022: A New Birth Control Pill for Men. This could be interesting – but will women accept that you have taken it? https://scitechdaily.com/new-male-birth-control-pill-effectively-prevents-pregnancy-without-side-effects/
26/03/2022: Visual Hiking Oxymoron - please don't make these bizarre ankle
breaking wildfire causing stone
24/03/2022: Now two advantages of Antabuse: you don’t get blind or blind drunk: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-03-antabuse-revive-vision-people-disorders.html
24/03/2022: A very interesting new drug – good news for the elderly: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-03-oral-drug-death-covid-mice.html
19/03/2022: I usually hate music (and particularly as sound effect or score/background in films which ruin the dialogue for me) but this was really great: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGzK2SwG5io&t=120s
19/03/2022: So True: In his science fiction novel Nemesis, Isaac Asimov describes a female character as possessing the "unloveable virtues": Serious, Practical, Responsible, Dutiful. My wife is also beautiful.
18/03/2022: Mark Twain, “I was educated once and it took me years to get over it” So true.
17/03/2022: SSDs: Have you bought one of these yet? 40 Grams. Still working out how to get stuff in/out of it to my Android phone – but you can https://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/officeworks/p/sandisk-1tb-e30-portable-ssd-black-sde30ss1tb I teamed mine with one of these: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2019/11/23/ultralight-charging-cable/
Mind you 1 Tb Micro sd cards are now $214: https://www.amazon.com.au/SanDisk-Ultra-microSDXC-Memory-Adapter/dp/B08HCPTMJG/ref=asc_df_B08HCPTMJG?tag=bingshopdesk-22&linkCode=df0&hvadid=80676739598376&hvnetw=s&hvqmt=e&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-4584276306375179&psc=1
17/03/2022: Many Thanks. A friend of mine (Brett) has solved a mystery for me (from 28/02): “This video explains there’s a hidden device in its base: https://youtu.be/Y5dylh2aOiw”
16/03/2022: DIY Ultralight Shoulder Pouches: I sewed up a couple of shoulder strap pouches (for Best $20 Backpack) from some 2 oz/yd2 ripstop nylon. I guess these are about 3/4 of a litre each, maybe a litre. They can contain an interesting assortment of items you might want to access quickly as you walk along. Spare ammunition, chewing gum etc.
I attached them with an ingenious method I ‘stole’ from Joe Valesko (Zpacks) though I have no idea whether he still uses them. They came on my first old pack from him – a long since discontinued model, worse luck. Simpler is frequently better – and certainly cheaper. Anyway it is a simple ‘button and loop’ design with a length of cord which works to stop them slipping down. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/03/15/diy-ultralight-shoulder-pouches/
15/03/2022: Best $20 Backpack: Modifying Amazon’s G4 Free. Inflation has bitten a little since I wrote the previous post (below) such that now this excellent backpack costs $US 22.99 at Amazon instead of the US$19.99 I paid back in March 2018. That’s inflation at 3.75% per year by the way. Still a lot cheaper than a plus $300 backpack which will do nothing more – or even do it half so well.
Since then I carried mine to (beyond) Dingboche on the Everest Base Camp trail – and many other places besides – though our travels have been somewhat curtailed recently like everyone else’s by covid, or at least its restrictions.
You can see in this post EBC Gear List me carrying mine just outside Pangboche over 5 km up in the sky. The backpack carried everything we needed for a ten day walking trip (including rain gear, spare clothes, survival, satellite communication (2) cooking, sleeping and shelter equipment (for -20C temperatures). It weighed a little over 6 kg. Della’s was nearer 5kg. Almost no food and minimal water. You can buy it on the way And was outstandingly comfortable.
I hardly noticed I was carrying it (at 70+ years old) though my worn out knee was ‘killing me’ back then – which is why I had it replaced last month. It had been causing me significant pain for nearly a decade now. This used to be called ‘manning up’ and was considered a virtue. See I Kneed You
14/03/2022: Zpacks Solo Plex Tent: This morning I received an ad for this tent on Facebook (as you do). Zpack Plex Solo Tent. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they say. I’m sure this is not the case here but this tent is so, so , like my original Deer Hunter’s Tent which evolved from my Tyvek Solo Fire Shelter that the similarities are eerie – and at the time (last century?) nothing like this existed.
Of course this is most likely because the laws of physics/geometry are immutable so that (eventually) you find there really is only one way to do any thing. I did however (originally) post the design, measurements and instructions (on my old website) then deleted them as I realized: 1. I might want to commercialise them in future and 2. Someone else might do so first.However, no doubt they can be found on the Wayback Machine.
I notice Six Moon Designs have a similarly designed tent so it is probably just ‘parallel evolution’. They are welcome to my design now anyway, as Della long since decided ‘we’ would not be launching any new business ventures, but just enjoy life instead – and she’s the boss, as in most homes I’m sure.
I am not so keen on Dyneema as Joe is (though I understand he has made it his trademark material). It is (slightly) lighter (at from .48 oz) than the best silnylon materials (Ripsopbytheroll’s .77oz/yd2) but I am not convinced that the very slight weight advantages are worth the risk of using such very delicate materials. That being said, it is enormously easier to repair with sticky tape! It is tricky to cut and sew,but Joe has been doing it so long he has no doubt worked out all the ‘wrinkles’ in doing it.
A very slight hole in the plastic film covering is very hard to find and spot though. Non-woven dyneema material does also tend to ‘shred’ away with use , something I am not very fond of. I have had this happen with a number of packs which if they had been made from a slightly heavier woven fabric would have lasted several times as long. You are paying very big money for this special material (something like $25 a yard – and it is narrower) as compared with $5-7 a yard for (‘ordinary’) silnylon.
13/03/2022: This is as true today as it was in 1854: "Most men are needlessly poor all of their lives because they think they must have such a house as their neighbors have." Henry David Thoreau, 'Walden’ - one of my favourite books. You can still build a small modest house yourself for perhaps $20K. Also so far as I know the ‘minimum’ house is still only a bit over 2 squares ie 25 square metres which should not cost more than about $5K. I have been working on designs for wilderness accommodation (for four) which are much smaller than this (around 6 square metres) and well under $500. I will be posting my designs soon. Of course you have to find a block of land too – blocks still exist out there for under $40K, some even under $30K. Some of these are quite large and have power and water. The one at McMahons Creek looks nice: https://www.realestate.com.au/buy/property-land-between-0-50000-in-vic/list-1 NB There are still probably ways to get your hands on some land for less than this – as Thoreau did after all. We (now) have a very big house (it grew over the years to over 200 square metres plus verandahs) but I doubt it cost us much more than $40K. I would think I could still build it today for under $100K.
12/03/2022: If you are a patriotic Australian who doesn’t want to part with too much of your hard-earned to outfit yourself, try these folks. I am looking very smart at present and for about 2/3rds of the cost of local stores. This is all good gear too which employs Aussies and will last: https://everythingaustralian.com.au/
11/03/2022: Just wow – if only they had found it twenty years ago when maybe 1-2 of the survivors was still alive: https://endurance22.org/endurance-is-found
10/03/2022: That time of year again – ‘The Fight Between Carnival and Lent’, Pieter Bruegels: https://giorgiomagnanensi.com/wp-content/uploads/pieter-bruegel_1559-1559_pieter-bruegel-the-elder-the-fight-between-carnival-and-lent.jpg
09/03/2022: Strapless Backpack: I have been thinking along these lines too (just a thought at present) but my ‘solution’ was more a U-shape (like carrying a bag of grain on your shoulders). The hobo’s swag is another example I suppose. This one looks a bit complicated. However, the point is good – one should try to carry the load perched on ones callipygous bottom - as the Bushmen (or women) do. Packs need to be shaped more to fit in to the curve of the spine (the lordosis – two new words for you, perhaps) more, as Mountain Laurel Designs packs are shaped to. I will be making myself a new pack sometime in the future which incorporates this idea, and also the enormous improvement of the horse collar over the yoke (which I suspect most backpacks have not realized yet): https://www.noshoulderstraps.com/
08/03/2022: This is
an otter fisherman. Because they exist it lends credence to the ‘legend’ of
wild otters in NZ, a creature the Maori also had a name for (though no-one has
yet captured a photograph of one). They have (allegedly) been seen even
recently near Tautapere for example. However that may turn out, I feel that
there is no doubt Chinese sailors explored the East Coast of
Here is a possible example: https://www.facebook.com/bbcearth/videos/536017841085513
05/03/2022: Time for a good news story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=278&v=PVPyLoYyUVk&feature=emb_title
04/03/2022: A Balloon Eclipse: https://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2022/03/bill-thompsons-celestial-numbers-come-up.html
28/02/2022: I have to own one of these: https://www.atiki.shop/products/kinetic-art?st=&fbclid=IwAR1cVv-uuhn706xHsCORB9T1dy70xuLvXEJCSsdpiKM7rEBhTRt2VOlgmbk
PS: The more I look at and think about this object the more I feel that It can't possibly exist. Surely it defies the laws of physics. Once I could have written out the equations ot show this. By the same token someone once said the same thing about whether bumble bees could fly yet I have seen them doing so. Will I have to purchase one to see whether it is a fake - or a new source of energy? You have to click on the link and open it then scroll down to see the video.
18/02/2022: Knee Update #2: I have walked to the toilet and shower (using a walker) and am now all clean and sitting in a chair. All going well so far - and thank you all very much for the kind thoughts and well-wishing. Already planning future hikes - Vic mountains (hopefully by May), Mt Bartle Frere (alternate route) late June, EBC and surrounds late Oct and back to the Dusky (Fiordland, NZ) in Feb/March. An example of where we would like to be: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2019/11/17/everest-days-1-2-lukla-to-namche-bazar/?fbclid=IwAR1R3V36ZjmJYb0cU-Zq0qKl8MfaiP8uVNkhhuGpmb4ZRtmogowldqcOj1o
17/02/2022: Knee update: Just to let you know that 5 hours after going down to surgery I am siting up in bed and still have ten toes. Time will tell how well all this went. Many thanks for all your good wishes. I will keep you posted,
17/02/2022: If I am a bit quiet for a few days it is because I am in hospital having a knee replacement. Hopefully this gives me a whole new lease on life!
16/02/2022: Why SpaceX is going to dominate air freight: https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2022/02/spacex-reusable-rocket-costs-versus-airplanes.html
14/02/2022: Who needs Netflix, etc? The Internet Archive has thousands of fine movies and TV shows for streaming (without ads) for free: https://archive.org/details/feature_films
14/02/2022: Useful Instructable: How to open a locked door without a key: https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/a25318691/how-open-locked-door/
13/02/2022: Nature is awesome: https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/massive-swarm-of-birds-plummet-to-the-earth-dead-very-bizarre-video/
10/02/2022: Wild surfing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZoPR4pCwm0&t=66s
09/02/2022: Tali Karng - a Gippsland Gem: A friend of mine (Leanne) walked there last weekend reminding me of our trip there twelve years' ago, not long after the 2007 fire. The bush has changed a fair bit since then. She kindly shared her photos with me, so I have been able to construct this photo essay about the trip for your edification.
Leanne started her trip (as many do) at the McFarlane Saddle on the
Many people just walk up from the
It is only a thirty or so years ago that we used to drive in along what were then 4WD (logging) tracks deer hunting. I have even been in there in my old (1981) Subaru Leone circa 1984 with my foxhounds. It is (alas) just a pile of rust in the paddock today (and the beloved hounds but a memory) but on that day I towed a Toyota Land Cruiser through a couple of difficult sections with it. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/02/08/tali-karng-a-gippsland-gem/
08/02/2022: Men have been busy in the Orkneys for a long while: https://scitechdaily.com/ancient-dna-rewrites-the-history-of-prehistoric-orkney-britains-ancient-capital/
08/02/2022: Seems like the Shoshone
have busy been in
06/02/2022: Gobelki Tepe continues to rewrite history: https://allthatsinteresting.com/gobekli-tepe
04/02/2022: And I thought lizards laid eggs! https://www.facebook.com/abccanberra/videos/691947541798182
don’t need saving. Indeed, they are in much higher numbers across a much wider
area today than when Europeans arrived in
03/02/2022: This would be so nice – bring it on: https://newatlas.com/medical/osteoarthritis-pain-treatment-molecular-pathway/
02/02/2022: A dog who can teach us a lot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhvwYZuBttQ
01/02/2022: Maybe you thought it was whalers who nearly drove the blue whale to extinction: https://gizmodo.com/horrific-observations-confirm-that-orcas-feed-on-blue-w-1848442007
31/01/2022: A Billion Years of Time is Just Missing – did they look under the sofa cushions: https://www.vice.com/en/article/wxdzzb/a-billion-years-of-time-are-mysteriously-missing-scientists-think-they-know-why
Travel: Sometimes in winter on trails like the EBC
etc there are dangerous patches of ice which need to be traversed. Obviously if
you were expecting this as a constant situation you would be using more serious
crampons. Vargo have just updated their ultralight
pocket cleats (62 grams each) which can be quickly attached to your shoes
for extra traction in such situations. They are now simpler, more elegant and
look more reliable than their
earlier product and with a weight saving of about 5 grams.
Bag – What a world that we should need such things.
20/01/2022: This is what really happened when a group of schoolboys was marooned on an island for 15 months. Why do we focus on Golding’s quite false ‘Lord of the Flies’ narrative instead: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/may/09/the-real-lord-of-the-flies-what-happened-when-six-boys-were-shipwrecked-for-15-months
19/01/2022: Flying Deer? Why you need really tall fences for deer: https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/michael-jordan-has-nothing-on-this-flying-deer/ Mind you I suspect I could move much faster if a big cat was after me too!
19/01/2022: Hunting has been around a long, long time yet some ‘New Age’ folk want to tell me they have discovered it isn’t a good. They are quite simply wrong. Ethics don’t change: https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/ancient-hunters-0016305
18/01/2022: The Joy of Small Streams:
This is the
You will have read that Della has a new Alpacka Scout which we are keen to try out, but it is difficult to do much with this knee (agonising) as it presently is. Less than a month to go and I will have a new one, and hopefully a new lease of life to go with it – but there will be quite a few weeks of recuperation and restoration I’m sure before I travel far and wide.
This trip will take about three hours when the river is clear and will be just beautiful at river heights on the Boolarra Gauge of between .5 and .6 metres. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/01/17/the-joy-of-small-streams/
panspermia is a thing – maybe all life on earth is alien in origin? The
17/01/2022: A Good Scout: This is the Alpacka Scout which I bought for my wife Della (or was it for myself?) for a Xmas present – here modeled by my daughter and grandson in the farm dam.
Pack Raft Australia are
the Australian agents. Their prices are as low as you could possible get it
My daughter (and my wife are around 5′ and 40 kg sort of people. This raft (at 1.5 kg) is ideal for them. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/01/17/a-good-scout/
16/01/2022: Are 3D printed rockets the future of space exploration: https://www.space.com/relativity-space-company-terran-1-launch
15/01/2022: Will space anaemia strand us on earth forever or will a solution be found for future star trekkers: https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/01/we-dont-know-why-but-being-in-space-causes-us-to-destroy-our-blood/
14/01/2022: Buster Keaton was the funniest man ever, as you can see in this clip from his 100 year old movie ‘Cops’ (1920): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz1_zJngNak&t=366s You can download the complete film for free from archive.org
13/01/2022: Interesting. The lost habit of two sleeps – so many everyday things scarcely make it into history. If you have ‘problems’ sleeping, you should read this: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20220107-the-lost-medieval-habit-of-biphasic-sleep
05/01/2022: Terraforming Mars – I used to think it was only Sci-Fi but maybe someday it will happen (especially if Musk has anything to do with it): https://dnyuz.com/2022/01/02/nasas-retiring-top-scientist-says-we-can-terraform-mars-and-maybe-venus-too/
05/01/2022: Another Elon Musk first: https://nypost.com/2022/01/03/why-cats-are-cozying-up-to-elon-musks-starlink-satellites/
into the New Year: There was 2.05 metres of lovely water on the Waterford
gauge and 1.60 on the Crooked River gauge and several above 30C degree days to
look forward to so we filled the 15 litre Esky keg with ice (and some
celebratory cans of champagne for Della) tossed all our gear into two cars and
headed off (of course with the two dogs) to Eaglevale intending to canoe down
to Kingwill Bridge over a (very) leisurely three days. This is an excellent
height but we enjoyed the trip before with only 1.75 on the
It is (roughly 2.5 hours
down to Bullock Flat then a further 2.5 hours down to (unsignposted) Neates
Track thence a further 3 hours down to
This trip could be achieved in one (hectic) day if you were of such a mind or you could take your time, enjoy lots of refreshing swims, picnics under shady trees and etc and just take your time. ‘There is nothing quite like messing about in boats’ as Ratty (or Mole) opined in ‘Wind in the Willows’. Read More: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2022/01/02/canoeing-into-the-new-year/
03/01/2022: Three inches of rain coming but the BOM is still calling it ‘Showers’!
Perfect Husband? Well, probably not but I am a hero today having fixed
Della’s (long-suffering) stove problem. Several years’ ago I installed a new
Westinghouse GSP 627S gas stove for her. After a short while the door started
to give problems and would not close properly. Repeated efforts to gain
warranty failed as did various jack-leg work arounds so that we mainly reverted
to propping the door ‘closed’ with a short length of broom handle or similar.
Lately I decided to have another go and discovered this wonderful lady’s
‘review’ of her own experiences. https://www.productreview.com.au/listings/westinghouse-gsp627s
This led me to the people who sell the improved door support bracket (https://allfixelectrical.com.au/products/westinghouse-4u600-series-improved-oven-door-hinge-support-bracket-kit-part-0133002227k?_pos=2&_sid=e0b4fc722&_ss=r
– a whole $21!) It really took no more than five minutes to install them and
now (after many years) the door closes perfectly – much more perfectly than it
did from new.
02/01/2022: Happy New Year: We have been away from people canoeing – more about that in a later post. Occasionally coming upon the (literally) hordes of benighted campers confined to ‘camping grounds’ along the river whilst we enjoyed mile after mile of solitary bliss led us to reflect that (at now over 70 – me) we have enjoyed the best of all lives, and we are still doing so. Those who come after have very much less to look forward to largely because of the proliferation of government and other big controlling entities. Still there is even more wilderness to enjoy than there ever was. The world has added an area of a couple of Australias of forest in just the last quarter century or so for example, and as people crowd more and more into urban areas and access roads and tracks are closed the bush is more and more thinly populated. It is really no use buying one of the Thai 4WD dual cabs. The only way to access the bush is by canoe or shanks’ pony. Get out there and enjoy before it is banned too.
02/01/2022: Great lines from old films. The 1930s was a golden era. May West stands out even there. Here is one from ‘Dinner at 8’. I doubt cinematographers would be allowed to go even this far today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2tCDHgK9J4&t=28s