Tech Tips: Miscellaneous
Exploring the Local
We all feel the changing pulse of the season – it’s in the air, the sunlight and the waters. What better time to explore the local with new eyes and new adventures?
Some of our favorite spots:
- M119-Alanson Trail is complete! Check out the new 7-mile asphalt section of the North Western State Trail
- Stutsmansville Bog on State Road is a small but special gem of LTC Nature Preserves
- Section 6 of the North Country Trail passing by the dam at Wycamp Lake
As Marcel Proust reminds us: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in a having new eyes.”
Here are a few of Josh’s random and oh-so-simple tips for adding ease and enjoyment to your winter adventures.
- Shoveling: Flip your bottom hand over on the handle so your palm faces the ground! Try it for 7 scoops and you’ll be a believer.
- Gaiters: The key to dry boots when shoveling, snowshoeing or skiing.
- Straps: a $5 investment that makes it easier to carry and protect your skis.
- Cold Skis: Use a Thule box on your car roof to keep skis cold when transporting them to the slopes or trails. Or leave them outside fr at least 5-10 minutes to avoid snow clumpage.
- Waxing: Warm your nordic skis in the house before you apply kick wax. Speaking of wax…
- Candles: To get that pesky caked-on wax off candle holders, stick them in the freezer for 20 minutes. Voila- it pops right off with a flick of the thumb.
Need a little pick-me-up as you watch the mercury rise and fall? We have just the secret, never before revealed to the greater public!
We’ve often been asked how Molly makes those chocolate chip cookies taste so, well tasty! And now for the top-secret tips – follow recipe on package of Nestle Toll House semi-sweet morsels, making these edits:
- Use real butter (at room temperature!)
- Use real vanilla extract and double it (2+ tsp)
- Use less flour, only about 2 1/8 cups
- Use King Arthur’s flour (there really is no substitute!)
- Throw in a handful more chips
- Don’t overbake!
Ever felt like this during a workout? Fatigue, cramps, and/or poor performance can be caused by dehydration. Our bodies are 60-70% water, so staying properly hydrated-every day, not just during workouts- is essential to overall health. There are no set guidelines, but lots of opinions.
- “Clear and Copious” – your urine should be clear and you should be urinating often
- Body Weight – weigh yourself before and after a typical workout to monitor fluid loss (1lb is about 24oz of fluid)
- 8 x 8 Rule – drink eight 8 oz glasses of water throughout the day
- Dos and Don’ts – Do drink 10-12oz water before, during, and after your workout. Avoid sugar-filled sports drinks. Electrolyte drinks are good if you’re in extreme conditions or a 3-5+ hour workout
Try these old-time techniques to orient yourself in the outdoors:
- Wristwatch: point the hour hand of your wristwatch at the sun-South is the point halfway between the hour hand and 12 on your watch
- Rocks: Place a stick (at least 12″ long) vertically in the ground. Mark the tip of its shadow with a rock. Continue to do this every 15 minutes. The rocks will form an east-west line on the ground.
- Fingers: To estimate the number of minutes from sunrise to sunset, hold you hand at arms length with fingers together. Each finger between the sun and the horizon represents 15 minutes.
- Sun: It rises in the east, sets in the west, and is in the south at noon.
The freeze-thaw cycles of March can make it hard to motivate- XC skis or bike? Sometimes a good old fashion walk can be the best way to rejuvenate!
“The most natural form of locomotion, walking, has been in use since before the invention of the wheel and the discovery of fire. Reliable and totally non-polluting, it offers convenience, no parking, no cost. Invigorating, it promotes health and gives you the chance to think.” ~ Paul Swatek
Woe to the sailor who doesn’t take heed- these salty superstitions have a long history!
Bad luck will follow if you:
- Start a voyage on a Friday
- Sail on a green boat
- Bring bananas on board
- Leave a shoe upside down on the deck
- Throw stones into the water
Old salts agree – do these for good luck:
- Step aboard with your right foot
- Bring a black cat
- Secure a horseshoe to the mast to keep storms away
- Offer a shot of rum overboard to Neptune for his protection
- Place a silver coin beneath the mast (heads up)
Map reading can be frustrating even for well-seasoned off-trail travelers. Here are some simple tips for better accuracy (and fun):
- Always orient your map to surrounding features 9and north) BEFORE you look at it!
- Fix your position by identifying 5 features in the terrain, and then find those 5 on the map. (Don’t look at the map first- you may fall victim to “wishful thinking”: forcing the surrounding terrain to fit the map when it doesn’t!)
- Identify “handrails”, “checkpoints”, and “backstops” as you travel to safeguard against going astray (i.e. major terrain features to the left/right that you should not cross, landmarks along the way and an end point that you should not go beyond.)
Snowshoeing is often underrated as a “lesser” winter workout. In fact, you can burn more calories snowshoeing than running or XC skiing at the same pace! Depending on the terrain and snow pack, you can burn from 420-1000 calories/hour while changing body composition.
Try Using Poles!
Poles will increase your stability and the number of calories burned per hour as well as give your shoulder and back muscles a workout. Also, don’t forget to shorten your stride when going uphill!
Gadget-Free Weather Forecasting
Put down the smartphone and try these tried-and-often-true methods! By simply observing nature, we can be more in tune with our local landscape and the weather.
- Moon: “Ring around the moon brings rain/snow soon!” Rings are caused by light shining through cirrostratus clouds, bringing warm fronts and moisture.
- Dew: Check your grass before sunrise. It it’s wet, then most likely it will be a clear day. If it’s dry, then expect clouds and maybe rain.
- Animals: Animals react to changes in air pressure…Seagulls stop flying and head to shore if a storm is coming. Right before rain, animals-especially birds- get quiet, and ants build their hills with very steep sides. Turtles search for higher ground.
Getting “turned around” is easy to do in the woods of northern MI. Even more so when we find ourselves depending on smartphone apps rather than our know-how. Here are some tips for staying found:
- Carry a map; know how to orient and read it
- Make a “mental map” as you travel, noting landmarks, trail junctions, and “handrails” along the way
- Leave your itinerary and ETA with a friend
- If you become “temporarily misplaced,”
- Follow fence lines and streams, do not cross them
- “Hug a tree” and stay put; try not to panic
- Signal in “3’s” if you need help (3 whistle blows)
Attitude is key: Lest we forget the words of Daniel Boone, “I’ve never been lost, though I will admit to being confused for several weeks.”