Posted by bruce
under Cooking Recipes
How to buy Snowshoes 101
There are dozens of options out there if you are in the market for snowshoes and if you are considering your first purchase it can be quite daunting, so here is some information to consider.
First consideration should be what type of snowshoeing you are going to do and once you have that answer then you can look at the different types that are out there? Keep in mind you can not buy one snowshoe that will be perfect in every snowshoe outing.
Types of snowshoes
All styles of snowshoes allow you to travel across snow-covered ground without sinking or struggling. They provide flotation by spreading your weight evenly over a larger flat surface area. This flotation allows you to hike, climb or even run! Generally, the heavier the person or the lighter and drier the snow, the larger the surface area of the snowshoe needs to be.
These snowshoes are smaller recreational snowshoes that are suitable for total weights not exceeding 50 kgs. Many styles are as durable as adult models, and can also be used by small adults. My choice if you are considering this smaller style for children is to buy second hand ones either from a second hand sports store or even from a rental shop at the end of the season as they often sell off used stock.
These snowshoes are ideal for walking or hiking on terrain that is not very steep or rugged. Most are styles are now made from aluminum or hard moulded plastic.
These snowshoes are more technical in design and usually made with highly durable materials that can withstand harsh conditions and terrain. They are aimed at the more aggressive snowshoer who wants to blaze trails for a day hiking, tackle winter summits, backpacking or backcountry snowboarding. Often outfitted with snowboard-type bindings or climbing crampons, these are intended for steep ascents and uneven or icy ground. Always most expensive.
- These snowshoes are made for cross-training and competitive snowshoeing on packed trails. They are lightweight, durable and more manageable, many times with a cut out inside tail section so you won’t step on your inside toe section.
Some typical snowshoe options
Frame- the outer edge of the snowshoe to which the decking is attached
Most frames are made from anodized aluminum frame or moulded plastic deck & frame, the later being cheaper. Other options may also be made of wood or high-tech materials such as carbon fiber (most expensive). Although wooden snowshoes perform well, they require a lot of maintenance and are prone to breakage
Upturned toe for easier management and minimizing snow build-up, a must have!
Decking - the flat surface of the snowshoe that allows you to walk on the snow without sinking - used to be made of rawhide, but is now commonly made of synthetic materials such as Hypalon, Quadex, polypropylene or plastic
These materials are strong, light, good at shedding snow, offer good floatation and require next to no upkeep
Traction Devices- Although your weight provides some traction by pushing snowshoes into the snow, most modern aluminum styles feature crampons or cleats. These allow you to maintain a good grip on packed, icy or steep snow.
Bindings- harnesses that attach your boots to your snowshoes
Most bindings can accommodate a variety of footwear, from hiking and snowboard boots to technical mountaineering boots, sometimes good idea to bring your boots in
Some bindings are lighter and fit snugly, such as those made for running, while others are designed to be worn with heavy boots and have ratcheting straps. These types usually consist of a platform with nylon straps that go over the foot and around the heel; 3 points that get tighten individually.
Rotating Bindings pivot where they attach to the decking, under the balls of the feet. This allows you to walk easily and climb hills.
Fixed bindings are connected with rubber or neoprene bands that spring back up with each step, allowing a comfortable stride
All bindings should be adjustable, best to choose a and have some rotation to minimize tail drag on groomed snow, the two point side attachment really only works for low level flat packed terrain and should be avoided as its too limiting.
Size does matter, so here is a quick guide to finding the right snowshoe for your weight
Please keep in mind your true weight plus clothing plus your load, snow conditions and terrain, and then choose the smallest shoe possible. The smaller the shoe, the easier to navigate:
Up to 65 Kg. – 8 inches x 21 inches
Up to 80 kg. – 8” x 25 “
Up to 90 kg – 9” x 30”
Over 90 Kg. –10” x 36”
Other considerations to think about that will affect size:
Hiking alone or breaking trail for a group? Is the snow deep and powdery? Then size up. As a rule, you'll need a in the range of 9” x 30” or 10 “x 36”
Hiking with a group and sharing trail breaking duty? Then you'll probably do fine with a shoe in the range of 8” x 21” or 8” x 25”
Planning on running, then opt for one of the running-specific designs. There are a number of 5 km to 10 km races at local mountains in and around BC
A quick word on poles:
Ski poles can be a valuable accessory if you’re a beginner to snowshoeing. They are great for helping you manage your balance, and can reduce the strain on your back while walking. Many poles are telescopic which make which make them more versatile in all terrains, but generally speaking most poles should be at least mid way between your elbow and armpit
As you can see snowshoes are no longer the huge clumsy wooden bear trapper styles you may remember from years ago. Modern snowshoes are sleek, light and very effective for walking through the snow. If you like getting outside during snowy winter weather, a pair of snowshoes can help open up many new winter-time activities from simple low level shoeing on a frozen lake to part of the Kettle Rail Way to Geo Caching, just keep in mind that most of those treasures will be well hidden under snow but that should not stop you from getting off the couch and getting out there and having some fun!
Posted by bruce
under Cooking Recipes
Mixed Bean Salad
3 cans of Primo mixed beans
½ red onion
½ white onion
½ red pepper
½ green pepper
1 bunch of cilantro (leaf ends only, stems go in blender for dressing)
½ c of extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs soya sauce
2 tbs of apple cider vinegar
2 tbs of real lemon
1 tbs wine vinegar
1 tbs of Lea & Perrins Worchester sauce, balsamic vinegar,
black pepper to taste
3 garlic cloves
(then add what ever fits your taste buds
Rinse beans in colander, shake dry, place in large bowl that you have an air tight lid for
Add rest of salad ingredients ending with cilantro leaves on top
Place dressing ingredients in blender starting with olive oil followed by rest of dressing ingredients
Pour over mixed bean mixture in bowl and place lid on top. Turn upside down or give a good shake every few hours, keep in refrigerator.
Posted by bruce
under Cooking Recipes
Panko Coated Rainbow Trout in Chilli Oil
1 X 1 to 1.5 lb. Rainbow trout butterfly filleted (1 fillet per person)
2 Tbs. Chilli oil
Cilantro to decorate serving portions
Panko Coating Mixture
100 gm of Japanese Panko coating
2 Tbs. of toasted sesame seeds
2 Tbs. of black sesame seeds
2 Tbs. of blonde sesame seeds
1 Tbs. of freshly ground fennel seeds
1 Tbs. of dried roasted peppers
½ tsp. of dried garlic
¼ tsp of freshly ground black pepper
Mix Pannko coating mixture together in a Zip lock bag (this mixture keeps in the freezer between uses)
Make sure trout is dampened so panko coating will stick to it
Place trout fillets on a cutting board flesh side up and lightly sprinkle evenly with panko coating mixture
Preheat fry pan with chilli oil until hot and place panko coated trout in flesh side down and cook on med-high heat for 2 to 3 min
While flesh side is cooking evenly coat skin side with panko mixture and cover with lid and continue to cook on low-med heat for about 5 min. until cooked through
Dish, decorate, serve and enjoy!
You can mix many different dried ingredients in a Panko coating from Chinese 5 Spice, Japanese Shichimi (7 spices and is hot), dill, coriander, oregano, basil, etc. just depending on your taste.
Posted by bruce
Hiking Essentials on the KVR
Did you know that more serious accidents and mishaps occur during day hikes than extended multi-night trips. When hiking for more than one day most hikers "pack well" knowing they will be out for several days - so they hit the trail prepared. Day hikers on the other hand just assume they are going out for "a couple of hours". Weather can change in a matter of minutes as storms creep over the mountain range. Temperature can drop 20 degrees just as fast. Hike an hour or two into the backcountry and then get hurt ... now what?
Here is a list of what to bring next time you are out hiking for 1 to 3 hours:
Good, comfortable hiking boots –Even though the KVR is like a beach in many places with all its sand flip flops will not work here. Make sure the boots fit properly and cover and protect the ankle. Waterproof boots are always a bonus. Something that is mildly annoying when the hike begins could be painful or even drawing blood after only one hour so do a few long walks around where you live to make sure that they fit well before you start.
Clothes- "Dress in Layers". Remember you can always take clothes off if you're hot, so make sure you have extra to put on if you're cold.
Stay away from sweats and t-shirts - they are usually 100% cotton, are heavy and when they get wet they are even heavier and do not keep you warm. Try to invest in some polar fleece which like wool will keep you warm, wet or dry but has the bonus of being VERY lightweight. Remember, even if you take this stuff off you still have to CARRY it!!
Wool is an incredible material since it keeps you warm even if it gets wet. Cotton works the opposite since it can't retain heat very well. It is very important to take good care of your feet since you'll be relying on them heavily.
Wool and wool/poly blends are great, most sport stores and shoe stores sell them specifically designed for hiking. TIP: keep an extra pair in your pack in case your feet (or your buddy's!) get wet, and on a longer hike change your socks at the top - you will be much more comfortable on the way down. Poly or silk sock liners are also a great treat on those longer hikes to help prevent friction burns (aka blisters!). Wool socks can also double as gloves if you get caught with cold fingers.
Gloves -again, wool is recommended but any gloves are better than none. Fingers are the most likely part of your body to get frostbite. Most likely we won't need gloves during the summer months but it would be better to have them anyway.
Water -- It doesn't matter how long the hike is planned for, the weather might turn out to be hotter than expected, the trail may not be shaded, or the hike might be more difficult than anticipated. It's never a bad thing to have extra water available. At least two full water bottles (500 ml.) per person (Do not drink from mountain streams. Water storage devices such as the Camelback may be fitted to your backpack or worn directly on the back.
Hat - Good enough to keep both the sun and the rain off.
Rain gear -- At the very least bring 2 large garbage bags, but also know there are several places that sell rain ponchos folded so tightly they'll barely take up any room in a backpack.
First Aid kit -- It doesn't have to be anything advanced just some moist towelettes, bandaids, gauze and one tensor bandage in a waterproof container. Many hiking stores have pre-packed kits available that are extremely lightweight and contain more supplies than the average medicine cabinet.
Mole Skin- this stuff has been known to make bad hikes turn out good! Mole skin is like a fuzzy bandaid that is placed directly on blisters. If you haven't hiked in awhile and/or your boots are relatively new you'll want to bring this stuff.
Insect Repellent/Sunscreen -- These items should almost go without saying. Both should be brought on the trail and not left in the car because there's a good chance the sunscreen will need to be reapplied during the hike. 30 SPF is good and water proof so it won’t sweat off.
Snacks -- some fruit, or an energy bar to keep energy up during the hike.
Watch -- time passes quickly on the trail, especially if there’s a lot to explore. Hikers should know in advance how long the hike will take in both directions and plan accordingly. Always know what time the sun will be setting for the time of year you are hiking.
Whistle just in case you need it.
Swiss Army knife or equivalent! You never know when one will come in handy. Tweezers, scissors, screw driver...All useful STUFF!
A bathroom might be available at the base at the start of the trail but best to stop at the closest gas station. Not every trip may be so lucky and sometimes when nature calls there is no bathroom anywhere. When that happens it's nice to be prepared.
A small mirror to signal for help and a cell phone with fully charged batteries if there is cell phone service in the area. You should not rely on a cell phone for your safety, since batteries die and since cell phones do not work in many mountainous areas. For longer, wilderness hikes there are devices such as the SPOT Satellite Messenger that you can use anywhere on the planet to call for help.
Flashlight- although day hikes will be during the day they have been known to take a little longer especially if we got lost (not that we will). To be safe flashlights are recommended and for sure are required for longer hikes.
Longer (more than 3 hours), or steeper hikes
Poles/Hiking Sticks -- Not everyone is a fan, but they can help with navigating steep downhill sections if you get off the KVR or need a little extra balance when crossing a creek or stream, or providing assistance if a leg or ankle gets stiff or sore. The collapsible poles come in handy here -- they can be stored on the backpack until needed, old ski poles always work in a pinch.
Maps -- If hiking over longer distances or in isolated areas a map can be invaluable. Don't rely on signage being available at every junction.
Bear spray -- Always be aware if there are bears in the area and take precautions to avoid any contact, but as a last resort, bear spray is invaluable.
Other hiking equipment to consider
Traction for snowy conditions -- If hiking during winter month’s snow and ice can remain on the trail long into May and re-appear in the early fall. There are many types of gadgets that strap onto the bottom of a hiking book to provide traction. Two of the most popular are "Yak-Traks" and "Stabilicers".
Binoculars -- Hikers need to pause for a break or phenomenal view once in a while and binoculars can only add to the experience, especially if bird-watching is part of the appeal of the hike.
Camera -- Some would consider this an essential. Remember the saying "take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints".
GPS/altimeter/compass/thermometer -- The more back country the hike is, the more essential these items become. Log on to http://www.geocaching.com/
and sign up to become a member and find the local caches in the area you might be hiking, just an extra fun thing to do while in that area plus it very eco friendly!
some kind of lip balm/blistex
extra batteries for that flashlight!
Day-hikers should always make sure to let a friend or family member know where they're going to be hiking and when to expect them back and leave a note on the dash of your car with the same information on it.
Lastly, pay attention to the weather forecast for the area you will be hiking in before leaving. Approaching thunderstorms can mean serious lightning or flooding in mountainous areas. Ask the local ranger about dangers and wildlife activity such as bears.
What not to bring for a day hike?
Alcohol causes your body to not absorb oxygen as efficiently, it also causes your body to not maintain heat. If you drink the night before, the day of or during a mountain hike you will be in no physical shape to keep up with the group. This is only a recommendation. If you must have beer no one will stop you
Foods or drinks rich in sugar are almost as damaging as alcohol. Though you will get a boost of energy you are only borrowing the energy gain. About 10-20 minutes after a soda your energy level will be much lower. Save the soda for after the hike.
Coffee, chocolate, tea, and sodas contain a lot of caffeine. Stimulants are worse than sugar in that they borrow your body's energy to give you a temporary boost.
The KVR is safe and being with a group will make them even safer. Do not bring any kind of weapon or firearm as the laws are very now days and not to mention it might make everyone nervous
Radios- if you must have music bring a walkman, be kind to those of us who want it quiet.
Most of the day hikes on the KVR are achievable for virtually any physical condition. Therefore, in the interest of health, I encourage you to never let you physical condition stand in the way of exploring these wonderful trails. I do encourage you to check with your doctor before beginning any kind of exercise routine such as trail hiking. If you want to get ready for hiking in the KVR try exercises like walking, jogging, and riding your bike. All of these exercises will help strengthen your legs and knees.
If you go hiking alone, then you can have any grade of attitude you want. Otherwise, complaining about a hard hike is one of the best ways to ruin a fun trip for everyone else that you're with. Therefore, make sure that you plan properly for the trip. This means that you bring the right stuff and that you're in decent shape.
What if you get lost?
If worst comes to worst and you find yourself lost, REI suggests that you remember the acronym S-T-O-P - stop, think, observe, and plan. When you realize you are lost, stop where you are and don't panic. Think about where you were at the last point where you were confident of your location. If you can identify such a location and know how to return to it, do so, then stop again and reassess your situation. If not, stay put. Carefully observe the terrain and landmarks around you. Is anything familiar? Are there any immediate dangers? Are there any useful items about? Finally, make a plan. Discuss it with your companions, or out loud if you are by yourself. Follow your plan, repeating the S-T-O-P cycle as the situation changes. If you are at a complete loss for how to proceed, and there are no immediate dangers, stay where you are.
Robert Baden-Powell said it well, "Be Prepared".
Posted by bruce
Sensible Cycling Suggestions on the KVR
Cycling the KVR
The KVR is NOT your Sunday ride in Stanley Park. In most cases it’s about a 50 km ride on an old deactivated railway bed that is often sandy, rocky or hard packed. It’s usually a great experience and a fantastic ride in BC’s beautiful outback. Most areas do not have cell phone coverage so please come prepared and have fun.
Do Not Overpack
Travel gurus unanimously list overpacking as one of the most common travel mistakes. On a long distance bicycle trip, the extra weight of unnecessary items can make the difference between a fun trip or a disastrous one.
Factors Affecting Gear Selection
Inevitably, the gear you will need for your trip will depend on the distance you will travel, access to food along the journey, weather conditions, where you'll sleep, how your bike handles the gear load and whether the trip is supported by support vehicles.
Do A Dry Run
Several days BEFORE YOU GO on the trip, do a dry run. Pack everything on your bike to see that the load is stable, THEN ride your loaded bicycle at least a few miles to make sure you are comfortable with the load. If something doesn't seem right, redistribute the weight or eliminate items until you ARE comfortable.
Packing Your Panniers
When touring with panniers, try to keep your total load between 15 and 45 pounds. Your bike will be most stable if you put more weight in your front panniers--roughly 60 percent of weight in front and 40 percent in back. Experiment with weight distribution to find the best handling results for your particular bike. Items like tools, spare bike parts, cooking equipment, fuel bottles, food, and on-the-bike clothing usually go in the front panniers and light, bulky items like clothes in the rear panniers. Your sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and tent are usually strapped to the rear rack and add to the weight on the rear wheel.
Before packing, line your panniers and sleeping bag stuff sack with heavy-duty plastic garbage bags. Despite sometimes being labeled "waterproof," some panniers can still leak, especially in hard rains. Roll your clothing and pack them vertically (ziplock bags work well for keeping things organized and dry). This way, you can see the end of each roll for easy identification and avoid wrinkling.
What to Bring:
Suggested Equipment List
Modify the following list depending on your personal needs and past experiences. Keep in mind that you generally won't need any more gear for a ninety-day tour than for a seven-day tour.
• Cycling helmet — ANSI and/or
• Cycling shoes or stiff shoes
• Cycling gloves
• Cycling shorts (2 pair)
• Socks — wool or synthetic (2 or 3 pair)
• Leg warmers or tights for riding (rain pants could substitute)
• Short-sleeved shirts (2)
• Light, long-sleeved shirt for layering and sun protection
• Rain gear, jacket and pants
• Comfortable shorts
• Comfortable pants (zip-off legs or rain pants could substitute)
• Underwear (1 to 3 pair)
• Sandals, flip-flops, or lightweight shoes
• Wool or fleece hat
• Wool sweater or fleece jacket
• Swimsuit (optional)
• Towel (lightweight to enhance quick drying, like the PackTowl)
• Pocket knife or Leatherman (pliers and other tools are handy)
• Lightweight lock and cable (optional – not a U-lock)
• Water carrying bladders like a Camelback or additional water bottles
• Basic first-aid kit with emergency numbers
• Bandannas (many uses!)
• Sewing kit
• Insect repellent
• Bungie cords
Plenty of zip lock plastic bags (to keep your gear in)
Maps, copies of pages from guide books
• Water filter (optional)
• Camera and journal (optional)
• Bear spray (where appropriate)
Tools and Spare Parts
• Tire levers/patch kit
• Spare tube
• Electrical tape
• Spoke wrench
• Allen wrenches
• Rearview mirror (optional)
• Duct tape (invaluable – you can wrap some around a broken pencil to save weight)
(Much more equipment is needed for camping which I will cover at a later date.)
Extras Bits and Other Bags
Start your trip with extra room in your panniers for items picked up along the way. The extra room will also make it easier to pack quickly. Keep your wallet, camera, and often-used items in a detachable handlebar bag, fanny pack, or small backpack and always take it with you when you leave the bike. Tools for fixing flats can go in your handlebar bag or a small seat bag for easy access. Five to eight pounds is the maximum you should pack in a handlebar bag.