First of all, my article on baselayer technology and the excellent Rab Meco 120 and Kuiu Ultra Merino 125 shirts was recently published over at Rokslide.  It is free to all, and I reckon most of you will find it interesting.

Second, the most recent stage of the fight (which is the right word) to permit paddling in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks is set to heat up this fall.  The American Packrafting Association has a bunch of handy information online, including the map shown below, which outlines the backcountry waterways which ought to at least be considered as paddling legal by the park service.

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 6.31.57 PMI wrote plenty about this last summer, and I don’t think much has changed.  The primary issue is I still maintain the big “fuck you” the administration in Yellowstone gave to the paddling public in 2013 when they failed to give any substantive consideration to Snake River Headwaters Wild and Scenic planning project.  It is not unlike the comparable finger they’ve given to the snowbiking community over the past five years.  Increasingly it seems that the current higher-ups in YNP are due an awakening, and passing the Paddling Act would help bring that about.  The secondary issue is the cultural conflict within the conservation/environmental community over this issue, with the Greater Yellowstone Coalition continuing to object to the bill for reasons which are to me ever more obscure.  It’s a pity, as the GYC has an ever increasing hold on the YNP administration due to the large percentage of research projects they fund.  I have to remind myself that the stereotype I outlined in that OpEd last year is not often true.

Third, the other day I did what everyone ought to occasionally, and cleaned out and updated my emergency/repair/firstaid/possibles bag.

IMG_1185Not too much has changed over the years.  I still bring floss and needles even though I hardly ever use them.  The same could be said of a few gauze pads.  Hammer Seat Saver lube I do use, for butt related chafing, on a fairly regular basis.  The Hammer product isn’t especially exceptional for this end, but I have a pile of these convenient small tubes which I obtained for free, so why ever not?  The major changes in this kit over the past year have been MSR Aquatabs, which are cheap and convenient and taste-free, as well as trioxane tabs (military surplus) for tinder.  Trioxane is similar to esbit, but can be lit with one spark from a fire steel and don’t quite burn as hot.  A few of each will cover fire starting in every possible scenario.  Container at bottom-right is my packraft repair kit, which remains unchanged: UV aquaseal, Patch and Go tape, and duct tape.

Lastly, M and I didn’t participate in the APA Packraft Roundup whose last day was today.  With the due date so close that seemed like tempting fate, but with no signs of the kids immanent arrival I did get out boating with Doom on Saturday, and last night got out for the tail end of the BBQ, the raffle, and Rich Rudow’s presentation on packrafting and canyoneering in Grand Canyon.  I happened to have 20 dollars in my pocket, with which I bought five tickets, and with which I also 30 minutes later won a new Yukon Yak with all the trimmings.  Sponsors came up huge this year, with an HMG pack, Werner paddle, and three packrafts (Bakraft, Kokopelli, Alpacka) making up the prize list.  APA is a great organization, and the packrafting community is served by some great companies, so support them and yourself by coming to the Roundup next year (wherever is might be).

In all good things you must be present to win.