From Over 500 Miles of Trails, a Marin County-based blog:

As Arty and I neared the trailhead he decided to take a plunge in the lake, which (despite rules against it- public water supply and all) I was glad of since he had rolled in something foul further up the trail (even better; rinsing off carrion in the public water supply! Not that deer, squirrels, etc don’t die in streams that feed the reservoir all the time). Arty’s not much of a swimmer, nor is he much of a stick man, but for some reason a post sticking out of the lake about 30 feet off-shore caught his fancy. He swam out to it and gnawed on it briefly before realizing it was attached to the bottom of the lake. He gave up and swam back. A small anecdote, but significant in Arty’s biography as it’s probably the furthest he’s ever swam.

This seemed much funnier till I realized Arty was a dog.

Wicked Outdoorsy wants the industry to pay proper attention to the Invisibles.

Kudos to the OIA for their recent study of Hispanic population. Three cheers to Horny Toad for a decade long-commitment to partnering with adults with developmental disabilities. A sincere thank you to Kelty for leading the way into the outdoors for families for just as long. And, with a new line of helmets that fully embraces the youth market, Smith Optics is doing their part as well.

Because, you know, there’s a world of people who aren’t 20-year-old single white guys on mountain bikes who need a whole bunch of new stuff to pile up in a closet.

Creek Running North ruminates on an early hiking memory and a jealous boyfriend.

Though his behavior was obnoxious, Luis was not precisely wrong. He had seen into my heart. The hike was, in fact, innocent. Neither of us had any other intention on setting out up that steep trail. But I would have liked to have had that intention. I loved her. She was thoughtful, striking, and a little sad. She was taller than me. Her voice was deep, a contralto. Even in her early twenties she had a bold stripe of gray hair, the same color as her eyes if a bit lighter. At work she was quiet and relatively efficient. But when we hiked, for those few hours, she told me stories.

Read the whole thing.

Ryan Jordan has a lot to say about the backpack he’s taking on his Arctic trek.

It needs to adapt to variable load volumes. This criterion alone eliminates most of the packs on the market, which are poorly compressible in large volumes and don’t generally carry gear on the outside well in larger volumes. All the gear needs to fit inside the packbag (for river crossings), yet the packbag must be adaptable to a rapidly shrinking load volume as the trip progresses. In other words, a small load must also result in a small pack (in contrast to a small load carried poorly in a big pack) in order to maximize our efficiency and comfort for high mileage days and rapid pace towards the end.

Speaking of things to strap on one’s back, the new Virginia Hiker blog profiles a Camelbak hydration pack.

GoBlog suggests taking your toddler camping along California Highway 1 near Big Sur, south of Monterey.

If you want to avoid the crowds at Molera, Pfeiffer (Big Sur & Julia), then drive a little further south to these gems. First is Plaskett Creek Campground in Los Padres National Forest (aerial photos), right off US 1. Beautiful campground set among Monterey Pine, you can access the Pacific via Sand Dollar beach right across the Hwy. Another key selling point is there is a school w/ a playground right next door if you want to tire the toddlers out. Downside is it’s near the Hwy, so you can hear cars.

And be sure to turn ’em loose on the beach so they can track 13 pounds of sand into the tent. (Mom loved it when we did that way back when).

Andy Howell points to another outdoor podcast. Andy’s been posting up a storm after his Scottish adventure; from a post about high-tech hiking socks:

The X Socks seem all wrong. They’re made exclusively out of synthetic materials. They are padded in only some places. But this allows the feet really breathe. The socks always feel light and comfortable and they wash through easily. While light they kept my feet warm. They made the walking even more pleasant than before. They were blissfully comfortable on tarmac and when the temperature increased.

Any discussion of footwear must mention shoes:

I stuck to my Terrocs throughout and they were fabulous. They got wet, very wet. But once they are wet they can’t get any wetter and they soon dry out. When I came to a river or stream in spate I just walked right through, while others had to remove boots and socks and paddle over sharp and jagged river bed.

OK, that’s enough for today.