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Ice Trekking in the Buckeye State

By devilwind 2015.01.17 in Hiking

There’s a nice preserve in a quaint little town called Yellow Springs that boasts several pieces of eye candy that are even more impressive when the temperatures dip below freezing.  Ice falls, frozen creeks, running springs, swaying pine forests, and icy crossings are just a few of the wonderful winter experiences you’ll run into on this 5 mile jaunt through the woods in Glen Helen Nature Preserve near Antioch College.  I’d go so far as to say that this hike might be better just after a hard freeze.  Don’t forget the trekking poles and the chains for your boots, as there is a multitude of cliff and ravine areas that could be a bit treacherous when covered in ice, but the winter is a great time to traverse the Glen.

Ice falls at Glen Helen


Pine Forest at the Glen


The cascades

5 Knots to Rule the Universe

By devilwind 2015.01.08 in Bushcraft Knots

Knot making is one of those essential outdoor skills that seems boring and out-of-date, what with all the fancy new nite-ize contraptions and little plastic or aluminum doo-dads that people use these days.  Well, I’m here to tell you that if you know 5 basic knots, you’ll be able to rule the universe.  I’m not kidding – you’ll be able to rig tarps, guy out tents, make clotheslines, and do just about any other outdoor task requiring knots.  Below, you’ll find a fixed hitch, an adjustable hitch, a way to tie two ropes together (bend), a loop, and hitch that acts like a pulley.  What more could a good outdoorsman need?  Don’t answer that.  And add a of couple more knots to the list (not listed this time around) and you’ll be able to saddle up and DdRT up a tree.  So, in no particular order, here they are:

1.  Two half hitches on a quick release – holds tight around a tree or post, the harder you pull, the tighter it gets.  You can’t adjust it – that’s the way it’s supposed to be, as a fixed end of a ridgeline for example.  And the icing on the cake is that it is very, very easy to learn.  The quick release part is missing from the diagram below but I’m sure you’ll figure that out.

2.  Adjustable Cawley Hitch – I love this hitch.  It’s easy to remember and does it’s job nicely.  I use this knot just about anytime I need an adjustable line anymore, and its very similar to a prusik loop.  There is an outstanding discussion of this knot in the following link – the discussion of the hitch starts at 1:34 and ends around the 2:50 mark.  Setting up a tarp with a ridgeline

3.  Sheet bend on a quick release – My favorite way to join two ropes.  I use this so often it’s completely indispensable.


4.  Bowline – What can I say, if you need a loop, this is your knot.  Period.

5.  Power Cinch Knot – Cliff Jacobson’s favorite and mine too.  I use this knot any time I really need to put a bunch of tension on a line, you can really crank on this one.

There you have it.  Now, go out and rule the universe.

About Me

You don't have to live in Yosemite to enjoy getting outside - although that might help. Even if you live here in "the land of the devil winds" (that's what the Shawnee called this area of Ohio), you can enjoy day hikes, backpacking trips, paddling adventures, recreational tree climbs, camping, and just about anything else you might be looking for in the outdoors. Hopefully, this blog will provide you with some old-fashioned forgotten outdoor skills, give you some outdoor ideas to ponder, and help you find your adventure.

As mid-western outdoorsman in the southern Ohio/Northern Kentucky area with a family, I hope to provide you with an appreciation of what it's like in this region of the country in terms of camping, hiking, backpacking, canoeing/kayaking, and general outdoor pursuits. The Ohio Valley has quite a bit to offer if you know where to look...