Sailing is a great outdoor activity. You almost feel one with nature when you’re skimming over the surface of the water on a good wind. It’s just you and the boat and the water and the wind. The sail is an important part of that combination too, but maybe not much longer. There’s a group of people in Hawaii experimenting with a completely different approach to sailing. They’re using a kite instead of the traditional sail for propulsion. Advocates of this system say it uses advanced technology to harness higher winds above the water that actually lifts the boat, giving it better stability and higher speeds because less of the boat is in the water. This is basically the same kind of kite used by kite-boarders and skiers, but it looks to be much larger. The inventor’s have developed a winch type of contraption that sits where the mast would normally be on the boat and they use it to release and haul in the kite. They’re trying it on a fairly large catamaran. In fact they say this technology can eventually be used on large ships as a way of reducing fuel consumption and reducing greenhouse gasses.
Sounds like an idea worth investigating. And after watching the videos it looks like a lot of fun sailing, or should I say kiting. Check it out at Kite for Sail.
I knew I shouldn’t have mentioned skiing in the last post. Sure enough we woke up to snow this morning, the first of the season. There wasn’t much of the white stuff but enough to make the grass and porch and car white. The drive early in the morning was nasty, not because the roads were slippery but because of poor visibility. The flakes were big and wet and coming down hard. Driving through it in the dark produced that hypnotic affect you get when the headlights make it look like the snow is coming directly at the car and it’s difficult seeing anything else.
The snow has all disappeared now. The grass is green again. But it’s a taste of what’s to come. When my son was a little kid he used to say he could smell snow coming. I could smell it today. I got excited. And I think my skis sitting in the corner of the basement got a little excited too.
There was a full moon the other night. It was a big harvest moon, the kind you see in the fall. Without a cloud in the sky the lunar glow lit the night almost like day. It was perfect for a walk and that’s what we did.
We started out in the light but after a stop at a friends for a tour of their home renovations and a cup of tea and fresh apple pie right out of the oven, it was dark by the time we left. Usually when I’m out at night walking or running or hiking or skiing for that matter, I like to have a head lamp or some kind of light with me. If we’re on the road I also like wearing something reflective or at least some light coloured clothing. But on this particular night I had on black running pants and a black jacket. My wife Teresa had a light coloured jacket but not the reflective vest she wears for night walking. And of course we didn’t have a light of any kind. But once we stepped out the door and started down the road, it didn’t matter much. The moon took care of us and lit the way. It was a beautiful night and a fabulous walk home. It just made you feel good being outside. The air had that clean, crisp fall smell to it. It was cool but not yet cold.
I had forgotten how much I enjoy being in the outdoors at night. I had a chance to go for a full moon kayak last month and didn’t make it. That won’t happen again. I’m really looking forward to the winter and doing some night skiing when the moon is bright and the snow is deep. There’s nothing better than being in the woods right after a fresh snowfall under a full moon. It’s magical.
On occasion I’ve found myself inside a gym running on a treadmill while the sun is streaming through the window. Why would anyone want to be indoors when they could be outside getting exercise on a beautiful day? I’m an outdoors guy so that’s where I want to be. Sure there are times when you need to be indoors, when the weather is bad or when you need certain equipment found only inside a gym. But for me and for many others, the outside experience is preferred.
There’s a town in Atlantic Canada that has taken a huge step in bringing fitness to the outdoors. Kentville, Nova Scotia has installed outdoor gym equipment including exercise bikes, elliptical trainers and even rowing machines is several locations in the town. This is special gear made to be used in the outdoors. It’s free and available for anyone of any age who wants to use it. The town plans to install more equipment in the spring.
In addition, the community of 5,800 people keeps its school gyms open after hours, has great walking trails and all in all some excellent recreational facilities. They take fitness and active living seriously in Kentville. Good for them.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
We’re going fishing on this edition of Doing Stuff Outdoors. Angling is a popular outdoor activity but one we haven’t talked about yet on the show. That changes today when we connect with Glen Ferguson. He’s the producer and host of the Fishing Musicians television show. It’s seen across North America and available online. Glen combines his love of music and fishing and outdoor adventure in a TV show that takes him around the world.
Running guy Alex Coffin is back with more tips… today the topic is interval training, what it is, what it means and how it works. Gary reads through some of the comments about the show he’s received on the web page and we have some Podsafe music from one of the hottest bands in Taiwan .22.
And finally on his Outdoor Ramble Gary wonders why we hate trees so much that we always want to cut them down.
Next week on the podcast we’ll take you on a hike to a special place called ‘The Grand Canyon of New Brunswick‘. It’s a wilderness area with towering cliffs, spectacular waterfalls and wild rivers. Be sure to listen to DSO-25 and don’t forget to subscribe in iTunes . Call in your outdoor adventures and story ideas to the comments line at 206-600-4557 and email the show at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy the outdoors.
Yes the flowers survived the first attack of the frost. I left the house around 6:30 in the morning and there was a light frost on the car. But I didn’t have to scrape. At least not yet. The plants we covered in anticipation of a killing frost would probably have survived anyway because it didn’t get as cold as was forecast. At least we know what to do the for the next frost warning. Thanks for the comment from Stacey and yes all the flowers are intact. I bet it won’t be long before we have another frost on the pumpkin though.
If you’re wondering why I’m writing about plants in this outdoors blog it’s because gardening is a hugely popular outdoor activity enjoyed by people of all ages all over the world. Believe me it’s good exercise too. I plan to feature a regular gardening column on the podcast beginning in the spring.
And speaking of the podcast, I’ll be soon posting Doing Stuff Outdoors-24. This week running guru Alex Coffin is back with more running tips and for the first time on the show we’ll talk about fishing. We’ll meet a guy who combines angling and music in a hi-def TV show called the Fishing Musicians. Stay tuned……
I’m trying something a little different. This blog is used mainly to post the regular DSO podcast and show notes as well as the bi-weekly column I write on the outdoors for the local newspaper, River Valley News. I haven’t made many purely blog entries, but that’s about to change. Starting today I’m going to attempt to post something about the outdoors every day or at least as often as I can.
The weather has been outstanding this fall. I went for a run today in shorts and it’s October 25th. This is after all Canada and it hasn’t really felt like fall yet. The leaves have changed and many have fallen to the ground but it’s remained mild. We haven’t had a frost yet but that’s about to change too. There is a frost warning in effect for tonight. The temperature is expected to dip to just below freezing for the first time.
Normally this wouldn’t be a concern for us but this year, probably because of the warm temperatures, the flowers my wife planted in pots this summer are thriving. They’re looking better now than they did in the summer. You have to understand… we aren’t gardeners. Just keeping plants green and alive is more luck for us than anything else. So my wife feels like she’s finally discovered her green thumb and she doesn’t want Jack Frost to take it all away.
We don’t really know what to do but I’ve heard people cover plants to protect them from frost. So my wife Teresa draped some old towels over some of the flowers and I covered the rest with an old mouse eaten tarp I found in the shed. The deck looks like a mess but maybe the plants will survive. I’ll let you know if it works.