No stake? No problem

The more backpacking and camping I do, the more I realize how few places exist that are actually ideal for staking out your tent. From scree to granite slabs to impenetrable ground, nature is essentially hatching a plan against you to destroy even the most “unbreakable” stakes. 

Don’t try harder, try smarter. Learn how to stake and guyout your tent using rocks, and it’ll totally change your camping experience. 

Fly Fishing In The Alaska Backcountry

A photo essay of an unguided unsupported back country float for 7 days on the Alagnak River in Katmai National Park. 

The fishing had been getting better and better as we floated, and the prior day had seen us finally start to get into some serious salmon. On the 6th and final full day on the river, I was up with the intent to fish the seam below the gravel bar that we were camping on. We had arrived a bit too late the night before to get down there and I was hoping for big fish! The water was so stinking high during the trip that even getting to the end of the gravel bar was a bit of a chore. It was pretty cool though. An old school cabin had been picked up by the flood water and washed down the river before it landed it on the gravel bar. All the construction was done by hand and topped with a corrugated tin roof. Unfortunately, whoever had built it was out of luck because it was definitely not salvageable. 

The bottom of this particular gravel bar looked perfect; two mid paced currents meeting in a deep seam with the current from river left forming a really nice drop off into the seam. The fishing couldn’t have been better! I had a 20” rainbow to the bank and no one else was even out of the tent! I ended up getting another 16” bow and a nice chum salmon before it was time to head back to camp, gather the troops, heat up some water, cook some oats, break down the tents and hit the river. That 6th day turned out to be magic. We hooked and landed innumerable salmon, dollies, grayling and a bunch of big bows. We camped that night at the takeout reminiscing about the trip over a dinner of fresh salmon washed down with swigs of whiskey. The perfect end to an incredible trip.

-Mike Eaton

Bear Can Packaging

Always a challenge to get 10 days of food into these things. Here’s one attempt at close-packing food:

FYI, not a good idea to keep all the breakfast oatmeals on the bottom of the can. It makes every morning a food inventory morning.

Getting Dirty

On Tuesday, five of us from the office joined crews from EMS, Vibram, ECCO, and Polartec to do some trail maintenance at a few locations around Peterborough, NH. Part of the Conservation Alliance’s Backyard Collective, member company employees and local grantees get together for a day of environmental action. These events allow us to get out of the office and get our hands dirty; doing good work to preserve and protect the open spaces in our own backyards.

This year, we were in McCabe State Forest, Miller State Park, Greenfield State Park, Harris Center for Conservation Education’s property on Spoonwood Lake, MacDowell Dam, Wilder Rotary Park, Cranberry Pond Meadow Trail and on trails and waterways throughout the Monadnock Region. Projects included trail maintenance, trailhead construction, invasive species removal, picnic table restoration, campground maintenance, etc.

While the day wasn’t bluebird, we didn’t let a little rain get in the way – we made some good improvements at each of the sites and had a tasty lunch at EMS’s headquarters afterwards.