Stalking Euell Gibbons

“Now is the time to stop writing about nature and get out into it. It is the season for research and exploration, a time of taking in, not putting out, and I revel in it.”

Euell Gibbons, Spring, Spring, Spring!

The Spring Equinox may still be a few days away, but around here the season changed weeks ago. Spring has sprung. Spring is the best season for gathering wild foods, and while there may be many experts and many book on the subject if you have any inclination to consider gathering wild things to eat this spring then you should probably consider Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons. A seminal piece of writing on the subject, the book discusses not just how to search and collect wild asparagus but a whole range of other things to eat.

An avid outdoor man, naturalist, and forager,  Gibbons wrote articles for both for National Geographic and Organic Gardening and Farming magazines. He is widely considered the father of the wild food movement and while his books are informative as he continued to write his writing became a bit more philosophical then instructive. Anyways it is spring and you probably shouldn’t actually be reading you should gathering wild ramps by a stream somewhere, but but if you need some information and inspiration on the matter Gibbons is your guy.


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Jeff Lowe’s Metanoia
November 15, 2011, 8:55 pm
Filed under: Wilderness Heroes | Tags: , , , , ,

Jeff Lowe was and still is one of the most important and influential American mountain climbers, credited with bringing ice climbing to the US and for inventing the “mixed climbing” style. A visionary climber, he has made over 1000 first ascents including Colorado’s Bridalveil Falls. He also happens to be the brother of Greg Lowe founder of Lowe Alpine.

In 1991 After struggling through some of his life’s roughest spots including a divorce and a failed business he sought an escape and headed to do a solo ascent  of The Eiger in the Swiss Alps. Specifically he went to climb the Nordwand, otherwise known as the North face of the mountain…in the winter. The climb, during which Jeff almost lost his life, went on to become a transformation event and one which resulted in “metanoia,” a Greek word meaning a fundamental change of thinking. Do yourself a favor and watch the clip below, narrated by Jon Krakauer, to get the fuller version of this story. Also the video above is of Jeff unpacking his Vaude pack 20 years later that he left on the climb up Eiger.

Hugh Falkus
October 19, 2011, 7:22 pm
Filed under: Angling, Wilderness Heroes | Tags: , , ,

Hugh Falkus was a WWII airplane pilot, writer,naturalist, film maker, and most importantly angler. An inspiration to generations of anglers he published several books on fishing including Salmon Fishing and Sea Trout Fishing which established him as  “the father of modern sea trout fishing,” and had a huge impact on modern spey casting.

While working for the BBC Films Natural History Unit, Falkus also produced and wrote many films. One of which I have come across, Salmo the Leaper posted here in its entirety for your viewing pleasure, covers the natural history of the Atlantic salmon along with some great insight and footage of catching one on the fly while properly wearing a waxed canvas jacket.

*All of the parts to this film are great, but if you want what is probably the best moment go to 11:30 on Part 2 of the film.

Wallace Stegner
November 3, 2010, 7:02 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized, Wilderness Heroes | Tags: , ,

Read Wallace Stegner’s Wilderness Letter here.

Martin Litton
August 23, 2010, 7:27 pm
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Born in 1917 Martin Litton, is a Grand Canyon river runner, a long time environmentalist, and a protector of the gigantic sequoia trees in California. A close friend of Edward Abbey and David Brower, he has been involved in the conservation movement since he was 18.

Martin Litton has been leading trips down the Colorado river since 1971 using small wooden boats called dories. At a time when river runners were switching to rubber inflatable craft, he stuck to the wooden boats which were originally used as fishing vessels in New England and along the coast in Oregon. He own dory was called the “Sequoia.”

Check out “The Good Fight”, a short documentary about Litton and his conservation efforts.

Coming into the Country
June 3, 2010, 10:54 am
Filed under: The Great Outdoors, Wilderness Heroes | Tags: , ,

I began reading Coming into the County by John McPhee after reading this article by in in the New Yorker back a few months ago. I had never really read anything of his until then and was subsequently recommended the book by Lou Ureneck.

In the book Mcphee recalls the characters and characteristics which comprise the Alaskan landscape at the time. He examines the territory in three parts, first the total wilderness, urban Alaska, and then the people and place of the bush. “In the course of this volume we are made acquainted with the lore and techniques of placer mining, the habits and legends of the barren-ground grizzly, the outlook of a young Athapaskan chief, and tales of the fortitude of settlers–ordinary people compelled by extraordinary dreams,” via Mcphee’s site here.

There are some amazing quotes in the book but this is one of my favorite.

E.O. Wilson
April 16, 2010, 7:43 pm
Filed under: Wilderness Heroes | Tags: ,

Tuesday I had the fortune of getting to hear and see E.O. Wilson lecture. His lecture was in honor of his receiving of the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture. One might think this is strange that he would receive an award in architecture but his work and writing has had a broad influence on sustainable design thinking and architecture. The lecture was mainly around his writings and ideas about consilience, and while I couldn’t comprehend what he was saying at times I left immensely inspired.

Wilson. who was born in Birmingham, Alabama, “is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. He is known for his career as a scientist, his advocacy for environmentalism, and his secular-humanist and deist ideas pertaining to religious and ethical matters.” via.

If you are unfamiliar with E.O. Wilson and his work, or need further convincing check out his TED talk on saving life on Earth.

Aldo Leopold Weekend
March 4, 2010, 8:26 pm
Filed under: Wilderness Heroes | Tags: ,

“Considered by many as the father of wildlife management and of the United States’ wilderness system, Aldo Leopold was a conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast.” Via

Aldo Leopold was responsible for championing concept of “land ethic,” a term which is best described by him as, “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” The man was also a huge outdoor enthusiast as see below in this photo of him with a few nice trout.

Leopold’s “shack,” as he called it, was a chicken coop he converted into a small house for him and his family to spend time in. The shack is on a farm in Baraboo, Wisconsin where he authored several books on conservation including the Sand County Almanac. By the way this weekend coming up, as with every first weekend in March each year, is Aldo Leopold weekend across Wisconsin.

Conquering the Summit
January 10, 2010, 6:11 pm
Filed under: The Great Outdoors, Wilderness Heroes | Tags: ,

This is my centennial post. While it may not be a mountain, I have conquered the number 100. I hope you have enjoyed the first 100, here’s to hundreds more.

Upon reaching the summit of Mount Winchell in 1868, Judge E.C. Winchell wrapped himself patriotically in a flag, took a swig from a wicker-woven flask, and “addressed formal salutations to the witnessing mountains and fired double-charges of gunpowder over the canyon and forest, arousing crashing reverberations that leaped from cliff to distant cliff, swiftly redoubling in the morning air.”

A Feral Biologist

The naturalist and zoologist George Schaller is considered by some to be the worlds most important field biologist . He is responsible for a significant body of research on wildlife found in the continents of Asia, Africa, and South America. I have mentioned George before on this blog when describing the journey him and Peter Matthiessen took in the Himalayan mountains and chronicled in the book The Snow Leapord.

Via Life

“Over the course of his career, field biologist George Schaller has developed a unique strategy for protecting the world’s great wilderness areas: Focus on an ecosystem’s most captivating species—the “charismatic megafauna”—and let the animal garner support for the protection of the landscape at large.” via National  Geographic

“It shows you it’s well worth looking around in this world, still, to see what’s out there.” – George Schaller