Monday, November 26, 2012

A School With a View

Growing up, our high school wasn't like this, and chances are that yours wasn't either. There's a new kind of high school in Vermont—one with its hand on the land. The Mountain Campus at Burr and Burton Academy allows students the opportunity to spend one semester in the Green Mountains above Manchester Vermont.

The classroom is defined by stone walls and river banks, backcountry trails and open fields. Nature journals and MacBooks sit side by side lit by a Vermont sun streaming through double story windows with a view of the weather and wildlife, two tracking solar panels produce 100% of campus energy.

A mudroom of muck books and daypacks hint at a curriculum designed for observing the environment and learning from the land.

Students visit orchards, dairy farms and quarry's, split wood and hike together deep into the wilderness that surrounds the campus in Peru Vermont. It's a new way of considering public high school education and its being pioneered right here in New England.

Even the required reading is a hop, skip, and jump away from the usual high school literary works.

Take a closer look!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Spring Conditions in November

First run of the year (Vermont) this past weekend.

Pre-Thanksgiving snow might have already eclipsed last year's total accumulation!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Life After Sandy

Sometimes things come across our desks that really make us stop and reflect. A lot of folks think that the storm is over, but it really isn't for many people out there. This letter is a good reminder of that, and makes us proud to have been there for someone when it really mattered.

Nov. 8th 2012

Dear Mr. Brensinger,

First let me say I never write these type of letters but I felt I had to tell you how grateful I was to stumble upon your product recently in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy which hit the Northeastern United States a few weeks ago which resulted in the loss of several lives.

The storm knocked out the local Con Edison power plant which threw over 200,000 residents that live in lower Manhattan into darkness. To compound this, I also live in an apartment building where regular water pressure wouldn't allow us to have water pressure to our apartment. For a week, I was forced to carry gallons of water for my wife, mother-in-law (who was staying with us) and myself, for all of life's necessities.

Having camped in the past, I went to my local camping store to see if there were any products that could address personal hygiene. The store employee showed me the Helio pressured water system. I was a little taken aback by the price at first but I figure I would give it a shot.

I brought it home and followed the directions and was pleasantly surprised by the results. The Helio functioned just as promised. I filled the tank with warm water and was able to take a very thorough and satisfactory shower with the bottle barely half filled.

What I like most about the Helio is its simplicity. No gas bottles to buy or complicated assembly or large pieces to store.

Being without power and water has rekindled my desire to be more prepared for emergencies. Although there are quite a few items I still have to get, at least I know I have a reliable way to wash up. Thanks for making a product that helped bring a little comfort during a bad situation.

Martin Brown

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

But What Was He Drawing?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pausing in the Sierra Backcountry

What's the strangest thing you've ever found on a hike?

In September, we were off trail in the High Sierras, on Day 8 of 10. Passing through Echo Col (in the Clyde Spires range), we stumbled upon the wreckage of an old plane crash strewn across the bowl

This is certainly not the first time the crash has been documented, but it seems like ideal conditions like a low snowfall year, late season hiking, and strategic melting can create more opportune moments to see the plane wreckage. Since there have been multiple sightings of the plane this year, it seems like this past fall brought all three of those factors.

The plane crash occurred on February 16, 1980 when Robert Pole's private Mooney went down during a snowstorm.

The plane was in such good shape that we weren't sure if the crash had been documented. So we took the radio call tag (and a small rusted gear train) in case more information was needed.

Maybe most interesting of all was all the undocumented plane crashes in the Sierra Nevadas. Seems like the whole area is a magnet for single engine planes...