Whip-poor-will Overload

  • I haven’t been to all of them, but I suspect that the Hercules Glades Wilderness is the crown jewel of Wilderness Areas in Missouri.  It is not the biggest, but it is scattered with glades — some quite large and picturesque, has an extensive and well maintained trail system, and even has a set of pretty little waterfalls.  On top of that, there is relatively little poison ivy and no sign of feral hog damage.  If it wasn’t so far away, I might be tempted to call it my favorite.  It was Memorial Day weekend, but I didn’t see anyone all day Saturday except at the trailhead, or on Monday morning on my hike out.  I saw several groups on Sunday, most of them at or near The Falls.  However, there is evidently a thriving population of whip-poor-wills, which threatened to keep me awake both nights.
  • A couple decades ago, I bought a rain poncho made extra long in the back so it could be worn over a backpack.  I’ve carried it with me every time I’ve been backpacking, but Sunday was the first time I’ve actually been rained on significantly will hiking with it.  It found out that it sheds water, but it is not waterproof.  I think I’m going to try making my own, using a fabric that is actually waterproof.
  • I must be getting better at packing light, because my backpack is too big.  Again.  When I was first fitted for a backpack, I got a 65+10 liter pack (most lightweight packs throw off my center of gravity, and the local REI store didn’t have a huge selection of the ones which didn’t).  After one trip, I ordered a smaller 50+10 version of the same pack.  This three-day weekend, even that pack was too big.  I will either have to buy an even smaller pack (Deuter makes a 40+10 version, and also a 35+10 “women’s fit” version), or I will have to start carrying more gear.  More gear would mean a decent camera.  To save weight, I have been bringing only the camera on my smartphone, but I have frequently wished I could get better photos of things.
  • My straw hat fits better after having dropped it in the creek.
  • Label makers are fantastically useful devices.  I have owned a few, but more than a year ago I bought one made by Brother that accepts several sizes of label tape up to one inch in width.  I bought it so I could print large labels on clapperboards, but I have amassed a collection of different widths and colors, and I use it for everything.  Today, after owning my air compressor for more than two decades, I printed clear “AUTO” and “OFF” labels for it, because I was fed up with trying to read tiny little lettering, stamped in black-painted metal, in the dark.
  • I have been working out details for a road trip to New Mexico that my brother and I will go on this September.  I wouldn’t normally consider New Mexico to be a tourist destination, but a few small attractions started to add up.  There is the Hatch Chile Festival on Labor Day weekend.  There is the city of Truth or Consequences, upon which my brother has been modeling his train layout, even though he has never been there.  For a long time, we have kidded around about traveling to see those individually.  Then I discovered the Chile Pepper Institute at the New Mexico State University.  They’re all in the same area.  Add on White Sands National Monument and Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and you have an action-packed vacation.  We will probably also get on the tour of Spaceport America and check out Cadillac Ranch along the way.
  • I had another screening party at my place last night.  It was a similar success to the one I had last year, and I guess it will be an annual thing.  The timing is intentionally such that it comes after the 48 Hour Film Project screenings and after the selections (and rejections) of the St. Louis Filmmaker’s Showcase.  In any case, it was a good time.
  • My infrared converted Panasonic GH4 arrived yesterday.  I have been playing around with it, but I am going to have to wait some time for a sunny day to really give it a good test.  Panasonic still has a lot of luminance noise in their sensors, but it is a little better than my old GF1.  I need to get some experience with this camera, in preparation for shooting a film with it.