Walking Rocks?

Query: When I was in Death Valley earlier this year, I saw some enormous 750-pound rocks that appear to travel across the desert on their own. I remembered your article about rock tortoises, and wondered if that’s what these rocks could be?

Corn of Plenty (Part 4 of 4): A Field Guide by Dr. Midas Welby

Corns of the Air: Air-corns utilize their horns for jousting, playing tic-tac-toe, and spearing food in mid-flight. Air-corns often lurk undetected in trees, wood piles, and rain gutters. When bored, they use their horns to ring the doorbells of unsuspecting humans. When the door begins to open, the air-corn flies away.


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Going On Hiatus

December 6, 2014: I am loving college, but I have to admit, I’m overwhelmed.

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Pine Cone Feeders

A Present For Imaginaries: When winter comes, I get concerned about providing extra shelter from the elements for Imaginaries. Recently, I read about people who build wildlife brush shelters out of branches and plants in their yards, and thought this was a great idea.

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Walking In Winter

Tracking Imaginaries: Winter is a great time to get outside and look for signs of Imaginaries. Tracks in the snow are much easier to see than tracks in the earth, and scat stands out really well against all the white!

Last spring, I wrote about safety tips for exploring outdoors. Tips that are good to follow in the summer become requirements in the winter, because the conditions are much harsher, and so more dangerous. So today, I want to remind everybody about being safe outdoors, especially in winter.

In the wintertime, it’s really important to check your local conditions before you go out – and not just the weather, but everything else around you. It can be very dangerous to get caught in a snowstorm or an avalanche, or if you start your walk so late in the afternoon it grows dark before you can get back. Because winter hiking can be slower than summer walking, plan lots of extra time to cover the same distance. Finally, if the conditions aren’t in your favor, re-schedule your walk for another day. Don’t walk into trouble when you don’t need to!

Always wear layers of good, warm clothing, including hat, scarf, gloves, and waterproof boots. As you walk and get warmer, you can take off your top layers, and then add them back on again if the temperature starts to drop or you stop moving around as much. You want to keep your body temperature well-regulated, because it can be really hard to warm up again once you’ve gotten cold.

Go with a buddy. If you’re new to trekking in winter, team up with someone who has winter hiking experience. Not only is it safer, it’s a lot more fun with two or more people. Don’t forget to tell someone where you’re going before you hike out.

Bring enough water and food. You might not feel it, but it’s even easier to get dehydrated in winter than it is in summer, and winter hiking burns a lot of energy. I like to bring a thermos of hot cocoa for rest stops. Of course, if you bring it in, pack it out.

Snow and ice can be hard to walk on. Some people like to use walking sticks; others like snowshoes. If you decide to use winter hiking equipment, practice in your yard to get the hang of it before you go out.

Even if you’re planning a short walk, it’s a good idea to prepare for the worst and bring along what you need in case you get stuck. This includes a first aid kit, firestarter, waterproof matches, a pocket knife, and an emergency blanket. And don’t forget the compass, maps and GPS!

Finally, if you set out for a hike and conditions get tricky, don’t be afraid to turn back. You’re much better off turning around and trying another day than hiking deeper and deeper into trouble.

If you take care of safety first, your time outside will be that much more interesting and fun. - BUG, Field Agent, Iranigami


Copyright © 2012, 2013, 2014 by Penelope Stowell. All rights reserved. This website is a work of fiction and does not depict any actual persons, creatures, places or events.