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Hiking Treadwell Ditch Trail

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Today I hiked part of the Treadwell Ditch Trail on Douglas Island in Juneau Alaska. I accomplished this without getting into a car. I left my house, got to Crowhill Avenue and walked to the end of the paved road. I walked around the gate at the end of the road and after about ten minutes arrived at the Gastineau Meadows Trailhead. I took the switchbacks through mountain meadows to reach the Treadwell Ditch Trail. Then it was a matter of walking uphill for a couple of hours. I saw birds, skunk cabbage, bridges streams. Several times I felt gratitude to Trail Mix, our local trails organization that works with the feds, state and city to maintain our trails. They put in new bridges and reinforce sagging parts of the trail. It was a good reminder that there are some things (like maintain a great trail) we simply can’t do working alone.

I kept walking until just past the trailhead for the Dan Moller Cabin Trail, which splits off from the Treadwell Ditch Trail. It had been about 2.5 hours, so I turned around. Partly because it was a decent turnaround point, but mostly because I was meeting friends for a 1pm lunch and wanted to get home in time to shower and change.

On previous trips up this trail, I made it a loop by taking the Blueberry Hill exit off the trail. This trailhead is in a pricey neighborhood of Douglas and one walks down some steep streets down to Douglas Highway where one can either walk along the highway or wait for a bus. I’ve done both and I’ve always found the walk down on pavement to be hard on my feet. So I decided to simply go back the way I came. It had more roots and rocks, but ultimately more fun than the streets to highway to home path.

I got home around noon, about when I expected to. I’d been gone about five hours and hiked 9.6 miles according to my MapMyWalk app. Part of my wanted to wander around to get that last 0.4 miles to get 10 miles, but my feet wanted nothing to do with that plan. So I stayed home, changed showered and had a lovely lunch with friends at the Sandpiper, probably the best breakfast/lunch place in Juneau.

That’s how I spent my Saturday. How did you spend yours?

References:

Treadwell Ditch Trail

Gastineau Meadows Trail (also includes information on Treadwell Ditch Trail)

Trail Mix

Dan Moller Trail

Day 9: Full Circle Ambivalance

My wife and I subscribe to an every other week box of fruit and vegetables from Full Circle, an outfit that sources from small farmers and delivers to consumers. They do deliveries in Washington State, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho and the San Francisco Bay Area.

My wife and I have lived in Alaska since 1998. When we lived in the lower 48 we were big fans of farmers markets. Not only did the produce tend to be fresher, we appreciated the chance to support small farmers directly. Both of us feel that keeping some diversity in our food chain is important and that corporations rarely treat individual farming families well.

But Juneau, while technically on the North American mainland, has an island like atmosphere cut off from the road system. And we have a fairly poor growing climate and limited land. We have some great gardeners, but farming on a commercial-scale doesn’t seem feasible. So when Full Circle – then Full Circle Farms – first started offering produce to Juneau, we jumped at the chance. There have been a few periods when we’ve dropped the subscription but we came back.

Generally the produce is of good quality. When it’s not Full Circle is great about issuing credits.  We generally use most of what comes in our box and it’s a greater variety of fruits and vegetables than we would buy for ourselves. As advertised, the food does come from small growers.

So why I am ambivalent? Mostly because of the distances our produce has to travel. Buying organic local produce to be lighter on the Earth doesn’t seem as Earth-friendly once you’re shipping it a thousand miles. Also, Full Circle has gone beyond farms in their state to source stuff from as far away as Mexico. I’m not against foreign produce per se. I do wonder how I can say “I’m supporting local farming families!” If I’m sourcing my produce from foreign countries. On the other hand, they do seem to all be small farmers.

If you subscribe to Full Circle, especially if you’re outside their driving radius, I’d like to hear from you in comments. Do you think subscribing to Full Circle is supporting small farming? Why or why not?

References:

Full Circle

Full Circle food sources

With this post, I surpassed my previous Write. Every. Day. streak of eight days. So now I will stop routinely prefacing my blog posts with the day number except:

1) When I hit certain mileposts, say 30 days of writing every day.

2) When I fall off the wagon and need to restart.

Day 8: Book Review: Zero to Maker by David Lang

Today marks my tie with my previous longest streak in Write. Every. Day.

As a result of a purchase on Humble Bundle, I wound up reading the e-book:

Lang, David, and Rebecca Demarest. 2013. Zero to maker: learn (just enough) to make (just about) anything.

From the WorldCat summary:

“Are you possessed by the urge to invent, design, and make something that others enjoy, but don’t know how to plug into the Maker movement? In this book, you’ll follow author David Lang’s headfirst dive into the Maker world and how he grew to be a successful entrepreneur. You’ll discover how to navigate this new community, and find the best resources for learning the tools and skills you need to be a dynamic maker in your own right. Lang reveals how he became a pro maker after losing his job, and how the experience helped him start OpenROV–a DIY community and product line focused on open source undersea exploration. It all happened once he became an active member of the Maker culture. Ready to take the plunge into the next Industrial Revolution? This guide provides a clear and inspiring roadmap.”

I found this book to be mostly interesting and inspiring. Mr. Lang hooks you with the first chapter that begins in a cave surrounded by foul weather. A robot descends into deep water. The inventors are excited to see their product working. Then Lang tells us that just months prior, he was a Silicon Valley social media minion with no manual skills. He got laid off and was envious of people with back-up manual skills like carpentry. He resolves to “re-skill himself.” Most of the rest of the book is his story of finding people in the Maker movement, apprenticing with some of them, taking classes at Makerspaces and elsewhere. There are sections of the book that offer advice on finding maker groups, creating your own workshop and how to go about starting a business as a Maker. The sections that focus on how particular people got involved with Maker culture were the most interesting to me. The chapters later in the book about the mechanics of finding business funding and considerations about filing patents were less so. That probably says more about me than the author.

Mr. Lang was ultimately successful in reskilling himself and is a main partner in the OpenROV project. So his book a legitimate story of being a zero (manual skills wise) to a Maker. If you’re looking for a book to inspire you to pick up new skills, have fun and join a global movement, this book is for you.

References:

Humble Bundle

OpenROV (Underwater Exploration Robots) project

Day 7 – The Pleasures of Walking Home

The sun continues to shine down on Juneau. I took the opportunity to walk home tonight. I strolled along the water front for most of the way, soaking in details that I miss when I drive. The ships in the channel, the state of the tide, the wildflowers beginning to bloom. There were people jogging and washing their cars. The sky was very blue, but I can tell that from a car. I could have stopped and taken pictures, but I was running the MapMyWalk app and I wanted to see if I could hit three miles an hour in walking. Turns out I could. But maybe I would have been better served by moving even slowly and trying to capture some of the beauty that is Southeast Alaska.

Day 6 – No Escape From Culture

I’d like to think that I don’t perceive things differently depending on whether a man or woman does them. Every once in awhile something comes along to rudely remind me that I have been molded to see some things through a gendered lens.

For those of you living in a cave, the video above is for Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” I love the song and I think the video is great. My favorite part of the video is when she looks into the camera and says, ” ‘Cause darling, I am a nightmare dressed as a daydream.” The rest of the video has her cutting up her boyfriend’s clothes, ripping up paintings she had made of him and finally just beating the crap out of his car with a golf club. I laughed the first several times and if I was single, I still would have been tempted to obey Taylor’s instructions to “grab your passport and my hand.” Not that I’m EVER Taylor Swift’s type in any reality.

But .. after about the fifth go round, I mentally flipped the genders of the couple in the video. If Taylor was a guy, bragging about his ex lovers who swore he was insane, I’d wonder what the woman was doing there. If it got the point where the guy was shredding the woman’s clothes and wrecking her car — not funny. Not something we want to show, really. Not for laughs anyway.

And yet I did laugh as did many others. I’m claiming this is a cultural thing instead of my character flaw due to the lack of outrage from anyone over “Blank Space.” I’m positive there would be an outcry if some male pop star did a cover of Swift’s video.

I’m not saying we should damn Taylor Swift or demand the retraction of the video. We might want to take the opportunity to reflect on what we feel is appropriate gender behavior and why.

Cosponsored by Senator Murkowski – S.1346 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): A bill to require the Secretary of Energy to establish an e-prize competition pilot program to provide up to 4 financial awards to eligible entities that develop and verifiably demonstrate technology that reduces the cost of electricity or space heat in a high-cost region. | Congress.gov | Library of Congress

via Cosponsors – S.1346 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): A bill to require the Secretary of Energy to establish an e-prize competition pilot program to provide up to 4 financial awards to eligible entities that develop and verifiably demonstrate technology that reduces the cost of electricity or space heat in a high-cost region. | Congress.gov | Library of Congress.

This seems like a worthy cause. Although I’d like to know how the Republican Senators sponsoring this legislation expect to pay for it since their caucus is completely opposed to additional taxes.

Day 5 – Random Musings

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Day 5 of this stretch of Write. Every. Day. has me trying out mobile blogging.

A sunny day in Juneau masks fiscal storm clouds I likely won’t discuss in public.

It was great having sunny weather for the weekend and I was out and about both days. IF our current forecast holds I’m planning on several after work walks this week.

I’m just as compelled to seek the sun as most Juneauites.

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