Bicycling/ March 2018

I enjoy cycling for many reasons.  I love the feeling of riding a bike in the woods, over natural terrain.  Health benefits are just icing on the cake. I equate riding with freedom. My red 26″ Schwinn bomber was the vehicle that I rode out of my driveway as a kid and explored all over the neighborhood.  It is still fun for me to ride for an hour or more.

Spring is official next week.  With almost 2 feet of snow on the ground,  it will not be easy to get on my road bike to dodge the potholes, slush, and dust that comes with riding this time of year.

My crappy yard- yesterday


The two feet of snow that fell in the last two weeks has not firmed up enough for me to be to be back in the woods riding snowmobile paths but that should all change this Sunday, when temps drop into the single numbers gain.

I’m very excited about the 2018 riding season.  Last night, I finished the second session of a four week ” Fix Your Own Bike”  adult education course  taught by Mike Hartley  at Maine Sport.  We’ve covered tires, flats, replacing cable, and adjusting rear dereillers.  My friends Frank and Pat are also in the class. I can fix many things on my bikes, but now I am learning from a professional how to round out the rough edges of my wrenching skills.

I’ve got a new 1 x12 drive train on my Ice Cream Truck (5″ fat tire bike).  Before the month is over,  I plan to bolt on  the rear rack on my Surly Pugsley  and do a short bike-packing trip in Acadia National Park, sleeping in my new Seek Ouside Tipi, that will be  warmed by a brand new titanium wood stove.

February 2018- Blackwoods CG, Acadia NP


In the meantime, I need to get out on two wheels when ever I can.

3/17 trip into Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument


I’m 57 miles behind schedule to make 1,000 miles on the bikes again in 2018.

regular cycling cut the risk of death from all causes by more than 40%, and cut the risk of cancer and heart disease by 45%.

via Cycling keeps your immune system young, study finds | The Guardian




Outside inside

I’m at home today, snowed in with at least 12″ of fresh white on the ground and more coming.

I plan to head out this afternoon and snowshoe for at least an hour or so.

I read the new issue of Outside magazine (April 2018), cover to cover. This is one of the best issues ever. I found all the articles fun to read and took inspiration from this paragraph, written by Nick Heil in his feature piece, The Ultimate Fitness Machine.

“it struck me that a lot of what passed for health and fitness now was just an attempt to synthesize what humans have done for eons: move around outside, sometimes intensely; eat food from the earth; sleep a lot; hold onto each other.”

Book Release Talk – Thru-Hiking the Continental Divide Trail


Next Tuesday night!

Feb 27, 2018  6:00-8:00 PM

Camden ( Maine ) Public Library

Full Information —>>>>In the Path of Young Bulls: An Odyssey on America’s Continental Divide Trail | Camden Public Library

In 2013, the 63-year-old Jamrog completed a 5-month long backpacking journey over the Rocky Mountains through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.

In the Path of Young Bulls is the story of that desolate, yet majestic 2,500-mile journey, an effort achieved in the company of hiking partners half his age. Tom wrote the initial manuscript of the book on an iPhone while hiking. The 267-page book features over 50 full-color photographs.   Copies will be on sale via assistance of Camden’s Sherman’s Bookstore.



Thomas Jamrog’s review of On Trails: An Exploration | Goodreads

On Trails: An ExplorationOn Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mr. Moore thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2009.
The 27 page Prologue focuses on that hike and leads to Moore’s interest in paths and trails in general.
The 39 page Epilogue is a highly interesting report of the latter life habits ( both on and off trail ) of a legendary thru-hiker, M.J. Eberhart, better knows as Nimblewill Nomad. At the age of 60, Eberhard retires as an eye doctor specializing in cataract surgery and is reborn as The Nomad. He then hikes over 34,000 miles in 15 years and is still out there. Moore tracks The Nomad down and spends a few days hiking with him through Texas and shares those experiences along with direct quotes of Nomad philosophy with the reader.
In between the Prologue and the Epilogue is Moore’s research on trails and paths, human, and animal in a scholarly, razor-like analysis of why movement matters, and what movement means.
Moore is young guy who is already a a huge writer, who has won multiple awards for his nonfiction work. Thinking as a hiker, I found the whole book interesting, but the Prologue and Epilogue holds the best writing about long distance hiking and “hiker-trash” philosophy that this hiker has ever read.

View all my reviews

Book Release Presentation- Backpacking the Continental Divide Trail

via –>> Thomas Jamrog: In the Path of Young Bulls – Blue Hill Public Library

February 1, 2018 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm


Licensed Maine Guide and author Thomas Jamrog will do a presentation and read from his recent book, In the Path of Young Bulls: An Odyssey on America’s Continental Divide Trail, at the Blue Hill Public Library on Thursday February 1st at 6:30 PM. The book details how, after thru-hikes on the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails, he left his rocking chair to hike the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail with a multi-generational team for five months on one of the country’s toughest long-distance treks.

Polish Alpinists Attempt First K2 Winter Ascent

From the NYTimes ( 12/27/17) :

Tommy Heinrich, National Geographic Creative

A team of Poland’s most elite climbers just launched an attempt to scale one of the deadliest mountains on Earth—a feat no one has accomplished. The Polish team has been preparing for almost two years, purchasing the best climbing equipment and hiring a supplemental team of weather forecasters, dietitians, sports trainers, and doctors.

They encompass the world’s best climbers and is overseen by renowned Polish climber Krzysztof Wielicki. The 67-year-old made headlines in 1980, when he became the first person to climb Mount Everest in winter. He has led three winter expeditions to different peaks on K2, but never to its tallest point.

read full NYTimes article here:  Climbers Set Off to Be First to Summit World’s Most Notorious Mountain in Winter


Check out the award winning book about Polish climbers specializing in winter Himalayan ascents :  Freedom Climbers by Bernadette McDonald. This book won the following awards:
2012 American Alpine Club Literary Prize (USA)
2011 Munday Award, Banff Mountain Festival (CANADA)
2011 Boardman Tasker Prize, Kendal Mountain Festival (UNITED KINGDOM)

Here are my two previous blog posts ( 2008) about Polish ascents of the winter giants:


Cam Honan’s Winter Hiker Book List

Lord of the Rings made it- yeah!  I’m trying to get out my 10 ten reads for 2017, but I still have a few days left.  In the meantime, this works ! – Uncle Tom 

Books for Hikers and Backpackers (Revised & Updated)

All of the works listed below have a place in my library at home. They represent a mixture of educational and philosophical texts; with a sprinkling of humour, poetry and social commentary thrown into the literary mix. The books are listed in alphabetical order according to the last name of the author:

via—>>>> Books for Hikers and Backpackers (Revised & Updated) | The Hiking Life

Beet Kvass for Holiday Cheer !

It’s time I went back to my Slavik roots (literally) and embraced the positive aftermath of my gardening work this season.  While the ground is now freezing progressively deeper here in Maine,  I’m processing the last of my harvest:  carrots, leeks, and beets.

screenshot 13

Blessed with an overabundance of beets, still viable in a 5 gallon bucket on the porch, I’m excited to make my first batch of kvass, a drink that my grandmother, Philomena, used to make when I was a little boy on the family dairy farm in Somerset, MA.

Here’s a pic of what I accomplished this morning.  The crock will be covered and put beside the wood stove for the next 10 days or so.



What is Beet Kvass?

“Beet Kvass is comprised of simple ingredients and is simple to make through the process of wild fermentation.  Here in my kitchen, we call it blood of the earth. Indeed I do taste the earth when I sip this crimson liquid. Beet Kvass is an age-old tonic associated with many health benefits including efficient hydration. Fermented beverages are the original sports drinks. Like other lacto-fermented drinks, kvass is more hydrating than even water. In order to remain hydrated, our bodies require a balance of electrolytes. Cultured beverages like kvass help restore this balance without the sugar and preservatives of modern ‘sport drinks’. Beet Kvass is traditionally heralded as a blood and liver tonic. And indeed this ancestral knowledge is meted out in science. In fact, beets are high in betacyanin which can dramatically increase the oxygen-carrying ability of the blood.”

Easy ( no cooking) kvass recipe and  info here:

Beet Kvass Myth Busting (& Recipe) – Holistic Squid