Saturday, February 28, 2009

End of one Adventure, the beginning of another

Retail, and shopping have always been the backbone of the American economy. So little did I know, two Decembers ago when I chronicled the highs and lows of working retail, I was documenting what might be the end of an era. Certainly it was the end of an era for me. What with moving, and EMS drastically cutting employee work hours, I am no longer working there and will probably never work retail again. From discussions with other EMSer's and watching the nightly news however, it is clear that retail, as an industry, and also as a pastime, has also reached the end of the adventure.

Watching shoppers storm the doors and paying full price for TNF Denallis and UGG boots this Christmas, even as the layoffs and recession had already begun I wondered, no I sincerely doubted that America could give up its shopping addiciton. I too have struggled with a bit of shopperholic syndrom, debating what and/or how much to buy before loosing my employee discount. How many pairs of smartwool socks and Asolo 520 boots are really enough? Will I someday want to go winter camping, and if so should I get the 0 degree bag? And what about the cute little Timbuktu mini messenger bag that I've had my eye on for months, but really have no need for. Should I get it now? Not that I need it. But for that matter, no one ever Needs UGG boots.

If I, minimilist that I am, am having this much problem giving up shopping (or rather buying) then what about the rest of America? What about those who on the most beautiful sunny spring day would come to the mall to buy hiking sneakers? (While I wanted to be hiking!) Now that they can't buy, what will happen to those who have have come to buy the experience rather than do it?

Take the Average American on an Average Weekend Day - you know the one they work all week for. What do they do? Well, traditionally they sleep late, work around the house, visit friends and shop. Did you know those same average American's spend 90 percent of their lives indoors. Who knows what the percent was that they spent shopping. But what will they do now? They could still shop. Shopping does not mandate buying, but it is bound to happpen. That is where the gratification comes in. Put it off as long as you want but if you spend all your time looking at stuff you utimately know you can't buy - it just sucks the fun out it.

So what will American's Do? As the economy continues to tank and spending becomes less and frequent what will fill the void? What brave new American will replace the American consumer? It is an adventure into the unknown.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Barn Island - aka Piney Island

Yesterday I walked around Barn Island alone. S. is away - hence the pinning. But... in the last eight years I've walked all over that place at all times of the year. I've kayaked it spring through fall, and walked it fall through spring (too darn many ticks in the summer). I've seen the Burdick graveyard, the Wiccan Oak, the rock moved by Venture Smith, and the sweet gum trees in their fall blaze but I've yet to see a Barn and I even in the highest of tides I doubt very much that it is an Island.

Other People's Adventures

I'm just so thrilled for Bethany that I have to take a break from the usual posts to give her a "shout out". Being a published author is so cool, and a maritime author! Amazing! But so it is. Bethany Bromwell's name will even auto fill when you type it into the amazon search box. Her book?

Mothers of the Sea: Female Lighthouse Keepers and Their Image and Role Within Society ,
the definitive work on women lighthouse keepers. Considering how interesting and informative her presentation at the Luncture was, I can't wait to get the book.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Monadnock and Microspikes

Yesterday S. and I, and a lot of other like minded people headed up Mt. Monadnock. Only the white dot and white cross trails were open so in some ways it was a bit like walking up and down a highway but it was a white highway to an icy summit with 50 knot winds. As always good gear played a major role in the hike. Along with techwick and smartwool, winter hiking boots and windbreakers we also tried Kahtoola Microspikes. While some of the hikers had nothing on their boots, some had full mountainering crampons and some summitted with snowshoes, the Microspike folks were the ones with the perfect gear for the day. They were easy to put on, stayed on with no trouble, didn't add any drag and really dug into the solid ice sheets that were the last mile of the trail. Definitely a good addition to the gear closet for anyone who does winter hiking.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Glacier Park - Westerly

Yesterday the temps rose to 47 degrees and it was sunny! So....I decided to check out a local park and see how the trails ran. Glacier Park turned out to be a nice little plot of 134 acres. There are several trails through the park and if you link the white and blue it'll make a good hour walk with views of the Atlantic Ocean and a sweet little moraine kettle.

Photo map of the park