History Of Backpacking

Backpacking today is a lot easier and more fun then it was in the when it started. People are able to backpack with all the things they love from their homes, such as computers, phones and even watch TV on their trips. Due to all the latest technology like solar panels to charge all their equipment. Back then it was a different story. A lot of people backpacked for necessity either because of disease, starvation, wild animal attacks or robbers to name a few. It was not till the 17th century people traveled for educational or entertainment purposes.

Wealthy European men were sent on a "grand tour" one last hurrah before they settled into marriage and careers. Just like the pre-college trips the teenagers in Europe take these days. Giovanni Careri was the first pioneer to travel the globe for fun. He did this travel in 80 days and wrote the accompanying book "Around the World in Eighty Days'. He was able to do this by smuggling valuables from country to country. The earliest backpackers were the ancient hunters-gatherers. Where they followed animals and ate the wild fruits. These nomadic tribes were the Aborigine Australians, South African Bushmen. Pygmy Tribes of the Congo and the Native Americans.

In 1492 Christopher Columbus ventured to America and David Livingstone explored Africa in 1841 are just two of the many explorers who paved the way for backpackers. In 1920 Lloyd F. Nelson invented the camping backpack by adding a pack board to make the pack more comfortable. Before that the backpack was just a loose sack with shoulder straps. In 1965 President Lyndon Johns proposed the National Scenic Trail Act which encouraged individuals to discover the outdoors and appreciate nature more. This provided hikers with well-defined trails to follow. Greg Lowe designed the internal fame backpack which distributes pack weight across the hips. And the backpacking gear got better from wooden frame to aluminum tubing, heavy canvas to waterproof nylon, steel cookware to titanium, wool clothing to quick dry synthetics and petroleum / wood for stoves to alcohol / butane.

In 1910 backpack is coined. In the 1940's post World War 2 more people had time to travel so the travel trailer and camping grew in popularity. Because of the military design backpacking gear goes lighter with aluminum-alloy frames. Then the lighter frames become popular with outdoor enthusiasts. Then 1970's lighter weight nylon backpacks are everywhere. In 1990 the program Leave No Trace Behind is developed. In 2000 all the best innovations in shelter, sleeping bags, cookware get lighter and easier to carry.

The best is yet to come as the principles of the program Leave No Trace Behind become important for our eco-conscious society and so backpacking will grow more and more. Leave nature as you found it do not disrupt it and our beautiful wild life will continue to flourish.

Source by Monica Yates

How to Build a Cobblestone House

He huffed and he puffed and he blew the house down – certainly not if the house was built with cobblestones. Building cobblestone houses was a folk art that flourished in upstate New York from 1825 until the Civil War in 1860. Many of the 700+ cobblestone homes that were built survive today, a testament to their fine craftsmanship.

To build your cobblestone house you'll need 5 main components: cobblestones, soft lime mortar, wood for windows and doors, cut stone blocks for quoins, lintels and sills, and lots of cheap labor. Lets take them one at a time – assuming the cheap labor is you, your family, friends, relatives and anyone else you can convince to do manual labor for $ 1.00 to $ 1.50 per day.

The first step is to gather the cobblestones. This may take several years. Cobblestones are small fist-sized stones deposited by the glaciers that swept from the north millennia ago. Rough-shaped ones can be gathered from the farm fields or rounded, lake-washed ones can be gathered along the shore of Lake Ontario. You'll need over 14,000 cobblestones, so get cracking. As the manly work of stone gathering progresses, the women and children can be kept busy sorting the stones by size and color. You'll want to use the finest, smoothest, similar-sized stones on the front of your house, and save the rougher, odd-sized ones for the back, sides and interior of the walls.

While this is progressing, you better start preparing the soft lime mortar. Do not skimp and use Portland cement. It dries too fast and will pop the cobbles out as it dries. Soft lime mortar is made of lime, sand and water. Find limestone (calcium carbonate) or dolomite (magnesium carbonate) and break it into pieces. Burn it within heaps of logs for 2 to 3 days to create quicklime. Add water to the quicklime to create a hydrated lime sludge.

Mix in 5 to 9 bushels of sand to 1 bushel of lime sludge. Age the mortar in a ground pit covered by sand or cow manure for up to a year.
Fell a bunch of trees. They'll need to be hand-hewn to build the doors and windows – each custom fitted to a specific opening. Also, find a quarry where you can get limestone or sandstone blocks for the corners of your building (quoins) and as structural support over the doors and windows (lintels) and under the windows (sils).

Now the fun begins. Start by laying the stones in walls 18 to 20-inches-thick. Build the wall with rubble stone, faced by cobbles. Use elongated or triangular shaped stones to tie the cobbles to the rubble wall. Use the soft lime mortar as your glue, getting fancy with straight ridges between the horizontal and vertical rows of cobbles. Build about 3 rows (or courses) per day so the mortar has time to slowly begin setting. It will take 35 years for the mortar to fully harden. Lay in the cut-stone blocks at the corners to create quoins. To finish the inside, apply horsehair plaster to the stone.

Once the walls are above reach, you'll have to build scaffolding by burying poles in the ground 6 to 8 feet from the wall and tying cross members from the wall to the poles with hickory witches. Then lay planks on the cross members to provide a building platform. As the walls rise, you'll have to repeatedly raise the height of the scaffolding. Attach a crane and tackles to the highest pole to winch up buckets of cobblestones and mortar.
Hand build your windows and doors to fit each opening and hand-hew trusses for your roof. Winter is a good time to do much of your carpentry work. Depending on how many workers you have and their skill level, you may finish in a year. More likely, the building process will take about 3 years.

When you're done, you'll have a fine home that will stand for centuries. Go see for yourself. New guidebook Called A "Cobblestone Quest – Road Tours of New York's Historic Buildings" (Footprint Press is , Http://www.footprintpress.com , 1-800-431-1579) offers 17 self-guided car or bicycle tours for viewing the diversity of cobblestone buildings clustered within a 65-mile radius of Rochester, NY, and no where else in the world.

"Cobblestone Quest – Road Tours of New York's Historic Buildings"
By Rich & Sue Freeman

17 self-guided car or bicycle tours for learning the history and observing the diversity of unique cobblestone buildings in Western New York State.
208 pages, 20 maps, 85 photos, indexed, paperback, 10 X 7 inches
Price: $ 19.95, ISBN # 1930480199
Press is Footprint, Inc., Http://www.footprintpress.com

Available people like photos – email [email protected] or call 585-421-9383.

Source by Sue Freeman

Modern Gamebooks Rock: RED DOG

Well, it started with The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and ended with the games console but is anybody else still hankering for that long dispelled thrill of the choose your adventure / fighting fantasy style gamebook?

Well, with the advancement of mobile phone apps, they are making a big comeback and a new generation are enjoying the retro thrills of an adventure where there are the star of the show.

But that's not what I want to talk about here. Yes, they were fun at the time, but they have had their day. Have not they?

Apparently not as there is a new explosion of writers out there who have re opened pandora's box with the belief that despite new polygon pushing processors on our HD screens, there is yet to be a console with wiring as complex and capable of imagining palpable science fiction as our very own brains. Well, most of our brains.

I trawled the internet for a high scoring gamebook I could get my hands on (yes, my actual hands, not at the other end of a gamepad) and I found a wealth of choice. The best of which was from Sandboxer Books who are new to the game and boy oh boy was I happy I picked it up! The original Fighting Fantasy Books were an open pit in which I poured hours of my childhood, each spanning 400 'chapters' but this one is 530 long passages. It is huge. I got a lot of enjoyment out of it. I spent a lot of time with it. Now I need more.

It is called RED DOG and is by author Chris Young, apparently his first forage into this genre (at least that I could find.) Now, this is a 'choose your adventure' with a difference. Ever snuck back under the cover of darkness to your childhood and had another bite of the Fighting Fantasy cherry? Well this adventure is written better, is longer and free roaming. You heard it here folks. You are not forced down the garden path this time on a linear adventure. You can go where you like. It really is like having another world in your pocket. That is if you have clowns pockets because if you want a copy you had better have a tall bookcase. Its 9 by 6 inches!

Here's the specs: –

'' This is not the Earth you remember. Dragged from the present and into this dark and dangerous future, you have total freedom to uncover the hidden secrets of Earth, space station 'Eden' and the mysterious Blackbird Facility. Uncover a determined threat to the freedom of mankind and take your part in the revolution. The future is in your hands. RED DOG: A complete Fantasy Role Playing Game. Free Roaming * A Huge 530 passages of Text * An Expansive Universe Set Over Three Worlds * Detailed Illustrations, Maps and Plans * No Dice – Rely On Your Wits and Courage * Search Every Corner of the RED DOG Universe * Deeper Interactions – Talk to Anyone You Meet * Get an Advantage and Upgrade With Bio Implant Technology * A New Generation of RPG For A New Generation of Gamers. ''

Give it a blast and help me put pressure on these guys to write another! Here is my review on Amazon:

I bought this because I used to be into the Fighting Fantasy 'Choose your adventure' books and thought I'd try it out. The mecha on the front is cool. The book completely blew me away. I really was not expecting to get so drawn into it, it's a really deep sort of experience and I like the way you start off with no memory of how you got there and it all gets explained on the way.

Compared to the books I read as a kid, it's much more challenging and a hell of a lot bigger too. Its a big book. The pictures are great though I would have liked to see more of them and the gameplay is quite different from the FF books but I think it's for adults.

There are no dice. I never used dice anyway so I did not miss that. It uses a kind of code system so you will need a pencil to write them down. For example, at one point I got a 'Stealth' chip implanted in my brain so I could use it anywhere and basically disappear. The way you can go back to places you already visited and use it is cool. You add the code to the page to use 'Stealth' which means you are not limited in how or where you use it. This gives you plenty of freedom and means that you can do what you want.

There much more freedom rather than being linear. I just wandered around, searching for stuff. There are books hidden all over the place which are all one story and it's fun to find them and read them. It's all connected and makes it rewarding to look around. And another thing I liked was that I did not get killed off for something that was not my fault. The mecha is cool. You have to learn how to control it which is a great idea but I do not want to spoil it so I'll just say give it a go.

Overall, I highly recommend it. Definitely a big leap from the old school books. I wanted to get another one but this is the only one I could find by these guys, hopefully they'll release another one I'd definitely play it. ''

So there you have it guys. I'll be emailing Sandboxer if I can find them and petitioning a second book. Read this and you'll be doing the same!

Keep on keeping on folks


Source by James A Holmes

3 Ways to Create More Suspense in Your Writing

Suspense is defined as an excitement that one feels while waiting to find out what has happened and what will happen next. The element of suspense arouses the curiosity of readers and keeps them engrossed in the story. Human beings by nature are eager to discover the hidden secrets of the unknown phenomenon existing around them. Suspense, thrill, mystery and adventure tempt the readers and maintain their interest in the novel or drama they read till end.

Suspense actually includes those factors that are the components of a melodrama. Thus it has its links with horror, mystery, terror and fear as well. All these elements go side by side in any piece of writing that can be termed as a melodrama.

Different writers use different tools to create suspense in their writings. It mostly depends on their imagination and how they express their thoughts as means of communication to their readers. In other words each writer has his own style of creating suspense depending upon the plot in his novel.

The first element of suspense in a story is created by introducing a mysterious plot that makes events complicated for the main characters. The story starts with excited events like murder, kidnapping, robbery, accident etc. They are trapped in a series of unexpected events that arouse a lot of question in the minds of the readers and to find answers to these questions they prefer reading the story in one sitting. The author gives a lot of twists and turns to the events developing the plot. Each time the readers are startled by the sudden and unexpected change of events and this prompts them to follow the author's trail of creating suspense. They are eager to know that how the problems would resolve and the different characters will reach their destination. In the story "Heat Lightning," by Robert.F. Carro, suspense is created in the same manner as the girl running away from the killer identified him only in the end. The readers anxiously read the story to find out who is the killer.

The second element is that of specifying the time factor. Most of the suspense stories are set in a specific time span expending to a night, fortnight, a period of vacation etc. It sets a limited time for the characters to attain their goals before it's too late. This is a vital tool used by the writers to create suspense. It is the same technique used to take the readers to the heights of thrill and adventure. It creates climax of the story.

The third element is the setting of the story. Create a dangerous environment that brings tension and worries for the main characters. They must be entangled by danger and fear of the enemy mostly a villain. Let them be isolated from others. There must be some dreadful encounter with the enemy. This arouses questions like, "what should the hero do to come out of a terrible situation?"

This is how we can develop even a simple plot into a unique one that indulges the readers in the story and maintains their interest.

Source by Naheed Haq

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park – A Day Trip For the Whole Family

Nestled 40 miles north of the city, FDR State Park spans approximately 2 square miles. Despite its medium size, this park is just large enough for full day of activities. Whether it is a game of Disc golf or hiking / biking / running the trails, there seems to be something for everyone in the family to do. (Note: Some of the most peaceful locations in the park are nestled deep in the walking trails away from the picnic areas.)

Summer Activities

During the warmer months, the park is full of travelers from lower New York, New York City in particular. At times the park may feel crowded, but there always seems to be plenty of room for everyone. Visiting during the off months and weekdays may be your best bet to fully appreciate the tranquility of the park.

Fall Activities

The park is also very popular in the fall due to the various activities held there. Every year, in early October, the Support Connection Breast and Ovarian Cancer Walk is held and attended by people of all ages, sometimes including actress Glen Close. Usually within a week of the Support Connection Walk, the Guiding Eyes for the Blind Walk is also held at FDR to raise money to train guide dogs. One other big event held in the fall is the Native American Festival (PowWow), which includes various activities to spread knowledge of Native American culture.

Winter Activities

While the park may not be the most exciting place to go in the winter, there are still some things to do. If the lake is frozen enough, it is the perfect place to go ice skating and ice fishing. (Note: Skate and fish at your own risk.) Also, the trails are ideal for cross-country skiing and the hills are great for sledding.


Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park's swimming facilities are vast to say the least. The pool is open from 10 am-5:30pm on weekdays and from 10 am-6:30pm on weekends and the cost is $ 2 per person. The swimming section of the pool is divided into 8 sections, each one watched by a lifeguard ensuring the safety of the patrons. (Note: Most of the time only 4 sections are open unless the number of patrons requires more to be opened.)

The depth of the pool ranges from 1 foot to 5 & 1/2 feet (excluding the diving section). There is also a lap lane open from until noon. Additionally, there are 2 diving sections, each including a small and large diving board. There are many rules involving the diving board to prevent injuries (no flips, back dives, double jumps, etc.) so the only things you can really do are jump and dive. During the weekends, the pool can reach full capacity (3500 patrons), but during the early weekdays, the usual number ranges from 100-1000. This may seem like a lot, but the size of the pool and pool deck combined is more than enough to occupy everyone.

The pool has a concession stand that tends to be rather expensive so I would recommend bringing your own food. There are benches and lots of grass for patrons to settle down on and enjoy the day.

Lake, Boating and Fishing

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park also offers rowboat and pedal boat rentals for its Mohansic Lake. (Note: Swimming is not allowed.) If you would rather bring your own kayak, canoe or rowboat, there is a boat launch but a regional boating permit is required. Fishing is permitted also, but a New York State Freshwater Fishing License is required.

There is a little waterway that is just big enough for a rowboat to fit through running off of Mohansic Lake that leads to Crom Pond. Only trees and wildlife can be seen from Crom Pond so if you're up for the rather difficult trip through the waterway, it's a nice place to go to get away from everything.

Hiking Trails

Whether you are looking to walk the dog, go for a jog, or just enjoy the day, FDR's numerous walking trails allow for several hours of exploration and relaxation. The hiking trails are relatively flat, although some are more challenging side trails for the experienced hiker. The trails range between easy paved trails to medium dirt paths. Whichever trail you end up on, you are never too far away from a familiar landmark or pavilion.


After a swim in the pool or a walk on the trails, many people settle down to one of the eight picnic areas. As the food is being cooked on the provided charcoal grills, many picnic areas have playground areas, volleyball courts, soccer / baseball / softball fields and the occasional basketball court. The grills are old to say the least so I would recommend bringing your own charcoal grill or an extra roll of tin foil.

There are two concession stands that are open during the summer months, although they tend to be rather expensive compared to bringing your own food. Each picnic area has a complimentary restroom facility that is rather clean for a park. All in all, FDR State Park is a fun and inexpensive way to spend a day with the family.

For pictures, more content and other articles please visit [http://www.tristatetravels.com]

Source by Chase Scott

About the Mount Kinabalu Climbing Experience – Starting Points and Tales

Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Malaysia and also ranks the 20th place among the highest peaks in the world, in terms of prominence. This and its impressive biodiversity makes Kinabalu one of the most important and far-famed mountains in the world. It is the main attraction in Sabah, along with the Kinabalu National Park- the park surrounding the mountain, which has a variety of flora and fauna that covers not less than 4 climate zones. You can now see why "Mount Kinabalu climbing" is such an imposing phrase. Most people think about is as a dream. But this is a dream that can come true. Below are some tips that can be very useful if you decide to follow your dreams.

Mount Kinabalu climbing preparations for beginners

First of all, you should know that climbers must be accompanied by guides at every moment of their hike. These are the park's rules and everyone must follow them. Secondly, if you want to have a total experience then you should allocate 3 days to the climbing, meaning you will spend 2 nights on the mountain. The mountain's physical properties and its abundance in unique species of plants require that.

If you are a beginner, Low's Peak is not too hard to be climbed if you are in good physical shape. However, other peaks are not that accessible and require more advanced climbing skills.

Mount Kinabalu climbing- starting points

The hike has 2 main starting points:

  • Timpohon Gate – located 5 km away from the park entrance. The place is also known under the name "Pondok Timpohon", meaning "Timpohon Shelter", because of the large wooden shelter that was built here. The place is peaceful and offers a spectacular view. The place has a check point for climbers, where they can file their permits to the stationed ranger. It also has a shop, providing snacks and refreshments.
  • Mesilau Nature Resort- a tourist resort built in 1998, which is a great lodging place for ecotourists. It is 30 minutes far from the Kinabalu Park and 2000 meters above the sea level. This is also a peaceful place and its meeting room stands for motivational training, seminars, meetings and retreats for small groups.

The two trails cross two kilometers before Laban Rata.

Mount Kinabalu climbing tales

There are many tales regarding Mount Kinabalu, but one of them is absolutely breath-taking. It claims that "Kinabalu" means "Cina Balu" or "A Chinese Widow". The story says that a Chinese prince was rescued by the natives of Borneo after his ship sank. The prince fell in love with a local woman and then abandoned her because of his parents. The woman died at the top of the mountain, which she used to climb every morning to see if her husband would return home.

Source by Gregg Hawes

Hunters Find Prime Areas in Northeast Alabama

Alabama has a diversity of wildlife for hunting. The state has more than 250,000 licensed hunters who hunt each year. The northeastern part of the state contains a number of public and privately managed areas that are open for hunting. Specific rules and regulations apply for each type of game hunted. A hunting license, management area permit, and management area license are required when hunting in state managed areas. Here are some of northeast Alabama's most popular hunting areas.

Several of Alabama's 37 wildlife management areas are located in Jackson County. These areas are maintained by the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The James D. Martin-Skyline Wildlife Management Area near Scottsboro contains 46,000 acres along with a shooting range. Hunters will find big and small game onsite. Quail and wild turkey are plentiful. North Sauty Wildlife Refuge is also near Scottsboro. Its 5,000 acres are open for small game hunting. Crow Creek Wildlife Management Area is located near Stevenson, Alabama. Comprised of 12,000 acres, the area is open for waterfowl and small game hunting. Mud Creek Wildlife Management Area near Scottsboro contains 8,000 acres of wetlands open for waterfowl and small game hunting. Raccoon Creek Public Hunting Area is located on 7,000 acres near Stevenson. Waterfowl, big game, and small game hunting are allowed.

Those who enjoy quail hunting may want to check out sites on the Alabama Quail Trail. This group of private individuals, businesses, and conservation organizations focus on the development of quail hunting sites, quail conservation, and research and habitat development. Several private sites in northeast Alabama cater to quail hunters. Crow Creek Hunting Preserve near Stevenson offers customized quail hunts. There is also turkey and dove hunting onsite. Northeast Alabama Hunting Preserve is located on Sand Mountain near Section, Alabama. There are professionally guided quail hunts from October through March. In addition, they offer pheasant, dove, and squirrel hunting as well as sporting clays. Dream Ranch is located on High Point Road in Albertville, Alabama. They allow quail, pheasant, duck, deer, and hog hunting. Lookout Creek Farm is located off County Road 137 in Valley Head, Alabama. This scenic valley between Lookout Mountain and Sand Mountain offers quail, turkey, pheasant, dove, duck, rabbit, and deer hunting.

Fall hunting includes deer, duck, and geese seasons, as well as dove season in the north zone. Quail season runs November 10-February 28. Rabbit and squirrel season runs October 1-February 28.

Source by Nova Sisk

A Book Review – 'The Sett' by Ranulph Fiennes

A Book Review of 'The Sett' by Ranulph Fiennes. Published 1996 by William Heinemann. London.

This incredible biography leaves the reader thinking 'could this really be true?' This mild mannered, archetypal man called Alex Goodman, (not his real name), should surely be the hero of the next action packed blockbuster. An Accountant by profession, his life is irrevocably changed on the afternoon of 29th July, 1984, whilst walking in the woods with his wife and daughter. After witnessing a horrendous badger killing, he is savagely beaten and none the wiser when he awakes in a Birmingham hospital, suffering from traumatic amnesia. In the following year, his memory gradually returns and what unfolds are riveting 'cat and nine lives' type scenarios, whilst he seeks revenge for the callous murders of his wife and daughter. The search for his family's killers eventually takes nine years.

Since regaining his memory, Alex Goodman is thrust into the world of the now defunct, but notorious Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), CIA and the White House He faces drug runners, the illegal traders in human organs, repugnant badger baiters, as well as murderers, using torture and extreme violence as a way of life. Could these events really happen to a quiet, family orientated white collar worker, whom after reading 'The Feather Men', approached the author in the hope of having his own story told? Alex Goodman knew he was dying. He wanted his story published. His resolute motivation to avenge the deaths of his family is commendable. After being taken in and accepted by a criminal drug and manufacturing gang who called themselves 'The Family', he was approached by American government agents to infiltrate the BCCI, as an employee to gain access to the information needed to bring the Bank down.

Alex Goodman uncovered corruption on a massive scale involving the CIA, the White House, the kidnapping and systematic murder of South American children to obtain human organs for sale on the black market and the workings of ethnic gangs within the United States and Britain. Readers of this book will be intrigued by the detailed recounting of the events which take place. Throughout the book, the events, names and places has been meticulously researched and backed with authentic documentation. This attention to detail is a hallmark of Fiennes' writing and the reader will not be disappointed.

Goodman does find love again, but the union is short-lived. He befriends a prostitute, who, after some time feels empathy for this strange man who has appeared in her life, and he learns to love again. She bears him a child, but Goodman's tragedy is compounded when both are killed as he hunts the assassin of his first family. Again and again Goodman has escaped from the revenge of the killers he hunts, only to discover that the friends and acquaintances he has made on this incredible quest are themselves killed.

'The Sett' is undoubtedly, amongst one of the best books I have read. This 'tour de force' story conjures up many emotions. The cruelty involved in the badger killings was almost unreadable. Many a time I thought I could not continue, but the compelling story drew me back each time. All animal lovers and animal liberationists will find these chapters difficult to digest and come to terms with. The combination of violence, killing and the 'edge of your seat' scenarios make this book impossible to put down. Some readers may challenge the veracity of this book, and indeed this story does leave you wondering, how can a normal common man be caught up in the whirlwind of violence and intrigue that descended on Alex Goodman? As they say "You would not read about it!"

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is not only an accomplished author, he has also received the 'Order of the British Empire' from Her Majesty the Queen in 1993 for his efforts in raising 14 million pounds for charity. He was named 'Best Sportsman' in the 2007 ITV Great Britain Awards and in 2009 he became the oldest British citizen to successfully reach the summit of Mount Everest. These accolades pale into insignificance when viewed in the light of the trials and tribulations of Alex Goodman, a simple common man who only sought justice for the wrongs perpetrated against him by the evil men that lurk in the world's shadows.

Source by Pamela Smit

New Western Novel – "Apache" is A Superb, Hardcore Western

Apache, the second novel in the Jake Silver Adventure series by newcomer author Jere D. James, is a gritty, dark, hard-core, action-packed Western novel. Far more traditional than James' first title, Saving Tom Black, Apache delivers punch after punch of shocking, action-filled scenes.

Set in Arizona, ca 1888, James sends his main character, US Deputy Marshal Jake Silver, on a blind search for his missing sister who, in order to escape the stigma of having an illegitimate child, left home to marry a ne'er- do-well, unknown rancher in southern Arizona. Finding Sophy is Jake's excuse for leaving the comforts of girlfriend Betsy DuBonnet (Saving Tom Black) but it's equally apparent that Jake's real motivation to leave on this quest is to have some time on the trail to sort things out regarding his relationship with Betsy and the subsequent expectations for marriage that he unhappily finds himself facing.

In the months since arriving in southern Arizona, however, Sophy Silver has been befriended by Nantan Lupan, the last of the Bodonkohe Apaches. James fully explores the taboos of a love affair between an Indian and white woman, showing society's abhorrence of such a liaison. One can not help but root for the hapless Indian, however, and hope that James will bring this enticing, excellently well-drawn character back in a future novel.

New to the series also is Captain Peter Burt, a man who is quite taken with the winsome Sophy Silver and aids the marshal in his search. Unlike the tender, often humorous Saving Tom Black, such is the seriousness of this work, that the only humor in the book comes from Burt. He is yet another character that this reviewer would like to see in a future title.

James does an excellent job in this book of adding a dark dimension to the heretofore perfect Deputy Marshal Jake Silver, which makes this character even more likeable and real. If Jake comes across as too good to be true in Saving Tom Black, that image is happily tarnished in this read.

This book takes many unexpected twists and turns as Jake Silver pursues his sister and her lover, and the outcome of this pursuit is remarkably fresh and unexpected. However, the ultimate end of the book will be surprising, even shocking.

James does an excellent job of paving the way for future books in the series, skillfully planting innuendos along the way. If this writer can continue in this vein, the Jake Silver Adventure series may prove to be as long-lasting and popular as some of the other great. Western series.

Source by Tom Jerome

Big Bear Mountain – Public and Private Camping

Big Bear mountain is a very popular area for camping in Southern California due to the numerous types of campsites in the region from comfortable RV sites to group sites to remote yellow post clearings in remote areas of the mountain wilderness about Big Bear, CA. Some sites require reservations in advance, while others are first come first serve. The cities of Big Bear Lake and Big Bear City, as well as surrounding areas like Fawnskin host grounds that offer fishing, boating, hiking, rock climbing, biking, target practice, and even horse corals. May of the sites are close to shopping despite that they are private and feel remote due to the lush woods throughout this region.

Group Camping: the Big Bear mountain area is part of the San Bernardino National Forest. This area is home to dozens of group campsites maintained by the National Forest Service. Campers love these sites because they include large cleared areas – often big enough for groups of 10 or more, picnic tables, fire rings, and sometimes restrooms. These camps are not free, but the fees are inexpensive compared to private sites. Popular Big Bear group campgrounds include the following:

  • Big Pine Flat Horse: Site with horse corrals, portable toilets, trash bins, fire rings, stoves, and target shooting offered. Limit of 60 people and 5 vehicles.
  • Bluff Mesa: Pack-in, pack-out site. Limit of 40 people and 8 vehicles. Visitors must bring drinking water and garbage bags.
  • Boulder: Pack-in, pack-out site with grills, rock climbing, and vault toilets. Limit of 40 people and 8 vehicles. Visitors must bring drinking water and garbage bags.
  • Buttercup Group Campground: Pack-in, pack-out site with a barbecue grill, group fire ring, water for drinking, and rock climbing. Limit of 40 people and 8 vehicles.
  • Deer Group Campgrounds: Pack-in, pack-out site with a barbecue grill, water for group fire ring, drinking, rock climbing, and vault toilet. Limit of 40 people and 8 vehicles.
  • Gray's Peak: Site with a barbecue grill, pit toilet, fire rings, and tables. Limit of 40 people and 10 vehicles.
  • Green Spot: Site with hiking trails (Sugarloaf National Recreation Trail), horse corrals, fire rings, tables, and a vault toilet. Limit of 25 people and 10 vehicles.
  • IronWood: Grounds with biking trails, hiking and OHV trails, target shooting, barbecue grills, fire rings, tables, limited drinking water, and a pit toilet. Trash must be packed out. Adventure Pass required for parking anywhere outside of campground. Limit of 25 people and 5 vehicles.
  • Juniper Springs: Area with hiking, biking, OHV trails, tables, a barbecue grill, fire rings, and a pit toilet. Fire restrictions vary throughout the year. Limit of 40 people and 8 vehicles.
  • Tanglewood: Pack-in, pack-out site that has a barbecue rill, tables, fire ring, and pit toilet. No trash collection. Bring drinking water. Limit of 40 people and 8 vehicles.

Private Campgrounds are also a favorite in this area, as there is a lot of variety, space, and supplies on hand in town close by. Here are a few:

  • Serrano Campground: A family favorite due to its north shore location on the lake in Big Bear Lake close to the Discovery Center, Cougar Crest Trail, and Alpine Pedal Path. Visitors have access to picnic tables, fire pits, restrooms, showers, and drinking water. RV sites and tent camping are allowed. Reservations are required.
  • Pineknot Campground: Located near the popular Snow Summit ski resort in a beautiful wooded area. RV sites and tent camping are permitted. Reservations are required.
  • Hanna Flats Campground: Located in Jeffrey Pine forest just north of Fawnskin. Visitors have access to water and restrooms. This site is popular for hiking and biking.

More information about the find these campground at Http://www.reserveusa.com . For experienced campers who prefer to venture further into locations more remote than the average campsite, the area around Big Bear, CA has locations for yellow post camping and self-contained campgrounds. Yellow post sites in this region include flat clearings, aa fire ring, and picnic table. (Note: Yellow post campers are required to purchase an Adventure Pass and campfire permit from the Discovery Center in Fawnskin.) In terms of self-contained campgrounds, hikers and drivers who want to venture into more remote locations, Cactus Flats and Holcomb Valley are popular destinations. In this areas, campfires are often not permitted, and visitors should be sure to camp out everything camped in, bring plenty of water, and notify others of their planned whereabouts – the depths of the forests in this region is vast.

Source by Eva Bono