Archive for January, 2015

Of Amazing Views and Pleasant Hikes

Written by Jim Huckabay on January 30, 2015. Posted in Uncategorized

I had a great hike around the Washington Sportsmen’s Show version of Fantasy Island in Puyallup, thank you. I found a couple things I thought might interest you, too.

Along one of the twisting trails on the island, I found a group of young men and women from Eastern Washington University. They have organized the EWU Sportsman’s Club to encourage young men and women to be more active in outdoor pursuits. I supported several groups like this at Central over the years, but they never quite got it together – as one of them once explained it to me, “We just find we are too busy hunting and fishing to get organized!” Well, check these Eastern folks out on Facebook (Fishing Club @ Eagles) and see what is happening.

My long-term friends from Westport and Ilwaco were unanimous in their positive outlook for fishing along our Pacific Coast this year. Even after deducting points for vested interests in the salt water fishing business, I came away anticipating halibut, lings, salmon and tuna for 2015. Let’s go.

Buddy Peter Kummerfeldt is excited about focusing more on his photography and Africa Tours, now that he is winding down 34 years of teaching survival at the sportsmen shows. The new guy he is bringing along will pick up the slack nicely. Go to and see his commitment to your outdoor safety. Click on Outdoor Africa for his photography and a look at the future.

After a brief review of my end-of-week trip across Fantasy Island, one of the judges for my Annual Outdoor Adventure Writing Contest suggested all that hiking and those scenic views would be a good lead-in to Lee Bates’ winning essay.

Lee calls his tale “Solo Climbing Three Fingers Mountain.”

“I was drawn to Three Fingers Mountain because I saw it every day from the Boeing Everett Factory where I built 747s.

“In August 1988, I drove on a logging road for 30 miles and parked my car at the trail head for Three Fingers Mountain in the Washington Cascade Mountains. I hiked for 5 miles until I came to a wooden shelter where I spent the night. When I woke up in the morning, a curious deer walked up to the shelter within 10 feet of me. It acted like it had never seen a human before.

“Then I hiked up the trail for 2 more miles to Goat Flats. There I found an old wooden shelter used during World War 2 to watch the Straits of Juan DeFuca for enemy ships. I hiked up to a snow field where I saw Avalanche Lilies in the melt water. I spent the night sleeping out in the open without a tent. During the night, a climber woke me up in the dark asking where we were. I said Goat Flats.

“The next morning, I left my sleeping bag and hiked to Camp Saddle where the real climb began. As I climbed up to the glacier, I saw a Pika in the rock scree. Now I could see for hundreds of miles in all directions. Next I climbed along the glacier on the edge of a steep drop off of 500 feet to the foot of the South Peak of Three Fingers Mountain. I had seen this area from 30 miles away at Boeing so I knew where I was. The snow was steep and slushy so it was good to get on solid rock. I found a 6 inch wide ledge leading to the top. The exposure was extreme with a 500 foot drop to the glacier below. I left my pack on the glacier at the foot of the peak.

“I inched along for 20 feet until I came to a chimney which I climbed to the top at 6,870 feet. The view was spectacular in all directions. I could see Whitehorse Mountain and Mount Pilchuck, where I climbed before, and Mount Baker in the distance. Also I could look straight down the East face for 2,000 feet. This was the biggest exposure I had seen. I climbed down to my pack and ate lunch.

“Then I hiked down 4,000 feet and 9 miles to my car at the trail head. I then drove home. I spent 3 days and 2 nights in the adventure. It was really fun and I will always remember it.”

You no doubt saw the story in last week’s paper about the publication of Dwight Lee Bates’ new book Due Diligence. You will find it on Amazon for $23.74. Thanks, Lee. Enjoy your trip to the Central Washington Sportsmen Show!

All about Trips to Fantasy Island

Written by Jim Huckabay on January 23, 2015. Posted in Uncategorized

I love these outdoor shows. One of the best things about them is that each is an island unto itself. Sometimes you take a boat, sometimes you drop in from the air, sometimes there is a bridge, and sometimes you have to swim out, but a walk around any Fantasy Island is always worth the effort it takes to get there. As each New Year arrives, I start anticipating the trips. In the next few weeks, I will journey to secluded islands in Puyallup, in Portland, and under the SunDome.

I already know how each trip will go. As I step into the adventure-charged air of each isolated island, my senses will fill with visions, sounds and scents of outdoor possibilities – fine fishing gear, new firearms, campfire cooking and unexplored lands. At some point, as I begin to lose myself in fantasies of outdoor times, some carefully-coiffed and uniformed person will take my pass, stamp my hand, and say, “Welcome, sir, to Fantasy Island!”

Thus, I prepare to wander across the Fantasy Islands of January and February. Once I have immersed myself in the hundreds of fantastic adventures to be found there, I will be able to handle another year of reality. Maybe…

To that end, I shall this weekend journey to the Washington Sportsmen’s Show. Since Wednesday, it has been the Fantasy Island at the Puyallup Fairgrounds. I have things and people to see there.

I will first find old friend Peter Kummerfeldt (son Tim’s survival instructor back in his Air Force Academy days). Peter will be perched in a comfortable Toyota camp, warming himself and friends with stories around a small stove, as he has been for more than two decades at these shows. We’ll talk about his family’s plans for new adventures, and ventures, now that Peter has decided that this is his final year of touring with the O’Laughlin Shows. For fifty years, he’s been teaching folks how easy it is to keep themselves and their families out of trouble, and this will be a last chance to get personal coaching at the sportsmen’s show. His book Surviving a Wilderness Emergency has become a staple for outdoor families everywhere, as they put together their own survival kits. Peter will talk about his group’s latest field research results, and show how easy it is to create his “Hunter’s Day Pack.” I will again recommend that families check out his gear and coaching at We’ll have another memorable visit.

I will go into the Old West tent and watch “Quick Cal” Eilrich give us all a chance to win prizes at the “Cowboy Fast Draw,” using classic Colt .45 style six guns. Safety is first, fun is second, and laughter and a good time is everything else. Quick Cal is a 17-time World Fast Draw Champ and his team of NRA-certified instructors and professional shooters will coach anyone up.

I expect to learn a few things on the Steelhead River, as Jim Teeny and local hero Joe Rotter finally (maybe) get through my thick skull what it takes to coach a steelie out of a tight spot.

Having managed to hunt an entire late bull elk season without finding a bull, I want to see this year’s “Northwest Tour of Big Game Animals.” It features a first-ever collection of record-setting bulls, and I’m thinking it will help me remember what they look like. There will also be that huge whitetail buck – biggest on record in the Northwest – taken by a 14-year-old bowhunter. Just down the trail will be the heads and horns being measured in this year’s competition.

No doubt, I will watch youngsters fishing at the “Kid’s Free Trout Pond” for a time. There is something ageless about watching a boy or girl hook and land a trout, and their excitement about bringing home a fresh fish for the family.

I want to hear Nate Brence talk about family-style hunting and his take on the gear for a hunt with wife and kids. Sam Kolb is on my list, too, because of his success in helping parents successfully introduce their kids to safe hunting. He covers everything from locations and tags to shooting. Of course, any time my friend Shane Magnuson talks fishing or bait or outdoors, it’s a treat, so he’s on my list, too.

Finally, I will follow my nose to the Fred Meyer Camp Cooking Tent. Tiffany Haugen will show me – as she has every year – a game cooking technique or two to make my life better.

Through it all, I will meet booth people, guides and outfitters and other outdoor nuts with lots of useful and surprising knowledge. I will wander Asian mountains and Australian deserts. It will be a great time.

Take the drive to Fantasy Island in Puyallup. Every fantasy you’ve had about hunting, fishing or getting outside can be fed while you are wandering the island. It’s one of those things that gets us through winter.

Welcome to Fantasy Island.

All about Seasonal Affective Disorder – SAD

Written by Jim Huckabay on January 16, 2015. Posted in Uncategorized

We have had a fairly mild winter thus far. Still, “mild” means little to those among us with a particular sensitivity to our common overcast, gray skies. It just reminds me that, even in the 21st century, we are not insulated from nature.

One of my favorite young colleagues and I were talking about the effects of day-after-day cloud cover on friends and students. We were chuckling over the reaction of one of my mapping students at the turn of the last century. After a dark week, we were discussing a set of maps laid out on one of the big tables in the lab. Suddenly, the sun broke through the sky and our south-facing windows, splashing brilliantly across the maps. The student unhesitatingly threw himself across the maps and into the light. He was nearly in tears. “You don’t know, man, those clouds made me so depressed I’m just barely hanging on,” he said. “And my mom goes nuts if the sun is gone away for a week.”

For a surprising number of people this is not even remotely funny. It has been called “winter depression” and “seasonal depression,” but over the last four decades it is generally called “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or “SAD.” A fair number of our friends right here in Paradise have already been bummed out to some degree.

In antiquity, physicians observed seasonal variations in mood. Belief was that mania (most prevalent in summer) was caused by heat, while depression (mostly winter) was caused by cold. In our time, researchers tie SAD to day length, amount and type of light, and falling temperature. SAD is most common in northern latitudes and polar regions, often beginning in November.

Light‑sensitive people begin to feel almost constant fatigue and drowsiness, commonly sleeping 10 to 12 hours a night, when they can get away with it. For many, a normal workday schedule becomes impossible. Sadness, irritability, anxiety, lack of concentration, social withdrawal and decrease in libido are common. Throw in a dose of guilt and self‑blame, for not being able to meet everyday expectations, and you have a sense of what SAD does to people.

Women make up about 75 percent of those treated. Children suffer, too, but their symptoms are typically milder. Among youngsters, SAD affects sleep, appetite and friendships. It is often associated with headaches and problems in school.

SAD sufferers often develop huge cravings for carbohydrates. In severe cases, winter weight gain may exceed 30 pounds. This is not unexpected, really – it simply flows with Nature’s rhythm. Consider that eating carbohydrates, gaining weight, decreasing activity and socially withdrawing are all energy‑conserving behaviors of humans in winter. Sadly, these days we consider such behaviors disruptive and detrimental.

Melatonin is the hormone which signals length of day, seasons and mating urges in many animals. Understanding that its production is triggered by light through the eyes, light‑sensitive people can be helped. If you are one of them, taking the most-recommended actions, below, may get you through winter better than “normal” folks. While physicians will prescribe drugs in very extreme situations, help generally takes a couple forms; outdoor activity and light therapy.

It is simple these days to fill a room in your house with the colors of sunlight using full-spectrum fluorescent tubes. Reading and relaxing for an hour or so in this more natural light is often very helpful. The SAD Association ( has three standards for such lighting. A color rendering index (CRI) of 90 or more indicates that a full-spectrum tube is reproducing sunlight in proper proportions. Light in the green region of the sun’s spectrum seems particularly helpful. In addition, a light source should have a brightness of around 10,000 lumens (about 150 watts). Add to that a Kelvin rating of 5,000K (a sufficient level of light intensity), and you will probably be feeling spring. Good lighting, and its proper use, may even inspire play – never a bad thing.

There are simple day-to-day suggestions for managing those moments in battle with winter depression. Spend an hour a day outdoors in daylight; stay in rooms with big windows and stand by them staring at the sky; eat the foods you crave, without guilt; and remind yourself that you are just flowing with Nature’s rhythm.

No surprise here: SAD symptoms will be alleviated by a trip south to longer days and sunnier climes. If things get too far out of hand with someone close, go to Mexico for a few weeks. If your supervisors object, tell them it was my idea.

Finally, remember that, come spring, SAD sufferers will generally return to themselves.

About Fog and Freezing Fog

Written by Jim Huckabay on January 9, 2015. Posted in Uncategorized


The only subject on the agenda of Tuesday’s hastily-assembled meeting of the Reecer Creek Rod, Gun, Working Dog & Outdoor Think Tank Benevolent Association was the fog of Paradise.

Homeys took turns grumbling. I’d heard it all before. One or another piped up, “Look, it’s bad enough that the fog moves up off the river and I can’t see fifty feet down the road. Then all over the valley is the #$%?& ‘freezing fog’ stuff! I couldn’t even get the key into my car door this morning… So why does it do layer and layer of ice on windows and doors and stuff anyhow, huh?”

As a former TV weatherman, and staff meteorologist for our little think tank, the imprecision of their mutterings was getting under my skin. Herewith, my attempt to meet my clarification responsibilities to the association.

For a fog or a cloud to develop, air must be at or near saturation for water vapor (holding all the moisture it can hold). It must then cool enough to cause the water vapor to condense, forming the very tiny droplets we see as cloud or fog.

Fog is generally defined as “a visibility‑restricting suspension of tiny water droplets or ice crystals (roughly 1/1000th of an inch in diameter) in an air layer next to the ground.” By international convention, “fog” restricts visibility to 1000 meters (about 0.6 mile) or less. In reality, a fog is just a cloud too lazy to fly.

Each fog has its own beauty and its own story to tell. We generally get one of four types: a radiation (ground) fog; an upslope fog; an evaporation (steam) fog; or an advection fog. Often, fogs morph from one type to another over time or distance. Given that fog is a regular companion in this country, and at this time of year, I feel we owe it to ourselves to understand it.

Radiation, or ground, fog is our most common type. Heat radiates away from the ground through a clear night sky, and the ground cools. As the ground cools, it in turn cools the air above it until water vapor condenses. Since pockets of fog are cooler – and thus more dense and heavier – than surrounding air, they often settle into valleys. These are the common fogs in canyons and low areas on cool mornings.

If air is lifted, it cools at a relatively constant rate, again often resulting in condensation. Thus, moisture in humid air moving up the Yakima River into the valley may condense into an upslope fog.

At times, a water surface will evaporate quickly, creating very moist air. When that moist air moves into cooler air, condensation can be almost instantaneous, creating an evaporation fog. Many of the fogs we see developing over the river, or valley ponds, are evaporation fogs. This is also the very entertaining early springtime fog which scurries across roadways when snow is melting in spring; the sun-warmed pavement evaporates moisture which instantly becomes fog in the cold air above the road.

An evaporation fog which moves off the river, or from any other location, would be properly termed an advection fog (referring to its horizontal movement). If the fog bank is drawn up a canyon or hillside by air movement, it would become and upslope fog.

As are most of ours, the fogs on our agenda were radiation fogs. We do get the others, of course, and often an evaporation fog will drift off the river onto I-90 as an advection fog.

Given that the droplets are so tiny, they may remain liquid to temperatures far below freezing. Most of our clouds are supercooled – with temperatures well below freezing. This time of year, our fogs are often supercooled as well. When a supercooled water droplet is bumped, or touches an even colder surface, it instantly freezes.

On these cold mornings, then, water droplets touch the very cold roadway and freeze. The process is probably speeded up a bit by cars moving and swirling the air around, increasing the likelihood of contact and freezing. A similar thing happens as a supercooled fog surrounds a very cold car sitting overnight, and fog droplet after fog droplet settles or bumps and freezes.

So, if you end up driving slowly – or must stop – because of liquid or freezing fog, take a deep breath. Take a moment to think about how it came to be. Recognize that it was here long before us, and will be a regular companion over coming months.

If you must curse the fog, so be it. At least, please, curse the correct kind of fog.

Happy winter.


Another Brand New Year

Written by Jim Huckabay on January 2, 2015. Posted in Uncategorized

Sometimes we think about the coming year endlessly. Sometimes we wake up suddenly to find it perched in our lap with some undefined expectations. Ready or not, 2015 is now in our lap.

This column probably calls for a rendition of “Auld Lang Syne,” or something. The first time we met on the pages of the Daily Record was 17 years ago this week. Seventeen years? Jacques Jesaistout (we call him “Toot) – a founding member of the Reecer Creek Rod, Gun, Working Dog & Outdoor Think Tank Benevolent Association and human thorn, would observe, here, that “Time is always fun when you’re having flies.”

Be that as it may, we stand at the threshold of a new and potentially momentous year. What will it be this time? Which action will make this 2015 one for the books – one to shape your life as you would have it shaped? High in my mind is always a question about how my fishing or hunting or outdoor interests (and what I might do with them) will make the world a better place for those coming up behind us.

Several of us will start with a fresh attempt to get our Washington Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights resolution actually passed by our 2015 State Legislature. We made some progress last year, but the process needed more voices. Maybe we have enough, now, to move it forward with the help of Senator-elect Warnick and her Legislative Assistant Kyle Lynch.

You recall that Homey Jerry Pettit and I started a conversation about firearms a couple years back, and not long after that, we began discussing ideas about our state’s outdoor bill of rights for our children; our future.

We have taken many cues from our own families. In my case, my Grand-Hucklings are being mentored by Hucklings with extensive experience with firearms and the outdoors, and an abiding interest in their children’s outdoor connections. Over the past year and more, conversations with various combinations of them about my hope for our statewide Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, and the safety and skills training which might accompany it, were sprinkled with a fair amount of discussion of age-appropriate training and outdoor opportunities.

I have written about this stuff and I have spoken widely about this stuff. The bottom line is that more and more kids are learning to live without an earth connection, and that missed connection often shows up as a sort of generalized fear in their lives.

Thus, Jerry and I continue pursuing thoughts about firearms, a public conversation about the issues with which people across America are struggling, and the proper form for our proposed statement of kids’ outdoor rights. Several others have joined in our arguments now as we craft a proposed resolution.

It still isn’t quite in the form we want it to be, but the gist of it (following a fair number of “whereas,” statements) is this: “The children of Washington have the right to discover and experience the outdoors through activities including the following: Create an outdoor adventure; Explore a trail; Camp under the stars; Go fishing; Discover nature; Explore Washington’s heritage; Go on a picnic; Play in a park, in the water, in the snow, on the rocks; Go hunting; Learn to be safe around all the tools of outdoor recreation; Develop a respect for Washington’s remarkable natural resources.”

I am also pushing youngsters to take as many wildlife and outdoor photos as possible, and submit their best shots to the Central Washington Sportsmen Show Photo Contest. The contest is co-sponsored by the Kittitas County Field and Stream Club and all photos will be on display during the Wenatchee, Tri-Cities, and Yakima shows. Prizes include ribbons, canvas prints of winning photos and up to $100 in gift cards. Details at

On a more personal level, I expect to wrap up a couple book projects in our Reecer Creek Publishing Company. We have an almost-here grandson for entertainment, and several already-here grandkids in need of training and hands-on experience with fishing, shooting and camping. Somehow, I have no doubt that 2015 will drop a surprise or two in our laps, as will. It will be a good year.

So, how does your year shape up? How will your love of nature and the outdoors help ensure and inspire forever outdoor connections for the people of Paradise?

Like fresh snow awaiting your tracks, this year lies undisturbed before you.

A happy and successful 2015 to you.