Snow Walkers Rendezvous 2017 Presentations

1. Willem Lange – Author, Vermont Public Radio Commentator, New Hampshire Public Television host, and an Intrepid Winter Traveler ~ Readings
2. Jon Turk – “Crocodiles and Ice” Jon has kayaked across the North Pacific and around Cape Horn, mountain biked through the Gobi desert, made first climbing ascents of big walls on Baffin Island, and first ski descents in the Tien Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzia. In 2011 he circumnavigated Ellsmere Island with Erik Boomer. Jon will share pictures and stories of his travels in the Arctic.
3. Dave Freeman –“A Year in the Wilderness: Gear for a Year” focusing on equipment used during the year with an emphasis on winter and traveling during the shoulder seasons as the lakes are freezing and thawing. Dave and his wife Amy spent a year living, learning and teaching in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
4. David Pelly – “How Inuit Find Their Way – Navigation in the Trackless Arctic”
5. Sahra Gibson and Laura Montanari- College of the Atlantic – “First Time Across Moosehead: Reflections on Traditional Skills in the Modern World”
6. Don Tedstone –“An Adventure in the Mealy Mountains (Oops, the GPS says we are here!)”
7. Kate Ford – “Dogsledding Across the Canadian Tundra” Kate was part of a team that traveled by dog team on the Hudson Bay Coast.
8. Tom Jamrog – “Walking Matters” Tom Jamrog is a Maine Guide with Uncle Tom’s Guided Adventures and author of In the Path of Young Bulls: An American Journey on the Continental Divide Trail From the ages of 57 – 64, “Uncle Tom” Thru-hiked four National Scenic Trails. Tom reviews the latest research on the physical and mental health benefits of walking and discusses training and cognitive techniques that bolster a greying snow walker’s experience on the winter path.

Draft Workshop Schedule Saturday afternoon Workshop Session I
1. Marge Shannon – How to make an Inuit hat
2. Jon Turk – Essential Survival After Everything Has Gone Wrong
3. Dave Freeman – Bear Witness Screening and book signing. Bear Witness is a 12-minute film about A Year in the Wilderness and our book comes out September 23rd.
4. David and Laurie Pelly – Land Claim Issues/Inuit of Nunavut

Workshop Session II
1. Jon Turk – Snow Physics and Snow Travel
2. Marge Shannon – How to Make an Inuit Hat
3. Dave Freeman – Bear Witness Screening and book signing. Bear Witness is a 12-minute film about A Year in the Wilderness. Our book came out in September.
4. Dave Brown – Contact Wood Splitting
5. Film – TBD

Sunday Morning
1. Bill Novacek – “Make your own Snowshoes” Preregistration required!
2. Q & A with Jon Turk
3. Geoff Burke – Demonstration of How to Make an Ammo Box Stove.
4. Film – TBD

Snow Shoe Building Workshop. A great opportunity to make your own wooden snowshoes! Join us on Sunday morning November 12, 2017 from 8:30 – 11:30 for a Snowshoe Making Workshop. Bill Novacek has been working for over 20 years as a woodworker and snow shoe builder. Bill will provide all of the materials to make your own snowshoes. You will be able to begin the process and finish the project once you get home. The fee for this workshop is $240 Limited to 6 students. Here is what Bill says about this workshop: I will provide all the frames and precut rawhide ready to use. I will provide instruction and demonstrate how to do it and oversee and help everyone for the duration of the class. It’s not likely anyone will finish in one session so I will send you home with your partially finished snowshoes and printed instructions that would enable you to finish at home at your leisure.

To register on-line:
Questions? Wendy Scott, Andy Williams,



Ten Basic Rules for Adventure

Brendan Leonard put together a list of tips and ideas published in Outside Magazine to help people 1) Stay alive and 2) Not piss off their friends.  The 10 topic areas are:

  1. Get Your Priorities in Order: don’t die, have fun, get to the summit/campsite/lunch spot/waterfall/whatever
  2. Avoid Failing to Plan
  3. Avoid Just Hoping Someone Will Find You
  4. Avoid Spending the Night Outside Freezing
  5. Avoid Getting Lost
  6. Avoid Not Being Able to MacGuyver It
  7. Avoid Lightning
  8. Avoid Critter Encounters
  9. Avoid Ending Friendships Out There
  10. Don’t Be Afraid to Bail

Worth reading…..

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Snow Walkers Rendezvous 2017

Snow Walkers Rendezvous 2017  

Hulbert Outdoor Center ~ Fairlee, Vermont  

Friday, November 10 – 5:30pm – 9:30pm  Saturday, November 11 – 8:45am- 9:00pm

November 12 ~ Sunday Morning Workshops 8:30 to 11:30


Inline image 2
For program details:  www.wildernesstravel 

To register on-line: wildernesstravellers

Questions? Wendy Scott,   Andy Williams, m
Please drop us a note if you need a paper registration mailed to you. 

Andy Williams

P.O. Box 1031
Norwich, VT 05055
Cell  802-356-0798


A Chionophile is any organism that can thrive in cold, snowy winter conditions.  But it can also be used to describe a person who loves cold wintry weather – (“a snow lover”).


Can Wooly Bear Caterpillars Predict Winter Weather?

Wooly Bear on grass stem

The woolly bear caterpillar is the larval stage of the Isabella tiger moth, Pyrrharctia Isabella. The Isabella tiger moth overwinters in the larval stage. In the fall, caterpillars seek shelter under leaf litter or other protected places.  They eat mostly weeds, including dandelion, clover, and grasses. Woolly bears are relative speedsters in the caterpillar world, crawling at a neck-snapping .05 miles an hour, or about a mile a day.

The woolly bear caterpillar—with its distinct segments of black and reddish-brown—has the reputation of being able to forecast the coming winter weather.  According to legend, the wider that middle brown section is,  the milder the coming winter will be. Conversely, a narrow brown band is said to predict a colder, snowier winter. Among a group of woolly bears, the stripes can vary greatly, making their forecast difficult to confirm;  the same group of eggs can even hatch into caterpillars of varying dark and light bands.

Dr. C.H. Curran, former curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, tested the woolly worms’ accuracy in the 1950’s. Although his initial  surveys found an 80% accuracy rate for the woolly worms’ weather predictions, Dr. Curran gave up the study in 1955 after finding two groups of caterpillars living near each other that had vastly different predictions for the upcoming winter. Other researchers have not been able to replicate the success rate of Curran’s caterpillars.

Most scientists discount the folklore of woolly bear predictions.  Many variables may contribute to changes in the caterpillar’s coloration, including larval stage, food availability, temperature or moisture during development, and age.

Mike Peters, an entomologist at the University of Massachusetts, says there could be a link between winter severity and the brown band of a woolly bear caterpillar. “There’s evidence,” he says, “that the number of brown hairs has to do with the age of the caterpillar—in other words, how late it got going in the spring. The [band] does say something about a heavy winter or an early spring.  The only thing is . . . it’s telling you about the previous year.”

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Ötzi the Iceman and the Ten Essentials

On September 19, 1991, in the mountains between Austria and Italy, hikers stumbled upon the corpse of a 5,300 year-old man eroding out of a glacier. Dubbed “Ötzi” this perfectly preserved iceman is the oldest human ever found.  The Iceman stood about 5’5″ tall, and weighed about 134 lbs. He was in his mid-40s, and his strong leg muscles and overall fitness suggest that he may have spent his life herding sheep and goats in the mountains. His health was fair for the period–he had arthritis in his joints and he had whipworm – an internal parasite.

Ötzi carried tools, weapons, and containers including an animal skin quiver with arrow-shafts made of viburnum and hazel wood, sinews and spare points. A copper ax head with a yew haft and leather binding, a small flint knife and a pouch with a flint scraper and awl were all included in the artifacts found with him. He carried a yew bow. Otzi’s clothing included a belt, loincloth, and goat-skin leggings with suspenders, not unlike lederhosen. He wore a bear-skin cap, outer cape and coat made of woven grass.  His shoes were waterproof and wide, seemingly designed for walking across the snow; they were constructed using bearskin for the soles, deer hide for the top panels, and a netting made of tree bark.  Soft grass went around the foot and in the shoe and functioned like modern socks.

Otzi -dagger-and-sheath

We wanted to compare what he was carrying with our list of Ten Essentials.

Flashlight Or Headlamp
Extra Food Ötzi carried some extra berries.
Extra Clothes Ötzi wore a cloak made of woven grass and a coat, a belt, a pair of leggings, a loincloth and shoes, all made of leather of different skins
Sunglasses & Sun Screen
First Aid Kit Ötzi carried two species of mushrooms with leather strings through them. One of these, the birch fungus, is known to have antibacterial properties and was likely used for medicinal purposes.
Pocket Knife Or Multi Purpose Tool Ötzi carried a little flint-tipped dagger with a handle made of ash. The dagger had twin cutting edges. Ötzi would have carried it attached to his waist. It was found inside a finely braided scabbard. The dagger would have been used as a multipurpose tool, but often to skin animals, clean hides and cut meat.
Fire Starter And Matches Ötzi had a type of tinder fungus included as part of a complex fire starting kit. The kit featured pieces of over a dozen different plants in addition to flint and pyrite for creating sparks.
Water And A Way To Purify It Two birch bark baskets that could have carried water

Not bad for a 5,300 year old primitive camper.

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