Book review // The Mountains of California


“Long, blue, spiky shadows crept out of the snow-fields, while a rosy glow, at first scarce discernible, gradually deepened and suffused every mountain-top… this was the alpenglow, to me one of the most impressive of all of the terrestrial manifestations of God”

Reading John Muir’s books is like letting language seep into you, as it poetically transports you to another landscape. The Mountains of California is no exception. 

 

The book is structured like layers of the Sierra Nevada landscape, starting at the mountain tops and heading down into the alpine meadows and deep in to the forests.

In each chapter, Muir takes the reader through the landscape, educating them about the history and formation of the land. In each chapter the language paints a vivid picture for the reader, such as this of the Diamond Cascade, 

“Here the tense, crystalline water is first dashed into coarse granular spray mixed with dusty foam, and then divided into a diamond patter by following the diagonal cleavage-joints that interest the face of the precipice over which is pours.”

At times Muir places himself in the landscape, recapping adventures ascending the mountains and wild camping by glacial lakes. At other times the book becomes a poetic textbook, particularly in the chapter on the forests, in which he writes sections on individual trees species. Even in these sections the focus is on describing in rich language the beauty of the individual trees rather than providing a scientific description.

The Mountains of California is not only a fantastic textbook on the Sierra Nevada landscape, but shows the depth of Muir’s passion for the landscape which he sought to protect through his campaign work.

Gear Review // Dannah women’s alpine jacket

I’m currently gear testing for Holme Valley Mountain Rescue, who are currently fundraising for waterproof jackets for team members.

This is a significant cost to the team, in the region of £10000, so we need to know what we’re buying is built to last and able to withstand the worst of the British weather.

I’m reviewing the jackets we get to test, raising the profile of Mountain Rescue teams and the need for practical kit built to really withstand the weather.

Third for the test is an alpine jacket from new brand Dannah, made in the UK it is said to be able to withstand heavy wet weather.

Continue reading “Gear Review // Dannah women’s alpine jacket”

Book Review // The Girl Outdoors by Sian Anna Lewis

Its always exciting to receive books to review but this is the first one I’ve had which is written specifically to inspire women to get outside and take up their own adventures.

“There’s still a perception of adventure as an extreme pursuit, a living-off-urine, round-the-world-on-a-unicycle tough club only open to the hardiest grizzled explorer. That’s not what this book, or the outdoors, is about.”

Continue reading “Book Review // The Girl Outdoors by Sian Anna Lewis”

Gear Review // Paramo Aspira Pro smock

I’m currently gear testing for Holme Valley Mountain Rescue, who are currently fundraising for waterproof jackets for team members.

This is a significant cost to the team, in the region of £5-6000, so we need to know what we’re buying is built to last and able to withstand the worst of the British weather.

I’m reviewing the jackets we get to test, raising the profile of Mountain Rescue teams and the need for practical kit built to really withstand the weather.

Second for the test is Paramo’s Aspira Pro Smock, a heavy weight Pro version of the popular smock.

Continue reading “Gear Review // Paramo Aspira Pro smock”

Gear Review // ME Kongur MRT jacket

Holme Valley Mountain Rescue, like other teams across the country, have to fundraise for their own kit and this includes team members clothing. HVMRT are currently testing out jackets with a view to kitting out team members, as we don’t currently have branded waterproof jackets.

This is a significant cost to the team, in the region of £5-6000, so we need to know what we’re buying is built to last and able to withstand the worst of the British weather.

I’ll be reviewing the jackets we get to test, raising the profile of Mountain Rescue teams and the need for kit built to withstand the weather.

First up is the Mountain Equipment Kongur MRT jacket – their highest specification Gore-Tex jacket.

Continue reading “Gear Review // ME Kongur MRT jacket”