Category: Adventure

Best of Wild Rye – 2016

Photo by Andrew Neal via

Photo by Andrew Neal via

How did 2016 stack up here at Wild Rye? A lot of the year’s most popular posts were evergreen topics from years gone by, but the dominant theme seems to be “if you’ve got an itch you gotta scratch it.”

Use Witch Hazel to Cure Posion Oak Rash – Witch Hazel acts as a mild astringent and for my money beats other “cures” such as calamine lotion.

Poison-Oak: the Itch You Can Never Scratch – How and why poison oak makes you itch.

Where to Camp in Ventura County – Some of the best local campsites.

Get 32 AA Batteries from a Single 6 Volt Battery? Maybe Not So Much… – Big batteries are made of smaller batteries. But you’re not likely to find an AA bonanza inside a single lantern battery.

Hike to Two Trees – The hike to Two Trees isn’t Ventura’s best hike, but it is the most asked-about.

Trails – Directions to a few Jeep trails. A little bit useful but not current.

Trail Notes: Ballinger Canyon and Deer Park Jeep Trails – More Jeep trails.

Getting Tough: Building Climbing Calluses – When you start out rock climbing you wish there was some kind of lotion you can put on your hands to help you build calluses. Your wishes are in vain.

Mysterious Sphinx of Malibu Found? – The book Weird California teases about an ancient monument in the Malibu mountains. I discovered the secret location – but it’s just a natural rock formation.

Giant List of the Best Off-Road Camping Trailers – So many awesome trailers, so little time.

Love Camping but Can’t Part with Your Mid-century Modern Life? Try These – Eichler homes on wheels.

Grove of the Titans – Really big trees in an undisclosed location.

The Ghosts of Christmas Past – A Creepy Look at the Darker Side of Yuletide

Victorian print taken from an engraving by R Graves via Stephen Bywater @authorbywater

Victorian print taken from an engraving by R Graves via Stephen Bywater @authorbywater

So much of Christmas is supposed to by happy, jolly and filled with thoughts of prancing reindeer that we often overlook the darker side of winter solstice. But if we think about it for a while we start to realize that Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is certainly a ghost story. The Nutcracker, especially E.T.A. Hoffman’s version, while it may not have ghosts per se, is clearly very creepy.

There are quite a few other ghostly, creepy and malevolent stories set around Christmas time – think The Shining and Psycho.

So if you’re in the mood to settle down with some good old fashioned gothic horror this Christmas look at what sites like are serving up – creepy stuff like M.R. James’ Mezzotint. Also check out NPR’s Linda Wertheimer’s reading of a selection from Marjorie Bowen’s Crown Darby Plate.

On that note, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Fight the Power – How to Start

Photo by Jordan Whitt

Photo by Jordan Whitt

Consider the picture above – several children running along a meadow path. It may not be the obvious image to illustrate organized resistance to the power structures of the world. But it illustrates clearly the reasons you might want to “fight the power.”

From all appearances the next four years of politics in the United States will be hard on the environment, hard on the working class, and especially hard on young, poor, marginalized and disenfranchised people. All of us are going to have to work together in order to protect the powerless from the rich and powerful.

But where to start? Sojourners Magazine suggests starting with the Matthew 25 Pledge – taking a conscious effort to act out Jesus’ manifesto to his followers:

“… I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ … Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

The Sierra Club invites people to Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet (and give money of course). Use their locator to find activities near you.

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich encourages people to help educate and inform people by supporting Inequality Media.

UK publication The Independent shares five things you can do right now to resist the Trump administration.

20 Mongolian Yurts. 2,700 Lbs. of Bison Meat. How to Supply Dakota Pipeline Protesters.

Dakota pipeline protesters confronted by guard dogs. Photo by Getty.

Dakota pipeline protesters confronted by guard dogs. Photo by Getty. Via

Members of the Hunkpapa Lakota tribe and their supporters have been protesting the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline since April of 2016. At times up to 4000 protesters have been occupying land at the Sacred Stone Camp, a remote place with very little habitable shelter.

Recently supporters have been equipping protesters to continue their occupation for a long and bitter winter. Jane Fonda just chipped in with 2700 lbs. of bison meat and 20 Mongolian yurts. Patton Oswalt contributed a laptop, a wind power generator and a drone.

If you’d like to help the protesters make it through the winter you can check out the Sacred Stone supply list here.

Two Dozen Free/Cheap Things to Do in Los Angeles – Plus a Few

Santa Monica pier

Santa Monica pier at night | Photo: ™ Pacheco via Matador network

Los Angeles is such a sprawling place that you have to plan carefully how to explore. Matador Network serves up nearly two dozen free or cheap things to do in the city of Angels that give you a real taste of the city – arguably much more so than a trip to Universal Studios.

You might not think of Los Angeles as a place to take in nature but Matador’s list even serves up a few waterfalls:

22. Go chasing waterfalls.
Cost: Free + gas + parking

There isn’t a ton of flowing fresh water in L.A., but if you know where to look there are trails that lead the adventurer to some small (hey, we take what we can get around here!) cascades. Wear sturdy shoes, sun protection, and bring plenty of water when doing any hiking.

Waterfalls to visit:

Monrovia Falls: An easy 1.7-mile hike from Monrovia Canyon Park entrance station (in Monrovia).
Eaton Canyon Falls: About 1.8 miles from the parking lot at the trailhead in Altadena and a very popular hike. If you have fantasies of having the waterfall to yourself, think again! Expect crowds.
Santa Ynez Falls: Perhaps easiest accessed from the trail system emanating from Topanga State Park. It’s about a 2.5-mile hike to the falls from the TSP parking lot.

To Matador’s list I’d add:

1) Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, everything you’ve ever seen in Core77 is on this street.(Check out the canals while you’re there.)
2) Central Library in Los Angeles – The Mother Lode of Art Deco
3) The Getty Museum – There are actually two Getty museums, Getty Center and Getty Villa. Both are free but you’ll need to pay for parking and at the Villa you need to make reservations.

The secret to enjoying Los Angeles is to visit neighborhoods that are close together – and avoid the 10 freeway if you can.

Adventure: Sign Up Now and You Could Be One of the First People to Mountain-Bike on the Moon

Photo via

Photo via

It’s one bunny-hop for a man (or woman) but it’s one giant lunge for mankind. announces an out-of-this-world travel package for mountain bikers giving you a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore some of the gnarliest single track in the galaxy. Check out Evo’s moon biking offer here. [Via pinkbike]

Also – Awesome Gear Announced in April

All-Sport Performance Lederhosen

Who knew that lederhosen would return as the ultimate multi-sport performance wear? (With a ball-tight fit and moisture wicking no less.)

A Backpacking Tent So Light It Fits in Your Shirt Pocket

You’ve seen all the buzz about tiny houses. Now it’s tiny tents with REI’s Gulliver line of micro-tents.


Minimalist Trail Sandals

The Chaco Barefoot-Z sandal takes minimal running shoes to the logical extreme.

One final note on all this amazing gear – check the date on the post.


[Via REI blog, Gear Junkie, Runblogger]

Southern California BMW i Series Owners to Attempt World Record April 2


Photo by Lothar Spurzem via Wikimedia

Photo by Lothar Spurzem via Wikimedia

BMW i series owners (i3, i8, X5 40e) are gathering at the Long Beach Formula E race this Saturday April 2, 2016 to organize the longest parade of BMW cars in history. The previous record was set in 2008 by 178 BMW Isettas (the car pictured above), arguably much cooler than an i3 which has been compared to a grumpy porpoise.

As geeky as all this sounds, if it helps promote cleaner transportation it’s probably worth giving it a whirl. Register here if you are a licensed BMW i series owner and want to take part in this fiasco. (Imagine a couple hundred electric vehicles trekking to Long Beach and then looking for a place to plug in.)


Looking for Some Outdoor Adventure? Check Pinterest for Best Places to Hike

Hiking on Pinterest

When I think of Pinterest I think about knitting. It wouldn’t be my go-to-destination for planning my next big adventure.

And I’d be wrong – check out these pinboards listing the best hiking trails in the world.

While you’re at it, check out the boards for outdoor gear, camping trailers, canyoneering and bushcraft.

If these pins don’t make you want to hit the ol’ dusty I don’t know what will.