Pack Rat in the Sky - While at first, my colorful pile of nylon, plastic and down may seem like an eyesore of excessive baggage and consumerism, take a second look and consider that these are only items I will have access to for the next, indefinite period of time. What you see here includes a shelter, sleeping and cooking equipment, several cameras, a phone, inReach, solar panels, repair stuff, food, water and, oh yeah ..a freaking aircraft!
Looking at it that way, its life stripped of luxury, designed for survival and a representation of how far the paragliding and outdoor industries have refined their gear to make unsupported, ambitious goals like this a reality.
I will provide a complete list of my equipment in an article released this year.
Expedition Gear List
Safe Space - As a child, I was a professional fort builder. A combination of bed sheets, kitchen tables and cutlery-based catapults kept me safe from homework and other outrageous offences. These days, I'm doing my best to appear adult and have opted for the Tiger Wall 2 from the folks at Big Agnes. Weighing just 500 grams, this ingenious wedding of Dynema and carbon fiber is large enough for two people, or just one person who farts a lot.
Camera & Electronics
Staying in-Charge - Making a bad-ass documentary while trying to execute a world-class expedition is tougher than I could have imagined. Rigging cameras, managing storage and getting the shots is tough enough. Fortunately, the one thing I never need to worry about is power.
So far, the silver lining to the stable weather I've seen is the seemingly limitless hours of sun I have to charge all the items that matter most.
Navigation & Communication
A whole new world - Never having flown, or ever having been, in the desert before, I often felt like I was stepping foot on an entirely new planet. Similar to the earth I knew in terms of gravity and oxygen, the heat, lack of water and strange formations told me that this was something completely 'Other.'
This feeling was only intensified upon taking the skies. Floating above the matte, brown and red landscape, my childhood dreams of becoming an astronaut had finally come true.
Desert Cold - Though scorching hot throughout the day, the mid-April mornings would remain frosty cold until about an hour after sunrise. While brief, these 60-minute episodes reminded me of my home in the great white north and motivated me to make the most of each day so that I may finally return to its crisp, cold, mountain air.
Food (Typical 14-day Ration)
Counting Calories - Long waits between flights in these remote parts means; 1. Making sure I don't eat more than my daily food ration and 2: I'm losing weight like it was going out of style.
Striking a balance between unsupported expeditions like this one and proper nutrition has never been straightforward, but in cases like these, I just feel lucky to be camped beside a lake, not having to worry about water on top of everything else.
The incredible Monarch (Monarca in Spanish) is our planet's furthest migrating butterfly. Over the course of just one year, and four generations, this magnificent insect travels more than 7000 km (3000 miles) from Mexico to Canada and back. In Mexico they reunite at one of just a few special over-wintering sites, each offering sanctuary to millions of butterflies. As if travelling so far wasn't enough, exactly how they manage to reunite on the same tree branches that their great grandparents had rested on the previous year, remains a mystery to scientists until this very day. [show:image:23564]Though these butterflies often appear to be blowing around in the wind at random, there's nothing random about their incredible migration. Like birds their north-south movement is due to their narrow margin of temperature tolerance: Canada works in the summer, Mexico in the Winter. That seems simple enough, but there's more. Monarch butterflies are only able to lay their eggs on milkweed plants which grow in specific parts North America and only at specific times of year. This is because their larvae are only able to eat milkweed and why the greatest migration occurs through the 'Corn Belt' of the United States, where the plant is most common. [right:image:23565]But there's a problem. Milkweed is disappearing, and fast. Industrial-scale farming as well as herbicide application and increased mowing in roadside ditches is one of many challenges causing this pollinator superfood to retreat. Because of this, Monarch's are down to just 15% of their population in less than two decades and, with such low numbers today, one bad year could mark their end. But here is hope. And that hope, is you! If you plant just one seed this year, make it Milkweed! This vital food source will attract not just Monarchs to your yard but other beautiful butterflies as well. Even cooler is that [url=https://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/milkweed/free-milkweeds/]Monarch Watch[/url] is offering to send [b]FREE seeds[/b] to schools and restoration projects (of 2 acres or more) ..OR if you're like me and just down to make a difference while summoning all the Monarchs to your yard, get your seeds from them here at the [url=https://shop.milkweedmarket.org/]Milkweed Market[/url]! This is a great thing to do with your kids, students or on your own. [show:image:23947]NEWS: We are building a photo gallery of the Milkweed that you plant. Please send us a photo or two to [url=mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]email@example.com[/url] so we can include your plants and inspire others to take action as well. Thank you for caring and taking action! [group:image:23877][/][group:image:23878][/][group:image:23880][/][group:image:23879][/][group:image:23954][group:image:23882][group:image:23881][group:image:23951]
The epic 3,000-mile monarch butterfly migration may become a thing of the past. [right:image:23564]Each fall, monarchs travel from their summer homes in the northern U.S. and Canada to winter habitats in California and Mexico. This migration is considered one of the most admirable phenomena in the animal kingdom. But, the latest survey in 2020 indicates a population decrease of 53 percent since the previous season, for a total decline of more than 80 percent over the past 20 years. The twin forces of human-caused climate change and habitat loss are now threatening North American monarch butterflies with extinction. Preserving their journey requires action in light of threats such as climate change, land conversion, and forest degradation. [right:image:23565]Climate Change: Climate change threatens to disrupt the monarch butterfly's annual migration pattern by affecting weather conditions in both wintering grounds and summer breeding grounds. Increasing carbon dioxide levels may be making milkweed (the only food monarch caterpillars will eat) too toxic for the monarchs to tolerate. And higher temperatures may also be driving summer breeding areas further north. That means the Monarchs' migration routes will get longer and therefore more difficult. Land Conversion: The creation of herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans means that farmers will eradicate weeds, including milkweed. These new crop varieties could cause the demise of the milkweed plant, a vital food source for the Monarch Butterfly. Plants like milkweed in the United States and Canada are essential for monarch reproduction; it's the only plant where monarchs lay their eggs and where baby larvae feed from. In addition to the loss of milkweed across farms, drought and development on the land where milkweed once grew abundantly, has reduced the plant numbers significantly. Forest Degredation: Generations of the Monarch butterflies travel thousands of miles until they reach Mexico, where they overwinter until it's time to begin their migration back home in March. The butterflies spend their time in concentrated areas of forest where they form colonies by clinging to the branches of trees, forming beautiful cascading clusters. These mountain forests in Mexico are their winter habitat, however nearby human communities also rely on them and create pressure on forests through agriculture and tourism activities. [c]'We have the capability to save the monarch and other species. The question is whether we have the will to do it.'-Chip Taylor (MonarchWatch)[/c] [right:image:23947]What You Can Do To Help: As population numbers continue to drop, extinction of the Monarch Butterfly is becoming even more likely. Just like every other organism, plant, insect or animal on the planet, monarchs play a crucial role in the survival of our ecosystems. Butterflies help pollinate plants, making them a vital contributor to crop growth and food production. They also serve as a food source to birds and other animals. We can all help by creating new monarch habitats by planting native milkweed species. This will help provide crucial fuel and rest stops for the traveling butterflies, as will taking more action to address climate change. Ditch the pesticides in your yard, and choose to purchase organic and non-GMO products as often as possible. And by being a conscious consumer, you can help prevent deforestation by avoiding the purchase of wood and paper products unless they're certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. References: [url=https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2018/12/monarch-butterflies-risk-extinction-climate-change/]National Geographic[/url] [url=https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/monarch-butterfly]World Wildlife Federation[/url] [url=https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/monarch-butterflies-is-in-danger-what-we-can-do-to-help/]One Green Planet[/url]
Adventuring into the heart of Africa, a paraglider instigates a young man's potentially deadly quest to release the weight of poverty, social taboos and self doubt, and take to the skies. In doing so, the traveler is confronted with unsettling truths about his own racial and cultural identity.
In a country where no one flies, two friends can inspire a nation by putting everything on the line.
Fly along as Benjamin Jordan sets a new World Distance Record (10,000 km) as he crosses Canada by Powered Paraglider. Along the way, you will land at summer camps and inspire thousands of children, while raising funds to send less fortunate ones to summer camp next year! The 71 minute, Documentary Feature contains 15 chapters chronicling the epic successes and failures of this unprecedented journey. Each chapter focuses on a unique aspect of Canadian geography, culture and the exact mix of team-work and blind optimism required to pull off such a daring stunt. Since it's release in 2010, A Canadian Dream (formerly "DREAM") has screened in theatres world-wide and, through it's proceeds, has allowed almost 100 children, from low-income homes, the opportunity to attend summer camp.Watch Now..