Not much of substance tonight. Just some ideas drifting through that probably aren’t worth developing into a larger article. Hence, a list:

1. Alaska is not the place for stupid stunts. We must have the highest helicopter rescue fuel-to-idiot ratio in the country.

2. Almost 40 years in this state, a solid chunk of which in remote communities, and I’ve never found a Japanese glass float in the wild. My parents, though, have hundreds, including the a few of the giant size ones, complete with nets. I plan to liberate the collection to the seas when I inherit them, to pass on to someone else the joy of finding. It’s just kinda not fair if you have a USCG helicopter at your disposal to amass your collection.

3. Fat bikes: the new middle-age-man mid-life crisis-mobile? (Yes.)

4. Back to bike fitting – is it a gigantic scam? As one ages, one’s needs change. My bikes change all the time. My bike footwear changes frequently. Should I pay someone $300 each time to reset my cleats, change my stem and adjust my seat height, or just to change my shoes when it gets cold (or warm)? Or is it all bullshit? I don’t actually know, I’ve only had one bike fitting and it was for a bike frame that didn’t fit me well (I should have bought the Truth, I get it now), and there’s no effing way I’m spending $300 to find out. Some people don’t believe in chiropractors, I don’t believe in bike fitters.

5. Does social media create what the industry wants us to believe are “influencers” or is the industry influencing the “influencers” to ensure its own message seeps through? I bet you know what I believe. It does seem that independent thoughts and voices are quelled in favor of the ones eager for recognition in an industry that relies on sales, hype, and advertising to succeed. Don’t think I don’t notice the industry making stars of a parade of (white) (straight) twentysomethings willing to squee for glory. I see you, industry. I see you. I may be an “influencer” as well, but I hope to influence people to think independently of hype and advertising rather than “influencing” people to buy your shit. I’m rowing against the tsunami, I know.

6. Remember the days when to start a business you saved and saved and worked and scrimped? I do, I’ve started several businesses, most successful, a few not. So I’m pretty sick of Kickstarter requests. Please don’t send me any. I do reviews of actual products, not free advertising for hypothetical ones. I’m happy to give you money to start your business as long as you’re equally happy to give me money to keep mine going.

7. It’s almost touron season – I’ve spotted a few already and the flood of “help me plan my Alaska trip” emails have started. I don’t get involved in trip planning because people don’t listen anyway. I’ve noticed a new trend of people wanting to go farther and farther afield so they can brag they did something trendily “epic.” Just go to Denali National Park, people. It’s there for people like you, it has the infrastructure to manage your endless questions and a permit system to keep you far away from other hikers so you can think you’re alone in the wilderness, and you’ll be out of everyone’s hair. You’re not too good for Denali. Just go there.

8. Back to the “influencers” – if you read around the outdoorsy blogosphere you will notice at least one billion white straight twentysomething couples on the Road Trip Of All Ages the same road trip around the Interstate system. Subaru even sponsors people to do this. It seems like the M.O. of this endeavor is for the couple to break up afterwards, the dude to go back to doing normal dude stuff with what I imagine is a sigh of relief that they no longer have to be Half Of A Team, and the gal carrying on with social media branding of herself, mercilessly slashing all mentions of the alleged equal partner from their memoirs. I have seen this play out at least a half dozen times in the last few years since I’ve been paying attention. It’s just something I notice that I find funny. Going on road trips is a blast, turning them into a media circus seems to be a good way to end your relationship.

9. There are an awful lot of people who can’t emotionally handle the rigors of wilderness trips and they seem to get 80% of the attention for doing them. Have you ever read a PCT memoir that didn’t involve a lot of angst during the hike and emotional breakdowns after the hike and a ridiculously extended time “re-integrating” into normal life? I haven’t. But I know tons of people who go on truly incredible journeys, have a great time, and then come home and go right back to work, enjoying the memories they just amassed but not having an existential crisis about it. I don’t know why we make stars of people who are inept. It’s weird. It’s possible to just go on a trip, enjoy yourself, and have a good time, and continue on with life, rinse, repeat, but you’d never know this from so many of the stories. You do it either for the fun or for the drama, and the drama-ers are taking over, hence item #7.

10. Sometimes life tests you to make sure you really are who you think you are, and shows you your long-held beliefs so that you can finally see if you were right. The results are always interesting in one way or another.

That’s all for tonight.