Friday, November 26, 2010

New Zealand

Since it is a holiday, my family has been working on our vacation plans. This February, we are going to New Zealand for 5 weeks. It should be a very fun vacation (and the first one we've had in 5 years). We are planning backpacking, kayaking, and canoe trips, all of which require gear. We are trying to figure out the right packs, the right tents, and the right stove.

We are trying to pack as light as possible. Normally we would just build a fire, but it is forbidden in national parks. We would also just eat cold food, but a few places lack safe drinking water and my mom doesn't believe in water filters. My mom has chemical sensitivity, and carrying around a bottle of White Gas in our car could make her sick. We might try a alcohol stove, but supposedly we would have to burn Vodka or Everclear, which isn't exactly cheap. It also burns at a low temperature, meaning we would need a lot to boil all our water.

On the subject of backpacks, I need a pack. I think I want a Osprey Talon 44 pack, which seems like it could function as a daypack and a weekend overnighter pack.

We are also trying to find a good tent. We want a superlight one, but also a cheap one. My mom has quite a few disagreements with today's tent designers. Today's tents have fly's that cover the entire tent, like an opaque forcefield. That's because that is better in stormy conditions. But what about just normal Alaskan rain? With this kind of fly you can't see out of the tent, you have very limited ventilation, and it is bright orange inside. If it is raining for weeks on end, you don't want to be stuck in one of these tents. Lots of tents also have complicated pole setups, making them heavier and harder to setup.

The kind of tent my mom wants has a staked out fly (see picture) thus it is rainproof. I suppose the best options is a tarp shelter, like MSR's Zing or Twing. Of course, those cost as much as a good tent.

I suppose if we want a tent that suits our needs, we out to design and build our own.

Winter Update

Here in Southeast Alaska, it is finally starting to become winter. It has already snowed a few times, but it wasn't until yesterday that it actually stuck. Now it is all frozen and my little sister is sledding around the yard. I would like to be outside with her, but I have so much to do that I just haven't found the time.

Instead, I have been sitting in my room, staring at a computer 8 hours a day. I am taking two online Honors classes, and they have been taking up most of my time. Because my parents pay by the month for my classes, I have to work as quickly as possible. Right now I am taking Honors Biology (Hard!) and Honors Algebra II (Easy) both on a 4-5 month time schedule.

Of course, I have found plenty of time to goof off. Recently I made a movie for one of my classes, full of special effects. I would post it here, but there were other kids in it and I don't have permission.

I have also been quite busy with DDF (drama, debate, and forensics). I am currently debating about Cyberbullying. The resolution is one of my least favorites, mostly because of it's vagueness. "Cyberbullying should be a criminal offense" is missing a few key things. Define Cyberbullying for example. Cyberbullying ranges from juvenile name calling to full scale harassment and stalking.