On the Blogs: What Wyoming Can Learn From Europe FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Joshua Zaffos for High Country News:The last Thursday of March was Black Thursday in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, when Arch Coal and Peabody Energy announced 465 layoffs at two of the coal-dusted region’s largest mines. The job cuts came amid Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings, first by Arch and Alpha Natural Resources in January and then by Peabody in April. Given the combination of crashing prices, bankruptcies, and a global push to phase out coal and other fossil fuels, the layoffs are most likely just the first to hit northeastern Wyoming. Here, where coal provides one out of every 10 jobs, much of the state is already reeling.Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead opened temporary community resource centers in the coal towns of Casper, Gillette and Douglas to provide information on unemployment insurance, job opportunities and training, and counseling services. Following Black Thursday, more than 900 people showed up at the centers and workforce offices, including some unemployed workers from the oil and gas industry.But the official response feels underwhelming to laid-off workers. Why, they wonder, have they been abandoned, given that Wyoming produces nearly 40 percent of the nation’s coal? Billions of dollars in mining revenue pays for schools, roads and other public services in the state. What about the workers who helped produce that revenue?To find a different response to the crisis, Wyoming and its miners may need to look in another direction — toward Europe, in fact, where unemployment benefits generally last longer, job-training programs are more extensive, and retirement benefits are better protected. That makes it easier for both industry and mining communities to weather the hard times when they come.Both West and East Germany relied heavily on coal for power and jobs following World War II, for example. But coal mines began declining following reunification in the 1990s. In the western part of the country, the high costs of continued “hard coal” mining from deep geological formations has forced some closures as prices have dropped. Eastern Germany has the most productive lignite mines in the world, but lignite, also known as soft or brown coal, is extremely dirty, emitting much more carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels when consumed. The government is now scaling back those operations as part of Germany’s national effort to address climate change, and to restructure its energy policy to reduce carbon-spewing coal and fossil fuel use and invest in renewables, according to Clean Energy Wire (CLEW), an independent, nonprofit German energy communications group. Germany’s environmental minister is pushing to stop mining and burning coal entirely by 2040.The U.S., in contrast, has no such comprehensive national-level climate action or energy policy. Miners and energy officials in Wyoming and elsewhere continue to blame President Obama and the Clean Power Plan, rather than global economic and environmental pressures, for the downfall of coal, and many refuse to support climate action or even acknowledge climate change. With plenty of congressional support for that viewpoint, the U.S. has come up with only relatively minor coordinated efforts to manage sweeping energy trends. Instead of getting behind deliberate and comprehensive energy policies or climate-change planning, U.S. lawmakers have allowed global energy market forces to buffet the industry and energy workers, with few resources offered to ease the pain. Wyoming Gov. Mead’s latest state Energy Strategy is focused on fossil fuels with scarcely any mention of renewables, and he recently said the state is “doubling down on coal,” including aggressively backing unproven “clean coal” and carbon capture and storage technology, in hopes of somehow bucking the global downturn.Full post: Can we learn from Europe’s approach to laid-off coal miners?
Economics May Yet Kill the Keystone XL FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Economist:In the nine years since Keystone XL was first proposed it has become the most political of pipelines, pitting environmentalists, ranchers and Native Americans against oil companies, state officials and unionists. Barack Obama’s administration delayed its construction in 2011, then rejected it in November 2015. Shipping oil from Canada’s tar sands, which is one of the dirtiest sources of crude, threatened to undercut the leadership role the government wanted to play on climate change. “So sad that Obama rejected Keystone Pipeline. Thousands of jobs, good for the environment, no downside!” tweeted Donald Trump, then a presidential candidate.As soon as Mr Trump was in office he revived the proposal for a large tube running from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico. Russell Girling, boss of TransCanada, the Canadian operator of Keystone, said he was “very relieved” to see the $8bn project finally approved. On November 20th Nebraska’s regulators had more good news for Mr Girling. The Public Service Commission, an elected panel of four Democrats and one Republican, approved Keystone XL crossing Nebraska, clearing the last big hurdle for the construction of the expanded pipeline.Yet the green light came with an amber one—the commissioners did not approve the route preferred by TransCanada, but one farther east. This could add more expense and complexity to a project that was costly and complicated before it even started (it involves dozens of landowners who have not yet been consulted). It could also prompt yet another review of Keystone XL in neighbouring South Dakota, which has already said it will look at the pipeline again if changes made by other states affect the route through its plains.TransCanada’s reaction to the regulators’ decision was muted, at best. Mr Girling is now “assessing how the decision would impact the cost and schedule of the project”, he said in a statement. In July TransCanada launched an “open season” to solicit binding commitments from shippers for Keystone XL. It has not made the results public.Once all the reviews are completed, it may be economics rather than politics that halts the pipeline. “The financial viability of the project is highly speculative,” says Tom Sanzillo of the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a research group, who thinks there is only a 20-30% chance the pipeline will be built. For Keystone XL to work financially, the price of oil needs to be $80-90 a barrel, with an upward trajectory, says Mr Sanzillo. The price of oil is at $60 a barrel, compared with $140 in 2008 when TransCanada first applied for a permit to pipe oil across the American-Canadian border. Lorne Stockman of Oil Change International, an advocacy group, also thinks the pipeline is unlikely to be built. To get going TransCanada needs to sign up enough clients with long-term contracts for 90% of the capacity of Keystone XL, which will be able to transport 830,000 barrels of oil a day (compared with 600,000 barrels from the current pipeline). “Shippers will not have signed the dotted line before the Nebraska decision,” says Mr Stockman. And they are likely to be more hesitant to sign up now given that the route has been altered from the one preferred by TransCanada.More: The Keystone XL pipeline has won approval in Nebraska: That is no guarantee it will actually be built
Indianapolis Utility Continues Shift Toward Gas and Renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Platts:The startup of Indianapolis Power & Light Company’s Eagle Valley combined-cycle natural gas plant marks a shift toward gas as the utility’s largest power generation source, replacing coal, the company said Monday.“Our future is focused on accelerating cleaner, smarter and affordable options for our customers and we are proud of the efforts we’ve made over the last few years to significantly reduce our dependence on coal and focus toward a more balanced energy mix,” Craig Jackson, IPL president and CEO, said in a statement. IPL is a subsidiary of Arlington, Virginia-based AES.The 671 MW CCGT gas plant, about 30 miles southwest of downtown Indianapolis, began commercial operation April 28, IPL said. The new power station reduces the rate of “most emissions” by 98% compared to the six coal- and oil-fired units it replaced at the site. The old generating equipment and water intake structures were “rendered inoperable” for safety reasons, Claire Dalton, IPL spokeswoman, said in an email Monday.IPL’s request to invest more than $600 million in the plant was approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in 2014, and the company has a pending regulatory rate review at the IURC to place the Eagle Valley plant into the rate base, Dalton said.An ongoing shift away from coal toward gas and renewable energy sources is taking place at the corporate and state level. IPL’s power generation mix, which in 2007 consisted of 79% coal, 14% gas and 7% oil, is projected in 2018 to reach 45% gas, 44% coal, 8% wind, 2% solar and only 1% oil, according to the company’s website.In 2017, 60% of Indiana’s 200 MW of incremental generation capacity was powered by renewable sources, with the other 40% powered by gas, according to EIA. And IPL projects its power generation mix will transition to 38% gas, 31% wind and 26% coal by 2036, with the remainder supplied by 4% solar and 1% oil.More: Indiana Natural Gas Plant Repowering Marks Shift From Coal To Gas, Renewables
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:While Southeast Asia remains one of the last places where coal power can attract international financing, one maverick tycoon thinks the region will no longer tolerate burning the dirtiest fuel.Sarath Ratanavadi, founder of Thailand’s Gulf Energy Development Pcl, is seeking to electrify swaths of the region using natural gas and renewables. The billionaire, whose wealth has surged about 22% this year, is seeking to expand his company’s reach into some of the poorest parts of Southeast Asia without using coal, where a need for cheap power has been expected to trump environmental protection in the pursuit of economic development.While coal might be a traditionally cheaper source of electricity, avoiding air pollution and carbon emissions is worth the extra cost, according to Sarath. And coal will further lose its edge as it becomes harder to get public approvals and cleaner energy becomes cheaper, he added.At least 100 major lenders in the past five years have put restrictions on financing coal mines and power plants that burn the fuel, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis said in February. But some banks are still keeping their options open for coal in Southeast Asia, while others plan to withdraw only after finishing multi-billion dollar projects that will operate for decades.While China consumes far more coal, Southeast Asia and India are among the few places on the planet where demand is expected to continue rising, as the fuel has traditionally been the cheapest option to meet booming power demand from growing populations and an expanding middle class.Gulf Energy plans to nearly triple installed capacity to about 6.7 gigawatts in 2024 from its capacity last year, and the company has said it plans to invest about 150 billion baht ($4.8 billion) the next few years to build new plants in Southeast Asia. The generator has also had discussions with provincial officials in Vietnam over plans for a $7.8 billion gas-fired power plant, as well as talks with partners for a hydro project in Laos and a gas-fired plant in Myanmar.More: Tycoon declares coal doomed in last bastion of big bank aid Thai energy developer looks to keep new coal projects out of Southeast Asia
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Tesla Inc.’s market value has surpassed Exxon Mobil Corp.’s in a sign that investors are increasingly betting on a global energy transition away from fossil fuels.Elon Musk’s Tesla, now at $201 billion in market capitalization, is surging on the billionaire’s optimism that his company can avoid a second-quarter loss. Exxon, which dropped to $185 billion, is reeling from the worst crude-price crash in history. The largest oil company in the Western Hemisphere is preparing to cut some of its U.S. workforce.Tesla also is on the verge of passing Toyota Motor Corp. to become the most valuable automaker in the world by market capitalization. The company topped Boeing Co. in March to become the most valuable industrial company in the U.S. and reached the No. 2 spot among car manufacturers in January by passing Volkswagen AG.Exxon is the world’s second-biggest energy company after Saudi Aramco went public late last year. But even the status of Saudi Aramco as the world’s most-valuable company is in danger now after Apple Inc. reduced the valuation gap to $150 billion, down from about $750 billion at the time of the initial public offering of the Saudi state-controlled oil giant six months ago.[David Wethe]More: Tesla overtakes Exxon’s market value in symbolic energy shift Sign of the transition: Market capitalization of Tesla tops that of ExxonMobil
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Survivalist preppers: wise or wacko? Preppers are modern survivalists preparing for natural disasters and potential doomsday scenarios.WISEEmergency preparedness, or “prepping,” isn’t about a bunch of nuts crawling around in the woods, preparing to fight off the starving hordes in some grim, post-9/11, apocalyptic fantasy. But in today’s world of terrorist acts, super storms, climate change, and an aging overloaded electric power grid, there is an ever-growing likelihood that most of us will experience significant disruptions in the flow of electricity and goods at some point in our lives.In fact, these global trends are converging to form the perfect storm—a storm of such magnitude that it will dwarf anything that mankind has ever seen. If we are unsuccessful in our attempts to calm this storm, without a doubt it will destroy life as we know it on planet earth. Stocking up on extra supplies, learning new skills, and making a few emergency contingency plans is cheap insurance for peace of mind in turbulent times.To do nothing is to behave like ostriches with our heads in the sand, blindly believing that “everything will be okay,” as our world inexorably drifts towards the next naturally recurring, 100 percent inevitable, super solar storm and resultant extreme geothermic disturbance. It will end the industrialized world as we know it, incurring almost incalculable suffering, death, and environmental destruction on a scale not seen since the extinction of the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago.Start by putting together a 72-hour emergency survival kit for yourself and family. This provides the basics of food, water, shelter, clothing, first aid, and medicines should the need arise to evacuate. After the 72-hour kit, build your stores of canned and dry foods and your skill set. Some folks find that joining a local prepping group makes it easier to share knowledge and inspiration with like-minded people.No one knows for sure how big an event will be. I call myself The Optimistic Doomer, because I believe we have a chance of averting global collapse, but current trends are headed for a definite large-scale collapse. Preparedness goes a long way towards making a bad situation a lot less punishing, and could make the difference between life and death, or extreme suffering and relative ease. Surviving catastrophe takes preparation, skill, luck, and planning to be in the right place at the right time.Matthew Stein is author of When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide to Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival.WACKO Be prepared. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. It’s always a good idea to be ready for the unexpected, especially in these turbulent and tumultuous times. Preppers and other survivalists are to be commended for encouraging people to learn basic skills that every American used to have: being able to grow your own food, can and store it, and find water and shelter. They should have familiarity with the plants and animals in their bioregion. These are skills useful not only for disasters, but also for backpacking trips and everyday walks in the woods.However, preppers who form militias and focus on guns and self-defense take things too far. These are also valuable skills, but often the tactics they use end up frightening and dividing people rather than bringing them together.The best way to prepare for an uncertain future is to work toward averting disaster in the first place. We need to be building community, not creating suburban compounds and underground shelters loaded with weapons. We need to be lobbying for diplomacy and peaceful resolutions to conflict. We need to be providing leadership in disarming the world of its nuclear weapons. If we want to discourage other countries from creating a nuclear arsenal, we have to lead by example.Nuclear catastrophe is probably the greatest threat to our collective future. Unlike a meteor strike or a cataclysmic volcano eruption, it is a disaster that we can do something about. But it requires a united, collective America working together, not hiding out in bunkers waiting to shoot their hungry neighbors.Economic collapse could also be catastrophic—and it is also a tragedy that can be averted through collective action. Citizens demanding economic reform, fiscal responsibility, and strict regulation and punishment could ensure a safe, secure economic future for all, not just for the elite few.While preppers have the right idea, it is not enough to hole up in a hideout and wait for the apocalypse. We can prevent it from happening if we work together, beginning with our neighborhoods and communities. Strong communities and an active, engaged citizenry can help us survive disasters, but more importantly, it can help us avert them.Jeff Webb is a homesteader, hiker, and mountain man whose family has lived in Appalachia for five generations.what do you think?Join the survivalist debate at blueridgeoutdoors.com
Whether trekking hut-to-hut in the White Mountains, completing an AT thru-hike, or taking the dog for a long walk in the woods, W.L. Gore — the company known in the outdoor world for its famed waterproof, breathable laminates — estimates that 223 million people enjoy hiking worldwide.And the company aims to increase that number, while at the same time providing a better experience for anyone who walks outdoors, by introducing new technology promising all-around breathability and waterproofness in hiking shoes and boots. The focus of this new offering is not to have manufacturers replace currently endowed Gore-Tex shoes, but to broaden the protection spectrum for all seasons.Available from 25 footwear brands worldwide in Spring 2015, brand partners will include Alfa, Bestard, Chriuca, Crispi, Dolomite, Hanwag, Härkila, La Sportiva, Mammut, Meindl, Salewa, Scarpa, Treksta, Viking and Zamberlan.Gore-Tex introduced a first version of SURROUND technology last season with footwear-leader Salewa in the casual-technical Ramble. And it’s currently found in casual and children’s footwear by 15 brands. In the Ramble, excess heat and moisture are transported out of the shoe through large openings in the sole.Shoes will feature special GORE-TEX laminates that are integrated into the shoe upper and completely surround the foot on all sides — delivering extended climate comfort without compromising on weather protection.But the centerpiece of the new hiking footwear technology is a special construction under the foot called the GORE-TEX SURROUND Spacer. Sweat can escape through the GORE-TEX laminate positioned in the underside of the shoe into the open structure of the mesh-like spacer – and from there out of the shoe via side ventilation.“Keep in mind about one third of the body’s sweat glands are located on the soles of our feet,” says Global Product Specialist for Gore-Tex Outdoor Footwear, Marc Peikert. “While normally, hiking shoes are completely enclosed beneath the foot, GORE-TEX SURROUND quickly channels sweat away from the feet in addition now through an open, patented construction below the foot. Excess moisture and heat can escape not only through the upper construction, but also downwards below the foot, and then laterally, resulting in dry feet. And dry feet make you feel better and reduce the risk of blisters and chaffing.”“Footwear developers have been working hard to better address consumer’s needs for waterproof protection for activities like hiking where people have to deal with, and want to be prepared for, various ground conditions,” continued Peikert. “Consumers know that you need to be protected with your hiking footwear from morning dew, puddles, or sudden weather changes in the mountains as these conditions can challenge boots and shoes and for sure affect their comfort. Even a shorter hiking experience should not be impacted through the unpleasant feeling that comes from wet feet on what would otherwise be a great day.”A first look inside a sample featuring the new technology and spacer.Keep an eye out for many of your favorite brands in North America including La Sportiva, Mammut, Salewa, Scarpa, TrekSta and Zamberlan to have outdoor footwear with SURROUND technology on shelves this spring.The Gore company’s portfolio includes everything from high-performance fabrics and implantable medical devices to industrial manufacturing components and aerospace electronics. Founded in 1958 and headquartered in Newark, Delaware, Gore employs approximately 10,000 people with manufacturing facilities in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan and China. Learn more at gore.com.
Winter is a great time for running, and trail running in particular. Getting out on the trails in the winter provides some great advantages for the trail runner – expansive views without foliage in the way, no bugs or snakes, overgrown vegetation along the trails has died off, frozen waterfalls, and no humidity! However, winter trail running does provide some additional risks that we should all be reminded of as we depart down the trailhead.Running in the Blue Ridge Mountains, we can often get lulled into a false sense of security because most of our trails are not far from home. Sometimes we’re just a ½ mile from home, we often have cell phone reception, and even from the highest ridges, we can almost always see nearby towns and roads down below. It is still important however that you give the same thought and preparation as someone running deep into an isolated wilderness area because occasionally, trouble can pop up.Have you heard of the Survival Rule of Threes?You can only survive for 3 minutes without oxygen.You can only survive for 3 hours with an unregulated body temp (hypothermia/freezing).You can only survive for 3 days without water.You can survive for 3 weeks without food.If we look at these, the paramount survival problem for the winter trail runner is hypothermia/exposure. I’d like to share three real case examples – two local and one out west – that portray the importance of being prepared when winter trail running either in a large group, or when alone. I will also discuss another related concern, frostbite.Case 1Winter group run on the Appalachian Trail from Afton to Humpback and back.A group run of about 10-12 runners, most of whom were very experienced trail runners, set out on an out-and-back run on the AT. The temps were just below freezing up on the mountain, but made for beautiful running with scenic views everywhere. Everyone felt comfortable running with a large group on a relatively well-traversed trail, during the daylight, and with cell phone reception.What went wrong:About 5-6 miles into the run, one of the runners (my good friend Jo Thompson) slipped on a wet/icy rock and fell backwards hard, landing on her hands and fracturing her right radius/wrist. Jo is a very talented runner and is not new to the trails. Suddenly, she found herself in profound pain, and also very cold up on the AT.As the reality of the injury quickly became apparent to Jo and the other runners in the group, it was clear that she needed medical attention. They were about 1.5 miles from the nearest road, the Blue Ridge Parkway. Fortunately there was cell phone reception, so the local rescue squad was called, and a few of the other runners in the group gave her their jackets and began the slow process of walking her up to the parkway, where hopefully an ambulance would be waiting.They made it to the road uneventfully (Jo is also super tough!), however the Blue Ridge Parkway was closed due to snow and ice. That should not have been a problem for the rescue squad, however by random unlucky chance, the rescue squad personnel sent on the call did not have the key to the locked gate where they were entering the Blue Ridge Parkway. With her friends huddled around her, they waited for over an hour on the parkway for the rescue squad to arrive. Everyone was getting very cold. At last, the rescue squad came and picked up Jo, and the other runners then had to run about 5 miles back to their cars.Lessons learned:“Running in those temps, I learned I really need to be better prepared with gear,” admits Jo. Even in a group run setting, things can go wrong and although there is certainly safety in numbers, when one runner goes down, the other runners in the group are all prone to getting hypothermic as they have now stopped moving to help the injured person. It is important that every person in a group have some form of protection from the cold. Also, even in areas where roads are close by, sometimes things happen like the rescue squad just happening not to have the key to a gate. I’m not disparaging the rescue squad, but sometimes life throws everyone a curveball, so you can only depend on your own preparations.Takeaway safety precautions:When running in freezing weather, each and every runner should be prepared for an unexpected stop – what will keep you warm if you are stuck on the trail, not moving for 2 hours or more while you wait for help? I strongly encourage all runners to take an emergency blanket and an “emergency puffy”, or similar lightweight but warm jacket that you can easily pack or strap onto your pack or waist. After Jo’s accident, I never leave on a solo or group run without these items in my pack.One last winter running tip – often we start our cold-weather runs with extra layers, but quickly warm up and start sweating under all those layers. Keep in mind that if you start getting soaked with sweat, as soon as you stop running you will get cold very quickly. Ideally, you want to continuously make adjustments so you stay warm, but don’t sweat. Things like taking off an outer layer, removing gloves or a hat, and unzipping a layer can go a long way to keep your temperature just right. Be mindful of this and keep making these micro adjustments throughout your run! This is so important!Expect to continuously take off and put back on layers, gloves, etc.!Not long after that event, I was on a night group run in 10 degree weather when one of the runners started suffering from severe knee pain and had to walk most of the second half of the run (like 7 miles!). I stayed behind with him and since we were not longer running, we both started getting cold. Thank goodness for my emergency puffy!Case 2) Winter Night Run in the Massanutten MountainsThe setting:A group night run in the Massanutten Mountains in freshly fallen snow. Temperatures were very cold – in the low teens to start the run and just below zero at the higher altitudes. There were several calf-high stream crossings and many inches of snow on the ground.What went wrong:Not long into the snowy trail run, runners crossed a stream and it became apparent that ice and snow were literally freezing in blocks around people’s shoes. Runners had to keep knocking ice off of the bottom of their shoes and ice was ultimately making its way inside the shoes. It soon became difficult for people to tell what was typical numb/cold feet, and what was damaging frostbite. The run took anywhere from 3-5 hours. One runner, Sarah Smith (who is also a figure skating coach) saw huge blocks of ice around her feet after the stream crossings. Sarah also has a mild case of Raynaud’s syndrome, which makes extremities like toes and fingers even more susceptible to freezing temperatures. Despite numb feet and frozen shoes, the group continued on, not quite knowing the severity of the cold and ice. “I think we, as a community, are reluctant to quit”, says Sarah. “But that’s part of what I enjoy about this group.”Immediately after the run, which took Sarah 4 ½ to 5 hours, her shoes were so frozen that she literally could not get them off of her feet. Ultimately, the socks came off with the shoes – her socks were frozen hard to the inside of her shoes. The pain and fear of frostbite led her to seek prompt medical care, where she learned that she did indeed have a bad case of frostbite on her toes.The photos below are graphic, but incredibly Sarah is back to running a year later. It took months of intensive therapy, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, to heal her toes. Her feet will always be susceptible to cold weather and injury. Another runner in the same group had to have the tips of his toes amputated.Lessons learned:“If I knew the possible consequences, I would have avoided the water…and it’s also important to note that the length of exposure is really important. Had this been a shorter run we would have all been fine. The faster runners in the group were all ok,” tells Sarah. This is a case where many of you reading see the problem as obvious – running through water and snow in sub-freezing temperatures for a prolonged period of time. However, what would you have done at the first stream crossing as you and a group of trail runners are embarking on an epic training adventure on a beautiful cold and snowy night? Would you have been the one to tell the whole group that “we should all turnaround”, even though you drove 90 minutes to get there? Or after running through snow and streams and seeing the frozen block of ice on your shoes, would you have turned around, splitting up the group and potentially causing a larger issue? Lessons learned here are to really respect the possibility for frostbite when temps are near zero and there are water crossings. In my experience, when the temperature is at least above 25 degrees, your feet will usually keep warm, even if there are stream crossings. However, when the temps get down below 20, and especially if you throw snow into the mix, you should consider the length and course of your trail run.(Gallery above is courtesy of Sarah Smith, showing her initial foot damage, and the remarkable recovery several months later)Takeaway safety precautions:Don’t let subfreezing temps or snow keep you from running on the trail, but you should really consider avoiding known water crossings in extreme conditions. Also, know your limits. If you are someone prone to circulatory issues, you should reconsider joining a group run that may not turn out well for your toes.Last, it is MUCH easier to decline a group run invitation than it is to turn around at the trailhead or in the middle of the run. So before you jump on the adventure bandwagon of what sounds like a fun time, thoughtfully consider if this is a “smart” decision for you and don’t be afraid to say no to “FOMO” – Fear Of Missing Out.Case 3) The Dave Mackey story – solo trail runOn May 23rd 2015, veteran ultrarunner Dave Mackey went out on a routine trail run from his home up to Bear Peak, one of the staple mountain runs outside of his Boulder, CO home. Dave Mackey is a legend in the ultrarunning world with years of experience and numerous victories. He is without a doubt one of the better trail and ultrarunners in the history of the sport.The setting:What went wrong:While up on Bear Peak, a run which Mackey had run countless times, a large rock he stepped on randomly gave way and sent him crashing 20-30 feet in an uncontrolled fall down the mountain, after which a large boulder weighing 200-300 pounds landed on his lower leg, pinning him helplessly in place with a shattered leg. Fortunately, there was another trail runner nearby who heard Mackey’s screams for help and an elaborate mountainside rescue effort ensued. He was finally brought down off the mountain after several hours and had to undergo multiple surgeries to repair his shattered leg. He is making an incredible recovery but is still unable to run again.There are two takeaways from this story. First – you are never too good to have a bad accident happen to you. David Mackey is the cream of the crop, and I don’t think anyone would say this happened because he lacked skill or experience. It was a random series of events on a run he had traversed countless times. When you leave the front door, never consider yourself above having something like this happen to you.Lessons learned:Second, lets consider that this was a more isolated area and it was cold outside. This very well could have turned into a recovery mission vs. a rescue mission. Remember, three hours to survive when you start getting cold. Trapped on the side of a mountain with a shattered leg in cold weather, you are going to get hypothermic rapidly. Do you have a cell phone? Are you in range? Did you tell anyone where you were going and when you are expected back? Do you have a jacket or emergency blanket? A whistle? Can you make it for three hours or more?Takeaway safety precautions:Running alone in the wilderness is personally one of my favorite experiences in trail running. Truly a spiritual event each time. However, this requires some extra planning and communication on the part of the solo runner.Always, always, always tell someone your exact planned route and when you expect to be back. Write it down for your spouse. Text it to a friend or coworker. Let somebody know, period.Bring a phone, and ideally run where there is cell phone coverage. If you are unsure of cell phone coverage, bring an emergency whistle. They weigh nothing and would be invaluable if you found yourself down in the woods without a solid way of communicating where you are.Leave the house expecting that you may fall and be stuck in the woods for 3 hours. Pack a jacket and emergency blanket. Bring enough water and a little snack. If it’s getting late in the afternoon, bring a hat and gloves, even if you don’t need them now. Also, bring a headlamp/flashlight if it’s afternoon in case you find yourself slow to get back and now it’s getting dark.I hope this article doesn’t discourage anyone from getting out on the trails in the wintertime. Of course, there are examples like these, but these are overall rare occurrences considering how many people are out in the mountains every day. Trail running is still a very safe activity, but just take a few of the basic, simple precautions mentioned above and you will find yourself better prepared if an unlucky event happens and more importantly – it just may save your life. So get out there, explore nature, and push your limits… but be smart![divider]More from our BRO Athletes[/divider]
Close to 100 false killer whales were killed early last week after a large pod trapped itself in a mangrove forest off the coast of Florida’s Everglade National Park. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that false killer whales are currently not an endangered species, however, its Hawaiian population has recently come under threat of extinction.NOAA, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Mote Marine Laboratory collaborated in an effort to rescue the whales. Rescuers on boats attempted to herd some of the dolphins from shallow muddy water to deeper clearer water.Sadly, many of the marine mammals were too immersed within the mangroves and therefore unreachable to the rescuers. Overall, 88 false killer whales are believed to be dead, making this the largest stranding of the species in U.S. history. Scientists are still unsure of what led these whales to swim so close to shore.False killer whales are a part of the dolphin family. They closely resemble their namesake, the killer whale, except for their all-black skin pattern.