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admin | Category: Erective Dysfunction 2016 | 06.01.2015
Spend an exciting three days in Algonquin Park, canoeing, hiking, fishing and exploring at a rustic wilderness adventure lodge. Guides are skilled outdoorsmen and women and will teach you the basics of paddling a canoe. Though Southern Ontario may be known more for its urban cities there is plenty of wilderness to explore.
Jacket, rain gear, hiking boots, sweater, wool socks, long pants, shorts, t-shirt, long sleeved shirt, hat, bathing suit, towel. Flashlight, water bottle, sunglasses, sunscreen, camera, daypack, insect repellant, fishing gear, fishing license.
Identifying tracks to the species level is much easier if you first look for certain clues. As many animals have four legs and an ability to change their speed, it is somewhat complicated to identify their track patterns. The animals that use this style of walking include the wide-bodied, slow-moving types such as the beaver, muskrat, skunk, porcupine, bear and racoon. TIP 1: The front feet of the diagonal walkers are considerably larger than their rear feet.
TIP 3: All cats and foxes use the diagonal pattern, but the rear foot lands directly on top of the front track. Upon further investigation, it seemed the long-tailed weasel had spotted the blue jay on the ground (likely feeding on seeds). This is an interesting group that includes small critters like mice, voles, and shrews, chipmunks, squirrels, and larger animals like rabbits and hares. TIP 1: If the front two feet land almost exactly side by side, you are looking at a mouse, not a vole of similar size.
TIP 3: The shrews, mice and voles tend to go from hole to hole for safety and to access food caches. TIP 2: Pay special attention to how debris (sand) is kicked up and sprayed in the direction travelled. These cards should fit neatly into your shirt pocket so you can pull them out in the field until you have them memorized. I appreciate travelling light and have abandoned the need for any of the afore-mentioned gear.
This animal does not find itself above ground very often, hence, my not seeing its tracks before and only a few times since in the snow. If you decide to take up tracking as a hobby, you may find yourself tracking books at night to figure out what you have seen during the day. The belt loop on the Cold Steel Latin Machete sheath generous, so if you’re a sadist and still insist on dangling 60 cm (24 inches) of steel from your waist, you would be able to do it wearing pretty much any belt on the market.
Although you can see the deformations of this machete very slightly in the photograph below, it doesn’t aptly reflect how beat up the blade really is. The handles on the Cold Steel Latin Machete are relatively well designed. They have a bird beak design at the pommel, which is extremely useful as that stops the machete from being ripped from your hands due to gravitational momentum. When making clean chops, I’ll have to admit, the Latin Machete certainly does look badass. Chopping larger limbs is completely doable in a pinch, but I cannot emphasize how uncomfortable chopping with this thing is. It performs adequately in terms of cutting performance alone. Any kind of fine cutting is once again technically doable, but in practice is what I’d consider cruel and unusual punishment. Don’t let the pictures fool you, I really do mean it when I say any detail work is excruciating with this machete. But I’m stubborn, and so after the basic point was chewed out, I quickly put a point on it using my left hand as a resting place for the blade while using my right hand to guide the edge across at the right angle.
For sheer entertainment (all for you, my readers) I tried a firm chop into a thicker log with the intent of batoning through the wood. Instead, the blade of the Latin Machete wedged in and refused to budge.
Now something the Cold Steel Latin Machete could do reasonably well: if you put aside the comfort issues, cutting greenery with the Latin Machete was pleasant and easy. When Cold Steel conceived the Latin Machete, I doubt they had the Canadian wilderness in mind. As you read this review, please bare in mind that I tested this blade with typical woodland material, though the blade is quite obviously meant to be used in a jungle environment. With that said, whilst I do not live in the jungle, I have spent some time in South East Asia, and I find there’s good reason why locals usually use cutting tools with lengths of 10-18 inches at most. The last machete I reviewed was the Gerber Parang, and for my uses, it is infinitely better, both in comfort and performance, than the Cold Steel Latin Machete.
I am sure someone somewhere would be inclined to disagree with me on the practical uses of the Cold Steel Latin Machete. Subscribe to More Than Just SurvivingNo fancy free e-book or shiny product bribe incentive offered here! Once at the lodge, you will have a chance to do some sunrise fishing, participate in interpretive hikes and wildlife watching, attend a workshop for bushcraft or go on an afternoon paddle. This region includes the cottage country area of Muskoka and Algonquin Provincial Park, a popular vacation spot for both locals and visitors alike.
Take an interpretative hike to Music Lake featuring an introduction to the Algonquin park transition forest, beaver ponds, and spruce bogs.
However, in an effort to not waste energy, there are distinct patterns that the various species use most of the time. Try diagonal walking yourself by once more getting down on all fours, stepping with your right arm and left leg together and your left arm and right leg together. Now you can see, and show to others, the front and rear right and left feet of the deer tracks in your backyard. On occasion you will see evidence of the weasels catching a small rodent, such as a drop of blood near a hole.
This will narrow the animal to the species level  (that is, the shrew from the mouse, the chipmunk from the red and black squirrels and the fox from the coyote). The first step is to arm yourself with some plaster of paris – the stuff you fix holes in the drywall with. Then, when you think you have every detail drawn, look at the track through a magnifying glass to find more.
Would you believe that some animals’ dominant side can be found at a glance by their tracks?
That said, I also have over 10,000 slides of animal tracks and signs, plaster tracks, twigs, sticks, eggs, snake skins, feathers, shells, skulls, scat and much more at home already. Because it lives underground, it has very large paddle-like front feet used for digging tunnels in the earth. You will attain much more information through your fingers than from just looking at a track. This machete is by far the largest one-hand cutting tool I have ever personally wielded, so I was curious about how practical 60 cm (24 inches) of blade real estate would really be. No worries about throwing this machete in the back of the car, or pushing it down into a loaded pack, the sheath will hold it.


I was forced to wrap some hockey tape around the scales, as I found the relatively smooth dimpled texture to lack comfort for extended use.
The edge on the Latin Machete is never going to be scalpel sharp, and as such, Cold Steel chose wisely when they used 1055 Carbon Steel for the blade.
If you take into account the comfort vs performance ratio, however, then the Cold Steel Latin Machete is a dismal failure. With the Cold Steel Latin Machete, the blade kept bouncing around uncontrollably while I tried, making this process take much more time and effort than I care to admit.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a jungle conveniently located in my neck of the woods for testing out machetes in, so I had to make do testing the Latin Machete with what was around me. 24 inches of blade might look pretty amazing, but in practice, the length is more of a spectacle than a practical tool. Someone is bound to ardently believe that they could use their 24″ Latin machete to destroy entire forests, but I can only speak for my own experiences.
If you like our blog and would like to get emailed whenever we publish a new post, fill in the form below and hit "Subscribe"! Those fly through brush and you find yourself using the hook rather often as a gathering tool. Algonquin was the first designated provincial park in Ontario and has long been a popular destination for hikers and canoeists. Picnic lunch at our Canoe Outpost before hiking to Surprise Lake where a 26-foot Voyageur Canoe waits. Basically, the legs on one side of the animal tend to move together, followed by the slumbering of the two legs on the other side.
For the animals that use this pattern, the rear right foot lands on top of, but slightly behind, where the front right foot was a moment earlier. Immature and old animals tend to break this rule but have a wider stance compared to the length of their stride. Moreover, in cold weather and on certain types of terrain deer tracks do not sink much, and in softer snow conditions, the weasel’s can sink a fair amount. Their track pattern shows the front feet landing closely together and the rear feet coming around the outside and past where the front feet landed.
These size differences do not seem like much on paper, but they are a huge difference when you see them in nature.
If you spend 35 minutes doing this, the next time you see a track you will see as much in only 15 minutes. There are no toys allowed in this sandbox, and I keep it covered to stop the growth of plants. The same happens with the gallopers or other animals when their speed or gait increases to a gallop.
These oddly shaped front feet do not allow it to walk very efficiently and make the animal wiggle back and forth as it moves.
The nest itself was made of sticks and twigs but the roof material was made of mud and leaves. For instance, if you cannot see how many toes there are in the track, you may well be able to feel how many there are.
Go with the little threads of evidence you see and blend these with the larger picture and knowledge you have; then go with it. That being said, I do like the fact that Cold Steel provides a reinforced sheath for this blade. At the very least, it makes travelling with the Latin Machete a lot safer and easier. I’d personally treat the sheath purely as a safety feature for transporting this blade, instead of using it to wear the Latin Machete.
I doubt this sheath would fall apart under ordinary circumstances, considering those rivets and the ballistic nylon construction. 1055 Carbon Steel has extremely high tensile strength (toughness), at the suitably low rockwell hardness (low 50’s). If the machete was a more manageable size, I’d be able to use this for prolonged periods of time.
For me, the Ontario 18″, Condor eco lite, or Gerber Parang are much better options for use, though one could certainly argue for the Latin Machete in terms of aesthetics. When mixed with concrete and rammed full of earth, these strange looking homes become a shinning example of sustainable building.
In the summer you can camp and canoe along the many lakes or enjoy one of the many wilderness lodges. By far, the two most useful clues to look for are (a) the track pattern of the animal and (b) the overall trail width that the pattern makes.
There are four basic patterns (as depicted in the above diagram) a tracker should memorize. I strongly suggest you get down on all fours and try this type of walk for yourself — it will make more sense! When looking at older tracks, you do not know what the conditions were like at the time the track was made. The tracks, which usually fall only several centimetres apart, were now falling many metres apart from each other – quite an accomplishment for a skinny little weasel not much bigger than a chipmunk. Watch for little caverns or under rocks, where they will sometimes rest and eat their catch – leaving little piles of the remains.
When you find that perfect track (scarcer than one might think), set up a little fence around it so the plaster does not flow away. You will be amazed at what someone can learn in a short period of time just by playing in a sandbox. I will ask students to identify the pattern, measure the trail width and to try and understand how it left no trace for such a distance. Great general information book about mammals, including skull keys, dental formulas and other good descriptions.
The vast majority of tracks you come across will fit into one of these patterns: 1) Pace, 2) Diagonal, 3) Bound and 4) Gallop.
Its tracks can be so faint in the snow that unless you have proper light conditions, you may not even see the tracks when they are pointed out to you.
I usually find four little sticks that frame the outside edges of the track and fill in the remaining cracks with mud. Basically I have people walk through the box and have them note how the sand reacts to regular paced walking. The smaller front feet land first and the larger rear feet pass around the front and land ahead. It is a beautiful little creature that creates little mole hills and tunnels in the grasses and soil.
I used this book in a fourth-year mammalogy course –it is very expensive and usually needs to be ordered.
Cold Steel’s Latin Machete is excruciating to use on wood thicker than a twig, as the blade almost fights you when chopping.


Algonquin has a healthy wildlife population including moose, wolves and a variety of birds. With just these two clues and a little practice, you will be able to tell the difference between similar species, such as the mouse and the vole.
Most of the animals in this category have large, soft, padded feet that are somewhat unique in themselves. My questions were soon answered when I saw some blue and grey feathers gently blowing around in the wind.
Inside this area were the majority of feathers, a few bloodstains and the skinny black legs of a blue jay. It gets to the point where others will think that you’re pulling their leg when relaying the detailed meaning you are pulling out of a track that they can hardly see.
Now, also see that the two front feet are not beside each other; rather, they are offset with the right one landing first. I would include the obvious: diet, habitat, range, offspring, predators, behaviours, size and weight, trail width, foot measurements, stride length and common track or gait pattern used. Inside my kit I used to bring my cheat cards, a small paper pad and pencil, a magnifying glass, a small measuring tape, a flashlight and a vernier calliper. I knew from past experiences with tracks that it was not a mouse, vole, shrew, small weasel, chipmunk or squirrel. However, in my opinion, this book is worth the cost for the inquisitive tracker who wants lots of information about local species from one source.
Lastly, carrying a weight in one hand is done to see if students can see how the ground responds.
Like all tracks, these were somewhat unique in that the front two of three toes on both feet were close together, leaving the third toe somewhat separate.
The tunnels are all over the place and little caverns may be found with hollowed areas inside – likely for resting.
I took a few photos and noticed some mouse tracks by the base of the small tree that the nest rested on. The thick dense walls provide thermal mass, which naturally regulates the interior temperature of the home.
There are so many interesting tips with this group that make identifying each track a treat. In other classes I have walked, jogged and ran with my dog through the tracking box to demonstrate how diagonal walkers’ gaits change with speeds.
Dominance will offer clues to which way an animal will circle or turn (outside of specific agendas it may have).  Ever wonder why lost people wander around in a circle?
However, these callipers are able to measure track widths and foot measurements with great ease and speed. Like a good novice, I took out my tracking kit, sketched these tracks and noted what seeds it was eating. Deer are very curious creatures and will sometimes circle around to see what is disturbing their area.
Later research led me to understand the that long-tailed weasel will sometimes kill the snowshoe hare as part of its diet and make a den with its fur. The dog is happy to do this small service for us, especially when high quality treats are offered after each run. To answer the latter question, we know it is landing first because it registers on the ground before the left front foot.
These were as large as red squirrels’ feet, but the trail width and depth at which the tracks sank into the fresh snow suggested something the weight of a large mouse.
In other words, when fur is stroked backwards, it does not stand up, like other animals’ would. Even in the harsh desert southwest, Earthships can be built to provide you with all the water, food and electricity you need to live off the grid.Water CollectionEarthships are built to collect and store water from the local environment. For a bit of excitement the Ottawa River offers some excellent whitewater rafting and resorts set up right on the river offer meals and accommodations for a complete rafting experience. It is possible to cut them off and get another glimpse in these situations, which is what I did.
After some study in the sandbox I have the students not watch the tracks as they are being made. That is, as the animal is moving forward with gravity pulling it to the ground; the right front foot absorbs the initial weight, followed by the left, which comes down after the right. The flashlight is often used to look into small holes in the ground, trees and under rocks.
I erase all but one track, forcing the students to identify speed, accelerations, turning motions and whatnot from just one track. As for the former question of dominance, try this yourself: stand a little distance from a wall and fall forward towards the wall. The expanded kit could include plaster of paris for casting tracks and bags and tape for collecting samples of twigs, animal hair or worse. The preferred method of pulling the plastered track out of the ground is by digging around it with a stick to pry it up from underneath. Believe it or not, many can tell if I have turned my head (an exaggerated head turn) while walking along.
These tracks still remain a mystery because I did not note the size of the tracks, which would quickly eliminate one or the other bird.
A big fat tail would leave a mark like the one I remember seeing that day in the mystery track. I then revisited the photos I took and quickly had an answer for the large foot sizes that led me to realize why the trail seemed to zigzag the way it did. However, I am usually able to trick my tracking students (the first time) when I walk backwards through the sandbox.
Of course many naturalists keep track of weather and other interesting data in their journals. They know that the sand is not being kicked up the same way, but they just can't figure out why.
One great activity for the journal is to find a place outside where you make a track in the soil.
If you built houses, walls and landscaping from tyres, the money you’d receive would pay for your land! Most are in the Taos, NM area, but they have many videos of building in other countries, especially those with less strict building codes. One drawback I have seen is the layering of tires does not allow for electrical runs straight down, which some codes forbid the wires routing zig-zag through the tire wall.



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