Thoughts of fall

When the June heat in Arizona keeps us simmering at a steady 105 for days on end, our thoughts turn to . . . fall, and bird hunting in Montana.

For several years now friend Mike Spies has been bugging us to join his fall bird hunting trip to central Montana. This year, we plan to do it – our first chance to join a classic uplands hunt in a stunning location. Our usual fall hunting finds us beating around the thorny, hot Sonoran Desert – wonderful in its way, but no comparison to the northern plains.

We also look forward to seeing Mike and his dogs in action – Toby, Ted, Jesse, and Tommy. An avid bird dog trials competitor (see his blog Living with Bird Dogs – a great look at an fascinating field sport), Mike is also owner of AutohomeUS, importer of fine Italian roof tents that have been profiled in Overland Journal. 

We appreciate AutohomeUS’ support of the journal as a Charter Advertiser, and of the FJ60 Conservation Project (see Spring 2008 and Summer 2008) with a lightweight and sleek Columbus Carbon tent. And we look forward to heading out in the field with Mike and the ‘boys’ for some fine shooting, dining, and tales around the campfire.

Zamberlan kicks off Partner Advertiser program

Zamberlan Boots has come on board to help us launch our new Partner Advertiser program.

Overland Journal Partner Advertisers have committed to an extended period of display advertising plus will be working with us to promote adventure stories, events, or conservation projects. Look for a complete list of Partner Advertisers on the main website soon.

Zamberlan is a supporter of the Jaguar Trail story, and will be working with us to help spread the word on the efforts of the Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project (see post, above). Overland Journal first reported on Zamberlan Skill boots in the Gear Guide 2008 – where they were featured as a Best of Breed product.

Three of us wore Zamberlans during the Jaguar Trail trip – mine were new (shown here demonstrating how a big cat – probably a cougar – used this log as a scratching post); Jonathan’s a year old; and Scott Brady’s at least three years old.

I’ve since worn them on about 15 miles of hiking – with very little break-in time needed for them to be comfortable – and these boots are going with me to Africa in early July, on a two-week exploratory safari in the Great Rift Valley, a project of the African Conservation Fund. Normally I would not think of taking a pair of ‘serious’ hiking boots to Africa with me – not because I don’t need them (thorns, rough country, snakes – all a part of beating around the African bush) but because they are usually so heavy.  The Skill GTs are just 19.75 ounces each, but made from one-piece full-grain waterproof leather. I’ll be really putting these to the test, driving a vintage (1970s) Land Cruiser for 1000 miles and tromping through plenty of African bush. Look for a report in a future Overland Journal.  

Overland Journal on Sierra Madre trek

In May I was fortunate enough to join an expedition into Mexico’s Sierra Madre, to locate a historical battle site in a very remote region of Sonora. We used horses (and a cool little donkey) for the first leg, to cross the river and get us up into the canyons, and from there we had to proceed on foot. (Look for this story in a future Overland Journal.)

On the trip I tested out the Tilopa camera bag by F-Stop (featured in the Gear Guide 2008). I carried a Canon EOS 5D, three lenses (17-35mm, 70-200mm, 50mm), a Speedlite 580EX flash, and some hoods, batteries and cards along with my little Canon A85 compact (in one of the pockets on the hip belt – brilliant), a Camelbak water bladder, my lunch and a first-aid kit.

It worked especially well. Everything is easy to get to and there is just enough room to be useful for an all-day shoot like this, but not so over-equipped as to be too bulky and heavy. I think F-Stop hit the mark, as this will definitely remain as my primary bag for any assignments that require footwork (hiking, skiing, climbing, etc)  or riding (horses, bikes, motorcycles, you name it). (Photo courtesy Shirley Durham)