Our featured photo today comes from Gadling Flickr Pool member Bo Li. Entitled “Namaste,” the shot of a Nepal mountain is certainly evocative. Will your weekend be this peaceful?
What better way than to spend your honeymoon in the great outdoors? And if you don’t have time for a honeymoon, how about a nice weekend hike?
Unfortunately, when newlyweds Jordan Linn Graham, 22, and Cody Lee Johnson, 25, headed to Glacier National Park on July 7 for a hike, their week-old marriage had a tragic ending. After an argument on the Loop Trail, in a moment of anger Graham pushed Johnson and he fell face-first off a cliff.
After the dispute, Graham failed to call police, and it was not until Johnson did not show up at work the next day that he was reported missing. A few days later, Graham reported that she had found the body, claiming that she knew of the location because “it was a place he wanted to see before he died.”
That seemed suspicious, and when she was questioned by authorities later in the month she admitted that the two had begun to argue while on the trail and, as stated in the affidavit, “due to her anger, she pushed Johnson with both hands in the back, and as a result, he fell face first off the cliff.”
The charging documents suggest that Graham was already having reservations about her new marriage, and that she texted a friend on July 7 indicating that she was off to have a chat with her new husband about her concerns. Graham is now facing second-degree murder charges.
A 16 year old named Hannah Anderson was abducted by a family friend last week in a series of events that left both her mother and brother dead. Her saga began in Southern California and ended far away, in the wilderness of Idaho, when she was rescued by FBI agents over the weekend. Anderson’s abductor, James Lee DiMaggio, had fled to one of the most remote areas in the United States, the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The protected area is a beautiful place, but few people know much about it. In an effort to give you a clearer picture of this northern area that is relished by outdoors enthusiasts, here are some facts about the Frank Church River Of No Return Wilderness.
- It’s the second largest protected wilderness in the contiguous United States.
- It’s the largest area without any roads in the contiguous United States.
- The wilderness stretches across six different national forests.
- The wilderness was renamed after Senator Frank Church after he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer because of his efforts to protect the environment while in Congress. President Reagan signed the act less than four weeks before Church’s death.
- The diverse mix of wildlife found within the area includes wolverines, grey wolves, mountain lions, mountain goats, elk and lynx.
- It is the home of the Salmon River, a popular whitewater rafting spot.
- Despite the myriad bodies of water within the area, only 10 inches or so of precipitation fall annually near the rivers while as much as 50 inches accumulate near the mountaintops, usually in the form of snow.
- There are 296 trails throughout the area.
- There are 114 bridges within the area.
- There are 1.5 million acres of trail-free land within the wilderness.
Backpacking in Yellowstone? Be aware of grizzlies.
Vacationing in Florida? Look out for pit vipers.
Exploring the Australian Outback? Know your venomous spiders.
Hiking in the Pyrenees? Stay away from cows. That’s the lesson learned recently after an 85-year-old hiker tragically died in the French Pyrenees after being charged by a herd of cows. The man was neither gored nor trampled, but was knocked to the ground by a cow and her calf, resulting in his death. Four other hikers were injured in the attack.
Many hiking areas around Europe are often near agricultural lands, and walking close to livestock is a common occurrence, but the accident is a reminder that even though cattle are a domesticated animal, they are not to be provoked and passing near them should be done with care.
As is proved by cow fighting in Switzerland, cows are far from a calm animal, especially if they are with their young which they will aggressively work to protect, and locals are known to complain about travelers who provoke their herds, treating them like pets.
Moral of the story: keep your distance from cow herds when exploring the rural landscapes of Europe.
Scientists are currently examining the squirrel to see if it died of the disease or of other causes. Park officials are using insecticides on squirrel burrows to kill off any fleas, which is how the disease spreads from one animal to another. The Twisted Arrow, Broken Blade and Pima Loops of the Table Mountain campgrounds are closed until further notice, although hiking is still permitted.
The plague killed about a third of Europe’s population in the 14th century but is not nearly as active these days. Only four people have contracted the disease in Los Angeles County since 1984. This map from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows each case of the plague in the United States since 1970. About 80% were of the bubonic variety and most cases were not fatal, since antibiotic treatment is usually successful. In related news, researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Germany are developing an easy test to detect the plague in its early stages.
As you can see, there are two main clusters. New Mexico gets about half of all the human infections in the U.S. In the 1980s, the worst plague decade, it had slightly more than a hundred cases. Worldwide, most plague cases are in south central Africa and east Asia. People tend to get it while engaged in outdoor activities.