Canadian Canoe Routes

2023 Calendar and “Field Desk”
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Author:  Mike McCrea [ January 6th, 2023, 9:33 am ]
Post subject:  2023 Calendar and “Field Desk”

It is the time of year to update my “Field Desk” with a 2023 calendar of events and other important to me information. Fortuntely, thanks to the Missus, we receive abundant free “Please Donate” calendars every year.

ImagePC270001 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The “field desk” is not a Civil War General’s desk with folding legs - I don’t pack quite that heavy on the creature comforts - but simply a spiral bound notebook with some enhancements. The enhancements include pieces of Coroplast election signs glued to front and back covers, providing an unfloppy knee-top writing tablet.

ImagePC270002 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImagePC270003 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I’ve said it before but those Coroplast election signs are really handy. Wonderful for cutting durable templates, especially with a band saw.

I expect that bulky “field desk” tablet would be anathema to light packers (I miss Light Jay on CCR). I don’t care; a newly bought 5-Star, the old one’s pages were well scribbled or sacrificed as fire starter, new Coroplast stiffening covers, pens held in the wire spiral, the year’s annotated calendar and etc, etc weights 10 oz. Encased in a flat dry bag it is still under a pound.

ImagePC290012 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Ok, there is usually a book, or two if slender, in that dry bag, and my reading glasses, all still precious dry and contained for my purposes.

Well worth the weight to me, even if I have stuffed in a 600 page non-fiction hardback for nighttime tent enjoyment.

I write trip notes and journal entries every day, and carry a pocket sized note pad and stubby pencil for scrawling paddling notes along the way, transposed in to the field desk journal in camp, before I can no longer decipher what I wrote. What the hell does “Tulns glabbit atfenshula” mean? I’m thinking maybe “Turns ????? at Peninsula). No idea what “glabbit” means, hope it wasn’t important.

I may not be able to decipher everything I scrawled in the pocket notepad once I get settled in camp, or even remember. For writing in while camp, making site notes, to-do lists and crudely sketching (more make-this-like-this diagrams than landscapes), I want something more solid surfaced when perched upon knee.

ImagePA070124 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

My handwriting is bad enough without adding floppy notebook cover insult to injury. Or at least I tried.

The internal pocket sleeve on that spiral notebook is a boon. A 2023 calendar, annotated with important-to-me dates, mostly friend’s birth and, sadly, death dates, both commemorated while afield, meteor shower dates with pay-attention yellow highlighter slashes, and a more detailed print out of those showers (peak days/times, frequency, direction/radiant, moon phase) and other important astronomical events.

ImagePC270008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Yup, there’s a reason I enjoy mid-Atlantic and further south tripping in November; the N. Taurids and Leonids are both quarter moon at most this year, and the duration of those showers overlap, so any clear night the last couple weeks of November may provide worthwhile skywatching.

The Geminids peak December 13-14, with the moon 1% full. I turn in shortly after sunset in the winter months, but I’ll get up before midnight for watch that. Hell, I’ve had six hours sleep, make some coffee and paddle on pre-dawn when the show closes down.

Lyrids April 22-23 looks good moon-wise if, as usual, I am typically up before the sun; a man, and a bladder, can only sleep so long.

Even the Pereids August 12-13 have only 1/10th full moon. Best skywatching paddle in trip ever, the Leonid “Fireball storm” in 1998. Hundreds of long streakers and skippers, exploding bolides and smoke trailing fireballs. That show got intense in the wee hours, worth commemorating.

ImagePC290010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Other astronomical events noted on the new calendar, lunar eclipses especially. Not much in the night sky eclipse-wise in 2023. I should check the schedule for rocket launches from Wallops Island; an un-realized bucket list item to the view a rocket launch from the backcountry. Preferably a night launch, while afloat near camp. A man can dream.

This link to 2023 Meteor showers can be cut & paste edited to just a few pages for printing out just the facts. I highlight slash the calendar as a more visible reminder; “Oh yellow slashes tomorrow and the next day, I should look that up”. And select the next campsite with a clear field of view. ... -calendar/

On last reason for the calendar; I had a shuttle pick up scheduled at the end of a multi-week trip. I had the calendar, but I had missed checking off days and lost track of time. Fortunately I eventually encountered a young paddling couple and asked them “Uh, is today Tuesday or Wednesday?”? They looked at me funny when they replied “Um, it’s Friday”. Time flies when you’re having fun.

I broke down/got wise and bought a watch with a date function. I haven’t actually looked at it in quite a while; once retired every day is a Saturday, and I recognized time as “It’s getting light out” and “It’s getting dark out”.

I checked that watch…..yup, either today is the 17th and time is standing still, or the battery died. One more thing on the New Year’s to-do list.

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