Bob Laney

  • 04/05/2010


    How do we stay motivated in the face of adversity? When the trip is going poorly, you are way too hot, or cold, or exhausted, or half-way lost, or scared, how do you keep a strong outlook and good attitude? Think of your position as having three components.

  • 04/05/2010

    Healthy Appetite

    The healthiest creatures are those with the biggest appetites. A person who runs marathons will have twice the capacity to consume calories and not gain weight than a couch potato. Satisfying yourself and doing what you please not in a selfish way or to the detriment of others, but keeping your own physical, mental and emotional needs in mind makes you a happier person and more fun for other people to be around.

  • 04/05/2010


    When we think of really smart people, we usually identify with a physicist (Einstein), an inventor (Da Vinci), a mathematician (John Nash) or some other learned profession. Maybe a rocket scientist, or a brain surgeon. For high intelligence, we do not often think of geography and the American pioneers. The earliest explorers who settled the west, like William Sublette, John Fremont, Jedediah Johnson and others are mostly remembered as rough, tough bear skinners and Indian fighters. Got brains? They probably dropped out of the third grade if they went to school at all.

  • 04/05/2010

    Let the System Work

    When scuba diving, a long boat ride or high waves can make a passenger sea sick. He or she may feel nauseous, dizzy and weak. The diver wants things to stabilize and be given lots of fresh air. The last thing he wants to do is put some complicated gear on his body, cover up his face with a mask and regulator and go under water. He believes that those choices will make him even more disoriented and sick. Except that he will be wrong. The real cure for sea sickness is to get out of the up-and-down heaving waves. The only way to do that while on in the open ocean is to put on his scuba gear and get under the water. The diver has to let the system work in this case, the system of scuba gear.

  • 01/25/2008

    Satellite Personal Tracker

    Here is a cool new electronic gadget for the outdoorsman. It's called the satellite personal tracker, or SPOT. It can be found on the web at The company is affiliated with Google Maps. The device allows the user to be in the backwoods and call out to civilization for help, or just to keep someone else informed of the user's whereabouts.

  • 10/07/2007

    Blister Prevention

    For decades, I had trouble-free feet while hiking and backpacking.' Until this year, I did not bother to shop for boots that fit.' I ordered my size from mail-order catalogs and they worked fine. Then in 2005, I had my first problems with blisters while taking many long hikes in a row with Jim Smoak in the Teton's.' I blamed it on my fairly stiff, heavy boots and replaced them with lighter, running-shoe type boots.' Then, in early 2007, I had different kinds of sore spots that rubbed raw and bled while walking no more than a mile or two when my feet were wet and wearing sandals, such as with canoeing and scuba diving.' 'Later in 2007, I went on a 6 day, 65 miles, 50 pound pack backpacking trip to Glacier National Park.' I did everything thing I could think of to avoid blisters, including taking new, thick socks and changing into dry socks 3 times each day.' Despite those efforts, I got big, trip-stopping blisters on the middle front of each foot the first half-day.'

  • 03/10/2007

    Brunton 8099 Eclipse Compass

    This advanced compass features a magnetized disk for accurate bearings and comes with helpful reference cards that store inside the compass. Magnetized disk is more accurate than conventional needles and settles quickly for fast, accurate bearings. Anti-static, liquid-filled dial with jeweled bearing features 1 degree gradations to ensure accuracy, sighting mirror for improved accuracy. Ergonomic rubber shoe on bottom of compass grips map surface and is comfortable to hold.

  • 03/22/2005

    Stasis and Symbiosis

    My usual tennis group, led by Paul Anderson, played three long sets of tennis yesterday evening in a steady, cold rain. We have done this type of thing before. Many times over the years, we have played in still falling (or already fallen and piled high) snow, sleet, rain, high wind, fog, bitter cold, whatever. But it is still instructive, nonetheless, to do it again. From season to season, I forget what it was like to do some difficult activity the year before. Maybe our mind erases the bad memories of prior painful events? It is good to be reminded of things, to practice again and to pay one's dues.

  • 02/25/2005

    Snow Physiological Thermodynamics

    Ah, life. Another snow dump in the last week of February, another trek in the woods behind my cabin on the Brushy Mountain. Christopher Robin would call it the 100 acres woods - the magical place where his child's imagination can run free, and where his best friend Pooh Bear lives in a hollow tree under the name of Mr. Sanders. I call it Dr. John Bennett's semi-wilderness tract, the magical place where I can recreate and nobody lives except my friend Mother Nature.

  • 11/05/1995

    Tennis at the Speed of Light

    Most tennis players go through cycles when their strokes alternately get better and worse. Unless the player intentionally and actively works on improving all his strokes, all the time, he will inevitably get in ruts where he loses confidence in certain strokes, and they will spiral down in effectiveness.