December 18th, 2002 Ted Katauskas | Special Section Stories
 

Outdoors

...For the Tree-sitter

     
Tags:
Birdsong Identiflyer
IMAGE: abby dansiger
Gift Guide No. 1-- gifts over $50, published Dec. 4, 2002

Gift Guide No. 2 -- winter fashions, published Dec. 11, 2002

contents Stocking Stuffers
Toys
Books and Music
Graphic Novels
Kitchen
Home Furnishings
Gadgets
Outdoors
Accessories
Pets
Sex
Spirits
No Sweat Shopping

Once the Republican majority takes over, it won't be long before trees start falling faster than environmental regs and outraged activists start making like Julia Butterfly Hill. A true friend of the forests, especially one contemplating pod-life, will be ecstatic to find any of the following beneath the potted organic noble fir.

A Stove that Holds Its Whiskey
Everybody knows that food tastes better in the great outdoors. But to a dyed-in-the-wool eco-warrior, it's even better when prepared on a backpacking stove made of recycled materials. Hand-crafted right here in the Rose City from little more than a Pepsi can and a Nyquil dose cup, the Go-Torch ($16.95, Next Adventure, 426 SE Grand Ave., 233-0706) boils a pot of water in five minutes on a single shot of denatured alcohol--and it comes packaged in a reused plastic fast-food container.

Downsized Redefined
Chesapeake Light Craft, the Annapolis purveyor of fine kit-built wooden kayaks, offers a 17-inch version of its 17-foot flagship for paddlers with limited budgets and/or storage space and lots of time on their hands. The Chesapeake 17 miniyak kit ($41.95, (410) 267-0137, www.clcboats.com) is just like the full-scale model--only these pieces, from bulkheads and coaming to ribs and decking, are so small they had to be cut with a laser.

A Bird in the Hand Is Worth 35 Bucks
Speaking of J-Hill, she spent more than a year in her adopted tree and wished she had gone aloft with a Birdsong Identiflyer ($35, Portland Audubon Society, 5151 NW Cornell Road, 292-6855, www.audubonportland.org). With the push of a button, the PDA-sized Identiflyer plays back digital recordings of more than 100 songbirds to facilitate communication with winged residents of the forest canopy--and it won't mess in your palm.

Reality TV Bites; Black Ants Don't
Your tree-sitter won't be watching Fear Factor in the crown of that threatened old-growth fir, but an Xtreme Ants Sports Park ($32.99, Toys R Us, 935 Lloyd Center, 335-5955, and other locations) is the next best thing. This updated ant farm includes a half-pipe, bungee-jumping ravine, street luge speedway, cyclocross track and climbing wall, plus a coupon to exchange for a colony of mail-order miscreants.

Crag in a Box
Thanks to the miracle of petrochemicals, alpinists now can satisfy their adrenaline jones in safety and comfort via a tabletop game called Extreme Rock Climbers ($14.99, Target, 1400 N Hayden Island Drive, 247-0331, and other locations, www.target.com). With magnetic thimbles on fore and index fingers, two crag rats propel tweaked action figures--gasp! solo, no ropes!--from piton to piton to scale the gnarly face of a 24-inch-tall pinnacle of plastic. Designed for 7-year-olds, but higher-functioning rock jocks should be able to figure it out in no time.

And God Said
Let there be LED! Appropriately, the Petzl product lit reads like the biblical lineage of David (the "Zipka is the little sister of the Tikka..."), because when it comes to the evolution of the lowly headlamp, the Zipka ($34.95, REI, 1798 Jantzen Beach Center, 283-1300, and other locations, www.rei.com) is nothing less than a miracle. Pocket-sized, weighing a hair more than two ounces, the LED shines bright for more than six days on three measly AAA batteries; and even better, there's no clumsy elastic headband--just a wraparound shock cord that retracts when not in use.

Lookout Above
The USDA Forest Service's Cabin and Lookout Rental Guide ($3, Nature of the Northwest, 800 NE Oregon St., 872-2750, www.naturenw.org) has all the information your wannabe tree-sitter will need to rent a decommissioned backcountry watchtower in Oregon and Washington. Aside from a single bed, a potbelly stove and a heap of firewood, most fire lookouts offer little in the way of amenities, but for $30 a night, that unobscured bird's-nest view of God's Country certainly is a bargain. There's no better way to begin the transition from ground to tree.

Oregon, My Goddamned Oregon
Tom McCall founded SOLV in 1969 to clean up litter and vandalism. In October, the state's most prolific volunteer organization published the Oregon Owner's Manual ($12.95, SOLV, 314 E Main St., Hillsboro, 844-9571, www.solv.org) to "remind us that we who have the privilege of living here also have the responsibility to take care of the land." Amen. Armed with 175 pages of Oregon-related trivia, essays and songs--including the words and music to the state song--your tree-sitter is guaranteed to be a hit with the deputies huddled below. All together now: "Blest by the blood of martyrs...Fa la-la-la-la..."

MORE GIFT IDEAS

Tinkly Winklers Wind Chimes
Decorate your garden with art and music with these beautiful driftwood-and-glass wind chimes.

$20-$36, Mirador, 2106 SE Division St., 231-5175.

Floating Glass Balls
Give your backyard pond a touch of elegance and whimsy with floating glass balls in green, yellow, orange, purple or red, blown by a Portland artist.

$16, Hollyhocks, 2707 SE Belmont St., 872-8672.

Tin Patio String Lights
Looking for a unique way to light up your porch? These sets of 10 patio string lights can be attached to other strands for more length, and they come in two separate designs--butterflies and stars--so you can mix and match for a unique look

$20, Little Finnegan's, 922 SW Yamhill St., 221-0306.

Hot Chillys Thermals
A perfect bottom layer for your outdoor adventures, skiing, hiking or biking. Hot Chillys will keep your heat in and wick away any sweat.

$29.90 top-and-bottom set, Next Adventure, 426 SE Grand Ave., 233-0706.

 
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