Moving with Little Trace

How to move in a natural environment while staying quiet and hard to track.

My family loves the movie trilogy Lord of the Rings (LOTR), even though it has many unlikely moments. One of my favorite unlikely moments is in The Two Towers, when Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are tracking the orc pack carrying the Hobbits Merry and Pippin to a gruesome fate in Isengard.  Gimli complained, “Three day’s and night’s pursuit… no food, no rest, and no sign of our quarry but what bare rock can tell.”  Aragorn’s tracking is masterful to the point of unbelievable, as he pieces together the orcs’ movement, their midnight battle with the Rohirim, and the escape of Merry and Pippin. Experts can track people with remarkable accuracy, but Aragorn’s feat fits Hollywood better than it does the real world.

As a combat veteran, outdoorsman, and martial artist, I have moved more than once while trying to avoid being seen, heard or tracked. While hiking in the Poconos of Pennsylvania this month, I thought of what I had learned over the years from scout to soldier, and decided to write some of it down. People have been tracked by predatory animals and by other people. Before beginning, let me be clear that it is impossible to be completely silent, invisible, and untrackable. Readers also need to remember that not being seen, not being heard, and not being tracked are three different objectives; doing one can make it harder to do the others. The goal of this article is to help readers make themselves harder to see, to hear, and to track. We will focus on the natural world but say a little about indoors as well.

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Soccer Tips from Coach Mark

How to give your players a fun and developmental soccer season.

I have coached soccer for school aged boys and girls for about three years and served as a sports medicine physician for a wide variety of sports for six years. Whether I am the team coach, the team doctor, or just a fan, I always have five goals for the game, in order of importance:

  1. No one gets hurt.
  2. Kids have fun.
  3. Kids learn leadership, teamwork, and character.
  4. Each child gets to play every position.
  5. Our team wins.

To accomplish those three goals in soccer, I have included some information for players and parents to learn. Practices are twice per week and games once per week. Players should practice at home five or six days per week.

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The Year in Music, Art, Literature and Drama History

16 Jan – The first edition of El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (Book One of Don Quixote) by Miguel de Cervantes was published in Madrid, Spain (1605).

17 Jan – Popeye the Sailor, a comic character created by Elzie Segar, first appeared in the Thimble Theater comic strip (1929).

12 Feb – George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue premiered in Aeolian Hall, New York (1924).

18 Feb – Samuel Clemens, AKA Mark Twain, published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the United States (1885).

21 Feb – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto (1848).

23 Feb – The estimated date that Johannes Gutenberg printed the first book from movable type, and his first book, the Bible (1455).

6 Mar – Norman Rockwell published Freedom from Want in the Saturday Evening Post, continuing the Four Freedoms series after President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous 1941 address (1943).

17 Mar – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt opened the National Gallery of Art (1937).

2 Apr – Composer Ludwig van Beethoven led the premiere of his Symphony 1 in C major in Vienna (1800).

26 Apr – William Shakespeare, writer of the plays Romeo and Juliet, MacBeth, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, and many others, was baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon in England (1564).

1 May – Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro was performed for the first time, in Vienna, Austria (1786).

2 May – The drama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof earned author Tennessee Williams a Pulitzer Prize (1955).

3 May – Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone with the Wind won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction (1937).

4 May – The Pulitzer Prize for fiction was awarded to Ernest Hemingway for Old Man and the Sea (1953).

5 May – The Music Hall in New York City, now known as Carnegie Hall, opened for its first public performance with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky as its guest conductor (1891).

11 May – The world’s oldest known printed book, the Diamond Sutra, was printed in China (868).

21 Aug – Italian Vincenzo Peruggia stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre (1911). He was finally apprehended and the painting returned two years later.

31 Aug – Lawrence Olivier and Vivian Leigh, Hollywood screen stars, were married (1940).

8 Sep – Margaret Gorman of Washington DC, aged 16, became the first Miss America (1921).

30 Oct – Orson Wells performed the radio broadcast of author H.G. Wells’ famous story, the War of the Worlds. Its realism caused many to think that it was really happening (1938).

31 Oct – Sculptor Gutzon Borglum completed his presidential sculptures on Mount Rushmore (1941).

27 Nov – Macy’s first Thanksgiving Day parade is held (1924).

28 Nov – Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, premiered at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig (1811).

3 Dec – The musical Camelot, later associated with the Kennedy administration, debuted at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway (1960).

7 Dec – The Royal Opera House, the third theater on the site, opened in Covent Garden, London (1732).

9 Dec – A Charlie Brown Christmas by Peanuts creator Charles Schultz premiered on CBS (1965).

15 Dec – “Gone with the Wind” premiered at Loew’s Grand Theater in Atlanta, Georgia (1939).

21 Dec – The world’s first full-length animated feature, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, opened at the Carthay Circle Theatre (1937).

27 Dec – The national anthem of India, “Jana Gana Mana”, was first sung in the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress (1911).

Archery – Foundational Skills

Want to shoot like Robin Hood? Here are some tips to get you started. 

Archery is a fine, fun and relaxing sport. During our courtship, Nancy and I would spend hours at the outdoor range just shooting, talking, and enjoying the sights and sounds of nature around. She would pack a lunch and the days were delightful. I highly recommend picnics at the range rather than expensive restaurant lunches and movies during which no one talks to really get to know a person.

For those interested in learning the basics of archery, here they are.

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