Squeeze Box

On a recent trip to John Boyd Thacher State Park outside Albany, NY Maiya and I stumbled upon a curious apparatus for physique-based access restriction — the Squeeze Box. I initially assumed it had been installed by park management or local authorities to help ensure the safety of park visitors in response to members’ of urban populations predilection for poor decision making in wilderness environments. I imagined a series of daring rescues of physically ill-conditioned individuals that prompted Search and Rescue to devise a clever way of preventing people from going places they simply should not go. I quickly realized its brilliance, and began to wonder why the technology is not more widely deployed. Even after learning that the Squeeze Box was installed by the Thacher Climbing Coalition, and that its profile replicated that of Helm’s Crevice, a narrow geological feature requiring passage to access climbing areas beyond, I maintain that it was put in place to ensure the safety of the public and to help inform visitors’ decision making as it pertains to their health and well-being.

There are many other places that are as perilous to human health and safety as a cliff edge, but they are not as clearly recognized because the negative effects accumulate slowly over many years of prolonged exposure. Placed at the entry way to the TV room, in front of a recliner, at the doors of personal automobiles, at the thresholds of fast-food establishments, on both ends of soda and candy aisles in grocery stores nationwide, at elevator entrances, at any access to a means of assisted conveyance, really, may help people notice their ceasing ability to easily pass through Squeeze Boxes and subtly encourage them to less frequently partake of those detractors of health and longevity that lie beyond.

New York


Route:
Four Mile Creek State Park, NY to Cambridge, NY
Distance:
362.0-mi
Ascent:
9,173-ft
Descent:
8,978-ft
Time:
4-days
Surface:
pavement, gravel, dirt


Four Mile Creek State Park, NY to Greece Canal Park, NY

The Erie Canalway Trail is a well-signed, intermittent, variable-surface path that parallels the Erie Canal between Buffalo, NY and Albany, NY.

Greece Canal Park, NY to Syracuse, NY

No shortage of motorists catching the Beaver Fever. Beavers have little to do with gasoline, but it is funny because beaver is like vagina. That is clever marketing.

Syracuse, NY to Little Falls Marina Rotary Park, NY

Pausing to take a photograph of myself.

Little Falls Marina Rotary Park, NY to Cambridge, NY

Jim and Bob, my gracious hosts in Cambridge, NY, joined me in celebrating the anniversary of my powerful, glorious entry into the world.


Ontario


Route:
A.W. Campbell Conservation Area, ON, CA to Niagara Falls, NY
Distance:
203.1-mi
Ascent:
1,958-ft
Descent:
2,102-ft
Time:
3-days
Surface:
pavement, gravel


A.W. Campbell, ON to Port Burwell Provincial Park, ON

First glimpse of Lake Erie well beyond this sign for The Great Trail, a newly connected trans-Canada trail.
An unseasonably warm sunset over Lake Erie enjoyed from the beach at Port Burwell Provincial Park.

Port Burwell Provincial Park, ON to Byng Island Conservation Area, ON

A delicious, dubiously nutritious hot dog and poutine lunch.

Byng Island Conservation Area, ON to Niagara Falls, NY

A well intentioned, but poorly executed, attempt to dissuade dumping on private property.


Michigan


Route:
Ludington, MI to A.W. Campbell Conservation Area, ON, CA
Distance:
362.6-mi
Ascent:
7,356-ft
Descent:
7,264-ft
Time:
4-days
Surface:
pavement, gravel


Ludington, MI to Mt. Pleasant, MI

The welcome sign greeting arrivals to Michigan via the SS Badger at Ludington.
A well-appointed shed, contrasted with a tent pitched in a city park, is a luxurious accommodation.
Private inholdings in national forests substantially limit access and discourage rightful enjoyment of public lands.
The Lake County Historical Society in Baldwin, MI. Bruce provided a fantastic tour of the museum and described the rich, diverse history of the area.

Mt. Pleasant, MI to East Lansing, MI


East Lansing, MI to Addison Oaks State Park, MI

Perhaps you have to cycle thousands of miles before you begin to question the utility of worthless signage, such as this sign, indicating a descent, marking the start of an imperceptible climb. A committee somewhere, probably in Romeo, MI, basks in the glory of its accomplishment of warning cyclists of an imminent, modest incline. No cyclist would lobby for such a sign. To me it reeked of motorist advocacy for exertion avoidance.

Addison Oaks State Park, MI to A.W. Campbell Conservation Area, ON, CA

The forward view from the deck of the Bluewater Ferry on the St. Clair River between Marine City, MI and Sombra, ON, CA.