Mosaic in Motion
news from Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America

Future of Mosaic? We're Working on it

Dear Mosaic members,

Happy Thanksgiving (and to our Canadian members, you can go about your usual day -- nothing to see here)!

The Mosaic Outdoor Club of America Board of Directors has a lot to be thankful for, including a large and active membership who are eager to volunteer. For a while, the Board has been discussing what the future of Mosaic holds -- how can we find and retain new members at our chapters and at our Jewish Outdoor Escape Event?
Last September, we took a first step by having an evening workshop entitled "The Future of Mosaic." There, enthusiastic attendees old and new brainstormed for an hour about the next steps to ensuring that Mosaic continues. We had a lot of great ideas about how to make new members feel welcome, including:

-- Have a table reserved for first-timers.

-- Have experienced, outgoing attendees dedicated to greeting and introducing new members to each other.

-- Identify first-timers by a different-colored badge, make the badges easier to read, and print names on both sides so you can read them when they flip over.  


These ideas were a good start, but we realize we have a lot more to discuss. We are currently forming a committee to continue the discussion started at the 2015 Jewish Outdoor Escape, and we welcome your participation. This is YOUR opportunity to be heard, get involved and make a difference! Please email us at volunteer@mosaicoutdoor.org to get involved. We are looking forward to hearing from you. We'll have a lot more news to report about our efforts in this vein in the coming months.
 
                          Marlisse Marcus, president,
MOCA Board of Directors

High-Pointing for Fun and Profit
 
Editor's note: Mosaic in Motion is beginning a recurring feature of profiling our many, far-flung members who are active in the outdoors. If you would like to suggest yourself or a fellow member, please contact newsletter@mosaicoutdoor.org. We are also interested in hearing about local chapter events, so don't be shy.
 
Member profile: Dave Goodman; Lansing, Michigan.
Mosaic member: 15 years
 
 
In 1994, the highest points of each state of the United States caught my attention. Then, I happened to take a trip to St. Louis, Missouri, so this was my chance to visit a few. I started my day-long journey to St. Louis by driving south from Lansing. Three-plus hours and 217 miles later, I parked my car atop Campbell Hill (elevation 1,550 feet above sea level), on the grounds of a vocational school near Bellefontaine, Ohio. I walked over to the summit flagpole, enjoyed the view and took some pictures of the scenery. I had just bagged my first state high point. 
 

Over the next few years, I routinely added states to my high-point portfolio, often with my son in tow. Some were on private property, like Hoosier Hill in Indiana (elev. 1,257' -- thanks, landowners!). Others were on public land, such as Taum Sauk Mt. State Park in Missouri (easy walk on a short paved trail to the summit, at 1,772 feet).

These trips offered historical, and occasionally Jewish perspectives on our nation's history. For instance, once I found my way to Ulysses Grant's hometown of Galena, Illinois. While Grant is renowned as the general who helped win the Civil War and later became president, his military career was marred by his General Order No. 11, issued Dec. 17, 1862. This order expelled all Jews from his area of command -- western Kentucky, western Tennessee and northern Mississippi. It was in response to what he felt were annoying entreaties by cotton traders, some of whom were Jewish. Fortunately, one of the expelled Jews successfully appealed to President Lincoln, and Grant was told to rescind the order. 
 
These are often unspectacular sites -- Charles Mound, Illinois. Hawkeye Hill, Iowa. Timms Hill, Wisconsin. Britton Hill, Florida (there are taller buildings in Miami). But as I grew more confident as an outdoorsman, I began to attempt the harder summits, such as Mt. Whitney in California, at 14,494 feet the highest summit in the Lower 48. This mountain required a 3 a.m. start, and we witnessed a hiker from another group suffering from altitude sickness. But we made it. I've also climbed very high peaks in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.
 
Today, I have achieved 41 of the 50 High Points in the U.S. -- some by hiking, others by driving; some alone, others with my son or a friend. Many of the remaining summits are quite technical -- Gannett Peak in Wyoming's Wind River Range requires a four-day approach and experience with glacier travel. Mt. Rainier in Washington will require hiring a guide and training in crevasse rescue. And Denali in Alaska, North America's highest peak at more than 20,000 feet, requires a full-on expedition, with winter gear, a high degree of physical fitness and up to six weeks of camping on snow.
 
Will I climb them all? Time will tell, but in the meantime this two-decade mission has taken me across the United States and to some of the finest hiking in the country. I look forward to many more high points to come.

Dave Goodman
                Looking for a Few Good Photos  
Attention, Poconos Jewish Outdoor Escape attendees: you're invited to send in your best photographs for inclusion in an online album for all members to see. We want to show our members out there hiking in the forest, on the bike paths, paddling down the river, checking out the local museums and even relaxing at camp.
 
Please select your top 10 photos and email them to us at photos@mosaicoutdoor.org.  It's best to use a JPG format and keep the file size to about 1 MB or smaller. Even if you don't have the latest digital camera, if you captured a fun moment we'd love to share it with others.
 
For each photo, please include the name of activity where the photo was taken and the names of the main people in the pic.
 
Thanks to everyone for their contributions,
 
Jeffrey Kay,
Mosaic Photo Editor  
Watch that Warranty

The outdoor gear business has some of the best warranties of any retail product. For this you can thank L.L. Bean.

When L.L. Bean first launched its famous leather/rubber Maine Hunting Shoe in 1912, the product came with a money-back guarantee. That guarantee continues to this day - you can bring back any product, any time, for any reason to L.L. Bean, regardless of condition. I know a guy who actually decided to test this theory by returning his well-used, 30-year-old wooden cross-country skis. He still had his original receipt, and he got his $99 back (note that this practice is not recommended for anybody with a sense of shame).

LL Bean's popularity encouraged many other outdoor retailers to also take up this practice. However, we've noticed that some retailers may be scaling back their willingness to accept a "no-questions-asked" return.

 

The biggest change we've seen is Eastern Mountain Sports, known as EMS. This Massachusetts-based retailer, with more than 65 locations around the country, quietly changed its policy earlier this year. I first found out when a (different) friend tried to return a pair of hiking boots that gave her severe blisters the first time she wore them. Previously, she could have returned them without any issue. But the new policy allows for returns on new products only. So she's stuck with the boots.   

 


Canada is not immune to this change either. Mountain Equipment Co-op, perhaps the best outdoor store in North America, also advertises a "no-questions-asked" policy. But when I tried to exchange a pair of "Guaranteed for Life" Gore-Tex pants that leaked, the MEC rep told me that "Guaranteed for Life" only means the "expected life." What followed was a long conversation and bargaining session about what was meant by "expected life" and how much use I really expected to get out of pair of $300 snow pants. She wound up giving me credit for a third of the pants' value.

We outdoors people have been spoiled by these guarantees, so we often expect that every store will be like LL Bean. That, apparently, is changing. So if you get a new pair of hiking boots for Chanukah, you might want to wear them at home for a while just to make sure the fit is good!
  
Alan Wechsler, editor

 

Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America

Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America brings Jewish outdoor enthusiasts together to enjoy, celebrate, and explore the great outdoors. With chapters located throughout the United States, Canada and Israel, our international non-profit, all-volunteer-run organization promotes appreciation of the outdoors, nature, outdoor skills and conservation ... while helping to build Jewish community and continuity.