June 25, 2021

Happy Friday iksplorers! We hope you enjoy this week’s summit! As a company, we’re going to be taking a little summer break over the next few weeks, so while you will still hear from us, it’s going to be more periodic. We’ve got some camping and adventuring to do…! We’ll resume our regular schedule in the fall. In the interim, if you need anything from us, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We will be checking emails. Hope to see you on the trails!!

Best,the iksplor team


“I didn’t lie. I just forgot that that’s not what happened.”

--Olivia, 4 years old, @LiveFromSnackTime

weekly survival tip

Have you been missing hugs this last year and change? Same! Same. Well, lucky for us, experts say fully-vaccinated people can resume cuddleswith abandon. So, have at it!

trail talk

Next month the 2020 summer Olympics–postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic—will begin in Tokyo. So far, 10 mothers have qualifiedto represent the United States at the games. The women include well-known and well-loved athletes like Serena Williams and Allyson Felix as well as others who have not yet become household names. Their sports include track and field, basketball, softball and more.

But one enormous question looms over all of these women: will their children be able to travel to Japan with them? Given the restrictions in place for the games that prohibit any foreign spectators, the answer right now is no. But many of these mothers are speaking up, asking for exceptions and voicing their concerns about how difficult it would be to compete when at such a distance from their children, some of whom are just babies and still breastfeeding, to boot. So far all the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is saying is that individual countries’ Olympic committees will have to handle requests for exemptions for children on their own and on a case by case basis. Here’s hoping these moms don’t have to make a gut-wrenching choice between their children and their sport.

In other sports news, the Supreme Court just ruled in favor of student athletes in a major case against the NCAA. The question before the court was whether or not the NCAA was allowed to limit education-related benefits (things like scholarships for graduate school, internships, and computer equipment) given to college athletes. A district court ruled that it couldn’t and the Supreme Court agreed. And while the decision itself is momentous, what the majority’s written opinion reveals, as well as the concurring opinion of Justice Brett Kavanaugh in particular, is that the bigger question of whether other forms of compensation for student athletes should be allowed is still very much on the table. The justices didn’t rule on this broader issue, but indicated how they might in a subsequent case, noting that the current system, where colleges rake in billions of dollars, coaches and staff make six and seven figure salaries and student athletes get nothing is, fatally flawed. "The NCAA’s business model would be flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America," Kavanaugh wrote. So student athletes, it seems, may soon see even more of the fruits of their labors.

trail matters

The United Nations World Heritage Committee has proposed downgrading the Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage status and adding it to UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger. According to a draft report by the Committee released earlier this week, climate change has put the world’s most extensive coral reef in certain danger. Australia plans to fight the change, while many environmentalists applaud the move. If the UN Committee changes the status, some worry that could negatively impact tourism. It will also lead to new requirements for Australia to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—a critical development, others say. “This draft decision from UNESCO is pointing the finger at Australia and saying: ’If you’re serious about saving the Great Barrier Reef, you need to do something about your climate policies,’” Terry Hughes, director of the Australian Research Council’s Center for Excellence in Coral Reef Studies told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Back stateside, this month the US Department of Agriculture was supposed to start a $4 billion program to send out loan forgiveness payments to Black and minority farmers, according to a recent story in The Guardian. It was part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Congress passed in March. But the payments have yet to arrive because white farmers have filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration claiming that the payments discriminate against them. Two federal judges, one in Wisconsin and one in Florida, have issued injunctions halting the payments. The ruling coming out of Florida is national in scope, so even if the one from Wisconsin is reversed, the payments will still be help up for a while. What’s really going on, the Black farmers say, is another episode in more than 100 years of racially discriminatory practices against them; practices the USDA itself was long complicit in and that have played a significant role in the number of Black farmers dropping from a high of 949,889 in 1920 to just 48,697 today. While the current USDA is fighting these lawsuits with the Department of Justice in order to see the payments through, they haven’t happened yet. And as one farmer interviewed in the piece says, “promises to Black farmers are always put on hold.”

For more on this topic of Black farmers and how they’ve long struggled to survive in this country in the face of such discrimination, you can also check out the New York Times 1619 podcast, episode 5, parts 1 and 2. It’s well worth your time.

trail treasures

Since camping season is in full swing, we thought it might be nice to share some cool options for upping your camping game. If you’re an avid outdoor cook but need a few more tools for the ultimate gourmet meal, you might check out the options here at Wolf and Grizzly.From campfire grills, to fire starters to the ultimate cook set, they’ve got you covered. For those of you who are among the RV set (count us in, too), here’s a sweet family-owned business with a select few products that are sure to make your set up just a touch more glamorous. They are called Glamplife, after all… Another resource is this list of products from chairs, to cooking appliances, hammocks and more that are space efficient and practical for every RV outing.

yard sale

Us too, Jason, us too.