The mustelidae family has been getting a big blogpress lately.You know how you wait ages for a bus and then 3 come all at once? Well, first there was Annie Dillard's epiphanic weasel; then there were my own running stoats; and now comes Chris Townsend's dramatic stoat event in his garden (Stoat Encounters of the Third Kind?) involving 2 stoats, 3 pheasants, a coal tit and a sparrow hawk. A word about Chris Townsend, a member of the UK hiking community's blogerati. An outdoors enthusiast, he's been gear guru for tgo magazine since 1991. He's also a photographer, and author of 16 walking-related books. Chris has trekked many trails and long-distance paths including the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail and the Arizona Trail in the USA; and he's walked from the toe to the tip of Britain, from Land's End to John O'Groats. I remember reading what I think was his first book, The Great Backpacking Adventure (Oxford Illustrated Press, 1987), which I enjoyed very much at the time. But his writing style and ability have improved by leaps and bounds since then. A book of his that's become a bit of a classic is The Backpacker's Handbook published by Ragged Mountain Press, one of the McGraw-Hill group of companies. As I write I'm looking up at my own copy on the shelf above my desk. It's a 440 page practical guide to backpacking equipment and technique. Indispensable. This sentence comes from the chapter On the Move: Skills and Hazards: One bear-country saying is that the way to tell the difference between black bears and grizzly bears is to climb a tree - black bears will climb up after you, grizzlies will knock the tree down!