Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Finding New Adventures

This year as I was searching for Christmas gifts for my family I ran across one for one of the more adventuresome members of a my family, a book called Weird Washington: Your Travel Guide to Washington's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets .  It is a guide to some of the strange places around the state from the troll under the bridge to ancient mysteries like the Kennewick man.

The book opens up new places to explore.  New adventures to have and that is what being an adventurer is all about, seeking out places yet unexplored by you.

The Weird series is not just for Washingtonians there is also Weird Oregon: Your Travel Guide to Oregon's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets and Weird U.S.: Your Travel Guide to America's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets.

Finding new adventures can be easy and even interesting in a weird sort of way.  So get out find those places that are a bit different.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

For those explore/adventurers out there wishing you a very Merry Christ-mas.  May you find grace in the Christ that gave us a Christ-mas.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Assault on K2

Victor Kozlov - Team Leader
A team of 15 climbers from Russia are making a winter attempt at the summit of K2.  K2 is considered the second most deadly mountain above 8000 meters, for every four who reach the summit one dies in the attempt. This is a summer statistic as no one has made a winter attempt until this year.  This means of the 15 at least three will never return home.  In the winter the temperatures will be twice as cold and the wind twice as fast, making the danger of frostbite and hypothermia even greater, not to mention the increase in danger from avalanche.  

So why do it?  The very real possibility of dying or losing a limb or two just to say you have done it.  This is a chance to get their names in the history books.  To be like Hillary, more likely many will end up like Mallory though, dead and left on the mountain.  

Does this qualify as adventure? Yes, and is it worth it?  Only if you live through it.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Swiss Army Box

Most of us have heard of the Swiss Army Knife with its many different elements.  But here is a very cool box which brings a new concept the Swiss Army.  Now you can pack the kitchen sink with you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A New Water Sport

Normally I would not put something like this on my blog but this just looks like fun.  A flyboard Zapata.  The video is exciting and makes me wish I had and extra $8000 dollars to purchase.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Geocaching by Water

Geocaching is an exciting addition to any adventure, an almost Indiana Jones type of search for the Ark.  The clues are in your GPS and the map printed online.  Geocaching is an X marks the spot search with the prize at the end hidden from the casual observer.  Now a new element is being added to the adventure, kayaking.  

Some of the geocaches are being hidden in places accessible only by boat and being an avid outdoorsman the boat of choice is a non-motored canoe or kayak.  The adventure begins as a day on the water, hopefully in the sun, with an Indiana Jones ending a discovery of the hidden cache.  

I find geocaching fun because I get to see little hidden places around my own town I did not know existed.  And now with the addition of water accessible geocaches I will find new and exciting places to go.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Adventurer Survives on Beer

Clifton Vial of Nome, Alaska decided to go on a little adventure.  He took his Toyota Tacoma down a road to see how far it goes.  I applaud his sense of adventure but he made one mistake, he did not go prepared for the conditions.  

40 miles down the road Clifton slide into a snow drift and got stuck.  With no way out and wearing jeans, tennis shoes, and  a cheap coat he wrapped himself in a fleece bag liner and towels to stay warm and he ate the frozen Coors Light he had in the cab.  

When Clifton did not show up for work his boss called the local constabularies to report him missing.  They did find him, fortunately after 4 days.  His scale also reported great news, he lost 16 pounds.

Here is the moral of the story, always go prepared for the worst case scenario.  It is better to have stuff you never use than not have what you will need to survive.  There is nothing wrong with making due with little, so long as you can actually survive.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Cows in Texas

The cows are watching in Texas.  He is an example of that.  I have had this experience while kayaking.  I often wonder what the cows are thinking while starring at me (insert your imagination here).  The person taking the footage keeps mooing at the cows which is almost a funny as the cow just standing around starring.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jumping into Darkness

I am not sure if these gentlemen are diving into the abyss on the end of a bungee chord or slacklining their decent.  Which ever it is they are doing all I can say is, not for me.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Not all adventure is done in the woods of your own backyard, even though that is the first place to go and the cheapest in cost.  And not all adventure is about trekking through the wilds of some remote unexplored wilderness.  Sometimes getting out the see an archaeological site is also a great adventure.

The city of Marcahuamachuco, the people of the men with hawk-like headdresses, is an archaeological site being dug up with could rival that of Machu Picchu, at least that is the hope of the local mayor who would like to see a big increase in tourism in his city.

The site is being explored and researched by a couple of Archaeologist named Topic, a husband and wife team.  It looks like an impressive place, unfortunately, like many South American sites is being looted for the artifacts, and thus much of the evidence needed to get a more complete understanding of the people who lived here and where they came from is gone to the black market.

Because Marcahuamachuco is not as well know as Machu Picchu the amount of people visiting the site is lower and would make it a much more appealing place to visit and explore.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Winter Project

Photo by D. McMillin

It is Thanksgiving here in the states and I thought I would share a video I found on Youtube that show a man building a cedar strip kayak from start to finish.  Building a kayak is a wonderful experience it is also a good project for a father to do with his children.  No child will ever forget the time he and dad built a boat together.  So happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Walking the Amazon

An adventure to rival the great Percy Fawcett, Ed Stafford walked the entire length of the Amazon river some 4000 miles taking 859 days.  Ed began his journey with a friend who dropped out to return to his family leaving him to complete the journey more or less alone. Ed picked up a local forester to help him through a difficult section, who ended up walking the rest of the way with Ed.  They faced hostile tribes who threatened them with bows and arrows, walked across drug cartel lands, avoided poisonous snakes, ate piranha, got eaten by 50,000 mosquitos, and stung by nests of wasps.  If this sounds like a walk in the park it was not, at least 1000 of those miles was done while wading through the flooded low lands surrounding the Amazon basin.

This was truly an epic adventure.  The video is a portion of an interview Ed did for Sky TV.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Selecting the Proper Hiking Shoe

Now for a little education.  If you want to get outdoors and explore some local sites a good pair of hiking boots is a must so below is a superb video put up on youtube by outdoorherbivor.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Angel's Landing - A Video Adventure

Photo by Mark Roberts
Here is a video I found on Vimeo demonstrating why Angel's Landing in Zion National Park is so hair raising.  The music definitely add to the dramatic impact of the short film.  If you would like to see it click on Angel's Landing and enjoy.  This certainly demonstrates how exciting the trail is and now has caused me to put this hike onto my list of if I am there I will be doing it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

From Korea to the U.K.

Photo by iguides
Two intrepid bikers Tom McConville and Peter Hoyle, while teaching English in Korea, decided to forgo the plane ticket home and bicycle the 8500 miles instead.  

The trip was a real adventure which traveled through such regions as the Gobi desert, which contrary to popular belief, gets very cold at night.  In fact Tom got a case of frostbite in his little finger and they had to spend time breaking ice off the bicycles.  

According to Tom, if it had not been for a partner he would have given up and bought a plane ticket home to enjoy the comforts of family and friends much sooner.  Which is an excellent reason for having someone come along with on every adventure.  

If you would like to read more about their epic adventure you can read their blog at

Monday, November 14, 2011

Six of the World's most Adrenaline Pumping Hikes

For those who wish to go on a hike with a little more...err great deal more excitement try putting these six under your boot.

El Caminito del Rey in Spain (The king's little pathway) - This trail was built to access a dam at the beginning of the 20th century.  At it opening the king of Spain walked it, which is why it is know as the king's pathway.  The trail has unfortunately fallen into disrepair explaining the poor state and dangerous conditions found along the way.

Mount Hua Shan - The trail travels thousands of feet above the valley floor and is one of the routes to the top where a Daoists temple resides.  The temple is an ancient one and after traveling this trail anyone could see why thanking a god, even if he is made of stone and is deaf, would be an emotional one.

Mount LeConte, Tennessee - This route is found in the great Smoky Mountains and along with the scenery presents a series of lodges to stay in once you have reached the summit.

Machu Picchu - Many people travel this trail to the every rewarding site of Machu Picchu an ancient Incan stronghold and one of the few city to never fall to the Spanish Conquistadors, they never found it.  

Angel's Landing, Utah - This trail is in Zion National Park running about 2.4 miles from the valley floor to the top.  A couple of places along the trail provide chains bolted to the cliff wall to help you stay on the trail and not the valley floor, not everyone has successfully navigated the route.

Mount Pinatubo, Philippines - Pinatubo had been know as an inactive volcano, no one could remember when it had erupted last, until 1991.  Before the eruption is was covered with a lush green forest now it is a dusty ash covered cone and still active.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Modern Adventurer

Photo from Outdoor Empathy

Yuri Klaver is taking time to explore the wilder regions of Siberian Wilderness.  He is kayaking 1000 km/625 miles down the Indigirka River to the Arctic Ocean.  He had to brave loneliness, bears, and the worst of all the small yet fiesty mosquito.  Here is the first installment of his video journal.

Preview Into the far east of Russia from Yuri Klaver on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Completion of a Skiing Goal

Always looking for people who have set themselves a goal, in the world of adventure, and completed it no matter how much time it takes, I found this clip on the The Adventure Blog.  Back in 1999, before the Y2K scare, Noah Howell bought himself a copy of the book, "The Chuting Gallery: A Guide to Steep Skiing in the Wasatch Mountains ," by Andrew McLean.

Some of the routes listed in the book require more than just a little hike with a powder filled frolic.  Instead of me telling his story, however I thought I would let Noah speak.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Five Adventures for Fall

Always looking for  adventures to do during every season of the year I thought I would create a list of fall activities.
1) Go for a hike - This is number one and really can be done during any season of the year all that is required is the proper set of clothing and footwear.
2) During the fall a bike ride is still possible and even enjoyable so long as it is done during the warmer hours of the day.
3) The waterways are still accessible and setting a kayak in for a quite day paddling along the shore of a peaceful lake gives a lot of time to reflect or enjoy the company of others.
4) Get out with your camera and take pictures of the spectacular display of fall colors, who knows maybe you will get a picture worth framing and placing on your wall. 
5) Go for a drive to a small town near you for a walk down main street and a sit down meal at the local diner or restaurant.  Usually the small town has a wonderful mom and pop joint.

Some of these adventures can even be combined like the hike and photography expedition or the kayak and a meal at mom and pop's.  The point is getting out will make Fall an enjoyable and adventuresome season.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Flight of the Frenchies - The Movie

I do not really consider this to be an adventure but it is pretty exciting and for a movie clip it is extraordinarily well done.  I am hoping they put this documentary on line so that I can watch it free of charge.

I Believe I can Fly ( flight of the frenchies). Trailer from sebastien montaz-rosset on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Decent of the Rio Mambucaba

Ben, Pedro and Chris have taken upon themselves to do a first descent on this very exciting and wild river called the Rio Mambucaba.  There are points in this video where your think one of the kayakers will not make it, but as with most well done video's the hero's always make it out.

Mambucaba Report from Ben Stookesberry on Vimeo.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Uphill Shifting on a Mountain Bike

Here is a little bit of advice about shifting gears on your mountain bike as you are riding uphill.  Aaron Phillips gives a good description of both shifting and directing your bike as you sweat your way uphill.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sailing Race around the World

Here is an interesting event.  On November 5th the 11th around the world sailing race will begin.  The race lasts eight months and covers some 39,000 miles.  Some sections of the race have not been made know because of the problem of piracy along the African coastlines.  

There are six teams from six different countries: Abu Dubai, New Zealand, France, United States, China, and Spain.  Over the last 11 races ten sailors have been killed, most recently in the 2005-6 race when the sailor was washed overboard.  

I have to wonder why Great Britain has not put forth a team as they were one of the great ocean going nations of the world.  If you would like more information or follow the event visit there very complete site The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Saving Money for Winter Events

It is that time again, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, winter is coming.  The mountains have started to acquire that white frosty covering.  Excitement is beginning to build for the winter sports.  And what better way to celebrate the coming season then a ski swap.

The ski swap has been a family tradition since I was a small boy and continues to be for me.  In the days when saving money and doing as much as possible yourself was the norm the ski swap was a wonderful way to buy semi-used gear at a wonderfully reduced price.  

Where I live it is the Mt Spokane Ski Patrol Ski Swap.  Not only can used equipment be found but also last years models.  Unless you are a ski snob, last years gear will do very well and so will the savings.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Columbia Plateau Trail - Martin Rd to Lamont.

Photo by D. McMillin
Starting at Martin Road about 20 miles SW of Cheney, Washington, the Columbia Plateau Trail travels over a massive man made land bridge.  Most of the bridge was cut from the surrounding land and the massive cuts can be clearly seen both up close and from the other side of the valley.

From the Land bridge the trail cuts almost straight to the little farming community of Lamont, a community of 70 people and a large grainery next to the old track, now the trail.  About halfway down the trail a local farmer has piled a very large stack of fence posts.  If you have a long enough lens you may even be able to take some excellent photos.  

This trail is only good for walking on as the railroad grade gravel make riding a bike almost impossible.  In many place walking beside the trail is possible and can be navigated with more ease than the trail.

Previous section

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Eskimo Roll - How to do it

This is an excellent teaching video.  The instructor breaks the Eskimo roll down into it individual pieces, a method called part-whole, and shows you how it is done.  The last time I tried to learn this skill, without taking a course, all I could do was flop around in the water while my friends laughed at me from the shore.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Musical Spelunking

I found this on  When on an adventure good friends around the proverbial campfire singing a song is about as old as recorded history.  This is the modern rendition.  Watch and enjoy.

Adventures On Tap: Acoustic Spelunking from kristi flango on Vimeo.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Trails of Glacier National Park

I found this in an online Missoula, Montana online newspaper.  Jake Bramante set himself a goal of hiking all 734 miles of Glacier National Park in one year, 2011.  What I like about this blog is Jake talks about all his hikes and you can get a pretty good idea of what the trails are like.  

Jake has yet to complete his goal but is within 20 miles of the finish line.  If you are interested in finding adventure in Glacier National Park and would like to either see pictures or even some video blog information you can check it out at Jake's blog Hike 734.

It is always exciting to dream about doing something that possibly no else has ever done.  And as far as anyone knows Jake is the first to do all the miles in one year.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Great Corn Maize Capper

Photo from LA Times
This has been in the news the last couple of days but it is just too funny to pass up. A young family found themselves lost amongst the sway stalks of scrumptious fresh rows of golden corn in Danvers, Massachusetts.

The sun was setting on this adventuresome couple as they wandered lost. What did they do? Call 9-1-1. Out come the local police with a K-9 unit to look for them. What do you suppose happen, the dog found them about 25' from the exit. They question begs to be asked, why didn't they just walk through the corn until they hit the edge of the field and walk around? I suppose that question will not get answered by the unidentified couple but the farmer is getting great publicity for his Maze. Both Leno and Letterman are looking for an appearance.

This is a great example of, think instead of panic, it will you from unnecessary embarrassment and tie up local authorities with something they will end up laughing about for many weeks.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Biker vs Antelope

Evan van der Spuy
This is going around the internet.  The mountain biker is participating in a mountain bike race in South Africa.  It appears the antelope had it in for the biker a one Evan van der Spuy as it intentionally dropped its head to clobber Evan.  This is a great helmet promotional and should be a warning to all who forgo the wearing of a melon bucket.  


Monday, October 10, 2011

Aasgard Pass

Aasgard Pass - Photo provided by Summit
Here is a hike that I think is worth taking but is not for the out of shape or faint of heart.  Aasgard Pass can be reach by two routes.  The first is through Snow Lakes, a much longer route but not as steep and possible less dangerous.  The second route is up through Lake Colchuck, this is the quickest route to the top but certainly not the safest.  People have died in Aasgard Pass. 

The trail to Lake Colchuck is about 5 miles long and the last mile or two climbs through the trees in a punishing series of switchbacks.  Lake Colchuck is a beautiful turquoise colored body of water the color is much more noticeable from the heights of Aasgard.  

Climbing, and I mean climbing, Aasgard Pass takes time and commitment.  The trail starts at the end of Lake Colchuck and winds its way along the left side of the pass, the right side has a stream flowing down it and should be avoided especially when there is snow over it, a lady died in 2010 when she fell through the snow and into the stream.  The trail is marked by a series of cairns, a man made pile of rocks.  There is no exact route and many people have built their own cairn, just make sure to stay on the left side of the pass and keep moving upward.  

Aasgard pass is the high point along the trail to the Enchantments and also requires a permit to access.  Make sure to get a pass because the wilderness rangers will find you.  This is definitely a worth while hike and you will get, in my opinion, one of the best scenic views in the Pacific Northwest.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Extreme Kayaking - A New Video

Here is a very well put together video of some extraordinarily exciting kayaking and rafting.  Instead of saying any more let's just allow the video to say it all.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Essential gear for Biking

For biking there are things to bring along, especially if you are traveling outside of walking distance from your home or car.

1) Helmet - This really is a necessary item.  Everyone crashes from time to time and the helmet can prevent serious injury to the control center of the body.
2) Mirror - All summer I rode my new road bike without one of these and a couple of times drivers, who feel they do not need to give a bike room, whizzed by me and almost sent me into the ditch.  The rear view mirror has decreased the amount of times that has occurred.
3) Spare tire and repair kit - You never know when you will have a flat, they always seem to occur at the most inopportune time.

4) Pump - If you get a flat you better have a way of pumping it back up.

5) Multi-Tool - Other things do go wrong with bikes while on the road and a tool in the tool bag can make the difference between thumbing a ride or finishing the ride.

6) Water

7) Headlight and Taillight - If you are riding before or after the normal hours of daylight you certainly want to be seen by the bigger less maneuverable motorized vehicles.

8) Bike lock (U-bolt type) - Because people really can not be trusted, leaving ones bike unlocked is a sure fire method for getting that newer nicer bike.

9) Gloves - A good set of padded gloves really cut down on the numbness in the hands and make long rides much more comfortable.

10) A little food

Monday, October 3, 2011

Taking Time Out

Photo by D. McMillin
Today I went for a six mile hike out of a need to just get out and enjoy a nice warm but not hot day.  I brought along a kite with me because the wind was blowing and the location, Turnbull Wildlife Refuge has some very open spaces.  

About two miles out I stopped and pulled out the kite for a little fun, the kite is a stunt kite I purchased at REI.  After a couple of minute of painting circle, lines, and other odd shapes across the sky I began to really enjoy a time of standing still and laughing when the kite crashed into the ground, just like a child at play.  This is one of the reasons I get out, to stop and remember what it is like to enjoy life like a child does.  Seeing and doing new things is exactly what children do.  

Though this is a not quite what Jesus meant when he said, "you must be like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven," life is found much more livable when we learn how to enjoy it like a child.  

Friday, September 30, 2011

Walking the PCT

Photo by Noah Strycker
The Pacific Crest Trail is a trip I have always wanted to do myself after having done some of the very scenic sections around Glacier Peak (The most remote of the Cascade Volcanoes and the most unknown).  

Noah Strycker an ornithologist (someone who watches and studies birds) has completed one of my dream trips in 123 days averaging 21.6 miles a day.  He began the trip at the border of Mexico on May 19 and finished four months later.  According to Noah more than 300 people started the trip and only about 30 or 40 will finish this year because of the deeper then usual snow pack.  

Noah also walked through five pairs of running shoes, not really my choice of hiking shoes because of the lack of ankle support, but they worked well for him.  He did however walk the last 100 miles of the Sierra Nevada's with holes which his toes had worn through.  

If the chance to either make enough money to be independently wealthy and therefore have the time or retirement, I once met a 60 year old couple doing the whole trail, I will be strapping on my backpack for a long summer of hiking along the PCT in the footsteps of Noah, because this is an adventure worth having.  If you would like to read more about Noah's and his trips you can pick up his story at Noah Strycker Birder at Large.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Laura Dekker's Sailing adventure

Photo by Laura Dekker
Laura Dekker, the 16 year old sailing around the world, has completed her traverse across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  She has just left Darwin, Australia and is now crossing the Indian Ocean.  This will probably be one of the most dangerous legs of the journey.  Not because of the weather, even though that does play a part, but because of piracy.  

This only goes to show that adventure can have a price most would be unwilling to pay.  And even though the age of piracy; Captain Kidd, Blackbeard, etc.. is gone, there are those still willing to take part in a crime that is hard to prevent and even harder to capture and prosecute.  

Laura, however, has a team of people working with her to help keep her safe.  And currently her exact location is not posted, a wise decision.  

Here is hoping and praying Laura makes it across the Indian ocean safely.  Only one leg left, to travel either through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea or around the Horn of Africa up to the Straits of Gibraltar, probably the safer of the two routes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

How to Pack your Backpack

Part of the reason for this blog is to teach people how to get outdoors.  This video was placed on Youtube by Outdoor Research, a provider of outdoor gear.  It is very well made and Matt, the narrator, is very well spoken and succinct.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Jesse Coombs takes the Plunge

96ft Abiqua Falls
Here is another kayaker plunging off a very dangerous waterfall.  No one who has attempted this 96 ft plunge of death has come away injury free.  In fact this man Jesse Coombs suffered a fractured shoulder socket and collapsed lung.  The world record holder for the highest plunge, Tyler Bradt, he set the record over the Palouse Falls, suffered a broken back the next week after this was footage was shot.  He will walk again.  

Not really what I would call adventure but it certainly is good footage and exciting to watch.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Himalayan Cycling Expedition 2011

The Himalayan Cycling Expedition is considered to be the worlds third most difficult mountain bike race after the Trans Alps Challenge and the Trans Rockies.  The race takes approximately eight days and crosses over some very grueling and spectacular terrain.  

This year about 110 cyclist will participate 12 of which will be, as the Mangalorean puts it, foreigners.   As of yet only Nepalis Nationals have won the 530 km event.  If it were affordable and this body could handle to exercise this would be an amazing race to participate in.

Below is the 2008 event.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Exploring the Chesapeake Bay

Looking for new blogs I ran across this one about Steve and Bruce.  These two sail around in a home-built Welsford-designed Pathfinder called Spartina.  They are currently exploring the Chesapeake Bay in Steve's beautiful boat.  If you want to follow their blog here is the link logofspartina.

The best way to explore the world of water is in a boat built with your own hands.  Not only do you feel the satisfaction of seeing your creation float but seeing new place in it.  And sailboats also bring a certain sense of romanticism to the adventure.  

These men have had two adventures the first one is building the boat and the second one is sailing the boat with the wind in your hair to places yet unseen.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ultimate Adventures

This is a list I found over at the National Geographic Adventure website.  It is an Ultimate Adventure Bucket list.  There are actually two lists the first one is for the most extreme adventurers the second list, which I have here is more reachable and just as exciting.

1) Hike to Everest Base Camp.
2) Get Airborne in Queenstown.
3) Surf the North Shore of Hawaii.
4) Hike the Appalachian Trail.
5) Ski Denali.
6) Climb the Tetons' Cathedral Traverse.
7) Camel Trek Morocco.
8) Kayak or Raft Zambezi.
9) Climb Java's Volcanoes.
10) Dive Glacial Meltwater.
11) Ski the Dave Murry Downhill Whistler.
12) Trek the Salcontay Route to Machu Picchu.
13) Climb Aconcogua.
14) Dive the Yucatan's Cenotes.
15) Bike the Baja Peninsula.
16) Skipper your own Boat.
17) Dive with Hammerheads.
18) Trek the Mont Blanc Circuit.
19) Raft the Grand Canyon.
20) Complete the Explore Sweden Adventure Race.

Okay, exciting is not exactly the right word, truthfully I am not sure English contains an accurate word to describe the draw of these adventures.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Making Oatmeal for Outdoors

As saving money these days is very important and the desire to get out and explore still exists the need to find cheaper solutions to food becomes paramount.  Making your favorite variety of oatmeal is both easy and cheap, and all that will be require in the field is to add water.

Recipe for Oatmeal.
1) 1/2 cup of Quick Oats
2) 1 Tablespoon of margarine/butter.

Optional ingredients 
1) 1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar
2) 1 Teaspoon of cinnamon 
3) 2 Tablespoons of Raisins
4) 2 Tablespoons of Apple Chips
5) Huckleberry (if they are in season)
6) Salmon Berry (if they are in season)

These are my favorite additives but there are plenty of others only your imagination will limit you.

Put your ingredients into individual sized Ziplock bags.  When you are ready to eat heat your water and add to the bag and let sit for a minute to allow the Oats to absorb the water then eat and enjoy.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Traversing Idaho

Traveling from South to North across the state of Idaho Steve Graepel and Chris Minson have been forced to end the trip due to a serious eye condition.  This story comes from the First Ascent blog.  The trip was 840 miles and has never been done before.  A true adventure in the spirit of Hillary or Marco Polo.  

Instead of going on and completing the trip they decided Steve's eye, which had suffered a corneal erosion, an exposing of the nerves in the eye which is extraordinarily painful, was much more important and the goal they had set for themselves would not be accomplished.  

Besides being well spoken, at least in writing, Steve is also, at least a little wise.  In mountaineering there is always a danger of developing a case of summit fever.  When the fever takes over nothing matters except the summit not even your own life.  On Mt Everest this occurs more often then it should and costs lives.  Steve has defeated that impulse and ended his bid at a first maybe forever since the condition is recurrent.  

Here is the point health first then the summit.  Adventure need not require life and limb and in my opinion should not.  There are thing worth giving both for but a summit or completion of an adventure is not it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hiking from Johnston Ridge - Mt Saint Helens

Here is a well done video of a 14 mile round trip hike from Johnston Ridge Observatory up towards Mt Saint Helens.  The host, Tony, also gives a short discussion of why you should have a set of trekking poles with you on every hike. 
Hiking Mount St. Helens, Washington State by 5minTravel

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mineral Ridge Trail

Mineral Ridge is a 3 miles stroll over the hill and through the wood.  It is designed as a self guided historical trek around an old surface mining operation run by individual prospectors  instead of a big mine company.  

The trail is more of a dirt highway then the usual hiking trail and is designed to be a one way hike, meaning you are told which direction to go up the trail, as it makes a loop.  At the top is a nice covered seat and drinking water.  The trail then proceeds along the top of the ridge until it reaches the western edge which provides a wonderful view of Lake Coeur D'Alene.  This trail is a good hike for families with small children.

To get to the trail head east from Coeur D'Alene, ID to Beauty bay, take the Wolf Lodge exit and drive along the shore of the lake.  The road will travel around the corner of Mineral Ridge.  The parking lot is just around the corner of the hill.  

Monday, September 5, 2011

Review of the Pygmy Pinguino Sport

In the past I have written about Building the Pinguino Sport kayak designed by Pygmy.  But here I wanted to give a short review of the kayak.

The Pinguino Sport is a 13'-0" long kayak with a 13" depth and a 25 1/2" beam (side to side at the widest point) and weights a measly 34lbs (the weight may vary some depending upon how much epoxy is used in the construction process). 

The kit comes in two boxes, the first contains the pieces for the boat the second provides all of the necessary accessories and epoxies to put the boat together.  Everything is well marked and organized.  The instruction manual is both easy to read and well organized.  If you follow the instructions as they are written you will have a close to perfect boat, even someone who has never built a boat before can put this boat together.  As a side note, your kayak will not be completed overnight, there are many factors affecting the amount of time it takes.  Also, before ordering the kit make sure to consider the climate you will be building your boat in as the epoxy dry times can be seriously impacted by temperature.    

The boat itself is wonderfully designed, easy to carry and load, and provides plenty of space for those of us over 6ft in height.  I have used it for day trips around the local lakes and five day trips in northern Idaho.  The boat is very stable and it tracks well without a rudder.  Even when fully loaded and in two foot white caps the kayak remains comfortable and upright.  

For those looking to build a beautiful kayak this is certainly a good option.  Pygmy also provides phone support while you are working on the boat.  What more could you ask for than a well designed boat that everyone stares and drools over.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Purifying Water

Purifying Water in the outdoors is very important and can keep you from getting a case of the trail trots.  To purify water there are several options: Buy a water filter, buy iodine tablets, or boiling.  

Buying a water filter is expensive and can be rather heavy, iodine tablets taste bad and iodine is not really all that good for you and boiling water requires a stove and fuel.  There is a fourth option which few people know about but is both cheap and simple.  Chlorine bleach, yes that is right.  Many public water systems actually put simple store bought bleach into the water to purify it for drinking.

Here is the trick.  First select water that is clear, the best water is fast moving and running across gravel and sand.  Second put about two drops of chlorine bleach into your two liter bottle and let sit with the lid off for about 30 minutes.  The water should have a slight chlorinated smell, like a swimming pool, if not add a few more drops. The water is now safe to drink.

As a side note; do not use bleach that is scented or has softeners.  Clorox bleach is a good choice.  Again water is your most important commodity and clean water is more precious than gold.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hiking Alone - What you should know

Tumwater Ridge - Photo by D. McMillin
Hiking alone can be a very enjoyable time to observe, think, and explore and it is a great deal simpler to organize than group activities.  But with going alone there are additional risks which need to be considered and if at all possible brought down to an acceptable level.  Here are some of my recommendations:

1) Always tell someone where you are going and approximately when you will return.  If no one know where you are no will know where to look for you.

2) Make sure you know what the weather is like, at least you can prepare for bad weather if you know about it.

3) Take the 10 essentials.

4) Stay on the trail. Finding a lost hiker off the trail is very difficult and potentially impossible.

5) Know your limitations.  If you hike down a trail you better be fit or healthy enough to hike back up it.

6) Choose a well known and well used trail.  People and wildlife are less likely to bother you.  

7) Be aware of your surroundings.  Seeing a bear or mountain lion before you get too close is always a good thing.  It doesn't hurt to work on your singing skills while hiking either.  I like hymns but a good chorus of, "I love to go a wandering," is just as good.

8) Check in at the local ranger station.  This is just one more person who knows where you are going.

9) Make sure your car  will make it to the trail head and back again.  Gas is very important, I always like to start the day with a full tank.

10) Take camera.  Proof that you were there is always a must, it make the stories more believable.  This really is for your safety but it in my book is essential.

These are ten of my best thoughts.  Be aware that hiking alone is intrinsically more dangerous than being with a group and every step should be taken to reduce the danger.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Espanola a Micro Adventure

Photo by D. McMillin
In the spirit of the last blog Micro Adventures I decided to take on one of my own.  So this last Saturday I looked at the map and found a little dot on it.  The dot in this case was a town named Espanola about 17 miles from my front door.  The route took me through some of Eastern Washington's back roads first to the town of Medical Lake and then Espanola. 

Along the way were some wonderful discoveries.  1)  An old ranch with a rather large stone barn which is starting to break down.  2) Two different lakes; Medical Lake and West Medical Lake both of which is very pretty.  3) An old collection of Barns, somewhere between five and ten on the same piece of land next to each other.  And then the town of Espanola, which consisted of about six house, an old Grange hall, a grain elevator, and a railroad track, not that railroad tracks are uncommon here is Eastern Washington. 

I also found that the long ride allowed me time to listen to a couple of lectures about the foundations of Jazz. Overall it was a very good day and my desire for adventure was satiated for another day. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Micro Adventures

This week I ran across a blog about micro adventures called AllistairHumphreys adventurer/author/motivational speaker.  His idea is to get out and go on an adventure that starts at your front door, preferable without a car.

These are the adventures which cost the least and allow an adventurer to satisfy the inner explorer; the need to see what is around the next corner or over the next hill.  These days cost is very much an issue in all but the richest of our society so doing things closer to home is certainly a way to get out. 

What to do though, try looking for monuments around your town by riding your bike or walking a kind of treasure hunt with some historical or archaeological theme.  It may take a little time but you will certainly see more of your local community then you have every done before.  Go for a long bike ride to another town. Load your backpack up and hike to a local hill preferably on public land and set up camp, do be legal about it.  Enter a race, most communities have at least one a year.  Take your boat, if you have one, and explore the shoreline of a local lake, there can be many wonderful things to see.  If you are looking for an even more exciting adventure bring a friend.

The idea of the micro-adventure is an excellent one and with a little creativity we can all partake in our own.  Who knows you might even learn something. So get out and start adventuring. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Adventure for a Cause

The idea that an adventure is only for personal growth and achievement or even national pride, which is what most of the old explorers were out for is both ill conceived and wrong.  Three men after finishing college have set out to ride their bikes 4200 miles across the United states starting with their tires literally in the Pacific Ocean.

Tony Lorenzo, JJ Augenbraun, and Chris fox, set out to ride across the country while raising money for the Berkshire Food Project (BFP).   Honestly they represent some of the best in national pride and they are certainly growing.  Their adventure, however, is much more then any of these things, it is for the good of others and has more then self interest at stake.  The three of them are almost done with their ride, they have maybe a week left on the road.

If you would like to find out more about their adventure you can read the Wilton Bulletin.