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.