Category Archives: The Outdoor

Hiking Trails – La Madre Wilderness, Nevada

Took a wonderful morning hike in La Madre wilderness preserve’s White Rock Trail (Red Rock) last week. The $7 entry to the park provides you with an amazing 11 mile drive through the mountains and access to all the trails. I chose Whiterock loop as it’s a good distance (7 miles) and affords some amazing views on the way back.

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Absolutely stunning views of the wilderness area from the White Rock Loop trail. I didn’t have time to hit the summit this time out but I will when I’m in the area again. Bring a ton of water (I brought 4L and went through it all) and some tougher than normal boots or hiking shoes to deal with the scree.

Also, make sure you let the park ranger know where you’re hiking; just in case. It may be a staffed wilderness but it’s still the desert. Don’t take chances.

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Filed under Hiking Trails, The Outdoor

Hiking Trails – Angel’s Rest, Oregon

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Beautiful leg burning trail with a stellar view of the river. It is spoiled only by its fame, expect to share the trail with anyone and everyone. Even during my trip up this 5 mile out and back in the morning, with a ton of rain, I had at least two dozen trail mates that I shared the way up and the peak with.

Overall though for it’s views and proximity to Portland itself, it’s worth a trip.

My favorite views of the hike were the Giants Face (sleeping giant outcropping)…

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And the two shelf overlooks…

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Bring a camera. Even on a rainy day like mine, the changing Oregon weather will give you a spectacular view.

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May 31, 2013 · 1:51 pm

Gear I Like – Salomon Synapse Mid-High WP Train Runners

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I have been looking for some time for a pair of light, waterproof boots to take with me on short notice scrambles and peak-bags. Its hard to find hybrids that are tough enough for rocky terrain, supportive enough for uphills and downhills and waterproof enough for the unpredictable weather of places like the PNW.

Salomon to the rescue. Although technically trail-runners these affordably prices boots are burly enough that their goretex exteriors and rubber outsole and toe cap resisted my best efforts to tear them up on Cougar Mt. loop trails outside Seattle and Angels Rests rocky terrain in Portland. Both hikes were between 5-6 miles and both had me caught in rain on several occasions with sloppy trail conditions.

The only moisture in these boots when I took them off was from me. Even that had vented well enough that my socks were bone dry seconds after coming out (Smartwool hikers).

The toggle and lock system of laces kept my heel jammed down in the constant uphills and downhills and my feet (abused by 15 miles walking through Manhattan a week before in Nikes) came out non the worse for wear.

The wide luggy soles were grippy on slick wet rocks, mud and compressed gravel all through both hikes. The mid high cut even gave a bit of ankle support.

My only nitpick would be the lack of arch support… but if you need it you’re already used to putting in your own insoles.

So if you’re a guy looking for a great blend between a hiker and a trail runner this total winner in my books and great for the price.

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May 30, 2013 · 3:40 pm

Gear – Cold weather, sub 20lbs Base Weight

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…and it all fits in my GoLite Jam 50L.

I’m one of those guys that will kill time on airplanes daydreaming gear lists. For a while I’ve been trying to get comfortable and condition-appropriate gear whittled down to under 20lbs and I’m geeked enough that I actually keep a library of all my gear (weighted with our little food scale if it’s small) to tool around with.

This is a sub-20lbs Gear checklist for hiking in the winter in the Ozarks and Smokies (my local ranges) where conditions can be very damp and drop below freezing at the night above 5000feet.

Add in 2L or water (4.4lbs) and four or five days food (about 5lbs) and I’ve got a total weight under 30lbs.

Which, I’m kinda stoked about. 🙂

Any other folks this gear obsessed? I think I’m going to give this a go in the Daniel Boon NF sometime in the next month or so.

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February 8, 2013 · 10:44 am

Outdoor Gear – Innovations – Superhydrophobic Nanotech Weatherproofing

I just caught a look at the demo reel video for a new line of Weather treatment technology that kinda has to be seen to be believed. You can check it out on NPR’s website here;

NPR Article

I don’t normally geek out on things like gear construction, but the video is pretty compelling if real.

One great point the article brings up of course is the cost and durability issue. Most water-resistant (I won’t ever say waterproof, solid rubber is waterproof and you don’t make clothes out of that which aren’t designed to handle level 5 biohazards) clothing is treated with some kind of DWR spray which closes the pores on the exterior but still allows moisture to transfer out the other way (think of it like a doggie door for moisture).

No matter how good it is it does eventually wet-out. Seams leak, water gets underneath and most times it actually wets out from your own perspiration. That would still be an issue with this new treatment.

But still; it wets out from the outside too. No amount of current DWR will keep moisture from getting in if you’re getting dumped on for hours and hours. Best it does is keep it off for a longer period of time. At $50-100 dollars for a treatment… if this product isn’t really durable then it may not be market-viable.

But still; watch the video. Some of the stuff they put this treatment through is just mad, and it comes out clean every time.

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Filed under Backpacking, Outdoor Gear, The Outdoor

This weekend’s plan

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So after last weekend’s aborted trip out east in Tennessee I took matters into my own hands for a Solo backpack this weekend.

I’ll be driving out tonight and grabbing a hotel room outside Gatlinburg, then up early the next morning to check in with the Ranger and hit the trail in the AM. Through Low Gap trail I’ll meet up with the AT to Mt. Camerrer. I’ll leave the AT 2.3 miles later and come back down via. Campsite 35, where I’ll overnight. Then it’s back to the car by noon the next day and the long drive back to Memphis.

Lets see if I can make it out there this time! More to come!

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January 25, 2013 · 3:03 pm

Well that didn’t happen.

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So through what is probably a too-long and too unbelievable series of events (involving collapsing roads, romance writers, car batteries and tennis shoes) I found myself being picked up from a Walmart parking lot an hour from home last night.

Lesson; hitching rides with non backpackers can often be a poor idea.

Will have to rent a car and head back out there next weekend.

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January 19, 2013 · 6:19 pm