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.





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


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)…


And the two shelf overlooks…


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 Don’t Like – Lifeproof Iphone 4 – 4S Case

I, like a lot of people, have joined the Smartphone revolution as a way of condensing many devices into a single, portable unit.

The iPhone has for me (like many folks) taken a ‘front pocket’ role in both my business life (as a commuter) and in my hobbies (backpacking, hiking, etc). It combines a personal computer, GPS, Phone, Camera and entertainment centre into one simple Ounce-Light device.

It’s only failings are its durability (common to all technology), susceptibility to water damage and of course reliance on power.

Two of these I was hoping to have solved with my iPhone 4S case from Lifeproof. After reading some reviews, including a recommendation from Backpacker Magazine, I selected it as my new case over Otterbox due to it’s lighter weight and versatility. It would also work with my external collection of camera lenses which extend the iPhones versatility taking photos of the outdoors. The price tag ($99) was fairly average for the case type so I picked it up roughly nine months ago.

For roughly six months it held up well. I took photos on the tops of Tolmie peak in the fall, dropping my phone in the slop as the sun rose and snow started to melt. It held my case safe as it was knocked out of my hand by fellow air commuters in the airport.

Over Christmas it slowly began to decompose. Perhaps the extreme amount of use and time in the sun/outdoors caused the rubber to break down. Regardless, the rubber lips on the front face which seal in the faceplate and cushion the edges from damage began to crumble. Over time, the entire top and left side (along with the side switch cover) had eroded. I removed the phone and tested it for watertightness and the case continued to keep out moisture… so with a shrug I continued to use it, assuming this erosion to be cosmetic at best. The interior cushions still protected my phone and that tiny amount of rubber could not possibly endanger the device.


It would appear I was wrong. One fateful day last weekend I was knocked while walking through Midtown Manhattan and my phone was tossed from my hand. Landing flat and facedown I assumed at first (having survived many a similar fall) that the phone was fine. It was my wife that noticed a line running down my screen.


The screen was crushed directly in the area where the eroded rubber had flaked away. My assumption that this small cosmetic flaw wasn’t actually what was protecting my phone was apparently erroneous.

Now, seven months of abuse and my phone’s first bit of damage came after I knowingly watched part of the case fail… but I still feel cheated. The case itself is still watertight and 99% intact. In addition Lifeproof describes that the interior of the case is designed as shock resistant, not the film of rubber at its edges.

While this does give me the excuse to upgrade my iPhone to a 5 (I’m due anyway), I will likely be looking for a new and different brand of case to protect it.

So if any of you are experiencing the same rubber failure on a Lifeproof Case, consider yourself warned. That little bit of rubber lip is apparently what is keeping your phone screen from being drop damaged. Caveat Emptor!

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Filed under Backpacking, Commuter Travel, Outdoor Gear, Traveling Light

Restaurants Worth the Trip – Cartlandia


On the less well-to-do West side of Portland off 82nd Avenue is the famous cluster of food trucks called ‘Cartlandia’.

Bring cash and an appetite.

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May 30, 2013 · 6:23 pm

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


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

Restaurants worth the Trip – Beatersville in Portland


Grabbed some breakfast the morning after a long late night drive from Seattle into the island. Good coffee and great short order breakfasts. Nice and quiet around 10am and great friendly staff. If you’re looking for a nice eclectic morning spot in central Portland, check it out!

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April 25, 2013 · 11:54 am

MacDonald/Cartier has the right idea…

Rocking chairs with a view in the gate area. What a great airport.20130329-135742.jpg

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March 29, 2013 · 11:57 am