Thursday, June 19, 2014

EWH Answers Some Questions- Liebster Award Edition

The man making love to the mattress on the picnic table is Jeff, the SoCal Hiker. Jeff has become a good buddy over the years and we have gone on several hiking adventures. He also has a knack for finding cool hiking related things on the internet including this weirdo thing called a Blogstocken, kinda a blog chain letter to let people know more about you and your blog.

I know everyone is "clamoring" to know more about me so here you go!

1) What was your most recent walk, hike or run?

It was hiking the new Catalina Trail. It is a little weird to think about but there aren't a lot of new trails nowadays. Most have been carved out of the mountains many moons ago so to see and experience a brand-spanking-new trail was a real treat.

2) What is in your daypack right now?

The 10 Essentials (never leave home without them) and a sit pad (there are no barcaloungers on the trail). I tend to be a creature of habit and take the same stuff with me all the time but I am actively working on a portable s'more making machine and once that is accomplished, watch out (stomach)!

3) What is the one third-party app on your smartphone that you would never uninstall?

When I had an Android, it was all about Google Sky. Now that I am an iphone dude, it is all about Star Chart. It is a must have not only for the trail but for your life. Your life needs more astronomy, there I said it.

4) What is your favorite local trail?

I have said it before and I will say it again, get thyself to Monrovia Canyon park. You want a true East Coast Fall, the park will give it to ya. You want a great waterfall trail but don't want insane crowds? Check out the park. The trail is one of the most stimulating visually I can recommend without being high in the Sierras, get yourself there.

5) Name your favorite outdoor-inspired book or movie?

127 Hours. A great movie (great directing by Danny Boyle, a great score, great cinematography) with great outdoor adventures (plus some arm severing). Don't be squeamish, that particular scene isn't that bad and shouldn't stop you from seeing a great outdoor movie.

6) If time and money were no object, what is your dream adventure trip?

I have never seen the Southern Cross and what better place to see it than Patagonia at the famous W circuit and hike hut to hut? I hope time and money both become my friends so I can do this awesome adventure.

7) Describe your earliest memory of outdoor adventure.

It is not my earliest memory but my favorite. My dad climbed a bunch of 46ers and when I got old enough, he and I went up and climbed Big Slide. I remember a lot about that day.

8) What in the name of all that is holy compels you to write your blog?

I think what compels me is to bring my "own" take to the outdoor space. I want to write about my adventures in a way that is appealing to me and hopefully to other people rather than the standard dry trip reports that are out there. I basically want to entertain myself and I hope you are similarly entertained.

9) If you could spend a weekend camping with one person no longer living, who would it be and why?

My dad for what should be obvious reasons but for also a non-obvious one, I want to see if we can keep our "it will rain while we are camping" streak going.

10) Looking into a crystal ball, where to you hope we will find you in five years?

Doing the same thing, heading to the outdoors, writing about and enjoying my life. I wish the same for everyone!

11) How many times do you plan to hit me with a Blogstocken for nominating you?

3 times, it is my favorite number after all. If everyone ends up hitting Jeff with the Blogstocken, it might end up like this.

Ok that's it, I hope this journey into the heart of my darkness has been illuminating!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Revisiting the Adirondacks

As many of you may know, I have a Twitter handle @ADKinLA and other than trying to do linguistic gymnastics to pronounce it, most don't know what it means. While I grew up outside the Adirondacks, I always considered them a second home as my family has deep roots there. I have had many a visit to cold lakes, cloud covered peaks and run-ins with mosquitos that frequent the Park although not as much recently as I have moved to Los Angeles (thus the ADK (Adirondack ([ADK] in LA).

So whenever I get a chance to get back East, I am always chomping at the bit to see what is shaking in my favorite park. Recently I went up to the Lake George area and while many were entranced by the 6, 324 miniature golf courses that reside in LG, for me, I was there for the vistas and the clean mountain air.

The Park is an interesting experiment, can people and the "wilds" co-exist with each other? The dynamic is stark in a town like Lake George where neon signs compete with wild mountains but if I can get mountain vistas AND an ice cream cone, who am I to complain?

 One things that is definitely different between the Adirondacks and Los Angeles is the weather. The weather seems to change every 10 minutes, downpours were had today along with sunny skies. LA just seems to truck along with sunny and 72 which has its benefits (especially in the Wintertime).

Ferries like this one used to be the lifeblood of the big Adirondack lakes. Once steam power got going, there were huge boats used to transport visitors and goods up and down the lake. Nowadays, its all tourists for an hour but maybe they will give you a monocle and cane to get you back into the spirit of the olden times.

It wouldn't be a trip the Adirondacks without some moose action. Few people know it but I am moose buff so when I see antlers or anything else moose-tastic, you know I am taking a shot.

Moose, neon and mountains aside, it was great coming "home" to the ADKs, if only for a short while. No matter where you go on the trail of life, the first mountain you climb will always be as special as the last one you just did. Hats off to you Lake George, now give me some more of that mountain air... and some fried dough.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Gettin Cairn Wit It

The amount of information out there about outdoor gear can be overwhelming, especially if you are just starting out in the outdoor world or you don't have the time to surf Twitter or read Backcountry Mag all day. I revel in digging deep into gear reviews and the dark recesses of the internet to find that one article that will justify my purchasing of a tent but a lot of people I know just want to go out and hike and don't want to be granted a PhD in Outdoorology (its a real major I swear) just to go a day hike.

That is why I am so stoked about a company like Get Cairn and their boxes.

As Brad Pitt might ask, what is in the box? What Get Cairn does is put together gear, food and outdoor nick-knacks in a box that comes to you every month to help you get outdoors.

I was surprised at the variety and usefulness of the stuff I received in my sample box. For example, Get Cairn included a Honey Waffle energy bar to help give you some extra pep on the trail. Aside from me using a word from the 1920s like pep, I had never had a Honey Waffle and it was really tasty and did the job keeping my energy up. For the backpacker, they also included a luggage strap to lash things to your pack (always useful!) and some hiker's salve.

There were two real standouts in the pack. One was a water bottle made by HydroFlask

I had never heard of these guys before but color me impressed. The bottle is well built and could probably withstand a nuclear attack (although let't not put THAT to the test) and kept my water cold despite some warm LA conditions over the weekend.

The other was a wrist band to keep mosquitos away

We aren't really buggy here in LA like the East Coast can be but if this thing works, it would be perfect for hikers and a great addition to a hiking/outdoor arsenal.

In the end, that is what I liked best about the Get Cairn package, it was smartly put together with actually useful gear that a hiker of any level could use. Another benefit of Get Cairn is that it is a monthly service so the box you get next month will not be the same as this box and you can slowly build up the things you need as you get out into the outdoors. Get Cairn also wants to work with you through surveys and other feedback mechanisms so they can send you cool gear that you actually need.

The cost is $25 a box per month which either works for your budget or not but if you wanted to leave choosing gear and accessories to someone else, Get Cairn would be the ones to leave it to methinks. Their choices are smart and useful, a pretty good combination.

Want more info? Check out GetCarin Here!
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