The Earths Last Giants

After braving the night of another typical Oregon shower, it was time to say farewell and thank it for all of its unforgettable memories. The road now had us heading towards the great California Redwoods. This was a unexpected detour in our adventure but after snow hit the mountains we were no longer prepared to continue our journey hiking down the Oregon Coast and to Crater Lake.

1598946_10206025018722635_1740947948708388785_oWe decided to make camp at Elk Prairie Campgrounds  in the Redwood National Park. This was my first time seeing these magnificent giants. Pictures do not justify how tall and how big these trees are. Having once upon a time worked in a lumber yard, these trees took my breath away. The idea that these trees have been around for thousands of years and are upwards of 300 plus feet tall is memorizing. Unfortunately our time was limited and we only had the opportunity to go on a couple short hikes.

Being in the redwoods really taught me the importance of conservation. No matter what your political affiliation are, we can all agree and recognize that humans take up a large portion of resources from land. In order to conserve beautiful places like this, it is our responsibility to limit our footprint on nature. This includes cleaning up campsites, littering, and being water and energy conscience. If we don’t protect these natural wonders no one will. One of my favorite quotes is from Dr. Seuss’s book The Lorax, it states, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”IMG_0063_2

One of my goals of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is to continue this blog and profess and show the need to keep these natural retreats alive and well. This can not be done alone. I call upon all of you to be smarter. Use what you need and limit the waste you leave behind.

Photos are my own

Oregon Day #2: Views, Views, and More Views

Remember being child and wanting to play in the rain because for some reason it made everything better. The idea of hearing the rain drip of your jacket and splashing in the puddles are thoughts we slowly lose as we get older. The beauty of backpacking is how it lets out your inner child. Day two along the Oregon coast was prove of this. It was cloudy rainy day and it was perfect to climb St. Perpetua Mountain.

IMG_0223_2St. Perpetua is a short five to six mile hike in and out. The hike is a quick straight up and down climb that brings you to a gorgeous view.  The view was named by locals as  “the best view of the Oregon coast.” You start the hike from the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center and up you go. From switch back to switch back, through the woods you go. Up and up the mountain going past one breathtaking lookout after the other, each one better than the last. When you finally reach the top of the mountain you come across a stone house built during WWII that looks over the entire coast.IMG_0545

As we entered the house, the skies opened and started to pour. We all, however, came prepared and had both rain jackets and covers to stay dry. We had a quick a drink and toasted our adventure while looking over the beauty of the Pacific. The way down felt like a time machine. The group of 20 year olds became children hiking and dancing in the rain.

It took less than an hour to reach the base of the mountain. We could have headed back to our campsite and gotten out of the rain, but none of us were ready for the fun to stop.  Still filled with energy we took a short walk down to the tide pools. Here we found Thor’s Well, the Spouting Horn, and collected mussels for dinner. We stayed along the coast taking in the beauty of the structures and creatures the Pacific offered. After another day we headed back to camp IMG_0275enjoyed some fresh seafood and fell asleep to the sound of the rain.

Share this post on Facebook and Twitter and please let others know about this blog. Always don’t forget to smile and do something you love today.

Photos are my own

Cape Perpetua: Day One Cummins Creek

Hidden under the fog along the Oregon Coast off the western Cascades is an outdoors wonderland. Is a place where you can start your day by taking a stroll along the beach collecting sand dollars, breathing in the crisp ocean air and if your lucky you can meet a baby seal. Then after a quick breakfast you grab your pack and off into the mountains you go. Going through beautiful green forest that make you feel like you have hopped into a rabbit hole and have joined Alice in Wonderland. IMG_0517If the forest is not your style you can head along the coast and try to catch a glimpse of Thor at his well or stroll along the tide pools and look out and see the spring migration of Gray Whales a few hundred yards off the shower. If you are like me and can’t wait to experience this haven, you must go to Cape Perpetua, Oregon.

Last week I was lucky enough to enjoy Cape Perpetua and all of its beauty for a few days. It truly is a great place to cleanse ones mind, soul and most importantly go backpacking. On the first day, we took the main trailhead to Cummins Creek and trekked 15 miles into the mountains. IMG_0527I had 30-35 pounds in my pack trying to build up my legs to prepare myself for the PCT. The first two hours of the hike were straight up mountain. Going from one peak to then next, making our way through the woods. This was different than hiking in the Sierras because it was humid and muggy.

After crossing six peaks we reached a clearing in the forest. This was a beautiful meadow and lookout. We could see the ocean and forest for miles. IMG_0161_2This truly was a view of all of Oregon’s beauty. We spent a hour up hear soaking in the sun, had lunch, and some of us even got a quick nap.

The way back took no time at all. The majority of the climb down was a steady incline. If you ever get a chance to take this trail make sure to climb some of the fallen trees on the way down. It took between 4-5 hours to complete the hike.IMG_0530 We all felt accomplished and celebrated with a bon fire on the beach. The next trail will have to wait for the rise of the sun. Follow the blog to learn more about backpacking, hiking, and trails.

Cheers

Photos are my own

Pack… Pack… Pack

IMG_22405:00 O clock hits, its time to send out your final emails, input your time for the day, and your off. Now the true fun begins. You get home and its time to pack your life into a pack. That’s right spring has sprung and its time for some spring camping to begin. There is no place better to have your first trip then on the Oregon Coast and Crater Lake.

This spring break a few friends, the boys from Born 2 Explore, and me are getting out of the desert and heading to costal woods of Oregon. We are spending two days hiking the coast and another day and half hiking crater lake. Both areas environments are far different than what we experience in Reno. It should be wet, slightly humid, with warm days, and cold nights. The variety of weather we could see makes packing my pack efficiently crucial.

I am using my new 50-liter Osprey AG for this trip. I chose my lighter pack, because we will have accesses to a car and aren’t backpacking in. For sleeping supplies, I am bringing Radiant 15 degree sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and REI Half Dome Tent 2. In addition, I will have my Gerber Knife, Life Straw, and my lucky Red Sox cap.

Clothing is slightly more difficult to chose due to the weather. Since I usually run warm I will have a light base layer and wool socks. In addition I will have my transformable hiking pants, jeans, and some assorted shirts. For a jacket I am bringing my North Face thermal ball jacket. Since this jacket is synthetic it is more waterproof than my down jacket.

I plan this will be more than enough for this journey. If you have any suggestions please let me know. In addition if you are in the Oregon Coast area or Crater Lake and want to join us let me know. The more the merrier! In honor of St. Patrick’s Day spread the luck and a drink to enjoy your week.

Happy Trails!

Photo is my own.

Into the Wild: My Dream to Complete the PCT

As I sit her after a long day at work watching “Into the Wild” I can’t help to be envious of Christopher, main character in the story. It would be great not to have to worry about waking up for work by the sound of my alarm. Instead, when I open my eyes tomorrow it would be from the glare of the sun and the smell of the pines. Experiencing life in the wild and see natures true beauty every single day.

Now I am not saying I am going to cash out my bank account, give my money away, and live on the land starting tomorrow. I actually love my job being an accountant and I know its weird that I do. What I am saying is the idea of living on the land, away from all material needs and society, is something I must do in my life. Even if its only for a few months of it.

woodemblemOver the past few months I have read countless blog post about through hikes from fellow hikers. The more and more I read about the Pacific Crest Trail, PCT, and the Appalachian Trail, AT, the more I want to be out there. Taking everyday step by step not knowing what is around the next bend. The adventure and the beauty are the driving forces to this desire and are why I am making it one of my life goals to complete the PCT.

I choice the PCT over the AT for no reason except I was born in the West Coast and that has been the trail in my backyard my entire life. I want to start in Canada and walk home to San Diego. This is now my dream and is a journey I will complete. My journey may take years to begin. pct-mapOne day I will walk the 2,600 miles through the Cascades and Sierras.

If you share my dream or have experience on the PCT, let me know. I would love to learn more and find others to join my journey. Follow me on twitter.

Happy Trekking

First photo is attributed to the Pacific Crest Trail Association and second is attributed to McShap Pacific Crest Trail Journal.

Losing My Backpacking Virginity

Butterflies in your stomach, a little shake going through your nerves, and your heart is beating heavy. These are common responses when you are doing something for the first time. No, I am not talking about that first time. Today I experienced these feelings because today was my first time going backpacking on trail. After all the research and all of the equipment I have purchased, today was finally the day I took my first step on a new journey.

I decided I would hike a familiar place for my first time, The Hunter Creek Trail. I talked about this trail in an earlier post. This trail has a steady elevation gain that increases from 4,500 feet to almost 7,000 feet. It has a variety of terrain including mud and snow today. Creating obstacles and challenges to put my backpacking fitness to the test. I was not alone on my journey today. My best friend Nick DeRaedt, from Born 2 Explore, was also losing his backpacking virginity.

IMG_2183We started on our trip with about 30-40 pounds in our packs. It was amazing how the design of the packs evenly distributed the weight through our legs. Nick was using his new Gregory 65-liter pack, while had my 50-liter AG Osprey. Both packs held all of our essential supplies that we would individual need even if we were alone on trail.

As we started up the trail we both noticed a huge difference between hiking with a daypack and these packs. Our legs were getting a real workout from the very beginning. IMG_3975This did not damper our moods the slightest. We were exhilarated to finally be out doing what we had always talked about. During the ascent we noticed that our calves and glutes were getting worked harder than usual. We both definitely need to keep training for the summer and our goals to be in proper backpacking shape.

When we reached the falls we found a perfect campsite that we would definitely be visiting more this summer. The falls were beautiful as usual and were covered in ice. IMG_2185On our descent, we switch the weight distribution from our hips to our shoulders for a few sections. This gave our legs needed rest and helped build more muscle.

My thoughts after this trip are 1. I want to get back out there as soon as possible 2. I need to train more before I climb Half Dome this summer and 3. it is a amazing lifestyle. Please share any pointers or backpacking areas to travel to. In addition share my blog and follow me on Twitter.

Happy Trails

Photos are attributed to Nick DeRaedt and myself

Your First Choice: Down or Synthetic?

Are you a light sleeper or can you sleep on a rock during a hurricane. No matter what type you are staying warm and picking the right sleeping bag is cruical.

Sleeping-BagsI don’t know about you but when I first walked into REI to look at sleeping bags for my first camping trip I had no idea sleeping bags came in different types of materials. The only thing I knew about down was it came from birds and synthetic just didn’t sound natural. Standing their looking at the large rack of hanging bags I felt like a middle school kid at his first dance not knowing what to do. To avoid embarrassment I went home and did my research. Both materials have positives and negatives. Just like at your first dance you have to decide which one is right for you to take on your new adventure.

Down is not made from feathers. Down is the fluffy undercoat that is found of geese and ducks. It is highly effective in trapping body heat and is exceptionally breathable. Down is also extremely light and has incredible compressibility. These qualities make down a backpackers best friend. Down’s major short fall is that it is incapable of repelling moisture and requires more care. Even “New Down” which is coated with material to make it water proof, is not recommended if you are hiking in wet or humid conditions.

Synthetic is a man made design using ultra thin polyester fibers that are design to replicate down, and retain these qualities even when it gets wet. Synthetic has the ability to completely dry within hours of becoming wet. Synthetic is also hypoallergenic and is usually lighter on the checkbook than down. Synthetic, however, is not as compressible and is heavier to achieve the same warmth as down.

Both of these materials have great qualities and deciding almost feels impossible. Why isn’t there one material that has the warmth of down and is water resistant like synthetic? My best advice to help you make your decision is to think about where you live, what your goals are, and where you want to go. I live in Northern Nevada and dream to one day complete the Pacific Crest Trail, PCT. These factors led me to choose the REI Radiant Sleeping Bag. This is a down bag that I am extremely happy with because of its warmth to weight ratio and I live in a very dry climate. I personally would not recommend this bag to someone who lived in South Carolina because of the humidity.

If you have any further questions please send me an email or comment on the page. I am sure you are not the one who has that question. In addition, follow me on twitter and share my blog.

Stay Warm

Photo is attributed to Rusted Moon Outfitters