21. May 2012 23:27
After returning from 11 days of climbing, backpacking and kayaking, I needed a couple of down days to recharge the batteries. Now that I am fully recharged, and have a little down time, I can tell you all about this amazing Outdoor Recreation Center led adventure.
The first few days of the trip we did some water preparation and climbing. Since we were all starting from ground zero and building skills within a curriculum, the ORC staff had us learn some basic safety procedures and water rescue scenarios in the Gibb Pool on campus. Conducting this training in a pool setting allowed for us students to get comfortable with the skills in a safe environment. After we completed a number of ways to right and enter a kayak or canoe in open water, we made our way to the climbing wall to learn some basic climbing skills and how to set-up a climbing area properly when leading a trip. The instructors were great at explaining not only how to get an area ready for climbing and the proper way to wear equipment, but they gave us reasons why this way is important for safety and uniformity within ORC trips. Each of our trainers taught these tasks a little differently and in their own unique way, while maintaining the basic principles. This type of continuity and cohesion from the staff gave us students a vision of how we should be working in the future.
The following morning we gathered at the ORC, packed our gear and headed out to Granite Point for some outdoor rock climbing. While on the way, roughly a 40-min drive, the instructors didn’t waste time, they gave us information regarding what to do during emergencies at Granite Point and showed us a couple of different launch points for kayaking trips the ORC leads throughout the year. Once we arrived at Granite Point, we gathered the gear and made our way up to the climbing location. A helmet area was designated first to ensure safety while the top ropes wer... [More]
6. April 2012 17:29
During my travels around the world, and throughout the United, I have seen many things and heard many stories, but few are as moving and inspirational as the Team Hoyt story.
Team Hoyt is an organization established to help disabled youth in the United States. The foundation started when Dick Hoyt and his disabled son Rick began competing in running races back in 1977. When Rick was born, he was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. As Rick grew, it was soon realized that he would not be able to speak or walk. His parents were insistent on trying to give Rick the most out of life by pushing to get him into public school and college. Thanks to the persistence of his parents and his motivation and determination, Rick graduated from Boston University with a degree in Special Education in 1993.
When Rick was 15, he wanted to participate with his father in a 5-mile road race to benefit a lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. This was the first of over 1,000 races Dick Hoyt competed in while pushing his disabled son in a wheelchair specially designed for running. In addition to running races, Rick and Dick competed in triathlons and duathlons. After that first race, Rick told his father, through a computer program made for him at Tufts University, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.” That moment, Dick and Rick began their amazing journey.
In February, 2003, Dick Hoyt suffered a massive heart attack without knowing it had happened. After continuing to compete for a few weeks, Dick decided to go to the hospital due to an annoying tickle in his throat. The EKG showed Dick had 95% blockage in one artery and 85% in another requiring the insertion of 3 stents. This happened just 3 weeks before he and Rick planned on competing in their 22nd straight Boston Marathon. Unfortunately, they were unable to compete in the Bosto... [More]
30. March 2012 17:41
What are Trekking Poles? – Trekking Poles are poles specifically designed for hiking, walking and traversing. They resemble ski poles in their design, but have some unique differences. For example, they are typically made to collapse down to a size that is easy to strap to the outside of a pack when not in use.
How do they work? – Trekking poles are a very intuitive thing to use. You will naturally fall into a rhythm once you begin to use them. For more detail I have posted a video below. This video can help you ensure that your poles are the right height for you.
When should you use them? – When you know you will be facing a tough or rough terrain, trekking poles may be a great addition to your balance and rhythm. Poles are not typically used on flat paths, but it is up to the user to determine if they are needed or not. Some hikers or walkers love the element of rhythm that trekking poles add. Another great reason to use trekking poles is for those outdoor enthusiasts with bad knees or ankles. Trekking poles do a great job of taking some of the stress off your joints, especially when descending.
21. March 2012 22:11
Most would say that Theodore Roosevelt was just a president. But as an outdoorsman myself, I am able to recognize others that share the same passion, and Roosevelt fits the mold. Let me tell you a little bit about his environmentalist side.
During his time in office, Roosevelt created 4 National Game Preserves, 5 National Parks, 18 National Monuments, 24 Reclamation Projects, 51 Federal Bird Reservations and 150 National Forests! These conservation efforts are seen in some of the most naturally unique places in the United States. The total amount of land is about 230,000,000 acres of land or 359,375 square miles.
He was a big-game hunter who ventured west in order to hunt. However, when he went west he was startled to find how the big-game was being damaged along with the land itself. After being a first-hand witness to the destruction that was happening to America, conservation became his top priority. After entering office, Roosevelt created the U.S. Forest Service. I have to think that if it were not for Roosevelt, I may not have as beautiful of a home here in the northwest!
If you would like to read more on Roosevelt’s legacy and how he became the “Conservationist President”, visit here: http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trenv.html
"It is also vandalism to destroy or to permit the destruction of what is beautiful in nature, whether it be a cliff, a forest, or a species of mammal or bird. Here in the United States we turn our rivers and streams into sewers and dumping-grounds, we pollute the air, we destroy forests, and exterminate fishes, birds and mammals -- not to speak of vulgarizing charming landscapes with hideous advertisements. But at last it looks as if our people were awakening." Theodore Roosevelt
2. March 2012 22:31
Get to Know Your Gear’s weekly update will get you familiar with 0°F Sleeping Bags & Liners.
What is a 0° Sleeping Bag & Liner? – 0° sleeping bags and liners are, as their name’s imply, very cold weather sleeping bags and liners to keep an outdoor enthusiast safe and warm when camping in frigid winter conditions. These sleeping bags are made of different materials depending on the needs of the camper, varying from heavy to ultra-light. Liners specifically are used to line the inside of the sleeping bag as another layer of insulation.
How do they work? – 0° sleeping bags can vary in type and material, but they work to keep body heat in and the cold air out. The outer shell of the sleeping bag is typically made of nylon, which is used to protect the outside of the bag from the environment. Inner shells are often made or nylon also, but can be a type of polyester blend. Both the inner shell and outer shell are both good at keeping air from penetrating their exterior. The inside of bags (fill) is often filled with down, polyester blends, or synthetic materials made to insulate the bag. This combination of fill, inner, and outer layers keeps body heat within the bag while protecting the user from the cold outer air. Liners are often a fleece or microfiber material used to add an additional layer of insulation within the sleeping bag. While liners are not made to deflect air, they are an insulator within the bag, retaining body heat keeping the user warmer. I personally have a bag with nylon exterior and interior shells with 800-fill goose down insulation and a fleece liner. They keep me nice and toasty at night during my winter hiking and camping adventures.
When should you use them? – 0° sleeping bags and liners are designed to be used in extreme winter weather conditions. Some sleeping bags are rated even colder than zero degrees Fahrenheit,... [More]
20. January 2012 21:08
Some know him as a world renowned rock climber, others as an environmentalist. Those who have read either of his either books will tell you he is also a writer, a surfer, a thrill seeker. Millions know him as the founder of the outdoor clothing and gear company, Patagonia—a company dedicated to protecting the environment. I know him as one of my idols!
Yvon Chouinard began climbing at 14, and quickly fell in love with the sport. Soon after, he and his friends spent time climbing every weekend. In 1957, after only 4 years of climbing, he bought a coal fired forge, an anvil, tongs, and hammers, and taught himself how to blacksmith and make his own reusable climbing hardware (I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty cool!). This reusable climbing hardware he was making did not create so much wear and tear on the rock, thus sustaining the area for future climbers. In these young years, he would spend many summers in Wyoming, Canada, or the Alps and would climb at Yosemite in the fall. During a time called the “Golden Age of Yosemite Climbing,” Chouinard was considered a leader. He sustained himself by selling his climbing equipment from the back of his car, eating canned food, and hunting ground squirrels with his friends.
By 1968, Chouinard had many noteworthy ascents. A few included climbs at the Canadian Rockies, Teton Range, and Yosemite Valley. Perhaps his most famous ascent was in South America at Mt. Fitzroy, Patagonia in 1968. Some of you may have heard of the epic 6 month journey that Chouinard and his friend Doug Tompkins (Tompkins later became the founder of The North Face) embarked on in 1968. With only a few days to prepare, they loaded a van full of climbing and surfing gear and left Ventura, California, headed south down the Pan American Highway to Patagonia. Now that’s what I call an adventure! You can see the journey for yourself here: http://www.180south.com/journey.html
For those of you who haven&rsqu... [More]