Saturday, January 31, 2015

Silver Falls State Park

Published at
This is the time of year when most residents of the Pacific Northwest turn their minds towards escape. The damp, dreary months of winter bring thoughts of trips to Hawaii to the minds of cabin fevered lovers of the great outdoors. But I say, rather than run from the precipitation exuding from the sky and the land all around us, it’s time to embrace it. Resist the tourist covered sunny beaches, and head for the solitude of the rain forest. Forget an afternoon sunset watching ocean waves, and slip behind the cascading sheets of a raging waterfall. Abandon the glamour of a glitzy, full service, wallet-draining hotel, and discover the joy of a rustic log cabin with reduced rates and a tiny electric heater that feels better than all the sunshine in Hawaii after a day spent hiking in the drenching rain.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Juneuary at Mt. St. Helens

The unseasonably good weather here in SW Washington proved to be just too tempting yesterday. Despite the oppressive weight of the studying I needed to do for an upcoming economics test, I couldn't resist taking a break for a quick afternoon jaunt to Mt. St. Helens. It's been a spectacularly warm January, but even with the record breaking winter temperatures, I was shocked at how little snow there was on Mt. St. Helens and the mountains surrounding it. Even the region’s highest peaks, Coldwater, Whittier, Margaret, and Potato, retain little more than a few scattered snowfields. St. Helens itself has fared little better, and vast bare streaks extend far up its flanks. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

SOL Escape Lite Bivvy Review

 My review of the SOL Escape Lite Bivvy, Published in Seattle Backpackers Magazine
As the ice crinkled on my bag and water melted from around my face and dripped into my eyes, I pondered on the fantastic claims many gear manufacturers make about their excellent products.
The great paradox of backpacking gear has always been the balance between weight, comfort and durability; comfort and durability often equal bulk and weight, while a lack of weight and bulk often result in the sacrifice of comfort and durability. As I settled into the SOL (Survive Outdoors Longer) Escape Lite Bivvy, I hoped that, here, I would find an ideal balance of the three, but it turns out that – at least in this case – you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Read more at:

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Adventures in deep snow with old gear

Until last year I had never been downhill skiing. The closest I had ever come had been an occasional jaunt in the woods on cross country skis; looking up at the ski hill, I would shake my head in wonder at the madness of people careening down mountains at breakneck speeds. In my mind, skiing was a hobby partaken of only by wealthy daredevils, and of course by my parents sometime in the ancient, hazy days of the 80s. That all changed with the watching of a broadcast of the 2014 Olympic winter games in Sochi, and my younger brother’s resulting fascination with winter sports. For several days of the games, he watched snowboarders twirl through the air, saw the challenge and the glory of the sport, and decided that was what he wanted to do. We decided to take to the slopes with him on skis to see what the allure of the tall mountain was.