This site encompasses a wide range of interests - from photography to multi-day river trips. What ties it all together is the outdoors. Throughout the years I've had a lot of fantastic experiences in the backcountry, and I want to share that stoke & knowledge through photography and useful articles. Enjoy!
Historically I’ve prided myself on my bare bones, durable sleep set-up: a classic foam Thermarest pad with a pile of bundled fleece clothing for a pillow. An inflatable backpacking pillow was the last thing on my wish list at the time, but I splurged recently and purchased the Fillo by Nemo Equipment. It’s now my favorite camping accessory.
Most headlamps fit a pretty standard profile these days - a couple different brightness settings, some weather durability, and possibly a red-light function to preserve your night vision. Black Diamond's ReVolt has these standard features, but it’s also rechargeable via USB which is a huge advantage for most backcountry uses. This isn’t a review which pits multiple rechargeable headlamps against each other in order to nitpick the minor differences, rather it’s a quick rundown of why the ReVolt works for the majority of my needs and why you might consider getting a rechargeable headlamp in the future.
The South Nahanni is one of the most classic Canadian rivers, renowned for wildlife, beautiful canyons, and a thunderous 300 foot waterfall that puts Niagara to shame. Avery and I received a generous grant from the Ritt Kellogg Fund to explore this stretch of river, so in July of last year we embarked on a road trip from Colorado to a small town in the Northwest Territories named Fort Simpson. We quickly learned of the horrendous wildfires as we drove along smoke-filled dirt highways, and delayed our departure as the bush plane wouldn't be able to fly in with such low visibility along the river corridor. Eventually the weather turned in our favor as the smoke cleared, and rains took care of the wildfires.
“When staying alive is a full time job, there isn’t time for much else.” Truthfully, that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to hear from someone who soloed the Grand Canyon of the Colorado for 22 days – in an inflatable kayak (IK), no less. It’s inspiring to talk to people like Winslow Burleson, an associate professor at NYU, who manage to balance demanding jobs in the academic world with a respectable dose of outdoor adventure. After seeing a couple photos of Win paddling a fully loaded IK into the Canyon, I decided I needed to learn more about how the journey went. I also recently posted about pursuing your personal goals before it’s too late, and this journey exemplifies this perfectly. I gave Win a call, and asked a few questions about the trip.
We all have dreams. Some are acted on quickly, while others get put on the back burner as we formulate excuses: not enough money, too difficult, not enough time, etc. I’ll be graduating college soon, and I’ve had a lot of thoughts about the future pertaining to this. There’s a lot of pressure from society to achieve certain things while setting aside some of our dreams. It’s like the conundrum of retirement, where you’ll get to do some of the meaningful, carefree things that you’ve always wanted to do – but only after you’re pushing 60 years old.
Not all warranties are created equal. For example, a scratched lens apparently voids Smith’s warranty, but exceptions can be made. I’m reaching out to the outdoors community to share some stories of your experiences with companies that boast lifetime warranties. How was the customer service? Did they completely back their product? Any weird caveats? A lot factors go into the purchase process, and the warranty is definitely up there for me. Go to the bottom of the post to either post your experience in the comments or email them & I’ll add it to this page. My goal is to create a little repository of unbiased feedback on lifetime warranty policies. Enjoy, and I hope you contribute!
Shoulders are by far the most injury prone joint in whitewater kayaking, and we all know someone who has "tweaked" it, or worse, while on the river. Recurring subluxations (partial dislocation) or full dislocations can lead to a torn labrum and the need for surgery. It's not an easy process, but eventually stabilizes the joint and reduces the risk of developing arthritis. I want to find out whether there is a significant difference in injury rates between people that use bent shaft paddles vs straight shaft paddles. Take the survey and help me find out!
I always choose to carry a satellite communicator on any big expedition, and it’s just as much for the peace of mind of my family as it is for my safety. Being gone for a month at a time in the backcountry can take a toll on parents or friends back home, wondering if everything is all right. Getting a little nightly message saying you’re fine does wonders to quell those fears. And of course, these devices could save your life if you’re severely hurt or stranded in the wilderness and need a rescue.
It's fast, challenging, and a rite of passage. It's the Green River in Western North Carolina. Every year crowds gather on the first Saturday each November to watch 150+ whitewater kayakers, each spaced 1 minute apart, lay it all out on a challenging set of rapids on the Green River Narrows. Navigating these rapids slowly is difficult, let alone charging through them while lactic.
This year I put on just before the racers and took out at Gorilla, the crux drop, to snap some photos. I wanted a different perspective from the classic downstream view of the pad, and decided to play around with angles on the river right side of the Monkey. Having a full view of racers coming over Flying Squirrel, through the Notch, over the pad, and through Speed Trap was special. The overhead view seemed to flatten Gorilla a bit, but some shots turned out pretty well!
At 4,863 feet, Spruce Knob holds the title of West Virginia’s highest mountain as well as the highest point in the Alleghenies. It’s name popped up while looking for a quality weekend backpacking trip in the Virginia area, and it certainly stood out among other routes in the region. Not only is there a beautiful creek to camp along, but two high school friends and I lucked out with the beautiful fall colors in early October. Just off the trail are the remains of a Piper PA-23 crash from 1973, which adds a little sobering history to the hike as well.
The full loop is around 16 miles long, passing along the alpine ridge, through beautiful meadows, and then dropping down into Seneca Creek. Just off of one of the trail junctions is the 30-foot Upper Seneca Creek Falls. There’s a lot packed into this hike and it goes quickly. Be prepared for a little mud though as some seeping springs keep the trails saturated.
The new MCAT (2015 MCAT) is by far the most intensive and expansive test of the undergraduate career. The good news is that a few months of focused, intense study will give you the basic tools to handle even the most complicated looking questions. I just recently finished the MCAT journey in May 2016, and wanted to write this as an informal guide to help future test takers.
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