I drove by the cargo truck in time to read the words Orion and see a group of people shimmying into wetsuits, prepping to get soaked. I didn’t have any plans, so I promptly hit the breaks and reversed back to a young woman who looked like she was in charge.
“You guys got any room?” I probed.
She told me that as long as I called in to check with the office, paid, and was ready in 10 minutes, I could hop in a raft with them.
When I went camping in the backcountry of North Cascades National Park in Washington state, there were two things that saved me: one, my Eagles Nest Outfitters hammock, and two, a potentially dubious park ranger.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure of the park ranger’s intentions from the start. A ranger by the same name had been quite rude to me on the phone just the night before, though this one said he wasn’t working that particular day. There was yet an air about the man that made it seem like he knew something that I didn’t about our interaction. So, when he selected a particular site that he ‘liked,’ I wasn’t sure if he was picking me one that was unique awesome, or one that was actually horrible in some way.
In the past, the thought of traveling to Italy came with mental images of wine, pasta, and love—things wildly propagated by the entertainment industry. And while those things truly are aspects at the core of certain areas of Italian culture, my trip there informed me of the depth and breadth of that beautiful place. The following are a couple of my favorite experiences from a couple different genres:
Outdoors: The parks in these old cities are always the most amazing for me. In Rome, Passeggiata del Gianicolo was a delight—looking down upon the city from a tranquil public space. In Bologna, it was Giardini Margherita—tucked into a lonesome corner of a city as a tranquil little oasis. Whenever I get to that green space, I can breathe deeply and reconnect. It’s very meditative. I also greatly enjoyed a trip just into the Dolomites while I was there. Oh, and how could I forget Salerno, the entire coastline was an opportunity to take in a great big deep breath and enjoy.
Who knows about how electrical outlets work in other countries? I certainly didn’t until almost immediately before I was leaving on for an international trip.
The outlets in different areas of the world are different shapes, so the prongs are shaped to match them. Meaning: our US plugs don’t work.
But fear not, products like Eagle Creek’s Dual Wattage International Converter set solves that problem for you. The package consists of adapters for each of the major sockets throughout the world. It also includes, a power converter than can enable you to use high and low voltage to connect your device, regardless of where you find yourself.
15 years ago, I began camping more frequently and purchased a Black Diamond headlamp to accompany me in my outdoor adventures. It was small, light, and I adored using it. I ran that headlamp into the ground, using it for all my overnight expeditions for the next dozen years. And I’m amazed at how long it lasted. The quality in light never really diminished, but the elastic band slowly lost its strength.
Two months ago, I was going on another trip and it was time to purchase a new lamp. I wasn’t sure if I’d find one that was as good and small as my longtime headgear.
Outdoor Research might be the coolest organization making outdoor gear in America right now. Proof of that is their brand new Rangefinder Backpack.
In Florida—where I live—it rains a lot. Add that to the fact that I bike to work many days and there’s a recipe for trouble. Because I do my best to keep water away from my computer and important documents, I knew I needed a waterproof bag to transport my things on a day-to-day basis. I also have business meetings sometimes, where I need to not look completely like a scrub, so it’s nice to have a bag that follows suit.
I’m not afraid to admit that I like rain. Sometimes when it rains, I simply go outside and let it soak me thru. Otherwise, I’d run quickly through it from point A to point B. That’s how I got by living in Florida for a couple years without a jacket.
But the fact of the matter is, I really needed one many times for work and travel, because there are times when getting soaked isn’t an option. I finally caved and decided to look for a jacket that I knew could last for a decade or more. So obviously I bought an Arc’’teryx.
If you're like me, you go to the rock gym because climbing is fun and a good workout. But if you're also like me, it takes you 20-30 minutes to get to said gym and that means your attendance is sometimes sporadic in the midst of your otherwise busy schedule.
That, among other reasons, is why I bought a Metolius Grip Saver Plus.
Aside from getting injured, nothing is more frustrating than getting to the gym after a layoff and realizing that your strength is poor. For me, this mostly consists of hand strength, because other workout regimens I take part in work various other muscle groups. But it's difficult to keep hand strength up. That's where the Grip Saver comes in.
On a hot summer day, when you and some of your closest buddies are running to the nearest lake to cool off, you don’t ask questions. You just jump in. Similarly, when one of those buddies tosses you a bottle of soap because you are a dirty mess (hypothetically, of course), you accept it willingly.
It was in such a situation, over 9 years ago, that I met Dr. Bronner’s soap.
This may sound a bit melodramatic, but permit me to explain.
My friend Thomas was about to have his golden birthday. For the lay person, that means he was about to turn the age of the date of his birthday. For him, that meant he was turning 30 on the 30th of the month. For that, he knew he had to do something special. And what he chose certainly qualified for that.
Three of us drove up through Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee in the hopes of finding some good climbing. We'd learned our lesson from before (see: Decide Before You Climb) and had a number of locations scouted out, along with a book that deeply described (with pictures) the walls and their routes. Ultimately, we chose to climb at Foster Falls.