Off Yonder – Adventure Travel Stories - Seeing the world for what it is

Feeling Chile
Magallanes, Los Lagos & Aysen, Chile

Chile is a land of many adventures from mountain biking to wine tours, from skiing to white water rafting, from hot springs to mountaineering. I joined a group of seasoned adventurers to explore the three southern most regions of Chile: Los Lagos, Aysen & Magallanes. Each of them host varying stages of tourism development, adrenaline rush, cultural interactions to cater to the interest of any traveler or explorer.

One of the most interesting lessons I learned about was where the name Patagonia came from. Magellen created the term for the indigenous inhabitants of the southern reaches of South America because they were larger in stature that his crew, indeed, than Europeans at the time. How does Patagonia, or rather Patagon as Magellan documented it, relate to large people? Well, like many such words the etymology is fuzzy, but one story refers to Magellan and his crew first seeing the footprints of these people (believed to have been the Tehuelches people). This may be a stretch, but Pata is phonetically close to “pede” from the Latin for foot (as in “pedestrian” or “pedal”) and “-gon” makes me think of giant or another word that refers to something large with a “-gon” ending, dragon. Anyway, Click through to the full story for more photos and the videos I produced from the adventure.

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Old Lift Line
Old Hidden Valley Ski Area, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, United States

HiddenValleyThumbHitting up the old Hidden Valley Ski area in Rocky Mountain National Park just outside of Estes Park, Colorado for some fresh tracks. Also, testing Eddie Bauer’s new Propellant jacket with Polartec’s new Alpha insulation which worked great. Click through to the full story for the video.

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“Pow Pow” for the Pow Pow
Women's Vasque Pow Pow Ultradry Winter Boot

Vasque Pow Pow Ultradry Winter Boot - Women's

I am not a tough gal, however I married an adventurer, so I often find myself in harrowing situations where a certain amount of robustness is required. Needless to say the right gear can make a huge difference between me enjoying adventure rather and me just tolerating it.

My husband Cameron often says, “there is no bad weather, just poor clothing choices” and every girl knows that one of the best clothing choices you can make is picking a good shoe. I grew up in California and my tolerance for extreme cold is almost zero, so when I began to explore Colorado’s winter wilderness, I knew a good shoe was in order. Luckily, I had Vasque’s Women’s Pow Pow Ultradry Winter boot and the perfect snowy adventure to give them a whirl. Little did I know how snowy our adventure to the Opus Hut in Southern CO would become.

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Backcountry Ski Hut
Opus Hut, San Juan Mountains, Ophir, Colorado, United States

As a last push to find some measure of winter (defined by me as including skiable snow, not just being cold out), Jordan and I pushed out to the new Opus Hut tucked in the southern end of the San Juan Mountains. We had invited a number of other folks, but by the virtue that we scheduled our trip mid week, most of the working world wasn’t able to comply. So Jordan and I set out on this trip on our own. This was her first ski hut trip (though, she did get herself up to Gray Knob a few years ago) and she said it pushed her a bit more than she would have liked.

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REVIEW: Eddie Bauer/First Ascent MicroTherm Down Hoodie
United States

I love this jacket. It has been my go-to piece since getting it and I suspect it will continue to serve well for those cool spring mornings and evenings as well as on camping trips into the mountains. As one reviewer on the Eddie Bauer website commented “Super light, at times don’t even realize I’m wearing it.” So true. And with that, super warm and windproof.

As the product page will tell you, the MicroTherm is designed to be a snug/athletic fit and mine is just that. The hood has just the right cut to cup your head and keep it warm. And it is more of a cupping hood, not one that can just be worn loosely and for that sometimes it’s hard to hear beyond the sound of your ears or skullcap rubbing against the interior nylon. Be sure to check out the great fit comparison video on the Eddie Bauer/First Ascent product page.

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Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2012 Videos
Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

After putting some videos together at the Summer OR show in 2011 on a whim, Elevation Outdoors Magazine was able to pick up a sponsorship from Verde PR & Consulting to make them happen for the Winter Market OR show. A huge thanks to Verde and here are the videos, each posted by the end of the day each day of the show. Click “Full Story” below or the title above to view the videos.

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Opening Day at Breckenridge
Peak 8, Breckenridge, Colorado, United States

Attending a ski resort’s opening day is not for those looking to avoid crowds. It’s about being a part of history in the making, meeting new friends and sharing in the passions. This year was particularly poignant with Breckenridge Ski Resort kicking off it’s 50th year on the auspicious date of 11/11/11.

As you stepped off the gondola, the first 1,111 guests received a breakfast cupcake with the Breck logo in the icing. Once you picked up a coffee or something to wash that cupcake down with, it was time to get in line for the Colorado Super Chair, the first to open. Folks had started to line up as early as 8am waiting an hour for the first lift up.

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REVIEW: Marmot Zion Softshell Jacket
United States


This is a technical jacket. The core specifications – Polartec’s new NeoShell fabric, taped seams, storm hood – are impressive. But most importantly it performs well. As with anything new, it’s a little stiff when you first put it on, but that concern quickly fades away as the totally bomber nature of the Zion is realized. While you’re still standing in the store trying it on, you are transported to icy crags and powder days.

This is a winter jacket. The insulative nature of the soft shell is such that during any sporty activity you will want to be in the near freezing/sub-freezing temperatures. The NeoShell fabric is totally windproof. I was impressed when bombing down ski slopes, dead into the wind, and though I felt the pressure of the wind against my body, the cold never seeped through.

The hood, with the jacket zipped all the way up, stayed on my head keeping my forehead warm – something I noticed as a concern earlier in the season before I had the Zion. Even in the wind, this jacket is quiet. While taking a phone call on my iPhone ear-buds, using the iPod port, the microphone tucked inside the jacket didn’t pick up any of the wind or rustling outside. The caller was impressed to know I was on a windy mountain slope and claimed it sounded as if I was inside somewhere.

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Arapahoe Lake Ski
Arapahoe Lake, Indian Peaks, Rollinsville, Colorado, United States

A quick day trip with Bob to get into some fresh powder near Boulder, Colorado.

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Sub-Arctic 112 Mile Ski Tour
White Mountains Recreation Area, Alaska, United States

There may be a tinge of familiarity to this trip. In 2009, Nathaniel and I visited the White Mountains of Alaska and had an amazing trip. But in the midst of pounding out over 100 miles in 7 days (specifically, after our 23 mile day over Cache Mountain Divide) we were staying the night at the scenic Windy Gap Cabin and thought to ourselves, we need to build in some rest days next time. Well, this is the next time and we did. By the end of the trip we had covered 112 miles in 10 days, with two rest days. We also added another member to the team, Joe Connolly.

Mouse over any image for the caption. Click on any image to go to the gallery for more photos. Subscribe (email | RSS) to the gallery to see when I add more photos from this trip. Also, stay tuned for the video!

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