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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“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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Five-Fingers Snowshoe
Harvard Lakes, Buena Vista, Colorado, United States

A little trek into the mountains up to Harvard Lakes (click the title for more photos):

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Snowshoeing by Moonlight
Brainard Lake, Ward, Colorado, United States

The warm glow of mulled wine and spicy hot coco was a coveted memory when the doors to the car opened and an icy blast of wind blew through. A near full moon lit up the snow-covered world around us. The stars that could shine through the moonbeams, like those in Orion, sparkled above as we hunched over, backs to the wind, to strap on our snowshoes.

Once we got out of the exposed parking lot and onto the Brainerd Lake Trail in the trees, the wind was heard whistling in the upper branches and hardly felt. The gentle slope was just enough to warm the seven of us up from the initial shock of stepping out of our warm cars.

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Atlas Trans-Sierra Snowshoe Trek
Independence, California, United States

The Sierra has truly been blessed this year with record snow fall. So, although the weather this spring and early summer has been warm, there is still plenty of snow in the beautiful backcountry. With that in mind, some colleagues at Atlas Snow-Shoe Company came up with the wild idea to do a traditional skiing route across the Sierra-Nevada mountain range on snowshoes. While this was admittedly for our own personal fun, we could justify it as a work trip to test the snowshoes.

The result was a 45 mile trek across the breadth of the Sierra. We started just east of Independence, off Highway 395, and hiked up Symmes Creek. After 12,000 feet of vertical gain and traveling and camping for six days above 11,000 feet, we arrived at the Wolverton Ski Area in Sequoia National Park. The route is usually done on skis with a few mountaineering sections to get over the highest passes, including Milestone Col on the Great Western Divide at over 13,000 feet.

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Snowshoe Testing
Carson Pass, Sierra Mountains, California, United States

It was nearly a weekely event… getting up into the mountains to test our latest prototypes. Somebody had to do it.

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President’s Weekend Sierra Ski Trip
Carson Pass - June Mountain, Sierra Mountains, California, United States

What started off as a day a the ‘office’ up at Carson Pass testing our latest prototypes of snowshoes, turned into a great weekend of some in and out of bounds skiing and snowboarding. The story is in the photos… maybe something more will flush out here some day!

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Winter Blue Adventure Race
Northstar-At-Tahoe, Sierra Mountains, California, United States

Adventure racing is taking on a new season: Winter! It was a ‘choose your own method of travel’ sort of race where competitors arrived with telemark skis, cross country skis, snowshoes and Airboards. Rick and I were there with Airboards, as Team Airboard, and found we were competitive with the other disciplines. There were 17 […]

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