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

GoPro Mtn Games 2014
Vail, Colorado, United States

I’ve been having a bunch of fun making Instagram videos of late. I would say “quick” Instagram videos, but I don’t always turn them around as fast as I’d like. After the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail I had a bunch of footage after competing in three different events. We started the day paddling down Gore Creek. I managed to get a video of that published shortly after the weekend, but not the videos of the Bad Ass Dash obstacle course or the XC Mountain Bike race. Finally, those are done and if you didn’t catch them on Instagram, I’ve compiled the three into a YouTube video here:

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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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Canyon of Lodore
Gates of Lodore, Green River, Colorado, United States

It’s been too long since I’ve run a river in a nice oar raft. I met up with this crew in the classic way of joining the trip via an invite from a friend here in Boulder. Then the friend in Boulder couldn’t make it. Undaunted, I stuck with the trip and ended up running a boat for one of the families. This crew came from Utah, Arizona and Colorado and they were a great bunch as most rafters are. Rafting is essentially car camping on the river. Granted there are a few more logistical and gear hurdles to overcome but for the most part the route finding is pretty easy.

The Green River is where John Westly Powell started his journey which resulted in the first running of the Grand Canyon in 1869. He ran this very stretch of water and had his first major disaster when the campfire got out of control due to the crazy winds that are known to blow along rivers. One of his boats caught fire along with the provisions stored in it. We made it through alright and had a blast doing it.

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Into The Sandstone
The Black Hole of White Canyon, Canyonlands, Utah, United States

I love spontaneous trips.

Doug, my editor at Elevation Outdoors Magazine, stopped by to borrow my LifeProof iPhone case because he was going canyoning in Utah for the next few days. He showed me some photos of where they were going: The Black Hole of White Canyon. My eyes opened wide. My jaw dropped. “That looks awesome.” I said.

“Do you want to come?”

And so, the next morning Doug and I were heading west to Utah.

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Swiss Adventure: Canyoning and Hiking and Swinging, Oh My!
Jungfrau Region, Interlaken, Switzerland

Pre-Summit Adventure No. 1 – Four amazing days in and around Interlaken and the Jungfrau Region of Switzerland.

Day 1 – High ropes course with ziplines and other balancing elements high in the trees.

Day 2 – Canyoning where we followed a creek into a canyon and jumped off 35′ waterfalls, rappelled off higher ones and slid on the shallower descents.

Day 3 – An awesome 6 hour hike through the Bernese Oberland (highlands) to Grindelwald.

Day 4 – Canyon Swing: Attached to a rope 300 feet above a roaring river we jumped, we fell, we swung on the rope.

Awesome. Video.

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Post Fire Kayaking – Soot Water
Poudre River, Colorado, United States

Kayak and outdoor enthusiast Christoper Wiegend and I hit the Poudre River in a tandem Jackson Kayak. After the big fire of July 2012 a big rain storm hit. Hopes were the water would be running high and fast but it’s the lowest Chris has ever run. The video below was filmed on an iPhone 4 in a LifeProof case and a helmet mounted GoPro camera. Click below for video.

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REVIEW: LifeProof – Waterproof iPhone Case
United States

LifeProof iPhone CaseThis water/dirt/snow/shock-proof case is designed to go on your phone and stay there. For the protection it offers, the slim design makes it practical to leave this case on your phone for full time protection, not just when you want to get out in the elements. As the instructions suggested, I first tested the case empty as the waterproofness is not intuitively apparent. But once that past the test I inserted my phone and haven’t taken it out since. Until something that does everything this LifeProof case does and resolves some of the issues I mention below, this will continue to be how I protect my iPhone.

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GEAR: DryCase – Waterproof your iPhone
United States

DryCase iPhone CaseThe vacuum seal tells all. Drop your mobile phone into this clear plastic case, pump (or suck) the air out and you’re good to go. By virtue of the vacuum holding, you know your kit is protected. And with a waterproof headphone jack, you can still get your tunes or make a call. The DryCASE allows for full touch screen functionality and comes with a buoyant armband, lanyard and hand pump.

This is a great solution for occasional waterproof protection when you know you’re going to be in a wet or dirty environment, but not practical for everyday use. It’s easy to get your device in and out of the case and has an arm-band for more active and pocket-less activities. In fact, it probably won’t fit in your pocket if you had one. The DryCASE will also do well just sitting in the sand next to your lounge chair or beach towel and you won’t have to worry about anyone kicking sand or standing above it with a dripping swim suit.

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Rafting the Roaring Fork
Upper Roaring Fork River, Roaring Fork Valley, Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado, United States

All that snow had to go somewhere, and one of those somewheres is the Roaring Fork River. Talbot and Michael of Blazing Adventures took our merry crew on a great ride. Normally scheduled for 2 hours, we were done in an hour and a half because the river was so full and the water moving so fast. Although the river was swollen and brown with all the surrounding hillsides running off with the snowmelt from a record snow year, our guides had already run the river a number of times, without clients, to be sure the course was safe. At fist, I contemplated accepting the wetsuit they provide, but I’m glad I did. As one of our guides mentioned, “the water in the river today was snow yesterday” and there was plenty of splashing, especially since I ended up in the front of the boat. But I did manage to sit on the same side as our guide, which meant a slightly dryer ride than what Bob got on the opposite side, as you’ll see in the video. Click the title above, or the “full story” link below to see the video. Enjoy.

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Kayaking & Stand Up Paddleboarding
Roaring Fork Valley, Aspen/Glenwood Springs, Colorado, United States

When the snows melt from the slopes and roads in Aspen and turns into water an opportunity to play is created in the rivers. Our adventurous group met up with Charlie MacArthur the founder and owner of the Aspen Kayak and SUP (stand up paddleboarding) Academy. We didn’t realize it at the time, though he had that humble air about him, Charlie is a bit of a legend. With years of waterbound experience under his belt, he had a calm, gentle though jovial approach to helping the many of us who had never been kayaking before or for those of us who haven’t been in a long while.

Click the title or “Full Story” below to read more and to see the video and photos.

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