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

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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Sudwest Afrika
Swakopmund, Windhoek & The Caprivi, Namibia

This trip to Namibia in Africa was pretty incredible. It’s a long haul to get down there but once there the long flights are quickly forgotten. Namibia has some diverse environments. We started our trip on the coast in Swakopmund and drove north to the controversial seal colony that stunk to high heaven, but was very interesting to see. From there we drove inland to the capital Windhoek to see a little more cosmopolitan version of the country for some meetings. Finally, for the bulk of the trip we flew north to the Caprivi region where we went on game tracking walks, learned about how the local community manages its own natural resources, went on safari drives and boat rides, dugout canoe trips, visited a local chief, crossed over to Botswana and saw lots of wildlife. And this isn’t even the high season to see wildlife. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to get back there when literally thousands of animals can be seen at once. Naturally, there are photos and videos. Click to the full story for the first video of the coastal visit. Stay tuned to my YouTube channel for more.

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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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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: Bungee Jump (fall)
Mount Titlis, Engelberg, Switzerland

It wasn’t possible for all of the 600 delegates attending the Adventure Travel World Summit to participate in one of the many Pre-Summit Adventures like the one I shared in my last post. So, the first day of the summit is actually a “Day of Adventure” before filling the halls of the conference center for all the various sessions.

I was assigned to document the Bungee Jump. Or, as I indicate in the title, it was more of fall, or teeter. At the base of Mt. Titlis near the town of Engelberg south of Lucerne in Switzerland, we boarded a large rectangular cable car or gondola with a hole in the middle. I found out in a little video clip that I did (see below) that I was with a bunch of rookies. Nobody on this trip had ever been bungee jumping before. And, to complete the rookie-ness, I had never been either. The closest thing I’ve done like bungee jumping was the Canyon Swing just the day before as seen in the last video. Since we were “jumping” from a gondola, they asked us to just teeter forward and pivot over our feet to fall, not to jump and push the gondola away causing it to swing.

Check out the full story for the video!

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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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The mORning Show – 2012 ORSM
Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Ever wanting to try something new, I joined a team of friends to put together a consumer facing webcast at the Outdoor Retailer Show this summer. The result was a video for nearly each day of the Outdoor Retailer show where we interviewed movers and shakers in the outdoor business and checked out some of the latest gear yet to hit the shelves.

The team included Doug Schnitzpahn as the host, Mike Geraci as producer and yours truly as video editor and gear guy. Huge thanks to our sponsor, Columbia Sportswear, making the whole thing possible. Hopefully we’ll be back at Winter OR for another round. We streamed the videos live via Ustream each morning and archived them on YouTube. Click “Full Story” below to see the videos.

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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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Peru’s Challenge
Cusco, Peru

Voluntourism is an awkward word but what it means is incredible. It adds the idea of volunteering to the concept of tourism. It’s a great way to add some substance to your travels. Beyond just visiting and seeing a place foreign to you, you now have a chance to get your hands dirty and contribute to a community and a people less fortunate than you. This is a rewarding and authentic way to see the world.

I was privileged to join a number of American teens this summer as they traveled to Peru to build a classroom. There are many voluntourism companies around the world and the one we were working with is called Peru’s Challenge. In 2002 founders Jane and Selvy started a program to work with rural Peruvian communities to help them build a sustainable infrastructure. Peru’s Challenge works with the community to establish a 3-5 year plan to address education and utilities. In our case, we were helping with the education side of things by building a classroom in the small village of Miskiuno near Cusco. In other instances, Peru’s Challenge builds greenhouses, aqueducts, sewage systems and more. They also provide social services to help the community apply for government assistance, train teachers for the school, teach community members how they can use the greenhouses to grow and sell food and flowers as well as weaving and other textile skills to take products to market.

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Slot Canyons
Coyote Gulch, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah, United States

Hidden in the southeast corner of Utah down the long Hole-in-the-Rock road lies a series of canyons – tributaries to the Escalante River. Thirteen miles down Coyote Gulch takes you through a series of environmental shifts. Starting on the dry, hot and barren plateau, the trail quickly descends into a dry wash. Trees start to appear providing some nice shade and suddenly the ground is wet and water starts flowing. Sandstone cliffs begin to tower above you, shafts of sunlight stream past the rim and the riparian zone bursts into lush foliage. Tents are optional as camp can be made under the sandstone overhangs carved out by centuries of passing water. But there is little need for concern with regular sunny days and scant rainfall. Though flash floods are possible so keep an eye on the upstream weather. Click “Full Story” for more photos.

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