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

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.

» Full Story »

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!

» Full Story »

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.

» Full Story »

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.

» Full Story »

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.

» Full Story »

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.

» Full Story »

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.

» Full Story »

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.

» Full Story »

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.

» Full Story »

Patagonia CEO & President Casey Sheahan Talks Business, Conservation & Compassion
Boulder, Colorado, United States

Patagonia CEO & President Casey Sheahan Talks Business, Conservation & CompassionPatagonia doesn’t need any help with marketing their products. In fact, the ad they placed in the New York Times on Black Friday last year said “Don’t Buy This Jacket”.  Don’t be fooled, they still want you to buy their product, but only when you really need it. What does that mean? This marketing conundrum and a number of other insightful ideas on how this company operates were shared by CEO & President Casey Sheahan at the Business of Outdoor Recreation Lecture Series presented by the Outdoor Industry Association and the Leeds School of Business at the Stadium Club on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder.

» Full Story »