Salomon City Trail Days

Salomon City Trail Days

Salomon City Trail Days, an event that involves running and drinking, kicked off Wednesday, April 16th, here at U.S. Outdoor, and will be hosted again tomorrow, April 30th. The event – which is to be held every other Wednesday – is designed to showcase new Salomon Running Shoes and get runners of all skill sets acquainted with Portland running routes and historical landmarks. Each run is capped off with victory beers provided by Salomon. The whole event costs you nothing but a healthy, accelerated heartbeat and a fine beer buzz.

For those of you who might be on the fence, know this: each run sets forth at a mellow pace with rests at every mile of the 3 mile journey. Beginners are encouraged to join! There are a host of Salomon shoes to demo that are available in full size runs. See you out there!

Salomon City Trail Days Run

Salomon City Trail Days

It’s All About the Shoes

Lower Turret Lake, High SIerras

Lower Turret Lake, High SIerras

Regardless of your activity, shoes play an intimate role in how you feel during participation. There is a reason people spend so much money on footwear. Our feet are sensitive, and we use them almost all the time during physical activity. Picking the right set of shoes/boots for hiking or trail running  is a crucial part of finding enjoyment in your adventures. Two trips that I took recently reminded me how shoe choice can make the difference between success and failure. One trip was a run/walk around Mt. St. Helens, totaling about 30 miles with a light backpack in a single day. The other was a two night adventure in the High Sierras covering over 50 miles, mostly off trail, boulder hopping. Each required excessive use of my feet. The only store I trusted in picking up the right trail running shoes was US Outdoor.

Saucony Progrid Perigrine Trail Running Shoes

Saucony Progrid Perigrine 2 Shoes After 30 Miles

For the run around Mt. St. Helens, I wore Saucony’s Progrid Perigrine 2 shoes. Coming in at only 1 lb. 3.8 oz, they still offer enough heal and forefoot support to keep the foot centered and stable on the sole. Even with a backpack near 15 lbs., they provided plenty of stability and cushion. They also are minimalist regarding the foot bed. This means they do not have an arch support, or other technology that interferes with the foot’s natural movement. The sole has a thin plastic shank that runs back and forth like a riverbed S-shaped through the sole. This reduces stiffness and weight while protecting from rock protrusion through the sole. The tread has massive grip with large, knobby rubber protrusions. The trail around St. Helens has sand, mud, rock, boulders, hard pack, and “Ah Ha” lava (the rough, hard to walk on kind). These shoes held up perfectly across every type of terrain I could find. If you trail run or backpack light, there is not a better shoe out there.

High Sierras La Sportiva Trangos

High Sierras La Sportiva Trangos

Next, I went off trail in the High Sierras on the west side of the mountain range. For this trip, I needed a beefier shoe since I had heard that the terrain was brutal on foot wear. I had no idea how brutal it would be. I’m glad I chose my La Sportiva Trango Extreme Evo Light GTX boots. The moment I stepped off the John Muir Trail, I was committed to careful foot placement on boulders ranging in size from cars to bowling balls. Literally, every step was crucial since the boulders are stacked in a chaotic granite wonderland of enormous proportions. Any mistake here could be very costly since few people are likely to be traveling in the same place off trail. The La Sportiva Trango has extremely good ankle support, ridiculous durability, and more importantly, a sole that protects the foot bed no matter how sharp the rock feature placed beneath. Anything less stout would have put my safety at risk.

North Side of Mt. St. Helens

North Side of Mt. St. Helens

Of course, that nature of your trip is what matters most. So if you are planning any type of adventure, consider seriously, the shoes or boots you are going to choose. Not only is that shoe choice going to affect the entire quality of your experience, it also will influence the safety of the trip. For lightweight backpacking, hiking, or running, I can attest to the quality, comfort, and durability of the Saucony Progrid Perigrine 2. It is my favorite shoe. For three season mountaineering, and strenuous backpacking, nothing competes with the La Sportiva Trango. The ankle support, footbed protection, and rugged construction make it perfect for serious mountain travel. Both are available for men and women. The basement at US Outdoor has the most knowledgeable staff in the state regarding hiking shoes, boots and trail running shoes. Be sure to take advantage of this wonderful Portland resource when you think about your next exciting trip.

Explore the South Central Oregon Outback

Summer Lake, Oregon Outback

Summer Lake, Oregon Outback

My spring break was spent in South Central Oregon at Summer Lake Hot Springs. The trip was meant to celebrate my ten year wedding anniversary. My wife picked out the hot springsbecause they are in the middle of nowhere, and our dogs could stay in the cabin with us. I never expected to find the entire region another gem of our state. The area offered an ideal combination of dramatic landscapes and solitude. If you haven’t been to this part of Oregon plan a road trip sometime soon.

Summer Lake Hot Springs is located just north of Paisley, OR. Camping and cabin rentals are available on site. The springs sit just under the Winter Rim near Summer Lake. It is similar to the Alford Dessert Hot Springs which sit below Steens Mountain. The main pool is located in a neat, super old barn style structure. Two outdoor pools are also available for views of the surrounding Mountains and desert.

Running at Cove Palisades

Running at Cove Palisades

The entire region is so huge, and far from any major cities, that we found more solitude than expected. Almost every business was eager to share neat things to see and do since they don’t seem to get enough visitors. We had a hard time picking the best places to hike on our trip down from Portland, and on our trip back. First, I ran the classic Tam-a-lau Trail in the Cove Palisades State Park. Then on our way back we played around at Fort Rock State Park. So many more options are available. We will probably spend a lifetime exploring only a small portion of the area.

If you do plan to take a trip into the Oregon Outback of South Central Oregon, be sure to bring along layerable clothing . The temperatures vary widely. Additionally bring hiking or running shoes , a swim suit , head wear , and sun glasses . Lots of books can give you ideas as to what is available in the region. Just make sure you allow yourself enough time to enjoy settling into the place. Oh, and feel free to keep this place a secret to protect its solitude. I currently feel guilty telling you about it, so heed my warning.

Mt. St. Helens Suprise

Running Toutle Canyon

Running Toutle Canyon

During late July, 2012, I took a couple of co-workers on a small backpack trip to Mt. St. Helens. I had been putting off trips there for years since I always assumed it had a homogenous landscape, was busy with tourists, and that special permits were required. I was pleasantly wrong on all accounts.

To begin with, no special fees or permits are required for lower elevation wilderness travel. All you need is a Northwest Forest Pass or Snow Park pass to parking, which you can purchase at the US Outdoor. Climbing fees and permits are only necessary for those who are attempting to summit the mountain. When the mountain is snow covered in winter and spring, the fee required is worth the price considering the pristine nature of the Mountain. The neat thing about Mt. St. Helen’s is that hikers reach timberline below 5000 feet. This makes accessing alpine environments less arduous than many of the other volcanoes in the area.

Indian Paintbrush

Indian Paintbrush

Regarding monotonous unchanging terrain, the mountain has undergone a massive transformation since it’s eruption on May 18, 1980. The trail systems include canyons, waterfalls, old growth hemlock forests, prairies, grasslands, and alpine flower environments. Traveling paints a picture of the destruction and rebirth of the many ecosystems surrounding the Mountain. Evidence of the explosion is apparent everywhere, but so is the magnificent succession of new species reoccupying the landscape. The flowers and ground covers are more diverse than any of the other Cascade volcanoes I’ve hiked. The dust and ash I expected instead seemed to nourish a rich botanical diversity with unique textures and color tones. The story that unfolds as you hike provides a new dimension to backpacking that no other wilderness can match.

West Side of St. Helens North Viewing

West Side of St. Helens North Viewing

Finally. Privacy. We all want to know where the secret places are that no one else goes. They don’t exist as we envision them. However, my visits to Mt. St. Helens typically include fewer visitors than I expect. My vision of tourists swarming the mountain has vanished. The only people I see are nature lovers with a mellow attitude and an appreciation for the beauty of the land. No ski lifts. No cash hungry mountain towns. Just the Mountain its self. Camp sites are available, and use is minimal. Serenity abounds at Mt. St. Helens during all four seasons. Hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and mountaineering all await those who choose to venture out.

If you have not yet hiked around Mt. St. Helens, then a wonderful opportunity awaits. A great way to see the whole mountain is the Loowit Trail. It circles the entire mountain, and offers views of all the amazing features and ecosystems surrounding the dramatic history of the place. Of course, any supplies or gear needed to maximize your experience can be found at US Outdoor.

Adventure Awaits: National Geographics Best Adventure Destinations for 2012

National Geographics Best Adventure Destinations for 2012

Biking in Bosnia

 

If that pesky travel bug is starting to itch, but you’re having a hard time figuring out where to jet off to, then take a look at this list of amazing adventures that National Geographic has come up with to suit your adventure needs. From swimming with whale sharks in Western Australia to hiking Newfoundland, this list is sure to have something that will get you excited for next year!

National Geographic Best Adventure Destinations for 2012

Which spot on this list are you dying to travel to? Or is there some other amazing destination that is on your dream list to visit next year?

 

Teva and Lucky the Penguin

If this video doesn’t bring a smile to your face and possibly a tear to your eye, you might not have a heart. Our friends at Teva came to the rescue a couple of months ago when Lucky, a penguin, was born at the Santa Barbara zoo with a limp in his foot. The limp made it difficult for him to get in and out of the water and would leave him prone to infections. That’s when Teva stepped in and helped to develop a boot for Lucky that would help him get around with his other penguin friends. The results are chronicled in this absolutely adorable video. It really makes me want to buy a penguin and every pair of shoes that Teva makes.

Check out the video and then make sure to check out our rad selection of  Teva’s that we have available on our website!