WINTER IS COMING; AND WITH IT A GREAT EXCUSE TO BUY NEW OUTFITS

Winter is rapidly approaching. I can already feel that familiar nip in the air. Thoughts of snow falling and pumpkin spiced lattes. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever had a pumpkin spiced latte. I’m more of a white mocha guy. As the season approaches and the mountain calls here are some new outfits you might want to check out. We’ve got new gear coming in daily.

Strafe is a new and exciting brand that we just started carrying. Daniel is wearing the Strafe Exhibition Jacket with the Strafe North Woods Bib. And to top it off he is sporting a Cole The Stanley Beanie.

And for you ladies, Kayla is decked out all in Volcom from top to bottom. A stylish Volcom Argentina Beanie for the noggin and to keep warm up on the mountain she’s wearing the Volcom Shadow Insulated Jacket. With an air of style and function the Volcom Species Stretch Pants fit great and give her the ease of movement to take deep turns in the powder. Looking good in the lodge, looking good on the hill.

This defiant outfit is totally Volcom. Daniel is sporting the Volcom L Gore-Tex Jacket coupled with the Volcom Roan Bib Overall. To keep his head, neck and face warm with a little incognito camo the Volcom Travelin Hood Thingy is just the ticket.

On the more demure side Kayla is wearing the warm and toasty The North Face Garner Triclimate Jacket with the The North Face Freedom Pant . To round it all out the The North Face Tech Glacier 1/4 Zip is a great moisture wicking baselayer.

Let’s not forget the crumb crunchers. We affectionately call our mannequin model little Jimmy Lipper. We didn’t have any 8 year old employees we could grab for the photo shoot. Nuts to those pesky child labor laws. To keep the cold at bay, but still looking cool little Jimmy is wearing an ensemble of The North Face and Orage. Gone are the days of layers upon layers of clothing to keep warm until you look like Randy, Ralphies little brother in The Christmas Story. I got a Red Rider B.B. Gun for Christmas when I was ten and never shot my eye out. I did shoot my friend D.J. in the head during the great B.B. gun war of 1992 when we were kids. But that’s another story. Back to Jimmy. He is wearing an Orage Kids Comox Jacket with the Orage Tarzo Pants. Underneath it all is the The North Face Glacier 1/4 Zip Fleece. And on top of his silver little melon is a The North Face Youth Bones Beanie. Winter is almost here. So come on down and do a little shopping. You won’t regret it.

ARBOR SNOWBOARDS FILM NIGHT – COSA NOSTRA

Come one come all. Friday night, September 22nd U.S. Outdoor will be hosting Arbor Snowboards first feature length film, “Cosa Nostra.” The Arbor team has spent two years making this movie. This event is for all ages, so bring the family. Everything is free. D.J. Klavical will be spinning, beginning at 5:30 till the start of the film; and then after the film till the party ends. Three riders from Arbor will be here; Frank April, Mark Carter, and Erik Leon. Hang out and talk snowboarding. There will also be a photo gallery up on the wall that coincides with the movie. This free event is sponsored by Rainer. And don’t forget the giveaways. There is an Arbor/Rainier snowboard collaboration and a surfboard by Catch Surf that will be raffled off, just to name a few. Also, we will have happy hour deals throughout the store between 5:30 and 7:30, so feel free to check out the whole shop.

A word to the wise, get here early to reserve your camp chair with a Rainier beer in the convenient cup holder.

ALEX AND DIZZY – AN OUTDOORSMAN AND HIS DOG

Alex Z., his wife and Dizzy moved to Portland two years ago from Chicago. He came to Oregon for the love of the outdoors. As a young man Alex became an Eagle Scout. This is where his passion for hiking, camping, and rafting began. One of his other passions is art. He has a B.F.A in glassblowing and sculpture. He has spent eleven years blowing glass all over the U.S. What he likes most about glassblowing is that it’s a strenuous activity with all the heat and weight of the glass. Alex believes that stress brings out the best in people. He originally came out here to blow glass, but his priorities shifted and the US Outdoor Store became a better fit. It gives him the flexibility to pursue his Masters in Education. Plus, at the US Outdoor Store we can bring our dogs to work. How could Alex and Dizzy resist.

Dizzy is a nine year old Australian Kelpie. Alex raised him from a pup. This breed is highly intelligent and has the need for lots of exercise. A perfect fit for Alex and his love for all things outdoors. Dizzy is his constant companion for hiking, camping, biking, even snowshoeing. Dizzy likes to barrel through the snow like a little torpedo with legs. He is in his element. One of Alex’s favorite memories was when Dizzy was still a pup and saw snow for the first time. He got so excited and started jumping in the air to catch the snowflakes. They spent hours on a trampoline they had in the yard bouncing and catching the snow.

Alex and Dizzy have criss crossed the country several times. Like Mad Max and his dog driving and having adventures throughout the countryside. Only without freaks in leather outfits trying to kill them. They have visited the Appalachian Mountains, the Smoky Mountains, Rocky Mountains, and the Cascades Mountain ranges. One of Dizzy’s favorite things is water. Going through Colorado one day they stopped for a hike. Dizzy was having a great time splashing and swimming in some streams. Then he decided to jump in the Colorado River proper. It was a scary moment for Alex. But Dizzy, a professional, pulled it off.

Dizzy at the shop

As summer turns to fall; Alex and Dizzy’s favorite time of year, because winter is coming. You should come down to the shop and check out all our shop dogs, but make sure you go down to camping so you can meet Dizz the Fearless. Stay gold Dizzy.

EAGLE CREEK FIRE

Eagle Creek is the most popular spot to recreate in the Columbia Gorge. The Eagle Creek trail hosts spectacular views as you pass by many waterfalls. The payoff is the iconic Punchbowl falls. The water spills down a hundred feet into a blue-green bowl. It looks like something out of a fairy tail. At the end of the trail, just for good measure, is Tunnel Falls. The trail passed through a tunnel behind the falls. It’s awesome.

View of the Eagle Creek fire from across the Columbia River

On Saturday September 2nd a fire was reported at Eagle Creek in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. It was started by some teenagers who had the brilliant idea of throwing fireworks off a cliff. Now, we were all teenagers once, and probably did some pretty dumb stuff, I certainly did, so I’m not calling for jail time. Just some community service till they’re in their 40’s. Hey, maybe they should plant some trees. Overnight the fire had spread to about 3,000 acres, and by Tuesday to 200,00 acres. Embers had flown across the Columbia River and started a fire at Archer Mountain. Can you dig that? The fire was so huge that it started a fire across one of the widest rivers in the world. Unbelieveable.

As of this Saturday morning the fire has expanded to 33,682 acres and is 7% contained. There is a massive effort to combat this fire. There are 987 firefighters, 102 engines, and 12 helicopters dumping water from the Columbia onto the fire. One of the great things to come out of disasters like this are the heroic efforts of our emergency personnel. Sunday night the jewel of the Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls Lodge, had come under danger of being destroyed. Flames had lit up the entire ridge behind the lodge, coming as close as 30 yards. By midnight Monday it was a close call. The firefighters had to constantly douse the lodge with water. The roof is cedar and they were worried one ember could spark a blaze. Crews had to replenish their water from Multnomah Creek. There are no fire hydrants at the lodge. By 3 a.m. they had beaten the blaze back. The crews are going to stay until they are 100% sure the lodge is safe.

The Hero’s of Multnomah Lodge

The Eagle Creek fire is far from over and if you would like to help here are a few ways to do so:

Hood River County Search & Rescue

American Red Cross

SMITH ROCK STATE PARK – AN INTRODUCTION

I first went to Smith Rock State Park in the late 1990’s. It is truly one of the most beautiful and unique places that I have ever seen. As with all things cool, it was born out of a volcanic eruption. 300 million years ago the eruption shot ash and debris into the air. When it settled Smith Rock was created. Then half a million years ago lava flowed into the area and hardened the rocks. Over time erosion and the Crooked River formed magnificent Smith Rock State Park.

There are many things to do in Smith Rock State Park. There is a first come first serve camping area with bathrooms and showers, and it’s vast 621 acres provides hiking and horseback trails. From these you can see massive amounts of amazing animals. There is a family of River Otters that live in the Crooked River. Mule deer, marmots(I took a quiz online and this is my Smith Rock spirit animal), lizards, and rattlesnakes all dot the landscape. If you look into the sky you will see bald eagles, canadian geese, northern harriers, ospreys, great blue herons, and one of the biggest birds of prey in North America, the golden eagle. But most come here for the climbing.

Smith Rock State Park

The thing I love about climbing is the adrenaline rush you get with minimal risk. I know, minimal risk you say; have you seen Cliffhanger with Sly Stallone. That scene where that woman’s harness buckle breaks and she plunges thousands of feet to her untimely death. No wonder Black Diamond was going to sue. That would never happen. Anyway, I’ll go climb, but I would never ride my bike downtown; too risky. It’s also relatively cheap to start climbing. All you need are some climbing shoes, harness, belay device, about five locking carabiners, fourteen quickdraws , a rope and rope bag, some chalk with a chalk bag, an anchor and a personal anchor. All this will run you about six hundred bucks. Small change for a new and exciting passion in your life. And if you live near Portland, Smith Rock is only three hours away.

US Outdoor employee Dan G. sport climbing Smith Rock

Smith Rock is the birthplace of sport climbing in the U.S.. Sport climbing is a type of climbing that relies on the use of permanent anchors, or bolts fixed to the rock for protection. You climb up the route, clip into the bolt with a quickdraw, clip the quickdraw to your rope and move up to the next bolt, and on and on. Alan Watts, the father of sport climbing, started climbing Smith back in the 1980’s. Back then there were only a small group of core climbers at Smith, now it has become a destination for climbing all over the world. One of the great things about Smith Rock is the diversity of places to climb and the amount of routes, there are close to 2000. Monkey Face, To Bolt or Not to Be, Five Gallon Bucket, Crybabies, and Just Do It, a 5.14c that at one time was the hardest sport route in North America, are just a few of the famous climbs of Smith Rock.

You can see why Smith Rock is a world renowned climbing destination. Which is why the American Alpine Club is having the SMITH ROCK CRAGGIN’ CLASSIC, a 3-day climbing festival at Smith Rock. It’s starts September 15th and goes to the 17th. It’s a celebration of climbing one of the great crags in the world. There will be food and beer, and you can stop by for some of the clinics taught by professional climbers. You should probably go before the beer. Two US Outdoor climbers, Alex H. and Dan G. will be there, you will be able to spot them by the US Outdoor shirts they will be wearing. Dan’s got a pretty impressive beard, and Alex, well, he’s pretty. So stop by the pop up tent, pick up some swag and talk to those guys about climbing. They know their stuff. And like I said, the beard.

Labor Day Weekend – Things to do in Oregon

Labor Day is fastly approaching, and for some of you it’s the last hurrah of the summer. So let’s go out with a bang.

Labor Day, or the working man’s holiday, was first proposed by labor union leader Peter Maguire in 1882. It was celebrated in New York City on September 5th of that year. It gained popularity across the nation in 1884, and in 1887 Oregon became the first state to legislate Labor Day as a holiday. I guess we really were Trailblazers. In 1894 Congress follow suit and declared the first Monday in September a legal holiday. Why the first Monday in September? It was halfway between Independence day and Thanksgiving. Clever. Oh, and by the way, you can’t wear white after Labor Day. This means you Michael. Here are some things you should consider doing Labor Day weekend.

Nothing says summer like floating the river. When I was a teenager every year we had the “Unboat Race” in August. It was the highlight of the summer. We would make the Unboat, which was basically a deck on inner tubes, the day and night before the race. Then at the crack of dawn we would haul it down to the river and put in. Boiled down, it was a great excuse to hang out with pretty girls in bikinis. I know, a little creepy, but give me a break here, I was a dork with a mullet, it was one of the few chances I had to hang out with girls.

There are plenty of places to float in Oregon, but you must have the basics. First, the float tube. You could go old school and get a dirty old inner tube, or you could up your game and get a float tube with a backrest and beverage holders like this one; Airhead Fiji Float Chair. For a bald guy like me I usually wear a booney hat to protect my dome from the sun, but when it’s hot out I end up taking it off. The resulting peeling on my head looks something like a reptilian/alien hybrid. Not pretty. You should bring along some sunscreen. Some type of water shoe is a must. You could wear a pair of old tennis shoes, but they fill up with water and tend to weigh you down. Flip flops would be gone a in minute. I prefer Chaco’s or Teva’s, they stay on your feet, have good traction, and work great in the water and on land. Plus you’ll look cool with the criss cross tan lines on your feet.

Sandy River

One of the best rivers to float is the Sandy. It’s close to Portland, slow and does not have a lot of rapids. There are many public beaches along the way and lots of houses, so you will have some company to give cheers to. The best route is Dabney State Recreation Area to Lewis and Clark State Recreation Site.

Clackamas River

The Clackamas River is a little more adventurous. It has more rapids than the Sandy, and it’s more secluded. The most popular launch is from Milo McIver State Park. Here you can float down to Barton Park or Carver Park.

Deschutes River

The Deschutes River is one of my favorite places to fly fish, and depending on where I am on the river I see a lot of people floating or rafting. Plus, if you launch in the town of Bend there’s lots of things to do, including visiting the many breweries Bend has to offer. This link will give you the skinny on floating the Deschutes from Bend. I know it’s cliche, but “Float On.”

TimothyLake

One of my favorite lakes in the Mt. Hood National Forest is Timothy Lake. It’s probably my favorite because I’ve actually caught fish here. It has everything to offer, including; camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, you get the picture. Plus it has an awesome view of Mt. Hood. Can I still say “Awesome”. When I was a kid we said “Rad”. Now I know I can’t say that.

Oregon State Fair

You could also head to Salem for the Oregon State Fair. It starts August 25th through September 4th. What can I say about the Oregon State Fair. Weird fried foods, plenty of adult beverages, and hoping you don’t blow chunks on one of the many rides they have to offer. There are also plenty of concerts. To name a few; Dwight Yokum, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Eddie Money, and if you want to relive the “Caddyshack” soundtrack, Kenny Loggins will be there. What I like about that movie besides the dancing gopher, are the names of the cast. Ty Webb, Al Czervik, Dr. Beeper, Judge Smails, and my favorite – Lacey Underall. And for the kids there are over forty carnival rides. There are also Pig Races, Mmmmm bacon, Pony Rides, and a petting zoo with a wide assortment of baby animals; deer, ducks, wallabies, and miniature donkeys. It wouldn’t be a state fair if there wasn’t a pie eating contest. Count me out. Remember that scene in the movie “Stand by Me”, boy that was rough. I know, two movie references in one blog, but indulge me. Anyway you should check it out.

-written by usoutdoor employee C.Tyrell