NYE – OUTDOOR EDITION

I know, I know, New Year’s resolutions are cheesy. We all make them, at least in our heads, and hardly ever live up to them. But this year is different because I’m talking outdoor resolutions. My New Year’s outdoor resolution is inspired by, or rather in spite of Kenny. Kenny works in the board shop. He’s a snowboarder and surfer, but his true gift is fly fishing, and thus he is my arch nemesis. Now if you know Kenny you would say how can he be anybody’s arch nemesis, he’s no Darth Vader or Lex Luthor, but you see Kenny has caught three Steelhead on a fly rod, and I have caught exactly zero. So my New Year’s outdoor resolution is to catch a steelhead on a fly.

Kenny on the Clackamas River

I spoke with three of U.S. Outdoor’s most intrepid outdoor explorers and these are their hopes for the New Year.

Kareen is a 27 year old native Oregonian that works in the camping and climbing department. This year she has three goals. She is planning a trip to Glacier Park in the spring with a good friend. She also picked up a used whitewater kayak last year and is planning on taking classes to learn the basics before she takes the plunge on going down a real river. But the thing she is most looking forward to doing is ski jouring with her dogs Gucci and Floyd. Gucci is a Husky German Shepard mix, and Floyd is a Black Lab and Rottweiler mix. These dogs were made for the snow.

GUCCI AND FLOYD

Ski jouring is where you harness up your dogs and they pull you in the snow. Ruffwear even makes a harness specifically for ski jouring. She plans on going to some of the mountain lakes around Mount Hood like Timothy Lake and Frog Lake. I asked her if she has anymore goals for the new year, she said, “Not get broken.” She broke her ribs last year snowboarding and it took her five months of rehab to get better. Not get broken. Good advice. Have fun this year Gucci and Floyd.

KAREEN AND GUCCI

KAREEN AND GUCCI ON THE TRAIL

Jen is another 27 year native Oregonian that works at U.S Outdoor. She works in the board department. Her main goal is to come back stronger than she has been in the past five years. She has had a full knee replacement and ACL reconstructive surgery in that time. Two summers ago she was skateboarding a bowl in Alaska when she went up to the top of the bowl and did a feeble, a skateboarding term for all you squares out there, as she came back down she landed wrong and heard a loud pop. A blown ACL. Since her surgery last year she has been on the road to recovery to accomplish her main goal this year. Splitboard Mount Shasta.

JEN SKATING A BOWL

JEN AFTER ACL SURGERY

She has been biking, walking and even doing a little running in her preparation for Mount Shasta. She is planning her trip for October of this year. I asked her what the hardest part of recovery was for her. It was not being able to do the things she loves the most, skateboarding and snowboarding. But she gave some great advice, “Surround yourself with positive things”, she said. She told me she has other things she loves to do, watching movies, doing her artwork, and just hanging out with friends. She also said that loving where you work helps. She may not be able to do the things she loves right now, but she gets to help people get into one of the activities she loves the most. Snowboarding. Surround yourself with positive things. More sage advice from another young lady at U.S. Outdoor. Good luck this year Jen.

JEN AT THOMPSON PASS IN ALASKA

Daniel is another U.S. Outdoor employee with an adventurous spirit. I’ll let him tell you in his own words.

DANIEL AT THE SOUTHERN TERMINUS

Plans for Summer 2018, The Pacific Crest Trail

This summer, Starting on May 18th, I will be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail through California, Oregon and Washington.

My first encounters with “Thru-Hiking” came in the summer of 2000 when my science teacher, Mr. Ryan sponsored a backpacking trip through the Three Sisters Wilderness Area in Central Oregon. The route was a simple one, heading south on the PCT from Lava Lake to Devils Lake 26 miles away. When we were unloading our gear and checking our equipment, two ragtag bearded men came to the parking lot looking for a ride into town. My Father, who was shaperoning the trip had been reading the Oregonians articles covering the journey that the two men were on, ironically. We gave them Snickers bars. They talked about their life for the three months the had been on trail. We said our goodbyes and on the final day of the trip in Wickiup Plains near South Sister I had decided that the seed had been firmly planted, and that I should probably hike the trail someday.

Fast forward to 2013. I had recruited the help of my dear friend M. Charlie Garros of Toulouse. I had met him in Turkey and whilst I was in Peru during the new year I had made the goal to shoot out around May 1st of that year. He flew in after reading my Facebook post. We hiked from Campo, where the the southern terminus is located, to Bishop Pass together, 846 miles in. I distinctly remember the Joshua Trees of the Mojave and the Western Junipers that grew ancient in the High Sierra, along with the many beautiful and dynamic individuals who shaped my ideas of friendship along the way. A combination of physical, mental, and financial stress had gotten me off the trail as Charlie continued to nearly the border at Manning Park, British Columbia, until an early winter storm cut off the final stretch in early October for him and many others.

Now, in 2018, I have felt a debt to the dream of hiking the trail. Spending not weeks but months in the wild is such a demanding goal that it has changed my reality in the city. Saving every penny, quitting smoking and drinking, and getting into a physical condition that would warrant hiking 30 miles a day for months are not only goals but necessities if success is possible. The gear that I’ve accumulated from a life suited to outdoor living will carry me to the southern terminus, but food resupplies, budgeting, and discipline will hopefully carry me to Manning Park. I look forward to the desert section of 700 miles with great anticipation. Crossing through 25 National Forests and seven National Parks, I look forward to long days and quiet nights in the backcountry. With some light mountaineering I can climb several non-technical peaks along the way for views, and the trail passes by Portland, my hometown, for inevitable beers with pals. When or if I finish will determine future plans to possibly accomplish the Triple Crown of hiking, which combines the PCT, the Continental Divide Trail (3100 miles) and the Appalachian Trail (2180 miles).

Wish me luck!

DANIEL AND CHARLIE ON THE TRAIL

Daniel asked us to wish him luck. I wish everyone luck in all their endeavours this year.

Even you Kenny.

A Total Solar Eclipse – The Chance Of A Lifetime

In case you haven’t heard, on August 21st there will be a total solar eclipse that will march it’s way across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. It will be the first time that has happened in 99 years. Pretty cool huh? What is an eclipse you ask? I’ll spare you all the nerdy talk about nodes, umbras, and penumbras; mostly because I don’t understand what they are, and give you the basics. A solar eclipse is where the moon’s shadow falls on the Earth, and a lunar eclipse is where the earth’s shadow falls on the moon. We’re talking about the upcoming solar eclipse.

This solar eclipse can be seen, at least partially, by everyone in North America. If you’re lucky enough to live here in Oregon there are many viewing options. Oregon Live has a great article 17 places to watch the 2017 solar eclipse around Oregon on the best places to view the eclipse. I’m going to view it in Portland(my wife has to work), where I’ll see 99.1% of the eclipse. If you live in the path of the totality, or you plan on traveling there, you’re in for a once in a lifetime spectacle.

Oregon path of totality.

Let me be clear, you will need special eclipse sunglasses Celestron Eclipse Solar Shades that stop 99.99 percent of the suns rays. Without these you can cause serious permanent damage to your eyes. The eclipse will start around 9:00 a.m. P.D.T., reaching totality around 10:15 am P.D.T. and leaving Oregon around 10:27 am, going on it’s way across the continent and ending it’s journey at the coast of South Carolina around 2:45 pm E.D.T. The path is approximately 70 miles wide and will be traveling 3,400 mph and slowing down to about 2,900 mph because by then it will be traveling higher in the sky. If you are in the totality, with the special eclipse glasses, you will see the shadow of the moon moving across the sun. This is what they call the “diamond ring effect.”

Diamond ring effect

After the “diamond ring effect” you are almost in totality. Then the phenomenon called the “Bailey’s Beads effect” will appear. Bits of light creeping through the various valleys, mountains and craters on the surface of the moon.

Baily’s beads effect

Then comes the totality. It only lasts around two minutes. Now you can take off your protective eyewear. The moon will completely cover the sun. Next you will see the corona, or the sun’s atmosphere. In that moment the birds will stop chirping and there will be a slight dip in the temperature. This is what you’ve been waiting for, the whole enchilada.

Total Solar Eclipse

Will seeing the totality change your life? Some people say it produces such a profound sense of awe that it changes your perspective on life forever. I for one am not hoping for an existential epiphany, after all I’m only going to see 99.1% of the eclipse. Maybe next time. However, this is the first legitimate excuse to have a beer in the morning in my life, and I’m going to take full advantage. I’m not saying I haven’t had a few pops in the morning, quite the contrary. In my college days when we had a 11:30 a.m. football game, my friends and I would throw back a few before we headed to the stadium. Go Cougs. The solar eclipse excuse is the ultimate.

So come on down to USOUTDOOR and get your eclipse sunglasses. It could change your life. Cheers.

-written by usoutdoor employee C.Tyrell