Author: Scott Janz

Scott Janz September 29, 2016 0

Episode 3: The Pickle Pop

Backpacking food is a broad subject. Each person has their own unique likes and dislikes. In this episode, Scott & Ariane tackle the Freeze Dried Food Myth and talk about alternatives’s that are available in your local grocery store. Don’t throw away your Mountain House bags! Recycle them, and use them for other foods that  need to be re-hydrated and save some money.

They also discuss which foods to bring in what Season. What foods will keep you warm in Winter? What foods will keep  you hydrated in the Summer?

Highlights: 

Never bother Ariane while she’s eating

Creme brulee – the best desert ever!

Knorr foods – get creative!

The Pickle Pop is amazing!

Have a favorite backcountry recipe or foodie? Share with us in comments below. We would love to see them. Subscribe in iTunes and get this podcast every Thursday in your feed.

Scott Janz September 27, 2016 0

Top 5 Fall Backpacking Destinations

Fall is when most hikers, backpackers, and campers really get motivated to get out into nature and soak in all the colors of the Season. So we put together the top 5 backpacking destination to see spectacular fall colors and hike some amazing trails. We stayed within the Midwest, and Southeast and judged on easy to park, trail head access, and fall views.

  • The Appalachian Trail – The Appalachian Trail is a National-Scenic Trail and the first one completed in the U.S. Finished in 1937, the trail starts atop tFall on the AThe suitably epic-sounding Mount Katahdin in Maine and terminates 2,175 miles later, on Springer Mountain in Georgia. Try the 104-mile section that winds through the Shenandoah Valley National Park in Virginia. With neither the humidity of Georgia nor the arduous climbs of New England, it’s gentle and addictive. The great thing about the AT, it covers 13 States, so almost anyone living in any one of them has no excuse to trek out on an adventure. You can backpack or just enjoy a day hike on the AT, as there are many trail heads and parking areas for easy access. The best resource for accessing these parking areas is the AT Trail Guide, used for Appalachian Thru-Hikers

 

  • Hoking Hills State Park  – Not everything in Ohio is flat. Hocking Hills, an hour south of Columbus, is every bit the equal of better-known parks, and threaded with waterfalls, towering hemlocks, and limestone gorges. Hike the plunging gorge of Conkle’s Hollow, opting for the Rim Trail for a thorough work out. Southern Ohio has some of the best backpacking around. Fall is one of the most beautiful times in Southern Ohio as the colors are brilliant and and scenery is stunning.  If you want to experience some beautiful scenery, and peak fall colors, this is the place to go in the Midwest. Unless you are in Ohio, you probably have never heard of this place. But once you do your research, we bet you make an effort to visit the Park. It’s one amazing hidden gem right smack in the Midwest. Hocking Hills State Park is located within the Zaleski State Forest. If you go backpacking, hike the Zaleski State Forest Backpack Trail which is a 23 mile loop hike.
  • Smoky Mountain National Park – Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the best places in the country for viewing fall colors. Due to the diversity of trees and its broad elevation range, leaf peepers and hikers can usually enjoy the beauty of fall colors for several weeks in the Smokies. Of course. you will be competing with large crowds in the month of October which is their busiest months of the year. Even though it’s hard to predict the exact dates of “peak” colors in advance. It’s a good bet that the middle of October is a good time to go. Get away from the crowds and camp at the Cosby Campground and hit the trail from there. Cosby Campground is high in elevation and smaller than the rest of the campgrounds.  Make Cosby your base camp and go on a 2 night backpacking trip, you won’t be dissapointed.
  • Porcupine Mountain Wilderness in the U.P of Michigan – This maybe one of our favorite places in the entire country to visit during Peak Fall. The Porkupine Mountain Wilderness covers 60,000 acres and is Michigan’s largest state park. Going backpacking in this wilderness is a real treat. With creeks, and stream crossings, along with remote cabins to rent, this is one amazing place to be outdoors. The cabins have no running water or electricity. The best part, is they are on your backpacking route if you choose the right trail. Backpack along the Lake Superior Trail and camp along Lake Superior to watch the sunset. This forest makes for some particularly attractive color during the fall. You can get some of the best fall color pictures in the Upper Peninsula. Visit the Lake of the Clouds overlook and see Fall colors forever.  Easy access to the Trail Heads by car.

 

  •  Charles Deam WildernessIf you are traveling or living in Illinois or Indiana, this is a MUST for Fall. Lots of trees make for great fall colors! The Charles C. Deam Wilderness is our top pick for underestimated Peak Fall hikes. This is a great place to hike in the Hoosier National Forest about an hour south of Indianapolis near Indiana University just outside of Bloomington. Top 5 Fall Backpacking destinations
    Enter the Wilderness and drive to Tower Ridge Road about five miles from Knightridge Road lies a fire tower, which is excellent for leaf viewing. Climb the fire tower and see reds and oranges visible to make the scenery spectacular. There is plenty of backpacking opportunities to take advantage of. Backpack on the many trails in Charles Deam and you won’t believe you are in Indiana.

 

 

Best North America Backpacking Trails
Scott Janz September 27, 2016 3

North America Top 10 Hikes

If you had to pick the best trail to go backpacking on, where would you pick? We pick the top 10 Backpacking experiences in North America. The criteria we to pick the top ten was simple. Views, the length of hike, and difficultly. First we looked at views. What would a backpacker experience in the Backcounty when hiking a specific trail? How long is the trail itself? We thought it best to stick with a trail that would take at least a weekend to complete. Of course, we looked at how difficult was the hike going to be. As an avid Backpacker, I tend to look for a more “strenuous” hike. So getting the blood pumping was the thought here.

Here is our TOP TEN LIST:

10: KAIBAB TRAIL – Grand Canyon, Arizona – South Rim to North Rim adventure, real risk of heat stroke! 3 days is ideal 20.6mi plus sidetrips. WHY WE LIKE THIS HIKE? This is the only trail in the Park, including Bright Angel, maintained consistently the hike crosses the only bridge spanning the Colorado River. Best time to hike is Spring, or Fall. Bring lots of water, and NEVER try backpacking this trail without the proper permits.

9: PARIA CANYON– Arizona/Utah, canyon walk in knee-deep water, some risk of flash floods, minimum 4 days, 3 nights, 37.5mi WHY WE LIKE THIS HIKE? High, colorful, sculpted red-rock walls, walking in knee deep water is fun, if you have good shoes, pictographs & historical artifacts. Better get your permit now because only 20 hikers are allowed in at any given time.

8: TETON CREST TRAIL-Wyoming. 3-5 days depending on route 31-40 mi depending on route WHY WE LIKE THIS HIKE? Grand views of the toothy Tetons, the most striking range in the Rockies, the challenge of several high passes, and good chance to see marmot, American Bison, Moose, Pronghorn, Wapiti (elk), or Mule Deer in the Park.

7: CHILKOOT TRAIL– Alaska. Just on the first day (Sheep to Happy) is long and exhausting! 5 days, 4 nights recommended, 33miles. WHY WE LIKE THIS HIKE? An astonishingly wide variety of terrain and scenery. Temperate rain forest to high alpine to boreal forest, and the hike is well managed with full-time maintenance

6: THE FLORIDA TRAIL Florida. Hit this Trail and a collection of loop and linear trails on public lands throughout Florida. 1,400 mile trail. WHY WE LIKE THIS HIKE?  Trail heads are all close to main roads, climate is good, although hot. Well maintained trail. Be prepared to hike a long distance in water.

5: Mt. WHITNEY TRAIL California – 3 days, 2 nights is ideal due to altitude 22mi round trip with an elevation gain of 6100ft WHY WE LIKE THIS HIKE? No climbing gear needed surprisingly easy if you get good weather it’s a beautiful and impressive peak. Permits are hard to get however, so apply early and be prepared.

4: COLORADO TRAIL Colorado.  Thru hikers should allow at least 4 – 6 weeks between late June and early September to cover the entire 483 miles. WHY WE LIKE THIS HIKE? CT offers a wide range of elevations and levels of difficulty, accommodating a variety of skill levels and hiking preferences. Awesome Views. Colorado is a awesome state to live in, let along hike through.

3: THE LONG TRAIL Vermont.  With its 270-mile footpath, 175 miles of side trails, and nearly 70 primitive shelters, the Long Trail offers endless hiking opportunities for the day hiker, weekend overnighter, and extended backpacker. Do this in the Fall, and  you may find yourself moving to Vermont.

2: APPALACHIAN TRAIL Georgia – Maine. After completing this  hike in 2003, there is no way this can be off our top 10 list. This 13 state trek is about is as close to finding a new family than actually being adopted by one. The community of this trail is a magical experience.  WHY WE LIKE THIS HIKE? The Appalachian Trail offers a variety of hikes. Day hikes, Thru-Hikes, Section Hikes, it has a different hike for everyone. It  makes no difference whether you are a pro hiker or a beginner. This is America’s Trail.

1: PACIFIC CREST TRAIL  Zigzagging its way from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) boasts the greatest elevation changes of any of America’s National Scenic Trails, allowing it to pass through six out of seven of North America’s ecozones including high and low desert, old-growth forest and artic-alpine country. Indeed, the PCT is a trail of diversity and extremes. WHY WE LIKE THIS HIKE? From scorching desert valleys in Southern California to rain forests in the Pacific Northwest, the PCT offers hikers a unique, varied experience.

If you have favorite trails that you think should be on our list, let us know. OR, wanna write your own favorite list? Apply to become a Trail Blogger with us.

Scott Janz September 20, 2016 0

Grand Canyon and Thunder River

Backpacking in the Grand Canyon has always been a bucket list trip for me. But never did I think the opportunity would present itself to lead a trip into her grandness. We could have done something a bit more touristy like backpacking from the South Rim and some of the more popular routes. But that’s just NOT how we role.

I was able to secure permits for the North Rim and the Thunder River Deer Creek route. The route is a favorite of some guiding companies that take people down into the Canyon. It’s hard, but doable. It’s also a route where water (in the Spring and Fall) is plenty full. However, make NO MISTAKE about it. You will HAVE to cache your water on the way down, to make it back up without dehydration taking place.

Trip Report:

You would think finding a 50 mile wide gap in the earth would be easy. Not so much coming through the dense Kaibab National Forest. The North Rim is deceptive, and it took us a lot longer to find Monument Point where are trip begins. We left Flagstaff, AZ early in the wee hours of the morning to get to the North Rim by 9:00 AM (to beat the heat of the sun). We got lost of course and didn’t get to the Bill Hall Trail Head until 11:30.

Bill Hall Trail Head to the Thunder River Trail. The Bill Hall trail traverses down 3,000 feet into the Esplanade where you can camp for the night. This is where you need to cache your water. There is NO water at the Esplanade and you still need to hike down another 3,000 feet to water. The Esplanade will also be the place you come back up. Remember NO WATER. There is a nice cave to camp in on the Esplanade to take in the view of the canyon. It’s on the way to the RED WALL where the drop really starts. When you get to the Trail Head of the Bill Hall and Thunder River trail, keep going about another mile or so and look for hiding spots to cache water. This is also the place where guides cache their water also.

The Thunder River Trail treks to the RED WALL where you will have about 52 or so switchbacks down to Surprise Valley. OH, you’ll see the Colorado River right before you make your way down, and say “oh wow we’re close”. NO NO NO. You still have a FULL DAY. The trail is very rocky and slippery. Watch your step while going down the Red Wall. The views however are amazing!

Surprise Valley: Do why they call it that? Because people thought they were close to the River…”surprise”.

Thunder River Trail to Tapeats Creek: There are two campgrounds. Upper Tapeats, and Lower Tapeats (PDF). Always choose Lower Tapeats. It’s on the Colorado River. Upper is NOT. However, both campsites only accommodate a few tents. Make sure you understand you maybe sharing a tent on this route.

Thunder River is the smallest river in the World. Only about 1,200 feet when it hits Tapeats Creek. Stop and have a good lunch at Thunder River. You can get some shade under the trees and stand right next to the thunderous stream of water shooting out of the side of the Grand Canyon. After lunch be prepared for some strenuous backpacking. The Thunder River trail crosses the Tapeats Creek twice (which is flowing pretty damn good in the Spring). You will be on a amazing ridge going up, then coming back down to cross the Tapeats again. You will then go way up about 800 feet to see the Colorado River and Lower Tapeats Campsite. (which looks really tiny when you way up there) Dropping down 800 feet to get to Lower Tapeats will probably take your breath away and pray that you don’t slip. (Just sayin, it’s steep).

Relax, you on the Colorado River, and congrats, it’s taken you two days to hike 10 miles.

You have two options at this point. Hike up and connect to the Deer Creek Trail on Surprise Valley. OR backpack along the Colorado River on a “route”, (that is not marked by the NPS by the way). Follow the Carrins to Deer Creek which is only 3 miles away. This route has it’s challenges. You should pack a 50 foot cord on this trip also. There are few places where you may have to scramble and hoist your backpack up or down. This route is one of them. You will climb away from the Colorado River when you start getting close to Deer Creek. img_3741

Deer Creek. It really is an oasis. You scramble down into the “Patio” and think it’s something out of Vegas. Almost looks man made it’s so perfect. This is where you are brought the “gift” of Mother Nature. One of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Follow the Deer Creek through the Patio where the creek has cut a huge gorge through the Canyon. The trail can get narrow, but you will soon come out to one of the most scenic views in the Grand Canyon. Hike down another 800 feet to a waterfall that empties into the Colorado River.

Take a day off and enjoy this amazing desert oasis because you are gonna have to climb back up to 8,000 feet.

The Deer Creek trail leaves the campground and goes up, up, up. Take time to read your map. It can be a bit tricky because it doesn’t look like you can hike up over the ridge.  After you get on the ridge the trail is quite tiny in width. But it’s not long until you are in Surprise Valley again and hiking back up the Red Wall.

Here is the NPS route info:(pdf)

Bill Hall Trail (down)

Thunder River Trail (down)

Colorado River (Route) (across)

Deer Creek Trail (up)

Thunder River Trail (up)

Bill Hall Trail (up) and out!

[geo mashup]
Scott Janz September 20, 2016 0

Episode 1: Intro

In our very first Podcast, we introduce ourselves and share what our subscribers can expect from our weekly show.

Scott Janz September 12, 2016 0

How to Clean Your Brain by Hitting the Trail

As an outdoor Instructor and someone who has backpacked for a long time, I often hear a ton of excuses as to why people just can’t find the time to spend a weekend outdoors.  With the “healthy living” movement, you would think that people would be rushing outdoors to get their “hike on”. But actually, people are spending more time indoors than outdoors.

In a article published in the LA Times James Cambell wrote:

Are we as Americans actually losing our connection to the outdoors? Conservation ecologist Patricia Zaradic of the Environmental Leadership Program and conservation biologist Oliver Pergams of the University of Illinois at Chicago have documented a disturbing trend of declining per-capita visits to national parks and forests, drops in park attendance, and other sliding indicators of nature recreation since the late 1980s. They see at work a fundamental cultural shift away from nature.

But the Healthy Lifestyle is growing…

According to www.franchisehelp.com “People will spend hundreds of hard earned money each year to get healthy. In fact, one out of every five Americans are heading to the gym, or at least paying for a membership. Which puts the fitness industry in a pretty sweet spot: a largely unhealthy and overweight population is looking for ways to get in shape. Whether it’s pumping iron like our forefathers or the newest trampoline workout – there is an immense appetite for exercise. Over 54 million Americans paid gym membership fees in 2014, and for the second year in a row actual visits to the gyms exceeded 5 billion! The average member visited their club over 100 times, an all-time high. Memberships have grown 18.6% between 2008 and 2014, and the trend continued in 2015”

Going to the Gym is GREAT, and definitely a hand clap is appropriate here. (hands clapping). But where does your Vitamin D come from unless they have put treadmill outside? What about your psychological health? Your mental health? Isn’t that part of “the healthy lifestyle?” It doesn’t do anyone any good if we are in great psychical shape if our stress level at work is through the roof.

In an article written by PAUL G. MATTIUZZI, PH.D. http://www.everydaypsychology.com/ he explains the need to “CLEAN YOUR BRAIN”. He writes:

“Psychological health is important with respect to how we function and adapt, and with respect to whether our lives are satisfying and productive. In the end, psychological health and well-being basically has to do with the question: “how are you doing?” 

If your answer is “Not Good”, then maybe a dose of extreme Nature is what you need.  This is why WE think that maybe you should take your workout on the Trail. (with a backpack on of course)

If you are spending time indoors and not out on the trail. New research say’s that is NOT OK.

In an Article published on http://www.healthline.com/ Vitamin D fights disease. In addition to its primary benefits, research suggests that vitamin D may also play a role in:

  • reducing your risk of multiple sclerosis, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
  • decreasing your chance of developing heart disease, according to 2008 findings published in Circulation
    helping to reduce your likelihood of developing the flu, according to 2010 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

D fights depression

Research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. In one study, scientists found that people with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms.

Healthy Living is a balance between eating right, exercise and “cleaning your brain”.  The “trail” offers all those and much more. So next time you get that Gym Membership bill in the mail, or your feeling completely stressed out, or maybe even think you need to drop a few pounds. Remember, the trail is always near by, patiently waiting for you to partake. So tear up that bill, get your gear on, pack a pack, and get out there.

 

Scott Janz September 7, 2016 2

To Carry or Not to Carry the Bear Canister

Bear Canisters and the governing rule to carry them in some wilderness areas and on some parts of our National Park Trails has come to some debate recently. Are they working to keep Bears from associating people (backpackers) with food?  Each governing  agencies have different rules regarding their canister requirements in different parts of the backcountry. National Park Service, or Federal Wilderness Agencies each can post different requirements. For example: On some parts of the Appalachian Trail, Thru-Hikers are required to carry a Bear Canister IF you camp on that section of the AT. While in other Wilderness Area’s you are required to carry a Bear Canister at all times.

The question then is: Are Bear Canisters really necessary in order to protect your food, protect the bear, and protect the next backcountry user? In our opinion the answer is “NO”. We think we could make them obsolete if everyone practiced “wildlife avoidance” techniques and mastered the hanging your food bag the right way. Of course Bear Canisters were specially made so that novice backpackers could keep their food safe and have hopefully keeping a Bear alive.

Bear Canisters for obvious reasons are made and enforced to protect the BEAR, NOT YOU. After all, if a “problem Bear” get’s into your food or challenges you for your food, more than likely that bear is a dead bear. YOU on the other hand hike out hungry and probably a little scared, but alive.  All to often (especially in the Smokies) do we hear that Bears have been put down for being too aggressive for food. Which raises a different debate: Are Bears starting to learn that people in the backcountry equals food for THEM? YIKES!

The worst we witness for “wildlife avoidance” is seen on a regular basis at AT Trail Shelters. They are literally becoming a den of garbage with food everywhere. Which is why I NEVER camp in them anymore. Here are a few tips to practice “Wildlife Avoidance”.

We looked for some good tips on “wildlife/bear avoidance” and found a great article by Andrew Skurka:

Food protection techniques in bear country

“DON’T camp where you cook. Cook at least a few hundred yards away from your campsite, downwind, preferably in an airy area where there is a gentle breeze to disperse the scents.

DON’T camp in established sites or near popular trails. The bears live in the backcountry (duh!), and they know exactly where their “neighbors” live. And in heavy-use areas, it is more likely that a previous backcountry user has acted improperly and encouraged problem bear behavior (e.g. by leaving trash at their campsite, or leaving food unprotected on a log while they went to get water or watch the sunset). Bears are more likely to visit these areas regularly because they know their odds of obtaining an easy meal are better.

TRY and camp in un-designated, non-established sites. However, make sure you practice LNT and cover up your camp area when you pack up. When the bears make their evening “rounds,” they are less likely to come across you. If you are in an area where camping in designated areas is required (e.g. Glacier, the Smokies and Yellowstone National Parks), this is sometimes not possible, but thankfully there is usually good food-protection infrastructure at these sites.

CARRY food in odor-proof bags. These bags (such as the OP Sacks from Watchful Eye Designs) will help make me “invisible” to the bears.

DISPOSE YOUR TRASH ASAP. Bears have a great nose. Your trash smells and lingers odors. Again, having a Odor-proof bags for trash is a good idea also, and make sure you constantly are disposing trash regularly.”

DO NOT THINK that throwing your trash in the fire is preventing wildlife from eating your garbage. My domesticated Dog goes right to the fire pit every time we go backpacking. If my dog knows the smell of food in the fire pit so does every other wildlife that lives there. Burning your trash is bad for the environment and doesn’t work to deter bear encounters. I had a Bear right behind me one time savaging through another fire pit. Also, don’t think that just because you are caring a Bear Canister that you are safe from Bears getting into your stuff. If you are cooking next to your tent, with your Bear Canister right next to you, what difference does it make that you have a Bear Canister?  The Bear (who smells the food soaked into your nylon tent) will just make a grab for your tent. Sometimes with you in it. They’ll also (often) carry off your backpack also. But hey! your food will be safe I guess. 🙂

Having said all that: My take on canisters is this… They are heavy, bulky, expensive, and they are uncomfortable to carry their cylindrical shape that fits awkwardly in small packs. Andrew Skurka

We agree! Canisters would be unnecessary if everyone practiced the “wildlife avoidance” techniques described above and mastered the (video) PCT Bear Hang Method.

We need to be good stewards of our outdoor environment. Which means protecting wildlife from being put down because you were too lazy to cook away from a Shelter or Tent. We have it in our control to eliminate the need for Bear Canisters if we want to. Bears are usually the victims of the “food” issues. But practicing good habits, also protect your food from Mice, Raccoons, Marmot, and all other little pesky creatures lurking for YOUR food in the night.

Let us know what you think?

Scott Janz September 5, 2016 0

What Thru-Hikers are Saying About Baxter State Park

With the rise in media attention about the Appalachian Trail such as books, and recent movies (A Walk In The Woods) Baxter State Park is worried about the influx of traffic already a problem in the pristine part of Maine.

Trail officials, like Polfus, are working with park leaders to alleviate chronic friction points, such as litter, alcohol and drug use on the trail, as well as large groups ascending Baxter Peak to party in celebration of the mammoth journey. Too many thru-hikers are inviting large parties into campgrounds set aside for trail hikers, and bringing dogs falsely marked as service animals, said Jensen Bissell, the park’s director.

“We are concerned that any significant increase [in AT hikers in Baxter] will strain the current system beyond its capacity,” Bissell wrote. Park officials “do not plan on expanding lodging availability or staffing effort for AT hikers in Baxter Park.”

So, to get more Thru-Hikers aware of Baxter, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy asked Hikers what they new of Baxter State Park. In the first episode of our Trail Talk series, we ask 2016 Appalachian Trail thru-hikers: what do you know about Baxter State Park and ethical hiking practices?

More videos from Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Scott Janz September 5, 2016 0

Hanging A Bear Bag – 2CR Method

Bryan Delay has 30 years of backpacking experience and has done all 900 miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  6 years ago we made a popular video on How to Hang a Bear Bag PCT style. With over 75.000 views, Bryan is back with even a new and improved version of “Hanging a Bear Bag”.

This video is a description of hanging a bear bag using two cords and a ring (2CR method).

The line used to throw over the limb (“Throw Line”) is about 50 feet of 1.75 MM Zing It cord which can be found at this link:

http://www.samsonrope.com/Pages/Produ…

The line that goes through the ring and used pull up the food bag (“Pull Line”) is about 30 feet of 2 MM Aircore Spectra Plus, which can be hard to find so any 2 MM utility cord will work. I prefer a 2 MM utility cord as a Pull Line since it’s easier on the hands than the Zing It cord.

On one end of the Throw Line is attached a stainless steel ring (a carabiner or pulley can be used instead of a stainless ring) using a figure 8 loop and then the loop is girth hitched to the steel ring. On the other end of the Throw Line is attached a stainless steel #0 Nite Ize S-Biner using a slip knot loop and then the loop is girth hitched to #0 S-Biner.

On one end of the Pull Line is attached a stainless steel #1 Nite Ize S-Biner using a figure 8 loop and then the loop is girth hitched to the #1 S-Biner. On the other end of the Pull Line is tied a figure 8 loop.

Below is a step by step instruction for the 2CR bear bag system:

1. Unwind both cords and lay untangled on the ground.

2. Run the #1 S-Biner attached to one end of the Pull Line through the ring, which is attached to one end of the Throw Line.

3. Temporarily wrap both ends of the Pull Line around a tree, log or something heavy, and then clip the figure 8 loop to the #1 S-Biner.

4. Put a baseball sized rock or several small rocks into the rock bag. Attach the rock bag to the #0 S-Biner attached to one end of the Throw Line and throw the rock bag over a limb or fork of a tree.

5. Remove the rock bag from the Throw Line and pull the Throw Line to adjust the height of the ring as necessary and then tie off the end of the Throw Line to a tree by wrapping the Throw Line around the tree and clipping the #0 S-Biner to the Throw line rather than using a knot.
6. Unclip the Pull Line from the tree by un-attaching the figure eight loop from the #1 S-Biner. Now attach the food bag to the #1 S-Biner, pull up the food bag to the ring and tie off the other end of the Pull Line to a tree. Make sure the food bag is at least 10 feet high, I prefer 12 feet, and make sure there are no limbs or trees within 6 feet of the food bag, a 10 foot clear area is even better.

7. Whenever you lower and remove the food bag always attach the #1 S-Biner on the Pull Line to the figure 8 loop on the other end on Pull Line, again creating a large loop out of the Pull Line, so that the Pull Line cannot be pulled through the ring accidently.

8. Before removing the Throw Line from the limb detach the #0 S-Biner from the end of the Throw Line and untie the slip knot.

Sometimes adjusting the height of the ring is a trial and error process, so you may have to untie the Throw Line and adjust the height of the ring and re-tie off the end of the Throw Line. Also I prefer to use a #1 S-Biner on the Pull Line to save weight. If the food bag or food bags cannot be clipped directly to the #1 S-Biner, run the Pull Line through the loop or cord on the food bag(s) and then clip the #1 S-Biner to the Pull Line above the food bag(s).

 

**In some designated wilderness areas, national parks and state parks bear canisters are required. Therefore hanging your food bag from tree or limb would not comply with the regulations in such areas.
Scott Janz September 2, 2016 0

The Kiteboard Legacy Begins

There is nothing like adventure movies that make you want to just go do…something. Chapter One, does exactly that. We love adventure films that really capture the essense of the outdoors and how it makes you feel. This was really fun to watch. Pre Orders for the full lenght movie can be found here. http://chapteronemovie.com

The creators of ‘Hidden Lines’ bring you the first 4K feature length kiteboarding movie in history. Shot in breathtaking locations – Fiji, Hawaii, Necker Island, Brazil, and Cape Town, ‘Chapter One’ unites kiteboarding legends, today’s champions, and future talent as they chase the toughest storms, ride the biggest waves, and perform thrilling stunts. ‘Chapter One’ lets you experience how kiteboarders from all walks of life have found the ultimate sense of freedom… The kiteboard legacy begins!

Features: Nick Jacobsen, Richard Branson, Robby Naish, Sam Light, Ruben Lenten, Jalou Langeree, Rick Naish, Pete Cabrinha, Don Montague, Graham Howes, Bruna Kajiya, Carlos Mario, Aaron Hadlow, Susi Mai, Youri Zoon, Jesse Richman, Sam Medysky, Kevin Langeree, Liam Whaley, Kellen Hall and Keahi De Aboitiz.

Visit Red Bull and their YouTube Channel for details on the production.

Keep up the great work guys!

Scott Janz August 31, 2016 0

Healthy Eating in the Backcounty

If you spend anytime in the outdoors whether it’s camping, or backpacking, you can understand the frustration when it comes to healthy eating. Sometimes it’s just easier to buy a freeze dried meal and pack it. What a pleasant surprise to eat a GOOD TO-GO Meal while backpacking last week. Most freeze dried foods are only really a benefit after your body starts burning thousands of calories a day. But what about a 3-5 night backpacking trip? Some foods just are NOT good for you. Loaded with high sodium and preservatives, just not something you may want to eat.

Good To-Go was founded by Jennifer Scism, accomplished chef and long-time co-owner of Annisa, a nationally recognized restaurant in New York’s Greenwich Village. Jen’s career has long been focused on the importance of good food. As a backpacker, Jen struggled with the limited opportunity for fresh and delicious foods. Being a professional chef, she was not going to last eating the packaged meals already out there. So she began preparing her favorite meals and dehydrating them in her countertop dehydrator. It was do or die, or at the very least…go hungry. Through trial and error, the two were able to sit down, take in their surroundings and complete their adventures with an amazing meal. Jen’s creations were so delicious that they wanted everyone to be able to enjoy them.

We tested the GOOD TO-GO THAI CURRY SPICY YELLOW COCONUT CURRY WITH VEGETABLES & JASMINE RICE.  All we could say was “WOW”!. We are SOLD!  Not only were we impressed by the all natural ingredients, but it’s also Gluten Free. So refreshing to eat a freeze dried meal that is actually good for you.

I brought along Outdoor Author and advid backpacker Ariane Petrucci to sample some of the other GOOD TO-GO MEALS, like Smoked Three Bean Chili and the Pad Thai. We went out for a 3 night trip in the Pisgah National Forest and our packed dinners did not disappoint.

To see all of GOOD TO-GO MEALS check out their site and see for yourself their story.

Huge thank you to Justin Hagen at GOOD TO-GO for the opportunity to try out these absolutely great tasting (and healthy) dinners.

Disclaimer:

 

Scott Janz August 25, 2016 0

Celebrating 100 Years NPS

Narrated by Academy Award® winner Robert Redford, “National Parks Adventure” takes audiences on the ultimate off-trail adventure into the nation’s awe-inspiring great outdoors and untamed wilderness. Immersive IMAX® 3D cinematography takes viewers soaring over red rock canyons, up craggy mountain peaks and into other-worldly realms found within America’s most legendary outdoor playgrounds. Join world-class mountaineer Conrad Anker, adventure photographer Max Lowe and artist Rachel Pohl as they hike, climb and explore their way across America’s majestic parks – including Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Yosemite, and Arches – in an action-packed celebration that will inspire the adventurer in us all, and highlight how important it is that we protect these treasured landscapes.

A MacGillivray Freeman film, “Natioinal Parks Adventure” is produced in association with Brand USA and presented globally by Expedia, Inc. and Subaru of America, Inc. REI is the domestic sponsor of the film. Major support was provided by the Giant Dome Theater Consortium.

“National Parks Adventure” is directed by Greg MacGillivray and produced by Shaun MacGillivray. Filmed with 15perf / 65mm IMAX 3D® cameras, “National Parks Adventure” is written by Stephen Judson and Tim Cahill with a musical score by Steve Wood.
© Copyright 2015 VisitTheUSA.com

Scott Janz June 27, 2016 0

Venture Out!

When I saw this video it really made me feel good. Pretty simple! As someone who has been backpacking, hiking, and everything else outdoors for years, I have to admit that it pulled at my sense of connection with others. I though about all the people that have crossed my path, (visa versa). As we wrap up another year, I hope that all of us can stay connected with a sense of adventure. A sense of connection. Hope you like it.

Your life can be the greatest adventure you’ve ever dreamed of

“If you awaken from this illusion and you understand that black implies white, self implies other, life implies death (or shall I say death implies life?), you can feel yourself – not as a stranger in the world, not as something here unprobational, not as something that has arrived here by fluke – but you can begin to feel your own existence as absolutely fundamental.

I am not trying to sell you on this idea in the sense of converting you to it, I want you to play with it. I want you to think of its possibilities, I am not trying to prove it. I am just putting it forward as a possibility of life to think about. So then, let’s suppose that you were able every night to dream any dream you wanted to dream, and that you could for example have the power within one night to dream 75 years of time, or any length of time you wanted to have.

And you would, naturally, as you began on this adventure of dreams, you would fulfill all your wishes. You would have every kind of pleasure during your sleep. And after several nights of 75 years of total pleasure each you would say “Well that was pretty great”. But now let’s have a surprise, let’s have a dream which isn’t under control, where something is gonna happen to me that I don’t know what it’s gonna be.

And you would dig that and would come out of that and you would say “Wow that was a close shave, wasn’t it?”. Then you would get more and more adventurous and you would make further- and further-out gambles what you would dream. And finally, you would dream where you are now. You would dream the dream of living the life that you are actually living today.

That would be within the infinite multiplicity of choices you would have. Of playing that you weren’t god, because the whole nature of the godhead, according to this idea, is to play that he is not. So in this idea then, everybody is fundamentally the ultimate reality. The deep-down basic whatever there is. And you are all that, only you are pretending you are not.” /// Alan Watts

Adventure.com

Scott Janz October 31, 2015 0

Java Drip brewed coffee tips

If you are anything like me? Coffee is pretty damn important in the morning. For many backpackers, it’s an important morning ritual! Here’s a few tips about making great tasting DRIP BREWED coffee. Until now, preparing Drip coffee while camping has been anything but convenient. But with the innovative GSI Outdoors Java Drip’s you can easily make a bold, mud-free brew every time!

GSI Coffee Drip

These Simple, Portable Drip Coffee Systems are excellent for backpacking, camping, travel… yes even at home you can easily enjoy a great cup of coffee!

Having used the Folgers Coffee Bags for years, I really like these.  I think the Coffee Bags are a bit lighter, but looking forward to testing the GSI out in the Backcountry.

Production Video done by: GSI Outdoors

If you have used the GSI Java Drip, let us know what you think?

[ratings]
Scott Janz June 5, 2014 1

Backpacking Zion – Trans Zion Trail

As someone who is preparing to hike Zion National Park this summer, was happy to find this backpacking video.  This part of Zion is the Trans Zion Trail. A route made popular by the outfitters in Springdale, the “Trans-Zion Trek” is a multi-day backpacking hike that connects several of Zion’s trails into one long route from one corner of the park to the other.

terrace_connect

This strenuous and beautiful hike can take on average between three to five days and involves a lot of elevation gains and drops. Along the way, you will see some of Zion’s most awe-inspiring scenery as well as many beautiful spots that most dayhikers never experience. Total mileage: roughly 47 miles. Before attempting this hike, you must work out the logistics of getting backcountry permits, planning your campsite spots for each night, car shuttles/car spots, and water sources (caching water and/or using available springs and streams).

Video Production by:  

[geo_mashup_map]
Scott Janz April 19, 2014 0

Elkmont to Miry Ridge in the Smoky Mountains

Bryan Delay puts together another great video about backpacking. This one especially, as it show’s the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. This video was made on a two night backpacking trip in the GSMNP.

jakescreek

A two night backpacking trip starting on Jakes Creek Trail at Elkmont in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and camping at Backcountry Campsite #20 the first night. On day two we climbed 2,200 feet up to Miry Ridge and camped at Backcountry Campsite #26. And on the third and final day we hiked down Jake’s Creek Trail back to Elkmont.

If you haven’t visited Bryan’s YouTube Page yet, you should. Bryan has backpacked all 900 miles of the Smoky Mountains and has over 20 years experience in the backcounty.

Video Production done by: bedelay

[geo_mashup_map]
Scott Janz May 26, 2009 1

Johnny Molloy Video Interview

I had the pleasure of meeting Johnny Molloy at Trail Days 09 in Damascuss, VA this year. Not only was he great to talk with, but you can hear the excitement in his voice when he talks about his trail books, and being in the outdoors. His books have everything you need to make good decisions about where to hike, camp, and paddle to. Very informative! Great guy, great books. Here is a short video about what Johnny Molloy spends his time doing.

Johnny Molloy is a self-employed outdoor writer based in Johnson City, Tennessee. A native Tennessean and free-market capitalist, he was born in Memphis and moved to Knoxville in 1980 to attend the University of Tennessee. It is here in Knoxville, where he developed his love of the natural world that has since become the primary focus of his life.

It all started on a backpacking foray into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. That first trip, though a disaster, unleashed an innate love of the outdoors that has led to his spending over 100 nights in the wild per year, over the past 20 years, backpacking and canoe camping throughout our country and abroad. Specifically, he has spent over 650 nights in the Smokies

alone, where he cultivated his woodsmanship and expertise on those lofty mountains.

In 1987, after graduating from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Economics, he continued to spend an ever increasing time in the natural places, becoming more skilled in a variety of environments. Friends enjoyed his adventure stories, one even suggested he write a book. Soon he was parlaying his love of the outdoors into an occupation.

The Day & Overnight Hikes books are guidebooks, each containing 42 recommended hikes that takes the reader on a detailed journey to infrequently visited sites, from highland meadows and open vistas to pristine mountain streams and pioneer farms in three of the most popular national parks and forests in the East.

The Best in Tent Camping books parlay his vast camping experiences throughout the Southern Appalachians, Colorado, West Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida into concise guides of the 50 best tent campgrounds in each area offering the finest scenery and recreational opportunities the South, Appalachians and Rockies have to offer.

Johnny teamed up with Countrymen Press and wrote 50 Hikes in the North Georgia Mountains, and 50 Hikes in South Carolina and 50 Hikes in the Ozarks. Both places are underutilized hiking destinations. He is now writing 50 Hikes in Alabama for the outfit.

The latest adventure story book, his 3rd, is Hiking the Florida Trail: 1,100 Miles, 78 Days, Two pairs of Boots and One Heck of An Adventure. It is the first narrative book detailing a thru hike of the Florida Trail.

Visit Johnny’s Web Site to buy his trail books. Or just visit and say hello.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]