ExtraHyperActive: Hiking
Showing posts with label Hiking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hiking. Show all posts

REI Co-op Quarter Dome Air Hammock For Hiking, Backpacking, & Camping

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REI Quarter Dome Air Review


If you loved REI's Quarter Dome tent, you'll love REI Co-op Quarter Dome Air Hammock !

A minimalist alternative to a tent, the REI Quarter Dome Air hammock packs light, sets up easy and provides a structured, open sleeping area up off the ground with a stowable bug net for protection.
This 1-person new backcountry hammock from REI combines elements of both tent and traditional hammock design.

The Flaming Geyser State Park

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Flaming Geyser State Park


The first time I heard about the Flaming Geyser Park was from "The Washington Atlas and Gazetteers". It stated that park's most unique geological feature was its "geysers" (methane seeps). I immediately wanted to find out more about it.

Would You Pay $500 For A Camping Chair ?

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In theory, camping should be a very inexpensive activity since you are literally sleeping on the ground. But as with everything in modern day society, the simpler it appears the more expensive it actually is. Most people see the activity of loading up their SUV with a mountain of camping gear ( just so they'd spend a night or two in the woods ) as the highlight of their camping trip.

Plus, ( some ) camping gear nowadays is getting ridiculously expensive !

Like this carbon fiber camp chair from GCI Outdoor for merley ... $500 (!!!)

 GCI CF Lounger camp chair



Exploring And Hiking In Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, WA

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As I wrote in my previous post, Tacoma’s waterfront, from Schuster pkwy to Ruston Way is considered to be Tacoma’s version of Seattle’s Alki Beach. This place is very popular among fitness and outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you enjoy jogging, biking, longboarding, scuba diving, kayaking, paddleboarding, parasailing, boating, or just want to go on a nice sunny motorcycle ride, Tacoma waterfront is the place to go all year round!

More Than Just A Sleeping Bag

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I've had my North Face sleeping bag for about 3 years now, and I'm still pretty happy with it. When I was shopping for a sleeping bag, I had no idea about temperature ratings, goose vs. synthetic fill, weight, shape...I just went with the cheapest I could find.

Sleeping bag technology has come a long way from the days of cowboy bedrolls. These days, there are a number of high-tech materials and designs available to keep you warm and comfortable during the coldest outings. But for some people these are not the only characteristics they are looking for....


ChumBuddy is 7 feet tall sleeping bag shaped as a shark, hand sewn and is filled with 30 pounds of soft fill designed " to make sharks more cuddly ". May be not practical, but might be a good present for one of your surfing buddies...

Autumn In Leavenworth, Wa

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The City of Leavenworth is one of the greatest tourist destinations in our state. The "Bavarian Village" is perhaps best known for its incredible year-round schedule of outdoor activities and events. No wonder that this town has been chosen by National Geographic as being one of the "50 Next Best Places" to live & play.

Hiking/Backpacking The Enchantments, WA :Take A Vertial Tour

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The Enchantments area of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness includes craggy peaks and ridges, deep glacial valleys, granite walls and forests that are picture perfect and ready to enchant visitors — especially in autumn.

Trips into the Enchantment Wilderness Area can range from overnight to multiple days. Due to the overwhelming popularity of this unique area, all overnight campers must obtain a permit if visiting from June 15 through October 15.

Visit Garden Of The Gods In Colorado Springs,CO

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Southwest is a beautiful place for an adventure traveler to explore ! It is one of the most geographically diverse regions in the United States that contains more than its fair share of natural wonders: Grand Canyon, Arches National Park, and Monument Valley are just a few of the most famous natural attractions that draw people from all over the world.

But if you travel around Southwest for long enough, you'll see a lot of similarities : same red rocks, adobe structures, bluffs and mesas, deserts, and flatlands.

At least that's what I saw during my visit to Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs.

Hike The Manitou Incline In Manitou Springs, CO

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Home to more 14ers than any other state in US, Colorado boasts some of the most amazing hiking, climbing and backpacking trips in the country.

But during my extensive travels, I haven't done a hike as unique, challenging, and beautiful as the Manitou Incline in Manitou Springs, CO.

The once railroad track now consists of approximately 2,744 steps made entirely of railroad ties! Although it’s only one mile in length, the ascension averages a 41% incline (68% at its highest) and a 2,000 foot climb in elevation! That’s a lot of stairs! That’s even more than the Empire State Building!

Needless to say, this hike isn't for the faint of heart, or heights. The Manitou Incline is considered one of the highest sets of stairs in the world! This trail is rated Extreme. It's nothing less than a staircase up a mountain. 

They say you haven't experienced Colorado if you haven't climbed a 14er.

My original plan was to take the famous Cog Train to the top of one of the most beautiful 14er in Colorado - Pikes Peak.

Explore Ape Caves At Mt. St Helens National Volcanic Monument

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At 8:32 Sunday morning, May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted and blew down or scorched 230 square miles of forest. Shaken by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, the north face of this tall symmetrical mountain collapsed in a massive rock debris avalanche. In a few moments this slab of rock and ice slammed into Spirit Lake, crossed a ridge 1,300 feet high, and roared 14 miles down the Toutle River.

The eruption is considered to be the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States
In 1982 the President and Congress created the 110,000-acre National Volcanic Monument for research, recreation, and education. Inside the Monument, the environment is left to respond naturally to the disturbance.

Visitor centers along highway 504 tell the story and provide stunning crater views. Trails let visitors explore the rebirth or access areas slower to recover.

Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument is within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Numerous viewpoints and miles of trails have been created for you to explore by car and foot. During the summer Forest Interpreters lead a wide range of activities, from short walks to amphitheater presentations, to help you understand and enjoy this area.

Have You Visited Yellowstone National Park ?

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I had a great opportunity to visit Yellowstone NP during my road trip around US a couple years ago. Unfortunately, due to lack of time I didn't have a chance to explore this amazing park the way I wanted.

 I call Yellowstone NP " - "all American experience". And it's not only because it's one of the places in our country every American must see, it's also because it's very "convenient" to visit it. You can see/visit all major interest points/landmarks almost without leaving your car. Just drive to the next viewing point, get out of your car, walk a few steps, snap a few pictures, and you're done !

 Only for me, it's not the way to explore a new place. I want to immerse myself into the environment, and the best way to do it is through activities like hiking, backpacking, or camping.

 Next time, I plan to visit Yellowstone in winter ( everything looks better when covered with snow ), and to explore the park on skis or snowshoes.

 Meanwhile, check out this great video that will hopefully inspire you to make the trip to the park:

 

ExtraHyperActive Bucket List : Hike Preikestolen ( Also Known As Pulpit Rock ) In Norway

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The Most Breathtaking Picture Of Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit Rock

Pulpit Rock, or Preikestolen in Norway  is the most famous tourist attraction in the Stavanger region. The mountain plateau hangs 604 meters above sea level, and a destination that simply must be experienced. You follow a well marked trail from the Preikestolen Fjellstue through different mountain landscapes. The plateau is approximately 25 x 25 metres, flat and you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Lysefjord and surrounding mountains !

I've added this hike/destination to my Bucket List ! Have you ?

Testing Ahnu Hiking/Backpacking Boots On Mt Si

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Mount Si, the monolith looming over Interstate 90 at North Bend, is Northwest icon, Washington state's most popular hiking trail, and the proven training ground for anybody getting ready to summit Mt Rainier.


But whether you dream of summiting Rainier, skiing Mt Adams, trad climbing Mt Shuksan, or hiking/backpacking the Wonderland Trail, Mt Si is the place to test yourself and your gear.

As I mentioned in my previous post, choosing a pair of good hiking boots can be the difference between a memorable experience and a miserable misadventure.

Recently, on a typical PNW winter day, I put my pair of Ahnu's Coburn hiking boots to a grueling test through dirt, mud, puddles and snow of Mt Si's 4-mile hike with about 3500 ft elevation gain.


Having summited both Rainier and Shuksan, and thru-hiked the 18 miles  Enchantments Traverse (aka the Death March), I knew exactly what I was looking for in hiking/backpacking boots.

Without getting too technical, I'll just focus on a few specs that were especially important to me :

Whether you are a hard core thru-hiker or a casual weekend warrior ( like me ), the Ahnu's Coburn hiking boots are light, breathable, waterproof, and will work great in all weather conditions and on any terrain.

My feet get easily cold. Keeping them dry and warm ( but not overheated ) is extremely important to me. After hiking for 3 hours in mud, puddles, and snow, at the end, my feet remained warm and (relatively) dry.

Leather boots tend to be on a heavy side. Same goes for synthetic ones once they get wet, adding weight and slowing you down. And we all know that a pound on the feet is like eight on your back. Even on the way back, the Coburn boots were as light as at the beginning of the hike.

Whether you are going on a leisure hike on a relatively flat trail, or  scrambling over piles of rock, the taller ankle height is a welcome feature for hikers who are looking for greater ankle support without having to upgrade to much bigger, stiffer, heavier boots.

Non-marking, slip resistant lugs provide the ultimate grip and traction. I was especially blown away by this feature ! In winter, the upper part of Mt Si's trail is (almost always) covered with snow requiring hikers to use either spikes or snowshoes. The boots' aggressive tread was amazing at gripping both wet rocks and snow. One of my knees is messed up, and I'm always concerned about slipping/sliding on the way down, even with extra effort (on my part) it was hard for me to make these boots slide.



All in all, the boots answered all the questions asked  when it comes to choosing a great pair of hiking/backpacking boots.

Now, the last question left unanswered - " How long will they last ? "



Hiking 101: How To Choose Your First Pair Of Hiking Boots

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                                               Men's Coburn Hiking/Backpacking Boots 

Since proper fitting boots are arguably the most important item that any hiker needs, it is very important that you invest in a good pair that fit your feet well.

When I started "hiking" , I had no idea how critical a pair of good hiking boots could be, and how they would determine the quality and comfort of my time while out on the trail !

As a matter of fact, my very first time hiking one of our most famous hiking trails, Mt Si, I thought I would get away with wearing just my running shoes... in winter ! Needless to say, I was miserable...

After trying out a few pairs ( from expensive Vasque and North Face to low cost Hi-Tec and extremely cheap Walmart's brands ), I decide to look for some in-depth professional advice on how to choose the best pair of hiking boots for my future outdoor adventures.

Below I will pinpoint a few common tips on how to choose the right hiking/backpacking boots, but keep in mind that all of us have different feet… some are wide, some are narrow, some have high arches, others have low. Therefore, the best thing you can do is figure out what brand works best for you and then stick with it!

When it comes to selecting the shoe for you, forget about looks, numerical sizes, flashy features, or even what your friends recommend (unless their feet are identical to yours). The issues you should consider are: what type of hiker you are, comfort, durability, stability, weight, warmth, and water resistance.

When choosing your first pair of hiking boots, ask yourself these questions:

What Type Of Hiker Are You ?

Will the boots be used mainly on dry summer days in light terrain and low vegetation? Or will they be used on long and difficult ascents up the world’s rocky mountains? Perhaps something in-between?

- Which Material/ Boot Fabric ?

Would it be leather? Synthetic?   A common question among potential hiking boot buyers is whether to get a pair of boots that are made of real leather, or a pair made of synthetic fabric.

- Which Boot-Cut and Weight ?

Typically, hiking boots are categorized according to one of three boot-cut categories : 1- Low-Cut / Lightweight Men’s Hiking Boots; 2- Mid-Cut / Medium Weight ; 3 - High-Cut / Heavy Weight

- What About That Vibram Soles ?

Another important factor when buying a pair of  hiking boots is the sole. Depending on the type of terrain that will be explored, the hiking boots need a good grip. Even gradual slopes can become slippery when it rains. As a rule of thumb, the softer the rubber sole is, the better grip it offers. However, a softer rubber sole also means that it is less durable over time; it simply wears out more quickly as the rubber is repeatedly torn against uneven surfaces.

As a general rule of thumb, it may be worth spending a little extra on quality, considering the unpredictable nature of the outdoors.

The right hiking footwear will carry you far, fast and comfortably. It should be as light and comfortable as possible for the type of hiking you're doing, while also keeping your feet dry, warm, and well-protected.

Not all brands or models are created equal. Recently, Ahnu footwear has been generous enough to provide me with the Men's Coburn hiking/backpacking boots. Specifically designed for hiking/backpacking, wet and dry weather conditions, these mid-height hiking boots are equipped with a breathable eVent® waterproof bootie, wicking away moisture for optimal foot comfort.

I haven't gone hiking for a long time, and can't wait to give these bad boys a fair try !


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Local Adventures : Game Farm Park, Auburn, WA - Activities For Kids & Families

Want to get out and explore nature right in your own neighborhood?  My advice, simply open your Google maps, and check out your neighborhood.

Just out your doorstep are dozens of unique places that are yours to explore and enjoy. Recreational facilities, hiking trails, historical landmarks, lakes, rivers, natural areas, beaches and forests – they belong to you! Why is that? Because they’re part of our public lands, our unique state parks system.


 There’s no better way to easily connect with nature, get some exercise in the outdoors, learn something new or just relax, than visiting your neighborhood  parks.


Within a few mile where we live, there are dozens of local parks. One of our favorite is Game Farm Park in Auburn.

The park is located in the banks of the Stuck/White River, and covers 88 acres.  Our favorite activities here are: picnicking, hiking, and archery. For more experience and adventurous folks, the river offers great whitewater kayaking and boating.




Game Farm Park is located on the banks of the Stuck River. The park covers 88 acres - See more at: http://auburntourism.com/index.php?c_ref=266#sthash.TICBjCQN.dpuf
Game Farm Park is located on the banks of the Stuck River. The park covers 88 acres - See more at: http://auburntourism.com/index.php?c_ref=266#sthash.TICBjCQN.dpuf

Game Farm Park is located on the banks of the Stuck River. The park covers 88 acres - See more at: http://auburntourism.com/index.php?c_ref=266#sthash.TICBjCQN.dpuf
Game Farm Park is located on the banks of the Stuck River. The park covers 88 acres - See more at: http://auburntourism.com/index.php?c_ref=266#sthash.TICBjCQN.dpuf


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Exploring Mt St Helens: Camping, Hiking, Caving And Enjoying The Last Days Of Summer

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Labor Day weekend means camping and cookouts for many families. We're no exception. It's become our family tradition to celebrate the official end of summer ( and that's exactly what Labor Day means to us ), with a long road trip to a far away place in search of a new and exciting adventure.


Just pitching a tent, roasting s'mores, and singing campfire songs don't work for us. We crave excitement, adventure, thrills, new experiences and lifelong unforgettable memories !

Last year, it was our first time trying "roughing it up"  a.k.a tent camping. I wanted to  make sure my 5 year old would be cozy and conformable sleeping ( almost) under the stars :) To make things more adventurous, we took a canoe across Little Kachess Lake.

But what could be more adventurous and mysterious than exploring a cave, learning about an exploded volcano, and going on a hike in a lava bed ?! Not to mention the usual camping, lake time, BBQ, and s'mores !

That's why this year, our destination was Mt St Helens area.

Though I've already explored Mt St Helens Ape Caves a few years ago, I couldn't wait to share the excitement of caving with my son !

We were very lucky to snatch a camp site right on the bank of the beautiful Yale Lake. Though the campground had a designated boat launch and a small beach, we had a privilege of swimming just a few steps away from our tent...which later turned out to be a bit ...uncomfortable...Apparently, our new family tradition was to say goodbye to summer by taking the last dip... at 7 am... in freezing morning water :)



Next day we took HWY 83 to Lava Canyon for a short hike. I couldn't believe how excited my son was walking on the rocks where lava flew just a few dozen years ago. He wanted to bring every stone as a souvenir back home.



But the highlight of the trip was, of course, exploring  the famous Ape Caves !




TIPS:

- If you're traveling with little ones ( 6-8 y.o ) make sure to bring warm clothes ( the cave stays cool/cold all year round )
- Bring water... though the lower cave ( the popular/touristy one ) is relatively short, it's still quite a walk for little kids, and they do get thirsty. 
- Don't skimp on little cheap flashlights... Besides the fact that you won't see much, pictures ( even with flash ) will be very low quality.

MOST IMPORTANT : There are two parts of Ape Caves - lower and upper caves.

While the lower part is relatively short, easy and accessible ( it's approximately is .75 miles long
and can be hiked down and back in an hour ), it takes up to 2-2 1/2 hours to finish the upper cave. You will climb over approximately 27 boulder piles and scale an 8-foot high lava fall !

Last time I was there, I promised myself if I would ever bring my kid here , he'd have to be at least 8 y.o and in a good fitness shape.

Many parents being unfit themselves, AND bringing along little kids, create a lot of traffic jams in upper caves, thus preventing other people from truly enjoying this unique experience.

DON'T BE AN IGNORANT PARENT, RAISING IGNORANT CHILDREN.
TEACH YOUR KIDS RESPECT OTHERS WHILE THEY'RE STILL YOUNG.


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Tips On Visiting Yosemite National Park

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Last summer I had an amazing opportunity to go on a road trip around Southwest. I had a privilege to visit Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California. One of the goals of that road trip was to visit as many National Parks as possible.

Tip - If you're planning to visit multiple National Parks during your road trip, buy America the Beautiful National Parks Pass from REI.com ($80). It will save you money and time.

At one point, I was hesitating to  visit  Yosemite National Park, but stunning pictures like the one below changed my mind...


Also, it was quite convenient for me. Driving from Nevada/Arizona side, HWY 120 took me right through the heart of the park !

Tip - If you decide to drive to/around the park, choose off-peak hours ( before 9am, and after 7pm ). One line HWY is notorious for its traffic jams and slow driving.

Summer time is THE busiest! Quite often its hard to find an available camping spot. So, make your reservations ahead of time.

Tip - If you're ExtraHyperActive/dirtbag like me, you can pitch your tent anywhere you want, and in the morning, will be rewarded with the most amazing views !

Camping/Paddleboarding Tenaya Lake



Yosemite National Park offers an abundance of activities and sightseeing destinations. Among the most popular are : rock climbing and hiking.

Have you heard of solo climbing ? Solo climbing represents the ultimate extreme in rock-climbing. Solo climbing (or soloing) is a style of climbing in which the climber climbs alone, without somebody belaying him. What if he falls down, you ask ? He dies-- no two ways about it.

Alex Honnold has made Yosemite popular by scaling the two most popular Yosemite big walls — Half Dome and El Capitan.


Tip - I wouldn't recommend to sacrifice your life for a ( breath-taking, once in a life time ) shot like this, and would suggest to hire a guide. There is a popular wall just minutes away from Camp 4/ Yosemite Village.


Hiking

Yes, you can definitely opt for hiking Half Dome, but... can you really call it hiking ?


Tip -  If you have limited time for just one hike, make it Upper Yosemite Falls/Eagle Peak ! Why ?
Fewer crowds, and stunning view of Yosemite valley, and Half Dome !

Upper Yosemite Falls


On Top Of Eagle Peak


Fun fact : The setting sun illuminates one of the park’s lesser-known waterfalls so precisely that it resembles molten lava as it flows over the sheer granite face of the imposing El Capitan. A mid-February phenomenon!




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Hiking, Backpacking, Camping Desolation Peak

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Have you been to the North Cascade National Park ?

Less than 3 hours from Seattle and about 6.2 miles (10.0 km) south of the Canadian border, the North Cascade NP is the largest of the three National Park Service units that comprise the North Cascades National Park Service Complex.

The park is most popular with backpackers and mountain climbers. One of the most popular destinations in the park is Cascade Pass, which was used as a travel route by Native Americans.

The North and South Picket Ranges, Mount Triumph, as well as Eldorado Peak and the surrounding mountains, are popular with climbers due to glaciation and technical rock. Mount Shuksan, in the northwest corner of the park, is one of the most photographed mountains in the country and the second highest peak in the park 9,127 ft or 2,782 m.

Another popular attraction in the  the North Cascade Mountains is Desolation Peak.


Desolation Peak Trail, is a steep hike to high meadows, great views and the iconic fire lookout where Jack Kerouac spent 63 days during the summer of 1956 as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak. He wrote about his experiences in the books Lonesome Traveler, The Dharma Bums and Desolation Angels.

I read somewhere that in summer time you can still rent the fire lookout and a spend a couple nights "in solitude".

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Best Washington Hikes : Rattlesnake Ledge, Si, Little Si Mountains, Mailbox Peak

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After rafting, hiking was the second outdoor activity I got to try.

Among the best hiking trails close to Seattle are : Rattlesnake Ledge, Si, Little Si Mountains, Mailbox Peak, Tiger, Squak and Cougar mountains. They are easily accessible, and suitable for anybody in a relatively good fitness shape ( I did Si and Little Si mountains on the same day ).



Though, honestly, I consider hiking to be a bit boring, it's a great way to stay in shape, get outdoors without spending tons of money on expensive gear, and meet new like-minded people.

Since I'm hoping to climb Mt Adams, Baker, and ,may be, go back to Rainier, I'm going on a few training hikes soon.

Mt Si remains the best training ground for anybody getting ready to summit Mt Rainier.





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