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G-Shock RANGEMAN Master – Gear Review

in Community/Gear by
User guide.

The G-Shock RANGEMAN Master or G-GW9400-3 is definitely a niche watch in today’s smartwatch world. Let me start by saying I put this watch through the gauntlet over the past three months, this watch has been with me on some hardcore downhill MTB rides, several triathlons, ice climbing, and a proper backpacking trip in Alaska. Also, as a quick note to give you a better idea of my impressions/judgments, I also currently own a Samsung Gear 2 and a Garmin 735XT.

g-shock rangeman
The G-Shock RANGEMAN took me into the wilds of Alaska’s Talkeetna Mountains and helped me get back again.

I broke this review down into five categories, which will give you a good idea of where this watch fits into your collection.

g-shock rangeman1.Style. For a watch built for toughness it is a darn good looking watch. My first impression was it might look like a beast but it isn’t too big and I really do like the look of this watch. I will always choose comfort over style, especially with a piece of gear I need to depend on in the backcountry. Luckily, I don’t have to make any sacrifices with this watch. Casio did a great job making this watch look the part and still be stylish while packing in all the capabilities it has to offer. I especially like the look of the digital compass in the top left-hand corner, that little touch of gold in the face is a subtle accent of style in this rugged build.

2. Features. This is the real reason you’re going to spend the money on this watch: Casio packed this watch full of some very useful and important capabilities. Here are my top five functions on the watch since there are too many functions to cover in detail.

  • Tough Solar Power: You will never need to charge or replace the battery with this watch! How awesome does that sound in today’s world of always looking for somewhere to plug in. Even if you were living in a cave this watch would still last you seven months on a full charge. Having the solar power really makes this watch stand out, especially in the smartwatch era that we are approaching. The last thing I would want is my watch to go dead if I was lost in the wilderness and it isn’t a worry with this watch.
  • Triple Sensor (Altimeter, Barometer, and Thermometer): Super important features to have when you’re headed out on an “epic” in the backcountry. For me, knowing the temperature, altitude, and weather are deciding factors for going forward on a big objective and having that information to make the right decision can be priceless if not life saving in some situations. I found all three functions to work well in the backcountry, the thermometer, of course, got a more accurate reading when off my body.
  • Shock/Mud/Water Resistant: Another strength of this watch is you can beat it up without worrying about it handling your adventure. I took a brutal fall on the downhill bike where I went over the handlebars and the watch didn’t even get a scratch but the rest of my body couldn’t say the same. I also grinded the face against a glacier while ice climbing and the same thing happened, I got some cuts but the watch was good. As for water resistance, I did a lot of open water swimming during triathlons and there was never any issues. I wore this watch when I knew my other watches would not be able to withstand the punishment I was going to be dishing out.
  • Memory Capacity: To be honest, this is a function I didn’t get to dive very deep into but I could see it being a very useful tool on longer trips into the backcountry. Up to 40 records (shared storage with date/time, bearing, and barometric pressure/temperature records). The main reason I did not get too deep into this is because in today’s smartwatch world it is not as simple to use as I would like. It just doesn’t have the technical ecosystem that we’ve grown a custom to.  
  • Digital Compass: A pretty common feature in watches these days but the G-Shock RANGEMAN did a great job of making it clear and easy to use on this watch. It measures and displays direction as one of 16 points with a measuring range from 0 to 359 degrees and a graphic direction pointer with bidirectional calibration and magnetic declination correction. On my last backpacking trip we were off trail and route finding almost the entire time so having a spot on compass was invaluable.

3. Comfort: An important part of every watch and one this one does well. The watch fits great with a ton of length options on the band and it actually feels pretty light. For backpacking, I would rank this watch very high on the comfort level. For the day-to-day use I rank it as just OK. As I mentioned before it got through several triathlons but wasn’t the most comfortable watch I’ve worn for endurance sports. Although, this watch was not made for triathletes and belongs at home in the backcountry.

4. Durability: Another one of the key traits to this watch is it can just take a beating. On the durability side, I don’t know if there is anything I would change, it is a beast.

5. User Friendliness: Here is where the G-Shock RANGEMAN looses a lot of points. I know Casio did not build this watch to compete with all the smartwatches out right now so it’s probably a little unfair to put them in the same category. But with that said, if you are into everything being super intuitive like your smartphone then you might get a little frustrated when setting all the functions up with this watch.

The manual alone might cause some fear but to be fair it wasn’t terribly hard to get the necessary features dialed in.

g-shock rangeman
The user guide for the G-Shock RANGEMAN looks thick, but is easy to navigate.

Should You Buy This Watch? Yes, but only if you plan to be in the backcountry a lot. Sadly, I feel the G-Shock RANGEMAN is a bit outdated when it comes to the intuitive technology we’re accustomed to today. So if you’re looking for an everyday watch, I don’t think this watch is worth the money. For my own personal use, I am excited to have the Master of G-GW9400-3 in my collection but I think it is most likely going to be on the shelf and only come out on the big adventures because that is where this watch shines.

 

Exploring Iconic Colorado Springs Hikes Like a Local

in Community by
9ee66ef2c2175d9355bc54f0c7496904
colorado springs hikes
Read about these less well-known Colorado Springs hikes and enjoy amazing vistas without the crowds. Photo Source: pinterest.com.

Colorado Springs, Colo., is often seen as an urban gateway to some of the best outdoor recreation in the country. In fact, it is the largest city to border a National Forest in the nation. Such proximity to the outdoors, an increasingly vibrant downtown, and a medium-sized airport draws in an estimated 5.2 million overnight visitors annually to Colorado’s second largest city. Most of these visitors who choose to explore the outdoors schedule their days around the iconic, must dos in Colorado Springs hikes: Garden of the Gods, The Incline, and Pikes Peak (by train, car, or the 26 mile there-and-back Barr Trail), among others. Although these attractions are well worth the trip, they are heavily trafficked by recreationists of all abilities and experience. As a three-year resident of Colorado Springs, I have accumulated a list of hiking and mountain biking spots that guarantee the same grandeur as Garden of the Gods without the hordes of tourists. For tips on avoiding the crowds and finding the locals on your first (or next!) trip to this urban-outdoor Mecca, check out these four spots.

Red Rock Open Space

Garden of the Gods Park is generally ranked by travel websites as the number one destination for tourists in Colorado Springs. The giant red rock fins contain a wealth of geologic, ecologic, and cultural history that has helped define what Colorado Springs represents. As a local looking to avoid the crowds but still enjoy the grandeur of this type of geological landmark, I instead venture two miles south of Garden of the Gods to Red Rock Open Space.

The 789-acre city park offers an extensive network of trails open to hikers, mountain bikers, dog walkers, horseback riders, and in the winter time, cross country skiers. Hikes can range from as short as a half mile to the pavilion and lake, to over five miles into very low traffic areas on the western hillside. For a shorter hike, head to the Quarry for humbling, worms-eye views of the red rock. For those with more time and energy, hike around the Roundup Trail for 180 degree views of Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods, and the eastern plains.

colorado springs hikes
Colorado Springs hikes offer many opportunities to leave the crowds behind. The Section 16 area offers dramatic views and micro-ecosystems. Photo by Liz Forster

Section 16

Also known as the Palmer Loop Trail, Section 16 offers hikers and mountain bikers expansive views of Red Rock Open Space and Garden of the Gods. The trail meanders through a variety of micro-ecosystems, from chalky white sandstone and the iconic red rock to small forests of conifer trees. On a weekday, even in the summer, you can hike through Section 16 without seeing more than three groups of hikers and/or bikers. If the hikes at Red Rocks are not long enough, take the Section 16 connector trail for a hike upwards of 10 miles looping through Section 16 and back to the Red Rock parking lot.

After your hike, head down to Manitou Springs for a taste of one of Colorado Springs’ most eclectic and ‘hippy’ neighborhoods.

 

7 Bridges Trail

The 7 Bridges Trail is a 3.8 mile loop that crosses over (you guessed it) seven bridges. The trail switchbacks through North Cheyenne Canyon and leads visitors to expansive views of Colorado Springs.  Visitors will also enjoy an up-close look at the flora and fauna in the mountains surrounding the city. The trail has moderate traffic, especially on weekends, but if you walk past the seventh bridge further into the canyon, traffic drastically decreases. If you’re looking for some scrambling up scree fields and atop rocks, the area past the seventh bridge can serve as a small playground.

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Most peoples’ vision of eastern Colorado consists of flat plains and miles of wind turbine farms, and rightly so. Until Denver, the midpoint between Utah and Kansas, that vision is mostly true. Hidden among the forest of white wind mills, though, is a true cultural and geological gem: Paint Mines Interpretive Park. About 30 minutes east of downtown Colorado Springs, Paint Mines features colorful clay spires and hoodoos (a column of weathered rock) jutting out of a eroded depression in the plains. The four-mile trail network allows visitors ample opportunities to hike under and scramble atop of red, orange, purple, maroon, and tan rock formations, and imagine what it was like 9,000 years ago for the first humans recorded in this area. Visitors can sometimes find themselves completely alone in this striking park.

colorado springs hikes
The Paint Mines Interpretive Park offers some unique Colorado Springs hikes to visitors willing to explore areas off the beaten path. Photo by Liz Forster.

 

7 Tips to Escape National Park Hiking Crowds

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Escape National Park hiking crowds
Escape National Park Hiking Crowds
The hiking herd getting you down? Escape National Park hiking crowds with these seven tips.  Photo Source: mnn.com

Washington hikers and backpackers are a unique crowd. We have high expectations when it comes to views, trail etiquette, and solitude. We know the good spots and we know the secret spots that we really only mention around close friends. But when we travel out of state, without our local insider information, we can find ourselves out of our element. I recently made the rounds to some of the West’s most famous National Parks, including Yellowstone, Arches, and Zion. While I reveled in the experience of exploring some of the nation’s most scenic National Parks, I constantly battled the feeling I was slowly slipping into a tourist trap and it was difficult to escape National Park hiking crowds.

Safe to say, I learned a few things along the way that will help plan my next adventure. Here are seven tips I can offer to help you stay away from the main pack and have a unique National Park adventure.

Escape National Park hiking crowds
Escape National Park hiking crowds at Angel’s Rest just 1/4 mile after the turnoff 1

1.Location. Hate crowds? Avoiding them can be as simple as choosing one of the less iconic National Parks or state parks in the area. You don’t have to hit Utah’s “Big Five” if you won’t enjoy the experience in the end. Even if you want to explore the major parks, it can be calming to plan one or two hikes in the less popular regions of the park. The scenery will be spectacular nonetheless.

2. Timing. Avoid visiting on or near major holidays. Everyone (including me) wants to schedule their trips around major holidays to optimize their PTO. This is great maximizing your vacation time, but can dramatically increase the number of park visitors. Choose weekdays over weekends, and skip summer vacation. Typically National Parks will list the five most popular days on their website. Take this into consideration!

3. Backpacking. While most of the crowds flock to the short hikes and easy-to-reach photogenic points of interest, backpacking can be a fantastic way to break away from the herd. Backpacking also allows you to enjoy the park on your own timeline and actually experience the park’s natural beauty after the day crowds have dissipated. Because backcountry permits are required in National Parks, you can actually count on some solitude on the trail.

Escape National Park hiking crowds
Enjoy the solitude of the Yellowstone River Trail by choosing the Hellroaring Trailhead as your starting point.  This trail will help you escape National Park hiking crowds at this popular location.

4. Research. Even though you’re leaving your usual stomping grounds, nothing is stopping you from getting local advice. Call the backcountry offices and ranger stations and ask around for tips. Don’t hesitate to request less popular hiking or backpacking trails; typically the rangers will sympathize and offer advice catered to the experience you’re looking for.

5. Strenuous trails. Typically trails marked “strenuous” are anything but, in Washington standards at least. I highly recommend selecting strenuous trails for a more serene experience. Before setting out on a strenuous trail, make sure to read any recommendations or precautions.

6. Secret trails. The best National Park trails aren’t marked. Ask the information center if they have any recommendations for less-traveled trails, and they might direct you to some unmarked trails. Because the trails are unmarked and often hidden at the start, you can relish in having a unique experience even in a well-traveled National Park.

7. Odd hours. Early or late; there’s no real guarantee as to when the crowds will gather. If you’re in the desert, sunrise and sunset can be popular times to visit the main attractions, but I recommend taking the chance. If conditions are fair and you have the right gear and experience, there’s nothing wrong with hitting the trail at sunset and enjoying the starry skies over some of the nation’s most striking vistas.

Escape National Park hiking crowds
Sorry, this one’s a secret.

Of course, with National Parks there can really be no guarantee when the crowds will ebb and flow. The most important part of exploring a new National Park is to enjoy your experience, even if you’re sharing it with several hundred of your new closest friends.

If you have a National Park hiking tip, please share in the comments below!

Vasque Skywalk GTX Review

in Gear by
DSC06537

Hitting the trail in a shiny new pair of hiking boots is akin to driving a new car off the lot: The rush of adrenaline, the boost of confidence, the fractional increase in speed that can only convey Yeah, I look pretty good right now.

Vasque’s new Skywalk GTX backpacking boots basically look like Corvettes coming out of the box: They’re aesthetically clean cut, pleasingly slim but weighted fairly heavily (2 lbs 13 oz.), so they rest satisfyingly in the hand. Vasque aimed to revive the design of the original boot from the 1980s while modernizing the technology to compete with the best boots on the market today. The result is a gorgeous shoe with all the specs to make the most backcountry-bound packers green with envy.

Skywalk GTX

This is a sturdy boot; I was pretty accustomed to my ol’ faithful Keens, which have worn in to basically slipper-quality over time. Subsequently, the first time slipping them on sent a little nervous thrill through my mind. The body is stiff leather (tanned in the U.S., according to Vasque) with a polyurethane midsole and Vasque’s Pyrenees rubber outsole. It’s highly stable, but takes a lot of breaking-in. My first time out with the Skywalks was a simple 5-mile roundtrip hike up the sloping switchbacks of Icicle Ridge outside Leavenworth. I was nearly blistering by the summit, but I could already feel the gradual softening off the heels.

Skywalk GTX Review
Photo by Carley Schmidt

I have notoriously weak ankles which, in addition to squandering my childhood dream of being a figure skater, makes rocky ascents a treacherous undertaking. Luckily, the Skywalks more than compensate for my biological disadvantage; they’re fully supportive throughout the ankle, making rock scrambles significantly less dangerous.

The summit of Icicle Ridge was blanketed in about three feet of snow. The Skywalks have a sturdy tread, and combined with the waterproof Gore-Tex lining, traversing banks didn’t create much of an issue. They braved mud and creeks without slippage.

Skywalk GTX
Photo by Carley Schmidt

The only issue that arose when it time to descend. Downhill tends to wreak the most havoc on my legs; I step fairly heavily, which puts pressure on my toes and knees. I’ve lost many toenails due to this bad habit. The Skywalks have a fairly narrow toe, and while I loved the aesthetic value of this feature, it did create an issue when marching back down the switchbacks. I had sore feet by the time we reached the trailhead again, and was starting to lose feeling in a few toes. This may just be something that has to be worn in over time, and even now it’s not unbearable, but it does play into my planning process.

Skywalk GTX
Photo by Carley Schmidt

Vasque’s Skywalk GTX is overall a great boot. It’s durable, stylish and undoubtedly long-lasting. For those seeking a classic look and a trustworthy design, the Skywalk is a solid choice. For a student like myself, $200 is a substantial investment, but like a new car, I plan on racking up some hard miles.

Skywalk GTX
Photo by Carley Schmidt. Sandwich by Grace Lindsey.

Features:

  • Leather tanned in the US
  • GORE-TEX® with Extended Comfort Technology
  • Comfortable yet stable
  • Polyurethane midsole
  • Weight: 2 lbs 13 oz.
  • Available now
  • Price: $200

An Intro to Pet Medical Care

in Community/Skills by
GreyFirstAid_LindaWeber

My friends Lori and Ray have the biggest hound hearts around – they have no less than six adopted greyhounds in their household. The dogs are all amazing, and are always ready for a good hike in the great outdoors. We walk the hounds in phases so that we are sure to have control of the hounds that are with us.

pet medical care

We consider this a good first step in preparation for taking the dogs out on a hike. This brings to mind being prepared for your hounds in the event of the need for pet first aid while on any outdoors excursion. Do you know where the nearest veterinarian clinic is near your extended hike? Would you know what to do if your dog was suddenly bitten by a snake while out on a trail?  What if your hound had an accident while out on the hike? Topics such as these are addressed by a number of local and national organizations.

pet medical care

CPR Seattle is a local American Heart Association Training Center which offers certifications to individuals and businesses in CPR. More specifically, they offer classes in pet CPR and first aid. In the Pet CPR and First Aid course, they discuss how to aid your animal in the event of an injury. Students in the class receive a completion certificate once the course is completed. The course content addresses:

  • Restraining an injured animal
  • Checking vitals
  • Treating serious bleeding and shock
  • Care for injuries and wounds
  • Medical emergencies
  • Environmental emergencies (animal bites, snake bites, ticks and more)
  • Common pet illness and conditions

pet medical care

Technology is also available to play a role in your pet’s medical care. PetTech is an online resource through which local classes offer CPR and first aid care for your animal. They offer PetSaver Training as well as an app that gives you an immediate hands-on tool for issues such as:

  • CPR
  • Bleeding
  • Chocking
  • Shock
  • Fractures & limb injuries
  • Poisoning
  • Insect bites & stings
  • Heat stroke
  • Burns
  • Frost nip/Frost bite
  • Seizures and convulsions

Each issue on the app lists definitions, causes, signs and actions for survival – all critical in the event of a serious injury or medical event, and enables timely prevention for any issue that can be mitigated or avoided by immediate and proper attention. The app also offers a section specifically addressing poisonous items, with plants listed alphabetically. When you touch the name of the plant on the app, you get a color picture of the plant with a description, making the identification of such a plant a snap.  It also gives information on signs of poisoning and actions for survival if poisoning is suspected.

pet medical care

The American Red Cross website is also a useful resource for pet safety. As the warmer months approach, it is important to keep in mind that our hounds need to be protected from the heat, just as humans do.  If your hound appears to be in distress from the heat, the Red Cross suggests the following measures be taken:

Determine if the signs and symptoms are indicative of a heat stroke:

  • Collapse, body temperature 104° F or above, bloody diarrhea or vomit, depression stupor, seizures or coma, excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, salivationIf you are suspicious of a heat stroke:
  • Get your dog out of direct heat
  • Check for shock
  • Take your dog’s temperature
  • Spray your dog with cool water then retake temperature
  • Place water–soaked towels on the dog’s head, neck, feet, chest and abdomen, turn on a fan and point it in your dog’s direction, rub Isopropyl alcohol (70%) on the dog’s foot pads to help cool him (but don’t use large quantities as it can be toxic if ingested)
  • Take your dog to the nearest veterinary hospital

pet medical care

 

As we continue our adventure on our hike through the local trail system, we keep in mind the following tips when out with one (or many!) hounds. Here are a few additional reminders for walking one (or multiple hounds) in any outdoor setting:

  1. Make sure your hound is wearing a collar and an identification tag for any outdoor excursion. This becomes critically important in the event you and your hound(s) get separated on your hike.
  2. Always bring plenty of water and a portable bowl with you on the hike, for both you and your hound(s). It never hurts to have treats on hand as well!
  3. If walking multiple hounds, make sure that they all get along – a walk or hike with newly-acquainted hounds closer to home is a good idea so that you (and others walking with you) are aware of their behaviors with and around the other hounds and humans!
  4. Have a portable first aid kit on hand for both you and your hounds (The Humane Society offers a comprehensive list of what to carry in your pet’s first aid kit).

pet medical care

To find out more about any of these resources, please visit:

Trip Report: Bench Lakes in the Sawtooth Mountains

in Trails by
Bench Lake

The fog lay over the lake like a downy blanket as I laced up my boots and quietly threw a few essentials into a rucksack. With the dim pre-dawn light to guide me, I made my way through the gloom to the trailhead. The sign showed four miles to Bench Lakes, and I had until 11 AM to get there and back again.

Grand Mogul and trail

The Sawtooth Mountains of Central Idaho are well-named, their jagged spires raking the sky. Among the ragged peaks and towers are a multitude of lakes, sprinkled like vivid blue confetti in the granite landscape. However, few trails are of short enough length for trail-hungry hikers with less than a day in the area, much less the scant 5 hours allotted to me for my morning jaunt from camp at Redfish Lake. I am not one for trail running, being more inclined to saunter, pause and linger, but that day I made an exception. Buoyed by enticing patches of blue sky in the thinning mist, and the prospect of an above-the-clouds view, I raced up the trail. It is a wide and gentle path, built for the clumsy hooves of horses through slopes of sagebrush and ponderosa.

Sawtooth Peaks

Heaving for air, I turned the final corner and found a junction; one fork plummeting down towards Redfish, the other ascending into the heavens, towards the higher lakes. I took the latter, pushing myself up through the last dregs of fog and into high gardens beneath the towers of Heyburn Mountain. The bulk of the Grand Mogul loomed across the valley, and the shimmering peaks of the White Cloud Range could be seen floating above the sea of fog that filled the plains and valleys bellow.

Mt. Heyburn

On I went, over hillocks and besides a burbling stream and once again back into dark woods before, with startling suddenness, the lake appeared through the foliage before me. I whipped out my camera and snapped my photos of the perfectly still waters with their reflection of the golden peaks beyond.

Bench Lake

That was it, my time here was spent. I hadn’t the time to go and ramble as I wished, ever higher to the upper lakes in the chain, ensconced as they are in chalices of chiseled granite. Back down I raced, dodging other hikers just now making the ascent. It was a different world I returned to, one of the noise and bustle of a popular campground, lodge, and lake – a far cry from the silent, still place I had departed that morning. It was with a glad heart and tired body that I departed, away from the grand peaks I had so shortly traversed. One day I will return again, and this time treat the Sawtooths with the lengthy trip they deserve.

Grand Mogul Mountain


 

Getting there: Drive Idaho State Highway 75 North from Sun Valley or South from Stanley, turning onto Redfish Lake road approximately 4 miles out of Stanley (55 miles from Sun Valley). Take the lodge turn-off and go straight then turn immediately right into the hiker parking. The Sawtooths are a remote area, and from the nearest city (Boise) it is at least a three hour drive.

WoolX X303 Daily Boxer Briefs Review

in Community/Gear by
boxer1

The most experience-heightening change I ever made to my gear set was switching to a  good pair of athletic boxer briefs. Gone were the days of chaffed thighs and cotton-gathered. Here to stay were the days of smooth strides and dry nethers. I wore my first two pairs of spandex running shorts beneath my pants until the seams wore out and there were holes in inopportune places. My wife made me switch to a pair of Champion polyester-blend briefs, but I’ve been wearing those on every backcountry outing for four years. While they’ve held up well, I was excited to test the Merino wool WoolX X303 Daily Boxer Brief in hopes that I was about to make a new, intimate friend.

Out of the bag, the WoolX X303 Daily Boxer Briefs are beautiful. Boxers aren’t typically on public display, but the Cobalt blue Dailys I received to test are so shiny and luxurious, I wished I could show them off. The fabric is so soft and smooth, you feel like they ought to cost three times what they do.

boxer1

Wearing the Dailys was a somewhat less luxurious experience. The fabric does feel as nice against the skin as it does to my hand, and they are as moisture wicking and odor eliminating as we expect Merino wool to be, but the pleasantness of wearing the briefs stops there.

The waistband is fine. It is comfortable, but WoolX advertises the Dailys as having a “non-rub interior label.” This is not true. There is a tag in the waistband of the Dailys that is immediately irritating. Technically, it is on the outside of the waistband, but it loops around to connect to the inside. I tried wearing them without removing the tag my first couple of trips out in hopes that it would soften over time. It did not. After I cut it out, the problem was solved.

Also, legs of the briefs began to ride up on me after about two hours of activity. Once I removed, washed, and redonned the briefs, the legs regained their elasticity. For short, day trips, this wasn’t an issue, but when I wore the briefs on overnight trips, I was sorry I did.

boxer2

WoolX advertises the Dailys as being good for all seasons and for all outdoor activities. I wore the Dailys in temperatures ranging from the single to the triple digits in the summer, fall and winter while hiking, biking, running, climbing, snowshoeing and snowboarding. They performed similarly each time. I stayed either cool or warm and dry regardless of what the weather was like outside my shorts. I preferred the Dailys for activities when my range of leg movement was less intensive (climbing and snowboarding), as this alleviated the issue I had with the legs riding up.

In summary, the WoolX X303 Daily Boxer Briefs are an enormously comfortable pair of undergarments to wear for short periods of time in all seasons and for all activities. They are reliably moisture wicking and odor repellant, and they are one of the softest garments I have ever worn. Remove the waistband tag before you wear them on the trail, and be prepared to pull the legs back down after a few hours of use.

 

Tech Specs

 

  • Date available: now
  • MSRP: US $34
  • Listed Weight: 5.6 oz (large)
  • Materials: 100% 7.5 micron Australian Merino wool
  • Size/Model tested: Large, Cobalt Blue
  • Colors Available: Black, Charcoal, Cobalt Blue

The New Primal Beef and Turkey Jerky

in Community/Food by
new primal jerky

What do you look for in a jerky? Taste, naturally, and a fair price. We don’t typically eat jerky to be “healthy,” but we do eat it for sustenance and a quick energy boost with a long tail on the trail. I suppose we might also want to be sure the jerky we are eating isn’t laced with chemicals and artificial flavors that negate any caloric benefit. When I eat jerky, I want to eat the meat of the animal from which it was made, not other non-animal substances.

I’m looking at you, Slim Jim.

The New Primal beef and turkey jerky passes almost all of those tests. The one it does not pass—price—is forgivable given The New Primal’s commitment to offering a pure, ethically-produced, additive-free, delicious, dehydrated meat product.

new primal jerky
Photo courtesy of The New Primal

I tried all three varieties of The New Primal jerkies – original beef, spicy beef, and turkey. Each was quite tasty. The normal beef jerky has a nice, light peppery flavor that is beef-forward instead of spice-forward. The spicy beef isn’t too spicy. My heat-averse wife even enjoys it. The turkey jerky is the best turkey jerky I’ve ever tasted, not sweet or peppery but lemon and ginger-lit. Neither the beef nor the turkey jerky are dry in the least.

One thing I studied in college was food science, and if you want to continue to enjoy Thanksgiving, you should not learn how poultry are farmed in the United States. The fact that The New Primal raises their turkeys free-range in a stress-free environment is remarkable.

The New Primal beef and turkey jerkies are kind of expensive, dividing out to just over $3/oz. For the quality of the jerky and the peace of mind that comes from knowing I’m eating meat and not other chemicals, and from knowing the meat was produced ethically, I think it’s worth it. Jerky is always kind of expensive. At least The New Primal jerky isn’t costing me my clear conscience too.

new primal farm
Pictures of The New Primal’s farm are much more interesting than pictures of me masticating.

The jerkies are packaged nicely as well in a durable, thick plastic, resealable pouch. I never worried about the packages opening up in my pack while I was hiking.

In summary, The New Primal jerkies provided me the delicious boost of energy I was looking for on the trail and it did it without making me wonder whether or not what I was putting into my body was doing more harm than good. Bonus – I also knew The New Primal was taking care of their animals as well. It’s a little expensive, but not egregiously so. I recommend it highly.

Date available: now

Ingredients:

Original Beef

Grass-Fed and Grass-Finished Beef, Pineapple Juice, Coconut Aminos, Honey, Lemon Juice, Apple Cider Vinegar, Less than 2% of: Smoked Sea Salt, Garlic, Onion, White Pepper, Smoked Paprika, Ginger, Black Pepper

Spicy Beef

Grass-Fed and Grass-Finished Beef, Pineapple Juice, Coconut Aminos, Honey, Lemon Juice, Apple Cider Vinegar, Jalapeno Peppers, Cayenne, Smoked Sea Salt, Garlic, Onion, White Pepper, Smoked Paprika, Ginger, Black Pepper

Turkey

Turkey Breast, Honey, Pineapple Juice, Water, Apple Cider Vinegar (Apples & Water), Smoked Sea Salt, Lemon Juice, Garlic, Ginger,  Granulated Onion, Black Pepper, White Pepper, Paprika

Types tested: Original Beef, Spicy Beef, and Turkey

Types Available: Original Beef, Spicy Beef, and Turkey

Salewa Alp Flow Mid Boots Review

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The Salewa Alp Flow Mid Boots are a “…tough trekking boots made of nubuck and ballistic mesh with a protective rubber edging. Innovative GORE-TEX® Surround™ Technology creates a shoe that is completely waterproof and features 360° breathability – keeping your feet at the right temperature whatever the weather.” I thrashed these boots on several long and dusty hikes up and down Mount Fuji. From hot summer days to surprise sleet storms, the boots performed very well by keeping my feet dry and comfortable.Salewa Alp Flow Mid Boots 1

“The Vibram Hike Approach sole with coarse tread ensures traction on a range of terrain. For all kinds of outdoor adventure. Features the 3F System for firm ankle and heel support, and Climbing Lacing that stretches all the way to the front of the shoe for a very accurate fit.” While the Salewa Alp Flow Mid boots did provide excellent traction and support on the trail when the going got very wet, I found the shoes did a lot more slipping than sticking. I also found the shoes offered a snug performance fit, which was great when climbing on vertical rock but was less than comfortable for my extra wide, high-arched feet.

Salewa Alp Flow Mid Boots

Almost There: A Chance Encounter along the Pacific Crest Trail

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glenns pacific crest trailIt was the first day of September, 2013, and I was feeling a little impressed with myself. Starting at the Columbia River Gorge, I had been hiking the Pacific Crest Trail for nearly 30 days, 10 to 12 hours every day, and covered nearly 400 hundred miles. Along the way, I met some amazing people whose generosity and kindness were humbling, and I had a new pack that REI had switched-out for me simply on my word-of-honor over the phone. Indeed, trail angels abounded.

Aside from my blindingly painful left big toe and assorted blisters, I was in relatively decent shape, and though I had lost nearly 15 pounds, I felt stronger by the day. At 71 years old, that was an overflow list for gratitude. Nevertheless, there were many nights I awoke from pain I was feeling somewhere.  At those times I would simply lie still and wait until it passed, trying to fall back to sleep knowing that the next day would demand renewed vigor and energy.

glenns pacific crest trail

I began this new month on the Pacific Crest Trail with a sense of contentment I had rarely known before. I sat by Sitkum Creek sipping another wretched cup of instant coffee, writing a few sentences in my journal, and chewing on a breakfast bar. It was crumbly and stale, but I washed it down with generous sips of coffee and opened another. I would need the extra calories for the challenging miles the day would extract. I wanted to make Dolly Vista campsite, about 16 miles north from where I sat.  The terrain was as rugged as I had yet encountered, so it would be a long and difficult day of hiking. I would start at 3,800 feet and climb to 5,800 by the day’s end. That meant an entire day of ups and downs and multiple switchbacks; a hiker’s nightmare. Demanding, yes, but the views were glorious beyond description, which helped my aesthetic spirit prod my weary body into moving forward.

glenns pacific crest trail

About seven miles into the day, I met a man sitting by the side of the trail next to his teenage son. They had started at the trailhead 15 miles outside of Stehekin, and were hiking south to Stevens Pass. They had taken the three-hour boat ride from the town of Chelan to begin their own trek.

The man invited me to join them, so I unstrapped my pack and dropped it at my feet. I plunked down on a tree stump close to them. Our conversation led from one topic to another and eventually to his telling about his childhood in India where his father had been the tailor in their small village, supporting a family of eight children. His mother had died while giving birth to his youngest sibling and they were poor by any standard. Forty years ago he’d come to America to create a better life. He went to college, settled into a career, married, and had a large family. He told me that when he came to America he brought only the clothes he wore for the trip, an extra shirt, a pair of sandals, a windbreaker, a pair of shorts, assorted toiletries, and several pictures of his family. To the present day, it remained a mystery how his father managed to scrape together enough money to pay for his passage. He told me that as he become increasingly successful, he sent money to bring his entire family to America, where they all thrived and where his father and several of his siblings are buried in a family plot.

As he spoke, tears brimmed. Then, after a short pause, he continued, “Now I am retired, and I have a closet full of clothes, more than I can wear, and a house full of things I rarely pay attention to.”

And there, in the presence of his bored son (who’d probably heard the story a thousand times), he told me he was happier when he possessed nothing than he was today. He claimed that he would happily return to those earlier days of simplicity. He laughed when he said he was the American success story, but in the end, he succeeded in nothing but collecting more things than he wanted or needed.

“No, my friend, my greatest treasure is my family and my great joy today is that this son is with me here. If you have family and health, you have everything.”

By now it was close to lunchtime, so we sat on the side of the trail and shared our food. I had more stuff than they, and the boy smiled broadly when I pulled out a Snickers bar and handed it over to him. The father watched as his son tore off the paper and devoured the candy before he ate the lunch his father had prepared. I detected sadness in the father as he watched his son. It was if the father had somehow failed to impart the values he himself had been taught as a child.

After lunch, I stood up from the stump I’d been sitting on to continue my own hike. I sensed I had been in the presence of an itinerant guru imparting wisdom to whomever would welcome it. I thought of these encounters as gifts spread along my pathway for me to open and explore. It was another example that proved the best things that happened to me along the Trail were not planned.

With my pack securely strapped on, I gathered up my trekking poles and stood on the path heading north. As I began my first step, I turned around and asked, “About how far to Dolly Vista?”

The man replied, “You’re almost there.”

“Really? Seems like it’d be farther.”

He slowly shook his head and reaffirmed, “Nope, you’re almost there.”

“Well, enjoy the rest of your day,” and I headed north.

glenns pacific crest trail

Being “almost there” is an all-too-typical response to enquiries about distance from one point to another. I soon learned that what one person considered “almost there” wasn’t the same for another. For a 20-year old, five miles was a couple hours walk. For me, at 72, depending on the terrain, it could mean half a day of hiking. Receiving such information from someone 20, 30, or even half my age, was usually not helpful. So at some point during my PCT experience, I stopped asking.

“Almost there” is different for each hiker. But then, in a different meaning, heading into my 73rd year on this remarkable planet, “almost there” might be more accurate than I want to admit.

I reached Dolly Vista after a long and daunting 15-mile day. I felt every year of my life that night. Yet no matter how weary, the taste of ice-cold stream water and being in the midst of perfect beauty was an elixir that restored me.

A gentle breeze came from the north, and I fell asleep with that sound as the last I heard for the day.

glenns pacific crest trail

 

Excerpted from Almost There: Stories and Musings along the Pacific Crest Trail

      

 

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