On July 9th, I was one of four journeymen from the lowlands of Boston that packed together their most prized possessions and set off for the mountains of New Hampshire. Facing the grim reality that this could be the last time we see our loved ones, we tried to focus on the journey ahead: conquering the Beast of the East, Mt. Washington. Over the next two days, hauling 40 pounds each as we ascended the Presidential Traverse, we men suffered through wind gusts of over 50 mph, bloody blisters, and broken backs. But our pack refused to give up as we battled through the 25 miles of treacherous, rocky terrain. On the morning of summit, the sun came out, and Mt. Washington revealed itself in all its glory. 2000 feet below, in its shadows, we heard the battle cry. The epic moment was now on. This is our story.
Big ups to CatEyez for editing this video.
[“Reviewing the Stuff Columbia Sent Over” series: Click here to read more.]
It’s Spring again and I’ve finally had a chance to take my Columbia Ravenous trail runners outside. I’ve worn these shoes on road and light trail runs and on a treadmill in the winter. I definitely recommend these running shoes and give them an overall rating of 4.5/5 – see my review below:
Look: The design is okay. It’s sleek and simple, but some of the graphics are off. There are four color combos to choose from, which you can check out here. 3/5
Weight: I was pleasantly surprised when I put these on my feet for the first time. Cross trainers and trail running shoes can be a bit heavy and bulky, but the Ravenous, at 12 oz, have the weight of a typical running shoe. 5/5
Feel: The padding on the heel is very soft, which I prefer. It’s cushy and molds quickly to your feet, and provides excellent support when you’re running. Plenty of room for the toes. True to size. Feels great on your first wear! 5/5
Breathability: The shoe is mostly composed of mesh fabric, which provides excellent ventilation for your feet. 4/5
Overall: I’m very impressed with Columbia’s Ravenous Trail Running Shoes. I’ve worn them on roads, light trails and treadmills alike. They are comfortable and light; they provide excellent heel support; and they keep your feet ventilated and dry. I highly recommend these Trail Runners. 4.5/5
Back in January, I entered Backpacker Magazine’s Field Scout Contest with a video called “Olympic Dreams.” (Watch the video below) My video entry portrayed friend and hiking extraordinaire Greg Soster and myself as “two men sharing one dream – an Olympic Dream.” We desperately wanted to be selected by Backpacker because the winners would be outfitted and sent on a paid week-long trek anywhere in the lower 48 states. In our case, we had our sights set on Olympic National Park, a diverse and scenic park on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. We sent in the video and I crossed my fingers, hoping the editors of Backpacker Magazine would make our Olympic Dreams come true.
"Olympic Dreams" Loot. See Below for Description.
After officially submitting the video, we sent it out to friends and family, spread the word through Facebook, and posted it here on IGORoamandreport. It got a lot of views and a lot of love – thanks everyone! The video was also sent along to Columbia Sportswear through one of Greg’s connections. The folks at Columbia headquarters got a peek and loved it! They told us they were interested in sponsoring us and would get back to us soon. For realz??? Although we had no idea what that meant, we were damn excited about this! Continue reading
“Backpacker Magazine is hosting a video contest to send someone on a paid week-long trek to any destination in the lower 48 states?”
Sign me up! I first heard about this contest back in November from my friend and hiking buddy Greg Soster, a self-made mountain-man who has climbed over forty 4,000 foot peaks in the White Mountains (NH) in the past year alone. It took Greg and I all of two seconds to decide that we should enter; both our resumes are overflowing with epic outdoor experiences that span the forests, rivers, deserts and mountains of three continents. Greg and I both enjoy savoring the memories of our trips with stunning photography. I also seek the intense meditative qualities of outdoor adventures that seem to clear my head and provide personal inspiration for stories, reflections, and videos (which can be found right here on IGORoamandreport). To put it simply, Greg and I are the dream team for Backpacker Magazine’s Field Scout Contest.
It was a cold and rainy December night when I packed up my camera equipment and hopped on a bus to see Greg in Littleton, New Hampshire, a quiet town on Continue reading
The Third Film in a Six Part Series!
Millions of people step foot on the historic paths of the Emerald Necklace every year. Mark Lowenstein, author of “Great Runs in Boston,” addresses the functional and recreational importance of the Necklace’s linear paths for Boston’s commuters, walkers, runners, and bikers. Mark also explains how the Emerald Necklace inspired him to write running guidebooks for the Boston area.
See last week’s premiere here – Spending a Summer in the Necklace: The 2010 Green Team
Finding the right backpacking gear is a daunting task. Not only is it time consuming, but it can get very expensive, very quickly. Do not lose hope, I bring good news. Over the last year, I have built up my arsenal of backpacking gear from virtually nothing to being fully equipped. And by no means am I rich, but quite the contrary. I have spent days frugally sorting through equipment in stores and online, diligently reading through countless reviews, and buying the best gear, all with a low budget. I did not break the bank and my equipment has held up as well. I am finally ready to report back!
[Just In: My Backpacker Magazine Contest Video, “Olympic Dreams,” Lands Me a Gig Reviewing Gear for Columbia!]
In this article, I outline the best gear your Washingtons can buy you, including:
The most important piece of the puzzle. Since you’ll be hauling anywhere from 20 to 40 pounds for multiple days, you need a pack that is large, durable but also comfortable. You need a pack that rests on your hips with strong zippers and lots of compartments. Your pack should never give you blisters or give you significant back pain. My pick: The Osprey Atmos 50.
The Osprey Atmos 50 in Green Apple
This pack is perfect. I have used it on numerous adventures, including a month long trip to Peru. It has completely shattered my expectations. To date, there are no signs of wear and tear – no broken zippers; no ripped fabric. It is compact, lightweight, but large enough for multi-day trips. There are multiple compartments and weight is Continue reading
Rolling out of my warm sleeping bag nook after another short night of sleep, I woke up to the reality of putting on a pair of cold and wet hiking boots for the third consecutive morning. I would spend the rest of my day in these boots, trudging through steep terrain, mud, and possibly snow in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The three pairs of socks I packed were soaked as well, emitting a nauseating fume by today, day five of our trip.
“When the mountain ahead looms over us with a dark shadow of self doubt, we look deeply within ourselves and dig out long embedded personal characteristics.”
I reached into my bag and tried to focus on the necessity of the cold, slimy, and stinky cloth that was sliding over my foot. I knew I had no chance of finishing the last few miles of our journey without socks to protect my developing blisters. My socks on my feet, I prepared for the equally cold, wet, and uninviting boots, which would stay that way until I got home. The temporary sting of cold and the general absence of comfort however were mightily overshadowed by the most important lesson of wilderness adventure: Accepting a mentality of dealing with your circumstances.
[Backpacking for Beginners: Choosing the Best Cheap Backpacking Gear]
We thought we had it figured out. We would tour Lake Titicaca and get back to Puno at 3:30PM, catch a bus from Puno to Cuzco at 4PM, arrive in Cuzco late that night and get a room at Loki, a backpacker hot spot. Keep dreaming boy, that only works in Germany. This is 3rd world territory, shit-happens-country, and you better come prepared to deal with derailed plans. It was the summer of strikes in Peru; we really should have known better.
Our bus is finally ready for us around 10PM. With the old buses and out of date roads, a 6 hour delay is not unusual for Peru. At this point, however, our journey is no longer a straight shot. The staff makes us aware of the ongoing strikes and blocked roads. The new plan is to ride to the town of Sicuani, get out and walk a blocked section to the next town (a 30 minute walk, we were told), and catch a cab from there that would take us the remaining 6 hours to Cuzco. Still optimistic, we roll with the punches and get ready for a 12 hour overnight journey. Of course as soon as we leave the bus turns into a refrigerator because the heat doesn’t work. Typical. I’m cold and I can’t fall asleep, so I sit and nurse a Cusqueńa, the local brew.
The roads are blocked off by the people of local towns who are taking issue with recent Peruvian legislation. In April, the government agreed to sell mines, parts of the rain forest, and local water supplies to foreign companies. In exchange, the government profits, while locals see their resources and their livelihood pillaged. All in all, 2 out of 3 major roadways to Cuzco are at least partially blockaded.
We get to Sicuani around 2AM and start walking, all the while looking for a cab or a bus. The scene is surreal: miles of semi trucks full of cargo line the road, waiting for the Continue reading
I recently applied to be the youth ambassador for Sierra Club’s Best Internship on Earth. 600+ videos were submitted but there can only be one winner. That lucky bloke will get outfitted by the Sierra Club and sent on a mission to partake in and video document all kinds of awesome outdoor adventures out West. Check out the video and wish me luck!
A random collection of my favorite photographs I have taken over the past few years. Enjoy! And check out my Flickr if you’d like to see more!