15. January 2013 21:06
The final Leave No Trace principle, number seven, is “Be Considerate of Other Visitors.” This should be common sense for most people, but referring back to Planning Ahead and Prepare, we need to ensure our actions will not negatively impact others or the environment. [More]
29. November 2012 20:33
The fifth Leave No Trace (LNT) principle is Minimize Campfire Impacts. This principle is important when it comes to protecting the environment; many forest fires are started in the summer when campers don’t control fires appropriately and in many areas the appearance has been degraded because of the increasing demand for firewood. [More]
16. October 2012 21:35
The third Leave No Trace (LNT) principle is Dispose of Waste Properly. Disposing of waste properly is all about a simple idea, pack it in - pack it out. If you carry something in with you, it should come back out with you as well. Usually when people do not follow this principle the most obvious signs are trash and debris. However, many people do not consider the effects human waste, food debris, or water contamination can have for years to come. [More]
4. October 2012 20:50
The second Leave No Trace (LNT) principle is Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces. This principle is vital to the preservation of the environment you are planning to travel through during your next adventure. When roaming outdoors, damage occurs when vegetation or other communities of organisms are trampled. [More]
30. April 2012 16:16
Being an outdoor enthusiast, when I heard about the opportunity to get trained in outdoor leadership, I couldn’t resist the opportunity. Aside from my personal desires to gain more experience in the outdoors, I currently work for University Recreation (UREC) Marketing as an intern assigned to the Outdoor Recreation Center (ORC) team and figured gaining additional outdoor leadership experience will only help me become a better UREC employee. Outdoor Leadership Training is an 11-day course provided by the Outdoor Recreation Center to instruct participants how to lead a group into the wilderness through training in backpacking, kayaking and rock climbing.
This past Tuesday was the pre-trip orientation where trainers from the ORC provided all of the students with an overview of what will be taking place during the training. Not knowing any of the other students participating in the course, I was glad when the staff trainers started the meeting with an ice breaker for everyone to get to know each other. They gave us outdoor activity scenarios and asked us to express our “comfort level” with the scenario provided. This was a great way for each of us to see where we are comfortable and where we still need some development. It was reassuring to see other people have some of the same situational comforts as I did. Next, the staff provided guidance on some aspects of the training like Leave No Trace, how to properly pack a backpack for hiking and what to bring and not to bring on outdoor adventures. We finished things up on Tuesday with a tentative schedule of events for the duration of the course (subject to change depending on weather).
Being a leadership course, each of the students teaches several aspects of the course. I chose to provide a brief history of Granite Point, where we will be conducting the rock climbing portion of training; how to read a topographical map, since maps ar... [More]
18. April 2012 21:49
What is a portable stove? – Portable stoves are small, compact, burner assemblies used during hiking or backpacking trips when normal cooking utilities are not available. While many different variations of portable stoves are available, this article will focus on non-self-pressurizing tanks and free-standing burners. This type of step-up allows for a minimal amount of items to carry in your pack and eliminates the need for pressurized bottles.
How do they work? – Typical portable stoves consist of a few different parts that, when combined, provide a powerful and easy to use stove in just about any environmental conditions. The main parts of the portable stove are the fuel bottle, pressurization pump, connection tube and burner. The fuel bottle contains a liquid fuel source in accordance with the burner, typically kerosene, gasoline, diesel or alcohol. Pressurization pumps allows for the user to pressurize the bottle for stove use. The connection tube provides a sealed connection between the pressurized fuel source and the burner assembly. Once these four parts are connected and properly primed, the stove is ready for use. Pressurized fuel is fed to the burner via the connection tube. Upon ignition, the assembly will burn the fuel, thus providing a gas stove for cooking. Many companies have unique fittings for the bottle, pump, tube and stove, so ensure you get matching equipment and test the equipment before taking it on a trip. Also, follow the instructions for the particular burner as steps may vary depending on individual burners.
When should you use them? – These portable units are great for camping, hiking and mountaineering. The set-up and tear-down for portable stoves is relatively quick and effortless. When hiking and mountaineering, size and weight are vital. These stoves allow for hours of use while minimizing the space used and weight added t... [More]
13. April 2012 18:01
Summer is swiftly approaching and after a cold winter I’m ready for sunshine. To take ample advantage of the warm weather I have decided to take a different approach to planning my summer activities, I’m making a summer wish list.
When summer comes around all I want to do is relax but I’d much rather be hiking, biking or swimming. Here’s my wish list:
Hike Multnomah Falls. According to Oregon’s website, the difficulty is tailored for two different levels a moderate or difficult hike. I’ll probably do this on my way to or from Portland because it’s a nice break in a road trip.
Camping on the Oregon Coast. Camping was a staple of my childhood and I want to reconnect. An article from The Oregonian listed the top 10 tent sites for camping in Oregon. All of them look beautiful!
Bike through Tri-Cities, WA. I’m from the Tri-Cities and want to explore the area on a bike rather than driving everywhere, the Tri-cities Guide shows different routes.
Fishing in North Idaho. My Grandma lives in Bonners Ferry, ID, when I visit I plan to hike up one of the mountains and fish, while picking huckleberries along the way.
At the very least I want to do these four activities and hopefully by the end of the summer I’ve at least doubled that number! What outdoor activities will you do this summer?
Check out the sunny weather in the video below where Megan and I talk about summertime activities.
10. April 2012 22:14
Gathering around a campfire to exchange stories and spend time with friends is one of my favorite parts of camping. Watching the flickering flames and the smell of burning wood instills a sense of calm in me. However, what really puts my mind at ease is knowing that my campfire is not leaving a trace on the environment. According to Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, one of the most important rules to follow when building a campfire is to never burn your trash. Here are a few reasons why.
First, burning items like plastic bottles and bags, miscellaneous tape, batteries, or baby diapers releases numerous chemicals such as styrene, lead, and xylene—all known carcinogens. These carcinogens are then left behind in the ash created by the fire and are also released into the atmosphere. I sure don’t want myself or anyone else to be breathing in those toxins!
Another negative effect of burning trash is damage which accumulates over time. The trash leftover from a fire builds up in the environment causing long term effects. Animals are also attracted and conditioned to human food and trash and will go to extreme measures to seek these items out. Many times, this leads to animals becoming more aggressive and they are then destroyed to keep campers like you and me safe. Consuming human food also disrupts the natural feeding cycles of wild animals. This would occur much less often if explorers were mindful of the waste they leave behind.
Now, how can we go about being more mindful and leaving less waste? It’s simple: pack it in, pack it out. Campers should leave every campsite looking like it has been untouched by human (or gnome) hands. This can be accomplished by packing out all of our trash and either bringing it to a nearby trash receptacle or bringing it home where we can dispose of it appropriately. By planning ahead for our outdoor adventures, we have the opportunity to reduce the volume of our trash tremendously. Packing food in reu... [More]
6. April 2012 21:24
Hiking and camping is in my blood. After all, I am a gnome, and we gnomes LOVE spending time outdoors. There is nothing quite as rewarding as enjoying a meal cooked over a camp fire after an exhausting day of trekking and exploring! That being said, there is also nothing quite as saddening as waking up and finding that your food has been eaten by a bear during the night. Need to know how to avoid this tragedy? Two words: bear canister.
You may be surprised to hear that bears have a sense of smell 100x that of a dog’s. They will go to extraordinary measures to get food once the scent is locked in. Bears have been known to break out car windows to get food left in a vehicle, climb trees to it stored in bags, and sometimes even hurt themselves in the process. There is no getting between a bear and food, except a bear canister. In fact, many national parks such as Yosemite, have banned bear bagging (raising a bag of food in the air using a tree branch and rope) because it is seen as ineffective. The only approved method is bear canisters.
Bear canisters can be made from hard plastics, aluminum, and carbon fiber. They are extremely heavy duty so that bears cannot break into them. However, they are not air tight, so the smell of food can still get out of the canister. It is important to store the food canister 100 feet away from your campsite so if a bear does attempt to open it, they will not be disturbing you. Some people worry that the canisters will be a hassle to carry while they’re camping, but the extra 1.5-4lbs is definitely worth it. The canisters can also have a great carrying capacity. A 700in3 can hold up to a week worth of food for the average hiker.
Another important reason to use a bear canister is for the bear’s own protection. Once a bear tastes delicious human food, they always want more. They begin going to extreme measures to acquire the food and can become a threat to campers and hikers, at which point they need to ... [More]