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Magic Mile to Jeff Flood

2012 January 31
by Erik

I decided to try my hand at filming myself snowboarding one of the longest continuous runs in the US. The run is from the top of the Magic Mile ski lift to the bottom of Jeff Flood. Wonder what this area looks like in the summer? I apologize that it gets a little sideways from time to time. That’s why I keep checking back over my shoulder. The original audio that I used was blocked by YouTube, so here the the new one with royalty-free music.

Nothing too crazy. I figured out pretty quickly that I can’t really run through trees, do any jumps, or pound through deep powder with the GoPro attached to a trekking pole set up. I need my arms for that kind of stuff…

How to make poi

2012 January 22
by Erik

Step 1: Drag 5 year old daughter to Asian market.

Step 2: Try to calm down her horror after you pass the meat department.

Step 3: Grab a large taro root from the produce department and head to the checkout.

Step 4: When you get home, bring large pot of water to a boil.

Step 5: Drop whole root into pot and set timer to boil for 40 minutes.

Step 6: Fall asleep on couch while reading iPhone.

Step 7: Wake up to find that pot has boiled over.

Step 8: Clean up mess.

Step 9: Take root out of water and let cool for 15 minutes.

Step 10: Remove the peel and cut into chunks (the root, not the peel).

Step 11: Mash, blend, whatever – just pulverize it. Add water as you go to get the right consistency.

Step 12: Taste.

Step 13: Throw in the trash because you realize that poi tastes like shit.

Final product just before hitting the trash

Checking In

2012 January 10
by Erik

Just a quick note to say that I am not dead, just waiting for the snow to improve for winter outdoor activities to become worth it. We are having one long shoulder season in the northwest. I’m working on a couple projects that will hopefully expand the blog in the near future.

Stay tuned…

Oh, and I didn’t break my foot in the Sisters trip.

Three Sisters Wilderness Area – Sisters Loop – 09/22 – 09/24/2011

2011 October 4
Another view of Moraine Lake soon after sunrise with South Sister in the background.

**DISCLAIMER: As opposed to my other trip reports, this one was actually successful. So it may not be as entertaining. Although it turns out that I may have broken my foot…**

“I’m okay with doing the whole loop, but I’m not climbing anything.” Mike had suggested that we climb Middle Sister in addition to hiking the near 45 mile loop which is itself between 5,500 and 7,000 feet the whole time. After my Timberline Trail disaster, I was reluctant to hike the entire loop, let alone climb anything. For a while, I was really into climbing to the summits of the local mountains but I have a little problem: Severe altitude sickness at any altitude above 8000ft. It’s not very dangerous, it’s just really uncomfortable for me – pounding headaches, severe nausea, tunnel vision. My first several climbs, I was so motivated to get to the summit that I just suffered through the symptoms.

Then earlier this year I was doing a solo climb of Mt Hood when I got to about 10,000ft to find that all of my water had frozen. I was thirsty and suffering from some serious altitude sickness when I looked up at the summit and thought, “Why am I doing this? I’ve already been up there a few times before. I’m going home.” I haven’t been above 8000ft since…

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Mount Hood – Timberline Trail – 08/25 – 08/26/2011

2011 September 15
Timberline Trail

“There is a lot of snow in Paradise Park and you need snowshones or crampons for the east side of the trail.”

“Seriously?” I ask the ranger on the phone.  I was planning to leave the next morning on a 3-4 day solo trip around Mt Hood on the Timberline Trail.  I was being responsible and double checking the conditions before heading out.

“Yes.  Using regular backpacking boots would be very risky.  That was just updated by someone today so it’s current,” she replied.  “Also, route finding is very difficult on the east side of the mountain right now.  And the Eliot Creek crossing is still closed.”

I hung up the phone.  I knew all about the Eliot crossing and knew that the “official” statement was that it was closed.  Many people report that it is sketchy but, especially going clockwise around the mountain and with a little planning, it is very doable.

I’m sure not going to lug a pair of snowshoes around the mountain.  Besides, whatever snow there is would be extremely hard packed at this time of the year so snowshoes would be worthless.  Crampons are much lighter, but I fear that I would be putting them on and taking them off so often that they would be impractical with my very comfy backpacking boots.  “Seriously?” I thought to myself again.  I decided that the best compromise was to wear my crampon-compatible lightweight mountaineering boots and bring the crampons.  This would be my undoing…

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Tunnel Falls – 07/17/2011

2011 July 19
Upper Punch Bowl Falls in the rain

“It’s pouring rain out… We still doing this?”  An email from Donnie.  It is 6am and I have just rolled over in bed seeing the question on my phone.

“I’m going either way,” I emailed back.  I looked at the weather report on my phone.  40% chance of rain, “showers in the area”.  Tossing the phone on my nightstand I sit up.  I can hear the rain outside my window.

I walk into the bathroom and grab my contact lens case.  As I put my left contact lens in my eye I can hear my inner voice say, “Left-Eye Lopes”.  I have no idea why my personal narrative felt the need to mention a deceased 1990s pop icon.  I put in the other contact.  “Right-Eye Rodriguez.”  I have no idea who that is…

After a couple more emails with Donnie, it is apparent that I am doing this hike solo.  Rain, poison oak, and crowds be damned…I’m heading to the Columbia Gorge!

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2011 Osprey Manta 25 Hydration Pack

2011 July 19
by Erik
The pack at the end of a trip in my garage.  Camera tripod and rain jacket in view.

I was in the market for a new day pack and had a bunch of REI gift cards from my birthday.  My 2007 Camelbak Alpine Explorer had seen better days and was in need of replacement.  I did some research online and was all set to buy the Osprey Talon 33.  When I got to the store and picked it up, it just seemed like a big sack without much organization to it.  The price was good, but I would have to add a hydration bladder to it as it doesn’t come with one.

As I was walking around with it in my hands, I strolled by the Hydration Packs section and saw the Mantas.  There is a 20L, 25L, and a 30L.  I ended up buying the 25L for three reasons:

  1. 25L is big enough (20L too small)
  2. It had a better front pouch configuration than the 30L
  3. It was the only one in my size.

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2010 Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles

2011 July 19
The poles in their shortest position with detached snow baskets

For the longest time I was against trekking poles.  I would carry an old hiking stick that I found in the woods.  Turns out, these things are great!  They weigh very little and give two additional contact points on steep ascents and descents.

Recently I was using a pair of Leki poles that I had bought for my wife several years ago.  They were okay, but I was sick of the twist-lock mechanism on them.  Something about the way that I used them would make them unlock on me at random (and occasionally unfortunate) times.  I had heard great things about the trekking poles by Black Diamond with their Flick Lock system so I blew my dividend on a pair in April 2010.

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San Diego – Surfing – 07/09/2011

2011 July 12
by Erik
Rob (left) and Chris (right) at the end of the day.

I was down in San Diego this past week for a conference.  This conference is a favorite of mine and I had friends from other parts of the country who would be attending as well.  My friend Rob from Wichita had just become Open Water certified for scuba and wanted to try out diving in the ocean for the first time.  Up until then, he had only dived in a rock quarry back in Kansas.

“It’s been a while, but why not?  I’ll go out with you.”  I dug through an old filing cabinet and found my PADI card and dive log book.

Side note for younger readers:  A “filing cabinet” was a metal box where one could “store” and “lock up” important “files” that were made of “paper”.

I thumbed through the log book.  My last logged dive was dated June 1997.  I pointed this out to Rob saying, “I might have difficulty getting someone to sell me air.  I’ll just play dumb and see if anyone notices.”  I started researching dive shops in San Diego and found the size of the list to be a bit overwhelming.  It was looking like it was going to cost at least $150 to rent then gear and join a guided group, assuming that there were available spots with only a couple of days notice.  A little steeper than I was hoping but, hey, how often do I have a good chance to go scuba diving?

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Mt Adams – North Cleaver – 07/03 – 07/04/2009

2011 June 24
The location of our tent in relation to the scenery.

“You ready to try this again?”

I was at Mike’s house about a month after our Adams debacle (you may want to read that first), loading up my truck again.  This time it was just me and Mike taking another stab at climbing Adams from the north side.  It was early Friday morning and the plan this time was to park at Killen Creek trailhead and hike to high camp by that afternoon.  Alpine start at dark-thirty the next morning, climbing to the summit and back to camp by Saturday night.  Get up Sunday morning whenever and head back to Portland.  Short and sweet.

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