Archive for the ‘Parks’ Category


Produced By Cameron McKirdy

On my way to the park for some exercise, I noticed a roadside table bursting with bright dahlias. Next to them was a sign painted “FREE FLOWERS.” What a concept! They could have just left a cash box out there with a price. But nope. It wasn’t too good to be true. It was just someone doing a good deed.

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I got to talk to the retired man tending his garden. He said it’s easier to give them away. Then he doesn’t have to stay out there, or be mad when someone steals the cash. What can you give away today?

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Produced by Cameron McKirdy

My dad and I just got back to the Oregon Coast, after a 4 day trip playing on the McKenzie River and the trail. First we geared up, and hit the rapids with the Oregon Whitewater Association. A group of 70 extreme outdoor enthusiasts floated 14 miles down the river. The water was brutally cold, at only 47 degrees. I fell off our cataraft for the first time after we smashed into a log along the bank. I didn’t have time to be fearful. I was just trying to catch my breath from the shock of the water, and keep my legs up as I floated down. Of course, I had a class 3 life jacket on. I swam to the back of the boat, but didn’t like being where I couldn’t see the rocks ahead of me. Plus, I didn’t want to get trapped under the massive military grade raft. So I separated from the craft, and tried to swim to shore, but the water was moving too fast, and nobody there could help me. I swam to the side of the raft, and was barely able to climb back on. I had to quickly jump off the river bottom to boost myself up. I was fatigued, and just wanted to sit down and assess my injuries. I hit my knee on a rock, and bloodied by shin up. I was only in the river for a few minutes, but it wouldn’t have been long before my body started shutting down, and hypothermia set in. It was intense.

I had my iPhone 4S in my pocket with a LifeProof case on when I went overboard. It worked. No water got in thankfully. In my other pocket I was carrying the new Coast DX335 rescue knife. It stayed clipped on, but luckily I didn’t have to use it. You’d be surprised how many people die on the river getting tangled in ropes. Below is a funny clip I took with the LifeProof case on my cell. It took great video, and you can hear my dad yelling at me to put it away. He thought it was going to get splashed, or fall in as we hit the drop in the rapids. Also below is an HD video review of the Coast Products knife. I will update this blog as I get media online. I used my GoPro Hero 3 Black camera to record my treacherous mountain bike ride down the McKenzie River Trail. That will be up soon. Thanks for visiting Survival Bros. Follow us on Twitter, Youtube, and join the community on Facebook. Peace.

 

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Produced by Cameron McKirdy

I shot this HD video while camping in the Olympic National Forest near Forks Washington.  It’s truly an amazing park.  You must visit.  I tented right near the river, and there’s plenty of challenging hiking trails nearby.  These elk were amazing, and quite noisy.  They were making all kinds of crazy calls.  I wanted to pet one.  Another part of me saw dinner. 

By Cameron McKirdy

I’m on vacation. Calories and money are of no concern to me. I’m getting after it, but this bed is really comfy. I’m staying with friends in Alton, IL.

I flew out of Portland. But not before I got molested by the TSA. Of course I opted out of the naked body scanners again, always will. Everyone else submitted and got radiated. My enhanced pat down took forever. The TSA didn’t know how to handle me. 10, maybe 15 minutes passed before I even got felt up. What a tease! The old officer slowly stroked my buttocks, in between my legs, and everywhere else. ‘Merica!

My flight was delayed, so I had Patrón. Boarding the plane sucked. I didn’t check in early with Southwest, so I had to sit at the back of the aircraft. It was a bumpy 4.5 hour ride. We had a rough landing too. I knew we were coming in hot, and sure enough we smashed down going way too fast.

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A $30 cab ride later to the Sax hotel, and this was my epic view. It’s a crappy pic, but you can make out the famous Chicago sign in the distance. My room was right above The House of Blues. I enjoyed room service; deep dish sausage pizza, a cookie platter, and beer. I lounged around in a robe, and watched Hoarders on TV. I also planned out the next day, checking maps, and business reviews.

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In the morning I stashed my Kelty Red Cloud backpack in a locker at Union Station. It used fingerprint identification as a key. It was $5 an hour to rent a big locker. Breakfast was a green smoothie and a shot of wheatgrass at Jamba Juice, and a fatty turkey sandwich and dark roast coffee at Panera Bread. After that, I was on a mission to see all I could. I went to the Willis Tower, formerly the Sears tower, but going to the top was pointless, because there was no visibility. A beautiful Alexander Calder sculpture moved fluidly in the lobby.

Later, I went to Navy Pier, but most of the attractions were closed. It was rainy and foggy. Next stop was the Contemporary Art Museum of Chicago. The main exhibit featured artists creating around the time of WW2. So the many of the works were intentionally damaged by the creators to express the ravages of war. Canvases were cut, ripped, burned, and pierced.

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After digesting Art at the museum, I mobbed to Millennium Park to check out “The Bean” sculpture. It’s massive. Viewing Chicago in the distorted reflection was wondrous. I want to make a giant abstract work of Art. My city sucks when it comes to embracing artists, and modifying the environment. Chicago has style. It has good eats and brews too. Before taking the train to Alton, I dined with fellow pro eater Patrick Bertoletti. We threw down grub at Tilted Kilt, and smashed local beers at Rudy’s.

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There’s nothing like waking up and going to a candy shop. My friends and I drove to Crown Candy in St. Louis, the King of malts. For 100 years they’ve challenged the public to drink 5 malts in one-half hour. I would have tried it, but there was a long line pouring out the door, and they don’t offer the food feat when they’re slammed. So I ordered a turkey bacon melt, and chocolate banana malt. I went with two girls, so naturally I ended up eating most of their food too.

After nearly blacking out from overdosing on calories, we ventured to the St. Louis City Museum. It’s a funhouse! You wouldn’t believe how extravagant it is. The place is a maze of caves, slides, and hidden passageways. Outside there’s a playground, that looks more like a death trap. It’s made of airplanes, fire trucks, and rebar. I nearly got stuck turning around in this suspended steel tunnel.

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Next stop was downtown STL. The City Garden was impressive. There’s lots of Art, including a huge screen you can see yourself on. And there were sculptures of bunnies, next to real wild bunnies. It got me in the mood. Love is in the Spring air. Next we prefunked at the Oyster Bar near Busch Stadium. I devoured alligator nuggets. Then we went to the Brewers and Cardinals game. They gave out free Stan Musial harmonicas remembering The Man. They are already selling for more than $50 online. Our seats were in the Bank of America suite. The bank sucks, but I had access to endless food, and all the beer and wine I wanted. The Cards won.

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My peeps just took me to Confluence Towers. This is began Lewis and Clark started their epic journey, and where the Missouri and Mississippi rivers converge. The view is vast, but the tour guide pointed out the landfill first. I paid $4 for the view. Next was an interpretive center at Camp River Dubois. This is where Lewis and Clark trained for their trek. My pictures include the Captain’s quarters, and a replica of the keelboat complete with gear they spent months stockpiling. It’s all fascinating. I got souvenirs, and a great book I’m reading called Undaunted Courage.

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Visiting the mounds at Cahokia in Illinois.

It’s my pleasure to bring to you, the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Dualist.  This is a brilliant cooking solution for ultralight backpacking.  It gets high marks with Survival Bros, and my puggle featured in the HD video review above.

I think you’ll like this cookware system because it has all the bases covered.  It comes loaded with two telescoping foons, two 20 ounce insulated bowls with lids, two 20 ounce mugs, and a large hard anodized aluminum pot including a lid with a built in strainer.  This is perfect for cooking pasta, and even works as a spout for pouring liquids like hot tea.  The orange and blue foons match their bowls, but I like them because they are deep, so I can take big bites.  They are dishwasher safe too, like the rest of the Pinnacle Dualist.  Also, the entire package is BPA-free, so you aren’t absorbing harmful chemicals.

When I first got the Dualist a few months back, I was stoked that the bowls were insulated.  The last thing I want is my precious food to go cold right after I prepare it.  Plus, the bowls have “Sip-it” lids.  GSI Outdoors must have been thinking about messy eaters like me.  With the lids locked down, I’m less likely to spill scorching soup on my chest.  Another sly feature is the rubberized pot handle.  It folds, and either locks into place as a long handle, or on top of the bowls, keeping everything secure in the pot.

The stuff sack is also a wash basin.  I couldn’t believe it either.  It’s one more container that could come in handy for collecting water out of the creek, or washing your hands before supper.  The cookware system looks as good as it functions.  It’s orange and black.  I like having a high-visibility handle for cooking in low light.  And when you’re done, the Pinnacle Dualist is an easy clean.  It uses non-stick Teflon with Radiance technology.  So there’s no scrubbing.  Heat spots aren’t an issue either, allowing for quicker, and more even cooking.

The Pinnacle Dualist retails for $64.95.  If you are looking for an ultralight cooking solution ideal for two people, this could be for you.  I like the price, but truly appreciate the thought that went into this American design.  It’s all only 21.6 ounces, and the pot holds 1.8 liters.  The dimensions are 5.90″ x 6.40″ x 5.90″.  The Dualist offers bang for your buck.  This product gets the Survival Bros seal of approval.  Please comment, like, and share.  Thanks.

Produced by Cameron McKirdy

For more visit http://www.gsioutdoors.com

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By Cameron McKirdy

I’m so sore. I hiked from Seaside to the Hiker’s Cabins on Tillamook Head. It’s just under four miles, but it took nearly two hours. Then the next morning I hiked back, and walked a few more for good measure.

My 55L backpack weighed at least 40 pounds. And I almost wore 5lb ankle weights too. My Dad tagged along. He had hiking poles, which I tried. They took some of the strain off my legs, and gave me a good arm workout. The trail was nasty. So muddy. Dad said it was the worst time of the year to climb there, which made it the best for me. I wanted a challenge.

We had to climb over a few downed trees, but besides mud, the trail was well kept. It was never ending though. My Dad kept asking if we were there yet, like me on our road trips growing up. He said, “if I was on a treadmill, we would be there already.” Yeah. Working out in a gym is nothing like real life.

There were a couple lookouts over the Pacific Ocean, but it was foggy, and rainy. The canopy from the trees sheltered us some, but I was still soaked. I didn’t take any pictures going there, I knew it was going to be sunny the following day. Once we got to the log cabins, I was on my own. I changed clothes, and got my bed ready.

I used a new sleeping system. I just bought a gortex camo bivy, so that was my outer layer. I also brought my Coleman mummy style sleeping bag rated down to 25 degrees. Then I had a mummy shaped inflatable insulated sleeping pad. It was 2.5 inches thick! Comfortable, but next time I want to use one that’s lower profile, so my face has more clearance. It was a tight fit. I’m a big dude, so sleeping in a bivy bag was a little claustrophobic at first.

I passed out super early. 6PM. I was tired, and just trying to stay warm in my bag. I woke up once, just to say hi to the mice in the bunk above me. They checked out my stuff, left their mark, and bounced. I was stoked in the morning when I popped my head out and saw daylight. I couldn’t wait to hike back to Seaside. The sun was shining, and I could see the end of the ocean.

On the trek back I snapped the pictures you see below. It’s a magical place, eager to be explored. I buried an emergency cache up there, full of food, water purification tablets, matches and more. Maybe someday I will have to flee the city, and retrieve it. On hikes like this you are forced to make decisions. Take the long route around the mud pit, or charge it. I went right through the mess usually. Foolishly I tried to take a shortcut down a slick, rocky hill once. I slipped, and tried to plant my heels in the bank, but couldn’t stop. I slid on my butt, until I snatched a root. No blood. I didn’t take a picture of the slide either, I kept charging.

Four miles later, I made it from the cabins to The Cove in Seaside, OR. I walked through the city, and got some strange looks with my backpack on. That and my backside was covered in mud. I made it home, showered, and passed out. I loved every second of the adventure. It was brutal, but I enjoy training hard. Hike Tillamook Head if you can, it’s part of the majestic Oregon Coast Trail. Now where’s the ice?
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Today I felt like exploring. So I biked to The Mill Ponds in Seaside Oregon. The ground was soggy, so I had to pedal lightly to avoid getting sprayed with mud from my tires. Hearing the blue birds chirp relaxed me instantly. Beats traffic noise.

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Right before I got to my favorite spot, I noticed a park bench upside down in the water. I wondered where it went. It’s been a few months since I sat on it from the lookout. Without hesitation I laid my bike down, and tromped through the sticker bushes to get to it. I had seen 2 homeless teens camping there before, and I’m pretty sure they trashed the place.

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I yanked that bench out of the pond, and brought it back to its home. Now everyone can rest and enjoy that epic view again. The seat wasn’t in bad shape, or soaked entirely, so I chilled there for a few. Just another reminder that you can either make the world a better place, or screw it up for the rest of us. There aren’t many public spaces left, so treat them with respect.

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Produced by Cameron McKirdy

Produced by Cameron McKirdy

If you follow Survival Bros, then you know I just got back from St. Louis. I had too much fun there. Now, it’s back to the grind, and making videos. The short video above is what it’s like to be inside the beautiful Gateway Arch. The ticket to the observation deck is $7. The pods that took us to the top are tiny. They uncomfortably sit five. It took 4 minutes to float up via elevator. From the peak of the arch I had a spectacular view of all St. Louis. It’s a fascinating, and lively town, especially if you enjoy baseball, beer, and BBQ. But the arch was the highlight of my trip.

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It’s my pleasure to bring to you, my hike on Saddle Mountain in the snow, at night, solo.  I love doing extreme stuff in the outdoors.  It’s a rush, and you’ll get one watching this HD movie.  This is the longest video I’ve produced to date, but it’s packed with action, and epic views.  I will update this post with the details of my journey, and my full review of the LED Lenser products I tested.  Thanks for visiting Survival Bros! 

The short version of my hike!

cam hikingProduced By Cameron McKirdy – Survival Bros Founder

 

This was a wild trip.  My Dad and I had been scouting the river, and planning the ride down the Nehalem river for months.  He read all he could find on the dangers, and decided to try floating from a higher point at Spruce Run.  After pumping the 14 foot cataraft up, we got it loaded on the trailer, and headed south past Cannon Beach on Highway 101.  Our friend Steve tagged along.  He knows the Nehalem well, and has been fishing for Steelhead on it for years.  We used his rig to shuttle us back to the trailer, and drag the raft up a steep bank at Beaver Slide after traveling 13.3 miles.

This journey didn’t go exactly as planned.  We unhooked the raft too soon, and it fell off the trailer when we were backing it up to the water.  After that mishap, we picked it up by hand, and got her wet.  It was a smooth ride at first, but early into the excursion we lost an oar lock.  Thankfully, Pops was wise enough to have an extra on hand.  Without the oar lock, we would have lost an oar and been screwed.  I had a great time chatting with the boys, and relaxing.  We were also trying to locate a lost dog, that had a $2500 reward for information resulting in his rescue.  No luck on that.  We did however see a coyote, fish, and a bald eagle. 

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Hauling the massive raft on the custom trailer

The Nehalem got rougher, and more dangerous as we got lower on the river.  The water was freezing, and we were wet.  I had a wetsuit, booties, and gloves to stay warm.  On a quick stop I used the spring water I collected to make Mountain House spaghetti with my Jetboil Zip camping stove.  Steve and I warmed our hands on the hot bag as the food cooked.  Near the end of our unexpected journey we ran into more trouble.  We got hung up on a boulder, and spun around.  Then at Salmonberry Drop we got blasted by a 7 foot wave, and my camera went out.  You gotta watch the video in 720p HD.  It was a hell of an adventure.  We got out alive, but not without a little suffering.  We won’t be rafting the Nehalem again soon.

Here’s a fun video I made of the first time my Dad and I rafted the lower part of the Nehalem River.