Posts Tagged ‘map’

By Cameron McKirdy

McKenzie River Trailhead Sign

An hour East of Eugene, the McKenzie River Recreational Trail waits to be conquered.  A 26 mile path skirts the cold, rippling waterway.  It’s one of America’s premier destinations for bikers, and hikers.  Outdoor enthusiasts can also be spotted during the summer on the water in rafts of all shapes and sizes.  Survival Bros floated it.  However, here’s what’s its like to attack the upper part of the wilderness trail on my bicycle.

The 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon is locked.  Bike is ready.  God bless my vintage Univega Alpina Pro mountain bike.  It’s a hardtail with tire liners for extra protection, so I shouldn’t have trouble pummeling porous lava rocks.   This will be my first ride with it off of pavement, or graveled logging roads.  Exciting.  Water, check.  Mechanix gloves, yes.  3M safety shades, on.  Let’s crush this.

And I’m off.  Going downhill mostly, to Clearwater Lake from the top of the trail.  I will have to fill my stainless steel water bottle at the campground.  Problem is, it’s hard to know what’s undrinkable, and what’s potable with all the well pumps around.  I may have to take a chance, because I’m not buying water.  I’m looking forward to adding 2 packets of Airborne Plus Energy into my drink for flavor, vitamins, and minerals.

The plan is to tackle the challenging section of course around the lake first, then take an easy trail back uphill to my vehicle.  OK, get centered.  Where are you?  In the moment.  Faster!!!

Root!  Pop the front wheel over, and peddle.  Good.  Lean into this corner.  Branch…We’re bushwacking today.  Alright, NOW break.  Shift weight back, coming off the seat.  Who put this tree down here?  Ever heard of a chainsaw?  Pick up your bike.  Thankfully, it’s lightweight, full chromoly frame.  I’m so happy I invested in tuning this vintage ride up.  The guys at Canyonview Cyclery took care of me.  This is the video I produced at their shop after the Univega was restored to glory.

 There’s the edge of the water at Clear Lake.  I’ve never seen water so pristine.  I bet I could drink straight from the lake.  Ducks do it.  I almost hit one fowl in my way.  Move mallard.  Already, I’ve narrowly avoided about 10 chipmunks, and a large rabbit too.  I’ve seen squirrels try to take on bikes before.  They ended up in the spokes without a head.  That would ruin my day.  I need a bell on this bike of mine to signal wildlife.  

Now comes the hard part.  Negotiating lava rock fields on two wheels.  But I’ve been here before.  Only I came from the opposite direction last time.  I’m going to have to push it up this long hill.  It feels great to get off my butt, and work other muscle groups.  I like my new bicycle handle bar ends.  Now I have more hand positions, and can really pull myself up steep inclines.  

I’m flying.  Let’s not forget our 5 D’s of mountain biking: dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge!  Corner!  Hard left.  Leaning into it, and looking where I want to go.  Holy guacamole.  I almost sailed into the lake.  The canoers would have liked to see that.  I’d rather not be fishing.  This is what I came to do.

Bump.  My nuts.  Watch the nuts.  You’re going to need those.  Oh God, I have to split between a root, and a rock going fast.  No room for error.  Arrghhh.  Made it.  But that took all of my upper body strength.  I haven’t screamed that loud since…oh, let’s keep it PG.  I’m dumping sweat.  This is my hell workout.  Put it all on the line.  Gasp.  Exhale.  Breath.  Sigh.  Focused.  A few more miles of rocky road, and then a less technical section to savor.  The McKenzie River Recreational Trail is damn tough.  No wonder it’s one of the World’s most celebrated biking areas.  I can do this.  Finish strong.  I’m the man.  BEAST MODE!

mckenzie river map

Map courtesty of the USDA – Link to info on the McKenzie River National Recreational Trail

Watch an exciting video I produced with my GoPro Black Head Camera mounted during another ride here.

I had a horrible mountain bike accident on the McKenzie a few years ago.  I’m still healing from the traumatic crash, but here’s tips on healing bruises and scratches from that with gruesome injury photos for you to marvel at.

bruise legI’m lucky I didn’t break my leg! 

Produced By Cameron McKirdy

This weekend Survival Bros went for a drive up I-5, and then took Spirit Lake Highway to visit majestic Mount St. Helens.  Most of the hiking trails were off limits to us because we had a puppy to acclimate to the outdoors for the first time.  Therefore, we found ourselves at Seaquest State Park, which while splendid, doesn’t have well-maintained paths like the nearby Hummocks Trail closer to the volcano.  So, after breaking a sweat there we continued to climb in elevation, and drove to two breathtaking viewpoints called Elk Rock, and Castle Lake.  I shot the HD video above, and snapped a few pictures.  Our final stop was Clearwater Lake.  It formed after the eruption in 1980.  There’s a relatively flat trail circling the body of water, but again no dogs are allowed.  I was willing to risk a minimum $50 fine, but we’ll just have to trek it another time.  Besides, the sun was setting, and my belly was growling.  At Castle Rock we cruised into C and L Burger Bar for a feast.  I’m talking peanut butter real ice cream milk shakes, fatty elk cheeseburgers, and scalding crinkle cut french fries.  Epic.  It was a complete day, and I look forward to returning to Mount St. Helens when it’s warmer, and all the backpacking trails are open to explore.

Mount St. Helens lookout

Clearwater Lake Washington

c and l burger shake

By Cameron McKirdy I sling a day pack on my back nearly every day.  I’ve mentioned the types of things I have in it before, like gear, food, and a warm change of clothes.  So when I discovered the Ribz Front Pack, I was stoked.  This innovative, steroid injected version of a fanny pack solves many of the challenges I face when backpacking.  Here I am with it on the Hummocks Trailhead near Mount St. Helens in Washington State. Ribz Front Pack One issue I have with a regular backpack is I’m constantly taking it off to grab water, my cell phone, or something else that isn’t handy.  With Ribz Wear, it’s all right in front of me, so I can continue trail blazing.  I also mention in the video how backpacks catch on trees when I have to duck under them.  It usually happens a few times each hike, and I practically have to crawl under the obstacle.  With my gear in front, navigating through heavy brush is considerably easier.  The best part of this system is the pack is easy to adjust.  My Dad’s chest and waist are smaller than mine, so after he used it, a quick tug on the straps in back and in front made it comfortable again for me.  Plus, Ribz have long, padded shoulder straps, so it feels like a natural extension of your body.   Mount St. Helens Adventures Map Check out the map of different Mount St. Helens Adventures.  Back to the Ribz Front Pack review, I must mention the Large version I tested can hold absurd amounts, with an 11 liter capacity.  Even with it packed full, I was able to swing my arms freely.  My dad wore it, and noted that you could still use hiking poles with it on.  Ribz makes smaller Front Packs with 8 liters of room too.  Internally, there are separate pouches to keep smaller items organized.  These elastic lined compartments will hold all your tools close to your ribs, and prevent them from rattling around.  We both ran with it, and the pack remained snug, not bouncing around, or swaying side to side.Mount St. Helens View In conclusion, the Ribz Front Pack is an excellent tool itself.  The quality is unbelievable, and far superior to what I expected.  It’s lightweight, at only 11 ounces, so it beats a backpack there too.  However, I think it would be best suited for use with a rear pack, so the weight of your supplies can be evenly distributed forward and back, thus giving you better posture than wearing one or the other.  But if you’re into ultralight backpacking, Ribz might be a dream come true.  You can’t machine wash Ribz, but it cleans up nicely with a wet rag.  I love the Cordura brand water resistant, ripstop material it’s fabricated with.  I will be sporting my Ribz for a long time.  I like it so much I want the smaller 8 liter pack too for shorter trips, and cross country running.  I just don’t know which color to get next.  Check out http://www.ribzwear.com to grab yours.

Cam makes instant coffee with an emergency water packet at Loowit Lookout near Mt. St. Helens in Washington State.  Subscribe to Survival Bros on Youtube for more!  Thanks for watching!  Feel free to comment.

Mt. St. Helens SelfieCam snaps a selfie with his dad on the trail

P1000580By Cameron Consumption McKirdy

My dad and I have been planning this one for awhile. We hiked half of the Ramona Loop and lots more on Mount Hood in Oregon. It was brutal. The hike was almost 18 grueling miles. We crossed the Sandy River several times, and were on the epic Pacific Crest Trail.

First I will list the gear in my day pack. I rocked a black Kelty day bag with a new U.S.M.C approved 3 liter Camelbak hydration system. I recently got that at a Navy Exchange. Here was my checklist: compass with whistle, emergency poncho, Mylar blanket, Bear Grylls Gerber Ultimate Survival kit, Moleskin plus padding, Coleman biodegradable eipes, caffeine pills, lighter, various fruit and nut bars, GoPro Hero 3 Black on my head, Panasonic TS4 digital camera, Vibrams, Coast LED flashlight with with white and red light, extra socks, Chapstick with SPF, cash, mace pen, Coast Rapid Response 3.0 knife, 12 hour glow stick, Tillamook County turkey jerky, natural bug spray, and hand warmers. My backpack was on the heavy side with all the extra stuff. It weighed maybe 25 pounds.

To begin we hiked from our spot at Lost Creek campground. It was an easy climb along the Sandy river. We crossed it on a temporary wood bridge to get to Ramona Falls. I’d never been there. It was spectacular, and massive. I filmed the waterfall, and snapped pics.

Along the way I spotted several types of mushrooms popping up. Unfortunately, king boletes are a few months away from harvest. I did find out at the Ranger Station that they only give out 20 mushroom collecting permits per day, and commercial hunting is not permitted. Amanita Muscarias are in season. But of course those are hallucinogenic and poisonous. I found a few russulas too. In addition, I identified and tried huckleberries. They aren’t my fav, but were better than nothing when I ran out of aqua.

We met lots of people on the trail. Most were on day hikes like us. The route from Timberline Lodge to Ramona Falls was popular. I wish we did that, because our hike sucked. We were mobbing hardcore for 10 hours straight. We only had a few brief breaks, just long enough to catch our breath, check the map, and grab a snack.

Cameron McKirdy hiking on the trail

I wore new waterproof Columbia boots. They held up, and had lots of cushioning. My tall Nike Dri-Fit training socks helped too. They were dry at the end of the day, and shielded my legs as we bushwhacked the unpopular, overgrown trail. We almost didn’t make it back before nightfall! It was getting dark quickly in the forest. So we had to book it all day. I was dumping buckets of sweat. I went through my entire 3L hydration pack, plus 1.5 coconut waters.

The pain of hiking that much basically nonstop was draining. My feet hurt, knees ached, and balls were sore. Women complain about childbirth, but try hiking with a big pair. I stretched along the way, but my hamstrings were tight. If you plan on doing a trek like this, bring pain killers just in case. I will be sore tomorrow, but didn’t cramp up or anything. I managed.

It will be a day or so before I get back to civilization, and can upload pictures and HD video. I got great shots of the canyon, mountain, and river. The highlight of the day was when pops and I used sticks and hiking poles to cross the rapid Sandy river. It had a path of loose rocks and wet logs. We made it across fine, but my dad realized he left his boots across the river. I got a good laugh in and filmed him tip toeing to safety. So he had to cross 3 times then. He changed into sandals, and me the Vibrams, so we didn’t get our boots wet. More soon. Thanks for visiting the Survival Bros blog.
Sandy River and Mt Hood

Cam McKirdy at Mt Hood

Sandy River Canyon near Mt. Hood

Mount Hood Waterfall in Oregon

Dad crossing the Sandy River for the 4th time.  He won’t leave his boots behind in the future.

Unbelievable footage of a car being launched at Cameron McKirdy!

Hey iPhone and Android users! I found an app for tracking your run, hike, or any other movement. I use it mostly on bike rides. Here’s my quick review of the Nike+ GPS phone application.

At just $1.99 you can’t go wrong. This app will precisely map your trips. An accelerometer accurately records your pace inside, even on a treadmill, or outdoors. It works with your music too; so you can rock to Pandora and get mileage updates at the same time. If you need extra motivation on your run, pick a power song for a jolt when you need a fix. And you can pause your workout for an incoming call.

I use Nike+ GPS on every jog, walk, and cycling trek. The GPS signal has always been strong. Plus, I can share my workouts online on Facebook, or twitter, to maybe motivate my friends. It’s a cool way to track and beat your personal bests.

Included in the application is access to the Nike+ community. Online you can checkout challenges, and lots more. It’s a must buy for any runner. Now Nike has this technology in basketball shoes too! I’m stoked. Have the app? Share your experience.

– Cameron McKirdy

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