Posts Tagged ‘river’

Produced by Cameron McKirdy

Chill out on the North Fork of the McKenzie River with #SurvivalBros and Papilio Oregonius butterflies.  This is the official insect of Oregon State.  Filmed near Cougar Hot Spring, in the Willamette National Forest.  SUBSCRIBE NOW ON YOUTUBE FOR MORE!  

What a spectacular day this was by the water.  The sun scorched my naked body.  It burned getting into the 106 degree water later that evening at Terwilliger Hot Springs.  I did dive headfirst into the crystal clear river.  Exhilarating.  However, do you have any idea how hard it is to hold your junk with one hand?  Just saying, it wasn’t staying put.  Thankfully through the power of editing, the family jewels remained in safe keeping.  

I ventured to this sacred spot two weeks earlier, and saw the same collection of butterflies!  I counted 40.  I’m amazed they were still there when I returned.  My friends are posted up hard in heaven.  They danced around me as I paid my respects.  This area produces insanely large moths too, like this one I spotted heading into a shower last summer.

Giant Moth in OR

Thanks for watching our fun video productions.  This blog has been going strong for four years now.  Can you believe it?  Your support is so appreciated.  You rock!

Oregon Swallowtail Butterflies

By Cameron McKirdyIMG_20140914_113202Silver Salmon Being Processed at The East Mooring Basin in Astoria, Oregon

IMG_20140914_114601Sushi grade Coho Fillets

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My buddies needed a lift, and Designated Driver for a fishing trip in Astoria, OR.  I dropped them off at the East Mooring Basin.  You’re suppose to pay to park there.  They we’re on the water for around four hours before they limited out.  The guys ended up with pounds and pounds of fresh fillets.  One man kept the salmon eggs for future fishing bait.  All of the fishermen had plans to either freeze, and smoke the meat shortly.  It was interesting to see the Captain of the boat cut up Coho so efficiently, and discard the waste down properly down a slide.  All he needed was a large fillet, and butcher’s knife made by Victorinox of Switzerland.  I made sure to ask.  He was sharpening the knifes every few fish.  Also pictured is the rowdy sea lions that live there on the docks.  I saw one beast puke on another, and he didn’t flinch.  More blogs coming!  Peace.  victorinox butcher

Get me the 8″ Victorinox Butcher’s Knife for Christmas

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

Mt. Hood Summer 2013

Survival Bros recently had the opportunity to tour The Fruit Loop near Mt. Hood. This abundant area is less than 1 hour from Portland. We checked out farms, orchards, vineyards, lavender fields, and even an alpaca ranch. It was a scrumptious trip. I stocked up on all sorts of goodies, and tried every free sample imaginable.

Mt. View Orchards Inc. The first spot we rolled up on was Mt. View Orchards Inc. My parents have been there before, and already knew they had some of the best prices on fresh fruit. We were in the market for a variety of apples, blueberries, and peaches specifically, since they are in season now and being celebrated. This fruit stand is located in Parkdale, with a spectacular view of Mt. Hood. The fruit looked even better, and I took the opportunity to use a fruit picker to snag the choicest peaches growing on huge, abundant trees. There were several types to try, including excellent tiny donut-shaped peaches. After picking a box full, we headed to the store there to pay and try all the samples. There was apple cider, dried pears with cinnamon-sugar, raw honey, fudge, and every kind of jam and peppered jelly you could imagine. Calorie restriction didn’t cross my mind. Before we bounced to the next farm, I examined and swooped up six ears of sweet corn for a buck.

Cameron McKirdy picks fruit

mt view corn

Next stop was Draper Girls Country Farm. They offer U-pick and We-pick varieties of cherries, nectarines, pears, prunes, etc. However, Survival Bros and Co. were more interested in the goats and pigs. They are USDA approved, and so damn cute. We said hi to them, snapped pictures, tried their fruit samples, and rolled on. We got most of our fruit at the first stop. Draper Girls were pretty proud of their bounty, but it’s still cheaper than the grocery store. Fun place, and beautiful. They made me crave some fresh goat milk for sure. If you’re looking for a vacation, Draper Girls rents out the farm house year round.

Draper Girl's Fruit Stand

Draper Girls Country Farm

Draper Girl's Goat Farm

A short drive down the road was Cascade Alpacas and Foothills Yarn & Fiber. Can’t say I’d seen an alpaca before. These goofy creatures have a purpose though. They produce soft yarn for knitting, crocheting, weaving, and spinning. The yarn shop had a huge selection of equipment, and gifts. I liked the beanies and socks, but spent my money on feeding the alpacas instead. They were hungrier than me! So I fattened them up with alfalfa pellets. I did try to eat an alpaca, but the owner said no. That would be like eating a horse. Which way to the BBQ? The alpaca farm was worth the trip. We even got to see some babies. They sheer the young ones for yarn after just a few weeks.

Cascade Alpacas and Foothills

Cascade Alpacas Owner

After nearly biting into an alpaca, I needed to relax. The Hood River Lavender Farms were next. It features epic views of Mt. Adams, Hood, and the Hood River Valley. The small gift shop had Lavender Oil, lotions, and other products derived from the 70+ types of certified organic lavender grown there. We didn’t stay long, or even pick a bouquet, but it was interesting. They were also growing hops on the shop, which was cool.

Hood River Lavender Farms

About this time we got hungry and ate lunch in town at an authentic Mexican joint. Then Survival Bros went to the Apple Valley Country Store and Bakery. I regret not getting their BBQ. How about some cherry-wood smoked ribs? Instead I opted for marionberry pie with Tillamook vanilla ice cream. Here they had tons of free samples. Below is a photo of us putting apple butter on a cracker. I’d go back to this country store.

Apple Valley Country Store & Bakery

We made a quick stop at the Mt. Hood Winery. They had live music, and a big tasting room that wasn’t too crowded. I didn’t feel like spending $7 on a glass of Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, or anything else. I had a taste, but I think it was just too hot out, and my belly had had enough. I was most impressed with the vintage James Bond movie posters in the men’s restroom. I almost busted the camera out for those, but decided against the bathroom photography. It’s a nice place. Finally we traveled to The Gorge White House, where they serve Mt. Hood wines, and some 25 other local bottles. This historic home sits on a century old working farm. My crew sipped their hard ciders. I enjoyed the mixed berry variety. In The Gorge White House we drank a “Heritage Pear Wine.” It was tasty, so I took a bottle home for $19. There was lots going on here, between a bridal shower, the store, a food cart, tasting rooms, and a massive flower garden to explore. You’ll want to visit this farm. All said and done, nothing beats the splendor of Oregon’s Hood River County Fruit Loop. It’s 35 miles of vast orchards, farms, fruit stands and kind people. I did all this in a day, but you could easily spend two full days leisurely strolling along this community. Visit www.hoodriverfruitloop.com for more info. Thanks for stopping by the Survival Bros blog.

The Gorge White House U-Pick fields

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

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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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. 

cataraft on river

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. 

This weekend my buddy Mac and I biked from Astoria to Fort Stevens State Park located along the Oregon Coast. It was dumping rain. Nearly two hours later, we checked into hiker biker camp, and begun another wild Survival Bros adventure.

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Luckily, Mac’s wife Shauna was kind enough to drop our gear off at camp. Riding in with a 50 pound backpacking bag would have been brutal, and unsafe since we had to negotiate the narrow shoulder of the Astoria bridge. Semis were seeing how close they could get to clipping us. Setting up the massive 8 person tent was easy. The only break we got in the weather occurred when we made camp. After our gear was setup, lantern hanged, and sleeping bag unrolled, we tightened up our boots and peddled deeper into the state park.

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Along the path we stopped to identify many mushrooms. The park was exploding with life. Fungi hunting season is far from over. There were huge patches of fresh Amanitas everywhere. One had a bite taken out of it, as we could see teeth marks. Must have been a deer, or a crazy person.

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Over the last few weeks, my pals and I have scoured a good chunk of Fort Stevens. It’s incredible how many types of terrain there are. From Coffenbury Lake, to the dunes near the Pacific Ocean. I finally found King Boletes just south of the jetty, west of the road. I hunted down the biggest King growing under a tree branch, in pine needles. I got video of me cutting it, but the power is out in Astoria now, so I can’t edit the HD footage. Here’s a photo of the big boletes we found. The choice mushroom nuggets are going in an omelette immediately, and spaghetti tonight for dinner.

Due to my phone about to die, and the power being out, I’m uploading this blog now. I will complete the story, and add more pictures and video very soon. Stay safe out there. We are getting blasted with 98 MPH winds right now. Peace.

– Cameron McKirdy

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This is a picture of Seaside, OR taken today!

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Update: Back to the story. Mac and I spent one night in hiker biker camp. It’s $6 per evening. Fort Stevens actually moved the spot, because where they usually stash the gypsies floods this time of year. When we got into our tent we were soaked. I quickly changed my clothes, then we started making dinner. I busted out a Mountain House lasagna, and boiled the water for it in my Jetboil Zip. After sitting for a good ten minutes in the bag, it was ready to dish out. Mac prepared 8 beef hotdogs on his Coleman stove. The warm grub was much needed. We biked around 15 miles that day.

After mushroom hunting on day one, it poured back at the tent. Luckily the spot we pitched our tent didn’t flood. We didn’t realize how bad of a storm it was until we were in it. Thank God we had shelter. The stoves kept the tent warm for awhile, until we passed out. I was also glad I brought my small windup lantern. It was bright for maybe 25 minutes in between cranks. After that, it cast just enough light to not stumble over our gear and dirty dishes.

On day two in Fort Stevens we ate another Mountain House freeze dried meal for breakfast. I love their blueberry granola with milk. I added freeze dried apples too. We had two more hotdogs each, then set out on our bikes again. This time we went out toward the South Jetty. That’s where we found the King Boletes. I was so amped to find those monster mushrooms. We saw other mushroom pickers out there, and duck hunters too.

We smashed through the brush for a few hours, but the storm kept getting crazier. Mac and I were totally drenched. But the trip was well worth the suffering. We put food on the table, and learned a lot along the way. Foraging is so fun! Supermarkets are for suckers. Our ride swooped us, and we made a clean getaway, and broke camp. You know Survival Bros will be out there again soon. Cheers.

Cameron McKirdy Mushroom Hunting at Fort Stevens State Park

Video of our mushroom foray on the North Oregon Coast

Slideshow of photos taken during our fungi hunt

Cameron McKirdy and his Dad battle rapids in their cataraft. This adventure was well planned. Pops did his homework, and scouted the river as best he could. He asked locals a million questions, read books, and consulted his rafting club before getting her wet. The water was high, so it wasn’t a terribly challenging ride, but it was a lot of fun. The Rouge river is next! Take a float down the river with them. %^).