freelance writer, photographer and guide
September 2007 Issue
Trail: Antelope Island State Park
August 2007 Issue
Trail: White Pine Lake
April 2007 Issue
Trail: Canyonlands National Park: The Maze
March/April 2007 Issue
Get Out with your Lil' Sprouts: A look at Outdoor Gear and Apparel Specially Designed for Children
My three eight-year old buddies slowly descend the side of the mountain, packs bobbing behind them and a trail of dust marking their path. As I follow, a passage from an article on backpacking with children comes back to me: "Even the most experienced backpacker knows that any time you head into the backcountry with kids, it automatically qualifies as an adventure." I limp down the trail behind them, my sore knee tells me this path is a little too steep. However, I smile at how these young campers make an adventure out of a day hike and how they will remember this as a great autumn outing. My husband and I have our packs, sleeping bags, rain jackets, hiking boots, lanterns, tents and snowshoes. There is no shortage of gear for our outdoor camping excursions, but what about the younger folk? For instance, our son's getting too big to ride in the carrier pack while we snowshoe. So we wondered, would having children's gearmake thse adventures more fun for the kids and less worrisome for us, knowing our kids are well-fitted in gear that will keep them safer, warmer, and more comfortable? We, by no means, looked at everything on the market. But here's what we tried out and found out...
For our son's second Christmas, Santa brought him a Molehill sleeping bag. Molehill Mountain Equipment (800.804.0820; www.molehillmtn.com) specializes in outdoor gear and apparel for kids. The sleeping bag, ($120) features continuous filament polyester insulation, zippers, that ventilate from the top or bottom, full zipper baffles to keep cold air out and warm ari in, and articulated hoods. This is a 48-inch-long, zero-degree-rated mummy bag that come swith a matching pillow. The bargs are offered in color choices of frost blue or purple, and the little stuff sack it comes in is complete with dust flap over the top and a carry strap on the bottom. The bag weights almost nothing, so my son can carry it out to the car himself...
(for the rest of this review contact Camping Life magazine for their March/April 2000 issue)
May/June 2007 issue
Heather Paul treks through miles of deep snow, dodges avalanches and climbs up steep mountain faces in order to ski down some of the world’s most remote peaks.
Telemark ski champion Heather Paul arrived in the Chinese Altai, which borders Kazakhstan , Russia and Mongolia , in early spring of 2003. No westerner had been permitted to travel there before. A marmot-sponsored athlete, Paul, now 34, and her team of five wore the latest in brightly colored Gore-Tex outerwear, used the newest K2 skis . . . which was a far cry from anything the locals had ever seen or even used.
“It was the hardest expedition I’d ever been on,” says Paul. “We traveled by horseback, skis, foot and horse-drawn sleigh. Imagine trekking through an unknown land with nothing but an outdated Russian map. We had no idea what we would find or what we were up against.” Like Lewis and Clark, the group entered an unknown frontier with little to no information on the area.
August 2005 issue
Kayaking Southwest Lake Powell
Up until now I haven't seen his eyes. It's the second day of the trip and I realize, as Chris takes off his sunglasses in a shadowy side canyon, that it is the first time we have made direct eye contact. It's the first time I have seen the eyes of any of my companions. "You've got eyes," I say with a smirk. With its location on the border of Arizona and Utah, Lake Powell is this wayÑlots of sun.
Before Lake Powell filled the tributary of canyons known collectively as Glen Canyon with water, it was a land loved, revered, and practically worshipped by those that came regularly to hike and sit within the spirit of the towering orange walls, the twisting, rippled and reflecting river, and the contrast of the baby blue sky against these drastic natural statements. There were canyons called Cathedral in the Desert, Mystery Canyon, Music Temple. There were petroglyph panels and prehistoric artifacts like sandals, pots, pieces of woven cloth, cliff dwellings with the thumb prints of ancient inhabitants still visible. People returned each year to run the river, hike among the hanging gardens given life by the seeps in the rock, and ultimately to listen to the songs and echoes of the canyons and chutes.
In September of 1963 when the last bucket of concrete in the Glen Canyon Dam was set and Lake Powell began to fill, it all disappeared under water. The second largest manmade lake in the United States, Lake Powell is punctuated with the tops of these fabulous Utahesque canyons - red cliff walls soaring hundreds of feet into the air, mesas, buttes, plateaus, all in a maze of 96 canyons and 186 miles of river channel. Lake Powell, with a skyline of color and shape unlike any other, is an inland kayaking dream-- canyons so narrow motor boats must go elsewhere and scenic hikes into slot canyons when you reach the water's end. And now, with water levels at 42% of high water mark, the walls are higher, the slot canyons deeper, and more of Glen Canyon is exposed to explore.
(for more of this article contact Sea Kayaker Magazine for their August 2005 issue)
Summer 2005 Issue
A Sailor's Life for Me
You've heard the stories of sailors: tattooed arms, women in every port, drunken brawls, and a love for the sea that always pulls them back to the water. The utah Sailing Association (USA) sailors, here on the beaches of Bear Lake, have it covered, and then some. Lane's sun tattoo yells in green and purple as his big diamond earrings glisten. Paul downs a cold one, two, no three. . . he's stopped counting. And Mark is leading the conversation on putting the women in tube tops at the front of the boat. "if you really want to see sailors in action you have to stay past midnight," Paul chimes. (I don't think I want to." But love of the water brings them all to the beach, waiting for the wind, --"power lounging" they call it, and they take it seriously. These sailors and their families are members of a group of non-exclusive boat people who love wind-powered water sports...
(for more of this story contact The Sports Guide for their 2005 Summer issue)
October 2003 issue
Fisher Towers. Upper Muley Twist Trail. The Subway. From our desert rivers to our towering buttes, our alpine mountains to our ski resorts, Utah is a land of diverse rugged beauty. For Utah residents and companies in the outdoor recreation industry this means money. People from around the world come to ride their favorite mountain bike trails, ski the best snow on earth, climb world-class cliffs, kayak, fish, and raft the waterways that slice through the state. To meet the need, Utah is a state of outdoor recreation retailers, manufacturers, guide services, facilities, and service shops. Nature is big business to Utah. If only we could all just get along.
An Outdoor Recreation Participation and Spending study done by the Outdoor Industry Association (O.I.A) for the state of Utah determined that it is not only visitors who fuel the outdoor economy in Utah. Utah residents, to the tune of 81.7% participate in outdoor activities such as backpacking, bicycling, climbing, fly fishing, kayaking and skiing. This ranks Utah as #3 in the nation in participation per capita. Neil Ashdown, Deputy Director of the Governor's office of Planning and Budget, said, "This industry (outdoor) is not only about economy but about quality of life issues. Our outdoor recreation eco system makes people want to live in Utah."
Tourism in Utah makes up 8% of the states employment. This is twice as much as agriculture and eight times as much as mining. Human powered outdoor recreation, a subset of tourism, employs as many Utahans as some of the states biggest employers: University of Utah, Brigham Young University, and Hill Air Force Base. It provides as many jobs as the US Postal Service, Delta Airlines, Skywest, Kennecott, and Utah Power combined within the state of Utah. "At times it feels as if other industries that play a much smaller role in the economy are given preference over the Outdoor Industry." said Frank Hugelmeyer, President of the O.I.A. "We want a governor that makes recreation the priority not the secondary consideration."
(for the rest of the article contact Utah Business Magazine for the October 2003 issue)
May/June 2007 issue
Driving home from Brian Head after a weekend of painful bliss on the mountain bike, there is a young blond child on her father's shoulders staring at me from a billboard, her hands raised above her head, the American flag grasped in her pudgy fingers, the words UNITY blaring in black block letters. I'm listening to the Spirit soundtrack and there is an orchestral crescendo as I speed by. It is moving in its own way.
I am returning from the Fat Tire Festival at Brian Head where along with seven others I was shuttled to and from some of the best mountain bike trails in the West. Thunder Mountain, seven miles of intermediate to advanced up and down sequences through and above red hoodoos and alpine canyons, is amazingly scenic, but the hills are kicking my butt.
Jason, a much better rider than I, peddles behind me yelling, "Shift down! You can do it! Go! Go! Go!" So I push harder even when I want to stop and cry. I become more than I am because he stayed with me.
At major junctions and intersections on the trail the faster riders in our group stop and wait for those in the rear. It is not required, but it unites us in a way where, though at times we ride with no one else in sight, we know we are not alone. We are making sure no one gets lost, takes the wrong path, gets hurt, feels left out. It is very good form.
In Sunday School, or was it first grade, the teacher held up one popsicle stick and easily broke it. She then added five or six to the stack and the pile could no longer be broken. As I drive down the interstate, four lanes on each side, I wonder how many people are crying? How many people are excited about where they are headed as they speed along? How many people are alone or lonely? How five or six, or even two of us are stronger together than just a single stick resisting the pressures.
In the shuttle van and on the trail there are packets of energy gel and peanut butter shared back and forth as energy wanes. People from the group are taking my photo at scenic overlooks and offering to send me copies. I am glad I am with them. They remind me that though being alone without the hassle of another's needs may sometimes be easier, when we are alone we are less than we could be together. Synergy, the interaction of different things so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of individual effects, is an exponential empowerment. If I give what I have to give, and you give what you have to give, we both have more. And if I give and you do not, I still have more because I become more than I was before I gave, and we are both richer for it. Near Ogden Utah there is a billboard of Mother Teresa her hands reaching out to an unseen other, the words "reaching beyond yourself" emblazoned below her picture. I scratch a note to call my friend that just had her baby and see how she is doing. I'm thinking about the givers and takers of the world. There are times we will need the help, someone to encourage us up the hill, take us to dinner, call and check on us; and there are times when we are lucky enough to be the giver. It takes both.
There is a beautiful piece of thin navy paper, an iridescent blue green feather pasted down one side, a poem entitled "The Gift of an Angel by Your Side," on the other, a small gold and blue pin with the words "blue bird of happiness" attached at the top, a hundred dollar bill and a friend's handwriting beside the pin that says "Fly!". It was handed to me during a difficult transitional time in a plain brown envelope with a hug and the direction to open when needed.
When your butt is kicked and a rider on the trail offers you her packet of GU, you love that rider. When you've taken all you can take and you're about to bonk, that energy gel is not just a .99 cent package of rice syrup, potassium and caffeine, it's pure gold, and sometimes it saves your life. Sometimes just knowing there is someone that cares enough to ride behind you hollering "You can do it!" says as much as a billboard. Sometimes the human race shines.