Category Archives: Winter Destinations

My preferred method of travel…slow.

Most of my time spent working is usually with the goal to save up and travel. My girlfriend Jacqueline and I enjoy traveling slowly.  Staying in one place for a few weeks if not a month or more.  It is easier to make good friends and find the secret spots.

Our travels this year have taken us to South America in search of waves and wind.  We flew into Lima, Peru and spent a few nights with an AirBnB, walking in the nicer part of the city and exploring the cuisine.  Quickly realizing that the “expensive” restaurants offered the same fare as the hole in the wall restaurants, we went with the latter.  Ceviche is one of the most enjoyed dishes and the best meal is lunch, you receive a “first” and a “second”, a drink and a soup.  All for about 6$.    Jacqueline was quite excited to explore the chocolate scene, but was only able to locate one chocolate store.  She did make a nice little find of a chocolate tea made from the husks of the chocolate bean.  From there we traveled south to Paracas, to teach Jacqueline how to Kiteboard.

Paracas has great conditions to learn how to kiteboard, flat shallow water and plenty of wind, although you do need a wetsuit after you get 200 feet from the shore.  It is difficult when you are traveling to either bring too much or not enough.  I have all the gear; wetsuits, pumps, kiteboards, surfboards, etc.  But by the time you bring it all, the extra baggage airplane fees add up. Although she had never wakeboarded, and had only flown a kite a few times before, she picked it up quickly.  It is quite a difficult sport to learn.  We had booked a place in Lobitos about 20 hours north of Paracas ahead of time, and wish we would have stayed in Paracas a bit longer to make sure she had kiteboarding “down”.  Waves and surfing was next on the list.

I managed to secure a boat ride out to a secret surfing spot called San Gallan with some locals from Lima.  I can’t say I have surfed that much, a few times here and a few times there,  Wisconsin surf.  But with fairly small waves that were pretty kind.  The day we arrived out at the island, the waves were huge!  I was borrowing a wetsuit from the captain and a surfboard.  The wetsuit was not thick enough and i got real cold in the water.  Luckily I would catch a wave here or there and warm up a little bit, but I didn’t last that long due to being out of shape as well.  I definitely got hammered by a few large waves.  It wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be, due to the fact I wasn’t catching that many waves and everybody else was.  If you caught a wave in the wrong spot, you would end up on the rocks during low tide, and it almost happened to me once.  But I thought of it as a training experience and learned a lot watching the pro’s ride some huge barrels.  The most fun part of the trip were the sea lions. In Peru, they call them sea wolfs.  Packs of sea wolfs would surf the waves and were always so curious.  They would come up and stick there head out of the water a few feet away from your face and look at you with a “come on lets play” attitude.  There were hundreds of these little guys everywhere.  It made for a memorable experience.  I told my new surf friends, give me a month, and i’ll be catching them like you’ll.

Off to Lobitos for more surf…and yoga.

 

 

Learn deep water exit and entry for sea kayaks in a tropical paradise.

long-caye-panoramaSlickrock Adventure’s tiny private island eco-resort on Long Caye  34 miles off the coast of Belize is the perfect place to learn anything having to do with kayaking. Given the 80 degree water and pristine sheltered conditions, it would almost have to be. But along with a bevy of other water sports, sea kayaking is central to a week on Adventure Island so having a staff of expert guides and loads of the latest-model equipment make Slickrock ideal.

The reason so much emphasis is placed on sea kayaking at Adventure Island (http://www.slickrock.com/kayakbelize.html) is that, in addition to it being fun in it’s own right, it also serves as the chief mode of transportation to nearby snorkeling hot spots. That’s why every guest attends sea kayaking orientation first thing after breakfast the morning following their arrival on Batfish, Slickrock’s private shuttle boat.

Kayak Belize lesson

A Slickrock sea kayak guide explains the basics of the “T-rescue” technique on land before the group heads out into the lagoon.

(Caption: A Slickrock sea kayak guide explains the basics of the “T-rescue” technique on land before the group heads out into the lagoon.)

For beginners, our orientation class covers all the basics: how to do a safety check of the equipment, how to hold your paddle, entering and exiting the boat, the use of the spray skirt, etc.

Even expert sea kayakers attend the orientation. At Glover’s Reef we snorkel right out of our kayaks. That means learning how to safely exit and re-enter a sea kayak while in deep water.

Because our guests are generally from the US or Canada, where water temperatures are colder, few sea kayakers ever think about purposefully getting out of their sea kayak. At Glover’s Reef, the water is 80 degrees so we slip out and back into our kayaks all day long.

A second reason even expert kayakers are asked to take orientation is that we teach our guests something called the “T – rescue”, and then practice it right after the demo (at right). This technique is a safe and easy way for one kayaker to assist their partner in righting an overturned kayak in deep water and steadying their boat so they can climb back in.

Once both these skills have been learned, our guests are free to explore the reef far and wide, even without a guide, as long as they have a buddy.

Franklin Seal

Slickrock Adventures

Winter Pro-leisure circuit travels

Traveling

On a sad note of my puppys departure via a hwy 42 smashed trailer, smoke and ashes, I left for Maui with my kite gear strapped and an old friend and guide, Rachel house sitting with her boyfriend Jesse, a local cook at the Bayside Tavern.  Rachel, curently works at the Bead Bucket in Ephraim and Greens and Grains in Egg Harbor, she is the creative type with her ideas often elegant, simple from unique pieces of jewelry to magical inventiveness somethings. She has a etsy site where she sells her creative jewelry. Hopefully it helps to have her around for the winter, because my new house could use a womans touch.  Jesse, is the quiet hard working type that is dreaming for more than dipping cheese curds in hot fryer oil. I kinda wish I could stick around to create with them. Hopefully I will get a chance in December.

Maui

Maui welcomed me with a 4-5 foot wave day and strong winds.  I have been staying at the Northshore Hostel in Wailuku.  It is a good spot to start from, but I doubt I will stay here long, too many travelers.  I would like to end up hanging out and doing some yoga with some locals, or old friends, like my Evergreen State College soccer buddy Vanessa Charles, looks like she is hosting a big island yoga detox retreat in Feb.  Doubt I will be here then, but wish I could join that, I could clean out some of the wisconsin cheese curd cholesterol sitting in my arteries with some fresh maui juices.

I have a some great friends in Oahu I would love to visit as well, Matt Joswick, who is my search engine optimization specialist for my outdoor adventure zip line, kayaking and kitesurfing, stand up paddle boarding websites.   He also does some work for a local company in Kailua and Oahu, HI called Wind Ward Watersports that specializes in Kayak Rentals, Kiteboarding Lessons, SUP Rentals, and Surfing.  So I hope to get some more time on the water touring the island in a few different vehicles and maybe hang out with a professional kiteboarder, Jeff Tobias.

Colorado

Looking ahead towards the fluffy white, picking up some backcountry gear for some sidecountry riding in east vail.

Oregon

Explore some Zip Line potential in the Alsea Mountains in Oregon at the ThymeGarden.com.  They are secluded, majestic and the local area could use an eco-activity like zip lining.

All in all, it should be a beautiful winter with wind, sun, waves and snow, I just wish more of my friends could join me on the adventures ahead.

Baja or Bust

At last a chance to sit down and catch up. Baja or Bust Adventure

With the goal of offering a adventure camping trip in Baja, we took off across country. We soon found out we had too many goals cluttering our minds, it looks as if the baja trip will be purely adventure and researching.  We scrapped bringing the E350 for the Mercedes. and only took one kayak, which we hope to leave in baja.

After collecting and filtering enough vegetable oil from Sonny’s and Digger’s Restaurants to get to Nebraska.  We found ourselves with a plugged fuel filter after 1000 miles, it was night, we couldn’t find the headlamp, so Abbie used the ipod to illuminate the greasy fuel filter replacement during a cold october night.

Our first destination was the flatirons in Boulder, CO.  We had friends with climbing gear, a determination to get outside and  explore the beauty of the flatirons.

We had a great time goofing off in the flatirons, our rock climbing friend Justin Budd, set ropes, and we scaled up some beautiful pitches.  After a hard day of climbing.  We decided to do some free style walking, which turned into free style running down the mountain path.  Jumping from boulder to boulder and defying what we would even think of doing if we had looked before we leaped.  Justin, Abbie an I all agreed it was some of the most fun we had had running ever.  I usually tell myself that I don’t run except for a few exceptions; the cops and soccer.  Well now there is a new exception to the rule, freestyle trail running.  Its always an adventure to play with Justin Budd.  Here are some pictures of freestyle running.  As I write this, I am in catch up phase, so we have not busted, we are in baja, in fact, I only have 10 days left before I have to leave for colorado.

Did you guys know… BAJA is AJA… but with a B…

Hola… writing today with the splenders of another penninsula on my mind.  Imagine if you may, endless beaches, unexplained rock formations, colorful deserts, gray whales, brilliant clear skies, and a variety of unique people to spice up your life!  Getting excited already?? Because I sure am!  This winter myself (guide), David Rack (owner of DCKT), Abbie Turner (guide/photographer), Taylor Johnson (photographer), Chris Katzban (guide), John Suhar and some other friends are heading to the BAJA penninsula in search of fun in the sun, a winter escape, and of course adventure.  The winter months in BAJA average 70-80 degrees which sounds like just about perfect winter weather to me! That is one thing I will not miss while basking in the Mexican sun, is the freezing cold Wisconsin winters!  Because of the consistently beautiful weather nothing will hold us back from engulfing ourselves in the endless adventure that awaits.  Mile after mile of stunning coast line provides perfectly sandy kayak launch locations and speaking of kayaking… I thought kayaking around Door County was beautiful, but could you imagine kayaking the Sea of Cortez (water way between the BAJA Penninsula and the rest of Mexico) while gray whales swim by you?

Puffy McPillows

What a beautiful day on Mt. Hood, it has been snowing for the past 2 days straight. The overused word “Epic” comes to mind. So a good friend and I have come up with some creative nomenclature of the snow and experience, we ventured around with “Puffy McPillows aka. Down McPillows and Puffy McPuferson to his close friends”. We searched the mountain for this vagabond and his supplies of pillowy powder. At one point I had gotten lost myself in a pillow fight with Down McPillows.

After a hearty bag lunch, our renewed energy pushed us toward the double black McPillows. Jonah and I skated and goofed towards the outside of the mountain and luck would have it that the Private Reserve had just been opened, with Puffy showing his well kept face everywhere. Bombarded with more pillows than a trophy wive’s Vail condo, I got stuck. My excuse…The Private Reserve is vertically challenged between the 2 jaw Dropping faces. Coming up to the final steep face, Puffy would put up the strongest showing of the day. Getting stuck with Puffy McPufferson on a powder day is like running out of tp, it happens to the best of us. So there I was, just 10 feet away of full filing my gravitational requirement of the day. I rolled, I flailed, and I rolled some more. By the time I had reached the drop, I had become covered, feathered, puffed and fluffed, I had become Puffy McPillows.

Last weeks long snow drought may have added to this linguistic hysteria. Pay no heed to the little man laughing, follow your dreams and lay your soul down on a pile of pillows.

See you on the mountain. It is still snowing