Monday, April 14, 2014

Long distance hiking/ ultra running/ fastpacking clinic

Here is part one of a one hour presentation I did at work for my co workers on Long distance hiking/ ultra running/ fastpacking.  This is part of a series of clinics put on at my work to help employees understand the sports our clothing may be used for and what makes their designs either appropriate or not for those pursuits.  I apologize in advance for the lighting, my video camera doesn't handle indoor lighting well.

Since I am not able to put external links in the YouTube video I have provided links below to many of the topics covered in this part of the clinic.  Of course if I missed something or you have further questions please comment and I will do my best to get back to you.

The Long Trail was my first thru hike and it was cool that it just so happens to also be Americas first long distance trail.  I also had the opportunity to work on the Long Trail as a ridgerunner while living in Vermont.

one of my duties as a ridge runner on the Long Trail was to maintain self composting toilets

Here is a link to my gear list back when I thought 15lbs was wicked light.

My AZT speed record was my first attempt at fastpacking.
Then I attempted the PCT.
So I had to try again.
2010 was my first walk to highlight the impacts of bringing green energy to market.  Later that year I set the unsupported Tahoe Rim Trail record.
2011 I went back and claimed my AZT record with a hybrid of unsupported running and backpacking.  I then went and walked the Grand Enchantment Trail setting the unsupported record on that trail.  Upon returning home I entered my first ultra and won.
2012 I biked, hiked and paddled to the Bering Sea from my front door.

Long Distance Trails

Long Trail
Appalachian Trail
Pacific Crest Trail

Check out my buddy Old Shools walk on the PCT in 1974 here.

Here is a link to the Flex Trek Video.  It would also appear that there is another newer model out called the Whip Snake!

Ultra light backpacking definition on Wikipedia.

Ray Jardine is the grandfather of Ultra Light Hiking.  I highly recommend his book too.

Grandma Gatewood is the earliest example of ultra light hiking.

Check out info on the fabrics here.

The 2010 Western States had an epic showdown between Anton Krupicka, Killian Jornet and Jeff Roes.  Check out their respective blogs here:

Tony Krupicka
Killian Jornet
Geoff Roes

What exactly is Ultra Running?

Killian Jornet has set speed records right here in my own backyard on the Tahoe Rim Trail.  You can check out his record on FKT here.

Andrew Thompsons record on the Appalachian Trail was an early inspiration to me.  At some point I ended up with a copy of an old Ultra Runner Magazine that Andrew wrote an article for detailing his supported AT record.  Andrews record was also approached in a very simple way which no doubt contributed to his success.  Jennifer Pharr Davis who broke Andrews record did so in a very similiar fashion.  Their approach involved one dedicated support person and vehicle.  As well as their camps where always situated very close to the trailhead so that little time was spent off trail. 

Jennifer Pharr Davis stepped into the record books in style by unseating Thompsons long standing record on the Appalachian Trail.  Jennifer Pharr Davis also holds the unsupported record on that trail.  Jennifer Pharr Davis also happens to be the first woman to unseat a mans record!  For those that may not know, the Pacific Crest Trail is the I-5 of long distance trails.  The Appalachian Trail however, happens to be some of the roughest footing I have ever experienced.  So these records out east covering this kind of daily mileage makes my old PCT record look like a walk in the park.  On top of that, Andrews record was so strong that if you weren't covering a certain mileage the first week you might as well give up.  On the AT there is no way to make up lost time.

Want to have some fun now?  Enter the raffle below for some sweet prizes!  There will be 3 winners and you may increase your chance of winning by liking the FSTPKR facebook page, following on twitter and tweeting the giveaway.  This raffle is only for US residents as I can't absorb the cost of international shipping, duties and taxes.  I will have one raffle for each of these 3 posts on the Long distance hiking, ultra running and fastpacking clinics.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 24, 2014

Where the Wild Things Are Tippy Top Tour (last installment)

View Larger Map

The above Google Earth map is my roadkill observations from the return leg of the Tippy Top Tour.  These observations would have been made from Fairbanks, AK to Reno, NV.  Below is a guide to what the different color bubbles represent:

Green bubbles are for animals that are alive
Red bubbles are dead/ roadkill observations
Yellow bubbles are for animals that I heard
Turquoise bubbles are for animals whose tracks I observed

You may click on each bubble on this map and read more about the siting in the info box.

these observations were made via the Champ seen here on the Top of the World Highway
The first Where the Wild Things Are Tippy Top Tour map is here.  I also did a map much like this during the BLC to Bering Sea trip that may be viewed here.  On my northbound leg of the Tippy Top Tour I was only gathering data on critters bigger than a housecat.  After discussing my project mid stream with the fine folks at Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, I started to collect all wildlife observations regardless of the size of the animal.  That means this return leg map will have much more data than the first leg of the trips map.  Also, my observations from the BLC to the Bering Sea trip didn't reflect roadkill or the study.  If you are interested in how the study is coming along you may view my contributions to the study here.  I am proud to say basically everything on that map north of the US border with Canada is my contribution to the study.  Keep in mind though all the data from my map above is yet to be added to the aggregate.

my old friend the Yukon River as seen from the beginning of the Robert Campbell Highway
I really enjoyed making this current map!  Going forward, whether I am taking part in a study or not, I will collect this data for my own knowledge.  The return leg really challenged me to take the time to correctly ID the animals I was observing.  Through this process I basically learned more about the natural world I am traveling through.  I have to be accurate with my data collection and this has challenged me to be more observant about the animals I see along my routes.

this Stone's Sheep is licking salt from the shoulder of the ALCAN highway just outside Muncho Lake PP
 caribou came to the ALCAN highway near Muncho Lake, PP to lick salt off the road
Bridge over Lapie Canyon along the Robert Campbell Highway
One thing that really stands out to me when looking at the above map is the large number of passerines and corvids that ended up being roadkill near Ft. Nelson, BC.  That is a long stretch of roadkill I pedaled through.  I am a little surprised by all of the dead corvids as I have rarely observed this in the wild or while pedaling.  It makes me wonder if they were poisoned or if something in that environment was causing this.  Ft. Nelson, BC is ground zero for resource extraction:

"Unconventional gas exploration is the premier industry in Fort Nelson, employing a large percentage of Fort Nelson's community members. The region's natural gas industry centers around the Horn River Basin, Liard Basin, and the Cordova basin which all contain vast amounts of gas in shale rock formations. Many of the world's most recognizable oil and gas companies are operating in the region, including EnCana, Nexen, Apache, Imperial Oil, and several more. The most common form of gas extraction is the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, in which a drill bit is first vertically, then horizontally inserted deep into the ground in an attempt to reach poorly accessible shale gas formations. As with any gas operation in North America, there are significant concerns to the environmental and social effects of the industry on the surrounding area. Large amounts of water are being extracted, most of which is withdrawn from nearby lakes and rivers, which continues to be a hot topic in the region and within the oil and gas industry."

The above quote is from Wikipedia and as I work through catching up my journals we will revisit the entire resource extraction theme for this area.  The large number of Swainson's Thrush roadkill I observed approaching Ft. Nelson had nothing to do with resource extraction though.  I watched several of the small birds get hit by oncoming traffic while pedaling this bit of the route.  My theory is the birds tendency to feed along the gravel shoulders of the road and their flight pattern when spooked by approaching traffic are the major factors in the large number of roadkill here.  For every roadkill Swainson's Thrush in this area I saw, I probably saw 30 live birds foraging together.  My other theory when looking at this map is that East to West roads provide the biggest obstacle to migrating birds.  I started to draw my own scientific conclusion to this when I got into another roadkill rich section of highway along the border of Northern Nevada and Southern Oregon.  During this leg of the Tippy Top Tour I observed several roadkill Yellow Rumped Warblers again on an East to West highway.  I was especially bummed out to see these road kill Warblers as I have one that is a winter resident in my front yard in the BLC.  I think I look forward to seeing his and her return every year more than they look forward to the suet and seedblock I put out for them.  I never realized they are a bird of the high desert as well, but now I know!  Maybe the East to West highways versus South to North highways prove to be a bigger obstacle for migrating birds because they have a higher likelihood of crossing them during their migration.  An East to West highway they have to cross at some point, but a South to North highway they may fly along either side of the route without ever needing to actually risk a crossing of it.  Of course these are just my observations when looking at the map, I have no scientific credentials to make these observations.

roadkill Yellow Rumped Warbler
road kill juvenile White Crowned Sparrow
If you use Google Earth or are really paying attention to my routes on these maps you may realize I have a reroute on the above map.  I ended up doing three alternates on the return leg that aren't reflected on my Tippy Top Tour Tracker.  The first one is in Idaho (although it isn't reflected in the above map either), the Weiser River Trail.  Just outside New Meadows, ID I got on this old Rails to Trails route and made it to almost Weiser before I had to punch out due to a muddy route.  Regardless of this though I saw a ton of Elk, Turkey, and eventually a black bear must have come within a .10 of a mile of my camp one night.  That is the new turquoise bubble above by the way.  I woke up in the morning and doubled back about a .10 of a mile due to muddy trails (my road touring bike was a mess in minutes).  I was surprised to see fresh black bear tracks in the mud of the trail that weren't there the evening before.  The thing that stands out about this observation is that it is the last black bear I would be near on my return home.  The second alternate was up near Prairie City, OR where I realized I could pedal through the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness versus having to double back on 395 from John Day, OR.  I had pedaled 395 on the northbound leg and this detour was excellent!  I highly recommend it and it is reflected in the above map.  The last alternate was near Adel, OR.  Here I realized I could pedal south the back way into Cedarville, CA.  Again this saved me doubling back on my northbound route out of Alturas.  I highly recommend this route which makes use of maybe 17 miles of good graded dirt road.  I have no doubt I got more wildlife observations taking this route and it was special to stand on the flanks of the Warner Mountains with a flock of several hundred Sandhill Cranes migrating south above me.  We had both made the round trip migration together this year!

a black bear sow and cub play in the middle of the Robert Campbell Highway
I was also blown away by the number of critters along the Robert Campbell Highway in Yukon Territory.  I now know if I am seeing lots of smaller critters (like squirrels, porcupine) then there is a higher likelihood of observing bigger animals like bears and caribou.

the Champ and Krud at the end of the Robert Campbell Highway (Watson Lake Sign Forest)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

To the River To the Sea

Desert Companion May 2013 Quest Issue
Fall 2009 I was trying as hard as I could to get the 2009 PCT Speed Record into any magazine I could.  Back then I was a newbie to the entire media world, and on a recommendation of Scott Williamson reached out to a contact/ writer friend of his Joe Bousquin.  Joe was pessimistic about the prospects of getting the speed record into any magazines.  He then spent several hours of his time walking me through all the potential pitfalls of working with the mainstream media.  His advice has served me well to this day, and I have been happy with every article and interview I have been a part of.  This is primarily due to the fact that Joe expressed an opinion that accuracy in the media is at an all time low.  He thought it was wise to ask for a transcript before an article went to press so that I could make any revisions necessary or catch any mistakes.  Joe's work has appeared in Men's Journal, the New York Observer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance and other publications.  His 12 years of experience has served me well, and I have always felt that I would both like to work with him on an article and pay him back for his time in some way if the opportunity ever presented itself.

Fast forward to the fall of 2012.  I googled "how to write a press release".  I found a simple article on how to write one so that it looked professional.  I never realized what a setback it was using my email ambush tactic when it came to reaching out to the press and other media outlets.  This past fall writing a simple press release proved valuable in that it got responses that I wouldn't have expected.  I made it a hobby in my spare time to look at the mastheads of magazines and find out who the editor was.  Then I would blast off a cover letter and the press release.  Also, I made it a habit to keep track of photographers, journalists, radio stations, magazines, newspapers, etc that have worked with me in the past.  I have been surprised how many of them are still willing to work with me later on or have referred me to another media outlet I wasn't aware of.  For example I remembered the Desert Companion from an article John Wallin wrote for the magazine back in 2010.  I was elated when the editor of the magazine responded to my press release saying that he would like to include an article about the BLC to Bering Sea Trip in his Quest issue!  On top of that he asked me if I knew of any journalists that might want to write the story.  I immediately contacted Joe and found out later it was a paid article, so I was happy to get a chance to butter his bread.  A week before the article went to press Andrew Kiraly (editor of the Desert Companion) followed up with me mentioning he would like me to work with local photographer Tom Zikas for additional photos to accompany the article. Tom has a diverse client list including the US Olympic Ski & Snowboard Team.

You may check out the article on line in digital format here:

To The River To The Sea

I have also thrown up photos below of the article so you may read it here by expanding the photo.  Thanks again to Andrew Kiraly, Joe Bousquin and Tom Zikas for helping this be the best article I have ever had the pleasure of being involved in.

"Adam Bradley took the idea of a quest and ran with it - and pedaled and paddled with it too.  This extreme outdoorsman literally traveled from his doorstep in Reno to the shores of the Bering Sea in a 5,000 mile trip by foot, bike, and canoe.  In this case, Bradley's quest was multifaceted: He didn't do it just to see if he could do it ( an admirable impulse all its own), but also to catch a longing glimpse of wilderness and human communities that are facing grave unprecedented impacts from global climate change.  The sights, sounds and in some cases, tastes ( oh, you'll see what I mean) of his quest make for a gripping read. "

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tippy Top Tour Tracker

The Tippy Top Tour Tracker is up over at trackleaders!  This map will be parked here all summer at the top of the page, so at any moment you may answer the burning question of where in the hell is Krud at now?  Just hold your cursor over the K on the map and drill down.  Most likely parked in front of a Tim Hortons getting donuts!  I have so many points of interest (POI) on this years map you will really need to zoom in to literally see me through the trees!  Now much like a google earth map you may change your base map from the one above to satellite or topo map.  I personally like the satellite version as you can really see where I am located every 20 minutes and the type of terrain I am traveling through.  It will be on all day like last year as well.  I will send out a check in ok message when I am in camp at night, then a custom message when I am moving again in the morning.  These will also post to the FSTPKR facebook page.  That being said I have room for another 30 or so folks on my Spot so if you would like email updates with waypoints sent to you with a hyperlink of my location please message me your email info through the contact me button on the left navigation bar or here.  Also, if you have one of those fancy phones ( you know the kind were you can talk, text, email, surf the innertube and upload photos of what your eating while tweeting...) you can get a free BlueDot app here.  This will allow you to see your buddy Krud pedaling real tiny on your fancy phone.  Pretty exciting, my own Krudtracker app!  Blast off should be this Saturday or Sunday almost exactly one year from when I started the BLC to Bering Sea adventure.

On another note, Tim Hortons came through for Krud!  They have graciously provided me with a pre-loaded Tim Card!  I will be able to try just about every flavor donut they make and I will definitely share my findings here!  Thanks Tim Hortons for being part of the Tippy Top Tour.

As I mentioned in a post prior to this one I am also cataloging road kill and live animals along the route I traverse for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation.  I did a little more research on it in the last few days and am even more excited to be involved with this kind of work.  I noticed on the map they do have going now that there is a big blank north of our border with Canada and I should be able to provide lots of data for this currently blank spot on the map.  There is only one data point for all of Alaska at this point too.  I think my timing going up is really good as this is when many of the bears will be coming out of their dens.  For example if you check out my Where the Wild Things Are BLC to Bering Sea map and zoom in on the Cassiar Stewart HWY section you will see 25 bears in 5 days (2 grizzly and the rest black bear).  Below I found an informational video that briefly discusses how many animals use one over pass in Banff National Park.  My route goes right by this overpass on my return leg.  The thing that never occurred to me is that if an animal is hit by a car it doesn't get a chance to pass on its genes.  So you end up with gene pools with more inbreeding than if animals are able to cross into each others territories and possibly breed.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hoole River

Slept in again! Up at 8 AM and stumbled over the visitor center for coffee. Had nice visit with Jackie who is a local artist and runs the visitor center. Back to camp for breakfast and pack. It wasn't until 11 AM before I was on the move. I went back to the visitor center first to say goodbye to Jackie and she gave me a nice card of hers that she made. The other woman visiting with her gave me a scone too! I ate it later in the day for a snack. 

Real pretty riding today. Took some photos at La Pie Canyon. After the Turn off to Ross River the road got a little rougher. I also passed the turn out for the Canol Road which by the looks of it I will have to ride someday. 

Hardly anyone on the highway after Ross River. I saw quite a few critters and real nice views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Called it a day at Hooley River/Pelly River. Tried my luck at fishing again but was skunked. Had excellent dinner of potato burritos.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Robert Campbell HWY

Another beautiful day of time travel. On the road in the cool air of the morning at 9:30 AM. I saw the bald eagle fishing that I was hearing last night. Nice view from the highway of five finger Rapids. Didn't realize until I arrived at Coal Mine Campground, that my route turned before Carmacks. So I did a late second breakfast, lunch, laundry and scrubbed up here. Figured I could wait on groceries Until Ross River or Faro. Finally left Coal Mine Campground at two in the afternoon pedaling upstream along the Yukon.

Really nice views from the bluffs in here. Still pulled a decent mileage day to Little Salmon Lake Campground. Got a few casts in with the spinning set up, but nothing. Came back to camp and had a kick ass fire and dinner. Enjoyed  the warmth of the fire.

By the way I'm on Instagram now as Krudmeister. You can hit the Instagram link on the sidebar or you can check me out at Krudmeister on Instagram. Make sure and like the FSTPKR Facebook page to see photos more regularly. I can't post as regular to the blog, but it is easy enough to share photos or my location via Instagram and Facebook.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dawson City

Up at 6 AM and boy was it cold! There was frost all over everything and 30° inside the tent. Took some coaxing to get the Solo Stove going with all my sticks covered in frost. Once the sun came around the mountain it's lovely light warmed up this precious soul.

I packed in the cold/bright sun while enjoying views from my perch. Finally started pedaling, but much to my surprise I left my warm riding gear on all day. I mainly needed it for the descents which were numerous.

I finally got in incredible views of the Yukon River below. Locked in for a 14km descent all the way to the ferry crossing. 

Dawson is a cool town, but the two times I've visited now I found the businesses to be kurt with me. Namely restaurants. As a result I put the charming town in my tiny rearview and pedaled away. 

Ended up staying at Dawson City RV park which worked out fine. I called it a day early here as I was in need of laundry and shower. In the evening I had Chinese food delivered to me. I couldn't really tell what I was getting, but when it arrived piping hot in 20 minutes I was more than pleasantly surprised.

Egg rolls, fried rice and fried tofu. After dinner I did some routine bike maintenance and camp chores. Looking forward to some more lovely miles of time traveling tomorrow.