Showing posts with label trail running. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trail running. Show all posts

Announcement - Luna Leadville Trial

  Just seen some very exciting news on social media this morning.   Luna Sandals out of Seattle, Wa - just announced a new lacing option for my favorite minimal footwear tread pattern of all time.  Their Leadville model is made from quality Vibram soling material.  Whats so special about this pattern?  It grips anything like velcro.  I've personally walked on every surface possible in the Olympic Mountains in my multiple pairs with his same tread.  River fords, mud, snow, slush, coastal slim, rock, roots, trails, off trail and even southwest desert terrains.   I personally feel that every hiking footwear company should use this pattern; even for traditional boots and shoes.

  Luna is also offering their new trail ATS lacing option, with Tech Strap mod.  This is a win-win, if you have been thinking about getting yourself a pair of trail sandals or use as a secondary pair of footwear around camp on your next backpacking adventure.

luna sandals
Luna Sandals Leadville Trial w/ updated ATS laces & Tech Strap mod.  Click> Products> Leadville Trail.

Related:  Check out my review of the Luna Tech Strap.

You!  The Leadville has been on the market for some time and know that a lot of my readers own a pair.  What do think of them?  How have they worked out for you?  Post any questions in the comments below!

Enchanted Valley in a Day

  If you have a chance to visit this area, spend the night near the Chalet.  Don't do it in a day, like we just did.  You won't be able to truly enjoy what the Quinault Valley has to offer.  A photographer could spend a week here easily, any time of year.

  I can never get two of my hiking partners to stay the night outside.  So the only way to get them to visit this breathtaking area was to fasthike/trail run the 27 miles, plust 3,200' ascent.  The second silly thing,  is one of them would only agree to go, if an RV was brought (thats right, an RV).  I haven't been in one of those things in 15 years, if you even count it as camping.  Its a far cry from hitchhiking in and out of the Park all summer.  Would never hear the end of this one, but lease we were out in the Olympic National Park and getting some exercise.

  This was my second time doing the valley in a day and be a 10 mile increase to both partners personal longest distances.  Way go go guys!  Everybody was in there Five Fingers, despite the below freezing temps.

  There would be a 5am wake up call, to ensure we were out before dark again.  Valley was frozen solid, with the lows in the 20's.  Heavy frost blanketed most of the forest floor.  Seen a few handfuls of Olympic Elk, but no Black Bears like I'd hoped.  Trail, creek and log bridge crossing were all very slippery, still didn't stop us from having fun.

East Fork Quinault River Trial
Frozen Rainforest - shared on Instagram

Sawyer Mini First Impressions while Scouting

  We have been getting hit with back to back rain storms here in the PNW.  The impending gloom of an incoming storm forecasting the drop of the snow level, well as 6" of rain in the Olympic interior.  I was in need to getting into the alpine while it was possible; without getting hammered by winter like conditions.  This would be a scouting adventure, to see how much snow was left by the last cold front.

  I still plan on getting one more trip into the interior of the Park, before the high country season comes to an end, to observe the Olympic Elk while they are under rut.  This next storm will seal the fate of that plan.  I have Plan A, B and C routes in mind, but would like to do the first one; since it increases my chances on the numbers of animals I see.

view from hurricane Ridge
Ruth Peak of the Bailey Range, protects Mount Olympus; which holds a fresh dusting of snow. 

Sawyer Hydration System

  I have been using a Sawyer Squeeze Filter for over a year.  Treated countless gallons of water and still feel it is the best thing to happen in trail hydration.  Saving needless hours of having to 'pump', well as weight on my back.  Through this time period; as I refine my skills in the backcountry, my use for it has evolved.  Using a 'trial an error' system to figure out what works for me, save time and refine daily tasks; such as treating water.  The less time spent doing little repetitive things, more you have to enjoy the surroundings.

Sawyer Squeeze Filter on bottle
How I carry my Sawyer system in the field.  

Replacing my Sawyer Filter Cap

  Never been a fan of the cap that comes with the Sawyer Squeeze Filter.  Don't like having to pull the top open and closed.  Then after your mouth touches the valve, it seems to close a bit; which affects flow output.    It also feels like you're drinking out a water bottle, maybe its something to do with the way air mixes with h2o when it leaves the plastic.  Whatever it is, I never liked it.  Prefer drinking straight out of the bottle with no cap.  However that is not optimal with this filter.   I figured it was time to try something different.

New Sawyer Squeeze Cap
Smartwater Cap, also using the bottle on the reservoir end. 

Vibram Fivefingers EL-X Trail Review

  The last few years have been a disappointment to me in the world of Fivefingers.  Designing non-breathable upper; on top of a heavy aggressive and stiff sole design.  Which all perform poorly in the Pacific Northwest outdoors in the eyes of a minimalist.  I was beginning to question if they actually took footwear outside in the mud before releasing them on the market.  (Shy of the Seeya; which in my eyes is on the top VFF ever made)

   My hopes were immediately raised after watching the sneak peek video over on Birthday Shoes last summer.  Could the designers over at Vibram redeem themselves to the outdoor market?

  The EL-X promised to be the lightest, most breathable and offer extraordinary ground feel.  New streamlined syphoned sole begged for mud.   They would also feature an updated tweak; with a strapless design.  (I have already cut the straps off all my VFF's years ago with a pair of scissors.)

Vibram EL-X snow
Hiking for the day with Vibram Fivefinger EL-X on snow - photo by Greg

Luna Sandals Mono Hiking Review

My first thoughts when looking at the new 'Mono' on my feet were, 'These are way too thick for my liking'.
Shortly after that I told myself to clear all negative thoughts out of my mind and give these a real chance. After properly adjusting the laces for my foot and taking a few steps. I was pleasantly surprised how light weight they felt on my foot.

Luna sandals mono
First time wearing Luna Sandals Mono - originally shared on Facebook

Elwha to Hurricane Hill Trial

  In part of the Wilderness is my Gym trail series; gathered some friends together for some leg training.  The group asked me to suggest a route for the afternoon.

  I suggested that we start our trail run from the Elwha Ranger Station that sits 400' on the valley floor.  Then we venture up to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center.  This route has the high point of 5,650' with  views of the Bailey Range and Port Angeles.

  There is currently no fresh snow in the Olympic National Park.  We have the back to back warm fronts pushing thru this area to thank for that.

  The window of autumn is rapidly closing in the Pacific Northwest; as winter tightens its hold on the mountains.  I was anxious to get into the alpine to get the views.

  Other parties involved excitingly agreed to my suggestion, but none of them had ever climbed that much trail ascent.  We were all in store for a real treat on the legs.

Olympic footwear
Trail Footwear - VFF Treksport and Luna Sandals Leadville Pacer

Wilderness is my Gym

  I had the best year of my life to date.  After a 3 week rest and recovery.  It is now time for me to start training for the 2013 season.  Plan on being in the best shape and go on the biggest journey of my life next year.

  Like most Backpackers know; there is no training substitute for actual trail time.  No in indoor cardio equipment can stimulate the same muscles used than actually walking outdoors.

  I have multiple carido trips planned weekly;  if it would be walking, Running or Cycling.  Starting out will be more shorter mileage trips; bumping up the distance as we get closer to spring.

lake angeles trail
Friends and I heading up trail into the snow.

High Calorie Trail Food: Pop-Tarts and Almond Butter

  I have had requests to talk about some of my trail creations.  During my '30+ Days in the Olympic National Park' I came up with some tasty treats. 

  Try not to focus to heavily on what is actually good for you, but more about 'calories in calories out'.  I was also on a tight budget and 'Organic' products are way over priced in my book.  Keeping in mind they may or may not be better for you.
  So I personally focus on what is best based on Calories, Cost and Weight.  Most of my creations have came from just randomly combining thing I had lying around.

  Learned this in Army Infantry Basic Training.  'Privates' would randomly combine items available in an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat).  This comes in handy when trying to break the monotony of eating the same thing everyday.

trail food
Pop-Tarts and Justin's Almond Butter

Luna Sandals ATS Lacing Review

Disclaimer:  I am not a gear reviewer. My review will be based on a Backpacking and Trail Running point of view only. I do have a lot of people asking me about various models of Minimalist Footwear for Backpacking. So I thought I would put in my two cents.

  I planned on doing a review of the Luna ATS Sandals to use during Backpacking Trips.  Shortly after receiving my Pair in the Mail to my dismay.  I was informed via Facebook and Newsletter that they were no longer offering the ATS Sole package as the Leadville.  They would however still be offering the ATS Lacing System, so not all was lost.  So in this review I will be primarily focusing on the ATS Lacing, Leadville Sole Pattern and not the Foot-Bed.

8" of Fresh Snow

  What I was looking for as a User:

  • Breathable option to VFF
  • Protection vs Skin to Ground Bare
  • Camp Footwear
  • Post Trail Footwear
  • Everyday in Urban Environment

  Above is my expectations of a piece of Footwear I was looking to add to my Hiking Arsenal.

Upper Dungeness Winter Trail Run

  So when I asked a friend if he would like to get some Trail Miles on the Legs.  He was cautious to accept, but willing for Adventure.  Indeed he would get his wish and a little more.  He isn't a fan of Running on Snow and as well does all his Trail Miles in Vibram's.  So knowing this I assured him that we would not be Running in Snow the whole time and lots of Plush Pine Needle Trails.

dungeness trail
Photo by Bruce B.

Vibram Seeya Trail Review

Ever since the first time I put on Foot Gloves I have been in search for the perfect Trail Tool.  One that offers Light Weight Protection, Ground Feedback and Breathability.  Most importantly as a Barefoot Backpacker.  I need something that handles water well and drys fast.  I have found that in the Vibram Five Finger Seeya.

vibram seeya
Rocky Trail

  I got invited to go on a Trail Run earlier in the week by a Trail Friend.    Needing to get in-shape  for the Epic 2012 Backpacking Season I have planned.  Of coarse I could  not say no.  Being Outside one trip a day for the rest of my life, I would die happy.

  The route would lead us on an 13.5 Mile Trail Run in the Olympic National Park along the Shores of Lake Crescent.

Backpack Elwha Valley Alone

  Suggested Reading Listening:

After Walking or Biking the Whiskey Bend Rd. several times in 2011 and a time the Park completely had access closed.  I was excited to hear that the Park had opened the Road for vehicle traffic once again.  Once I got the news I hurried to the Boat and collected my gear  in 20 minutes.  So that I wouldn't miss my lift to the Trail head with my Bike.  I was on a mission to be the only one staying the night in the whole Valley and I got my wish.  Complete Isolation.

whiskey bend trailhead parking
Whiskey Bend Trailhead 

   I opted to go light as I could for Winter Conditions and only bring Minimal Gear.  Since it was forecasted to be in the 20's that night.   Food and Water was also kept super Minimal for the sake of Fast Trail Traveling.  I would pump water straight from Mouth to Filter to shave weight as well.

 I had 12 miles to reach my destination for the night and 2 hours of Daylight left in the Woods.  I wanted to make the best out of what light I had left, so I started at a pretty good pace.  After a few miles I felt warm enough to begin my Light Trail Running Pace.

lillian river
Lillian River

  I went as far as I could without Headlamp and feel the Trail under my feet, rather than with my eyes.  After wearing Minimal Footwear for 4 Years now.  I feel my senses have tripled when you can actually feel the ground every step.  Kinda like someone that is Blind uses other senses to function with everyday activity's.