Like a planet from a distant solar system, the multi colored spires rose up on all sides of us. There was no one else, just our truck, bouncing along the dusty gravel road, in the bottom of the canyon that seemed to grow bigger with every turn. The air was still, in the cool afternoon, with scents of the local flora and fauna that dominated the small amount of ground that was not covered in rock sculptures. These rock sculptures, swirled with red, orange, and black, resembled those found in Moab, but this was not Utah, this was Leslie Gulch, Oregon. A place that was not that far from the place I grew up in, but it was unknown to me.
This was Memorial Day weekend, 2012, and only the first stop of an adventurous weekend. We had departed the rain soaked Treasure Valley, loaded down with camping gear and plenty of gadgetry to document the trip adequately. It did not take long before we were entering Oregon, and thankfully leaving the air borne moisture behind us. Leslie Gulch was indeed an awe inspiring sight, with its many twisting and snaking canyons that spread out in every direction. Amazingly we were only one of two cars parked at the trailhead, since most of the crowds were fighting for their bit of shoreline on the Owyhee reservoir a few miles away. We had the canyons to ourselves.
We were composed of Brandon, and myself. A small crew, so we were able to stay mobile and cover lots of ground. We started off by passing a large amount of poison ivy that seemed to reach into the trail with long fingers, trying eagerly to catch an unknowing passerby with its painful oil. Although a trail was well established in the bottom, we quickly departed from it, preferring to take the adventurous route up and around the caves and cliffs that ranged in size and shape, creating some great challenges. The landscape was so foreign from anything I had seen before, and yet the ruggedness had such a beauty that was unique and awe inspiring. It was so difficult to capture the essence of the place through pictures, but that did not stop us from trying.
Our feet, and hands took us through caverns, gulleys, and up rock faces. Eventually we crested the summit of the ridge we were following, and the view made you pause and breath deeply. It was quite an accomplishment, and my five fingers took me the whole way. It was the first time hiking such a distance in them, about 7 miles round trip, and they not only stood up to the rough terrain, but they also gave me a close grip upon the rocks and allowed me to scramble with ease. This type of climbing is very enjoyable, and can be done at a quick speed, as long as you have a good balance.
Wildlife was encountered, in the form of Rabbits and Osprey on a small scale. But what was really cool was the herd of wild horses. I had read about them, but never got to see them first hand. They were several miles away, but thanks to technology, we were able to get close up pictures, as though they were near by. We ended the day back at the truck, where we drove to a campsite and cooked a grand old meal. We slept hard, and awoke to a gorgeous day. Everything was packed, and we were headed to our second location. But then we got a flat tire. Which would not be a big deal, just one slight problem. What was supposed to be stored in the glove box was this small key that releases the spare tire. But it was nowhere to be found.
When I hear the word “Running” used, there seems to be three main viewpoints.
- The first cannot stand the activity, the word, or even the thought of participating in such a thing.
- The second does participate, but only on a limited scale. They feel the need to do their share of running to stay in shape, but they hate every moment of it.
- The third category seems to be some how blessed by God with a love for running, and an endurance that could seemingly last forever.
For years I seemed to be stuck in the first category. Maybe not to the extreme, but it was definitely something that I never found an attraction to. My first real experience with it was during my training at the ALERT Academy. We would run every day, and had to pass a PT test that included running two-miles in under 16 minutes. I was able to do both, but they were not enjoyable. However, it did force me to stretch my physical strength and ability beyond what I thought was possible. That concept continued to build as I became a hunting guide in Alaska, but it was still limited to fairly slow paced activities. I began to move into the second category. I had the need for exercise, because hiking several miles in mountainous terrain with over a hundred pounds on my back was normal. I stayed in that mindset until this year.
I had started off the year with a goal of running consistently, and to run greater distances. The year started off strong, and my running began to increase, especially after watching Unbreakable, a film about a 100 mile race. But there was still something missing. Shortly after that, I experienced my first race. I was not a participant, but I had the pleasure of capturing the event on film, and to be right there along-side the runners. Seeing them push through the difficulties, and cross the finish line really got my wheels turning. The thing that really topped it all off was a few months later, when I read “Born to Run”, by Christopher Mcdougall. The book is a combination of Documentary and story, which follows the author through his encounters with various runners, techniques and science, that all points to a final conclusion that we are all “Born to Run”. After listening to the book several times, I was convinced.
A big topic in “Born to Run”, is the minimalist running style, with people running better with less injuries in older flatter shoes and bare foot. So since I had joined the Five Finger revolution a year prior, and they had proved themselves time and again for scrambling, hiking and water sports, I decided to give them a try as a running shoe. The first time out in them I ran two miles, and felt great. No pain in my hips that seemed to get me when running in regular shoes. Although my calves had to compensate since I was no longer heal striking, and mainly landing on the middle and the balls of my feet. I had thought that my arch would also give my pains since the Five Fingers have no support in that region, but the pain never came. Even after increasing the mileage over time to 6 and 7 miles. They performed well on mad made and natural surfaces. The protection in the foot gloves are minimal, so I had to be extra careful about my footfalls and stray toes, but the payoff was an amazing feeling of barefoot running that brought me to a place where I could actually say that I love to run.
I recently tried out my Five Fingers on a mountain trek of 3600 ft. elevation gain up, and 4.5 miles distance one way. I was actually skeptical since there was a prevailing amount of shale and rough rock that had succeeded in lacerating my hand several years prior, so I brought hiking boots as a backup. It was an unnecessary added weight, because once I started up, my feet kept a close connection to the ground, and the feeling was amazing. My toes could stretch and grasp, and thrust me forward with each step. The climb was average paced and we made the top in 2.5 hours. The day was gorgeous and we all felt exhilarated by the accomplishment. We even got a buzz job by a local pilot, as he flew over our heads at a whopping 10 ft. On the trek down we kicked it up a notch, and a friend and I decided to run all the way down the mountain. It was very tricky staying upright, with mud, tundra and roots crossing the path at every turn, but we successfully completed the 4.5 miles in 55 minutes, descending from 3950 ft to 250. And once again the five fingers were with me all the way.
I am slightly disappointed that I did not happen upon the love of running at an earlier year. But I am glad to be at this point of my life when I can be a part of a group of people that can not only put some miles behind them, but also say that they enjoyed it.
When I was a young boy growing up in Idaho, I felt like I had quite an adventurous life. I spent most of my time in the outdoors, running around with bare feet, donned in camo to hide from bugs and insects that were the object of my pursuit. I always had creatures in cages, and brought home animals that I wanted to keep as pets. But once I moved from that age into junior high and high school, my outdoor adventures were limited to hunting trips, and the occasional summer camping. Although still enjoying the outdoors, I spent most of my summers riding along on a skateboard. This usually involved twisting ankles and bloody shins. I really enjoyed these concrete adventures in those days, but what I have come to realize now is that it kept me from experiencing the amazing outdoors that was my backyard growing up.
My concentration of energy and time changed when I turned 16, when I left home for the first time, for five months in Alaska. It opened my eyes to adventure, but on such an extreme scale, that when I got back to Idaho, I still spent time with the same friends. They were not into the outdoor adventure scene, and I would get caught up in the social scene instead. I kept returning to Alaska every summer, and the more I kept going back, the more I expanded my love of the outdoors. This caused me to take up Rock Climbing, Kayaking, and Mountain Biking. I became an Alaskan outdoor guide, and I was hooked. However that also came with a full time job, and living in Alaska, so my Idaho time was limited to snowboarding in the winter, until 2011.
It was that year that I decided to move back to Idaho. There were many factors that came into play, and it was a hard decision, but I was very glad that I did. I grew closer to my family, helped to grow our local Idaho businesses, be involved in my local church, and increase Idaho adventures accomplished. We started a group called E.P.I.C. (Extreme Persons In Christ), which we used as a base to launch several adventures ranging from white water rafting on the Payette River, to spelunking, to sky diving, and many things in between. It was great to see different people, of varying backgrounds, ages, and experience levels, get to find their adventuresome side.
The group has many participants and still continues today, but unfortunately life gets busy and some things get pushed to the side. We still strive to organize adventures, and share with others our love of God and the outdoors. An amazing thing that happened through this group was the ability to experience parts of Idaho that I had never seen or been to. Even as a born and raised Idahoan, there were so many things that I was not able to do. The concrete jungle kept me from it, and I am so saddened for all the people that also will never get to experience the beauty of the Idaho wilderness, and all it has to offer. So I would challenge you with this. Get outside, leave the city life for a evening or a weekend. Get out and find out what you have been missing. I know that outdoor adventure is not for everyone, but I hope that this will prick some interest in those that have never had a chance to find out.
If you would like to join the E.P.I.C group, please leave a comment, or send me an email, and I would love to get you more information. Even if you would just like to get out, check out trails.com for some great ideas. Or if you are in another state or country, look up local outdoor information online. There are many resources available to get outdoors, and experience the beauty and adventure that awaits.
There is a feeling of returning, that is hard to match. It comes when an arrival occurs at a town, location, or building that holds a certain place in ones heart that was built on by memories, time, or work. It’s the feeling one gets when walking into grandmas house, full of warmth, love, and good cooking. When driving or walking down a lane that has those certain smells, or just the view of the trees passing by that pricks a memory from the past. What ever that feeling may be to you, I call it “Coming Home”. Even though it may not always be “Home” in the sense of the place of where one lives or resides for the majority of a period of time, it is hard to match by other places. That is the feeling I got upon returning to Alaska.
Alaska is a place that I do not inhabit currently as a residence, but not too long ago, I did. It all started in 2003 when I first boarded a plane for the last frontier, to work for a summer building a cabin for Preston Cavner, a long time friend of ours from Idaho. Through out those five months, we not only finished the cabin, but I also did landscaping, house sitting, hiked mountains, fished rivers, and packed out moose meat. Just a typical summer in Lake Clark. It was an experience that really stirred something in me. So much so that I returned the following year for the summer, to give up the hot summers in Idaho, for the cool months of adventure in the wilderness. It really started to grow on me, and seemed like something I wanted to do full time. So with High School graduation behind me, and a year of Bible School at our local church, I move up to Alaska in 2005. That was when it started to turn into “Home”.
My move to Alaska extremely diminished my time in Idaho, but it was replaced by many experiences in Alaska, which included meeting new people that became as close as family. That is a big part of a place becoming like home, is the closeness of the people around you. And since my family was thousands of miles away, I had a community that I grew very close to. The town of Port Alsworth is a very unique place that is hard to match any where else. A small town dynamic, reinforced by a strong church and businesses that work together and help out in times of need. Although being away from family is very tough, having close friends and relationships that are close by can ease the pain of being away, and create bonds that last. Thankfully my family also took a liking to this beautiful place and began to spend a considerable amount of time in it, beginning in 2007 with the purchase of land, and the breaking ground of our very own place. It started out as a small cabin, but has now grown into a lodge.
“Home is where the heart is” and you know what is in your heart, blood. And you know what happens when you build lodge in the remote parts of Alaska, you shed blood. So all that to say, my heart is in our lodge in Dice Bay, so that is where my home is. Although I grew up in Idaho, and it will always be my original home, my Alaska home has a big part of me. Especially since I have put so much hard work, sweat, and maybe a few tears into it. The project has been going now for 5 years, and its still not finished, but that is what happens when you live in it while working, and do it in limited portions. But it has created a plethora of memories and experiences that I will never forget. Which is why when I come back to Alaska, I am truly “Coming Home”.
As a faint light began to manifest itself upon the horizon, headlights were affixed, running shoes tightened, and water bottles topped off. It was a chilly morning in January at Wilson Creek, with every breath creating a mini sauna in front of the many faces. They waited with anticipation on the starting line, as the last few people made their way down and took up stance ready to embark on an amazing adventure. After all the instructions, The National Anthem was played on a Trombone, which was not typical, but was well suiting for the non typical race that was about to begin. With the blast of a 12 gauge shotgun the race was on, and headlights danced away into the darkness. It was only 7am, well before sunrise, and the Wilson Creek Frozen 50k was underway. This is Ultra Trail Running.
The term UltraRunning is the sport of long distance running, also known as ultramarathoning. The standard definition is anything past the marathon, or 26.2 miles. However, the shortest standard distance that is considered an ultra is the 50 kilometer distance, or 31.07 miles. Other standard distances are the 50 mile, 100 mile, 100 km, and a series of events that last for specified time periods such as 6 hour, 12 hour, 24 hour, 48 hour, and 6 days. Ultra Trail Running is the same thing, except with primary running surface being rugged trails that usually involve large elevation gains through out the race. A great example of an Ultra Trail Race is the Western States Endurance Run.
The Western States Endurance Run, aka “Western States 100″ or “WS100,” is one of the oldest ultra trail events in the world and certainly one of the most challenging.
The run is conducted along the Western States Trail starting at Squaw Valley, California, and ending in Auburn, California, a total of 100 miles. The trail ascends from the Squaw Valley floor (elevation 6,200 feet) to Emigrant Pass (elevation 8,750 feet), a climb of 2,550 vertical feet in the first 4½ miles. From the pass, following the original trails used by the gold and silver miners of the 1850’s, runners travel west, climbing another 15,540 feet and descending 22,970 feet before reaching Auburn.
Most of the trail passes through remote and rugged territory, accessible only to hikers, horses and helicopters. Due to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the trail, the Western States Endurance Run differs substantially from other organized runs.
The following trailer is for “Unbreakable”, a film that follows four of the greatest undefeated mountain runners that toed the starting line at the Western States 100 in 2010. Hal Koerner, two time defending Western States champion, and running store entrepreneur from Ashland, Oregon. Geoff Roes, undefeated at the 100-mile distance, an organic chef from Juneau, Alaska. Anton Krupicka, undefeated in every ultramarathon he has ever started, a graduate student living in Boulder, Colorado. Kilian Jornet, the young mountain runner and two time Ultra-trail du Mont-Blanc champion, from Spain. I would highly suggest watching the film. It was my first introduction into the realm of Ultra Trail Running, and it was very well done.
Although The Wilson Creek Frozen 50k was not quite as intense as a 100-mile race, mother nature did not cooperate, and created for some very difficult conditions, and proved to be a good challenge even for seasoned veterans of the sport. The race started in 2011 as just a gathering of about 20 runners from the Treasure Valley. But in 2012 it became an official race with several hundred participants, and became the first of the Idaho Trail Ultra series. The main race was the 50 kilometers, but there was also a 20 and a 10 mile race. It was put on by Pickled Feet Ultra Running, which is made up of Emily Berriochoa and Davina Jackson. Both are race directors, as well as ultra runners. They did a great job organizing this event, and it would not have been made possible with out them. Also there were countless volunteers and sponsors that contributed to this successful event.
We were privileged to be a part of the event, and to be at the start of each race to capture the excitement and anticipation that hung thick in the air. It was something I have never experienced before. Even though I just had a camera in my hand, It was still an amazing feeling. It was the start of something big, and Silverline Films was there along the way to capture it all. I would not say we had it as tough as the racers for sure, but it was still a challenge to be right there along with them in the midst of the terrible weather.
We had a team of 4 guys that ran cameras, audio equipment, and rode to the tops of the mountains, and the lowest valleys to capture the essence of the race in video form. The result was a 12-minute film called Frozen First. It was the first adventure race that we filmed, but it will definitely not be our last. The entire event was amazing, and it motivated me to start running as well. Although I am a long way from running a race like this one, it is a goal that I am going to constantly strive for, putting more and more miles behind me, with races and health ahead of me.
There are many things in this world that are strong and powerful. But more specifically, there are certain animals that have an amazingly strong bite. Statistically, the Tasmanian devil has the strongest bite to size ratio.
Others on the list include the Alligator, the Grey wolf, and the Hyena. Number 8 on the list is the Brown Bear. It can puncture metal cans and crush bones with ease. Living in Alaska, these strong jawed bruins are frequently seen, and are prevalent on the Alaska Peninsula. Especially when there is a fresh moose kill involved, which is what we had at the end of a successful Moose hunting season. We were packing up, and I had unknowingly left my Nalgene bottle at the lodge as we closed down for the winter.
Upon arrival at the lodge the following spring, we found that it was broken into by bears. They had torn apart and bitten into everything, including all of the food cans and propane bottles. Along with all those items was my trusty Nalgene bottle. It also got bitten. However, unlike the propane bottles that were burst and punctured, my bottle survived. Although it got five punctures from the bears jaws, only one hole managed to break through only slightly. I was amazed at how well it held up. I still use it today.
The Nalgene water bottle is a staple on all outdoor adventures and daily treks alike, and now I understand why. They pride themselves on functionality and durability, and I believe them whole heartedly.
Thanks Nalgene for making such great products.
Weddings are a big deal, so big that it is a huge industry for many people. From Photographers to Caterers, from DJ’s to Florists, there are many companies that have a primary target of people getting married. When you have a target market that is constantly in need of your services, it can lead to trade shows for that very thing, which is what the Wedding Party Show is all about.
I found out about the event last year, after my brother, Josiah Ness, was asked to be a model for the fashion show portion. I offered to take pictures, and put our Canon 7D to good use. The pictures can be viewed here. The event lasts two days in January each year and hosts companies from around Idaho to display their services that aid in the accomplishment of a successful wedding day. It is a difficult process to get a spot in the show, due to the voting process that takes place to grant access to the vendors. This makes it difficult for businesses to get in to display, but ensures that those that are represented will be tried and true.
This year, Josiah was asked to model again, but was able to get my sister Naomi and I signed up to walk the runway as well. The owner of TMTV talent, Tina, got a hold of us, and arranged the details for the event. We got fitted for our outfits from various local Tuxedo shops and Wedding Gown stores, and when the weekend arrived I was nervous. But everything came together well and we all had a great time, getting to display some fancy threads. Since I was not behind the camera this year, we had a friend of ours take photos of the event.
Although this was definitely out of my comfort zone, especially for an Alaskan Guide, but it was still fun to do an event such as this with family and friends, and try something new.
“Capability; ability; innate or acquired capacity for something.” (Dictionary.com) Aptitude may not be a word commonly used, but I thought it was an interesting title for a blog about none other but Apps. More specifically, iPhone Apps. Since they give us a capacity for things that would be otherwise difficult to do. Although I am much more at home in the outdoors, hiking mountains, climbing rocks and fishing streams, the past year I have found myself within reach of a cellphone tower more times than not. Although this does not make me over joyed, since the last 6 years I had lived outside of cell service and road access. But since civilization has become my more recent habitation, I have found my iPhone has been a faithful companion, through it all. It is amazing how many people feel the same way. An amazing 93.2 million apple devices were shipped in 2011. (Global Mobile) That’s a lot of iPhones, and a ton of iPhone apps. The number of apps submitted to the app store in February are as follows.
This Month (Games): 2,083 ( 104 / day )
This Month (Non-Games): 12,042 ( 602 / day )
This Month (Total): 14,125 ( 706 / day )
Although many of those may never hit the top, or even make millions, there is an amazing 574,607 apps available for download. So with so many options out there, I have found several that have helped me out in many ways. Some to manage tasks, some to view files, some to just pass time. But i figured I would share some of my top picks, that maybe you have heard of, maybe you haven’t. Even if you do not use iPhone, many of these apps are available on android and other platforms as well. I am always looking for new apps and insights though, so please comment or share some of your favorites as well.
When we can stay on task, and Get Things Done, we are productive and our mind is free to think and dream. But many times we do not make use of the great tools out there to help us do this because the tools are not practical enough or they are too complicated to actually be of any help. 6 WunderKinder set out to solve this with Wunderlist. The app just reached 2 million downloads, on a free platform has helped people manage tasks that sync between desktop, online, and mobile. Although the features are very limited, it is functional, and good looking. They recently released Wunderkit, which takes the task management to a new level, while still keeping its elegance and good looks. They are both worth a try, even if just to gaze upon their color schemes and design. But strangely enough, that fact keeps me using both, which in turn helps me get things done.
Setting up a budget and keeping track of money has never been so easy, or good looking. Mint.com is not only an iPhone app, but it is also online accessible from anywhere. It uses the same security of top level banks to keep your info safe, and although it does not allow you to make any changes to your bank accounts from the app itself, it allows you to track your spending, and establish budgets. Although it may not be something we enjoy doing all the time, our finances are important and this app makes it fun, and free.
Have you ever been in a restaurant, and wondered what song was on the radio? Well as the saying goes, there’s an app for that, actually there’s several. It is not the first app of it’s kind, but I have really come to like Soundhound. Although not as commonly known as Shazam, it has great features that give you the option to buy the song on iTunes, send the song to others, and view the lyrics. And of course it’s free.
It amazes me when other people can do what seems like hundreds of different work outs, and remember how much weight they would lift for each one, how many repetitions or sets, and what each workout entails, I guess it comes with time. Me on the other hand, am pretty new at this whole fitness and work out thing. This last year was the first time joining a gym and really focusing on staying in shape and building muscle. But when I found out about this app from my brother I was blown away. You can do so many things with it, from designing your workouts, selecting exercises based on a specific muscle group, to tracking your progress over time. So for those out there like me that want to stay on track but can’t do it in their head, I suggest this app. Almost like a personal trainer, it will do it all for you, except get you out the door and to the gym, that’s still up to you.
I spend a good chunk of time on Craigslist, not only searching for good deals, but also selling items, even more than ebay, since it’s free. Thanks to this app, my time spent shopping and selling is more productive, and easy. You can search for a specific item, filter it by categories, and when you get the long list of items it gives a picture preview of what you are looking at and highlights the price on the right side. This eliminates you having to click on every ad to see if it is what you are looking for. Another great feature is the option to star an item to your favorites. That way you can narrow it down to exactly what you are looking for and then go back through your favorites. And when it comes to posting items, the process is simplified and allows you to add pictures from your phone and manage your posts. All in all it is extremely useful. Even though it does remind me of something in the 70′s.
You may think of a word that you learned years ago in biology class, but this is so much more than that. Basically this app allows you to take panoramas, except you are not limited to the number of pictures, so you can create a picture of your entire surroundings. It does all of the stitching for you. just point and start clicking, covering as much area as you want, and afterwards crop it to your desired size. I would say this has got to be one of the best things Microsoft has put out, and there is only one version, and it’s free, don’t know how they pulled that off. So check it out, you can even post the pictures to bing maps and share them with others, but that would just be another extra feature they decided to add that no one wants to use.
Anyway, I hope you found these interesting and gave you some ideas of apps that could stand testing. Please comment and let me know what you think, and share your own App-titude. I am sure out of the half a million out there, there are some jewels still waiting to be found.
Although it sounds like a karate punch in a video game, WWAMI actually stands for Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of the WWAMI regional medical education program, an enduring partnership between the University of Washington School of Medicine and the states of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho that provides publicly supported medical education for the five-state region. The WWAMI name is derived from the first letter of the names of each of the five partner states. Throughout WWAMI’s 40-year history, many individuals, groups, hospitals, universities and government leaders have collaborated to advance regional excellence in medical education and meet physician workforce needs in rural and under-served areas. You can visit WWAMI’s page to learn more.
This last fall I had the privilege of producing a video of some of the WWAMI graduates currently located in Alaska. It was showcased at the program’s 40th Anniversary event in September 2011. The footage was captured with the Canon 7D, and the Nikon D90 by Judy Patrick of Judy Patrick Photography. The video was welled received, and upon completion of the project, the representatives from WWAMI wanted individual videos produced of each person featured in the video. The following videos are the individual videos of four individuals that have been through the WWAMI program, and are now actively practicing in various locations throughout Alaska. Portions of the videos were used in a video produced at the University of Washington (click here to view).
So it’s that time of year, January 1st, when we all start working on our new years resolutions and sign up for gym memberships to work off the extra holiday pounds. Usually we all want to make a big change in our lives, to be different than before and have a fresh start. Now I am not saying that all those things are bad, however, the only bad thing about those desires for change, is that many times they do not come to fruition. And what is the reason for that? Well, what I have found from my experiences is that without a good plan to follow, it is difficult to accomplish our goals. So I decided to do things differently this year.
No matter how carefully you plan your goals, they will never be more than pipe dreams unless you pursue them with gusto.”
—W. Clement Stone
I have learned several times before that in all areas of life, especially business, that you have to have a Purpose, Vision, Philosophy, Mission, and an Action Plan. However, (5 steps of alignment) I did not apply it to my personal plan for my life. Although it seemed like an obvious connection, I just did not solidify it for myself. Until the end of this last year, when I heard about Creating Your Life Plan, by Michael Hyatt (Click here to download) from a close friend and mentor. I began to read through it, and immediately realized that it was something I needed to do. As I began to get the information translated from this outline into an actual plan to follow, I really got motivated. There is something empowering about getting to look ahead, and set goals for where you want to be down the road, and have an action plan to follow to help you get there. So maybe you already use an action/life plan to stay on track for the year, but if you don’t, I would encourage you to give it a shot. Take some time, evaluate where you are, and where you would like to be, and see the change that takes place. I am not guaranteeing results, but how you start something, is how you will finish it. Happy New Year everyone!
The rope was pulled taught, as I leaned back over the edge, becoming nearly horizontal, before beginning the descent. The air was warm, but the spray coming from the roaring waterfall beside me was enough to drop the temperature, had it not been for my pounding heart keeping the blood flowing. The force of the hydrology performing its graceful dance upon the shear rock face, created its own wind, bringing with it wafts of fresh glacier runoff. It was summer time in Alaska, and it was a brand new experience for this sourdough. Rappelling down a 100 ft. waterfall in the remote expanse of northern Lake Clark. Held there by metal and rope anchored to the rock above, and my hands, which gave and took to keep the lowering process smooth and comfortable, but still exciting.
This was the first day, of an overnight camping trip to the North end of Lake Clark, aptly named Little Lake Clark. It connects to the main Lake Clark by ways of a channel, which can be dangerous, but navigable by those that know the way. Our first stop was Cave Falls, which we made quick work of scaling and then descending. The view there was breathtaking, but bad rock formations kept us from attempting the rappel at that location. So we descended the trail with minds on fishing to come and other waterfalls to explore. Once back in the boat, lunch was broke, and water placed behind us, we arrived at a few fishing holes. Grayling, Lake Trout, and Dolly Varden graced not only our poles many times that night, but also our plates. However an oddity occurred upon that trip. Whilst skinning on of the aforementioned lake trout, inspection of the stomach revealed fat and claws, which combined became a porcupine foot. It was a strange sight to say the least. It must have been a good meal for the trout.
That night stories were told around the campfire, and rest for the weary was accomplished. We started the morning with French Press, healthy pancakes, and bear sausage. That got us going. Due to mixed priorities and scrambling skills, our group split, but we still managed to scale on of the very promising locations for the long awaited water fall rappel. It took quite the scouting process and adventure traverse to gain the top of the Water falling sight. But once we made it there, we jumped right into putting together gear and donning harnesses for safety and necessity. We used 6 cams and nuts to attach the main line to the wall, and wrapping a tree, so there was no possibility for failure. Safety first is a good saying any time.
So as the story began, I was the first to test things out, and I was very pleased to be out there, not just that, but being on rocks, out there, which is a whole new level of enjoyment when you involve the created with the creation. It went smoothly, and as soon as I touched the ground, I was scrambling to get back up on the rock, not only to continue the exhilaration, but also to reset the system for the following rappels. The two that were with me, Anna and Ryan were new to this as well, and although some experience was behind them, the magnitude of the event was daunting. They both caught on quick and I believe have a new perspective on the whole rappelling + waterfall adventures. No one got hurt and we made it down safely, so that always equals a grand success in my book. Chock that one up for future adventures. Who said Canyoneering is only possible in warmer locations.
It’s that day of the year again, A glorious holiday. Many people are off work, we watch parades and football, eat over our limit of food. And then we wrap it all up with what we are thankful for. Now some people may just stick to the food and football and call it good, but I am thankful for so many things, and I think this day should really stay focused on remembering those things. Of course we should do this every day, but since it is a holiday, we should be extra thankful. Now it would take quite a long list to cover all the thankfulness, so I thought I would focus on one that was experienced recently. It’s called Tannerite. Tannerite and I had a little run in a while back in July, that ended in an amazing show of power and energy, and resulted in a great little video on YouTube called “the best Tannerite bomb video ever“. But ever since then, our thirst for a bigger and better show was strong. So this last week that bigger and better show took place. Different location, double the Tannerite amount, double the appliances, and double the people involved. All that to say that it turned out to be one EPIC event, and we captured it on video as such. We involved more cameras, a plane to film from, and much bigger show to put on. So without further ado, I give you, an Epic Tannerite Explosion. The Best Tannerite Explosion, Volume 2.
Honking taxi cabs, an aroma of hot dogs wafting through the air, all eyes of new comers gazing up. It’s the Big Apple, New York City. It’s the city that never sleeps. And why is that you wonder? I would say it is because of the vast amounts of things to-do, to-see, to experience. The city is always full of motion and flow, and a convergence of hundreds of cultures and languages. A place hard matched anywhere in the world in the realm of big cities. Just to prove that point here are a few interesting facts about NYC. (facts from 50states.com)
1. The Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan is the only school in the world offering a Bachelor of Science Degree with a Major in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing.
2. New York City has 722 miles of subway track.
3. In 1807 The Clermont made its maiden voyage from New York City to Albany making the vessel the first successful steamboat.
4. The “New York Post” established in 1803 by Alexander Hamilton is the oldest running newspaper in the United States.
5. The first capital of the United States was New York City. In 1789 George Washington took his oath as president on the balcony at Federal Hall.
6. The first presentation of 3D films before a paying audience took place at Manhattan’s Astor Theater on June 10, 1915.
7. Gennaro Lombardi opened the first United States pizzeria in 1895 in New York City.
8. On July 28, 1945 an Army Air Corps B-25 crashed into the Empire State Building at the 79th floor level.
9. The Big Apple is a term coined by musicians meaning to play the big time.
10. New York was the first state to require license plates on cars.
The reason for this discussion about the largest city populous in the United States is my brother and I had the privilege of visiting our sister Naomi a few weeks ago in New Jersey. She lives just a stones throw from the Manhattan skyline. Ok, maybe a long stones throw, but it’s close by. The fall season was moving in, causing crisp evenings, but gorgeous sunny days with mild temps. It was a perfect walking and commuting weather. Abbie, another sister, (we have five) joined up with us for the weekend of our stay, allowing for a generous amount of family city experiences that tend to get less and less as our ages advance.
Since we had visited before, we were able to take less of a touristy approach to our daily activities. So rather than visting the Top of the Rock we were escorted to the upper floors of the New York Times Building by a cousins’, husband’s, college buddy. A different perspective of the city skyline. We spent a day in Central Park, but not peddling one of the many two wheeled vehicles, but rather rock climbing and free running on the large expanse of rocks and play grounds near Columbus Circle. We had many strange looks. We traversed the High Line Park, although it was a short jaunt, it was gorgeous. Anytime I could get a break from the busy city I was grateful. An afternoon spent with creative director of City Bible Church NY NJ Bryan Bettis was one of the highlights. It’s not so much what your get to see, but it’s the people you meet and grow relationships with. Visiting Ground Zero, and the World Trade Center Memorial was amazing. It was a moving experience, and brought to rememberance that tragic day ten years ago, but in a good way. We did of course do some touristy things, I mean you cannot go without bargaining for wares at China Town, which we did, gaining an odd satisfaction from being the “Name Your Own price” guy from commercials.
Not only did we have a splendid city experience, but we also were able to capture the vibrance and action with video and photos. Some of those things are included in this post. Others we will have to wait a bit longer for. We used the Canon 7D for most of the filming, but we also used the Go Pro Hero, for some of the travel and Time lapse stuff. All in all it was a successful trip, with results in epic camera shots captured, and a positive family travel experience endured. A great growth for all.
How many times have you finished watching a movie, maybe it was grand, epic, and moving, or maybe it just made you laugh, or cry. But you got to the end thinking, what would it be like to be a part of it. Or maybe you thought you would like to create something similar. Or perhaps you thought, why do all the good movies come from Hollywood, how come a local movie cannot rise to the top of the pile. Well, I am here today to talk about some of these very things. There is a local video project underway, in the Boise, ID area, entitled “Skinny Love”. It is a short film that tells the story of man named Charles, who has convinced himself that the only way to escape his heartache following a failed relationship, is by abandoning his current life for a new city. Our story takes place on the eve of Charles’s departure as he makes one final attempt to win back the woman he loves before leaving for good. It has been written by Trevor Alexander and will be directed by the same. I am privileged to be a part of the process as well, and it has been exciting to see the project take shape. You can check out this video below to get just a sample of Trevor’s creative talent.
So, back to the thoughts of movies. If you were one who has wondered if it was possible to be part of making a movie, or even just helping one take place, this is your chance. Not only to see a local film grow, but to actually be a part and contribute to its success. So yes that does mean that we are asking for your support, but the awesome part about it is that it is so easy to do, and every little bit helps. So here’s the “Skinny”. If you would like to contribute financially, please check out our Kickstarter campaign, where you can find out more about all aspects of the film, the people involved, as well as the process of gifting money to the project. You can give whatever amount you desire. There are however, incentives involved. Such as a full copy of the finished film, or original artwork etc, for the different amounts given. Again all of the info is on the Kickstarter page to read more. How it works is we have 60 days to raise $1500. If we reach our goal then the money goes to the film, but if the goal is not met then we get none of it. So please consider helping us out in this endeavor to create a local film that we plan to take to film festivals and represent Idaho, and the creative atmosphere that it holds so close. You can also find us on Facebook as well, at http://www.facebook.com/skinnylovethemovie
Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and I will be keeping you all updated as things progress.
The rain falls, but with an icy chill forming rather than a refreshing. The air hangs in tension, with signs of snow on every corner. Mountain tops putting on winter caps of crystallized h2o. The wind packs a stronger punch, with temperature dropping force that cuts deeply. Birds are becoming scarce, heading for lower 48 vacation homes. Bears begin to think about dens with a view. Winter time is rapidly approaching in Alaska. It is different though, because it is the first time in 8 years that I have not been in Alaska for this changing of seasons. It is unfortunate, because the fall transition is so vibrant and colorful in the Last Frontier. However, in exchange for the lack of Alaska time, I have been able to see the transition in Idaho for the first time in 8 years, and spend it with family and friends. So it’s a trade off. But being absent does not keep my mind from wandering back to the vast mountain ranges and valleys, screaming of adventure. Watching The Art of FLIGHT conjured up the imagination of riding effortlessly down the mountain faces chased by cascading avalanches. A good friend in Port Alsworth actually started a helicopter operation, and is making the dream more like reality. But all that being said, I am apart from the North Land, and have to rely upon my mind and local adventure. Although the latter has not failed me, and its kept the tempo upbeat and adventure flowing, so I am thankful.
So since I have been thinking about changing seasons and Alaska, I began to think of how I could apply these thoughts to my current situation besides just day dreams. What came up is the correlation between the mountains and daily life. I am in the process of setting new goals for this transition season in my life, and there are many mountains involved. But I have been learning many things during the process. We go through our days, sometimes in a valley, sometimes on the top of a mountain. But during that time, what is our mind on? Are we thinking only about where we are currently, or are we thinking about where we could be. What is the reason we are in the valley, if that is the case. Many times our view is obstructed by things around us, and keeps us stuck where we are because we cannot see past it. But rather than being stuck only looking at the situation, we should be looking at the end goal, to get a vision of where we really want and should be. We must rise above the tops of the mountains around us, even if just for a moment to see the goal and know that it is possible to get there.
Our focus must then come back to the here and now, back to the ground. It’s a balance between keeping our sight on the goal, and also focusing on the process to get there. So then we need action, a game plan to get to the goal. So we have to ask, what is keeping us from getting there? Are there mountains in front of us? If so, is it a mountain that can be moved? The Bible talks about having faith to move a mountain (Matthew 17:20). So if it’s an obstacle that is in you that has to change, or an opposition, then you can have faith to believe that it will move. However, some mountains are in front of us that must be climbed. It may take a long time but if you have scaled a mountain, no matter how big, you know it takes time and effort but the result is a feeling hard to match. Afterward you are stronger and energized to continue. You may have to go back down the other side again only to climb another one, but it is the process me must follow. Our lives are full of changes in elevation, and surroundings, but we do it to reach the goal in the end. If you don’t have an end goal, then its simple, make some. You will never know how you are doing, or if you have grown, if you don’t have goals to accomplish and complete. Then have a plan to accomplish them that you can handle. But when it gets hard to continue, or the mountain seems too tall, get your view above the tops of the mountains, to see the goal again. Although you can’t skip the process to get there, it will remind you that the goal is still there, and give you a vision to accomplish it.
On September 7th 2011, the world of snowboarding films changed. It was on that date that The Art of FLIGHT with Travis Rice, premiered in New York City. Now don’t get me wrong, Warren Miller has been making some amazing films for many years, and there has been plenty of videos out there featuring top riders and world class locations. However, this film has taken the industry to a whole new level with state-of-the-art cinematography, incredible tricks and amazing locations around the world.
The film was done by Brain Farm Digital Cinema which a turn-key boutique production house specializing in producing the highest end HD digital cinema. The director, Curt Morgan, in an interview with Photo Cine News, says, “Brain Farm is a place where people put their heads together to make a difference in the world of film-making.” They also used the Cineflex V14 (A gyro stabilized camera), The Phantom HD Gold camera system (which captures 1080p HD footage at high-speed and it can capture frame rates up to 1,052 frames per second). They also used the Arri 235 35mm film camera, the Red Epic, Sony F3, Canon 7d, GoPro and Panasonic Varicam 3700. The film was sponsored and funded by Quicksilver and Red Bull Media House, which has been responsible for pushing the limits in Extreme Adventure.
This film changed the way I see snowboarding, and combined not only amazing talent on the slopes, but breathtaking locations and incredible Cinematography. I encourage you to watch the following trailer, and also check out the SD and HD versions of the film available for download on iTunes or from their website. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Recently there has been a unique mystery occurring in East Boise, which is leaving experts scratching their heads as to what is causing several houses on Minuteman Way to have flooded yards and crawlspaces. Well, Doug Ness, Owner and founder of Ness LLC, sheds some light on this mystery in the following video.
Doug Ness Owner and Founder of Ness LLC, talks about water problems in Northeast Boise.
“When resolving a water seepage issue, one must look at the history of the property and the visible historic evidence left by past water issues. Many times, what might seem to be an obvious source is typically only one part of a number of active sources of the water. Also, there are sources that change depending on the season. All of these variables must be taken into consideration in order to have an accurate assessment to design a solution”.
As soon as you are around something for a long period of time, you begin to get accustomed to it, and thus begin to lose the wonder and awe that you may have felt at the beginning. Well that is what I had begun to feel after living in Alaska for several years. Although my love for the state and my joy of spending time within it never left, the amazement that I had felt had somewhat left me, since my time spent had increased and it almost became commonplace, and I definitely took it for granted. But this last year was different. It was the first time in 8 years that I had been away from Alaska in the summer time, and in Idaho for the majority of the year. It was a brand new feeling, and it was hard, but only in some ways.
The benefits of Idaho outweighed the losses however. I got to spend a lot more time with my family. Did things with friends, and was involved at church. I got to do various summer outdoor adventures that I had not been involved in for so many years. Over all, it was almost like it was before Alaska. But not. You can never get Alaska out of your blood once you have been here, and I was no exception. I missed it a lot, and yearned to be back in the wilderness, away from all the busyness of city life and work. I actually wanted the simple life at times, even though in Alaska that involved a lot more work for water, electricity, food, transportation etc. But after spending so many years with that ingrained in my blood, it was hard to be away from it. So needless to say, when I was on my way back to Alaska, I was really excited. It took me a while though to get my mind off of Idaho, and switched to Alaska mode, but once we arrived in Anchorage with its crisp clean air, and long shopping lists, I was back in gear.
My stay in Anchorage was prolonged a bit longer due to the increasing amount of needed items, but it made for more time to get acquainted with some old and new friends, and also get some last city life things out of the way before heading to the bush. The real thrill officially arrived when I boarded that plane, and we took off heading for the mountains. It was a gorgeous day, not all that typical for Alaska, so I was extremely thankful for the blessing of good weather. The views were once again breathtaking. It felt like the first time, and like coming home, all mixed up into one great experience. We flew over the mountains filled with pure white snow, and enormous glaciers, that fed the numerous rivers and waterfalls so far below. The sun was nearly blinding us, but we did not care, it was the perfect day for entering the beauty of Lake Clark. After a quick stop in the village of Nondalton, we landed at Port Alsworth, and I stepped off the plane and soaked up the beauty and freshness all around and the familiar faces that I had missed so much.
I am now writing inside of our cabin, across the lake from Port Alsworth, in the fading light of long summer days, and realizing the correlation of my renewed experience in Alaska, and what should be taking place every day in my own life. Just as my vigor and amazement of my home in Alaska had almost faded into familiarity, I can see how I have allowed my love for God, and the amazing life he has blessed me with, begin to become commonplace, and no longer full of wonder and thankfulness. I have been given so much, and He has placed upon my shoulders such a big calling that I can never just take it for granted and go on living like its no big deal. Being saved from death, given eternal life with him, and a message that brings love and hope to broken hearts is such a privilege that I should never forget nor get used to. I need to go through every day, with a renewed passion and desire to serve God, love People, and be a light. Just as I am going to change my perspective on the natural things I have, I am going to start to see every new day as a fresh one, appreciating the small things, and love God as though it is the first time, and as though I am home, all mixed up into one. (Written this summer while in Alaska).
Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of shooting a wedding. But it wasn’t just any wedding, it was a wedding of a really good friend, which makes it so exciting. This video is of Eric and Alicia Lantzer’s wedding that took place in Puyallup Washington. It was shot with 3 cameras. The Canon 7D, The GoPro Hero, and the Canon hf10. I was aided by my brother (published model) Josiah Ness, and our great friend, Joel Foust. It was outdoors, on a sunny day, which does not happen often in that part of Washington, but we were blessed with great weather, and a beautiful wedding resulted. I hope you enjoy this video, as we get a glimpse at another Godly marriage, as two join hearts, as one.