Showing posts with label Fishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fishing. Show all posts

Gear Closet: Voormi River Run Hoodie

There is a wonderful company based in Colorado that is quietly making some of the most exceptional gear that I have ever seen. Innovative, social conscious, and incredibly driven, Voormi isn't a name that a lot of people know in the outdoor industry just yet, but I promise you that will be hearing great things from them in the months and years ahead. That's because their products are well designed, feature amazing fabrics and technical breakthroughs, and are made by people who love the outdoors as much as we do. That passion for their work shows through in the clothes that they make, which perform amazing well.

I was fortunate enough to review Voormi's Drift Jacket for Gear Institute this past spring, and found it to be an amazing mid-layer. Warm, comfortable, very durable, and great looking, it set a new bar for the level of performance I expect out of my outdoor clothing. With that impression still fresh in my mind, I was also eager to try out their new River Run Hoodie as well, as it is a completely different piece of apparel from the Drift. I didn't come away disappointed, as this hoodie is now one of my most used articles of clothing, bringing a great deal of versatility to the table.

One of the things that separates Voormi from the competition is that the company uses a special blend of merino wool that is found on sheep living in the Rocky Mountains. That wool plays an instrumental role in some of Voormi's best products, and for good reason, namely it performs incredibly well in all kinds of weather conditions. When creating the River Run – and a line of other lightweight garments – the geniuses at Voormi developed a new type of fabric called Dual Surface UL. This incredibly thin material is incredibly lightweight, but still very durable, and retains the features that we've all come to know and love from merino. That is to say, it wicks away moisture, is highly breathable, wears well, and doesn't collect foul odors. In short, everything we want from our outdoor gear.

The River Run Hoodie puts this fabric to good use, making it a lightweight pullover when you want a layer of protection from the sun, or if you're simply looking to take the chill off when setting out on a crisp morning. Warm when you need it to be, but breathable enough to not be stifling, the hoodie is the perfect choice for use in a variety of activities. I've worn it hiking, biking, fly fishing, and paddling. It has also become my go-to layer for a morning at the dog park or running errands around town too.

With a relaxed-fit cut, the River Run makes a nice pull-over when you want a long sleeve outer layer that you can remove when things start to warm up. But, its incredibly soft fabrics are also comfortable enough to wear completely on their own on those days when you want to avoid to much UV radiation from the sun. It comes equipped with thumb holes to add a bit of warmth to your hands, and the oversized hood is useful when the wind picks up too.

Weighing in at just 6 ounces (180 grams), the hoodie is an excellent option for travelers too. I've taken this garment with me on several trips already, and it earns high marks for its lack of bulk and packability. In fact, I'd say that frequent travelers will have as much to gain by having the River Run in their closet as outdoor enthusiasts. It is just such a versatile piece of clothing that you'll likely discover new ways to use it on a regular basis.

If I had one criticism of the River Run Hoodie it is that I wish it had a pocket or two. It is completely lacking in this category, which is its only fault as far as I'm concerned. I would have liked to have had a pouch on the front for instance, which would be a good place to warm your hands on a cool morning, or stash a couple of small items that you want to keep close at hand. Other than this minor quibble however, I am completely in love with this pull-over. (Note: Voormi does make another hoodie – the Eleven.9 – which does have a front pocket, but isn't quite as lightweight.)

With fall upon us, warm days and cool nights are now the norm. If you're in need of a lightweight hoodie to add a bit of extra warmth without over-doing it, the River Run is a great option. Priced at $129 it is even a great bargain in my mind. Upon first inspection, you're likely to think that it too much to pay for a pull-over that is this light and thin. But after you've worn it a few times, Voormi will make a believer out of you too. This is a great garment to have in your closet, and I think you'll be very happy with how it performs.

Adventures in North Carolina: Fly Fishing the Western North Carolina Trail

This past weekend I had the chance to visit a part of the country I hadn't seen before. The good folks in Jackson County, North Carolina invited me to drop by to check out everything that the region has to offer in terms of outdoor activities. And while I was there for the better part of three days, it was quickly evident that it would take longer than that to experience everything there was to do there. As a result, even though my stay was brief, I'm already thinking about making a return trip to explore the area more fully.

During my travels this year I've been fortunate enough to get the chance to learn how to fly fish in a number of different places across the country. On the three or four occasions where I've been able to try the sport this year, I've come to discover that not only is it a lot of fun, it is incredibly calming too. There is nothing quite like being out on the water, casting your line, and finding yourself completely immersed in nature. So, when I saw that fly fishing was on the agenda I got pretty excited. I would later learn that I had plenty of reason to get excited, because Jackson County is one of the best spots to go fly fishing in the eastern U.S., if not the entire country.

As it turns out, Jackson County happens to be home to the very first fly fishing trail in the United States. The Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail was created a few years back, and remains a labor of love for those involved. It was created to spotlight some of the amazing places for anglers to ply their craft, and trail maps are available for anyone who is coming to visit. Those maps share 15 top spots that are found in the area, providing both locals and visitors with some fantastic options.

While I was there, we traveled out to Tuckaseigee River to see if we could catch anything. Rainbow, brook, and brown trout are all found in the waters in this part of North Carolina, and on the Tuckseigee the can often be found in large numbers.

It was a cool, crisp morning when we donned our waders and boots, grabbed our poles and shuffled out into the river. The sky overhead was clear blue, without a cloud in sight. And while the sun hadn't yet climbed high enough to top out over the surrounding ridge lines, it was clear that it would eventually be a warm day.

Our guide for the morning's activities was Alex Bell, a retired school teacher and principal turned fishing guide who has been instrumental in getting the Fly Fishing Trail off the ground. For Alex, the project is something he is passionate about, and he wanders to other parts of the country to share the story of why Jackson County is such a great place to fish. He is also the owner of AB Fly Fishing, which specializes in taking travelers out to the water and teaching them the tools of the trade. In fact, Alex mentioned that the majority of his customers are beginners to the sport, and that he very much enjoys introducing them to the nuances that go along with it.

Wading out into the river, we discovered that its water levels were down as a result of a summer drought in the area. Despite those conditions however, we could spot a number of other fly fishers in the water both up and down the stream, several of whom were routinely pulling in – and releasing – trout.

For anyone who hasn't fly-fished yet, it is tough to describe the experience. Learning to use just the right flies to lure in a fish, and experiencing the zen of the cast, is a lot of fun. There is a skill involved with this type of fishing that you don't find elsewhere, which is why it is such a passion for so many anglers.

It doesn't hurt that the best fly fishing usually takes place in extremely scenic places. Standing in a river, surrounded by trees lining the banks and towering mountains looming overhead can be a powerful experience indeed. It is a different way to connect with nature, but no less satisfying than say hiking a trail or climbing a mountain.

The scenery we found in Jackson County certainly helped to convey that feeling. Visiting in fall – even after peak leaf-season – was dramatic. The trees were still ablaze with bright oranges, reds, and yellows, and while the days were warm, the air felt crisp, letting us know that fall was truly lurking, and that winter is indeed coming. While we stood in the water, tall ridges cast long shadows over us, keeping the morning air cool for longer than it should have been. But, it made the conditions ripe for fishing, and we were eager to take advantage of the time we had out on the water.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to reel any fish in on that day, although some other members of my group managed to catch a couple of trout. That's the nature of fly fishing of course, as sometimes it is action packed, and other times it's tough to even get  bite. Learning exactly which flies work for the conditions you're fishing is crucial, and being willing to experiment can pay nice dividends. But just being out on the water is its own reward too. On that morning, standing in the Tuckaseigee, there was no place I'd rather have been, even though I didn't even get a nibble.

Before we knew it, our time on the river had come to and end. We had a busy schedule for the weekend, and only one morning set aside for fly fishing. That was barely enough to get a taste for what the Jackson County and the Fishing Trail have to offer, but it was also enough for me to know that I'd very much like to go back to hone my skills on those waters further.

It was also enough of a taste for me to confidently share with others that there is indeed great fly fishing to be had in the eastern U.S., and particularly in North Carolina. It is a spot that is more accessible to many travelers than booking a long trip out west, and the waters are well stocked with plenty of fish. Sure, places like Montana, Colorado, and Idaho receive a lot of accolades for their great fly fishing spots – and rightfully so – but Jackson County is a place that should not be overlooked, as it is right up there with the best of them in terms of setting, quality fishing spots, and numbers of fish.

If you're looking for new places to test your skills, or you want to fly fish for the first time, you need to have the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail on your radar. You certainly won't be disappointed.

Find out more about the trail by clicking here.

Outside Gives Us the 5 Best Deals in Outdoor Gear

In early October, Bass Pro Shops purchased Cabela's, essentially merging two of the biggest names in the outdoor industry. But, since these stores mainly focus on fishing and hunting – something that I rarely talk about on this blog – the news mostly went unnoticed by the climbing/mountain biking/trail running community, most of whom prefer to shop at a place like REI rather than one of these giant outlet stores. Now, Outside magazine is taking a look at what Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's has to offer, and providing readers with some tips on what they'll find there, as well as the best bargains to be had as well.

Amongst the tips that Outside has to offer are that these stores offer plenty of great gear for car campers in particular where when and size is not a major issue. They also say that both shops are great for purchasing rods and reels, but you're better served buying your flies elsewhere. Finally, they also recommend that you take your time when visiting Bass Pro Shops or Cabela's as these outlets are quite large and it takes awhile to sift through everything, particularly if you're looking for good deals.

Speaking of which, Outside also offers their picks for the best bargains to be found inside these stores as well. Those bargains include a 6-person tent from Bass Pro that costs just $100, a 3-pack of 200-lumen flashlights for $25, and a 20ºF sleeping bag from Coleman that is priced at $50. The magazine also recommends a $20 jug for bringing plenty of water to the campsite and a $13 compass from Brunton for navigating the way.

While not all of those items will necessarily come in handy for your next trip, they are a good reminder that Bass Pro Shop and Cabela's have some affordable gear that is useful in the outdoors no matter what activities you're taking part in. I'm not a hunter or much of a fisherman (I'm learning to fly fish and enjoy it though!) but I do like good gear that doesn't break the bank. I think we'll find that at one of these outlets, even if REI and similar stores cater more to our needs.

Colorado Adventures: Fly Fishing in Crested Butte

Earlier in the week I shared a post on my recent trip to Crested Butte, Colorado where I had an amazing time exploring the mountain biking trails there. If you read that piece, you already know that CB is considered one of the birth places of mountain biking, and as such there are plenty of trails to ride. In fact, there are more than 750 miles of trail, spread out over 150 different routes. That's enough to keep even the most dedicated rider busy for awhile.

But, Crested Butte isn't just a great mountain biking destination, as it has a lot to offer other visitors too. For instance, in the winter it has excellent skiing both at the Crested Butte Mountain Resort and backcountry options for the more adventurous. There is also plenty of great snowshoeing and nordic skiing too, if you prefer your winter adventures with a bit less adrenaline-fueled downhill action. During the warmer months, the hiking and trail running routes are spectacular, and the most of the mountain bike trails can be done on horseback too. This being Colorado, there also plenty of options for camping, climbing, and paddling as well, with even some good whitewater to run.

While I didn't have the chance to try each of those activities while I was in town, I did get the chance to do a little fly fishing. And while I'm mostly a beginner at that sport, I found it to be a relaxing, yet still engaging, way to explore the local culture.

For my fly-fishing experience we drove about 20 minutes outside of Crested Butte to reach the Three Rivers Resort, located in the small town of Almont. Three Rivers not only has a some wonderful rooms, cabins, and houses for visitors to rent, it also offers some active day-trips for those looking for some adventure. In addition to guiding rafting and kayaking excursions, travelers can also book stand-up paddleboard sessions, and skiing and snowboarding outings during the winter months. They also have a knowledgable and friendly staff in a well-stocked tackle shop for local and visiting anglers, as well a guide service that can get you out on the water and reeling in fish in no time.

We dropped by one morning to find out what fish were biting (trout and salmon it turns out!) and to hire one of the guides to take us out on the Taylor River. His name was Patrick, and he brought years of experience and excellent knowledge not only about the best places to fish in the area, but the different ways of setting up your pole to try to land a few big ones. As someone who has fly fished before, but is still relatively new to the sport, he proved to be an invaluable asset out on the water.

For those who have never fly fished, there is a bit of skill involved with learning to cast, letting your line drift, setting the hook, and bringing a fish to shore. All that can be picked up fairly quickly however, and after a brief refresher course, I soon found myself casting relatively efficiently. Patrick provided good tips on how and where to cast our lines, and he gave plenty of encouragement as we stood hip-deep in the refreshingly cool river.

It is often said that fly fishing is a bit of a zen-inducing activity, and after spending a couple of hours out on the water, I began to understand why. There is certainly a skill to getting the casting motion down, and the patience required to lure in a fish requires a sense of calm. Add in a dramatically beautiful back drop like the ones found in Gunnison County, and you have all the ingredients for a great day. Standing in the middle of that river, watching salmon swimming upstream around you, while learning to cast efficiently was an amazing experience, and even though we didn't end up landing any fish that day, it was still a terrific way to spend the morning.

That isn't to say we didn't have several bites. On more than one occasion our lures were stuck hard by a salmon or trout, and just like that we found ourselves with fight on our hands. On some occasions, the fish would leap clear out of the water in an effort to free themselves from the line, while others escaped just before we could get them into the net. Considering this was a catch-and-release stream, we didn't end up minding too much, and half the fun was just getting them to strike our lures in the first place.

One sure sign that you're having a great time on any outdoor adventure is when you look at your watch and are shocked to see how much time has passed. That was exactly the case during our fly fishing excursion. Before I knew it, several hours had gone by and it was time to move on to another activity. But, after even that brief time in the water, I think it's safe to say I'm hooked (ha!) and I'm already looking forward to my next opportunity to give it a go again. It will be tough to match the landscape I was immersed in while visiting Crested Butte though, as the surrounding mountains looming overhead were exactly what you'd expect for a fantastic fishing trip.

If you're headed to CB and you're looking to take a break from mountain biking or hiking, or you're simply looking to go fly fishing while you're in the area, the Three Rivers Resort will certainly do a great job of helping you land some fish. Even if you don't hire one of their guides to lead you out on the water, drop by their tackles shop to pick up any items you might need, and get some hints and tips on where to go and what is biting. They'll be more than happy to help you out. Check out the resorts website here.

After my all-too-brief fly-fishing experience, it was time to move on to more mountain biking. Obviously that was not something that I would object to, but the next time I visited Crested Butte, you can bet that fishing will be back on the agenda. If you're headed that direction, it should be on yours too.

On the Road Again: Headed to Crested Butte, Colorado

It has been a busy summer at The Adventure Blog headquarters. Since May, I've been on the road every week or two, visiting some truly spectacular destinations along the way. Since I was in Quebec a few weeks back, I've been fortunate enough to actually be home for a little more than two weeks. The longest stretch I've had in quite some time. That ends tomorrow, as I'll be heading out to Crested Butte, Colorado for a few days of fly fishing, mountain biking, and exploring this intriguing adventure destination in the Rocky Mountains.

As usual, that probably means no updates for the rest of the week. I will be back home late Sunday, and will resume posting updates again next Monday, so just a short break this time out. The following week I'll be off to Bryce Canyon for a short backpacking trip however, so my time at home will once again be brief. After that, there is just one more international escape on the agenda at the moment, followed hopefully by some pleasant time at home heading into the fall.

I'm sure I'll have lots of stories to share when I return from CB. I'm told the mountain biking is epic and I'm looking forward to seeing the place for myself. Until then, take advantage of the changing seasons and get outside and enjoy some adventures of your own. Now is a great time for camping, hiking, cycling, or whatever outdoor activity you enjoy doing. I'll be back before you know it.

Win a Huckberry Explorers Grant, Go on an Adventure of a Lifetime

Huckberry is a website that sells outdoor and adventure travel gear. It was founded back in 2011 by two friends who wanted to shift their careers away from the investment banking world into something that aligned more with their passions. Now, five years later, the company has grown nicely, with 50 employees helping customers find the right items for the next escape.

For the third year in a row, Huckberry is offering us the chance to win one of their Explorers Grants, which not only will provide the winners with plenty of gear, but a chance to go on an adventure of a lifetime.

To be considered for this great opportunities, all you have to do is choose from one of four amazing trips and enter the contest using your email address. You can increase your chances of being selected by sharing your choice on social media. Entries are being accepted through March 31, with ten finalists being selected completely at random. Those lucky folks will than be asked to write a 250-word essay on why they should be the one who receives the grant. The ultimate winners will be announced on April 21.

So exactly what adventures are they offering? Each is interesting in its own right. The options include traveling across British Columbia by motorcycle, fly fishing the Snake River in the Tetons, camping and surfing in California, and hiking through Olympic National Park in Washington.

The winners will be accompanied on their trip by a Huckberry ambassador who will serve as their guide, and a $2000 shopping spree no the website to get geared up for the trip. To find out more and place your entry, click here.

Good luck!

Video: Hooké Ungava - An Expedition to No Man's Land

It isn't often that I post about a fly fishing, but for this video I'll make an exception. It is a short trailer for a longer documentary that follows a group of four friends who travel to a remote region of Quebec and Labrador to go fishing for Atlantic salmon and northern char. What makes this such an exceptional film is the location for sure. The landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful, and seldom visited by outsiders. Just getting to their fishing spot was an adventure, but seeing the places where they dropped their lines is enough for me to want to watch the full documentary. This is a remote, isolated, and nearly uninhabited place where it seems adventure abounds around every corner. Simply beautiful.

Hooké Ungava : An Expedition to No Man’s Land from HOOKÉ on Vimeo.