On Flooded Earth Under the Desert Sky

What I suspected to be an uneventful weekend was quickly approaching, so my best friend, his girlfriend, and I decided that the weather seemed good enough to go on a short camping trip. I packed up a tent, my friend packed some food and drink, and we headed out into the desert.  We set up camp at a small clearing where we occasionally have bonfires.  By the time the tent was up and the fire started, darkness was already creeping in.  Off in the distance small flashes of light illuminated the surrounding mountains; the night was beautiful.

I walked to our car to look for the food and to my dismay I discovered that the "food and drink" meant Funyuns and Mike’s Hard Lemonade.  With an empty belly, a thirsty mouth, and a little bit of an attitude I stormed back to my friend; complaining did nothing to satisfy me.  I can’t remember what irritated me more, the fact that he thought Mike’s Hard Lemonade counted as a good beer or that he didn't have the mind to grab a few gallons of water.  I quickly let it go, deciding that there was nothing to be gained from griping.  I just laid on the back of the car to enjoy the night.

In the middle of nowhere, on the flat earth, the stars seemed to be just out of reach, the milky way seemed to be close enough to pet.  The weather seemed perfect, but that didn't last.  There was a nice, cool breeze, that in the course of 2 hours, turned into tent-unearthing gusts.  The lightning strikes that seemed all too distant where now loud and all around us.  Torrential rain flooded the earth and violently bombarded the tent.  I remember feeling waves of excitement and happiness, huddled in that tiny-two person tent with my favorite people.  The world around us seemed to be falling apart.  I have no idea how long it took us to make a break for the car, time seemed to be standing still.  We made it out with most of our stuff and got off the muddy roads before they completely flooded.  Within an hour we were camping on the floor of my friends bedroom with our hard lemonades.  That crazy night will forever be in my list of favorite memories.

By: Jonathan Terry

Tying the Perfect Fishing Line Knot

Some say line strength is the weakest link between man, and fish. Is it? In some cases I’d agree. But in all fairness, it’s probably a weak knot. Yes, frayed line, weak spots, backlashes, temperature changes, and storage methods all play a vital role in the longevity of the lines life, but think about the physics happening at the knot. It’s absolute chaos!

Choices in application should render a choice knot. A personal favorite based on ease, strength and general all around use is the Palomar knot. With it being simple to tie, and a strong bond between line, and lure/hook, this knot is one to trust.

An Albright knot is one where you need to join lines of different sizes and types together. This is perfect for Fluorocarbon to Braid where it gives you additional strength, and wont bind going thru the guides. An absolute must when fishing the Drop Shot.

For those that want to make a topwater lure come alive, a “Loop” style knot is a great choice. The loop lets the bait swing free of any direct tension, giving it more action at rest once worked. That one little difference can make a good day, a great day!

For an explanation, and video demonstrations of the above mentioned knots, as well numerous others, you can download the app Grog Knots.

By: Jason Baggett

8 Things Not to Bring on a Camping Trip with the Guys

So you and the "wolf pack" wan't to be mountaineers for the weekend?  You're stuffing your overnight pack probably wondering how you're going to fit everything in there and how you're going to survive carrying a 50 lb backpack through the woods.  Not to mention you're wondering if you're bringing anything that will give the guys leverage to crack on you throughout the whole trip.  With all that being said here's 8 things you can leave at home.

1. Extra Clothes
Prepare to wear the same clothes 2 to 3 days straight.  If you're just on a weekender all really need is an extra pair of boxers and maybe some swim trunks.  Extra shirts, jeans and shoes is unnecessary weight and your clean clothes will just get dirty again in a few hours.  Also remember, if you come home from camping NOT smelling like a foot, it wasn't really camping.

2. Books
Camping should be an escape from normal life activities.  Not only should you leave behind all of your electronics and gadgets, but please for the love of all that's holy, don't bring your Star Wars book collection.

3. Umbrella
Let the trees be your umbrella.  Umbrellas will be awkward to pack and carry around.

4. Guitars and Instruments
Even if you're a talented musician, don't bring your guitar expecting everyone to sit around the fire in silence as you play and sing for hours and hours. Chances are someone is going to hate all of your songs and wish you were dead.  There's also a good chance someone will burn your guitar after you fall asleep and just say it was dark out and they thought it was firewood.  (Jerry if you're reading this, sorry about your guitar)

5. Large Tents
Don't even think about bringing a large 8 man tent assuming everyone will want to snuggle up together like you did in 3rd grade.  Bring your own small tent or just sleep under the stars; let everyone fend for themselves.  Large tents are clunky and too heavy to carry around anyways.

6. Pillow
You can't hike through the woods with a giant pillow strapped to your back.  You'll just like the offspring of a Ninja Turtle and a Sheep.  Your backpack can double as a pillow.

7. Toiletries (Shampoo, Soap, Cologne) 
Unless you're going to be gone for a week or longer, leave all the bathroom supplies at home.  Chances are you won't actually be taking a shower and the allure of bathing in a creek will quickly diminish when you realize how freezing-cold the water is.  Bring a stick of deodorant and tooth brush and call it good.  You can clean up when you get back home.

8. Luna Bars
The tagline for Luna Bars is "The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women".  I'll admit they have some pretty tasty flavors, but you should stick with their more masculine version Clif Bar.  Last thing you want to do is be on the trails talking man talk when suddenly you whip out the ol "LemonZest."  Major fail!

By: Dave Darr

Transcendence while Hiking at Sabino Canyon

It was a relatively cool day in the middle of Autumn. My girlfriend and I decided that instead of spending the day worrying about the money we didn't have, we would go hiking up through Sabino Canyon and enjoy some fresh air. Things seemed relatively normal on the drive over there. I was feeling a bit irritated for no apparent reason and she was keeping to herself. Upon getting to the start of the trail I noticed that there were no cars parked, there were almost always a few. I let it go, and headed for the trail. A little ways into the dirt path, I found that all of the surrounding trees and leaves seemed to be perfect shades or orange and brown. It was lovely, almost the kind of serenity that one would expect to experience upon being sucked into one of Windows’ default wallpapers. I had a specific stopping point in mind, a little known path that lead to a tree I had noticed on a previous hike. One of it’s main branches hovered over, and eventually dipped into, some icy flowing water that tends to flow around that time of year. The walk there started out casual, and quickly turned to nirvanic. Each step away from the city seemed to be a step closer to peace. I can honestly say that I don’t recall seeing a single human soul out that day, just families of deer that halfway ignored our presence, and halfway avoided our presence. We quickly found ourselves at the tree, barefoot with our feet dangling from the branch, above the cold water. We watched family after family of deer walk by on the opposite side of the stream, casually foraging, until the dimming sky warned us that we had better start getting home. The next day I went to work as usual, but I carrying with me a lingering sense of peace that I hadn't felt in years, a letting go. Now, whenever I go out I look for that peace. I found it in the canyon, but I know I can find it anywhere, as look as I’m looking.


By: Jonathan Terry

California Camping in the Great Outdoors

When I think of camping, I think of beautiful clear blue skies, the hot summer sun, and the great outdoors. And, this has been the case in most of my camping experiences. They all start out on a warm day when the sun is shining and there is an excitement in the air.

My boyfriend and I decided to take a little road trip to an unknown place in California to go camping. At first everything was running smoothly, we went to the store and picked up a tent, got some propane tanks in order to cook on a mini stove we found, and picked up all the essential snacks and food. But, as we were getting to our destination, dark clouds started appearing and I started to get a little worried as I opened up the window and felt a small droplet of water hit my hand. I checked the weather report on my phone and it said storms were estimated for the area. We decided to go on anyhow with this mini-adventure. As we were driving, all I could think about was the approaching storm and the fact that our camping trip was going to turn into something that I had not planned for. Well, as luck would have it, it did start sprinkling, and then it started raining, hard! As we were driving through rough terrain in our old jeep, the car began to swerve from all of the water. I have to be honest, it was a little scary, but it was exhilarating as well. Driving to an unknown destination and getting rained on in the middle of nowhere, all tucked away in the comfort of our own car. Well, soon enough as the rain started, it ended with a halt. All of a sudden, there were clear blue skies as far as the eyes could see and I was struck with awe at how beautiful everything looked. As soon as the rain began to dry up, we got to our destination.

I was thinking how great our luck was when I suddenly spotted two bears right smack dab in the middle of the road. They were rather large and just stood there for a moment. I have never seen two bears at such a close proximity. As soon as I could register what was happening, they both ran off and that was that. I guess it goes to show you can never know what to expect while camping!

By: Monique 

Minimalist Camping in the Arizona Wilderness

I’m going to wander out into the wilderness with only a hammock, my clothes, and my best friend. I’m going to push my way into the wild like I had just seen Emile Hirsch do and I’m going to walk out the other side a man. I was confident of it. So, the first weekend after watching Into the Wild, I grabbed my hammock, my guitar, some canned soup, and I headed out. I was so brave, I didn't even bother to check the weather. I didn't even think that I might need a tarp to throw over my hammock or that I might need more warmth than what a twin sized blanket could provide.

The next three days of rain were wonderful. I huddled up against the fire whenever I could, I defecated in bushes, and on the third day I gave up and went down the mountain, stopping at the first all you can eat Chinese buffet I found. In my mind, I thought that those days would be spent in luxury, and that my caffeine addiction would take a break with no consequence. I’m slightly less naive now, but I’m still fantasizing about going trail hiking with only my hammock. I think next time I might try and be a little more prepared, maybe check the weather at least.

By: Jonathan Terry

10 Year Old Destroys 1,000 Fisherman in 2013 Edmonds Coho Derby

Photo by Sean P. Kelly
Imagine competing with nearly 1,000 outdoorsmen fishing in a pacific northwest salmon derby with hundreds of spectators watching, giving it everything you got to earn some local respect and some serious money, only to realize a 4th grader outpaced you before the day even got started.  That's exactly what happened this weekend at the Edmonds Coho Derby, part of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series.

On Saturday September 7th, Essix Kelley from Richmond Beach caught the winning salmon at 7am weighing in at 11lbs 8.16oz.  She won both the Kid's division and the Overall rankings.  Although it wasn't a record breaking catch, she definitely earned her merit badge for the day, as well as $5,000 cash (equivalent to $20 billion in kid years).  One could only wonder if she'll be spending her loot at the fishing store or toy store when she gets back home!

Hikers' Close Encounter With A Bison In Yellowstone National Park

While visiting Yellowstone National Park two hikers were mere feet away from a very large but care-free bison.  Although bison are one of the largest and wildest animals in America, they are relatively calm as long as you don't move a muscle, like what these hikers did.  Judging by their facial expressions, they had mixed feelings of excitement, humor, and sheer terror.

The 7 Falls of Death

During long Arizona summers I like to go with a few friends up to a sequence of waterfalls that always flow heavily when the monsoon season arrives. The area can be overly touristy at times, but without a doubt, it’s a nice hike and a breath of fresh air. One of my friends had done some scouting on Google Maps the day before and noticed what looked like a trail following a little path up the canyon where water would probably be flowing. To me, it seemed like a good way to get around the crowds and cut a few miles off of the hike. So naturally, I said it looked awesome. We eventually did reach the falls, but not exactly gracefully.

To start with my minimalist trail shoes completely ripped, leaving me barefoot for close to the entire hike. The Cody Lundin in me welcomed the changes happily, but I didn't even reach the halfway point before my punished feet deeply missed my flimsy shoes. Shortly after that we reached a small cliff diving spot, and after a bit of coaxing from my friends, I reluctantly tiptoes myself to the edge of the cliff, and very gently threw myself off. The day continued fairly smoothly until a naturally crafted slip-n-slide swept me away with the backpack holding not only our lunch, but our phones as well. Needless to say the phones didn't survive and we ate soggy sandwiches for lunch. Regardless of the way we turned a 4 hour hike into a 7 hour hike, the falls were great. There were lots of good people, lots of energy, and some nice cliff jumping.

P.S. We ended up taking the trail back.

By: Jonathan Terry

New Springfield, Missouri Office

Our Springfield, Missouri sales and web development arm is temporarily moving into a coworking office in downtown Springfield.  We will be working out of here as we develop a brand new web store that is slated to launch late this year.  The location is very convenient, sitting right next door to a coffee shop and across the street from countless restaurants.

Boating at Payette Lake

One of my favorite memories of Payette Lake in McCall, Idaho was when one of my uncles took me out on his boat. Nevertheless, the trip demonstrates just how fast the weather in Idaho can change in the summer. It started out as a beautiful, sunny day, but when the afternoon rolled around, it turned into a storm so intense we wondered whether we would make it back to shore.

My uncle took us out in his legendary pontoon boat which had enough room to hold all of us and has been part of our family memories for many years. We loaded up, and after getting ready, we set out onto gorgeous Payette Lake, one of the main attractions in McCall. The lake is an incredible blue set against the background of pristine mountains and delicious green pine trees. We took our time exploring the lake, and some of us tried our hand at fishing.

In the late afternoon, I took a look up at the sky and noticed something peculiar. White, puffy clouds were gathering in the sky. Thankfully, my uncle noticed it as well, and we decided that we needed to head to shore. As we headed back, great gusts of wind came up and huge waves formed on the lake. It took everything we could to get the boat back to the dock and onto the trailer. Thankfully, we had help as others around pitched in. It was a good reminder to never underestimate the power of Mother Nature.

By: Rebecca M.