August 29, 2016

Adventurers Need Basic Map Skills, Like Latitude and Longitude

By: Tom Malone

It may seem obvious, but map-reading skills can make (or break) even a well-planned adventure. Whether charting the distant from Point A to Point B, or showing someone where your latest adventure occurred, every traveler needs to refresh these skills.

  • Measures North and South
  • Runs East and West
  • Like the steps of a “Ladder”.
  • Lines of Latitude are called Parallels
  • The Equator marks 0 degrees
    • Everything North of the Equator measures North latitude degrees
    • Everything South of the Equator marks South latitude degrees.
  • Lines of latitude never intersect (cross-over)
  • Comes first when writing coordinates

  • Measures East and West
  • Runs North and South
  • “Long” lines
  • The Prime Meridian marks 0 degrees
    • Everything West of the Prime meridian (until 180 Degrees) measures West longitude degrees
    • Everything East of the Prime Meridian (until 180 Degrees) measures East longitude degrees
  • Lines of longitude do intersect (cross-over)
  • Comes second when writing coordinates

How to Find Absolute Location Using Latitude & Longitude
  • Start with a World Political Map
  • Locate starting point of Latitude (Equator - 0 Degrees)
  • Using given coordinates, move your finger in the direction of Latitude cardinal direction (EX: 30 Degrees North, move North of the Equator)
  • Stop when you reach the number of degree given (EX: Stop at 30 Degrees North)
  • Locate starting point of Longitude (Prime Meridian - 0 Degrees)
  • Using given coordinates, move your finger in the direction of Longitude cardinal direction (EX: 120 Degrees West, move West of the Prime Meridian)
  • Stop when you reach the number of degree given (EX: Stop at 120 Degrees West)
  • Plot the point or locate the city
Continue Reading »

August 26, 2016

Photo: Eastern Washington Prairie-and-Sky

Photo By: Tom Malone

The rolling hills of Eastern Washington provide a picturesque prairie-and-sky landscape for a roadside photographic opportunity. The vast grasslands provides incredible agricultural opportunities for the people that have historically occupied the Palouse.
Continue Reading »

August 25, 2016

10 Spots In Portland That Only Locals Know About

By: Tom Malone

Portland, Ore. is bursting at the seams with out-of-town tourists and incoming residents. When many people think of Portland, they think of new, trendy restaurants and hipster scenes of downtown Portlandia fame. Voodoo Donuts and Salt & Straw ice cream are all the rage these days.

But there’s another side of Portland that never makes travel news: the real Portland. The city’s shady history has provided native Portlanders with some of the coolest spots to eat, explore, and experience. So, what do true locals consider “Portland”?

Here are ten places to get you started on the path of a Portland local:

1. Huber’s Restaurant
Established in 1879, Huber’s boasts the title of “Portland’s Oldest Restaurant”. Odds are that the floor used to be lined with trapdoors that sent unsuspecting drunk loggers to their doom in the Shanghai Tunnels. Step back in time and order a Spanish Coffee; it’s a show that you’ll never forget.

2. Mount Tabor
Visit the park that sits on top of a volcano. Yes, Mount Tabor is a volcano within Portland city limits. Explore its extensive trail systems and appreciate the 360-degree views of Portland that the “hotspot” provides.

3. Original Hotcake House
Open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, this exceptionally delicious dive restaurant cooks up some of the best hash browns and chocolate milkshakes in the city. Visit this Southeast Portland legend and get your grease on.

4. Stanich’s
Since 1949, this sports bar has been a Northeast Portland staple. Every inch of the wooden walls are covered in team pennants: from the original San Francisco 49ers to the middle school basketball team down the road. This locals-only restaurant also happens to have the best burger in the city; it’s the only thing I’ve ever eaten on the menu.

5. Peninsula Park Rose Garden
“The City of Roses” didn’t just receive its name from the famous rose garden in Washington Park in the West Hills. Visit North Portland’s Peninsula Park Rose Garden and experience cultivated, natural beauty on the other side of town.

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry was the dream field trip for any elementary school kids (and teacher) in the Portland area. With its interactive science exhibits, tours of a real submarine, and a surround-vision theatre screen, OMSI is the place to learn.

7. Taste Tickler
This aptly-named sandwich shop is a true hole-in-the-wall restaurant (literally in the basement of a house) that only receives local attention. Every high school kid goes there for lunch to buy a 14-inch teriyaki chicken sub. My parents used to go there during work lunch hours. (Check the frequent customer wall for my photo.)

8. Oaks Amusement Park
Reminiscent of a scene from The Sandlot, this amusement park features the only upside-down roller coaster in the city. Its rollerskate area provides hours of fun, and the carnival food is simply classic. Point of advice: ride the Ferris Wheel before you eat.

9. Saturday Market
Sure, this downtown attraction may have appeared on a few lists that aim to “keep Portland weird”, but it’s a true Portland spot all the same. In terms of people-watching, it doesn’t get better. In terms of interesting crafts, this is the place to be. Travel to the Waterfront and enjoy the adventure.

10. Sauvie Island
Though it’s a fair drive to the edge of the city, Sauvie Island provides the ultimate spot for berry-picking, pumpkin-patching, and river-swimming. Travel to the Island to get your farm fix and interact with true locals from the Portland area while you gather your crops for dinner. Or, adventure there during a hot summer day and swim until dark, and then have a bonfire.

Portland has an incredible spread of old restaurants that survived through Prohibition. The city’s urban boundary regulations ensure the survival of urban nature centers. And, the city’s history as a hub for the unique guarantees that a traveler will find something interesting around every corner. So, go out and explore Portland like a local and let us know what you find!

*Photo by: Tom Malone
Continue Reading »

August 24, 2016

Learning to Dance Can Be an Adventure

By: Tom Malone

Next time you attend a wedding, notice the wallflowers, the people who view the two-hour dancing segment of the celebration through the lens of a middle school dance attendee. Don’t let that person be you.

Most people give poor excuses and you’ve heard them all: I can’t dance, or This isn’t my kind of music, or Everyone is better than me. Stop making excuses for your perceived lack of rhythm and learn how to dance.

Dancing, like any other athletic movement, takes practice. With the advent of YouTube tutorials, there’s no excuse for lack of dancing ability these days. Search dance moves on YouTube from all genres: country swing, hip-hop, ballroom. All you need is two dance moves from each major genre and you will at least appear to know how to dance from the wallflower’s perspective.

Once a wedding guest comments on your ability to swing dance (even though you only know two moves), you’ll begin to feel more confident in your dancing skills. Once your confidence in your dance floor ability rises slightly, you’ll be more inclined to learn another step or two, which will further increase your skill level and aptitude.

Plus, dancing is a social mechanism that shows people that you know how to have fun. People’s eyes gravitate toward the dance floor, so why not be that person that draws that type of positive attention?

You don’t have to take ten years of dance lessons in order to dance well enough. You just need a few minutes of practice, along with enough confidence to erase timid, athletic maneuvers. Give it a try!

*Photo By: Tom Malone
Continue Reading »

August 23, 2016

Panoramic View of the Cascades from Oregon's Elk Cove

Photo By: Grant Allen

We stop for a panoramic view of the Cascades on a hike around Mount Hood's Elk Cove area. The end of the summer provides clear blue skies in Mount Hood National Forest, which allows us to see dozens of still-snowcapped peaks as we look around. Then, as we dip below the timber line again, we return to the shade of the Oregon wilderness.
Continue Reading »

Our Favorite Backpacking Gear from Head to Toe (So Far)

Here at The Adventure Tribune, we bring only first-hand experiences to you, our loyal readers. We only bring up experiences that we’ve had personally. We only mention adventure gear that we’ve used on our own outdoor adventures. As members of the adventure community, we understand that our duty is to remain ethical and true to the spirit of adventure.

So, when we decided to discuss our favorite backpacking gear in this article, we wanted to make it clear to you, the reader, that we’ve personally tested every piece of gear that we’re about to discuss. No, we haven’t sample every outdoor company's gear for every situation because our adventures are entirely self-funded. But, we do have experience with different outdoor adventure gear companies.

So, here’s our personal, completely unbiased (okay, maybe a little biased) list of our favorite backpacking gear from head to toe:

Columbia Sportswear’s OutDry boots are incredible. Most backpackers will tell you that an adventure can be ruined with wet feet. Our boots that feature Columbia’s OutDry technology keep our feet 100 percent dry due to their waterproof capabilities. Plus, their lightweight composition gives our feet some breathing ability. Pair that with Columbia’s OmniGrip boot bottoms and you’ll have a hiking boot that you’ll never want to part with.

Though not usually considered an outdoor adventure company, Nike makes socks that are ideal for backpacking. Their durability and specially-placed foot padding is made specifically for basketball players, but the effect on the hiker’s foot is ideal.

When hiking in warmer weather, we came to to consensus that hiking shorts with a sweat-wicking material serves the best functionality. Check out Columbia Sportswear’s Omni-Wick section, or Prana’s Stretch Zion Shorts.

Again, Columbia Sportswear and Prana provide exceptional options for hiking pants. While Prana’s may look a little nicer, Columbia Sportswear’s Omni-Shield pants provide a layer of water resistance.

Baselayer shirts need sweat-wicking technology. We utilize either Nike DryFit, or Columbia Sportswear Omni-Wick shirts to provide the baselayer for most of our hikes and adventures.

Waterproof Layers
Inevitabley (especially in the Pacific Northwest), you’ll run into rain on a backpacking adventure. When we get hit with a spontaneous rainstorm, we trust our Columbia Sportswear Omni-Tech jackets to keep us 100-percent dry. The company also has a more expensive (and more durable) waterproof shell style under their Omni-Dry line.

Warm Layers
When it comes to thin, warm layers to heat you up on cold adventures, North Face produces some of the best upper-body gear. Though it can be costly, you can find discounted North Face warm layers here.

For sun-shielding hats, Columbia Sportswear’s PFG line produces some lightweight fishing hats that keep the sun off your face and neck. When it comes to cold-weather headgear, North Face makes some of the most lightweight-yet-warm skull caps.

The most important piece of gear for a backpacking adventure is...the backpack. We trust our Mountain Hardwear interior-framed backpacks to get us through our treks. Their product guarantees are extraordinary. Their pack come with comfortable padding and weight dispersion that we haven’t seen in any other packs.

Sleeping Bags
Mountain Hardwear also produces quality, lightweight sleeping bags for cold-weather treks. Though we’ve never personally tested Kelty’s backpacking sleeping bags, they seem to have the same high-quality reputation that we’ve experienced with Mountain Hardwear’s stuff.

Now, we come to our personal experience with Kelty. I’ve used a two-person, two-pound Kelty backpacking tent for most of my adventures and it’s worked exceptionally well. The rain cover keeps out all evening rain, while the structure sets up and breaks down conveniently.

Our team seemed split between two top-notch cookware brands: Stanley and Coleman. Stanley provides basic, sturdy-yet-lightweight pots that stand the test of time, while Coleman produces a wide variety of lightweight cookware styles to choose from. With either brand , you can’t go wrong.

On-trail snacks can make (or break) a backpacking adventure. We stick with Kind bars, Krave beef jerky, and any sort of dried fruit. Typically, we find brands with limited packaging so we don’t have to bog down our packs with garbage until we find a trash facility.

My Gerber knife has treated me well on my backpacking adventures, though a new Portland company called Burnside Knives is producing some really cool stuff that we have yet to actually try.

Fishing Gear
The Sato rod from Tenkara USA makes the perfect rod/line combo for backpacking. The rod extends to over 12 feet in length, but it condenses below two feet. Also, it fits in a secure-yet-lightweight case that keeps it protected in your back while limiting the amount of weight. The rod only requires one line and fly, so you don't need to carry copious amounts of fishing gear with you either.

Water Containers
Last, but certainly not least, we come to our water containers. Camelbak sets the standard for water bladders that we place into our Mountain Hardwear packs. For handle-held water bottles, we stick with a Klean Kanteen.

That concludes our list. Again, we haven’t had the luxury of trying every single piece of gear from every single outdoor adventure company. If you think we missed something, or you have experience with another piece of gear that we haven’t explored, please let us know! If you represent a gear company that wasn’t represented in this article, we would love to sample your gear and give you our honest experience with it.

*Photo By: Tom Malone
Continue Reading »

August 22, 2016

How to Have Pet Adventures without Enough Space for a Dog

By: Tom Malone

While it’s scientifically proven that owning a dog will increase your happiness and confidence in your ability to provide a positive lifestyle for another creature, many people don’t have a lifestyle that is conducive for dog ownership. Either they work 14-hour days, travel often, or live in a small area, some people’s lifestyles aren’t ideally set up for a dog. So, what do we do in this scenario? Selecting the correct pet for your lifestyle requires some analysis.

How often are you home? If you’re home each night by 5 p.m. and you remain at home most night until you leave for work in the morning, then you probably have a regular schedule that would allow you to feed a pet that needs food in both the morning and in the evening, like a cat.

How big are your living quarters? If you have a small apartment with no yard, you’ll think about a pet that doesn’t require a lot of exercise, like a turtle or a hedgehog.

How often do you travel? If you travel every other week for week-long business trips, you might think about not owning a pet at all; however, there are certain living things that you can take care of in order to provide yourself with confidence in your abilities to take care of something. Think plants. A cactus doesn’t require a lot of water, exercise, or space, so maybe that’s your best option.

In short, the purpose of owning a pet (or plant) lies with attaining the confidence that comes with caring for something that is totally dependent on you and your abilities. When you can do this successfully, you’re filled with optimism in your abilities and you feel a boost in confidence daily as caring for this creature becomes part of your daily routine.

*Photo By: Tom Malone
Continue Reading »

August 21, 2016

Hike 13,000 Feet to St. Mary’s Glacier in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains

By: Tom Malone

The Arrival

We drove an hour west of Denver. Our car chugged up the mountain pass from 5,280 feet above sea level to nearly 9,000. Just outside of Idaho Springs, we parked our car in a nearly empty lot full of jagged rocks. I checked the car’s temperature gauge: 45 degrees at 7:00 a.m., a 30-degree drop since we left the city.

Personally, I grabbed my small Columbia Sportswear hiking pack, filled it with my usual hiking gear, plus my Sato fly fishing rod from Tenkara USA.

We scanned the tree line in search of the trailhead. A green-and-white sign eventually caught our attention. Covered in stickers, the sign read “Glacier Hike”, with an arrow pointing into the woods.

The Lake

After climbing a boulder-ridden trail for less than a mile, we emerged from the forest and saw one of the most picturesque views I’ve ever seen. A pristine mountain lake nestled itself into the side of the Rocky Mountain cliffs. And, suspended in time above the lake, we saw the infamous St. Mary’s Glacier.

After stopping to absorb the early morning crispness that the lake scenery provided, we began to climb the trail toward the glacier. Once we reached the ice, the trail stopped and we realized that we needed to create our own trail if we wanted to summit the glacier and connect to the Continental Divide Trail above at 13,000 feet.

The Climb

I dug my Columbia Sportswear hiking boots into the icy surface, feeling confident that the Omni-Tech waterproof boot would keep my socks dry, and surefooted that the Omni-Grip tread would allow me to cross the ice safely.

After crossing the expanse of glacier, we came to the rocky edge of the ice and decided to blaze a trail alongside the glacier. We passed above the timberline and the wind began to kick up, but we carried on. Once we reached the top of the glacier, we realized that we still had over 1,000 feet to climb until we connected to the Continental Divide Trail.

At the top of the glacier, we encountered a man who had hiked up ahead of us. He strapped on his skis and we wished him luck as he cruised down the ice to get his winter sports fix in the heat of the summer. Only in Colorado.

The Summit

The landscape drastically shifted from distinctly Colorado to reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands. Boulders and expanses of grass filled our view.

We saw a tall collection of rocks at the top of the mountain, so we sat their and digested the 360-degree view of the Rocky Mountains. The panoramic view reminded us of an epic medieval battle scene from a movie.

We saw backpackers on a mission through that section of the Continental Divide Trail. We watched a Jeep rumble over boulders and across the vast expanse of backcountry mountain trails. As the sun continued to rise above the mountains, we decided to descend.

The Cove

After we slide down the glacier and descended on unstable, rocky terrain, we eventually made it back to the crystal-clear lake. I pulled my Tenkara USA rod from my pack, extended it, and tied my line onto the rod. The setup process took under one minute.

I stood on a rock on the shoreline and flicked my fly into the lake. I could see all the way to bottom of the multi-colored, natural glacier melt; unfortunately, I didn’t see any fish. But, I continued to cast for a while simply to enjoy the process of Tenkara fishing.

After no catch, I condensed the 12-foot rod into the 2-foot, lightweight, durable casing, and returned it to its place inside my hiking pack.

The Return

We descended the trail to the parking lot, which, by that time, was packed with adventurers. We navigated over the jagged rocks and cruised for 20 minutes until we reached Idaho Springs, where we sat at Smokin’ Yards BBQ and celebrated our adventure’s conclusion with some quality brisket.

*Photo By: Tom Malone
Continue Reading »