©istockphoto/nullplusSum­mer is just start­ing, which means most of us are ready to get back into an out­door rou­tine. Even for the “all sea­sons” out­door enthu­si­ast, this is still a time of tran­si­tion and jump­ing back into sum­mer activ­i­ties can be chal­leng­ing. So, if you’re ready to brush off the dust and hit the trail, here are a few tips.

Check Your Shoes
Run­ning shoes are gen­er­al­ly good for about 8 months of reg­u­lar wear. If you played hard last sum­mer your shoes may not be per­form­ing opti­mal­ly, in which case it’s prob­a­bly time for a new pair. For those pur­su­ing mul­ti­ple activ­i­ties, opt for a shoe that can take you wher­ev­er you go.

Bring Your Gear to Work
For nine to fivers espe­cial­ly, it’s easy to rush home to the couch and spend the evening loung­ing. To boost your chances of get­ting your after­noon out­door activ­i­ty in, pack a bag with what you’ll need and bring it with you to work so you can change and go right the trail­head or park.

Get a Partner
Chances are you’re not the only one look­ing to get back in the swing of things. Enlist a friend to team up and get back out. You’ll moti­vate each oth­er and the added pres­sure of mak­ing your work­out a social event, means you’re more like­ly to fol­low through.

Go In the Morning
While it might not be real­is­tic to forge out on a 10-mile morn­ing hike, it’s prob­a­bly pos­si­ble to get a short trail run in before break­fast. Take advan­tage of the ear­li­er day­light hours and get out­side first thing. While giv­ing up an extra 30 min­utes of shut-eye is no easy feat, you’ll thank your­self lat­er in the day when you’ve already got­ten out. The trick with ear­ly morn­ing activ­i­ty is to start before your brain knows what’s happening.

Play with Your Pup
If you spent the cold­er sea­sons hiber­nat­ing, your fur­ry friend prob­a­bly did too. Tak­ing your dog out for a hike or run is a sure way to get you both back into it. He will thank you—and prob­a­bly be less mis­chie­vous after a bout of out­door activity.

Pick a New Trail
Feel­ing burnt out on the same trails you roamed last year? Branch out a lit­tle and explore some­thing new. A new set­ting, a dif­fer­ent trail, or an unseen view might be just what you need to get back into your sum­mer rou­tine. Be sure to stay safe by choos­ing types of ter­rain you’re used to and let­ting some­one know where you’ll be. Once you’ve cov­ered that have at it and take the road less traveled.

Get Caf­feinat­ed
Feel­ing too tired to get out­side? Try down­ing a cup of cof­fee 30–60 min­utes before your activ­i­ty. Stud­ies show this amount of caf­feine boosts per­for­mance and it’ll like­ly help you muster the ener­gy to get start­ed. If you tend to engage in activ­i­ty in the evening opt for less caf­feine or none at all if you’re par­tic­u­lar­ly sen­si­tive as it can affect your sleep schedule.

Join a Run­ning Group
Often found on social net­works or via a sim­ple Google search, local run­ning groups are a great way to get out­side. The added ben­e­fit of orga­nized group runs means more rou­tine and more moti­va­tion to get out.

Explore a New Activity
Maybe this is the year you final­ly start kayak­ing, pick up moun­tain bik­ing, or try out­door rock climb­ing. What­ev­er your new activ­i­ty is, it’s sure to get you back into the out­doors and enjoy­ing your summer.

Make a Plan
Some might be rid­ing the guilt of all that “Net­flix and chill” this win­ter. If that sounds like you, don’t fret or let it bog you down. Make a plan to get start­ed and employ some of these oth­er tips. Write it out if you have to, but start by des­ig­nat­ing sev­er­al days a week as your days to get out. Before you know it, you’ll be hit­ting your sum­mer activ­i­ties like you nev­er stopped.

©istockphoto/bmvdwest

Look­ing for an adven­ture in the great wide some­where? Know what to do if you run into a bear? A moose? If you’ve not giv­en much thought to ani­mal encoun­ters beyond the usu­al sus­pects, you might want to read on. Turns out we share our wide open spaces with an array of pret­ty dead­ly crit­ters. Here’s how to make sure you’ll walk away with only pho­tos and good memories.

©istockphoto/bmvdwestBoom­slang
The King Cobra may rule the forests of India and South­east Asia, but the Boom­slang of Sub-Saha­ran Africa is by far the more attrac­tive species. These ven­omous snakes can reach lengths of up to around five feet, with every inch of its scales mes­mer­iz­ing in their col­oration; often a bright green with black or some­times blue pat­tern­ing, all the bet­ter to blend in with their arbo­re­al homes. Although these snakes fright­en eas­i­ly, their ven­om can be fatal to humans with­out treat­ment, so don’t try to harass or han­dle them.

http://media.eol.org/content/2015/01/05/13/38845_orig.jpgHood­ed Pitohui
This bird, a com­mon native of New Guinea, is renowned for its strik­ing black and orange plumage. Don’t let the feath­ers fool you, though. They’re cov­ered in batra­chotox­in (BTX), a dead­ly poi­son that stops all elec­tri­cal impuls­es in the ner­vous sys­tem (it’s the same stuff pro­duced by the infa­mous gold­en poi­son frogs in Colom­bia). Touch­ing this fine feath­ered crea­ture won’t kill you, although lick­ing one is def­i­nite­ly a bad idea.

©istockphoto/SubaqueosshutterbugBlue-Ringed Octo­pus
This teen­sy cephalo­pod might not have the infamy of its krak­en cousins, but a sin­gle, often pain­less bite makes up for its lack of bulk with a vengeance. Though able to fit in the palm of your hand, the blue-ringed octo­pus car­ries enough ven­om to kill twen­ty-six grown humans. The beau­ti­ful sap­phire blue rings for which it is named are a warn­ing that only the care­less fail to heed. If your vis­it to the Pacif­ic and Indi­an Oceans includes tide pools and coral reefs, keep your eyes open for this tiny, dead­ly denizen.

©istockphoto/ysGettyISCas­sowary
Because ostrich­es aren’t col­or­ful enough, Aus­tralia and New Guinea offer the cas­sowary, a beau­ti­ful flight­less bird with glossy black feath­ers along its body and an elec­tric blue head and neck. Though typ­i­cal­ly a shy bird who prefers the seclu­sion of its rain­for­est home, a pro­voked cas­sowary may charge and slash at its per­ceived offend­er with the five-inch claw on either foot. Provo­ca­tion in this case typ­i­cal­ly refers to a bird who has lost its fear of humans and expects food; in a study of a year of attacks, over three-quar­ters involved habit­u­at­ed birds who may have expect­ed or tried to snatch peo­ple food. Don’t feed the birds, kids.

©istockphoto/GreyCarnationSlow Loris
“Cute” is prob­a­bly a bet­ter descrip­tor for these tiny pri­mates from South­east Asia, but that only increas­es the rel­a­tive dan­ger of the slow loris. As a defen­sive mech­a­nism against pre­da­tion, the slow loris employs a tox­ic bite: a gland along its arms pro­duces a poi­so­nous secre­tion, which is acti­vat­ed by the loris’ sali­va. This same tox­ic com­bi­na­tion may also be spread along its fur dur­ing groom­ing. If you catch a glimpse of these guys in the wild, don’t pan­ic! Don’t touch them, don’t pick them up, don’t hand them tiny umbrel­las or try to tick­le them, and you should find it easy to avoid being bitten.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/Lonomia-obliqua-citsc-1.jpgAssas­sin Caterpillar
The name says it all, real­ly. The lar­val stage of the Giant Silk­worm Moth might look as fes­tive as a Christ­mas tree, but all of those bris­tles are deliv­ery sys­tems for a very potent ven­om. And while a sin­gle bris­tle isn’t a threat to a human, the prob­lem with these cater­pil­lars is that they’re often very suc­cess­ful­ly cam­ou­flaged away in their tree homes in Brazil. Com­bine their cam­ou­flage with their ten­den­cy to clus­ter in num­bers, and you’re unlike­ly to ever come into con­tact with a sin­gle bris­tle. The answer is to stay aware of your surroundings—oh, and check your shoes before you put them on.

©istockphoto/SilvrshootrAh, the shoul­der season…a time when the snow has sub­sided, sum­mer is around the cor­ner and every­thing is just a lit­tle too slushy for sol­id rip­ping or hard­core back­pack­ing. What to do with your­self, you might ask? Plen­ty. This mag­i­cal time of year is per­fect for try­ing out new adven­tures while you’re tran­si­tion­ing from your love of the pow­dered slopes to your pas­sion for the sheer ver­ti­cal or putting foot to earth.

Indoor Rock Climb­ing and Yoga
Whether you’re a hard­core climber or just in it for recre­ation­al pur­pos­es, indoor rock-climb­ing is sweep­ing the nation. Gyms are crop­ping up all over and often offer more than just climb­ing; some fea­ture yoga, cycling, and cross­fit class­es. Con­sid­er join­ing a gym this spring and cou­ple your climb­ing with yoga. In just a few months time, you’ll be more toned and ready to tack­le some out­door pursuits.

A Hot-Springs Road Trip
Nat­ur­al hot springs per­sist through­out the west and can be found in Col­orado, Ari­zona, New Mex­i­co, Ore­gon and Cal­i­for­nia amongst oth­er places. There’s noth­ing quite so peace­ful as sit­ting in a warm spring sur­round­ed by the rem­nants of snow dust­ing the sur­round­ing moun­tains and canyons.

Con­sid­er a road trip to Straw­ber­ry Hot Springs in Steam­boat Springs, Col­orado and make some leisure­ly turns at the resort while you’re at it.

Fat-Tire Bik­ing
For moun­tain bik­ing enthu­si­asts or out­door lovers look­ing for a new adven­ture, Fat-tire bik­ing is the new win­ter fron­tier. Con­sid­er a spring trip to breath­tak­ing Crest­ed Butte, and enjoy bik­ing on their numer­ous alpine trails.

Snow­shoe­ing
Hard­core ath­letes may guf­faw, but snow­shoe­ing can actu­al­ly pro­vide an excel­lent work­out and stun­ning views.  Plus, snow­shoe­ing typ­i­cal­ly requires less prepa­ra­tion than back­coun­try ski­ing. As the snow­pack melts, con­sid­er using Yak­trax to nav­i­gate icy conditions.

Wan­na up the ante a bit? Con­sid­er adding ankle weights if you’re train­ing your legs for moun­tain bik­ing and back­pack­ing season.

Aggres­sive Rest and Relaxation
No, seri­ous­ly. You’ve played hard all win­ter. Maybe you logged 100 plus days on skis, per­haps you enjoyed con­sid­er­able hours ice climb­ing or win­ter moun­taineer­ing was your jam this year. What­ev­er your pas­sions and pur­suits, a per­fect­ly respectable way to spend the shoul­der sea­son, per­haps even the most rec­om­mend­ed way, is in utter relax­ation mode.

This is the time to be gen­tle with your body. Get more sleep and par­tic­i­pate in some hatha yoga to realign and stretch out those tired ten­dons and muscles.

You’ve earned it. Shoul­der on.

 

In the Colum­bia Riv­er Gorge, there are trails that are hard­er than sev­er­al notable near­by moun­tains. And while these trails will kick you hard in the glutes, they’ll also make you feel like a queen or king of the moun­tains. The best part of tack­ling these trails? Besides out­ra­geous­ly fine views and a deep sense of sat­is­fac­tion, you get most of them to your­self. Make sure you car­ry the 10 essen­tials and take a bud­dy. Just con­sid­er mak­ing that bud­dy a human. Steep with plen­ty of expo­sure, these trails beg for dogs to be left at home or at the very least, always on a short leash. Here are 10 of our favorite Gorge hikes on the Ore­gon side of the Colum­bia River.

Mt Defi­ance
It starts easy with pret­ty creek and waterfalls—and quick­ly becomes a big, bad, steep butt-kick­er, eas­i­ly one of the hard­est hikes in the Gorge. Some say it’s hard­er than hik­ing to the sum­mit of Mt. Hood. At 11.3 miles round trip, out and back, with an ele­va­tion gain of 4,935 feet, it’s at least ide­al train­ing for the 11,250 ft. peak. Though it’s fair­ly straight­for­ward, get a map to nav­i­gate this one.

Trail­head: Take I‑84 from Port­land to exit 55 (Star­va­tion Creek State Park rest area).

North Lake
Inter­mit­tent­ly loose scree over hard dirt, with sev­er­al sec­tions of “death ledges,” the route to North Lake fol­lows the Wyeth Trail, march­ing from an old roadbed straight up to the Gorge’s rooftop. It cov­ers 3,800 feet in the first four miles before tem­porar­i­ly lev­el­ing out and then pro­ceed­ing up again. The total gain is 4,220 feet over 11.4 out-and-back miles through lush old growth. Go left at the Gor­ton Creek junc­tion on the Wyeth Trail #411. Switch­back after switch­back with a few long tra­vers­es inter­spersed, you’ll final­ly reach the junc­tion with the Wyeth-Green Point Ridge Trail. The trail descends a series of talus slopes before drop­ping into an old growth for­est. You’ll pass across a wet­land area and then up over Lind­sey Creek. Two tie-spur trails lead back from the North Lake Trail to the Wyeth Trail. Keep left and descend 500 feet before regain­ing the ele­va­tion as you approach North Lake.

Trail­head: East on I‑84, take Exit #55/Starvation Creek State Park and Rest Area (east­bound exit only).

Green Point Ridge
You’ll feel like you’re on a relent­less switch­back­ing stair­case as you ascend 3,840 feet in the first four miles of this 15-mile out and back trail. Pass North Lake where #411 (Wyeth Trail) joins #423 and take the trail south to ascend to the top of Green Point Ridge. Enjoy the view and reclaim your lungs before head­ing back down #418 for 2.8 miles to where it rejoins #411 for the last four miles. The trail is 15 miles with a total gain of 4,400 feet.

Trail­head: Take I‑84 to Exit #51/Wyeth to the camp­ground. Fol­low trail­head signs to the far back of the camp­ground to the park­ing lot.

Nesmith Point Trail
Turn around as you ascend this lung buster and you’ll see that you’re nev­er far from tow­er­ing views of the gorge—another rea­son why this trail should be called steep and steep­er. Start at the Elowah Falls trail­head, con­tin­ue with an easy pace past the junc­tion of the old Colum­bia Riv­er Gorge Trail #400 and fol­low the signs south to Nesmith Point on the Trail #428. From there, you’ll knock off almost 3,000 feet in 2.5 miles. Con­tin­ue on for anoth­er mile and a half to the junc­tion with Trail #425. After this junc­tion, you’re a short, lit­er­al crawl to the top of Nesmith Point and out­ra­geous views across the top of the Gorge’s rooftop. You’ll feel like a loaded bus in neu­tral with no brakes as you head back down a trail that gains 3,706 feet over 5.1 miles (10.2 round trip).

Trail­head: Take I‑84, exit #35/Ainsworth State Park.

Ruck­el Ridge Trail
This is the penul­ti­mate out­door Park­our chal­lenge: at times you’ll bear down on a near 35 per­cent grade, which includes root lad­ders, a nar­row, ele­vat­ed, moss-encrust­ed basalt spine called “The Cat­walk” that begs for sit­ting and scoot­ing on, with lots of expo­sure above Ruck­el Creek. After hit­ting the Ben­son Plateau, take Ruck­el Creek Trail (#405) down (6.5 miles). You’ll wend through a steep but gor­geous Doug Fir rain­for­est bor­dered by neon green rock walls and boul­der fields. The ridge trail scales 3,700 feet in 3.8 miles.

Trail­head: Begins at Eagle Creek Camp­ground, near exit 41 from I‑84, east of Portland.

Bell Creek Loop Trail
This lol­ly­pop loop starts at the Oneon­ta Trail­head, con­nect­ing with Gorge Trail #400 and final­ly Trail #424. Once on it, con­tin­ue past the junc­tion with Horse­tail Falls Trail (#438 at 0.8 miles in). Pass Triple Falls and cross sev­er­al side drainages before final­ly reach­ing the bridge over Oneon­ta Creek. Pass anoth­er bridge before leav­ing and turn north­east onto the Horse­tail Creek Trail (#425), and across the Oneon­ta Creek ford. After that, the grinder real­ly starts: switch­ing back about 20 times in 2.3 miles before mel­low­ing a bit and reach­ing the junc­tion with Bell Creek Trail (#459). Take #459 and cross the foot­bridge over Bell Creek and cruise (for about 1.4 miles) beneath a canopy of Doug fir canopy and along wet­lands anoth­er 1.4 miles to the junc­tion of Oneon­ta Trail (#424) again, bypass­ing a few oth­er junc­tions. This trail ascends 3,300 feet and clicks off a total of 14.5 miles.

Trail­head: From the west, trav­el east on I‑84 to Exit #28/Bridal Veil. Dri­ve east on the His­toric High­way for 5.1 miles to a small park­ing lot on the left/north side of the road, just before the Oneon­ta Gorge.

Tan­ner Ridge, Dublin Lake
It takes a map (look for the Tan­ner Butte trail­head) to find the trail­head. But once you fig­ure it out you’re on your way up, cov­er­ing 3,700 feet in 6.8 miles. At the Tan­ner Ridge/Butte Trail­head, fol­low Trail #401 for about 2.2 miles and up 1,500 feet to the junc­tion with the Wau­na Point Trail #401D. Go west right and con­tin­ue to Tan­ner Ridge. In about 2 miles you’ll arrive at a junc­tion with Trail #448, which descends back down toward Tan­ner Creek. Use it to com­plete a loop. Add the lake to your hike by con­tin­u­ing on to Trail #401 and the junc­tion for the beau­ti­ful lit­tle Dublin Lake, Trail #401B to add 4.2 miles to this hike.

Trail­head: East on I‑84, take Exit #40/Bonneville Dam.

Indi­an Point Loop
Basi­cal­ly, this trail fol­lows Gor­ton Creek Trail out and comes back on the Her­man Creek Trail (#406). Start up the Her­man Creek Trail; in a third of a mile con­nect to the Her­man Bridge Trail. Avoid spurs and stay on the main trail. In 1.2 miles, the trail reach­es Her­man Camp and the junc­tion with the Gorge Trail #400, which tracks north, while Gor­ton Creek Trail #408 tracks east and the Her­man Creek Trail tracks south­east on an old log­ging road. You want Gor­ton Creek Trail. It steadi­ly gains ele­va­tion, cross­ing a few small sea­son­al streams on a few switch­backs. At mile 3.8, you’ll meet the Ridge Cut­off Trail (#437). A short trail leads to the rock spire where you can take in views of Mounts St. Helens and Adams, Wind Moun­tain and Dog Moun­tain. After a breather, head back to the #437 and fol­low it 0.6 miles to the Nick Eaton Trail (#447). Descend north on the Nick Eaton Trail about 1/2 mile a view­point and con­tin­ue down the same trail to the junc­tion with the Her­man Creek Trail (#406). The loop is 8.3 miles total with 2,800 feet of ele­va­tion gain.

Trail­head: East on I‑84 to Exit #44/Cascade Locks. Fol­low signs to Her­man Creek Campground.

Mult­nom­ah Falls – Franklin Ridge Loop
Eas­i­ly the tamest of the bunch, it’s still a chal­lenge, espe­cial­ly because you’ll have to nav­i­gate crowds of peo­ple at the start at Mult­nom­ah Falls. Head up to the high­est view­point at Mult­nom­ah Falls and con­tin­ue on up to its feed­er, Mult­nom­ah Creek. Turn east at the Franklin Ridge junc­tion, and fol­low it up to the junc­tion with Oneon­ta Gorge. Descend to Oneon­ta Gorge and fol­low the creek past Triple Falls to the junc­tion with Gorge Trail #400, before head­ing back to Mult­nom­ah Falls. You won’t see many hori­zon views but you’ll have gained 2,660 over the 12-mile loop.

Trail­head: Mult­nom­ah Falls exit 28 to His­toric Colum­bia High­way 30 East to Mult­nom­ah Falls Lodge.

When pack­ing to go on an adven­ture, there’s always room for a good book, and what bet­ter genre to read by head­lamp around the camp­fire than an adven­ture mem­oir?  Here are 6 great reads you can’t leave at home.

book2Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacif­ic Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed
When Cheryl Strayed’s life spi­rals out of con­trol, the novice hik­er heads out on the walk of her life.

From the first pages of this trail mem­oir, the young woman who lost every­thing yearns to find it again walk­ing the Pacif­ic Crest Trail alone.

Although she is alone—and fac­ing obsta­cles such as weath­er, wild ani­mals, and her own inexperience—she is helped along by the encour­age­ment of oth­er hik­ers as she treks from the Mojave Desert through Cal­i­for­nia and Ore­gon to Wash­ing­ton. Dur­ing this per­son­al jour­ney, she man­ages to accom­plish some­thing many hik­ers nev­er imag­ine, as well as mend her bro­ken heart.

book4Trav­els with Charley by John Steinbeck
In 1960, at the age of 58, this beloved Amer­i­can writer set out on an adven­ture in a truck fit­ted with a camper he calls Roci­nante and a poo­dle named Charley. His goal was to reac­quaint him­self with his coun­try and the peo­ple he had been writ­ing about for 30 years. Along the way from New York to the Pacif­ic Coast, he sees the mis­treat­ment of the land and peo­ple of col­or, but also peo­ple in cer­tain cities who go out of their way to offer a help­ing hand. This adven­ture mem­oir reveals Steinbeck’s love for Amer­i­ca and its people.

book5127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston
In Aron Ralston’s adventure/survival mem­oir, the cocky 27-year-old goes it alone on a hike through a remote and nar­row Utah canyon where an 800-pound boul­der falls on him, crush­ing his right hand and pin­ning him against the wall in a canyon. While stuck, he rem­i­nisces about his oth­er climb­ing escapades, but also reflects on his mis­takes and his short­com­ings and real­izes that in order to save him­self, he will have to make a great sacrifice.

 

book3A Walk in the Woods: Redis­cov­er­ing Amer­i­ca on the Appalachi­an Trail by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson wants to redis­cov­er Amer­i­can after liv­ing in Eng­land for 20 years. This well-estab­lished trav­el writer is yearn­ing for anoth­er adven­ture, even though he is mid­dle-aged and out of shape. Find­ing some­one to accom­pa­ny him on his walk is no easy task, and in the end, an old friend who is even more out-of-shape both phys­i­cal­ly and men­tal­ly, tags along. The pair encounter some odd peo­ple, are amazed at the mis­treat­ment of the land and are angered by the bureau­crats in charge of the trail. This adven­ture mem­oir is fun­ny, touch­ing and infor­ma­tive and well worth bring­ing along in your pack.

book1Sev­en Years in Tibet by Hein­rich Harrer
While Har­rer is trav­el­ing in India, World War II breaks out and this Aus­tri­an moun­tain climber is arrest­ed by the British. After many attempts to escape, he finds him­self cross­ing the frozen Himalayas while out­run­ning the author­i­ties. Along the way, vil­lagers risk their own lives to help him reach Tibet, where he is tak­en in by the young Dalai Lama, who requests that he become his tutor. This thrilling adven­ture is still fresh and shines a light on the peo­ple of Tibet and their quest for freedom.

book6Almost Some­where: 28 Days on the John Muir Trail by Suzanne Roberts
Roberts is a recent col­lege grad­u­ate and is already bored with life when she takes a month-long hike on the John Muir trail with two girl­friends. As she chron­i­cles the bond she has with nature and the oth­er women, she finds her­self and rede­fines her friend­ships and her love of nature. This fun­ny and heart­felt mem­oir is about more than a 200-mile hike; it’s about life and the adven­tures that can be found on any trail.

CH3_2042

Curios­i­ty has dri­ven Aaron Koch to do some wild things…

It made him leave his Sin­ga­pore home­land and ven­ture to the frigid waters of the Ore­gon coast. It led him to sail a boat through pirate ter­ri­to­ry in the Celebes Sea. A boat that lat­er got struck by light­ning. But the great­est thing curios­i­ty guid­ed him to do was work on the cacao farms of Hawaii. There, Aaron dug his hands into the dirt and dis­cov­ered a life­long passion.

In the tiny tree­house he called home, an idea formed: a choco­late com­pa­ny that does jus­tice to the craft and spir­it of cacao farm­ing. That uses only pre­mi­um organ­ic cacao, sus­tain­ably sourced direct from the farm­ers. Tree­house for­goes unhealthy sub­sti­tutes in favor of sim­ple, nat­ur­al deli­cious­ness. We sat down to talk with Aaron about what choco­late means to him, why sus­tain­abil­i­ty is cru­cial, what his plans are for the future, and much more. When you’re done read­ing, check out Tree­house Choco­late here.

Why choco­late?

Cacao farm­ing led to a curios­i­ty in choco­late which led to choco­late mak­ing. I was vis­it­ing Port­land and nev­er left… In one morn­ing (3 days before I was sup­posed to fly back to Hawaii) I bought a small ship­ping con­tain­er, signed a lease on a ware­house to put it in, and rent­ed a room in a house 5 blocks away. I real­ly hit the ground run­ning and haven’t looked back.

Sus­tain­ably sourced ingre­di­ents and nat­ur­al prod­ucts seem to be inte­gral to your choco­late; can you talk about why that is?

My inter­est in organ­ic per­ma­cul­ture farm­ing is what land­ed me on a cacao farm ini­tial­ly, so every­thing I do comes from that foun­da­tion. First ques­tion is always, is it sus­tain­able, is it some­thing I believe in? If I scale it, will it make the world better?

Cacao is an under­sto­ry, which means it needs taller trees to shade it because it can’t take direct sun­light. With organ­ic, coop­er­a­tive grown cacao in North­ern Peru, they’re using the wild exist­ing rain­for­est to shade the cacao from the harsh sun­light. So by sup­port­ing these types of farm­ing prac­tices, we’re pre­serv­ing the rain­for­est as a default.

Where do you source your choco­late from?

We’re sourc­ing cacao from the Oro Verde Coop­er­a­tive in North­ern Peru. Peru has some of the best cacao and can pro­duce it with con­sis­tent quality.

Can you talk about the dif­fer­ent fla­vors Tree­house offers? What inspired them?

Each of the fla­vors were inspired from an adven­ture or an expe­ri­ence I’ve had. The Nec­tar uses a coconut milk and coconut sug­ar which was inspired by the time I spent the win­ter surf­ing in Bali and when the surf was flat for a few days I hopped on the motor­bike and rode to the east side of the island where it’s coconut trees as far as the hori­zon. I bumped into a coconut farmer while fill­ing up at a gas sta­tion and he offered to give me a tour of his coconut farm. We rode our motor­bikes to var­i­ous coconut farms around his region of the island and he even brought me to a secret moun­tain top moon­shine oper­a­tion! The road to that one was so steep that if we stopped our bikes we’d start slid­ing back down the dirt road. It was fun stuff!

The Cher­ry­wood uses a cher­ry wood smoked sea salt from the Ore­gon coast. For me that’s close to my heart because when I moved from Sin­ga­pore to Ore­gon at 18 I learned to surf here. I’ve swal­lowed my fair share of Ore­gon sea water over the years to the point where I feel it’s a big part of me. I was excit­ed to find an Ore­gon based salt mak­er just 5 blocks from my shop.

The Camp was inspired by want­i­ng a decent cup of cof­fee on my many adven­tures and nev­er find­ing one that was quite up to snuff. I decid­ed to cre­ate my dream hot morn­ing bev­er­age option. CAMP was born! It’s a mocha in a bag and it’s hon­est­ly bet­ter than you can get in most cof­fee shops.

The Orig­i­nal was the foun­da­tion con­cept… a thick rich drink­ing choco­late you can make with just hot water. Organ­ic, and direct­ly sourced from farmer owned coop­er­a­tives…. True to the roots of cacao farm­ing, which is what got me inter­est­ed in choco­late in the first place.

From start to fin­ish, can you speak towards the process of how this choco­late comes to live?

We pick an organ­ic farmer owned coop­er­a­tive, in this case we source from a region in North­ern Peru (Oro Verde). I work with my bud­dy Juan, (who lives in Port­land and grew up in that region of Peru) to source the beans by the ton. These beans are roast­ed and ground down into liq­uid choco­late for about 3 days, then poured into blocks. Those blocks are shaven down into a pow­der, and mixed with organ­ic cocoa pow­der, organ­ic skim milk pow­der, and oth­er deli­cious ingre­di­ents to form blends which you just add hot water to for an epic choco­late experience.

What were some of the hard­est things about start­ing this company?

Every­thing! Jok­ing… no, I’m not sure how to answer that one. I’d say it’s not for every­one, but if you real­ly love some­thing and think it should be brought to the world, then you’ve got to give it your every­thing or you’ll always regret not try­ing. I’d rather fail epi­cal­ly a hun­dred times than nev­er try to make my dreams come to life. It’s just a way of being for me.

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It says on your site you were raised in Sin­ga­pore, sailed around the Pacif­ic, and end­ed up farm­ing cacao beans in Hawaii, can you speak to how your adven­tures have got­ten you to this point?

Yup, I feel like I spent a large part of my life gath­er­ing sto­ries. Like opt­ing to take a 2 week sail­ing adven­ture to get from Sin­ga­pore to Bali instead of a 4 hour plane ride. That 2 week sail­ing trip turned into an epic adven­ture when we got struck by light­ning and lost all navigation/radio equip­ment in the heav­i­est pirat­ed waters of Indone­sia. Then when I got off the boat I found myself strand­ed amidst the chaos of some civ­il unrest on the island of Sulawe­si and spent 3 weeks liv­ing with a fam­i­ly in a lit­tle vil­lage wait­ing for the next fer­ry to arrive.

Expe­ri­ences like this can’t be bought or found with con­ve­nience… it’s a con­cept our grand­par­ents under­stood inher­ent­ly. My grand­pa used to describe the impor­tance of the devel­op­ment of char­ac­ter in the same sen­tence as he’d describe hard work or dis­com­fort. The cul­ti­va­tion of adven­ture requires us to put our­selves into uncom­fort­able cir­cum­stances and find out what we’re made of.

What on earth does that have to do with your ques­tion?… well, I guess all the adven­tures I’ve put myself through have led to this point, and every time I run into some­thing with Tree­house which seems near­ly impos­si­ble, I look back on all the seem­ing­ly impos­si­ble stuff I’ve made it through and think… this is total­ly doable.

Out of all the places you could have cho­sen to start this com­pa­ny, why the Pacif­ic Northwest?

I love it here! It’s where the city meets the coun­try in every sense of the con­cept. You can be in the most serene and remote envi­ron­ment with­in 1 hour of the city. The peo­ple are down to earth and see the val­ue in sim­plic­i­ty. Things like bike lanes are nor­mal here.

I just built a tiny house set­up and live on 1/3rd acre of land about 4 miles from my shop. It’s pret­ty sweet wak­ing up and feel­ing like I’m back in my lit­tle farm bun­ga­low on Kauai but being a few min­utes away from my choco­late fac­to­ry in the cen­ter of the city. After spend­ing most of my life trav­el­ing around remote islands and liv­ing on farms in Hawaii, Port­land is the biggest city I’d feel com­fort­able liv­ing in. It’s just right for me.

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What would you say your biggest achieve­ments have been since start­ing Tree­house, as a company?

Every day is huge for me! I wake up and say… “Let’s do this thing!” I’d say being inter­viewed by you guys and mak­ing it to this point right now is a pret­ty damn big achievement!

What advice would you give to a young per­son try­ing to start sim­i­lar business?

Make sure you love it and are doing it for the right rea­sons and either be pre­pared to fail epi­cal­ly or suc­ceed epi­cal­ly… try to avoid the in between stuff.

What’s the next step for Tree­house Chocolate?

We’re going to start work­ing with a Cana­di­an dis­trib­u­tor to cov­er Cana­da in Tree­house drink­ing choco­late. Also we just signed up for a booth at the New York City Fan­cy Food Show, so in June we’ll be launch­ing our prod­uct line on the east coast. That’s a pret­ty big move for us.

We’re also work­ing on some real­ly rad new stuff that I can’t tell you about but will be launch­ing ear­ly this sum­mer… it’s going to knock your socks off!

Buy Tree­house Choco­late Here

 

 

©istockphoto/warrengoldswain

Ah, the great out­doors. The breath­tak­ing vis­tas, the melo­di­ous bird­song, the rapid onset of inclement weath­er, the con­fus­ing or nonex­is­tent trail markers—wait, what?

If this feels a lit­tle too famil­iar to you, rest assured you’re not alone. Search and res­cue teams get called out hun­dreds of times a year for peo­ple who find them­selves in dire straits. But don’t let a few mishaps deter you from get­ting back into the wild. Think of mis­ad­ven­tures as expe­ri­ence points—each one helps you lev­el up into a more con­fi­dent and capa­ble explorer.

You Got Lost
Get­ting lost doesn’t hap­pen all at once. It’s incre­men­tal, one tiny wrong deci­sion after anoth­er. Take a look at where you went off the trail and see if you can spot the begin­ning of the chain. Maybe you got swept down­riv­er on a cross­ing that was sup­posed to be easy. Now you’ve got a bet­ter sense of your own abil­i­ties, and you know you need to learn tech­niques to bet­ter judge and safe­ly cross run­ning water. Maybe you mis­took a game trail for a peo­ple trail, or just flat-out went the wrong way.

On the plus side, now you know which trail you should have tak­en, and you can trans­late that into future hikes by know­ing to research ahead of time where par­tic­u­lar pit­falls of pathfind­ing may be. Brush up on your land nav­i­ga­tion skills by watch­ing some videos on using a map and com­pass, and get real­ly famil­iar with your GPS.

If you think poor deci­sion-mak­ing could have been a side effect of being hun­gry, tired, or dehy­drat­ed, that’s infor­ma­tion too! Next time, pack extra snacks, bring plen­ty of water and make sure you’re well-rest­ed before you get going.

You Got Hurt
Hope­ful­ly, it wasn’t much more than a twist­ed ankle, but let’s face it, there are some real­ly ugly ways to get injured out in Moth­er Nature. You’ve heard of the 127 Hours guy, right? He’s still alive and out there con­tin­u­ing to have great adven­tures! So you don’t have to let any­thing hold you back, you’ve just got to learn from it.

Start by tak­ing a look at your gear to see whether it meets your needs. Back and joint strain can be reduced by using a prop­er­ly-fit­ted pack and light­en­ing your load; good, stur­dy boots might save you a rolled ankle.

Go through your first aid kit, and learn how to cus­tomize it for the types of injuries or con­di­tions you’re most like­ly to see on your trip. And since a first aid kit is use­less if you don’t know how to use the stuff in it, con­sid­er tak­ing a course in wilder­ness first aid, or even CPR.

Think twice before hop­ping down from that boul­der; over­con­fi­dence is a lead­ing cause of injuries. And don’t be that guy. Also, always give some­one at home your itin­er­ary so they know when and where to send the search party.

Bad Weath­er
A lit­tle rain might make your trip mis­er­able, but a lot of rain—or any oth­er type of unex­pect­ed weath­er, be it extreme heat, a bliz­zard, or a big ole’ thun­der­storm with wind and light­ning and hail—can be a prob­lem. If you’ve been caught out or forced to seek shel­ter, you know there might not be much you could have done.

Here’s where this becomes expe­ri­ence: you know that even the peo­ple who get paid to get it right get it wrong, and on your next trip, you’ll be a lit­tle bet­ter pre­pared for inclement weather.

Pack some extra lay­ers of insu­la­tion if there’s a pos­si­bil­i­ty of pre­cip­i­ta­tion, which is always. Bring sun­screen and maybe even an umbrel­la for shade if it’s going to be warm and might get even hot­ter. Bring an emer­gency shel­ter of some kind, a space blan­ket or tarp or bivy sack, in case the safest answer is to hun­ker down and wait it out. Between now and your next trip, learn to read the sky for signs of oncom­ing weath­er so that you can get to shel­ter soon­er before the sky falls on you and con­sid­er pick­ing up a field ref­er­ence guide just in case.

©istockphoto/Joel CarilletSo you’ve been dream­ing of back­pack­ing through South­east Asia. When the Banana Pan­cake Trail beck­ons, how do you make your vision a reality?

Get­ting There
Flight is prob­a­bly your best bet, espe­cial­ly if you’re a solo adventurer—although there are options for trav­el by ship, these can be either cost­ly or unre­li­able. Look­ing up the best (largest) air­ports and the best (safest) air­lines in South­east Asia is a good place to begin your research.

Plug your cho­sen des­ti­na­tions into the Google Flights tool. This tool is the best! You can include near­by air­ports and look at prices for any date in the cal­en­dar drop­down. Look for rewards pro­grams offered through rep­utable sites like Expe­dia to snag the best deal possible.

Now that you’ve booked your flight, the dream just got real, and you need to tack­le the least glam­orous aspects of your trip. It’s logis­tics, but it’s imper­a­tive that you fig­ure these con­cerns out soon­er rather than later.

Visas
Visa poli­cies dif­fer by coun­try. Viet­nam requires a visa in hand before you can enter the coun­try, unless you are arriv­ing by air, in which case you can pre­arrange for a visa. Indone­sia offers 30-day visas on arrival for rough­ly $25.

Cam­bo­dia offers 30-day visas that you can pick up at a bor­der or an air­port, while Thai­land also offers a 30-day visa for those arriv­ing by air and a 15-day visa for those arriv­ing by land…but guess what…they’re free! Malaysia also offers free 90-day visas on arrival.

For longer visas and visas for oth­er South­east Asian coun­tries, this arti­cle cov­ers the var­i­ous oth­er require­ments. It also rec­om­mends pay­ing for any fee-based visas in West­ern cur­ren­cy to get a deal.

Vac­ci­na­tions
You should con­sid­er a vari­ety of vac­ci­na­tions when vis­it­ing South­east Asia. Some fall into the “you should just have these vac­ci­na­tions in your reg­u­lar life” cat­e­go­ry and some fall into the “you should have them for your trip” category.

Accord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol, you should already have your measles-mumps-rubel­la (MMR) vac­cine, diph­the­ria-tetanus-per­tus­sis vac­cine, vari­cel­la (chick­en­pox) vac­cine, polio vac­cine, and your year­ly flu shot. If you haven’t had these, get them.

For your trip, you might con­sid­er Hepati­tis A and Typhoid. If you’ll be vis­it­ing mul­ti­ple coun­tries, Hepati­tis B, Japan­ese Encephali­tis, Malar­ia, Rabies, and Yel­low Fever also fall under the list of pos­si­ble vac­ci­na­tions. Dis­cuss options with your doctor.

Learn the Language
The main artery of the Banana Pan­cake Trail is the Khao San Road, which winds through Bangkok. Know your basic Thai phras­es. As you ven­ture from Thai­land, most vis­i­tors can prob­a­bly get by with Viet­namese, Khmer (spo­ken in Cam­bo­dia) and Burmese. If you make it to China’s Yun­nan Province, brush up on your South­west­ern Mandarin.

Learn to say hel­lo, good-bye, par­don me, sor­ry, where is and how much. Short phras­es and ques­tions (spo­ken in your fal­ter­ing, clear­ly non-native accent) should make it obvi­ous that you want to con­nect on a mean­ing­ful level.

Guides, restau­rant own­ers, and shop­keep­ers who cater to tourists are a great resource for expand­ing your vocab­u­lary fur­ther. They fre­quent­ly speak some English.

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Nav­i­ga­tion and Transportation
Keep a map handy. If you man­gle the name of the city you wish to vis­it, just point to it on the page.

Trains routes are eas­i­er to make sense of than bus­es. Check all timeta­bles short­ly before you depart. You’ll real­ly get to know your fel­low thrill-seek­ers on these jour­neys, mak­ing them an ide­al time to com­pare trav­el notes and adjust your route.

If you just want to go from point A to point B, these inter­na­tion­al­ly rec­og­nized taxi ser­vices can be accessed from your phone.

For those moments when trans­porta­tion is more a mat­ter of expe­ri­enc­ing the sights and sounds of the region than about arriv­ing at a spe­cif­ic loca­tion at a giv­en time, your options will vary accord­ing to coun­try: slide on the back of a xe om motor­bike taxi in Viet­nam or catch a tuk tuk in Cambodia.

Putting It All Together
If the nec­es­sary plan­ning and poten­tial for cul­tur­al mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion seems over­whelm­ing, just remem­ber: we’ll nev­er under­stand each oth­er as glob­al cit­i­zens until we take the jour­ney. So get out there and explore!

©istockphoto/picturist

©istockphoto/picturist

As our Nation­al Parks cel­e­brate 100 years as “America’s Best Idea”, it’s time to plan for the future. The next hun­dred years will be dif­fer­ent. Since the Park Ser­vice was found­ed in 1916, the Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion has become more urban­ized and con­nect­ed, and our nat­ur­al sys­tems are feel­ing strains very dif­fer­ent then they did in the era of Woodrow Wil­son and Stephen Mather.

Dri­ving will be Passé
Zion Nation­al Park has become famous for it’s elec­tric shut­tle bus­es that whisk hik­ers to pop­u­lar hikes like the Nar­rows and Angels’ Land­ing. Replac­ing pri­vate cars with busses was a response to traf­fic and air qual­i­ty prob­lems more rem­i­nis­cent of the LA Basin than the Tem­ple of Sinawa­va. Even in the crowd­ed sea­son, the canyon is qui­et. Pri­vate vehi­cles have been banned from Denali Park for years. Look for more vehi­cle bans in pop­u­lar parks, and more Euro­pean-style tran­sit to day hike destinations.

Capi­tol Reef and Lake Clark, anyone?
With Zion, Yosemite, Aca­dia, Mount Rainier and Denali get the crowds and are head­ed toward inevitable sea­son­al lim­its near­by parks in the same areas will get more atten­tion. Lake Clark (Denali) Capi­tol Reef (Zion and Brice Canyon), North Cas­cades (Mount Rainier) will attract vis­i­tors seek­ing soli­tude. The Park Ser­vice will have lit­tle choice but to direct the over­flow to these light­ly vis­it­ed jewels.

©istockphoto/epicureanThe Wild Will Come Back
In response to crowds, the park ser­vice will inten­tion­al­ly leave some areas wild. Areas where human vis­i­ta­tion is lim­it­ed and man­age­ment is lim­it­ed to some occa­sion­al  clear­ing is already the norm in the Grand Canyon’s inner sec­tion, Denali, North Cas­cades, and parts of Glac­i­er, and most parks in Alas­ka. To pre­serve both soli­tude and ecol­o­gy, the Park Ser­vice will inten­tion­al­ly lim­it access to these zones.

Most of Us Are City Slick­ers Now
One of the major changes in Amer­i­ca since 1916 is the pop­u­la­tion shift to urban areas. By per­cent­age of pop­u­la­tion, the Amer­i­can west is now the most urban­ized region in the world. With the excep­tion of Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Great Smoky Moun­tains, and Mount Rainier, most parks are far­ther away from where peo­ple live. Peo­ple only pro­tect what they love, and they only love what they know. The next 100 years will see efforts to famil­iar­ize urban kids with parks: youth pro­grams, trans­porta­tion from cities, and micro-parks and mon­u­ments near cities.

Fire On the Mountain
The grow­ing inten­si­ty of wild­fire in our parks and forests are the result of a half-cen­tu­ry of fire sup­pres­sion and cli­mate change. In the next cen­tu­ry Park man­agers will work hard to undo the accu­mu­lat­ed fuel of past man­age­ment: let-it-burn poli­cies, con­trolled burns, thin­ning, and pro­vid­ing high-ele­va­tion refuges for dis­placed species.

©istockphoto/kwiktorThe Cost Conundrum
In the 20th cen­tu­ry, nation­al parks became the great equal­iz­er: a way that Amer­i­cans could embrace their nat­ur­al her­itage via rel­a­tive­ly cheap camp­ing. Horace Albright, the first Park Ser­vice direc­tor, saw park camp­grounds as a place where Amer­i­cans from all over the coun­try, all walks of life and income lev­els, could mix. In recent years, camp­ing costs have risen. And the park main­te­nance face mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar main­te­nance back­logs: use and wear and tear have grown while fund­ing has stag­nat­ed or shrunk. In the next 100 years we’ll wres­tle with the dilem­ma of how to keep parks main­tained and affordable.

Liv­ing Laboratories
We’ll see the Park ser­vice up its game in the use of parks as liv­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries for study­ing the ecol­o­gy and the effects of cli­mate change, cur­rent­ly under­way in Yel­low­stone. There will also be more stud­ies of the move­ment of species, and the inter­ac­tion between nat­ur­al sys­tems and grow­ing human use. We’ll see a grow­ing army of ecol­o­gists along with recre­ation man­agers, espe­cial­ly as fund­ing gaps nar­row. More vis­i­tors will be involved in sci­ence, along with hav­ing fun.

Let’s hear it for the next hun­dred years.

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In today’s ultra-tech­no­log­i­cal soci­ety, it’s become chal­leng­ing to raise fam­i­lies who feel con­nect­ed to the out­doors. In response, film­mak­ers Aly Nick­las and Alisa Geis­er have cre­at­ed a project called Born Wild, a mul­ti-faceted endeav­or which aims not only to inspire, but to empow­er fam­i­lies to grow out­side. Through a series of films and an online hub for con­nect­ing out­door fam­i­lies, Born Wild, a project that was fund­ed suc­cess­ful­ly through Kick­starter, aims to inspire imag­i­na­tion in urban set­tings, explore how fam­i­lies pass on an out­door her­itage over gen­er­a­tions and demon­strate how rais­ing kids con­nect­ed with their innate wild­ness leads to hap­pi­er and health­i­er lives. I sat down with Aly, one of the direc­tors, pro­duc­ers and co-founders of the project, to talk about the chal­lenges of rais­ing an out­door fam­i­ly, and how Born Wild will pro­vide the knowl­edge and the tools to make it easier.

THE CLYMB: Let’s start at the begin­ning of the project. What was the inspi­ra­tion for the Born Wild project and how did you get started?

ALY NICKLAS: It came togeth­er pret­ty organ­i­cal­ly. Shan­non, Brooke, and I met last sum­mer on a back­pack­ing trip, and they asked me to shoot some pho­tos for an arti­cle they want­ed to write about par­ent­ing in the out­doors, and my first reac­tion was, “this would be an amaz­ing short film!” It just took off from there—it very quick­ly became this much larg­er thing where we real­ized there was a need for this type of con­tent and inspi­ra­tion. We’ve real­ly let the project lead itself. It was going to be one short film and that was it, but it’s grown expo­nen­tial­ly since then.

The Clymb: Tell me about the three films. How do they dif­fer from each oth­er and what themes did you want to con­vey in each?

AN: The first film in the series is about these three moms, and we’re struc­tur­ing it as an intro­duc­tion to this lifestyle. We want to present pre­scrip­tive infor­ma­tion like how par­ents make it hap­pen despite the chal­lenges, and explore the ben­e­fit to kids and par­ents of spend­ing time outside—it con­nects us as fam­i­lies as well as con­nect­ing us with the plan­et. Con­ser­va­tion is a big part of our message.

The sec­ond film in the series, which we are film­ing in August, is called “Wild Inher­i­tance”. We’re going back­pack­ing with three gen­er­a­tions of one fam­i­ly into the Wind Riv­er Range in Wyoming. It’s about the lega­cy we leave our kids and what that impact is on a fam­i­ly from one gen­er­a­tion to the next. We have Grand­ma Jan and her five kids and numer­ous grand­chil­dren— her chil­dren are rais­ing their kids in a sim­i­lar way that she raised hers. It’s cool to see what that long-term impact is. For a most of the grand­chil­dren it’ll the most time they’ve ever spent in nature, which is going to be real­ly inter­est­ing from a trans­for­ma­tion­al perspective.

The third film is focused on find­ing wild­ness is urban envi­ron­ments. Our ques­tion is “How do we find wild every­where?” and how do we cre­ate space for cre­ativ­i­ty and pos­si­bil­i­ty when sur­round­ed by city streets.

static1.squarespaceThe Clymb: What out­door expe­ri­ences did you have in your child­hood that shaped your phi­los­o­phy with the project?

AN: I grew up in Alas­ka, and my par­ents were very avid out­door peo­ple. My father was a huge ski­er and my moth­er was into swim­ming and canoe­ing, so we were fish­ing, camp­ing and back­coun­try ski­ing since I was born. I had a very free-range child­hood, and spent every spare moment out­side. When I was real­ly young we didn’t have a TV, and I had to be dragged inside at the end of the day. I spent a lot of time build­ing tree hous­es and get­ting lost in the woods. Reflect­ing back, my child­hood was pret­ty wild. I was giv­en a lot of room to let my imag­i­na­tion cre­ate what­ev­er worlds I want­ed to and it shaped who I am and what I care about in very tan­gi­ble ways. And now, as an adult, I still spend every minute I can out­side and have a deep desire to pro­tect our wild places, and I believe that’s very much because it’s how I was raised.

The Clymb: What was the spark moment where you want­ed to turn this into a film?

AN: I orig­i­nal­ly thought it would be some­thing short and sim­ple, but then we put it out in the world and it took off in a real­ly big way. It was clear that Born Wild could con­tribute towards this larg­er move­ment of recon­nect­ing kids with nature. I get mes­sages from peo­ple who’ve said fol­low­ing our project has real­ly empow­ered them to get out there with their kids and how won­der­ful it feels to be out­side. As a film­mak­er I’m com­mit­ted to telling sto­ries that can impact social change in a pos­i­tive way. This project is an amaz­ing amal­ga­ma­tion of so many things that I care deeply about: health, the human/nature con­nec­tion, con­ser­va­tion and our need to play, which shouldn’t be over­looked. I think as adults, we for­get that we need to play too. Get­ting out­side with our kids allows that to happen.

The Clymb: How do you think that moth­ers can best main­tain their own active out­door lifestyles after hav­ing children?

AN: The out­door lifestyle can be intim­i­dat­ing with­out kids let alone them into the mix, and some of the best advice I’ve heard was from Brooke Froelich, who appears in the film. She said, “If some­body is feel­ing stuck and feel­ing intim­i­dat­ed about where to start, I think the best way is to just go. To just put one foot in front of the oth­er. To make lit­tle goals that are attain­able and find easy trails and not big mileage and just keep on mak­ing those goals and keep on mov­ing for­ward. Before you know it, you’re on top of a big mountain.”

That can be a lot of things. You don’t have to go out and rock climb or sum­mit 14ers or any­thing that’s too much for you, but try incor­po­rat­ing it into your dai­ly life and mak­ing it a priority.

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The Clymb: What are some of the chal­lenges that out­door fam­i­lies face in today’s society?

AN: Mak­ing time for the outdoors—even if it’s going just to the park. Our cul­ture is very results-focused. That’s not a bad thing, but it can detract from our qual­i­ty of life. That’s the beau­ti­ful thing about spend­ing time out­doors: the ben­e­fits that come from that…you can’t quan­ti­fy them. There’s a soul part of us that is real­ly nour­ished by the out­doors and, as humans, we need that. Time gets in the way. But if you’re spend­ing your whole life try­ing to check box­es off does it real­ly equate to liv­ing? How many skills can your kid have? How many class­es can they take? I believe that’s impor­tant too, but I also think there’s a lot to be said about not struc­tur­ing every minute of the day.

The Clymb: How do you feel that Born Wild might have an effect on fam­i­lies who don’t have close access to a nation­al park or wilder­ness area?

AN: That’s anoth­er huge bar­ri­er to the out­doors: loca­tion and mon­ey. Our objec­tive with the third film is to illus­trate the fact that we can find wild­ness every­where. As a kid, you don’t need to go to a nation­al park to inspire your imag­i­na­tion. If there’s an emp­ty lot next door with a bush, for exam­ple, you can turn that into a cas­tle. I think find­ing fam­i­lies that are mak­ing it hap­pen despite those challenges—showing them and lead­ing by example—will be inspi­ra­tional and help­ful for fam­i­lies who don’t have the same access as peo­ple in a more priv­i­leged position.

The Clymb: Beyond the films, what resources will you be offer­ing par­ents who want to pro­vide more out­door life for their children?

AN: We’re build­ing out an online mag­a­zine which will be a web­site of infor­ma­tion, how-to’s, phi­los­o­phy pieces, sto­ries, inter­views, short videos and gear reviews. We are cre­at­ing a hub for out­door par­ents. We want to have a map where, say you live in San Fran­cis­co, you can find com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions and sign up to do a group hike. Our goal is to break down some of the bar­ri­ers that get in the way as well as facil­i­tate fam­i­lies get­ting out­side and find­ing real con­nec­tions in the world. The films are just one piece of a much big­ger project.

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The Clymb: What’s been the most excit­ing part of the project and how is the project going to con­tin­ue after the films?

AN: The most excit­ing part of the project is hear­ing from these par­ents how Wild is empow­er­ing, influ­enc­ing and inspir­ing them to go out­side with their kids and real­iz­ing that they can do it. When we see oth­er peo­ple doing things, we think “maybe I can do that too.” Hav­ing a com­mu­ni­ty grow around the project has been so inspir­ing and gratifying.

Fol­low the Born Wild Project on Face­book and Insta­gram.