One country crossed on foot, rainy England, and two more countries to go on my quest to the UN’s World Climate Treaty Summit in Copenhagen. We are on our third day in Holland, and have had gale-force winds and driving rain for almost 9 days now – I’ve grateful for my Patagonia clothing in this kind of weather. The good news is that my body has adapted to this weird walking thing, and I was feeling quite chipper today during our daily EPIC walk. Last week in Britain was brutal for me on so many levels – bad weather, no sleep, jet lag, work nightmares at home, sore feet, and an aching body that isn’t used to walking for 10 hours a day on FLAT ground for days upon days on end. Today I adjusted to this new sport, and my general ski mountaineering attitude kept me pumping while the others start to wither. I felt so incredibly peppy this afternoon, that I jogged the last three kilometers, HEAD skis and fully loaded Osprey Pack and all!! We have some incredibly hard days coming up from Holland to Belgium – tedious days on concrete and pavement bicycle paths that pound the feet to shreds. At the end of the day, I sometimes feel that someone is whacking each foot with a wooden paddle at a high velocity. For a strange reason, running feels better on the body than walking – less jarring and more use of mountain-girl muscles. I’m glad to have my KEEN running shoes and Smartwool socks propelling me comfortably forward! I yearn for a hill, let alone dream of how great it would feel to scale a mountain instead of these strikingly flat countries. We are now almost 135 miles into the journey. The team is holding up pretty well, all considered our different backgrounds and training. One ocean rower, one businesswoman, one mom, one student, and one skier! I am getting some fabulous press around the world and in the US regarding my SAVE OUR SNOW message. Even the United Nations is sending press releases out about my project. I’ve even been grouped with a country’s efforts – one US magazine title – “A freeskier and the Russians Work to Save our Snow”. Small steps really make a difference – both on this walk and for solutions to climate change. Just like one small step feels so insignificant, add them all up and you really have something – a quarter of a million steps will take us to Brussels, and all my personal small steps have halved my personal carbon footprint. Thanks again for the fabulous support along the way, and I’ve sent some fun photos of the journey for you below. Spread the good word of my recommended first step of CROP – calculate your current carbon footprint today, http://www.carbonfootprint.com. You can’t manage it, if you can’t measure it!!
The Osprey Brand Team, a group of ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country as well as reporting on adventures in their own neck of the woods, delivers the latest from new team member Aimee Cebulski who is on a 6-month world travel adventure. She’s taking an Osprey Sojourn 28 with her (from our new Travel Collection). She recently landed in Kenya…
In Swahili, Nairobi means “place of water.” This is an incredibly green city, full of lots of trees, flowers and open areas. Quite a change from the last month in the Middle East!
As a city, Nairobi is fairly spread out through various districts and rolling hills, with a small, compact (but congested) downtown center. This city has been growing exponentially over the past few years and car growth has far surpassed available roadway space, so traffic in the main center is a nightmare!
Luckily, we are staying about 2 km away from the center at an unusual place called Wildebeest Camp. It’s a large compound that consists of an old stone manor house converted in to an office, dining hall and some dorm rooms, and a collection of permanent tents all around the grounds. Our tent has electricity, a full bathroom and is completely enclosed and protected. Sleeping outdoors is a pretty awesome alternative to a hotel room.
There are challenges: Dismal water pressure, electricity that seems to come and go at will in Nairobi, no central heat…But, the bed is comfy and we are enjoying it!
We’ve been researching safaris and to be honest the choices are overwhelming. There are so many companies, choices for parks and lodges, etc. In the end, we ended up booking our trip with a local company here that was referred to me by an associate back home.
The company owner, Mau, has been a wonderful help, even acting as chauffer yesterday taking us sightseeing around town and to the post office so I could mail a package!
We settled on a 6-night safari starting Wednesday, leaving from Nairobi and then going to Masai Mara, Navisha National Park, Amboseli National Park and maybe Tsavo. We’ll then have our driver drop us in Mombasa (on the coast) for a few days R&R and maybe some more reef diving after 7 days in a 4X4 doing game drives every day!
Safaris can be an incredible budget breaker, so we did a ton of research to try and get the best possible mix while still making sure we were seeing what we wanted to see.
After exploring some smaller beach villages north and south of Mombasa, we will probably work our way down the coast and into Tanzania, heading to Zanzibar Island and then back into mainland Tanzania to visit Ngorongoro Crater and possibly one more game reserve. It depends on how many animals we get to see during or 6 night trip in Kenya.
Features of the Sojourn 28 wheeled convertible pack: Our StraightJacket™ compression system has always been well-suited to the rigors of travel. Add the High Road™ Chassis to the mix and you’ve got the Sojourn. For those who want to reduce the hoist component of their haul time it can’t be beat. When you do need to carry the Sojourn our superb zip-away suspension is on the ready. You’ll also find foam sidewalls for keeping the load secure, while handy mesh pockets, clothing straps and front panel daisy chains maintain your organization. Colors available: Earth, Charcoal, Pepper. Click here for more information – Sojourn Series.
For more information about Aimee, check out her bio page here.
We left Mark’s Tay at 8:30, 15 minutes late, which always worries me as we always just manage to jog to our next destination with barely a minute to spare before dark. The issue this morning was Jane’s feet, and I’m sure our camera team would have loved to film the drama, but they have popped off to NYC for a few days. Jane went into town and bought some more walking/running friendly shoes to replace her Wellington garden boots, which replaced her leather hiking boots. She is tough as nails and never complains, but when she said she was “fine” the night before, I got quite worried. I liquid bandaided her feet, then applied donuts of molefoam, and covered that all with athletic tape. My feet don’t have giant holes in them (Jane’s on the left), but rather doughy bubbles on the pinky toes (mine on right). I can certainly see why soldiers got trench foot and gangrene over here – as I have towels between my toes right now to help get the moisture out – this country is so damn wet! My KEEN shoes are rocking, and my Smartwool socks save my life……80 pouring rain miles is just not what the doctor ordered on anyone’s body.
The walk today was quite picturesque through fields of giant yellow sugar beet (photo on left), winter wheat, barley, rare breeds of heirloom cows and goats. I’m getting very attached to this strange system of public right of ways through everyone person’s house, lawn, farm, fields, pasture, lawn, driveway, church, graveyard, woods, etc. Trails are absolutely everywhere you look, and it now totally explains why Brit’s are such infamous “trampers”. I get such a feeling of connection to the land – what is grown here, what breeds of animals they raise and what the animals eat, and how folks live – since you literally walk on it and not view it from a distance. These historic paths are defended by hiking clubs, and supposedly one could start a war trying to change one, let alone try to move a path from going through your lawn, herd of animals or freshly plowed field. It really made me think of the difference of riding my bike through Pennsylvania Dutch (Amish Menonite country). While that was beautiful, we always went around private property, and many fields were signed with Genetically Modified Food (GMO) signs, which certainly robbed some of the charm for me. I really want a few of these long haired short legged goats. Someday…
Luckily there were many more rocks, all made of glossy flint, in the fields today, and much less rain, which made for better tramping. Instead of growing corn to feed cows here (which cows are allergic to, by the way, which causes them to grow E-Coli, get sick, die, and fart methane), they grow heaps of winter kale here, as well as hay. But really, all animals are pastured here – where they eat grass like they should eat, and the kale and hay are just supplements during winter. Even 10 minutes out of London, you will see fields full of crops – farming is a way of life here. Jane’s family are dairy farmers, so she is a wealth of knowledge, and she is full of history and architecture information as well. I couldn’t be on a better tour of England with a better guide. The sugar beet that she is looking at above on the left is sometimes the size of a soccer ball, and used to make sugar. The below left photo is my KEEN shoe Smartwool snowflake sock (Save our snow!) – surrounded by a winter kale. My shoes actually feel great, the long miles are just literally pounding the life out of them.
I learned that estates like this lovely one on the right were not divided up to the kids. The property went to the first son, and the second son to the rectory, and the third to the army, then nothing for the rest. This is why English estates are mostly still intact and gorgeous.
We are now about to eat – we are Sun Inn, in Dedham, in Essex. My first home, where I lived as a baby was in Dedham, Massachusetts, which is named after this town….. How cool. Mum, if you are reading this, you have to send me some info of our English ancestors, and say happy belated birthday to my still very English (accent and all) Uncle Earle, who turned 103 years old yesterday!
Interesting piece of historical history – in the late 17th Century, we think? There was a tax on windows. Only richer folks could afford more windows, so that was how folks were taxed – based on how many you had in your house. Therefore, many chose to reduce their taxes by bricking in their windows, which you can still see today (house on left above). I got a kick out of the house of the above right – call it how it is?? “shoulder of mutton”????
The Osprey Brand Team, a group of ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country as well as reporting on adventures in their own neck of the woods, was in attendance at last weekend’s Green Festival – a joint project of Global Exchange and Green America. Check out this full wrap-up from brand team members Miriam Karpilow and Sarah Trejo…
We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. Well, we suppose we could have, but it wouldn’t have done any good, since this November morning was nothing but blue skies and t-shirt temperatures. In fact, had the round-trip distance to San Francisco not looked something like 165 miles, we probably would have ridden our bikes to the GreenFestival!
Your two faithful Osprey Brand Team’ers had to park a good 10-minute walk away from the expo hall, so we had an opportunity to soak in the sun and general ambiance as we wove our way among the hippies, hipsters, green-pinstripes and enthusiastic student-types. It was so encouraging to see that we were not the only ones carrying our own bags and reusable water bottles! Upon arrival at the entrance we were greeted by the Ritter Sport remote-controlled truck that was rolling around and passing out little squares of chocolates. These are no regular chocolates; they’re German chocolates! Miriam being half-German and having grown up loving Ritter Sport, promptly flipped out and started grabbing the bright little packages. Additionally, Ritter Sport was there interviewing people for a chance to win a year supply of chocolate – check out Sarah with the mic!
We finally bought our tickets and walked in to the hall. It was overwhelming! SO MUCH TO SEE! The map was useless; we just started wandering. There were booths galore – organic, sustainably produced clothing; free-trade chocolate; kombucha (ewww); phases of the moon calendar; elephant poop greeting cards; bags of all sizes made from repurposed kite sails, billboards, tires and a bunch of other stuff. There were also all sorts of magazines being represented and we admittedly found it odd that there would be so much paper at a Green Festival. That didn’t stop us from picking up some great rags on vegetarian cooking (can’t wait to try some of those recipes!), yoga, responsible global politics and so on.
Eagle-Eye Sarah pointed out interesting people and stuff for Miriam to capture and upload to Twitter. Some of the highlights include the “Bag Man.” This was a dude who was walking around under about 500 plastic shopping bags (like you get at the grocery store), roughly the amount one consumer uses in a year. Seeing the sheer volume of plastic at once really puts things in perspective. People! Bring your own bags to the store! And if you can help it, why not use Earth-friendly bags made from organic or recycled materials (perhaps you can grab your Osprey ReSource backpack and pedal your bike to the store)?
We also spotted a gentleman Tweeting old-skool style: on a typewriter! He had a sign advertising poems… we asked him to write one for us. While he typed away, we observed a group of guys – probably high school students – looking on, completely agog. The look on their faces was something between “what the heck is that?” and “wow, that is pretty cool!” Isn’t it interesting that this little human-powered machine that was so revolutionary during our grandparents’ and parent’s generation, has so quickly become antiquated due to quick advancements in technology? This might have been the first time these boys had actually seen a real, live typewriter! Oh, and our poem was… weird.
Speaking of antiquated technologies, how about all that elephant dung, recycled, seed-infused paper! Miriam and Sarah, despite their recycling, composting, reusing tendencies, are two people who still love themselves a handwritten letter or note. Your gals bought some beautiful, plantable (as in: seeds IN the paper), recycled fiber paper for this very purpose. Hey – why don’t you pick up a pen and write a nice note to let someone and tell them how much you care about them, in writing?! Guaranteed, it’ll make their day!
Around lunch time, we plunked ourselves on the ground in the food section. Oh wow, so many yummy options! But we brought our own stuff AND our own utensils. Miriam being the Green person she is, always carries a supply of utensils (including chopsticks) and napkins in her glove box for exactly such moments. Ever notice how a jaunt to a (gasp) fast food place or sandwich shop or café always results in extra napkins and/or plastic sporks? Do you find yourself just tossing that stuff in the trash? Well again, we can thank Miriam’s responsible German side for collecting the goods for (re)use. And how cool is it that, at this GreenFestival, there were closely monitored bins for trash, recycle and compost? Wouldn’t it be cool if that were the norm?
After lunch, Sarah steered your faithful Osprey reps down the dessert aisle, where many amazing chocolates were sampled. When you learn more about the details of the chocolate industry, you will be happy to pay a premium for organic, free-trade chocolate.
We wandered around a bit more, all the while chatting people up about Osprey bags and handing out coupons for a cool promotion at local Lombardi Sports (buy an Osprey bag, get a steel water bottle for free!). That was, after all, one of the reasons were at the GreenFestival to begin with: to inform eco-conscious consumers that there are some pretty awesome eco-conscious and rugged bags available for all your carrying needs. The ReSource bags, folks. They rock!
Peace and sunshine to you from Northern California,
Miriam and Sarah
The Osprey Brand Team, a group of 10 ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country as well as reporting on adventures in their own neck of the woods, checks in with Erie, Colorado resident Joey Thompson. Joe is a ski patrol member at Boulder’s local hill Eldora and an AMGA Certified Rock Guide. Here he tests his early-season ice climbing skills…
My friends and I wear really psyched for ice climbing after all of the recent snow fall here in Boulder. We took a chance to scout out some early ice conditions. What I knew was that some areas are more likely to have ice that others. I was looking for cooler temps and shaded aspects with higher elevation for forming ice. Also considering the hike in and a recon misson, I thought that Lincolon Falls would be a great venue to check out. Little did we know what was to be in store.
The drive to the parking area was a great time to confirm there would be good ice. Once we saw the main gully in a mild blue hue I knew that there was potential for some climbing.
The 1st pitch was a little more wet on the right side with H2O rushing down the ice fall. Over all there was pretty deep ice. The ice fall took screws and swings.
The second pitch was a bit more interesting. With chandlers and steeper terrain I was paying closer attention to where my placements went. During early season one must try to tread lightly on this forming ice. Ice that is not ready to lead must really be avoided for later-in-the-season climbing.
We found great mixed top roping with out bashing the ice pack that was still forming.
Working together we were able to come up with a plan. As mountain guides we are trained to be conscious of the resources and lead by example.
When the early season has you pumped to climb remember to think about preservation and the future of the season for you and especially others.
Colorado Mountain School Mountain Guide
For more information about the Osprey Variant 37 please click here.
For more information please see Joey’s bio page here.
Osprey Ambassador Alison Gannett to walk London to Brussels with skis on her Osprey pack to raise awareness and support to SAVE OUR SNOW at the COP-15 talks in Denmark. In Copenhagen, she will be working with the United Nations and their Climate Heroes programs, working together to help ensure that almost 200 nations, including Obama and the US, can work together to create the next Kyoto treaty.
Alison Gannett is a World Champion Extreme Skier, Founder of The Save Our Snow Foundation, an award-winning global cooling consultant, and long time Osprey Fan and Ambassador. She was named “Ski Hero of the Year” by Ski Magazine in 2009, and Outside magazine named her “A Green All-Star”, next to Leonardo DiCaprio and Arnold Schwarzenegger. She travels the world documenting glacial recession on her crazy ski mountaineering expeditions. She also trains individuals, businesses and governments on her four-step, cost-saving, climate change solutions framework, including working to train Al Gore’s Climate Project team and Congressman Markey’s Energy Congressional Independence and Global Warming Committee in Washington, DC.
To learn more or support Alison: