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On The Edge – Hiking the NH and ME border

August 12th, 2009

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 Leesa Joiner – mother, hiker, and blogger. Here Leesa describes a trip to Evan’s Notch near the Maine and New Hampshire border…

Last weekend, the kids and I decided we’d been cooped up long enough by the rain – we haven’t been able to go three days without rain since the beginning of June. We threw our gear in the car and headed north to Evan’s Notch, along the Maine and New Hampshire border.

The first night we stayed at the Basin Trail camping area. This area is a very nice, fairly primitive camping area. We’ve camped here before and canoed and fished in the lake. The canoeing went better than the fishing.

This time, we came up with a 10-mile loop hike with about 2700 feet of elevation gain in the Evans Notch area. We picked the Mt. Meader trail  and went south on the Meader Ridge, and down the north side of Baldface Circle trail.

We headed out early in the morning, leaving camp at 7:30 in the morning. It was chilly, so we put on a heavy shirt, and put all our stuff in our packs. My Osprey Talon 44 held everything very easily. It held my extra socks, first aid kit, rain jacket and pants, snacks and quite a bit of water. The kids all had the same gear, plus the boys carried small stoves, knives and matches. I did take my iPhone, not to make calls, but to use the GPS application. I find it works as well as my GPS (without all the features though) and I also use the camera feature.

We hiked for about an hour and a half, and counted 4 deer, 2 moose and quite a few birds.  We were alone on the trail which surprised me, we’ve had so much rain and cool weather this summer, I thought everyone would be out on such a beautiful day.

By the time we finished taking pictures and snacking, we were ready to keep going. The hike was not very strenuous, but the views were amazing. We continued on the trail, listening to the birds and admiring the views.

We climbed past some open ledges, and reached the shoulder of Mt. Meader. We could see for miles to the east and north from this point. We reached the real summit of Meader in time for lunch. The summit is about 2782 ft in elevation. We set out after lunch, in bright sunshine and warm air. We hiked back to our starting point, taking pictures along the way.  By the time we got back to the trail head, we were all pretty warm, and looking forward to a swim to cool off.

We quickly changed, and ran into Basin Pond. All I can say is, it wasn’t as cold as the Atlantic Ocean, but it was really chilly. It took a few minutes to get used to it, but we had fun cooling off.  As I was relaxing after swimming, I had the chance to reflect on the hike, the time I spent with my teen-agers, and my gear.  I did better on the hike than I thought I would. I am really behind where I usually am as far as hiking goes this summer. The weather and work really interfered. I am very thankful that my kids still like spending time with me doing different outdoor activities.  It seems we have our best conversations while outdoors.  My gear seems to be getting to the point where it all works for me – and works well together. I am more comfortable hiking than I have been in the past. It really becomes apparent that having well made, comfortable gear makes being outdoors more enjoyable.

For a complete listing of Osprey retailers in Maine, please click here.

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Brand Team posts, Outdoor Activities, Product , ,

On the Hunt for Geocaches and Fiddleheads

June 16th, 2009

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 Leesa Joiner – mother, hiker, and blogger. Here Leesa describes an all-day excursion in Maine’s Vernon Walker wilderness searching for fiddleheads and geocaches…

Leesa in the Vernon Walker wilderness

Leesa in the Vernon Walker wilderness

Last week my kids and I went for an all day hike through the Vernon Walker Wildlife area in western Maine. The wildlife area covers just over 5000 acres and has many criss-crossing paths.  We set out by marking our spot with the GPS, and then taking the outer paths first. We were trying out a new geocaching device and covered about 18 miles over the course of the day.

We saw quite a few deer and smaller animals, including rabbits, which seem to be pretty rare around here.  We did see the back end of a moose as it walked off the path and into the thick brush.  We saw plenty of bear droppings along the way also. The joke in my family is that you don’t have to be able to out run a bear – just the people you are hiking with.  I think I would be in big trouble in that case!

I packed the Talon 44 with all of my gear, including the backpacking stove and food. We each carried our own water, and a little extra.

talon-44

For this hike we focused on looking for geocaches and fiddleheads. Fiddleheads are the young coiled leaves of the ostrich fern. Ostrich fern fiddleheads, which are about an inch in diameter, can be identified by the brown papery scale-like covering on the uncoiled fern, as well as the smooth fern stem, and the deep “U”-shaped groove on the inside of the fern stem. Fiddleheads have a mild taste, and can be used in many different ways. I saute them in butter or olive oil, along with chopped onions, garlic and mushrooms. I serve them with a little sour cream, and sometimes put them over pasta.  Many people boil them before cooking, but I like to keep them somewhat crisp.

Hunting for fiddleheads has two benefits – a great dinner treat after a day hiking, and it keeps the kids focused on something. They are great at spotting the ferns, and have learned to identify many other plants along the way.

Our geocaching didn’t go as well this time. The one that was supposed to be hidden in that area apparently was removed. We will be heading back out in a few days to hide a new one, in a nearby area. We finished the hike around 5:30 pm, dirty, a little wet and very tired.  It was a great day hiking, observing and spending some time together without any interruptions.   Hopefully, this all day hike will help prepare us to do a section hike of the Appalachian Trail later this summer.

For a complete listing of Osprey retailers in Maine, please click here.

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Greetings from Nelson, BC and the Coldsmoke Powder Fest

February 13th, 2009

images3Osprey launches its 2009 Brand  Team with this post, from Nick Spring, a Brand Team member from Nelson, BC. Osprey Brand Team members are being dispatched to outdoor events all over North America this year, reporting from the ground back to our friends through this blog! Nick will be spreading the Osprey word and wreaking havoc on the many events planned for this year’s fantastic Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder festival. This is Coldsmoke in a nutshell (for more check out the event’s official site here):

The Kootenay Cold Smoke Powder Fest is a grass-roots gathering where both experienced and debutant backcountry skiers and snowboarders can celebrate the culture of backcountry pursuits amongst breathtaking scenery and world renowned snow. Nelson, British Columbia, the powder mecca of the Kootenays is a natural choice, and so the 3rd annual Kootenay Cold Smoke Powder Fest is slated to be held from February 20-23, 2009. In addition to seasoned veterans, this event will also draw “keen to be” backcountry skiers and snowboarders who want to give off-piste adventures a try. Whitewater resort’s terrain combined with the Selkirk’s legendary snow, provides fantastic opportunities for all levels to ski, learn, compete, and celebrate off-piste and backcountry riding. The festival revolves around 4 full days of clinics, films, beer drinking, and competitions for all ski/snowboard pursuits as well as a ski/snowboard photojournalism competition.

Nick will be demoing the brand new for ’09 Kode 38 pack (check the sneak peak Outdoor Retailer review here) and will be able to show all you eager souls what we think will be a huge hit for next season’s snow crowd. Enough of the babble – here’s Nick.

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I can’t believe we are in the middle of another deep winter. The Cold Smoke Festival for people in the Kootenay Region is a platform to showcase the beauty of our mountains, people, community and of course legendary deep snowpack.  The 2008-09-ski season has been riddled by many unusual circumstances.  We had an unusually long fall that held the early season snowfall at bay, we dealt with a wrath of unfortunate avalanche fatalities and hazards, and one of the longest sustained high-pressure systems recorded to date.  Words like catastrophic, epic and “never seen before” were used to describe the storm and avalanche cycle that we dealt with in early January.

So where does that put me? Aside from the edge of my seat it puts me into a state of Zen like patience.  One thing is known about the interior of British Columbia, the snow comes for those who are patient.  Snowfall amounts that trump most ski area’s monthly snowfalls are a weekly occurrence up at Whitewater Ski hill, host and creator of the Kootenay Cold Smoke Festival.  With a week of sunshine behind us I find it hard to believe that I spent that last two days lapping deep untracked blower snow just minutes outside of the ski area boundary.  Currently Whitewater holds one of the deepest snowpacks in the province and is set up well for future storms to come.  If you have not been to the area the festival is a great venue or “sampler pack” if you will of what goes on here daily.

My name is Nick Spring, and I moved to Nelson to pursue a lifestyle in the mountains. I chose Nelson because it is different then other mountain towns; we don’t have any large and over powering hotel chains, restaurants or tourist attractions. People come here for the exact opposite, to get away from the rat race, to walk down a main street littered with independent unique shops and eateries owned and operated by local residents.  I have an active role in the community and find my time spread thin across my many adventures.  I spend my day outfitting the coolest clients in the best gear shop possible, Valhalla Pure Outfitters, whether it is an Osprey pack for extended trips or short day journeys. When I am not at the shop I spend a good deal of my time training and practicing with Nelson Search and Rescue and am ready at a seconds notice for a variety of emergency situations.  I have a Talon 44 packed and ready to go regardless of the situation. On my weekends I patrol up at the ski hill and tour the phenomenal backcountry we have in the area on my split board.  Come on up to the festival and just maybe if you catch me at the right moment I will divulge some of the deepest of local backcountry secrets.  Nelson gets a mixed bag of bio-diesel powder hounds, dedicated heli ski clientele and industry professionals intermingling together in the many cafés and bars around town.

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Nick Spring in Nelson, BC

The festival is a great reason to make your way up here, it is action packed with all sorts of events, clinics and demonstrations.  The vendor village is a great opportunity to catch up with the latest trendsetters in the industry and talk shop with the brand representatives.  The après ski will be full of delicious food and local brewed organic beers, musicians that have set roots in the Kootenay area will entertain until the sun comes up with their eclectic world beats.  Bring your ski boots and dancing shoes with you and come spend a week in a powder hounds paradise! I hope to see you out on the hill and keep your eye out for me on the hill; I will be showcasing some of the coolest new innovations from Osprey!

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