VISIT OSPREYPACKS.COM

Archive

Posts Tagged ‘water’

The Grandest Time

November 26th, 2013
The Colorado River carving through the Grand canyon as seen from the South Kaibab trail.

The Colorado River carving through the Grand canyon as seen from the South Kaibab trail.

“Life comes from water,” my friend Erich explained at the kitchen table over a beer. “Everywhere you look is something” he quipped, describing the lushness that fills the banks and surrounding terraces along the Colorado river as it carves through the Grand Canyon. Although Erich had made a month-long voyage through the canyon by boat before, this conversation was just 22 hours after our visit there. A journey that made an immutable impression on me as I traversed on foot from one side of the canyon to the other and then back — doing something known as a Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim.

To know something, I must dive in, get my hands dirty and commit. This was my first adult trip to the Grand Canyon so I set my bar high. Always an eager ear to listen to my river-loving friends’ tales of the months of their lives spent exploring this place, one of the seven wonders of the world, I came away with a sense that the canyon was quite large and almost guaranteed to free you from the technological and municipal tangles of daily life. It has walls that are five-to-six-thousand feet high, hidden trails that can only be reached by water and tales of explorations in rugged environments as variable as winter and summer in the same day. My friends always echoed that planning is critical to success, keeping it in check is critical to success and luck… well, that would be a part too. I had that this weekend, that was the most critical piece to my success venturing into this stunning terra firma — not for a month, but for a very long day.

At 5:06 AM in sub freezing temps on November 19th, 2013, the three of us, Erich, Heather and I, dropped over the South rim of the Grand Canyon via the South Kaibab trail. A feathery wave of warmer air softly invited us to descend into the chasm, guided by a full moon and anticipation of our long day. The trail was wide and well worn, with each foot strike powdery bursts of red dust erupted and sent a misty cloud into the follower’s headlamp beam. Massive jagged shapes — like those drawn in Dr. Seuss’s books — slowly rose above us as Gotham-esque outlines. In an hour we were warmed up and dropping 4700′ of vertical to the Colorado river minute by minute. Then suddenly it happened…”Ben” Erich exhaled from behind me “I fell.”

I knew how he felt, the day before I had stepped off a snow-covered front porch in Telluride, Co and ate it so hard. I fell directly onto my butt and took a diagonal impact across my entire lower back and sacrum to the point of some immediate swelling, bruising and an occasional pinch since then. Content to carry on and visit the canyon anyway, I iced it in the drivers seat, took some ibuprofen and figured that a six-and- a-half-hour car ride was plenty of time to determine how it would play out.

Erich Owen running through the canyonlands

Erich Owen running through the canyonlands

Unlike my klutzy self, Erich made it to the trail before going down. He caught a foot step in a powdery pocket of dust, hyperextended his right knee and sent his body hurtling forward. Starting from 8 mph and ending at 0 with a white flash and nausea, a crumpled red dust covered being barely set atop a rock is a tough place to be 5.2 miles into a 42.4 mile day. I walked 150′ back up to Erich and helped him assess the situation. His gear lay strewn about the stark landscape like a gypsy yard sale at a Phish show. The impact had been “big” and he sat on a rock, reeling from mild shock.

“Man, what do you think?” I said. “I think I blew my knee and I’m seeing white” he said. Ughhh, I thought, THAT sensation, when you have cratered full-on superman style into a pain cave, disorientation and a sense of despair so low, so ominously coursing through every inch of your body that retching is all that sounds good. Erich was going to need a few minutes to recover, then we would see where he was at. He is a strong dude with a solid chassis.

In a little time, Erich shuffled to his feet and walked 100′ downhill and it was clear that he could move, but rather than take that as a sign to continue, he wisely chose to use his energy to get himself out of the canyon less injured. He was finished. We both knew Heather, tactfully descending somewhere above us, would be a solid back up as she was doing a burly 14 mile day with 9400′ in vertical change, turning around at the bottom of the canyon and heading back up. I cleaned his shades, put his visor back on him and said good bye with his confidence I could still complete the day alone.

Off I went into the dark maw until dawn. I crossed the Colorado river and arrived at my first water break at Phantom Ranch some seven miles, 4700′ of descent and two hours into the day — a slow setup to a long sustained effort. Forty extra minutes of darkness and low temperatures were absorbed in the scenario above and it was important to cruise with a little urgency in the cool morning up a 6200′, 14.2-mile climb to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I had time thanks to the early start and I wasn’t bothered at all about being off schedule, just aware that the sun would be up soon. I took off from Phantom Ranch after hastily replacing the half liter of fluids I had consumed and had a nice time running a little harder on the North Kaibab trail’s lower reaches and seeing the life Erich had spoken about, the life that comes from water in the depths of such a stark and craggy stack of monoliths.

As I strode through a broad section of opening valley, a hole burst in my hydration reservoir, right at the bottom of the pack and like that, at mile 13 — I had potentially blown this attempt. I had fumbled around in my pack in the dark and placed a sharp object too close to the durable plastic. When I filled the bladder to capacity at Phantom Ranch it put too much pressure on it. My jacket, gloves and two McDonald’s cheeseburgers were soaked in an orange solution of gatorade and fresh water. I was super pissed, this was my fault and now jeopardized successfully completing the traverse to one rim, making running back to the other nearly impossible.  All I had left were two gels, three blocks, one granola bar and 29 miles to stretch it out.

 

It goes on and on for days, huge craggy spines and monolithic structures a scale unlike any I'd ever seen!

It goes on and on for days, huge craggy spines and monolithic structures a scale unlike any I’d ever seen!

I have not had an episode like this in a while, where a total meltdown could be so imminent, with nearly no solid food and no water or way to carry water. I was in the bottom of the Grand Canyon, six miles from people in one direction and going to have to pull off 22 more miles with what I had with only two chances for mere sips of water in between. This was a moment for contemplation as a bright wave of sunlight slowly pushed silhouttes of the enveloping 5000′ canyon walls down into the valley and soaked into my bare shoulders for the first time.  I made my decision and went for it; I like to finish things, and figured that if had to hike out to conserve energy — I would, I could — even if it meant going into darkness.

This was my sixth “ultra marathon” distance run. I went into it expecting to just cruise it, albeit with a partner, food and water.  I had strategically wanted to run hard from miles 21.2 to 35.4 for training, but other than that, I had no real goals other than finishing before dark and having a nice day on the trail with some friends. This was not a race, it was a day out. I had never set foot on a trail in the Grand Canyon so it felt like I should allow time for photos as well, you know, like a tourist. But now this, a chance for an epic draw on my deepest reserves instead became part of the experience. I hadn’t explored that kind of distance totally alone before and this was my last run before a mandatory prolonged break for a few weeks in between seasons.

The trail leading toward the North rim of the Grand Canyon

The trail leading toward the North rim of the Grand Canyon

Without belaboring the point or disrespecting the canyon, I will say the eight miles and 6200′ of uphill in the sun were hard with no water! As I neared the top and mile 21.2, I felt the pangs of desperation uncoiling from within and sequestering my brain to intervene and stop this messy attempt if I saw anyone at the parking lot. When I arrived, there in the frost-covered shade of a stone-planted National Park sign were three spigots of water I had planned on seeing. I strolled up, tried all three and not a trickle flowed. “Shit, no water, oh man, it’s over,” I thought! I sat down, it was cold, my clothing was soaked in my pack and I sort of zoned out and was trembling from the still, cool air in the shade. Moments later, a trio of climbers I passed on the way up appeared and I asked them if they had any disposable water bottles. They gave me a fresh 24 oz. water bottle that I opened and chugged.  Damn I was lucky. Flat out, that gesture took this from being the longest day ever to the longest day on empty.

I crammed the awkwurd bottle in my pack and had revitalized my hydration to a manageable point that could be recovered. Cramping in my side due to dehydration and the fall off the porch from the day before inspired me to jog down the trail a little easier until it abated and soon the trail was flowing singletrack and a river ran nearby. I was never afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it and even got to push the 14 mile section I wanted to, not a ton, but enough to feel like I really “ran” the rim to rim to rim.

By mile 35 I had been through everything, I had lost my partner, my water, my solid food– but I gained the confidence I needed to carry forward and I took a chance that paid off because of luck. As I sat at Phantom Ranch the second time passing through, seven miles and 4700′ below the South Rim in post lunchtime sun, I wiped my salt covered face off with a wet handkerchief. Autumn’s golden foliage flowed from side to side and I sat undisturbed at a drinking water spigot outside the ranch’s canteen for nearly a half hour. Wow, I thought, it’s nice to sit down for a moment and reflect at the actual lowpoint of this trip. I had almost totally crossed this huge feature on foot with the bare minimum and couldn’t really complain about anything. It was all working out, just with some readjusted expectations. I was fast enough to get it done and slow enough to see it for an experience and not just an achievement, it was real and not just a blur.

Boaters portaging at Bright Angel landing below the suspension bridge at the base of the South Kaibab trail.

Boaters portaging at Bright Angel landing below the suspension bridge at the base of the South Kaibab trail.

With this in mind, I departed down trail to the Colorado River and stopped to observe portaging boats as they made their way to and through the beach at Bright Angel campground in the midst of their own three-week journeys through this magnificent feature — the same journey my river-loving friends were always bating me with. I thought about how still and tranquil it must have felt for them at times and how glad I was at the time to know my compressed journey was almost done and it was long before sunset. I was ready to head back to the world to friends and family.

Ascending out of the valley and up the South Kaibab’s 4700′ trail winding through dreamscape and postcard views, I soaked up the last of my water, an 80 calorie espresso flavored gel and just plodded along on empty. In perfect light above wild steppes and crumbling mountainsides carved out of a vastness so immense, I could understand now that which can only be understood after 42.4 miles and 22,000′ of elevation change in a place. My expectations were totally vanquished, I couldn’t help but revel in the sheer magnificence of this iconic National Park and at the same time still obsessively eyeball every 10th of a mile on my GPS watch until the end — about 54 in a row on the grueling return uphill. There is no way to come here and say it should be called, “pretty big canyon” or “yeah that’s a nice canyon.” This thing is the definition of Grand to the core. The running part, totally secondary.

The final four-tenths of a mile at the top were steep but Heather and Erich were there cheering as I approached the end of my first journey through the Grand Canyon. With sunken eyes and waning energy I was thankful for hearing their voices, the jug of water they handed me… and sitting down. Life comes from water, sharing a few sips and scanning the horizon for the last rays of the sun dappling the many features of the sterile and parched upper canyon, life indeed was coming back.

Some of the steps in the final miles of the Rim to Rim to Rim crossing.

Some of the steps in the final miles of the Rim to Rim to Rim crossing.

Bookmark
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Propeller
  • Reddit

adventure, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Life, travel , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 10 Endangered Rivers in the US

April 17th, 2013

Photo: Pete McBride

For more than two decades American Rivers has released its annual list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers. American Rivers released the 2013 list today, and the river at the top—the most endangered river in the nation—is the mighty Colorado.

As Americans we are lucky to have this river in our proverbial backyard. But our demands on the river’s water now far exceed its supply, leaving the river so over-tapped that it no longer flows to the sea. A century of water management policies and practices promoting wasteful water use have put the river at a critical crossroads.

Take action here.

Read more…

Bookmark
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Propeller
  • Reddit

causes, Conservation, Events, Osprey Culture, Outdoor Activities, video , , , , , , , , ,

Take Action: America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2012

May 17th, 2012

Without fail — year after year — American Rivers teams up with grassroots conservationists to create the America’s Most Endangered Rivers report. Each year, this report serves as a trusted resource that outlines the nation’s ten most at-risk rivers; the threat being posed to said rivers; and what needs to be done to save the precious waters in each case. As American Rivers puts it:

“The report highlights ten rivers whose fate will be decided in the coming year, and encourages decision-makers to do the right thing for the rivers and the communities they support. It presents alternatives to proposals that would damage rivers, identifies those who make the crucial decisions, and points out opportunities for the public to take action on behalf of each listed river.”

Read more…

Bookmark
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Propeller
  • Reddit

causes, Conservation , , , , , , , , ,

Friday Round Up: Honey Badger Don’t Care, But Sea Otters Do! Don’t Pollute!

May 4th, 2012

We see a lot of great photos and videos throughout the week. So, we thought it was high time we started rounding up some of our faves each week and highlighting one on Friday to inspire weekend adventures. We call it the Osprey Round Up.

We thought we’d give you a good dose of cuteness and a kick in the pants this Friday. Our friends at 5Gyres just released this short PSA, featuring Randall from Honey Badger fame. Take a moment to watch and then do your part to stop plastic pollution.

PHOTO via

Bookmark
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Propeller
  • Reddit

Conservation, Friday Round-up, video , , , , , ,

World Water Day: Is Bottled Water Really That Bad? Ditch the Plastic

March 22nd, 2012

While a large portion of the world desperately seek clean drinking water, the United States and other countries spend billions on bottled water when perfectly clean drinking water is readily available.

Today is World Water Day, a day that people around the world are celebrating, building awareness and taking action to protect this vital resource. We need water. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Fresh water is absolutely crucial to every living thing on this planet, especially humans. Think about it: how much water have you used today? Brushing your teeth, making your morning coffee, the wheat that made the cereal that you at for breakfast was grown with water… we could go on. The point being that we are incredibly dependent on fresh, available water.

Now answer this question: do you drink bottled water? Now, is bottled water really that bad? As it turns out, yes. Yes, it is.

Read more…

Bookmark
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Propeller
  • Reddit

causes, Conservation, Events, Osprey Culture , , , , , ,

Take Action: Protect Clean Water in the US

December 1st, 2011

You like clean water, right? Of course you do. In the US, most of us are incredibly lucky to have clean water filling our cup from the tap, streaming from our shower head and filling our toilet bowl — not to mention our favorite waterways, lakes and swimming holes where we spend or summers diving and splashing. Well, now it’s time to voice your support of clean water…

Read more…

Bookmark
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Propeller
  • Reddit

causes, Conservation , , ,

Friday Round-Up: Rivers, Lakes and Waves

August 26th, 2011

Unless you’ve been living in a deep, dark cave… You may have noticed that there is a lot of cool stuff going on out there. So, we thought it was high-time we started rounding up some of our faves each Friday. Every month, we’ll be choosing a theme that fits with the Osprey lifestyle. It’s August which means it’s time to take advantage of the last weeks of summer, and what better way than getting in the water? This month we’re all about swimming holes, waterfalls, ocean breaks and waterways of all kinds. Welcome to the Osprey Friday Round-Up!

It’s the last Friday in August… how are you going to spend it? Out on the water hopefully!

Need some floating inspiration? High Country News has you covered, this time in the form of car-free river enjoyment.

The first steps toward carbon freedom were canoe trips on the Bitterroot River near my home in Missoula, Mont., with my friend Nick and his dog Katie. This was necessity, not environmentalism: Nick had a car, but no canoe; I had a canoe, but no car; and we both had bicycles. Attentive scouting revealed a 13-mile stretch between small towns in which the Bitterroot was paralleled not only by  Highway 93 but also by a bike path. En route by car to the put-in, we left our bikes at the take-out; then, after floating, we cycled back to retrieve Nick’s Isuzu to take us home. Katie ran between us. Given her tendency to hop in and out of the canoe, the bike shuttle offered more than good exercise and great views of the Bitterroot Mountains: It gave us a chance to dry off after three hours of splashing.

Still, it felt wrong to drive at all. Enter the packraft. Sold by Alpacka, a small family firm in Mancos, Colo., the best packrafts are extremely durable, ultra-lightweight inflatable rafts designed expressly for those who want to reach river’s edge on trail mix alone. The simplest craft weighs just over three pounds and deflates to the size of a couple water bottles — perfect for stuffing in a backpack or bike bag. Because the raft then expands to roughly 3-by-5-feet, paddlers can fit not only themselves but also their disassembled bikes inside.

Speaking of rivers, did you hear that an enormous underground river was recently discovered in the Amazon? The massive water system is thought to stretch for 3,700 miles across the Amazon basin with an average width of about 200 miles. Wow, pretty cool.

Busting out the canoe this weekend? Gear Junkie has the gear list of gear lists if you’re headed for Boundary Waters. Hint: it requires hammocks and espresso.

And just because it’s Friday, we’ll leave you with this photo from surf photographer Clark Little that’s sure to get you off your couch, into your car and out to the waves.

Happy Friday!

Images: Monica Ray, Clark Little

Bookmark
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Propeller
  • Reddit

Friday Round-up , , , ,

Friday Round-Up: Summer Water Reading

August 19th, 2011

Unless you’ve been living in a deep, dark cave… You may have noticed that there is a lot of cool stuff going on out there. So, we thought it was high-time we started rounding up some of our faves each Friday. Every month, we’ll be choosing a theme that fits with the Osprey lifestyle. It’s August which means it’s time to take advantage of the last weeks of summer, and what better way than getting in the water? This month we’re all about swimming holes, waterfalls, ocean breaks and waterways of all kinds. Welcome to the Osprey Friday Round-Up!

This week we’re bringing you a few excerpts from great water related articles around the web to beef up your reading list. Enjoy!

For all its obscurity, the Lower Pecos flows through one of the loveliest and most pristine landscapes in America. Spring-fed and limestone-bottomed, the river has a clarity matched only by its wild tropical color schemes, which would remind you of a ­Corona beer commercial except that the colors are far more varied. It is both a whitewater river, with dozens of rapids from Class I through Class IV, and a giant aquarium—jammed with spotted gar, catfish, perch, bluegill, and carp—where you can watch a large­mouth bass wheel, rise, and hit your fly. The country around it is a sort of museum of Native American history, home to one of the greatest concentrations of ancient rock art in America.

And so it is surprising that, out beyond the 100th meridian, where vast commercial cultures have arisen to service affluent Americans desperate for a run down big, remote, mythic rivers, no one knows the Lower Pecos. Our predicament in the rapids is relatively simple, in one sense: we’re the only ones here.

-”The Lost River of Divine Reincarnation,” Outside Magazine

Read more…

Bookmark
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Propeller
  • Reddit

Friday Round-up , , , , ,

Friday Round-Up: Your New Fave Summer Activity, Hucking Your Bike Into a Pond

August 5th, 2011

Unless you’ve been living in a deep, dark cave… You may have noticed that there is a lot of cool stuff going on out there. So, we thought it was high-time we started rounding up some of our faves each Friday. Every month, we’ll be choosing a theme that fits with the Osprey lifestyle. It’s August which means it’s time to take advantage of the last weeks of summer, and what better way than getting in the water? This month we’re all about swimming holes, waterfalls, ocean breaks and waterways of all kinds. Welcome to the Osprey Friday Round-Up!

This video screams summer. After all, what’s more fun than hucking you and your bike into a pond? Not a whole lot.

Via: Adventure Journal

Bookmark
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Propeller
  • Reddit

Friday Round-up , , ,

World Water Day 2011: Responding To The Urban Challenge

March 22nd, 2011

One in two people on this planet live in a city. More than 900 million — live without access to clean water and 2.6 billion have no access to adequate sanitation.

Today is World Water Day. This year’s theme, Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge, aims to focus international attention on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems and ultimately encourage governments, communities and individuals to address the challenges of urban water management.

Read more…

Bookmark
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Propeller
  • Reddit

causes, Conservation, Osprey Culture , , , , , , ,

Watch Opsrey on YouTubeCheck out Osprey Photos on FlickrLike Osprey on FacebookFollow Osprey on TwitterOsprey on Instagram

OSPREY BlogMEDIA Spot
Osprey Packs   115 Progress Circle Cortez CO 81321 USA  telephone +1 970-564-5900
Toll-Free: Customer Service +1 866-284-7830   Warranty/Returns +1 866-314-3130
VISIT OSPREYPACKS.COM

© 2014 Osprey Packs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.