December 7th, 2016 by Munk Pack
November 30th, 2016 by Munk Pack
Sometimes you get really blessed with an awesome best friend. The kind of best friend who is always down to adventure with you. For as long as my bestie Charlotte and I have been friends, I can remember her saying she’s always wanted to go to Portland, Oregon. So when her birthday rolled around back in April, I gifted her with tickets to Portland so she could have a few of her favorite things: fog, waterfalls, and bridges.Â – Munk Pack Explorer, @adaezenoelle
About a week before our trip, we got together to finalize a list of places we wanted to visit. We used Roadtrippers to figure out the best route to hit all of our âmust-seeâ spots, and off we went.
We had a lot to see and only three days to see it. First, we drove toward the Columbia River Gorge and stopped at Latourell Falls. What an amazing first stop. As you’ll soon start to see, weâre obsessed with waterfalls.
I knew Multnomah Falls would be one of Charlotte’s favorites because I was pretty sure it was one of the first PNW waterfalls she fell in love with from photos sheâd seen. And who can blame her? We got some warm beverages and some muffins at the little shop at the base of the falls and spent a while at Multnomah. If you’ve never been, please go. Just do it. This was my second time and I was still in awe.
Next up was Oneonta Gorge. We explored around the area before changing into our rain boots. We got to the area of the gorge where you either brave the waters to go further, or enjoy the view from afar. So I went on ahead a little; definitely got water in my rain boots, but it was worth the views. I climbed some sketchy logs to gaze down a dreamy foggy gorge.
On our way to our next stop, we passed one or two other waterfalls. When we found Horsetail Falls perfectly framed by vibrant fall colors, of course we had to pull over.
Next stop was Elowah falls, and wow — was it breathtaking! The hike to the waterfall was lined with skinny trees contrasting the fields of more bright fall colors.
We drove to Rowena Crest next. It was the king of all switchbacks, and the view was magnificent.
The next morning we drove to Trillium Lake for an unobstructed reflective view of Mount Hood. On the way, we got to enjoy even more pretty views of the hoodest mountain. It was such a babe of a mountain that it’s now my new beau.
White River Falls was next and then Tumalo Falls, which very well might have been my favorite waterfall stop. It was so cool to be able to sit atop this mighty waterfall and then also get up right next to its base.
Our last full day began with sunrise at Oregon’s second tallest waterfall, Salt Creek Falls. The fog was rolling in so thick here, and Charlotte and I had the whole place to ourselves.
After Salt Creek, we drove to Crater Lake National Park area to find my dream mountain road so I could get some skateboarding in on my brand new penny skateboard! This road was an absolute dream. Plus, it was the perfect straight-on road view of Mount Thielsen.
Toketee Falls was next. What an awesome stop. We spent so long here because the hike on the way to the falls was full of wonder and fall colors. Sadly, we didn’t have time to hike down see the falls from below. But it did reminded us of the movie Avatar.
Our last stop of the trip was on the coast at Cape Perpetua to see Thorâs Well. It was so refreshing. A word to the wise: wear rain boots when you go here. It was pretty neat to not have to worry about where we stepped, as there werenât many dry rocks from the waves splashing everywhere making tons of huge puddles.
Simply put, Oregon just has it all. Waterfalls, mountains, lakes, fog, the ocean, beautiful views, wood piles. Oh… I have this strange obsession with piles of wood logs. Look, it doesn’t hafta make sense — but when we found this area by a Roadhouse restaurant, I was so excited! The tallest log piles I’ve ever seen.
If you get the chance to make it out to Oregon, like I said before, just do it. Maybe thatâs why Nike has that slogan!Â
October 3rd, 2016 by Munk Pack
If youâre not one for stepping off the pavement after a long flight to Alaska and exploring nooks and crannies of endless wilderness, stop reading now.
If a trip to the last frontier is the last check box on your bucket list, the agency-booked option might be right for you. Book a tour bus, rail car orÂ cruise ship and you get to lumberÂ past the glacial rivers, towering peaks and dark forests that lie beyond.
But Iâm here to tell you how to take on the Alaskan Wilderness without summoning a travel agency.
Unfortunately, no, this is not the most convenient way to explore. You will have sore muscles. You will have a few headaches. But on the other hand, you will leave with wanderlust for more. And you will get to stop and smell the Arctic roses.
Step 1: Find a car
Once you land in Anchorage, renting orâif youâre luckyâborrowing a car is your first step to freedom in Alaska. You can go for a bike touring option, but you might regret it when you realize everything of interest comes in 50-mile increments. With the varying climate, your vehicle will allow you to chase some better weather if your current location isnât favorable.
Step 2: Hit the trails
The greatest tragedy in Alaskan tourism today is that the charters that many book pass by hundreds of the most breathtaking hiking trails on Earth. With your handy-dandy car, you can explore the trailheads that look interesting to you. The Matanuska Valley often gets overlooked due to its residential feel. Donât be fooled. The towering mountains and glacial river valleys that make its borders are host to endless adventure opportunities and life-changing scenery. An extra bonus: Most fees in Alaskaâs recreational areas are less than $10.
Step 3: Get on the water
Alaska has about 3,197 lakes (thatâs named lakes of which there are over 3 million unnamed lakes!), 9,728 named rivers and 6,640 miles of marine coastline. Getting in some kind of boat, at least once, is a must. Whether it’s kayaking Eklutna Lakeâs powder-blue waters, rafting the Nenana River or meandering around glacial fjords watching for whales, thereâs no better way to appreciate Alaska than on its water. Iâd recommend visiting Homer, Seward and Whittier ports for viewing both wildlife and glaciers.
Step 4: Take to the air
If youâve never seen a braided river from above, traced a mountain ridgeline through the window of a de Havilland Otter or touched down on the uppermost part of a glacierâbook a flight. This experience will change the way you view wilderness, beauty and our planet. Talkeetna, an artsy town on the Susitna River, offers several flightseeing tour options through their commercial airport. If the skies are nice and youâre in the area, spend the cash. It may be the biggest splurge you make all year.
Only have time for a few stops? Here are my top 5 places to wander:
- Upper and Lower Reed Lake in Hatcher Pass
- Flat Top Mountain near Anchorage
- Alyeska Peak near Girdwood
- Portage Pass Trail near Whittier
- Chugach State Park near Eagle River
– Munk Pack Explorer, @luke_hyce
August 23rd, 2016 by Munk Pack
Youâve seen the Instagram pictures of all of the rad climbers and youâre inspired to try it yourself. Do you want to start climbing, but donât know where to start? Maybe you donât have the right gear or friends to climb with. Iâd love to teach you how to get started because it changed my life! – Munk Pack Athlete @tammyfaye
Find a Climbing Gym. Â
Most places, from major cities to small town USA have climbing gyms. This is an amazing place to begin learning how to climb. Somebody will literally show you the ropes. Iâd recommend looking up the closest gym to you, and get after it!
First time? Not a problem!
All gyms offer day passes and rentals, from shoes to harnesses, chalk, and everything else you will need. Once you get to the gym make sure to tell the climbers working at the front desk that itâs your first time learning how to climb. They can suggest classes for you to take and help you get the gear youâll need. So now youâve tried it and you love it. Itâs time to sign up for a membership and eventually get around to buying your own gear.
Classes are great tools!
They can give you the knowledge to feel more confident on the rock, and help with the basics of climbing. Itâs also an easy way to meet people who you can start climbing with because climbing is naturally a social sport.
Now get outside!
Once you get more comfortable climbing in a gym and you have your own gear, you can start to transition to the world of outdoor climbing. Itâs a wonderful community and also an awesome workout while hanging out with your friends. Combine some rocks, the right gear, safety knowledge, Munk Pack snacks and friends and itâs hard to go wrong.
July 5th, 2016 by Munk Pack
Take a deep breath. Breathe in through your nose and down to your diaphragm, filling your lungs with air. Then slowly let out your breath through your mouth while closing your eyes and contemplating your favorite outdoor memory. Think about the way the sun felt on your skin, the smell of the air; fresh and free. The feeling of being connected to the earth with a weightless body. Really though, take just a minute to contemplate or meditate on these thoughts.
* Â Â * Â Â * Â Â * Â Â *
Trail Running is what dreams are made ofâ¦.right?
Okay, that page break definitely assured that you did the above exercise and you can now continue reading, right? If youâre like me you pictured a warm summer morning with an orange sun rising over the Rocky Mountain peaks. I see mountain goats picking their way over a rocky ledge while the swift sound of my breath is juxtaposed with the slower cadence of my stride on a trail 11,000 feet up. This is when time is forgotten and the concerns and uncertainties of life disappear. THIS is what my dreams are made of.
Many people have activities that provide the same therapeutic rejuvenation from the hustle and bustle of life. For me, that activity is trail running. Itâs what tugs me out of bed at 4am. If youâve never experienced the thrill and tranquility of trail running, letâs chat for a few minutes. Even if you have, read along and see if your experience is similar to mine.
Why would you want to trail run?
In my opinion the better question is, âWhy would you ever NOT want to trail run?â I have always been a lover of the outdoors and I spent summers tanning my skin under the blistering Sacramento Valley sun. I explored the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range on foot, mountain bike and canoe. I ran my first 5k with my mom in fifth-grade, beating her by only a couple of minutes. To this day, Iâm not sure if I actually beat her or if she let me beat her. Either way, it was good for my juvenile heart.
Years later, after moving to Salt Lake City, my love of hiking began to conflict with my school schedule. It was hard to fit a hike in between classes. I began to run the downhill sections of the trails so I could cover more ground and still get outdoors. It just seemed natural. I would hike the uphills, then bomb the downhills in hiking shoes, hiking shorts and a daypack. Before long I traded out my hiking attire for running attire and have yet to look back. Whatever your reason for considering trail running is, you should do it.
Take the plunge!
Like yoga, a spiritual practice, you know that it takes patience to become good. The more often you are able to push yourself physically while trail running, the more likely you will find that feeling of vibrance and alertness in the same moment.
Itâs never too late to start
No matter your stage of life you can start running. Maybe youâve never run a step in your life. Start slow hiking the trails nearest your home. Maybe youâre a seasoned road runner or even a marathoner who has never dabbled in trail running. Try the trail! It will bring a new point of view to your life. If you do it often, eventually you will look back and see how every run has become connected in a chain of runs to bring a bit more peace and joy to your life.
Now think back to those first few moments of meditation at the beginning of this post. How did you feel? Peaceful and full of life? Trail running is all about the culmination of those feelings with tired legs and worn out lungs. Finding the flow where calmness and mindfulness meet doesnât happen every run for me, but the more I run, the more I reach this place. My body moves freely and quickly, almost as though I am floating over the trail. Itâs that feeling where you can sense everything, yet feel nothing. This flow is achieved through the combination of the peacefulness of the outdoors, the physical exertion of exercise and the pattern of getting out there. Moments like this are a large part of why I trail run.
– Munk Pack Explorer,Â @landonfaulkner_
May 26th, 2016 by Munk Pack
You’ve probably seen beautiful photos of the geological formation in Arizona known as The Wave, but what you may not know is that since itâs such a fragile area, few people are granted access to visit. That being said, hiking out to The Wave is no walk in the park. IfÂ youâre one of the lucky onesÂ whoÂ snag one of the few available permits, here are 8 tips to help you survive your special day in the Arizona desert from our ambassadors, @brod_trip.
1. Donât Lose Your Map
When you win the permit lottery, youâre given a map. Itâs vague, only providing 6 photos and descriptions as to how to make the three mile trek to the site. Since GPS isnât reliable, thereâs no cell service, and footprints could lead you off a cliff, this map is your saving grace. Hang on to it for dear life.
2. Pack Plenty of Food and Water
The desert is hot and 6 miles (round trip) is a long way. Donât be afraid to pack at least a gallon of water and a ton of snacks. The Broâd Trip is partial to Munk Pack’sÂ Apple Quinoa Cinnamon and Peach Chia Vanilla Oatmeal Fruit Squeeze snacks.
3. Be Observant
The way you get to The Wave is the way you return, and everything in the desert looks exactly the same. Take noticeÂ of important landmarks to make your hike back as seamless as possible.
4. Go Early and Stay Late
Frankly, this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity! Get the most time at The Wave as possible. Pro-tip for fellow photogs: mid-day is the best time to get photos without any shadows.
5. Dress Appropriately
The desert has a bad temper. It goes from hot to cold in a matter of hours. If you plan on staying later into the day, bring clothes for colder temperatures.
If you get lost out there, it takes at least 24 hours for the Bureau of Land Management to get out there to find you. Itâs better to bring too much than to not have enough.
7. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
In addition to your typical desert wildlife, weather can be a serious factor. If itâs the rainy season, pay attention to those rain clouds. Part of the hike involves trekking through a wash. If it rains enough, you could fall victim to a flash flood. Stay on your toes!
8. Enjoy It!
As long as you follow these tips and stay alert, youâll be just fine. Get out there and enjoy The Wave in all its glory. After all, youâ re one of few that get to see it firsthand!
If you canât make it to The Wave, weâve got you covered. Hereâs what a day at The Wave looks like!
March 10th, 2016 by Munk Pack
If you’re a beginner climber, we know it could be overwhelming trying to figure everything outÂ on your own. Â We’ve askedÂ Munk Pack Ambassador,Â @sav.cummins,Â to shareÂ her top 5 tips and tricks to make sure you get you startedÂ on the right foot.Â
I moved out West from Ohio to a place that had a cliff 5 minutes from where I was working and living. Climbing was the convenient thing to do during down time and I quickly fell in love with it! The company I was working for had all the equipment we needed, I never had to think about what to bring, similar to a gym setting where you can rent almost all the gear you need. Here are a few things I wish I would have taken the time to learn about when I started climbing.
1. Lay out all your gear and make sure you’ve got everything you need.Â There’s nothing worse than showing up to the crag only to realize you forgot your climbing shoes. My must-haves for a day of climbing include: harness, climbing shoes, chalk, tape, rope, protection (quick draws or traditional gear), helmet, personal anchor, and a belay device.
2. Food and water. Your body needs fuel, just like your car, and the harder and longer you go the more fuel you need to perform. Plan accordingly for the day, if you plan to be out for the entire day make sure you’ve got enough calories and water to power you through. Munk Pack’sÂ Oatmeal Fruit SqueezesÂ are great, light snacks to bring that are easy to digest and wont weigh you down in between climbs!
3. Warming up allows for you to climb longer and harder. Although each person needs something different to feel properly warmed up, it’s important to activate your core muscles, fingers, and shoulders before you try anything at or near your limit. Some simple arm swings, finger flicks, planks, and hanging on the starting holds of your route are a great way to begin your warm up.
4. You can’t be too safe in the vertical world! Check and re-check your knots, lockers, harness and partner. A simple mistake can be costly and taking the time to check yourself, your gear, and partner takes a matter of seconds #worthit!
5.Â Take the time to enjoy your surroundings. It’s not all about high performance and big numbers, it’s the experience that matters and climbing will always take you to beautiful places!
October 14th, 2015 by Munk Pack
When you’re on the go ourÂ Oatmeal Fruit Squeezes are ready to eat right out of the pouch, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with them! Our ambassador Matt, aka @mattnovak, shares his favorite tips for enjoying Munk Pack wherever your adventure takes you.
I recently got to spend a few weeks hitting the trail and sending routes while fueling up with Munk Pack. This could not have come at a better time for me as I recently made some significant changes in my diet to not only cure some health issues, but to start to achieving what I think is closer to peak performance. And that, is exactly where Munk Pack filled in all the gaps for me. Having said all of that, Iâve developed a list of tips & tricks for Munk Pack users both on and off the trail.
1. Are you snowshoeing? Iâm going to take a guess and assume you donât like frozen oatmeal and icy fruit bits yeah? Plan ahead and stick one of the Munk Packs in your breast pocket of your jacket.Â Theyâre small enough to not get in the way and your body heat keeps it at a non-freezing temp.
This works in reverse as well: If you’ve settled down for a mid-trail rest and youâve got a cool brook nearby, chill your Munk Pack slightly in the water before eating.
2. Add on calories. One of the reasons I enjoy winter camping is because I can toss some grass-fed butter or cheese in my bag-top and it keeps. This comes in handy at bedtime if you want to fat-load before bed to keep away the chill. But really, unless youâre making bulletproof coffee on your jetboil youâd better get used to chipping off frozen chunks of butter for a midnight snack. I would take my jetboil pot immediately after boiling water, throw in a tablespoon of butter, and then squeeze my whole Munk Pack in there and mix it in. I found that the Apple cinnamon flavor lends itself best to this. Reminds me a lot of apple pie. And, with that one simple trick youâve warmed your oatmeal and double the calories of your pre-sleeping bag meal.
3. Designate a small string for caps. For some reason I found it really easy to fold up and throw out the pouches but my caps always managed to end up all over the place. Weâre all doing what we do largely because we love the outdoors the way they are right? So I try to keep them that way. When backpacking I kept a small string tied to the side of my pack I could easily thread the caps onto. By the end of the trip, I had a sweet rhythmic rattle to keep pace to, and I knew none of my caps would end up in lakes, rivers or streams.
1. If youâre home, fancy it up! Thereâs something about putting something into a dish that makes it all the better. If youâre not in a rush try squeezing aÂ pack into a bowl before you sit down. Better yet, make it part of your breakfast meal if you have time. My favorite? Blueberry Acai on top of grass-fed yogurt with some tasty add-ons.
2. Pre-workout. Enough Said.
3. Share at home. Iâve always found that no one wants to try something new in the middle of a 10 mile grind, and at that point just about anything tastes good right?. Share Munk Packs with your friends at home or right when you hit the trail so they can experience the great taste and the energy boost. Then next time theyâll be on the hook to get a couple packs for you!
September 16th, 2015 by Munk Pack
Our friends and summer ambassadors, James and Rachel, of Idle Theory Bus,Â share their travels and reflectionsÂ from a two week visit in Rocky Mountain National Park, bringing Munk Pack along for the ride. To learn more about James and Rachel’s adventures, check out their first post with Munk Pack.
To take advantage of the small crowds of early June, we ventured into Rocky Mountain National Park.
The Rockies were benevolent, granting us 2 weeks of leftover snow, rushing rivers, and frozen lakes. We chugged up the hairpin bends of Trail Ridge Road and camped under the star-studded skies. After exploring the front country, we left civilization behind for a weeklong backpacking trek in the parkâs rugged wilderness.
Heading up this tripâs adventure crew are the mainstays of Idle Theory Bus, my boyfriend James and I. The last 2 Â½ years, we have traveled in our VW bus Sunshine, exploring and creating art along the way. My teenaged brother and sister flew into Denver to join us on a 2-week journey of a lifetime.
Every summer, these two rascals hop on for an annual road trip we call “Summer Camp is Where You Park It.” They each stay in their own tent, us in the bus, and we explore some of the most grand and remote landscapes of North America.
James and I are passionate about getting younger generations into the wild. With video games and pervasive Internet access, many kids donât know what it means to be unplugged for a few days. Thatâs why we began “Summer Camp is Where You Park It,” to share our love of the outdoors with these teens. This year promised to be nothing short of magical.
The greatest feature of Rocky Mountain National Park is its access to the alpine tundra, one of the most fragile and unknown landscapes in the world. It is both surreal and breathtaking to drive all the way to the high, seemingly barren ridges. We spent entire days above 11,000 feet, peering down from the Continental Divide as lounging elk sunned themselves on warm rocks.
A steep incline led us to the top of Fall River Pass. We hiked some squiggly trails to the ridge of the tundra. Flora is sparse, yet colorful at 11,000 feet, especially this time of year. Two ptarmigans, mottled ground birds, wandered their slow way through blooming forget-me-nots. We watched a shedding coyote pounce on a small rodent and run through the snowdrifts, snack clutched between his teeth.
As the sun slipped below the snowy peaks, we cooked up dinner in the bus. Dusk brings silent solitude on Trail Ridge, so plan to stay late during these long summer days. The last rays spread over the sky and we practically danced with joy in the purple light.
We drove down, darkness pierced by our orange headlights, unsure if we were giddy from the altitude or the dayâs incomprehensible beauty. -Â @idletheorybus
August 10th, 2015 by Munk Pack
Summers in the park are short by nature and with all the fun things to do they seem to go by quicker every year. We know how short our time in the park seems and with most visitors spending less than a week in Yellowstone we thought we would share a quick list of some of our favorite spots to help you prioritize your time in Yellowstone.
BEST TURNOUTS: (If all you have is a day in the park)
- Old Faithful â Going off every 90min you should be able to fit in a viewing. If you arrive just after the last eruption, check in at the visitor center to see if youâre lucky enough to have aligned your visit to an eruption of Grand, Castle, Riverside, Daisy, or even Beehive Geyser. This is what makes Yellowstone unique.
- Lower Falls of the Yellowstone â check out Uncle Tomâs Trail if you want to work the lungs a bit or head to Red Rock Overlook for a great view with a fraction of the crowds compared to Artistâs Point.
- Fairy Falls Trail â Follow posted signs to avoid hazardous terrain while still getting a birdâs eye view of Grand Prismatic Spring. If you have a little more time follow the trail all the way to Imperial Geyser to see Fairy Falls and some of the most accessible backcountry thermals in the park.
BEST SHORT HIKES:Â (<half a day)
- Avalanche Peak (Best mountain top)
- DeLacy Creek to Shoshone Lake (Best spot to relax)
- Boiling River (Best hot soak)
BEST DAY HIKES:Â (most of a day)
- Heart Lake (Best thermals and backcountry lake)
- Union Falls (Best waterfall and backcountry secret)
- Sky Rim Trail (Best mountain escape)
You really canât go wrong if you decide to head out on a backpacking adventure in the park and with so many combinations of sites for different durations we just canât begin to list them.
There are numerous peaks to bag, lakes and rivers to fish, and thermal features to explore, so try to have an adventure in mind when you show up at a backcountry office to book your trip and the ranger will point you in the right direction.
Weâve had a great time teaming up with Munk Pack to share more of our home in Yellowstone with you.
In return we hope weâve been able to fuel your desire to get out and explore Yellowstone. Just because summer in the park is over doesnât mean your time to enjoy it is. As we mentioned in our first post, fall is one of the best times to come out and enjoy the wilds of Yellowstone.
Photos by Davin and Erica Stitgen. See more of their Yellowstone travels and beyond on their blog,Â The Show Starts Now.
One of our favorite places to backcountry camp is up Pebble Creek Trail. We love this area because not only is the mountain valley beautiful, but the drive to the trailhead takes you though the Lamar Valley which is filled with bison herds. And, especially for early morning visitors, Lamar is one of the best areas for bear and wolf sightings.
You can get into the Pebble Creek Valley from either the trailhead near the Pebble Creek Camp Ground or from the Warm Creek Trailhead. The route from the campground climbs the mountain through a beautiful mix of forests and mountain meadows filled with wildflowers.
Entering via the Warm Creek trail is steeper and climbs straight though a forest to the top of the valley. Both routes require you to ford the creek, five crossings along the entire length, so bring some extra footwear so you donât soak your hiking boots.
Once you make the initial climb from either trailhead, the valley flattens and the hike between fords is quick. Although you can find fish in Pebble Creek, if youâre big into fishing a hike over Bliss Pass to the worldâs best Cutthroat Trout stream, Slough Creek, may be well worth the effort.
Weâve camped at 3P3 and 3P4 and both were nice. 3P3 is mid-valley on a wooded bluff overlooking Pebble Creek. Itâs almost impossible to find a campsite 100yds from your bear-pole but there is good water access with a spring right next to the camp. 3P4 is near the top of the valley on a bank overlooking the meadow. This year we camped there. Youâre more exposed to the trail but the views are great and access to the river is easy. Both sites allow campfires and have good access to firewood.
Summers are busy and we donât always have time to dedicate to a backpack trip. When weâre in the mood for a quick hike around the Old Faithful District of the park we like to head down the Fairy Falls trail to check out the social overlook of Grand Prismatic Spring and then continue on to Imperial Geyserâthis year the park service is trying to limit the off-trail travel behind Grand Prismatic so observe the signs.
Another quick getaway is down DeLacy Creek to Shoshone Lake. You may see another group or two along the trail but thereâs plenty of room to disperse around the lakeshore to find your own place to relax.
All of these locations provide a great place to site with nature and refuel with a Munk Pack before making the return trip.
Photos by Davin and Erica Stitgen. See more of their Yellowstone travels and beyond on their blog,Â The Show Starts Now.