July 12th, 2017 by Munk Pack
December 7th, 2016 by Munk Pack
I recently spent a whirlwind few days exploring Amsterdam and fell in love with its colorful house-lined canals, cute cafés, and fascinating history. My husband and I travel to a new place each year for our anniversary; this year, we decided on the “Venice of the North” and it did not disappoint. – Munk Pack Explorer @brittanyexplores
The city itself was way more spread out than I had imagined. We explored mainly on foot, but also by train, ferry, tram, and even canal boat. I was surprised to find out that the canals that characterize Amsterdam aren’t just a section of the city, they actually make up the entire city and wind around for miles.
Highlights of our trip included, (but are not limited to!):
– THE PANCAKES. Forget everything you know about pancakes. Dutch pancakes are delectable, as are their dessert cousin, stroopwaffels.
– THE VAN GOGH MUSEUM. Get tickets beforehand for the earliest slot of the day and you can be one of the first people inside, which allows you to soak in the artwork without obstruction or distraction. Seeing such well-known art right in front of my face was even more impressive than I’d imagined.
– ZAANSE SCHANS. About a 20 minute train ride outside of Amsterdam, Zaanse Schans is a preserved historic windmill village, and the windmills are still in use! It gives you a glance into Dutch history and is the perfect place to spend an afternoon away from the city.
– VONDELPARK. Strolling through the park on a sunny day was beautiful, but you can also explore by bike if you’d like.
– OEDIPUS BREWING. Taking the ferry over to Amsterdam-Noord to check out Oedipus Brewing, which has a lively taproom and delicious craft beers.
– CANAL CRUISE BOAT TOUR. We always do a touristy bus or boat tour when traveling because it turns out to be the best way sightsee while being informed on the history of the city.
– THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE. It feels a little weird to say that this one was SO cool, but it really was. It was extremely surreal to be in the famous Annex where Anne’s family was in hiding during the war. We were also able to learn more about her story, as well as about Amsterdam at that time.
– THE JORDAAN. This was my favorite neighborhood of Amsterdam. It has the most picturesque canals, lined with restaurants and cafés, as well as lots of unique shops and galleries. Grab a beer on the water’s edge, observe the boaters and bicyclists constantly cruising by, then go for some pizza at La Perla!
Planning a trip to Amsterdam and have a question? Send me a DM @brittanyexplores!
August 10th, 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. – 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 “must-see” 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, we’re 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 she’d 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 Thor’s 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 weren’t 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 that’s why Nike has that slogan!
November 5th, 2015 by Munk Pack
The outdoor adventure sports arena has made it’s promises to it’s ever-so-dedicated female following. The forecast is for a whole lot less of the “shrink it and pink it” mentality and a whole lot more of showing men what women can do. I could only imagine the feeling that a male fly-on-the-wall might have gotten at the first Wild Women’s Project last month in the San Juan Mountains. I’d like to think he wouldn’t have been shocked at the amount of driven women in one place, but the reality of the situation is, he would have been blown away.
Permeated with the industry’s top female leaders and fueled by conversations about that time you drank four beers the night before a big race to calm your nerves, and more important topics like conservation and the sacrifices it takes to put your life out on the line and start your own business. These are only a few of the key ingredients that made up the delicious pie that was the beta Wild Women’s Project. These women held power, prowess and pride when they spoke; even while trudging up faces of the San Juans at 13,000 feet! Yes, I said 13,00 feet.
We ran while others hiked, we yoga’d, we hammock’d, we campfire’d, we fueled up on Munk Packs, we dawn patrolled and we coffee’d like we all had known each other for years.
Work is life and life is work for most of the women who stayed up at Opus Hut.
Take Janie and Lindsey of Wylder Goods. They’re launching a website that features products for women in the outdoors with a twist of conservation influence along the way. They’re starting their own business; there is no such thing as a break and I can promise you won’t see any shrink it and pink it marketing behind their innovative new site.
And Brooke Froelich who was one of the amazing ladies with the vision behind the Born Wild Project, a mission to connect the next generation of youth back to the wilderness and away from the screen.
Or Alex Borsuk and Maddie Carey, who both share a love of running, yet they do it for different reasons. Alex is a part time nutritionist who doubles as a badass Instagram influencer who encourages women that it’s never too late to get balls deep in a new favorite sport. Meanwhile, Maddie crafts conservation ethics that leave space for both her love of outdoor recreation and her core belief that we are members of the natural world, not just users of it. Oh and did I mention she’s a speedy little runner too?
The list goes on! Heather Rochfort who started her own awesome adventure blog called Just A Colorado Gal. She writes about her often humorous travel journeys, tips, and reasons you should be outside! Or Sarah Sturm, mountain bike shredder for Team Ska-Zia-Trek. She’s one you want to keep an eye on! This girl has some big dreams for changing the female mountain bike industry. I could go on for days!
On our first hike together, after we all mellowed out and briefed each other on our life backgrounds, we went to a small bright Colorado-blue alpine lake not too far off the beaten path.
Let me start by saying that I’ve never used a GoPro before. It’s not in my nature to whip out a selfie stick and melt in embarrassment as those around me dub me as “one of those selfie-loving-go-pro-chicks.” Is that even a name that people refer to each other as?
Well, that’s where my imagination took me when I was handed a GoPro outside Opus Hut and told to “live it up”. Amongst many videos of the classic, “How do you turn this thing on,” face, I snagged a selfie-video of a moment when it was a bit easier to slide down on our butts instead of facing the downhill scree fields of death. Maddie Carey, Alex Borsuk, Pip Hunt and Sarah Sturm followed right after! Holler at those ladies!
Back at the hut that evening, there was something about listening to female leaders in the outdoor industry converse; their excitement for the future combined with their passion for their businesses could haul a three ton truck up Mount Everest without hesitation.
This last week at Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City, discussions rang clear that women make up 70% of buying decisions. Shouldn’t that be enough to persuade companies to listen to what women actually want? This year there were enough minds just in one room (or hut, rather) to start a change and I think the ladies of the Wild Women’s project are about to step out and rock this world.
Thank you for sponsoring such an amazing event, Munk Pack!
To learn more about the Wild Women’s Project and how you can get involved or even invited to the next project, visit @WildWomensproject on Instagram or go over to the site.
October 14th, 2015 by Munk Pack
Our buddy Sam Matthews flew to San Diego on a whim and then hopped in his friend’s van and headed south of the border. They weren’t exactly sure where they’d go, all we were trying to do is find some good waves and get the full Baja experience.
I had plans to head to California to see my good friend Dylan. We planned to surf and hang out for a few days. I already had a plane ticket and I was leaving in less than a week when I got a text from him saying, ”bring your passport.”
He said we would be going south of the border, into Mexico, to try to find some surf. I was stoked! I had only been down there once before, and it was a very short trip, but now I would be making a surf trip down south!
When I landed in San Diego, Dylan was waiting next to his van just itching to get moving. I threw my bag in and we hit the road. Going through the border was a bit sketchy because we were in a big Chevy work van that Dylan lives in and they, of course, wanted to search it extensively, but we made it across with no problems.
That evening we camped on a cliff just above the beach and met some guys from northern California that were down there trying to find good surf as well. Come nightfall, we built a fire, opened beers, made dinner and shot fireworks off late into the night.
In the morning we woke up to the sound of waves crashing and birds chirping. (Munk Pack in hand.) We headed back to the main road to keep on trekking, but of course we had to stop at the local fish taco stand for lunch before we did anything else. Then, we continued south.
After a solid day of driving and checking beaches with no waves, we eventually made it to a tiny fishing village. Finally, we found the ideal waves. We surfed until darkness settled in and we could no longer feel our toes in the cold, dark water. We then headed back to the van to cook up a much needed meal and brew.
The next morning we woke up with the sun, drove down the beach a ways to this one break where the good waves were. We were all too stoked to get in and didn’t eat breakfast; we put on our wetsuits and stayed out in the water until we were too tired to catch the next set. They were some of the best waves I had ever been on.
We headed north, back to the Golden State. – @samjmatthews
October 8th, 2015 by Munk Pack
Our friends and summer ambassadors, James and Rachel, of Idle Theory Bus, share their travels and reflections 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 park’s rugged wilderness.
Heading up this trip’s adventure crew are the mainstays of Idle Theory Bus, my boyfriend James and I. The last 2½ 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 don’t know what it means to be unplugged for a few days. That’s 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 day’s incomprehensible beauty. – @idletheorybus
July 10th, 2015 by Munk Pack
With Winter winds on everyone’s mind, our friend Ben Matthews, takes us back to spring snow and camping in a fire lookout of stunning Colorado.
After driving up from the quaint little town of Evergreen, Colorado into the mountains, switchback after switchback, we noticed a tiny little cabin-like structure at the top of one of the mountains and I stated, “that’s where we’re going,” and the group quickly became hesitant about what we had gotten ourselves into.
Finally, we arrived at Forest Road 192.1. At this point, the directions told us to drive up one more mile to a parking lot, but to not much of a surprise, this service road was covered with about a foot of snow and travel by car was definitely not possible at this time of year. Reluctantly, we unpacked our cars full of gear, food, and water and packed our bags for a hike that was now double the length of what we were expecting and covered with a foot of snow.
As we continued up the service road, now on foot, carrying our gear became somewhat tough. With every step you took forward, you would slip backwards about an inch because of the snow under our feet and the steep incline of the road. Also, with our Ozark Mountain heritage, the Rocky Mountain air was much thinner than we were used to and breaks were needed often as we trudged up the snow covered path.
As we hiked up the now two-mile hike with an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet, we kept seeing the little cabin-like structure get bigger and closer to us. When we reached the final set of switchbacks, above the tree-line, I made my way to the tower as quickly as I could, despite being winded and hungry.
We arrived to Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout at the perfect time for a beautiful sunset to light the interior of the upper section of the lookout as we settled in for the next two nights. Everybody was just relieved to get a little shelter from the elements for a while and have a beautiful 360-degree view of the Rocky Mountains to the West, the Denver skyline to the East, Pikes Peak to the South and Longs Peak to the North. That night we feasted on chicken tacos and passed the bottle of rum and the bag of wine that was left by the previous inhabitants of this fire tower.
The following morning, we rose to a complete whiteout at the fire tower. The fog had rolled in thick before the sun rose and stuck around for most of the day. With the fog, there was a good amount of snow that got dropped as well overnight and in the early hours of the morning. This was quite the sight to see with windows 360 degrees around in the upper sleeping quarters of the tower. Throughout the day, we did some small explorations on the various ridges that were near the lookout only to come back to warm back up and to refuel our bellies with sandwiches, Munk Packs and hot tea or coffee.
Around 6:00pm, the fog began to drop below us and we were, quite literally, above the clouds and got to experience a beautiful sun set with view of Mt. Evans, Pikes Peak, and Longs Peak. It was a great way to end out the day. – @bentommat
June 16th, 2015 by Munk Pack
Over the long Fourth of July weekend I made my way up to Glacier National Park for two nights of camping and celebration under the big Montana sky.
I flew into Missoula where I met up with my gal and her friends and was given a proper introduction to the town before driving the two and half hours to the National Park.
Having only two days in the park we opted not to do any monumental hikes and instead used our time to swim in the breathtaking Lake McDonald, watch a Fourth of July parade in the quaint little ghost town of Polebridge which is actually located in the park near the Canadian border, and drive on Going To The Sun Road.
The road winds through the mountains of Glacier and even goes over the Continental Divide. Offering picturesque views around every corner we eventually had to tell ourselves to stop pulling over to explore the sights so we could make it back to camp by sundown.
Waking up under towering pines on our last day was like a dream; we walked from our tent in Fish Creek Campground to Lake McDonald to watch the sunrise over the glaciers in the distance. It was one of those moments that is so surreal that a picture could never do it justice, one of those times where the natural beauty of this world leaves you completely speechless.
– Jeremy (@americayall)
“Not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra.” – National Park Service
Yosemite National Park is iconic as it is inspirational. With Lady Luck on our side, we were granted 8 permits in the lottery to climb Half Dome, Yosemite’s most familiar rock formation of granite, on Memorial Day.
We planned a 3 night backpacking trip: one day for the approach to our base camp, one day for Cloud’s Rest, and Half Dome on the last day.
Our trip was full of opposites: shade and sunshine, summits and descents, rain and heat. Our first two days and nights were spent hiking in our rain shells and staying dry in our tents.
Luckily for us, the weather turned for the better as we were able to summit Cloud’s Rest the next day.We set up camp, built a campfire in the backcountry, and were able to dry off as the sun set on us – a revitalizing way to prepare us for the main objective of the trip: to climb Half Dome!
THE BIG HIKE
We started up Half Dome early in the morning to beat the heat and the crowds – we pretty much had the cables all to ourselves! At sub-dome, we fueled up on Munk Packs and made our way to the cables. When we finally reached the top, we soaked up the magnificent 360 degree views of Yosemite.
After ascending 10k feet and hiking over 27 miles, over the course of the weekend, it was time to head back down to the Valley and enjoy some well-deserved pizza.
– Bernice Ngo of @bernini_n