Hana Highway

Not too long ago I went to my very first bachelor party. While there, and after hearing I was planning a trip to Hawaii, I was immediately told “you must ride the Hana Highway“.

If you are too lazy to click the link you might be asking yourself, what is the Hana Highway? It’s basically an extremely scenic highway that runs along the north/northeast of Maui, leading to the town of, you guessed it, Hana. So we flew to Maui with just our backpacks, rented some nice road bikes, and rode the 50-or-so miles to Hana. Although we had an excellent time hanging in Hana after our arrival, me sitting on the beach drinking rum makes for an even worse video than the ride there and back. So without further stalling, here is the Road to Hana.

 

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Mahalo for visiting

Hawaii is a really neat place. In what is truly a very small amount of land, there exists an intense amount of beauty. Massive cliffs, amazing water, gorgeous beaches, inspiring jungles, and an innate passion for foam hats. These are things I will always remember about Hawaii.

My trip was multi-faceted. The first portion consists of some very cool hikes, beach trips, snorkeling, and all other matter of vacation excellence. Although pictures would have sufficed, I was recently gifted a GoPro (a replacement for older toys), and thus you the reader must now sit through a home movie. I apologize in advance.

Stay tuned for more super excellent Hawaii videos. Mahalo for watching!

F*@# the woods, give me some toys

As I’m sure everyone knows, the outdoor community is outraged with a Toys ‘R’ Us commercial that has recently come out. Basically, it shows a gaggle of children getting onto an outdoor education bus, and then being pleasantly surprised that they will not be learning about the outdoors, but instead going to Toys ‘R’ Us. See the commercial below.

Needless to say, my fellow outdoor enthusiasts are totally un-stoked about this, because of the obvious association that says the outdoors and outdoor education are boring, and materialism and toys are good/better.

I’m torn on being upset. How about the fact that my fellow outdoor amigos and I spend inordinate amounts of money on material items called ‘outdoor gear’ (but really toys one uses outdoors). And dig a little deeper here towards the ‘behind the scenes’ and one learns that these children are from Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters. So these kids could use a toy, and the outdoor community could perhaps learn to chill a bit.

Regardless of their deserving manner, it appears this is not really touched upon in the advertisement. What is touched upon is that the outdoors are boring, and toys are fun/better. For a 6-11 year old, I sadly think this might be true. But this is likely due to the fact that they don’t really have fun associations with the outdoors. Children grow up in suburbs or cities with no positive association to the woods and the outdoors. And the outdoor education cliche of being boring is frankly speaking, often times true. What 6-11 year old wants to learn about trees and leaves? Lets immediately fix this by making the outdoors fun for the same reason adults love the outdoors, it’s an adventure. Children love adventures, and they love fun, which is why they love toys. The second we make the outdoors fun, is the second that children will grow up cherishing them, and thus have the desire to protect and defend them later on. I say we need more programs that bring children to the woods to play, that turn the outdoors into a playground, that make it an adventure. Let’s present the outdoors to children in a manner that a child would understand, not in the manner that a botanist would understand.

This kid is having fun outdoors, and will always have fun outdoors

This kid is having fun outdoors, and will thus always have fun outdoors (sadly this is not me as a child)

I loved the outdoors at a young age. This is because I was fortunate enough to be a part of groups that put me in adventurous and fun outdoor programs, as well as having parents that supported my desires to explore local trails and country parks. Once the activity is fun, then the desire to learn and be an advocate will follow.

Also, if I had a nickle for every time I ran through Toys ‘R’ Us like a maniac as a child, I would be able to afford that new GoPro.

In with the new, out with the old

But more like ‘to someone else with the old’.

This was the theme of my past week, when I suddenly wondered how fast I could sell my bike. I like this bike, but use it for utilitarian purposes, and it has no real sentimental value to me. In fact, no bike has any real sentimental value to me, they are just tools to accomplish a task.

It served me well

It served me well

Above is the bike in question. So I went on over to the bike section of Craigslist, but not before checking out the scourge of humanity that exist on the personals. Pro tip: if you want to find the lowest, saddest, and most depressing representation of the human condition, pay a visit to the personals on Craigslist. Sorry in advance if: you found your significant other there, you post there, whatever. Also don’t tell me you’ve never wondered about it, DONT LIE TO ME.

Anyway, so I put together a nice little post, and sent it on its way to the wide world of Craigslist ads. Short story short, within the next two hours, I had sold the bike, and it was gone the next day. So then I went online, found a cool new bike and bought it same day. Here it is.

Its green

It’s green

So yea, that’s kind of it. Sometimes you just gotta switch it up and keep it fresh you know? Also don’t ever visit the personals at Craigslist, especially those with photos. There are some things you can’t unsee.

DIY? More like kill yourself

Some of you no doubt have seen this ever popular video of an outfitting company who went out and built the “worlds largest/craziest swing.”

Now this looks like a very interesting and terrifying activity. However it appears to be administered by an outdoor outfitter and presumably with large attention to detail and safety. Although this makes me feel alright about the activity, it saddens me to report that someone took their monkey-see-monkey-do instincts to a unfortunate place, and killed themselves attempting to recreate this activity.

Sheriff’s Lt. Kim Neal reported that the “length of rope to swing from the arch was miscalculated and when [Stocking] swung under the arch, he struck the ground . . . receiving fatal injuries.”

This is a more successful execution of the giant swing.

This is a more successful execution of the giant swing.

Even though I kinda feel bad for this person, another part of me doesn’t feel bad at all. How thick does someone have to be in order to think this activity can be put together in an afternoon with a cursory understanding of rope dynamics? I suppose the answer is someone with a very poor sense of judgment and an even worse grasp on rope stretch and geometry.

In any case, this should be a cautionary tale to all the ‘do it yourselfers’ out there. When attempting to set up a hundred foot drop swing in the desert, don’t.

Ciao Costa Rica!

As most good things in life, they often come to end. Such is the case with my time in Costa Rica. After a little over a year in the rich coast, I am now back in the good ol’ USA. Although it has been sad to leave the place I called home, it’s simultaneously good to be back amongst old friends and family.

Views and mornings like this will surely be missed

In any case, I will look upon my time fondly and remember every experience to the fullest. Costa Rica has taught me many things, most of all to appreciate everything I encounter (I could have said a ton of pseudo inspirations stuff there but I felt that the least intrusive). My last week or so in the rich coast was certainly busy, with work wrapping up and my attempts to squeeze as much fun in as possible. Below you will find a short video with some scenes of my last night out, as well as some of my favorite views from Costa Rica.

So what’s next you ask? Well stay tuned, as like all things in this world, life goes on!

Crying in the fetal position

Warning: it’s another bike riding post.

So this past weekend I headed down to the hot and humid region in the northeast of the country for a long, but flat, bike ride. The highlight for the ride had to be the crossing of a very large river, which was done in two sections. The first was over a long (approx. 1 km) abandoned train bridge, and the second was a waste deep river crossing. To be totally honest, the bridge scared me quite a bit. I have done many things involving large heights and dangerous activities, but for whatever reason walking across this old bridge made me extremely nervous. Maybe it was because all the wooden support beams were very slick, or perhaps it was because most were rotting and falling apart when I stepped on them, or perhaps because in between each support beam there was just enough room for me to fall through to my death. Regardless of what was making me nervous I made it across, and then finished it all off with a climb down the safest ladder I have ever seen in my life.

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The next portion of our crossing was a river, which came in two portions. The first portions was only knee deep at most, followed by a chest deep section. This more than anything else made me wonder how my companions managed to keep all their phones/cameras dry. It seems they can forge a river and still have a functioning phone, where as a week of humidity killed anything/everything I owned.

In any case, the ride was a fine practice in personal challenges, and also a practice in sweating for 5 hours straight.