Any person calling the west coast home knows the unrelenting season of snow and blistering cold we had this past winter. We also know it came down well beyond the time we were all ready for heavy doses of vitamin D. Outdoor enthusiast know this more than most. Even as the days began spiking into the 90s and herds of people headed for their most desired swim spots, many of us are still finding the remnants of winter not far away in the mountains.Read More
Nate Betteker has had some firsts with me by following the mantra of "yes" whenever I suggest some crazy adventure, but when recent plans were squashed it was me taking on something new with Nate as the guide. Originally we were both set to be on the John Muir Trail by this time making our way south, but due to a historically record high snowpack we found ourselves in search of something different. Nate being the avid bicyclist he is, a bike ride came up as an idea. After throwing out ideas, good friend Patrick Newell mentioned a ride named the Central Oregon Explorer, so on Monday we left the already warming Portland with a loaded GPS, and a vague sense of what we about to get into.Read More
As an outdoor lifestyle videographer / photographer I find myself constantly with a camera in reach, ready to capture those fleeting moments of perfect natural light, encounters with wild inhabitants, and highlights of action. I find myself building a larger library of clips than I can use. In an attempt to waste little I am starting a series, one that highlights some of these better moments I've filmed in short videos to come out quarterly. Enjoy!
For over a decade now I've lived with Mt Hood looming on the distant horizon. The massive scale shapes the morning sun as its rays ascend over the tall dormant volcano. Its an obvious land mark to anyone bothering to look up from their own two feet. Since those first days my curiosity had me wondering what lies beyond the safe borders of lodges and developed roadways, high up at the timberline and beyond.Read More
2016 was a years of immense ups and downs. When it comes to work i'm extremely appreciative to having work with some creative and innovative people. Filming within the Portland city limits, as well as the high elevation landscape of Mt Hood on this particular project, I collaborated with a crew of talented photographers, stylists, designers and models to create images and coinciding videos for Polartec's Annual Apex Awards.
Being able to work with a lifestyle I am passionate about is something I feel lucky to do. I was able to work along side the Frank creative team as well as the photography team to reimagine a contrasting world of cyborgs and technology in a natural environment, adding an extra element of motion to the images. Definitely on my list of memorable projects I've been a part of. I'm looking forward to many more projects like this in the upcoming year. Check out The Apex Awards to see the finish project.
Something many might not know about me is I come from Portugese decent. My last name lays claim to that. Beyond that fact I can't say much more about my heritage. We don't celebrate our backgrounds that much in my family, being we are a mixed bag of different ethnic nationalities, but the Portugese stands out to me as an important part of me anyways. I've always considered visiting Portugal, although it was never more than a passing thought. When Jen one day brought up her idea to visit the lesser visited southwestern coastal country it perked my curiosity. Then she mentioned the strong surf culture and I was more than convinced. With tickets booked, places to stay lined up, and a smattering of portugese phrases learned we took off over the arctic circle towards warmer, dryer climates.
We lined up a good overall experience staying a few days in a small coastal fishing town of Peniche, a few days at the surf mecca Ericeira, home of the world surf reserve, and a few days in the bustling capital of Lisbon. With some day trips to other cultural hubs like Porto and Cintra we took in a lot of what Portugal had to offer up, each unique to the areas and people that called them home. A glimpse into life in portugal can be seen in these images, but nothing less than making the pilgrimage yourself can really show you just how enticing Portugal really is. Getting back to our roots is a journey we should all take at least once in our lives.
Deep in the southwest, far from the interstate freeways, single lane roads pass through small, virtually desolate towns littered with americana artifacts. Even further beyond them waits a landscape that seems to contradict itself.Read More
The warm days are gaining a foot hold in the Pacific Northwest, bringing more hospitable opportunities to get outside and enjoy the wild places in our very backyard. Along with warmer days comes chances to spend time with great friends, old and new, exploring new spaces and the ones we may have forgotten for a while. It doesn't take much. We don't have to venture very far to find what we are looking for. Lakes and rivers fed by the glaciers melting on the ridges and peaks above, waterfalls battering the river rocks beneath, deep amber glows of the firewood burning, ancient giants standing as groves of trees; this is my happy place...
Here are a few photos from the adventures over the last couple weeks.Read More
I can't really put my finger on it, but somehow over the last decade Canada has eluded me in all except one occasion on a trip up to Vancouver. There it is, just to the north, with all its majestic forests, mountains, and coast line. 10 years since I've moved to the northwest plans were finally made to head beyond the borders, crossing the pudget sound for Vancouver Island.Read More
Any rider who has picked up a shovel, gripped a hammer, or spent time looking over fences for an at least partially emptied pool can attest to the unspoken rules of “respect the efforts of others” and “no help, no ride” (or at least “ask before you partake”). These are the basic golden rules we all abide by, because we know it takes an enormous amount of resources and effort to create those trails, pump the water out of those pools, and form those concrete transitions we all enjoy so much. And nowhere is this code of conduct more relevant than at Burnside.Read More
For a while winters meant down time away from my favorite nature spots. An occasional day up at Timberline or Ski Bowl getting turns in on the snowboard maybe, but not much after that. Last year I decided to change that, with some moderate success. Hikes were happening and even a few overnights, but it was more spots below snow line in the safety of the valleys. But this winter, this winter is on a whole new level. Places usually reserved for warm summer days high up on Mt. Hood have now become my winter playground. I'm not sure, maybe it is the newly acquired splitboard, someone willing to join me on these brutal expeditions in the cold, or just the better side of El Nino give us a huge snowpack in the Pacific Northwest.Read More
I'm looking at year 10 since Oregon became my home. A decade in and I'm still blown away by what Oregon, and the Pacific North West in general hold in the wildlands that blanket the region. From the moment land begins to surface on the coastline, all the way into the high desert east of the craggy Cascade Range, the views are constantly transforming.Read More
There have been a few moments on here where I have seemed MIA. This is not for lack of effort. Recently I have had some exciting opportunities to work together with some incredible people promoting some great causes with videos. Both of the projects, The Watershed Research Cooperative and Driftwood Magazine were successful in bringing their messages to the public. For instance, the Watershed Research Cooperative video was used to highlight one of the most extensive research projects in existence, discussing the impacts of timber harvest on headwater streams and the life within them. Frank Creative, the people behind the scenes on this project were some of the best people to work with.
Driftwood magazine came to me asking for help with their Kickstarter video, which is key to running a successful campaign. With the video and rewards offered Driftwood magazine was able to receive enough support and as you read this the first printed edition is in the works. You can see the video and read more about their campaign at Driftwood Magazine.
Working with both of these groups was such an amazing experience for me and allowed me to bringing my creativity to causes I believe in. Lets see if we can keep projects like these coming to the blog more often.
One of my motivations for first picking up a camera was to share with the rest of the world all the interesting people who have been an inspiration to me in one form or another. My latests project involved two perfect examples of this. Collaborating with Pusher Bmx Shop, rider owned and ran with the concept of giving back to the local scenes, I was given the chance to film two good friends, Nic Bonner and Preston Levi Solis. Originally the plan was to film with Preston, but after finding out Nic had recently moved back to town and getting some daily sessions in with Preston like days long past I couldn't pass up the chance to involve him in the project. One thing I learn repeatedly is to let the story develop itself organically. The addition of Nic meant some hilarious antics and some badass colorado sessions. From the variety of clips and b reel we filmed together over a long weekend in May putting together a compelling story seemed to work out better than could be expected. Projects like this are ones that motivate me to grow and learn more, to further tell a more inspiring story.
I'm laying claim to it right now, declaring this the year of the hammock. This is a simple concept, but maybe not such a simple task to conquer. Any of my time spent overnight in the elements will be spent stretched out in a hammock, at least whenever possible. The benefits are pretty clear to me already; comfort, light weight, quick to set up, second use as a hanging seat. But, there are lots of possible problems and obstacles in the way including weather, and terrain. Here is a good video of one setback on the first overnight of the year.
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id="hLDOz7VVRKk&rel=0" width="640" height="480" auto_thumb="1"] But I won't be deterred so easily. Like any other time we fail at something, we pick ourselves up an try again. Perseverance is necessary when you take on a task with as many obstacles as this. The Lewis river hike brought out this fact. An incredibly scenic hike on the southeast side of Mount St helens, the Lewis river offers several iconic northwest waterfalls, as well as some enormous old growth forests. Anthony Buglio, Ben Lyons and myself made the 2.5 hour trip out to the Lower Lewis River Falls, where the trail begins. Many people may question why anyone would go backpacking during some of the coldest and definitely most wet months of the year. That is exactly why we went backpacking. The three of us decided we needed a night out braving the elements and attempting to blindly ignore the cold, wet climate. It was a Worst Day of the Year kind of hike.
Its was a chilly and damp start as we headed up river away from the lower falls and campground. The trail was clear of snow and ice for the first portion, but what it lacked in winter elements it made up by ways of washouts and fallen widow makers (large, heavy limbs). Before we reached the middle falls we were detoured out towards a fire road and around back to the trail. We didn't catch site of it, but the signs along the trail mentioned a large mudslide that wiped out the trail. The hike around added about a mile, but brought us past some side falls and dense forests of massive Doug Firs. We found our way back to our original path just in time to catch a glimpse of middle falls.
Soon after enjoying a break at the bottom of middle falls we started back up the switchbacks heading further up the river. This was the area we began to see sites of winter. Areas of the trail had patches of snow or piles of fist size chunks of ice. The overcast never cleared up that day but our spirits remained high as we continued up the trail in search of a good spot for camp. Soon we came to a couple areas where the trees thinned out and the ground leveled close to the river. Old growth stands that survived the last timber boom up in this area stand as monuments of the strength of nature if left to flourish on its own.
A couple inspections later and we found our home base for the night. No time for the weary though as we dropped off our bags and finished the hike up to the Upper Lewis River falls, which remained visible from our camp site, through the bare limbs of the brush on the river bed.
The volume of water cascading over the rocky edge of the falls everyday is staggering. This makes for some amazing scenery, but as we learned later that night it also creates a big obstacle for our campsite not far down stream. With the temperatures getting down into the high 20s, low 30s we knew a fire would be an essential element to make tis trip a comfortable one. Ben brought some fire starters with this very idea in mind. It was hard to determine why exactly our failed attempts at creating fire were happening until the following day when breaking down the camp. The weather was clear the night before, yet anything out in the elements collected a layer of moisture we didn't have the day before. Apparently the power of the waterfall created a thin mist of water that constantly blanketed everything down river.
We persevered though, waking up the next day to pockets of sunlight breaking through the clouds. We made one last exploration up to the top of the falls and down to the base of it before packing up and heading home. The area around the Upper falls is a just reward for the short 4 miles each way, giving way to several sites of the Lewis River, waterfalls of varying sizes, and trees large enough to transport you to the land of the lost. During the more comfortable summer months this trail is known to be busy with day hikers and backpackers alike, but our trip only a few weeks into the new year meant we had more room for enjoyment outside the normal encroachment of human society. It was well worth the cold, damp night. And to be honest, I feel I had a comfortable sleep during the night, laying dry, suspended above the wet, cold ground. Chalk up the first trip of the year, the year of the hammock. I imagine its only going to get better.
http://youtu.be/jZmdLn_C1g8?list=UUNlYdrIaEC2c2H9r5Lbc3qg Recently I had the opportunity to help out an incredible cause by filming and editing a piece on Gracie, a beautiful Alpaca who draws your attention the very moment you lay eyes on her. As the organization behind the rescue of Gracie and the prosecution against her abuser, ALDF (Animal Legal Defense Fund) raised funds and provided various resources to help with the case. All in all Gracie was rescued with over 150 other Alpacas, but with Gracie's gentle demeanor and fascinating markings she was chosen to stand as an ambassador for all animals neglected and abused during National Justice For Animals week, and show how a battered beautiful being such as her can be given a second chance at a life of comfort and happiness. The project was filmed over the course of a month, in locations such as Cross Creek Alpaca Rescue and Portland ALDF offices. The video helps to bring awareness to the ALDF organization, the work they do for animals, and the need for people to stand up for these animals that lack a voice to express their pain and horror. Take a moment to visit these organizations online and understand more about who they are and how you can help.
It is an incredible experience to witness an idea come to fruition; a vision contemplated by two friends. For many of us in Portland we got to see this happen with our friends Patrick Dennehy and Matt Roveto in their creation of Blythe and Bennett Records, a small but influential record shop in the heart of the Belmont neighborhood. The transition from an empty store front to a completely functioning shop with bins stacked deep with records and posters blanketing the wall solidified their vision into a reality.
Almost a year later and Blythe and Bennett has found themselves at another milestone. The shops first big in store show with local band The Slutty Hearts recently happened, with a good size crowd coming out for the show.
This past year I was able to be on location of some of the most creative snowboard contests I have seen in a long time. Starting the season off right with a banked slalom contest at Mount Bachelor and ending with the latest Yobeat creation, Mogul Mayhem, in collaboration with Timberline Lodge. I haven't even seen a mogul run since my teenage years in the icy states of New England. The jam format, playlist of some 80's and 90's hits, and some of Â the Timberline park builder's skills created a good atmosphere and course for some mogul slashing. I am always psyched when I get a chance to capture one of these contests so when I had the chance toÂ edit this video of the day to go along with the photography of Jared Souney and camera work of Danny Kern I didn't pass it up. Really excited to see more contests like these in the future.
One of the reasons I was drawn to the northwest is the infinite amount of natural landscape; each one different than the next. Even in a lifetime a person would be hard pressed to see it all.Â
Eagle Creek lies 42 miles from Downtown Portland. It has been one of the staple locations to bring anyone coming to visit the area. Within the first 2 miles the hike offers some great vantage points over the river leading into the Columbia River Gorge and at least 3 waterfalls that deserve some time to appreciate.
Punchbowl is the most infamous waterfall on this hike. Cascading around 2 miles in it becomes a great destination for a short hike. For some years this has been as far as I have explored. When Ben talked about hiking eagle creek I saw the opportunity to venture further up river to Tunnel Falls.
After passing several other waterfalls, a few bridge crossings and what looks to be some promising camping spots for the near future we came to Tunnel Falls. At 165 ft. the water cascades from the forest above, streaming over an 8' by 6' tunnel which travels behind the falls. The trail continues on from here up to Wahtum lake. At almost 13 miles this would be an adventure for another day.Â
Eagle Creek trail to Tunnel Falls made for a good days hike, with several points of interest along the way.
The weather was cold at times, but remained dry and sunny for much of the day. After being further up river I know there will be more days spent up here exploring.
Thanksgiving comes around towards the end of every year. It is the time of year the seasons are in flux; people start to hunker down until the spring when everything comes alive again. After an intense amount of time spent working or in front of my computer I decided to spend the holiday exploring new terrain out in the forest instead. Considering the holiday and the end of the season I knew the trails would be light with traffic and escaping society would be easy, which is exactly what I wanted. It is always good practice to hike with a friend, so I was happy to hear Ben was looking for some similar solitude and decided to join me.
The hike was originally intended to be a little more than 6 miles up and back, but because we attempted a different route back we added a couple of miles and some time bushwhacking to cut across a valley back up to the correct trail from a different ridge. Silver Star gets its name from the pattern of ridges that descend from the summit, creating a star pattern. There is a loop trail that circles around the summit so one wrong choice in trails could lead a person to venture down the wrong ridge.
Silver Star summit has been on my radar for a few years now. Standing tall at 4,364' it is known for having some of the most jaw dropping views of the more well-known giants around it. Towards the north views of Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier fill the void in the sky.
Towards the east, northeast direction Mount Adams stood alone.
Looking south you were greeted with some of the best views of Mount Hood in my opinion. Representing Oregon's wealth in natural landmarks Hood jets upwards and on a good day (not hazy or cloudy) Mount Jefferson can be seen standing to the south.
Sturgeon Rock sits below the summit on the western slope. On the hike up Grouse Trail we kept thinking this was our destination, but with the summit remaining hidden behind a few ridges we were wrong. Sturgeon rock adds some good foreground contrast to the many mountains that fade into the horizon.
Up on the summit we spent some time enjoying the Tofurkey, peas and corn I made the night before. On the lower summit we noticed another hiker who had similar ideas for the holiday. Sitting up there, taking in the 360 degree views of some of the northwest's largest natural monuments, I was giving thanks for the opportunities and inspirations that leadÂ to my adventure and the many other experiences that came before this. Knowing I am not alone in sharing this feeling gives me confidence for the future generations.