Sunday, December 28, 2008

Come out and vote!

The new poll on TeamKettle requires a bit of an explanation, so here´s the latest update on my travels in South America. My return flight is scheduled for the day after tomorrow. I have decided to stay down here longer so I can run the legendary Futaleufu River in the southern part of the country. Now I´ve encountered some obstacles with returning home.

After severals hours of outrageously intimidating phone conversations in spanish, I was finally able to speak with the right person at the airlines and successfully communicate my desire to change the date of my ticket. Much to my dismay, the charge for such a simple maneuver turned out to be much more that I had anticipated: somewhere around $1,000. And then I would still have to spend $150 and four days getting to Lima, a city I have no desire to return to.

So now my search has begun to find an alternative way to get home. Here are the options that jump out at me immediately.

1) Get a new flight
After a few minutes online, I was able to find a more affordable ticket one-way from Santiago to LAX. This would be the easiest, but least adventurous option imaginable.

2) Take a boat
I don´t really know anything about this one, but the travels of my uncles Bob and Rob have gotten me thinking: it could be pretty neat to spend 10 days cruising back north via the great Pacific Ocean, with a few days in port at various cities. But I would imagine a cruise to be a tad cost-prohibitive.

3) Drive
How stupid of me would it be to spend a bunch of money on a truck, plan on driving it the 10,000 kilometers back to California, then have it break down in Colombia, if it even made it that far? But I really do want one of the pickups everyone down here has......

4) Ride
Perhaps it would be even stupider (though cheaper) to buy a motorcycle, learn how to ride it, and spend a few weeks on the saddle working my way through all of South and Central America.

5) Hitch
Alternately, I could stick my thumb out there on the Pan-American Highway and see who I meet. It could save me a lot of money unless I get into some real trouble. Like a kidnapping or something!

6) Give up
It sure would be convenient if I just fell in love with some beautiful Argentinean lady who loved cooking and wanted to take me and my friends kayaking on a regular basis. Then I wouldn´t have to worry about this travelling nonsense.

So look over the options, think about them, and cast a vote in the little box in the right-hand column of the blog homepage. If you have another idea I haven´t yet considered, leave a comment. Let´s see how creative everyone can get!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The New Flavor on the Block

I was wondering through our local market the other day. It was a normal shopping experience. But, as I was perusing the beer and chip aisle I was struck by a huge surprise. Kettle came out with a new flavor! Sweet Onion! Oh momma I was excited. Of course I bought a bag to acompany my six pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and headed home. The pairing was great.
The chips are definitely more sweet then oniony, but have a perfect onion finish. I ate the whole bag and drank the hole six pack in the one sitting. I was left wanting more!

(photo courtesy of Kettle Foods)

Sweet Onion is a great new addition from Kettle Foods and I look forward to eating another bag soon!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Smalls Portugal?

One of our favorite young rippers studying abroad in Portugal for this school year. Ben Smalls is an up-and-coming snowboarder, kayaker, mountain biker, and awesome dude. While Ben is in Portugal he is maintaining a really cool blog, so we wanted everyone to check it out!

The link is: Ben in Portugal

We hope you enjoy!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween 2008

If you saw last year's Halloween post, then you already know that Halloween in Ashland is a BIG deal. If you didn't then take our word for it. Much of Ashland, and those from far and wide, pour into the city center for a huge party in the plaza. Around 2,000 people show for the festivities in the downtown of our small town. Every bar is packed to the brim and the bartenders can hardly keep up with the demand of libations. Of course, we celebrated in style. Travis dressed as Oscar the Grouch. Verelle dressed as Ursula.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Río Mapacho: V - Day 4

The gettin´ gits good!

As we staggered into camp the previous afternoon exhausted from portaging half of the last three km, we were pretty unenthused to see the next rapid. Just below camp, the river divided around, under, and through more big boulders in a steep drop. It seemed like the seives of Orange Canyon continued for quite some distance. Upon closer inspection, however, the rapid looked very manageable. We got to start our day off with a steep class V, one of the best rapids of the trip.
The rapid, dubbed ¨Buenas Dias,¨ was particularly intimidating because our warm-up consisted of a dicy seal launch and paddling around in a 20-foot pool above the rapid. The twisting channel was only about 5 feet wide and required a couple boofs into cross-currents, the second one landing between a sticky hole and an undercut. In the end, we all made our way through the rapid unscathed with big smiles, and started looking forward to the day to come.

Peruvian topo maps are most widely available in the 30´quadrangle series. The entire run on the Río Mapacho spans five of these maps; we were able to get one of them. Conveniently, we arrived on the map the day before, around lunchtime. The map indicated that our gradient was tapering off from the afternoon before, but we still had five kilometers to Puente Sahuay, the landmark indicating the end of Orange Canyon. In spite of a great wake-up rapid, we were fearing a torturous morning of portages.

Below Buenas Dias, the river indeed opened up. We took turns leading through class III boulder gardens until a horizon line where one of us got out to scout. It turned out to be another clean class IV with a great boof. Such was the character of the river for the next several miles. The enormous orange boulders disappeared and gave way to black gorge walls. We saw fewer and fewer undercuts and, to our delight, not a single portage.

Mike and Kase below Orange Canyon. You can sort of make out the elevation drop of the rapid hidden behind the river-right wall

We had a few more scouts and plenty of good class III/IV whitewater leading up to the welcome sight of the Puente Sahuay bridge.
The road doesn´t cross here, but does come within a few hundred feet of the river on the left. From here it switchbacks up and out of the canyon, into the neighboring Yantile River valley which is more populated. This is an optional take-out/resupply/evacuation point, but traffic is non-existent and the hike out would be....long.

Zak at Puente Sahuay

Below Puente Sahuay, we enjoyed several more miles of continuous, mindless class III boogey water. We were all able to relax a bit and pound out some much needed miles (We were already a full day behind the 7-day schedule.) We left Puente Sahuay around 10:30 and by noon, we were cold, hungry, and opted for a long lunch break. It may not have been the best time to subject ourselves to food comas, because some of the biggest whitewater of the trip waited just downstream. Just before lunch we stopped briefly to talk with a local who was setting up his fishing lines. He gave us a bunch of fresh oranges and avocados. When we inquired about what lay downstream, ¨mas saltos,¨(more waterfalls) he said. ¨Mas saltos.¨

We didn´t really know what to expect, but the topo map indicated a single kilometer dropping 50m, a gradient of 250 fpm. Shortly after lunch we saw why. We arrived at a major horizon line, with no view of the river below, except for the huge boulders and narrow canyon. Scouting looked great on the left so I made my way over to an eddy. Kase and Dave on the other hand, seemed to be considering boat scouting. Kase hovered just above the lip of the drop giving it a close look, then looked at us with a big grin and disappeared over the edge with a right boof stroke.

I didn´t know what to think, but Kase seemed to feel it was good to go. One by one, Dave and Zak followed suit and vanished. I joined Mike in the ¨scouting¨eddy and was able to see the rest of the team down below. About 20 vertical feet below. Intimidating as the gradient was, we were getting hand signals that it was clean. Mike dropped off next leaving me separated from the group by a steep, unscouted class V drop.

Mike on the entrance ledge. The boulders obsure the view of the bottom half of this drop.

From the pool above I couldn´t see much of the first drop, but they said boof left. I could see that the second part was a slide with a tight line between piton rocks and the right wall. After that, no ideas. So I took a couple breaths and went for it. I got a running start towards the lip and launched off the ten-footer with a hard boof. I kept the boat flat in the air, landed with a loud splat and started driving right for the next slide.

I don´t even remember the rest of the rapid. I went screaming past the other guys in an eddy below the slide and I vaguely recollect going deep into a pillow and resurfacing like a breaching whale, only upright. Or perhaps it was more like a dolphin saying ¨so long and thanks for all the fish.¨ Anyway, I kept the upside up and parked in a pool below feeling elated with what was by far the largest drop I´d ever run blind.

Mike on a rapid shortly below the big one

For the next half-mile or so, we continued to run class IV+ and V rapids without scouting, thanks to incredible probe work and good communication from Kase. Eventually the class V´s vanished and we kept momentum going through several miles of good class IV whitewater.

Mike evading focus but nailing a boof

Around three in the afternoon, we started looking for a camp and quickly stumbled upon a great beach hidden by boulders. We lost a lot of elevation today, and the canyon was starting to show signs of the jungle. Namely, a banana tree in camp, a small plot of coca (as in cocaine) plants, and spiders the size of my hand.

Río Paucartambo/Mapacho: V - Day 2

The Fun Begins.........Then Ends Abruptly

If you haven´t read it, start with day 1.

We woke up in the morning, did our morning business, and eventually had our boats loaded up and on the water. Right out of camp we rounded a corner, passed under a swinging footbridge, and left the arid braided river valley for good. The vegetation turned distinctly greener, but was of course nothing compared to the jungle to come.

The river flowing through a greener canyon

We also got to some of our first rapids. The morning was mostly manky class III/IV with a few fun moves and no scouts. It proved perfect for our team to learn to paddle with each other and get used to the heavy boats. Since all the weight was in my stern, my Hero actually boofed pretty well several times, so I had that going for me.

One of the earlier boulder gardens

The day wore on slowly with more boulder gardens toward the afternoon. The whitewater already didn´t match the description we brought with us at all, but around 2 pm we arrived at what we presumed was the ¨first class V.¨

At our flow it wasn´t too difficult, but extra manky. The river divided and dropped steeply through a boulder garden with tight channels. We started boat-scouting through the first few meters. Kase and I went for a channel on the right while the other boys went left. I hung out in an eddy while Kase probed and soon he was out of sight.

I never saw him again to get beta and couldn´t tell if he was safely through the rapid. Dave on the other hand, was through and Mike gave me a signal that his side was fine, so I made my way back left. When I got there, Mike was out of his boat scouting. Zak seemed to be portaging. Dave and Kase were out of sight. Mike told me the line was scrapy, but fine and pointed me through a good channel to the next eddy.

Mike finishing off the steep rapid

I hopped out to scout the next drop while Zak continued dragging his boat around the drop. When Mike caught up to me, he filled me in on the situation. Zak had probed, gotten pinned, and dropped his paddle. It had taken off downstream so Dave and Kase had given chase looking for it.

Mike and I finished off the rapid, met Zak below, and got out Mike´s breakdown for him. The three of us then charged ahead, running one more scrapy class IV rapid before catching Dave and Kase. They hadn´t seen the paddle either. We doubted it could have stayed far ahead of us and imagined it was upstream still: in an eddy or pinned under a rock.

It was already 3:00 so we decided to camp there and search for the paddle for the rest of the afternoon. We split up to both sides of the river, leaving one person at camp to watch the river, and hiked back upstream. It was only a half-mile back up to the rapid, but still took us over an hour to scour the eddies. After thorough searching, we ultimately returned to camp defeated and prepared another dinner.

Gearing down at the end of the day

So there we were. After only eight days of paddling in Peru, we had already broken/lost two paddles between the four of us. Both of our breakdowns were now in use and we still had eight more days of reportedly difficult whitewater ahead of us with only a couple of known bail-out options. Kase still had a spare paddle, but I still went to sleep that night wondering if this Paucartambo mission was really such a great idea.......

on to day 3

Río Paucartambo/Mapacho: V - Day 1

A Grand Farewell

It´s not like we knew any of them, but we seemed to be pretty big news for the residents of the colonial pueblo of Paucartambo. Hundreds of people gathered on the historic stone bridge and the village flood walls to watch our departure, ignoring the local parade a couple blocks over. Here were five gringos sitting in colorful plastic potatoes talking about travelling by river from their mountain town to the jungle 8,000 feet below. Since its first descent in 1986, there have likely only been about ten complete descents of the Paucartambo River, several of which have started further downstream and the end of the valley. It´s entirely possible that many of these locals have never seen kayakers before, hence their excitement to play with our equipment and wave us off into the canyon.

Anticipation for this trip had been building for over a month when we first discussed this run amongst other Peruvian destinations. Initially, I was only moderately serious about considering the Paucartambo. The three pictures I´d seen looked pretty, but write-ups warned of strenuous portaging over unstable landslides, continuous class V dropping 250 feet/mile, and something about an unscoutable, unportageable class VI gorge. However, as our team assembled and we acquired more beta, our hopes rose and we started planning our entire trip around running the Paucartambo before the rainy season hit.

This river goes by many names. Road maps and kayakers refer to it as the Paucartambo. Locally, it´s known as the Mapacho for much of its length until the final stretches where it winds through the jungle under the name Yavero. Our put-in was at nearly 10,000 feet above sea-level and over the course of 230 km (140 miles) the river drops to around 1,500 feet near the edge of the Amazonian Rainforest. Other teams had completed the run in five to eight days with full days on the water and strong teams. This is a full-on expedition with some fairly daunting statistics indeed.
Zak marvels at a trash avalanche into the river, reminding us that we´re still roadside

With our group of five, we chose to pack for ten days, nine nights on the water and take it slow, especially the first couple of days. The quantity of food in addition to our camping and emergency gear meant the heaviest boat I´d ever paddled. I had a trash bag full of bread sitting in my lap just to make everything fit in. Fortunately, the first day didn´t challenge us with any real whitewater.
Mike draws the attention of more locals downstream in the valley

After leaving the crowded bridge at Paucartambo, we started working our way through the 15 miles of braided channels and gravel bars in the lower end of this agricultural valley. After an hour or so, a local farmer waved us down to chat. We told him what we were up to and he offered us some of the hot boiled potatoes he was having for lunch.

Around 3:00, we had passed the town of Challabamba and the end of the real road, so we decided to call it a day. We found plenty of firewood to cook up our no-frills meal of soup and lentils, then got some rest for the next day´s whitewater.

on to day 2

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Week 2: So far so good!

We´ve been so busy getting used to Peru for the last couple weeks that I don´t even know where to begin. Our biggest obstacle with this entire expedition so far was just getting our boats down here. Most airlines accept large, fragile packages as excess baggage, but explicitly refuse to take kayaks. And as such we spent several hours at LAX trying to get around the regulations. Ultimately, after going through four levels of upper management, one mighty strong cocktail, plenty of sweet talking and much demonstrative boat kicking, we got on the plane.

Upon arriving in Lima, we were pleased to see that our boats had made it on the plane too. We were quite displeased, however, to see Lima. After we the plane decended through the clouds but before touching down, we all agreed that we needed to leave that city!

The climax of our time spent in Lima

We spent the day enriching ourselves in the culture with some Dominos Pizza, sprite, and scotch. The following morning, we were in the air again and bound for Cusco, one of the whitewater (and as it turns out, tourist) capitals of the country.

Cusco was much more in line with what we wanted out of a town. The hostels are abundant, restaurants cheap, and it has been easy to move around on foot. The local economy is also quite used to gringos and most people speak slowly and simply. Not that it helps me understand them, but is certainly an endearing gesture.

Mike and Zak enjoying the view of Cusco

By our second day in Cusco, Mike, Zak and I were packing for a three-day trip on the Rió Apurímac, one of the classic Peruvian whitewater trips. We were treated to excellent food courtesy of Mayuc Expeditions and had a terrific introduction to paddling in Peru with loaded boats.

A typical view on the drive to the put-in

Upon returning to Cusco, we were joined by Dave Kashinski, a friend of Mike and Zak´s from their previous trip to Chile in ´05. We quickly put together a day trip on the upper section of the Apurímac, known as Black Canyon. Our beta was limited on this section, but we scouted lots and had another great day on the water.

Plenty of good boating down here!

After our Apurímac exploits, we were invited back with Mayuc for the Tambopata river, a 6-day trip through the jungle. The Tambopata is a logistical nightmare and a terrific wildlife trip with minimal whitewater. Unfortunately, the aforementioned nightmare got in the way and we never got the opportunity to see said river. Instead we grabbed a cab to the Sacred Valley for a couple days of boating on the Urubamba.

A roadside view into the sacred Urubamba Valley

Somewhere along the line here, I looked up at the night sky and realized that every single star is new to my eyes. Still, the stars are about the most familiar sight down here. The change of scenery has been more than refreshing and the spirit of vacation has taken over. I´ve lost track of days of the week and even how long I´ve been here. Half the time we´re on the river. The other half, we´re figuring out how to get back on the river. Cusco has been a fun town to hang out in, but we´re all just about ready to leave.

Packing boats for overnighters

The entire gringo culture here is about going to Machu Picchu and the local culture is all about selling us things. The ¨handmade 100% alpaca¨ blankets are obviously fabricated. One woman sits on the stairs with the same half-knit sock each day to make it look like she´s making what she sells. Every ten steps someone is heckling us: selling paintings or weed or massages or suggesting the best bar for the night. But I don´t intend to trash talk Cusco. As I mentioned earlier, it has been very approachable for us. I´m just tired of explaining that I don´t want my shoes shined. They´re flip flops for god´s sake!

Zak getting ready for another day on the river

As I write, the other boys are back at the room packing for our next adventure, which may turn out to be the climax of our entire trip down south. Tomorrow we launch on the Río Paucartambo. The Paucartambo drops 8,000 feet of elevation over the course of 230 kilometers. It is likely that fewer than 20 teams of kayakers have ever completed this run. It´s not epically difficult, but has its fair share of challenges. We are planning on a 9 to 11 day trip, which is more than twice what any of us have done without raft support.

More beautiful and comitting canyon country

So for the next two weeks, no news is good news for us. We have spent lots of time preparing for this expedition and it promises to be one of my most memorable adventures. And on a completely different subject, no wonder south american teams always kick our asses at soccer:

This field is in the middle of nowhere at 14,000 feet. It looks like you could kick a ball off the edge of the world from here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Spreading the Kettle love near and far

The All-Trac in prime form

It feels like now is a pretty appropriate time to check back in and start blogging again. I keep hearing "Dan, why haven't you been posting on TeamKettle lately?", so there are two answers: 1) I just haven't had any big adventures lately that justify posting; or 2) I've been so busy doing super-cool exciting things that I just can't decide on one thing to write about. So here's the short version of my Spring/Summer. Check The Water Cycle for more detailed reports.

In March, I finished/dropped out of school and move back in with Travis & Verelle in Ashland. I spent the following two months driving the All-Trac around Califoregon with kayak on the roof and Kettle chips in the trunk. I got on several classic rivers this spring including the Smith rivers, NF Yuba, Pauley Creek, Kidder Creek, Clear Creek, and the Cal-Salmon. Additionally, I spent two days on a self-support trip down the Lower McCloud.

My new favorite move on Upper Clear Creek

Once late May rolled around, it was time to venture back to Idaho. I started the season off with a high-water 350-mile decent of the Salmon River. I launched on Marsh Creek with four other paddlers and ran down to Indian Creek Guard Station on the Middle Fork. There we joined the pre-season OARS-Dories training trip which ran for the next 11 days onto the main Salmon and down past Riggins. At the entrance to the Lower Gorge, all the rafts took off and my brother Mike and I self-supported in our kayaks running 75 miles in less than a day. With the river flowing 40,000 cfs, we were running the river higher than most people will ever see it: twice the flow where commercial outfits call off trips as a safety precaution.

About to get swallowed by Devil's Slide, 40,000 cfs

For the rest of the season, I guided a variety of oar rafts, paddle boats, and dories on the Snake and Salmon Rivers. It's my job, but I hate to call it work when summers are so much fun! The season was highlighted by several adventures such as safety kayaking for ROW on the Lochsa River, running the class IV South fork of the Salmon as a three-day self-support trip with other guides, and hiking in the Wallowa mountains of northeastern Oregon.
Lightweight Kettle Chips are crucial on overnight kayak trips

I am now back home in La Grande making final preparations for my next big adventure: Peru. My brother Mike, our friend/co-worker Zak, and myself are traveling to the Southern Hemisphere on October 5, where we'll spend the next three months with our kayaks searching out new rivers to explore. We don't yet have a very concrete itinerary, but several rivers are on our to-do list, including the Cotahuasi, Colca, Urubamba, Apurimac, and Paucartambo.

While down south, we will be facing many challenges including language, transportation, disease, and whitewater. For now, however, our big challenge is just getting down there. We have plane tickets for ourselves. Our boats are another story......Stay tuned for updates on the travel debacle!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Oregon's Top Ten Adventures

Hello blog readers. I'm sure that we, Team Kettle has already made it painfully obvious that we love adventure. And while we still have considerably more journeying to do, we figured it was about time to create a post of our top ten adventures in the beautiful state of Oregon. We are not trying to be partial to the beaver state, it just happens to be the one in which we reside and play the most.
So, although these are not all adventures which we have participated in, YET, we believe that they are all worthy of being on our top ten.
Listed in no particular order, here they are:

#1 Kiteboarding the Columbia River Gorge in Hood River
If you are one of those individuals that enjoys being a trendsetter, get to your local water sport dealer and buy yourself a brand new kiteboard. Kiteboarding is a young sport, but is quickly growing in popularity. For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, the kiteboarder straps a board to their feet, not unlike a wakeboard. The kiteboarder also holds a large kite, which they control, to propel themselves across the water.
According to, "the Hood River Sandbar is the only sandy kiteboarding launch in the Gorge, it is also one of the most consistently windy spots in the entire country." And who can resist an excuse to visit Hood River anyways. With their local breweries, Big Horse Brewing and Full Sail Brewing, and their conveniently close location to such beautiful orchards, Hood River is the ideal place to strap on a kiteboard, eat a bag of Sea Salt and Vinegar Kettle Chips, and wash them down with a cold pint of local brew.
Kiteboarding instruction and gear is available from Big Winds.

#2 Rafting the Illinois River
With two members of our team being trained rafting guides, there was little question as to the best river to raft in Oregon. The Illinois is incredibly scenic and has fantastic rapids. And, according to our very own Dan, rafting the Illinois is "the most remote overnight rafting trip in the lower 48. For 33 miles, the river carves a steep canyon through the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area in southwestern Oregon before meeting with the Rogue. The 'river trail' is high up on the north rim and only comes down to water level once. The only way to see this canyon is from a boat. There are no roads, no houses, no damn jet boats, no hikers and, because the flow window is so narrow, usually no other boaters."
Sounds like an exciting and intimate rafting trip!
Of course, while rafting with a local guide company, like Momentum River Expeditions, we recommend warming up around your campfire with a bag of Death Valley Chipotle. Spicy!

#3 Cycling the Vineyards of Willamette Valley - The Vine Ride
Any avid cyclist in the Portland area can attest to the beauty of seeing beautiful, rolling hills, blanketed in row upon row of fertile grape vines around every winding corner.
You can go for an intense century ride that includes a hilly loop around Henry Hagg Lake. Or opt for a more leisurely ride through some of Willamette Valley's small communities, like Dundee, Carlton, and Yamhill, being sure to stop at some of the wine studios for tastes of their world-class wine.  Wether you are a dedicated cyclist, or just looking for a relaxed and scenic cruise, the Willamette Valley has something to offer everybody.
You can participate in the Vine Ride that happens each August, or plan a route of your own (Willamette Valley Wineries Association is helpful). Either way, if you pack a bag of Tuscan Three Cheese chips to munch on, you will surely feel as though you are gliding through the hills of Burgundy, France.

#4 Climbing Smith Rock
Just north of Redmond in Central Oregon is world-class climbing at Smith Rock. 
With more than 1500 routes, Smith Rock State Park offers beginning through advanced climbing routes. Even if you don't climb, the park is a beautiful place and worth a stop. 
There are also too many other attractions near the park to even mention, but if you are fortunate enough to also see a concert at Bend's Les Schwab Amphitheater while on your climbing trip, then you are really in for a treat. 
If you do climb Smith Rock, we highly recommend that you bring along a bag of Cheddar Beer chips. Savor the view, savor the flavor!

#5 Fly Fishing the Deschutes River
About 2 hours west and slightly south of Portland is the small town of Maupin. The town is a bueaty, and people come from all over to fly fish near the portion of the Deschutes river that runs through the town.  The trout and steelhead fishing is world-class. 
The river also has something to offer rafters: class I-IV rapids!
The town is also very quiet and relaxing; so a trip to the Deschutes, wether for fly fishing, rafting, or nibbling a bag of Sour Cream Onion & Chive potato chips, is always worth the drive.
If you are looking for a great guide, we recommend Charles "Chuck" Gehr or any of the other helpful folks at Deschutes Angler.

#6 Mountaineering Mount Hood
If you are looking for some real, hardcore adventure, consider summiting Mount Hood. 
At 11,249 feet tall, Mount Hood is the tallest mountain in Oregon and is home to twelve glaciers. About 10,000 people attempt the climb each year.
The best time to climb Hood is in April, May and June. It is necessary to be in great physical condition to do the climb. For those who are not experienced mountaineers, it is crucial to hire a guiding service. They can provide you with necessary equipment and skills, and even a ride halfway up the mountain. The Mazamas Organization has a lot of great information.
Wether you pack it to the top, or enjoy it afterwards, a bag of Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper chips is absolutely necessary to reward yourself.

#7 Surfing at Otter Rock
Most folks don't typically think of the Oregon Coast when they think of hanging ten. But as long as you are outfitted with a proper wetsuit and booties (and maybe even gloves and a hood), the Oregon Coast is a great place to catch a few waves. Typically, even the hotspots are not too crowded, and the other surfers tend to be far friendlier than those found in other surfing Meccas around the world. 
Otter Rock State Park is located south of Lincoln City, and north of Newport. It is about 2 hours from Portland, and well worth the drive. 
If you are just getting started surfing (or even if you've been doing it for years), the dudes and dudettes at the Oregon Surf Shop have always been incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. They can help you with gear rentals or purchases, and they provide lessons. Bring them a bag of Spicy Thai chips, and they might be your friend for ever (just don't forget to bring a bag for yourself as well). They are also a great place to stop and get a picture of yourself riding the giant fiberglass wave that sits next to the store. 

#8 Snowboarding/Skiing Willamette Pass
You might have expected to see snowboarding or skiing on the list of Top Oregon Adventures, given that all members of Team Kettle are ski bums. But you may not have expected us to choose one of Oregon's smaller mountains for the list. 
We chose Willamette Pass because, while it is a smaller mountain, they do have a six-person chair lift, along with four tripples, a tube lift, and a magic carpet. They have a small, cozy lodge and the very friendly staff is certainly worth mentioning. Day passes are also very inexpensive at $40 for an adult day pass (compare to Meadows on Mt. Hood at $54-$69!). 
Willamette Pass is a great choice for families, college students, or anybody looking to make some turns and avoid the big mountain crowds and mentality. It is 70 miles east of Eugene on Highway 58, almost halfway to Bend. Bring two bags of New York Cheddar with Herbs, one for the ride up, and one for the ride down.

#9 Hiking at Crater Lake
Going for a hike at Crater Lake National Park is for EVERYONE! The trails around this gem range from very easy to difficult. 
You could begin with hikes Annie's Creek Trail or Castle Crest Wildflower Garden (1.5 hours and 45 minutes, respectively); each offer gorgeous views of wildflowers and butterflies in the late spring and early summer. 
Next, step it up a notch with a necessary hike: Garfield Peak. The hike begins at the historic and majestic Crater Lake Lodge, and offers some of the best views of the deepest lake in the U.S. 
If you are feeling ambitious then hiking Mount Scott is recommended. The summit, also the highest point at Crater Lake National Park, offers views of the lake, the east side of the park, and  the Klamath Basin. There is also a fire lookout at the summit. 
Crater Lake is AMAZING. And we could go on and on about it, but you really should just see it for yourself. Pack up the hiking shoes, a day's supply of Buffalo Bleu chips, and your friends or family, and spend at least a whole day taking in the views of this incredible park.

#10 Crane Hot Springs in Burns
Most people think of the lush forests, mountain peaks, and abundant streams and rivers when they think of Oregon. But often overlooked and forgotten is Eastern Oregon's high deserts, that make up a very large portion of the state. 
Hot Springs are very abundant in Eastern Oregon. And since this part of the state IS so often overlooked, it is also a great place for a quiet, often secluded, and inexpensive trip. One of the best places to begin that trip is Burns, Oregon. 
After hiking Steens Mountain above the Alvord Desert, relax in the natural and soothing hot springs at Crane Hot Springs. Swim in the natural outdoor spring reservoir and take in the sensational desert scenery. Or opt for the private and enclosed soaking tubs to enjoy the mineral-rich waters. 
Cabins and camping are available for this retreat, but BYOCBPC (Bring Your Own Classic Barbeque Potato Chips), because unfortunately, they do not keep them on hand. 

There are so many more Oregon Adventures, like mountain biking Mount Ashaland, dog sledding in Bend or horseback riding on the coast; obviously too many to mention. We recommend trying a few, on the list or others, and letting us know which ones you think are the best. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Canada in Seattle?

Teamkettle has been nervous lately about the current state of things within the government. One particular concern has been over the presidential elections that is currently going on. So, we decided to set up a back up plan just in case McCain wins the election. Travis is a first generation descendant of a Canadian citizen, therefore he is eligible for Canadian citizenship. However, in order to gain his citizenship there was a lot of paperwork and applications to be completed, and in order to get everything completed he and his brother made a trip to Seattle.

Why Seattle? Because Seattle is the nearest location with a Canadian Consulate. Since they were going to one of the premier cities in the Pacific Northwest they had to stay true to form and do some playing. 

The first activity on the docket was America's past time. A baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics. The discovery of how expensive a pint is at a baseball game was quickly discovered, but that didn't slow down the fun. After a few pints and a basket of fish-n-chips (complimentary from the extremely intelligent staff at the concessions stand) the game was under way, and at the end of the nine innings the Mariners were victorious and Travis and Brad were ready for their next portion of adventure.

Next on the agenda was going to the Pike Street Market. Pike Street is famous for it's fish markets along with an array of other fresh produce, flowers and hand made products. Pike Street Market is a must see place if you are going to Seattle. Remember to watch out for flying fish.

With the buzz from the game wearing off and with hunger setting in Travis and Brad had to find a place to eat and grab another classic pacific northwest pint of beer. The Pike Brewing Company it was!
The Pike Brewing Company has some of the friendliest staff around, and that doesn't even begin to compare to how good their beers are. There was no bar hopping to be done because Travis and Brad could not imagine any place being more fun or having better beer. Knowing that the next day was going to consist of paperwork and playing the waiting game at the consulate the boys made sure to play it up.
The next day feeling a little bit tired from the fun the night before they set out to make their Canadian Citizenship official. Thanks to help from the Constable their paperwork along with baby nephew Jonah's paperwork was complete and submitted. Knowing that they would be receiving their citizenship card in about nine months made both of them, along with the rest of Teamkettle, very happy! 

Hopefully they can still get enough Kettle Foods products to satisfy them if they have to make the great migration north!