Our adventure-seeking friends from The Longest Hello, Nick and Laura Ocean, recently returned home from months on the road. Even though their adventures have become more local, they are still finding amazing places to connect with like the one they documented in their July journal.
This guest post was written by our friend Kedyn Sierra, who is an adventure photographer and filmmaker partnered up with Fujifilm Photographer Daniel Fox. He is supported by many more sponsors to bring stories of the wilderness to life.
What happens when all you have is a 64 oz stainless steel water bottle, a 16 oz food canister and the Alaskan wilderness? You improvise and do with the tools you have at hand.
This past summer I had the opportunity to go on a 30-day National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) kayaking expedition through Fujifilm and SanDisk Extreme photographer Daniel Fox’s W.I.L.D program.
Before the trip, I figured that NOLS would have a bowl and a spoon for me ready to go. They did, except I felt survivalist at the moment and chose not to take them. I had a 16 oz food canister in my duffle bag and I figured I would do just fine. I would learn in the hardest way possible how to work with it.
On the field, our four-person ration groups would cook our best meal every day. Naturally, this had to be done with boiling hot water, which came directly from the streams un-purified. Whenever the meals were done, we had to put it into our bowls; this would be a no-brainer, except mine was a special kind of bowl. It was stainless steel. I forgot about science until I was holding the bowl from the bottom while the food was distributed. Once my hands were toasted like a tortilla, I remembered thermodynamics! The only safe zone was the lid for the canister, and thankfully there was one. Next time, I'd be sure to bring an Insulated Canister to save my hands the trouble.
The 64 oz Klean Kanteen served as a rain collector. We had tarps shielding us from the rain and the ropes holding the tarps up created a funnel of rain water. Pots, pans and our water bottles were gathering our only real purified water. I would normally drink out of a 32 oz NOLS provided and then store backup in the 64 oz in case we ever ended up having to survive, which happened more than once.
The bottle and canister were in for a hell of a ride through Southeast Alaska. From being submerged under frigid cold water, to being the playground for banana slugs, it was gnarly. Especially when the slugs got to the canister, which took a good 10 minutes of washing, at least.
Without any of this gear the experience would not have been the same. I learned with the gear and they became my best friends out in the wilderness. Now that I’m back to living the urban lifestyle of San Francisco, my scarred Klean Kanteen and food canister remain with me on all of my city adventures, and they'll surely follow me onto my next wilderness adventure, too.
Today, we invite you to get away in the powder of these mountains. Take a look at the trailer for the film: "Set against a backdrop of incredible backcountry ski and snowboard footage, Jumbo Wild documents all sides of a divisive issue bringing the passionate local fight to protect the Jumbo Valley to life for the first time." Want to do more to protect this pristine natural landscape? Sign the Jumbo Wild petition today: here.
Educators and explorers Dave and Amy Freeman kicked off A Year in the Wilderness this September, continuing their efforts to gain permanent protection for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Their expedition will continue their efforts to permanently protect the Boundary Waters from the proposed sulfide-ore copper mines on the edge of the Wilderness and support the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. “We made a commitment to protecting the Boundary Waters when we took on the Paddle to DC, but we know we still have a lot of work to do to protect the Boundary Waters watershed from sulfide-ore copper mining and we want to do what we can to finish the job,” Amy adds.
This trip is about bearing witness to the very land and water we are fighting to Dave and Amy Freeman have traveled more than 30,000 miles by kayak, canoe and dogsled through some of the world’s wildest places, from the Amazon to the Arctic.
This is a guest post written by our friend Gregg Treinish, founder of Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, a non-profit organization that mobilizes the outdoor community to gather and share scientific data that drives conservation around the world. The photo above was taken by Henry Worobec/Bridger Brigade.
On a sunny weekend in September, nearly 60 volunteers gathered on the banks of the Gallatin River in Montana to learn about an emerging pollutant that threatens their local river, as well as all the world’s waterways: microplastics. And they were there to do something about it.
Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) brought them together for the first in a series of water sampling missions targeted at better understanding the distribution and type of this pollution in the Gallatin watershed. Ultimately, we plan to use this information to reduce the amount of microplastics pollution entering the watershed. (You can learn more here.)
Draining from Yellowstone National Park, the Gallatin is the headwaters of the largest river system in the lower 48, the Missouri-Mississippi. So the data our volunteers gather will truly make a difference locally while also affecting global ecosystem health.
What are Microplastics? Classified as plastic particles smaller than 5mm in size, microplastics have been found in abundance in marine waters. Since early 2013, ASC ocean adventurers have gathered samples from the world’s most remote oceans (check out our sampling map here), and our scientist has found microplastic pollution in roughly 95% of them.
Very little is known about microplastics in freshwater, which is why we expanded our research to study rivers, lakes and streams this spring. We want to find the sources of the pollution, and turn off that faucet.
Why Microplastics Matter. The tiny plastics attract toxins including DDT and BPA, which then enter the food chain when the particles are ingested by aquatic life. The toxins magnify as they move from smaller plankton and filter feeders up to larger fish and animals.
How Do They Enter the Water? Maybe you’ve heard of microbeads—the plastic particles manufactured as scrubbing agents for many cosmetics, toothpastes and household cleaners. With several state bans on products containing them, most recently in California, they have been in the news. This is good progress; however, other sources of microplastics are more prolific.
As you might suspect, much of this pollution comes from the weathering of larger plastic debris like bags and bottles. It breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, but it never disappears, instead becoming an aquatic plastic fog. Perhaps the most surprising source is clothing. Every time you wash your clothes, hundreds or even thousands of plastic fibers shed from the synthetic pieces. They’re so small they wash right through the washing machine filters, through water treatment, and directly into the outflow. A fleece jacket can shed up to 1,900 microfibers per wash, according to a study by leading microplastics researcher Mark Browne.
Together We Can Make Change. This is a problem on the scale of climate change—and yet at this point, we know very little about it. Now is the time to act.
I founded ASC in 2011 with a dream of putting to work skilled outdoorsmen and women gathering data for conservation, and we’ve done just that, retrieving hard-to-obtain data from some of the most remote places on the planet for projects involving both wildlife and habitat health. Our work in microplastics has strengthened my convictions that together we truly can change the face of conservation. Already, we have more than 1,000 samples from geographically diverse locations. Soon, we will be able to use this information to leverage change. Join us.Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation is a nonprofit organization that mobilizes the outdoor community to gather and share scientific data, driving conservation worldwide. Gregg Treinish is ASC’s founder and executive director.
“Because no matter who you are, no matter where you live, our parks, our monuments, our lands, our waters — these places are your birthright as Americans.” – President Barack Obama
Take a few minutes to watch this video and see what happens when fourth graders are asked about their National Parks. Then, see the looks on their faces when they're offered a free pass to all public lands. Learn more about the Every Kid in a Park initiative here.
The world is full of artists and conservationists, business owners and adventure-seekers, people like us who desire something different in life. We are Nick and Laura Ocean, a couple of artist-adventure seekers driving our truck and pop-up camper off the beaten path, down those forest service roads that lead into the woods, up the mountains and next to rivers.
In May, we left our life in the city of Los Angeles in search of a new path. Our day to day had become the grind and as much as we love our community we felt a call to drive out and seek a new place to put down roots and to follow a dormant career path. As a photographer, Nick has a desire to show life through the lens of adventure and story telling. So it made sense to use our savings, pile our things into a small storage unit and move our life into a camper in order to drive throughout the Northwest taking pictures and telling stories along the way. What we hope to portray in our photography and online journal is inspiration and authenticity, how taking chances in life is sometimes messy and full of unknowns and to talk about our journey that is full of lessons and the often humorous path to learning them.
On the road we have been met with hardships and fun, things breaking and things working themselves out and we have found ourselves constantly surrounded by beauty. It can be distracting on driving days or when pulling a bee's stinger out of the mouth of your dog instead of focusing on that life question that drew us out of our comfort zone all those months ago.
We started the trek with a question in mind and it took some time to boil it down into a single run-on sentence that we are working to answer: How do we live with purpose, and choose what to do with our lives, while simultaneously giving the most back to the world? Often, the people that we meet while traveling are asking a similar question of themselves. It's a natural and easy conversation to have around camp meals and next to tents, scaring one another with road stories and encouraging each other with moments of hope.
Though the looming question of where we may find ourselves in a few months hangs unanswered, the knowledge that we are so privileged to be out in the shadow of mountains morning after morning is helping change our perspective of where we belong. In the city, we were saving our shower water in buckets instead of using sprinklers for the grass, changed our lightbulbs to long lasting LED and put low-flow heads on our faucets. We did our best to conserve and re-use everything we could. We hugged our trees and had an urban garden. Out here we use as little as possible, conserve water, use solar power and leave no trace.
Who we are is the same no matter where we are located. Where we belong is the same as well – in a place of conservation and care, aware that we can have a positive impact on the earth and the people that we meet in life. And they, just as much in turn, leave an impact on us.
Nick and Laura Ocean, are a couple of artist-adventure seekers driving their truck and pop-up camper off the beaten path, down those forest service roads that lead into the woods, up the mountains and next to rivers. You can read their blog, The Longest Hello, here.
The weather forecast was fantastic, so I decided to take the day off this Friday. I didn't want to have a lazy day in the back of my garden; instead, I wanted to fill my lungs with fresh mountain air by going for a long day hike in the mountains.
One of my favorite trekking spots is in the Seceda area. The Alp di Seceda is located on the sunny side of Val Gardena in the center of the Italian Dolomites. This area is about an hour drive from where I live.
I wanted to hit the trail before it was too warm, so I left my home with everything I needed for the day just before 6 a.m. The first part of the trail wound through a dense pine forest, and as I walked through it, I realized how much I love the smell of pinewood, especially during the early morning. After two hours, I reached the treeline at an elevation of 1,850 meters (6,000 feet). From that time on, I had a great view of the mountain range in front of me. As the trail got steeper, my pace got slower, which meant I could take more time to enjoy the mountain flora. Once and I while, I stopped to look around and simply take in all of the beautiful mountains around me.
In my pack, I had carried all of the food and drink I would need for the day, so I sat down in the shadow of a big pine tree to have my lunch. After a seven-hour hike, I enjoyed what was still icy cold water out of my new Insulated Classic and fresh cheese out of my insulated canister. I rested, feeling happy and satisfied.
At 3 p.m. I was back at my car and an hour later I was home, where I started writing this blog. My hope was to share this experience with you before your weekend starts, in order to inspire you to give yourself a treat this weekend that feeds your soul and fills your lungs with fresh air. Now go, and enjoy!
Klean Voice contributor Henry Hoogenveen is a passionate advocate for the outdoors, and represents Klean Kanteen in Europe. As such, he shares events, information, trends and happenings from across the ocean right here on the Klean Blog.