John Muir on the Beauty of Fall

Muir reflects on the singular, counterintuitive life-affirmation of autumn:

In the yellow mist the rough angles melt on the rocks. Forms, lines, tints, reflections, sounds, all are softened, and although the dying time, it is also the color time, the time when faith in the steadfastness of Nature is surest… The seeds all have next summer in them, some of them thousands of summers, as the sequoia and cedar. In the holiday array all go calmly down into the white winter rejoicing, plainly hopeful, faithful… everything taking what comes, and looking forward to the future, as if piously saying, “Thy will be done in earth as in heaven!”

Amen. 🍁 🍁 🍁

John Muir on the Calm Assurance of Autumn as a Time of Renewal and Nature as a Tonic for Mental and Physical Health

If You Love Books…You MUST Visit Powell’s Before You Die

I’ve had the chance to visit this treasure trove of books…

If you have never been to Portland but have wanted to go…put Powell’s Bookstore on your list of places to visit. SUCH a cool bookstore.

Best Bike Hitch Mount for Family of 5: Allen Sports Hitch

Takes what you can throw at it…

My kids finally got old enough to all be riding bikes. Had to find some way to carry all those bikes and this hitch mount works great!

This particular version even locks so that no one runs off with the whole thing. Although, let me tell you…this thing is super sturdy because 5 bikes are HEAVY!

Links of the Week (7/13/2020)

Climbing and travel planning…who wouldn’t want to read these links?

“Don’t kill your husband, don’t kill yourself.”

“Don’t kill your husband, don’t kill yourself.”

“Don’t kill your husband, don’t kill yourself.”

This mantra looped in my head as I led out on some of the worst stone I’ve encountered in my 24 years of climbing.

I have my own mantra I use while climbing…luckily it was never this ☝️. Great story and makes me miss home.

Wild Kingdom: Katie Lambert Explores the Remote, Seldom-Visited Citadel


As a climber who doesn’t plan on breaking any records or even leading a 5.12 any time soon, I seek out the 5.10-and-under climbs at my local cliffs. I like climbs that don’t make me contemplate my mortality on every move, as I suspect most of us do as well. Still, the media so often focuses on the climbers ticking 5.15s—the Adam Ondras and Margo Hayeses—when so few of us attain these grades. Perhaps the climbers who make it possible for us to enjoy mellower climbs—our favorite 5.8, 5.9, and 5.10 sport routes—also deserve credit.

Amen to that!

The Mod Squad: The Tireless Climbers Establishing Moderate Sport Routes Around the Country


For my trip planning, I almost exclusively use Gaia GPS for researching, routing and tracking my adventures. I will go through some tips and tricks that I have learned along the way, along with some of the features of Gaia GPS.

I really enjoy Gaia GPS and subscribe to it for all of the MVUM (motor vehicle use maps) stuff. This is an article I’ll be referencing for a while.

So you want to map your adventure with Gaia GPS… — Explore4R


Thomas Frank’s productivity videos are watched by nearly 2 million subscribers. For every video, he writes scripts, collects b-roll and manages distribution so that every video is high quality and finds the right audience. Notion helps him and his growing team organize all these moving parts, freeing up more time for him to focus on the creative work.

Notion is one of those apps that I wanted to use but couldn’t find a use for….well that has ended for me. Notion has now replaced Noto, a note taking app that I was particularly enthralled with for a short period but it’s short comings started driving me crazy.

I’ll be writing about Notion more, but in the meantime you should check it out. (spoiler…I partly use it to plan trips in conjunction with Gaia maps)

Notion – The all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases.

Yeti 200X: The Perfect Power Station to Keep You Charged For the Weekend

Great for all your short, multi-day needs…

Goal Zero is known for it’s consumer friendly and quality solar solutions to gas generators.

I’ve been eying Goal Zero stuff for a while, and had even bought an older version of the Guide 10 Kit back in the day. As these power stations got more popular with the rise of overlanding and the #vanlife, my interested was renewed.

I really wanted to go for the Yeti 500x or even Yeti 1000…but I could not justify them for my budget…ie. my wife. 😂

As much as I dream about gearing up and knocking out a bunch of overloading trips with my family, my real world use case is still more along the lines of a long weekend trip.

Yeti 200X: Perfect for my family use cases.

In reality, I needed to be able to recharge phones, apple watches, and power some cool led light strips I bought for my car and/or campsite. The Yeti 200X actually fit the bill perfectly.

On my last camping trip, I was able to recharge phones, smart watches, headlamps, even my DSLR camera batteries for the whole weekend…and I only ever got down to 47% or so. I did buy the Goal Zero car charger, charging it for a quick jaunt to a nearby damn overlook.

Solar Panel to Go With It

image via Goal Zero

I also bought the Nomad 50 Solar Panel to go with the 200x. I wanted to buy the Nomad 100…but I wanted a solar panel that had a USB direct charger to it…and for some reason the Nomad 50 does and the Nomad 100 does not.

It can charge the Yeti 200X in about 5-10hours with full sunlight. Enough to top it off or bring it up throughout the day if you’re worried about it.

Highly recommend checking out this little powerhouse. You’re starting to see Goal Zero’s Yeti “X line” (as I call them) which has USB-C ports as well as USB-C power delivery for fast charging.

Check them all out here:

BioLite Camping Lites Follow-Up

Got to use these a bit…

A couple weeks ago I wrote about BioLite camp lights and all of the various options they have.

I took them with me on a recent camping trip and the SiteLite Minis were a huge hit with my family. We strung them inside of our big family sized REI tent and when it was raining in the later afternoon and evening on a couple of the days, I had the Minis powered by the Base Lantern XL that I got on sale over Memorial Day weekend.

Part of what I was trying to figure out was what all we would actually use and what would end up staying in the bin of camping gear. The minis and the baselantern worked great.

BioLite Headlamps

Before the trip, I broke down and bought my kids new rechargeable headlamps from BioLite too. I was tired of the batteries in their cheap headlamps running out and having to buy new batteries.

These were another hit with the family as my kids loved having their own headlamps …and I didn’t have to worry about them running out of juice since I could just recharge them from the BaseLantern XL.

Win win.

Overall Impressions

I like them.

They’re a super fun addition to the campsite, not completely necessary (except headlamps in my opinion) but they are nice to have.

I liked having the BaseLantern XL as that also serves as a powerbrick should I need to recharge basically anything…plus the light it puts off is great.

If you’re looking for a fun campsite addition to your gear box…I would recommend these lights for sure.

image via BioLite

Best LED Rope for the Outdoors? Luminoodle Basecamp

These things are so freakin cool…

I started researching outdoor lighting back when I stumbled across the Biolite Mini and I was planning my first real camping trip with my whole family.

I had actually book marked another led light string (from Lightforce that I’ll link here) that I purchased…but like most research I do on gadgets…I couldn’t stop. Somehow I stumbled across a top 10 list and the Luminoodle caught my eye.

This was actually a Kickstarter campaign back in 2015 and the company has continued to grow from the original product line.

The Basecamp version is 20 feet long, has a remote to control brightness and colors, and runs off of a 12v socket (or 12v battery pack…not all usb battery packs are 12v).

Let me tell you…1000 lumens of leds really lights up a campground.

Check them all out here (not affiliate links).

How to HANDLE the STRESS of MOVING your Family

Moving is one of the most stressful things in life…

Google “the most stressful things in life” and you get the below:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • Moving
  • Major illness or injury
  • Job loss

It always blows my mind that moving is up there with things like divorce or job loss. But let me tell you, as someone who has moved his family a few times now…it’s true.