GrindTV.com - Outdoor Blog


Bull moose fight videotaped by hikers

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 01:29 PM PDT

Bull moose fight

Bull moose fight plays out on highway in Alberta, Canada; video screen grab

Hikers in the Calgary area were surprised recently to spot two large bull moose emerge from the woods and square off in a roadside clash that presumably was over the affections of a nearby female moose.

“We came driving around the corner when the moose came tumbling down the right side of the road,” Tawny Tersmette, who captured the footage from inside her car, told the Toronto Sun.

It’s rutting season and the males have moved to lower elevations to find cows to mate with, but first they must try to establish dominance over other males.

Tersmette said the fight lasted about 20 minutes and the moose with the larger rack seemed to prevail because “the other ran off into the forest.”

She told CBC: “I’ve seen deer rut before, but never moose. These were the biggest bulls I’ve ever seen.”

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The post Bull moose fight videotaped by hikers appeared first on GrindTV.com.

U.K. runner completes 1000th marathon

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

U.K. runner completes 1000th marathon

Brian Mills, 58; photo via Caters News

Brian Mills is a carpenter by trade, but it may seem as though the only thing he has been pounding lately is pavement.

The 58-year-old recently completed his 1,000th marathon, more than any other Brit, and his 57th marathon for 2014.

That’s more than 26,000 miles; more than the distance around earth, and Mills has no plans to stop at 1,000.

Brian Mills' medals

Some of Brian Mills’ medals; photo via Caters News

He typically runs a marathon every weekend, to fulfill a passion he discovered 25 years ago when he entered his first marathon.

“I started running by accident really,” Mills told Caters News. “I always did sport at school and then when I finished I didn’t want to stop. So I started running a lot and I decided to enter the London Marathon, for my first one in 1989.

“I enjoyed the buzz of running and the atmosphere was amazing, and I ended up running three marathons in my first year. From there it just snowballed, and I’ve just kept going.”

Because there weren’t enough local marathons to satisfy his obsession, Mills started traveling throughout Europe.

He has completed 114 marathons in Holland, and 76 in Spain—Mills has run the Barcelona Marathon 15 times.

“I love that my running has taken me around the world,” he said. “It’s a great way to visit cities across Europe, and I have seen places I may not have visited if there wasn’t a marathon on.”

Part of the appeal, Mills said, is seeing many of the same faces at certain events, knowing that others share a similar passion.

Erica Klein, Mills’ 30-year-old niece, refers to her uncle as “my hero,” and added: “My memories from my childhood always involved running. We used to go to events where Brian is running and participate in fun runs.

Brian Mills

Brian Mills says, “Running is completely natural to me.” Photo via Caters News

“I have always been intrigued about running a marathon but never thought it was possible, and as the number of marathons that Brian had run got higher and higher, I felt inspired to apply for the London Marathon.

“All of our family are incredibly proud of Brian’s achievement. It is truly honorable.”

Mills attained his incredible milestone earlier this summer by completing the Longford Marathon near Dublin, Ireland, with a time of 4 hours, 34 minutes, 11 seconds.

Afterward he said marathon running is not about how many events he participates in, or trying to beat his best time of 3 hours, 4 minutes, but simply being out there and trotting along with other participants.

“Running is completely natural to me,” Mills said. “I don’t try and beat my time; I just run along and see how I feel—it’s the best way.”

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Gear shifting tips from the Trail Doctor

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 04:00 AM PDT

Need to “sort out” the shifting on your mountain bike? Have no fear. The Trail Doctor is in. Bike guru Dan Milner returns with a second episode of his new fix-it series that includes some easy tips to get your shifters in shape—and your bike back on the trail.

“Knowing a bit about how to get your gear shifting working again can make the difference between having an enjoyable ride and one that is irritating at best, and at worse, dangerous,” Milner says. “Bad shifting can mean a jumping chain or mis-shifts, leading to smashing your knees on the handlebars when you’re trying to put the hammer down.”

Before jumping into making any adjustments, you’ve got to know the right components to inspect for damage or excessive dirt and grime. Next, learn how to set your high-limit screw (you’ll need a small multi-tool with a screwdriver). Last, watch how to adjust the all-important cable tension. As Milner says, these easy-to-learn techniques and basics “are a great starting point to simply getting your shifting back on track.”

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Bikes and beer have one thing in common: Both are best in the fall

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 03:00 AM PDT

A friend said it best. He was trying to convince me to take a trip to visit him and ride mountain bikes. “Fall is the best time to ride here,” he said. There was a pause. Then he added, “But fall is the best time to ride anywhere, I guess.”

One of the beauties of mountain biking is that it doesn’t necessarily have a season. If the trails are dry, or even firmly packed with snow, you can ride a bike. Within reason, of course. But the indisputable best time to mountain bike is fall. The trails are tacky again. The water stays cold in your Camelbak. The shadows are long; the air is clear. There is no “heat of the day” to be avoided. The changing foliage provides a psychedelic effect as you speed through it, and plenty to look at when you take a break.

A lot of the same can be said about drinking beer. There isn’t necessarily a bad time for it, but there is arguably no better time than on a sunny, fall day. There’s a reason why the Germans call it Oktoberfest.

For the last weekend of official mountain bike operations, Utah’s Snowbasin combined the two. On this past Saturday, Snowbasin hosted its second-annual Beer Fest with 13 breweries and two live bands, headlined by the Young Dubliners. The Needles Gondola ushered bikers and hikers up for the penultimate time for the season, with Sunday being the official last day. The event was a punctuation mark of the resort’s summer-long Brew, Blues, and BBQ series, which features beer, food, and music every Sunday afternoon of the summer.

Though the gondola is closed, the riding is still going off in the Ogden Valley. Another beautiful thing about mountain biking is that a lift ride is a luxury you don’t always want. But for one final Saturday it was a nice perk to be able to get a bump to the top, and ride 2,300 vertical feet down to a beer garden.

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GrindTV.com - Outdoor Blog


Hook the beloved tiger shark is shot

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:49 PM PDT

Hook the tiger shark

Hook the beloved tiger shark, with what appears to be a bullet wound to the head; photo by @Martiza Martinez

Tiger Beach at the Bahamas is famous for its frequent tiger shark sightings, which are enjoyed by scuba divers from around the world.

Divers invariably leave with fond memories of their incredibly close encounters, and some of the sharks are so familiar to divers, especially resident guides, that they’ve been given names.

Emma, a large female, is one such beloved shark. Hook, also a large female, is another.

But apparently these sharks, despite their celebrity status and high eco-tourism value, still have human enemies. That became clear recently when Hook was spotted with what appears to be a bullet wound to the side of the head.

Hook the tiger shark

Hook, pictured last May without the wound; photo by ©Joanne Pitts-Boulder

Shark Diver Magazine reported the sad news Tuesday on Facebook, posting an image captured by Martiza Martinez.

Martinez explained on her Facebook page that Hook was named because she had been caught by a fisherman and suffered a broken jaw, which “slightly hangs down on the right side of her mouth.”

It seems that Hook, however, is quite the survivor.

After a long absence, she was sighted by members of a Shark Diver Magazine expedition to Tiger Beach.

A magazine staffer stated on the Facebook post: “I have not seen her since December of last year. She returned with a huge bullet wound on her. Someone tried to kill her.

“It looks like a bang stick was used, my guess is a spear fisherman? Or possibly she came up to a boat to steal a fish off their line and they tried to shoot her? The bullet went in on one side and out on the other. She looks like she is going to be ok. But the scar was horrific.

“She is pregnant right now and will be pupping in the next few months. Made me sad to see my old friend like this.”

Joanne Pitts-Boulder posted an image she captured last May, showing Hook without the wound to her head. Both images are posted with this report.

Shark Attack News quotes Eli Martinez, an editor at Shark Diver Magazine and among divers most familiar with Tiger Beach sharks, as saying that Hook is his “oldest shark friend out there.”

Another diver, Debra Canabal, is quoted by Shark Attack News as saying that Hook’s wound appears to be healing nicely: “The hole is basically closed and she’s eating well.”

Tiger Beach dive operations feature the use of bait to lure sharks in, which is why they seem so friendly. The sharks are not considered particularly dangerous to humans.

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The post Hook the beloved tiger shark is shot appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Animal masters of disguise; can you spot them?

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:23 AM PDT

Animal masters of disguise

Mappet moth blending into the autumn foliage in Switzerland; photo by Thomas Marent/Ardea/Caters News

Among the many wonders of nature are critters that possess a remarkable ability to blend in with their surroundings, which is beneficial both for predators and prey.

With this in mind we’ve selected 10 photographs that show some of nature’s true masters of camouflage, and challenge readers to try to spot them. Some are fairly easy, while others are difficult.

We’ll start with the camouflage mappet moth (pictured above), which resembles autumn foliage. Pity the bug that lands on the leaf nearest the moth. The rest …

Leaf-tailed gecko

Leaf-tailed gecko in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Madagascar; photo by Thomas Marent/Ardea/Caters News

Walking leaf insect

Walking leaf insect in the cloudforest at Cameron Highlands, West Malaysia; photo by Thomas Marent/Ardea/Caters News

 Ocean Scorpionfish

Critters that blend in: Pacific Ocean Scorpionfish; photo by Ron and Valerie Taylor/Ardea/Caters News

Cheetah cub

Cheetah cub half-hidden in the grasslands of Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya; photo by Ferrrero-Labat/Ardea/Caters News

great gray owl

Great gray owl perched on a branch somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere; photo by M. Watson/Ardea/Caters News

gaboon viper

Gaboon viper on the forest floor of Central Africa; photo by Mark Carwardine/Ardea/Caters News

Black arches moth

Black arches moth on tree bark in Cornwall, U.K.; photo by David Chapman/Ardea/Caters News

Angelshark

Angelshark buried in sand at Tenerife, Canary Islands; photo by Gavin Parsons/Ardea/Caters News

Arctic hare

Arctic hare on the snowy landscape in Northern Canada; photo by Pat Morris/Ardea/Caters News

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Photo Gallery: The inspiring Warrior Games

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:03 AM PDT

The inspiring 2014 Warrior Games just wrapped up at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. More than 200 wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans competed in the fifth-annual competition, which ended on October 3, and some 2,000 spectators watched as athletes from the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Special Operations Command competed in seven sports.

Charlie Huebner, vice president of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation and master of ceremonies at this year’s Warrior Games, said he was humbled to be alongside the resilient military athletes, calling them the “epitome of the American spirit.”

Military journalists were on hand to capture the highlights—from the lighting of the symbolic cauldron by Paralympic sled hockey gold medalists Paul Schaus and Rico Roman, both Purple Heart recipients, to incredible feats by men and women missing limbs in each fast-paced athletic discipline.

For more action, check out more photos and videos at the 2014 Warrior Games website.

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Ditch the scuba gear and take the plunge into freediving

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:00 AM PDT

freediving

Two freedivers explore the depths of the Red Sea; photo via Shutterstock.com

If you want to see a mermaid, go to South Korea. Only don’t expect to see any shell bras on these ladies; the “mermaids” living on Jeju Island off the coast of South Korea are actually haenyeo, female freedivers who swim down to 60 feet on one breath to collect clams, shellfish, and seaweed from the bottom of the ocean. And if you think that’s impressive, just wait until you meet Mandy-Rae Krack.

Krack (formerly Cruickshank) is one of the most accomplished and daring freedivers in the world, an inductee to the Women Divers Hall of Fame and the holder of seven world records, including the one she set for diving to 289 feet on a single breath. Her deepest self-powered dive was 288 feet, her longest breath hold six minutes and 25 seconds. She even rescued stage magician David Blaine after his failed nine-minute breath-holding stunt.

“As someone with a competitive spirit, I love that every time I go out and do a few more seconds of breath hold or another meter of depth and come up feeling fine, it leaves me wondering, ‘How much more can I do?’” says Krack, who was introduced to the sport by her husband, Kirk Krack, another world-record-holding freediver and the founder of Performance Freediving International.

Mandy-Rae Krack

World-record-holding freediver Mandy-Rae Krack credits her husband, Kirk Krack, with introducing her to the sport. Photo courtesy Performance Freediving International

Freediving is nothing new—in ancient coastal cultures, swimmers dove to reclaim sunken treasures or find food—but it wasn’t until the 1940s that it became part of the competitive arena, after an Italian pilot plunged almost 100 feet on a single breath, launching a sport that eventually grew so widely that it required an international governing body (the AIDA, the Worldwide Federation for breath-hold diving).

So how can someone dive so deep unassisted? Genetic mutation? Superhuman strength? In reality, with the right training and proper form, anyone can become a freediver. Using proper breathing techniques, it’s possible to use the muscles in the diaphragm to access the lower third portion of the lungs, an area not typically used during rest. Proper breathing lowers your heart rate, thus reducing carbon dioxide levels in the body, meaning you can go longer on a single breath.

But the dangers of pushing your body to an extreme are very real: ruptured eardrums, scarred lung tissues, drowning, and blackouts are all part of the equation. “Most freediving fatalities happen to recreational freedivers who think they aren’t pushing themselves,” explains Krack. “They also don’t have direct supervision of a buddy. We wake up from blackouts quickly provided a buddy keeps your head above water until you wake up and take a breath. If your buddy isn’t there to protect your airway, you will drown.”

To get back to the surface after a deep dive, divers inflate a balloon that carries them upward. However, as one returns to the surface, the body senses low levels of oxygen and basically shuts off to conserve what’s left, resulting in a blackout. Kirk Krack told “Good Morning America” that blackouts account for almost all of freediving deaths. But it’s not only recreational divers who are at risk; even seasoned competitors are subject to disorientation and mechanical failures. Late last year, competitive freediver Nick Mevoli died attempting to set an American record, and champion freediver Audrey Mestre tragically died while attempting to break a world record set by her husband, blacking out at 300 feet (the equivalent of a 30-story skyscraper).

Mandy-Rae Krack plays with wild dolphins

Mandy-Rae Krack plays with wild dolphins while freediving in the marine life documentary “The Cove.” Photo courtesy Oceanic Preservation Society

“Most people don’t take it as far as me and do records,” explains Krack. “Most people do it as a way to get closer to marine life and enjoy the water.” These days, it’s common for freedivers to cross over from other underwater sports like scuba diving and spearfishing, with seasoned vets looking to shed gear, challenge themselves or even feel more connected to their prey. Krack herself has experienced a marine life encounter when a wild dolphin played with her for 45 minutes, an incident captured in the wildlife documentary “The Cove.” “The biggest misconception is that freediving is dangerous,” says Krack. “There are countless other sports and daily activities that result in more injuries or death than freediving does.”

If you’re ready to take your snorkeling trysts to the next level, Krack insists on taking a Performance Freediving International course to learn what the risks of freediving are so you can learn how to minimize them and deal with them properly. “The biggest mistake would be people thinking they are taking it easy and therefore don’t need direct supervision from a buddy,” Krack says. Taking a course also helps you learn how to do something the right way from the start so you don’t develop bad habits like diving with a snorkel in your mouth or hyperventilating.

“You are your own worst enemy,” she explains. “This sport really shows you that. If you can’t get control of your mind, it will stop you from breaking new ground. But once you do, you will amaze yourself.”

To build up your freediving kit, Krack suggests buying pieces made specifically for freediving. Invest in a freediving mask that is lower in volume than scuba or snorkel masks, a pair of long fin blades—which help you swim farther with fewer kicks, meaning you save oxygen (“Big bonus when you’re on one breath!” says Mandy-Rae)—and a warm wetsuit, which acts both as an oxygen saver (shivering uses up air) and a safety feature, allowing you to float at the surface to breathe. With the right gear and proper training, you could reach a depth of 100 feet after your first lesson.

freediving fins

Long, thin blades propel freedivers farther with less energy. Photo courtesy Prime Scuba

“[Freediving] forces you to focus on yourself and not on everything else that is happening around you,” Krack says. “You learn to become a part of the water; that is the calming part.”

Find a freediving course at PerformanceFreediving.com.

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GrindTV.com - Outdoor Blog


Stunning great white shark image ‘just luck’

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 04:03 PM PDT

Stunning great white shark image

This great white shark photo is a hit on social media; photo by ©Amanda Brewer

Amanda Brewer is an art teacher in New Jersey, who assures anyone who will listen that she possesses no great skill as a photographer.

But many aren’t convinced after seeing the vivid image Brewer captured recently from inside a shark-diving cage off South Africa, an image so stunning and life-like that it has taken the Internet by storm.

The image has been shared so widely, and discussed so passionately, she said, that she has had little time to concentrate on anything else.

“Just on my Instagram page alone it has received more than 350,000 likes,” said Brewer, who teaches grades 1-5.

The image shows a great white shark looking as ferocious as a shark can look, with its jaws wide-open and fully extended, lunging after two fish heads tied to a rope.

On Facebook the image has been making the rounds on pages devoted to sharks and, especially, white sharks.

There it has drawn praise, but also criticism from folks who do not know the back story, and who claim that the use of bait so close to a metal cage is dangerous for lunging sharks.

Brewer, as pointed out in a story posted this week by Time Lightbox, was in South Africa volunteering with the eco-tourism and research group White Shark Africa.

She told GrindTV that as a summer intern she was helping to collect scientific data, jotting down everything she could about individual sharks, including unique markings (for ID purposes) and behavior. She also was on board to interact with tourists, to ease their concerns about cage-diving with apex predators.

She confessed that she did not even own a camera before she purchased a GoPro just days before her trip.

It was on a down day that she was able to dive in the cage without having to concentrate on work. She wore a mask but no scuba gear, as the cage was only partially submerged.

Visibility was poor, but she kept her head at or close to sea-level, occasionally looking down.

Suddenly, she said, the shark “came out of nowhere and just kind of lunged out of the water, and I just happened to have had my GoPro in the exact right place at the exact right time. It really was just luck.”

She had the burst setting turned on, and captured 30 quick images. She had no idea what was in those images, though, because with a GoPro it’s hard to check. “There’s no screen or anything,” Brewer said.

Back at the White Shark Africa office, she uploaded the photos to her iPad. Of the 30 images, only the one stood out.

“Immediately it was, ‘Oh my goodness. Everybody take a look,’” Brewer recalled. “‘I think I really got something here. This photo is really gonna do something.’”

As the image began to go viral, Brewer tried to respond to complaints about the use of bait so close to the cages.

An example of the complaints was this from Ricardo Lacombe, on the White Shark Interest Group page: “Bait usage is fine in my book as an attractant, but dragging it at the cage like this is asking for trouble for the shark. So disappointed this shot is getting so much coverage … but a chance to try and educate people I guess.”

Some criticized the use of bait altogether, but most shark-diving companies around the world rely on some sort of baiting or chumming system.

Brewer explained during the interview that the sharks are lured toward cages by White Shark Africa so they can be observed for the benefit of tourists, but also scientists trying to find unique markings, etc., that are found on individual sharks. Bait is never pulled into or even directly toward cages.

“The person was pulling the bait around and out of the way of the cage [to Brewer's right] so that shark wouldn’t go near the cage at all,” Brewer said. “That’s one thing that we learned right off the bat, is that you never want the shark to make contact with the cage.

“And you also don’t want the shark to eat the bait. You don’t feed the sharks; that’s not what we want to do.”

She explained further that the fish-eye lens made it seem as though the shark was closer than it might appear; it did the same with the bait. “The fish-eye lens did me in,” Brewer joked.

The shark, she said, was about three feet from the cage when the photo was taken. It veered off, around the cage, where the bait was being pulled.

Regardless of people’s sentiments regarding the bait issue, nobody is denying the stunning quality of her image.

Stated Brewer to the White Shark Interest Group: “I’ve been on social media nonstop with the help of my White Shark Africa friends, working to praise those who received the photo in a respectful way and correct those who received in a “kill the sharks!” kind of way.

“This photo has gotten so much recognition and most has been incredibly positive. Now, people are talking about the sharks. Now we educate. That’s how you make a difference. If nothing else, we’ve gotten a few more shark warriors on board and we’ve explained our case to a few people who only two days ago didn’t care about it at all.”

–Find White Shark Africa on Instagram; find Amanda Brewer on Instagram and Twitter

–Find Pete Thomas on Facebook and Twitter

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Matthias Giraud BASE jumps from paraglider

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 11:21 AM PDT

Matthias Giraud BASE jumps from paraglider

Matthias Giraud (circled) swings from 200-foot rope before parachuting to earth; video screen grab

Matthias Girard is a BASE jumper who, like all accomplished BASE jumpers, is always seeking creative methods by which to get from Point A (somewhere high above ground) to Point B.

The Frenchman’s latest project, with the help of a team of expert paragliders, was to take a brief tandem ride 1,500 above ground in Goldendale, Washington, and enjoy the serenity of silent flight before plummeting toward earth while grasping the handle of a 200-foot rope swing.

The accompanying video, released Tuesday by The Bivy, shows Giraud release from the paraglider and enjoy a short swing above the barren landscape before letting go of the rope swing, then releasing his parachute and floating gently to earth. (We’ve supplied a shortened version and, below, the full version.)

When asked via email why he did not attempt a back flip while swinging from the rope, Giraud answered, jokingly: “The back flip was the plan but it worked out differently!”

Matthias Giraud

Matthias Giraud BASE jumps with paraglider with rope swing in hand; video screen grab

Giraud added:  “This project was a full-on team effort as opposed to regular BASE jumps where it’s just you facing the elements. We had to have pilots with extensive paragliding, BASE jumping and rigging knowledge to do it successfully and keep everybody safe.”

Giraud, whose nickname is “Super Frenchy,” also is an accomplished big-mountain freeskier.

The paragliders and stunt coordinators who helped make this “circus in the sky” possible are Jon “Bam Bam” Malmberg, Travis Potter, Daniel Randall, and Burnout Brian.

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Winter in New York State? It just might surprise you

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Winter in New York State

Winter in New York State offers more activities than you might imagine, such as snowshoeing in Adirondack Park. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

It may not feel like it right now in the North East, but winter is just around the corner. And just as round after round of snow makes things like driving, plowing and, well, walking tougher within city bounds, things will just be getting good in less populated parts of the region, including in New York State.

The state of New York is home to the most ski areas in the entire U.S., while its Adirondack Park is roughly the size of Vermont and more expansive than Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, the Grand Canyon, and Great Smokies National Parks … combined. Take advantage of fresh powder and head north to try out a bevy of winter activities that might just redefine your New York state of mind.

bobsled track lake placid

Visiting New York State during the winter? Bobsled on the same track Olympians train on at Lake Placid. Photo courtesy of Whiteface

Bobsled on an Olympic track

Whiteface Mountain, Lake Placid

As part of Whiteface’s Olympics Sites Passport, you’ll have access to every one of the mountain’s Olympic venues, including the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, the Speed Skating Oval, and the Jumping Complex, where you can ride an elevator to the Skydeck and, if you’re brave enough, stand at the top of the 120-meter ski jump tower. But the highlight of the Passport experience is getting a discount on the Lake Placid Bobsled Experience, where you’ll rumble down the same track used by Olympic racers with a professional driver and brakeman in tow.

Ice climb Chapel Pond Slabs

Chapel Pond Area, Adirondack Park

With six to seven pitches of ice climbing, the Chapel Pond Slabs provide one of the longest ascents on the East Coast. The bolt-free tradition of the area requires climbers to pack trad-climbing gear and the popularity of the spot means you probably won’t have the place to yourself, but the varied difficulty of the route and exposed views are rewarding enough to make it worth the wait.

Fly downhill on the Mountain Coaster

Enchanted Mountains, Cattaraugus County

Holiday Valley Resort plays host to a gravity-powered, downhill coaster that offers up an adrenaline rush for any season. The track has a vertical rise of 283 feet and follows the terrain of the park with 15 curves, 12 waves, one jump, and a large spiral—riders control their speeds with levers on the side of their cars. A ride costs $6 when you purchase a lift ticket that day.

Take a ride on handcrafted dogsleds

Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, Lake Placid

Book a stay at Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort for ski-in/ski-out lodging and the chance to take a dogsled ride around Mirror Lake. Each loop ride lasts about 10 minutes and costs between $10 and $15 per person.

Old Forge in New York

Visiting New York State in the winter? Old Forge is known as the snowmobiling capital of the East Coast. Photo via Shutterstock

Snowmobile on a massive trail system

Old Forge, Adirondack Mountains

With an average accumulation of 25 feet of fresh powder every year, it’s no wonder Old Forge is known as the snowmobiling capital of the East Coast, right at the center of the Western Adirondack Park, or more suitably, “Snow Country.” Tow your sled there or rent from a long list of local providers, then head out for a full day of riding on a groomed trail system that spans more than 750 miles from the Moose River Plains Wilderness to the Long Lake area all the way north to the Canadian border.

Splash around at an indoor water park

Cascades Indoor Water Park, Finger Lakes Region

At the end of a long winter weekend, escape the snow at this huge indoor water park that offers up body slides, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, an outdoor pool that’s open year-round, a tube water slide, and a wave pool. The water temperature is 84 degrees, so fair-weather lovers can enjoy winter in New York, too.

Try ice fishing

Various locations

Winter anglers can catch a variety of fish ranging from perch and pickerel to northern pike and walleye and even landlocked salmon under the thick ice throughout New York State. For your first trip, opt for a good-weather day for more productive fishing, but make sure you check the ice for safety first. Taking part in local ice fishing tournaments is an ideal way to pick up helpful tricks and tips from seasoned winter fisherman.

Ski and snowboard pretty much anywhere

Various locations

With more ski areas than anywhere else in the country, New York State is bound to have a resort that caters to your skill level. Gore Mountain in North Creek has the most skiable acres of any resort in the state, while Whiteface in Lake Placid boasts the highest peak summit of any ski resort in the eastern U.S. at 4,867 feet (it was also home to the 1980 Winter Olympic games).

Snowboarding New York State

New York State has the most ski areas in the U.S. Photo courtesy of Whiteface

Go skating on Olympic rinks

Whiteface Mountain, Lake Placid

You may not be able to spin like Sonja Henie or ramp up speed like Eric Heiden, but you can certainly skate on the same ice that led them to Olympic victory. Public skating is available on one indoor and one outdoor rink, each linked to an athlete’s gold-medal win. Bring your own skates or rent them there, and be sure to enjoy the cozy fire pit at the center of the outdoor Speed Skating Oval rink (it’s one of the few outdoor rinks of its kind left in the country).

Cross-country ski on groomed trails

Garnet Hill Lodge, North River

Torch calories and enjoy the fresh mountain air at one of the country’s most esteemed cross country ski facilities, which touts more than 30 miles of set tracks and skating lanes that are groomed daily. At the Ski Center, guests will find rentals, sales, and repairs, as well as a “ski down, ride back” shuttle bus and full-moon night skiing.

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Sperm whales show in force off SoCal

Posted: 06 Oct 2014 01:48 PM PDT

sperm whales southern california

Sperm whales gather off Laguna Beach. These are four of perhaps 50 whales in scattered pods; image via ©Slater Moore Photography

Of all the rare catches and encounters off Southern California during the past several months, the showing Monday of as many as 50 sperm whales has to rank as the rarest—and certainly the most exciting.

The initial sighting of perhaps 12 of these iconic mammals was made at 11 a.m. by Larry Hartmann aboard the Ocean Explorer, which runs out of Newport Beach.

Hartmann was searching for a small humpback whale that had been frequenting an area two miles off Laguna Beach when he spotted a series of unusual blows in the distance.

“At first I thought they might be more humpbacks, but as I got closer I could tell by their blows that they were sperm whales,” said Hartmann, who also runs Captain Larry Adventures in Dana Point.

When he arrived alongside the whales, they were socializing with one another at the surface.

sperm whales southern california

Sperm whales side by side; photo by Frank Brennan/Dana Wharf Whale Watching

“They never went down,” Hartmann said. “They were playing with each other, and slapping their tails. It was amazing.”

Once Hartmann let on about the sighting, other whale-watching boats flocked to the area with GoPros and even drones, and promised exciting footage to local media. (See drone video above.)

That was when other pods were discovered, bringing the number of sperm whales to perhaps 50.

At 2:30 p.m., Gisele Anderson of Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Safari said she was watching two groups of 10 to 12 sperm whales, but could see another two groups not far in the distance. “A mother and calf just raised their heads and spy-hopped right near us,” Anderson said.

sperm whales southern california

Sperm whale rolls on its side; photo by Slater Moore Photography

Sperm whale sightings are extremely rare in coastal waters off Southern California, and sporadic sightings over the years have mostly involved single males or two males, feeding together.

The larger groups typically involve a mother, or mothers, and their young.

According to the latest estimate by NOAA, the minimum population of sperm whales off California, Oregon, and Washington is about 750 animals, which spend most of their time feeding so far offshore that they’re rarely seen. (NOAA on Monday said it would ask the Coast Guard to issue a notice to mariners, advising them to navigate carefully off Southern California, in case these mammals stick around for a few days.)

sperm whales southern california

Sperm whales take a peek at the SoCal coast; photo by Frank Brennan/Dana Wharf Whale Watching

Jay Barlow, a sperm whale expert with NOAA, said that he knew of only one other instance where a very large group of sperm whales passed between Santa Catalina Island and the mainland.

While this is an extraordinary event, this entire summer has been peculiar off Southern California, in terms of visits by aquatic species of fish or mammals that typically are found elsewhere.

Rare catches have included mahi-mahi, yellowfin tuna, blue marlin, wahoo, and pufferfish. Rare marine mammal sightings have included pilot whales, Bryde’s whales (also called tropical whales), and false killer whales.

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Sperm whale fluke; photo by Slater Moore Photography

This can be attributed largely to unusually warm water temperatures off Southern California and Baja California.

Sperm whales, a favorite target of whalers in the 18th and 19th century, were immortalized in Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.”

Their epic battles with giant squid in the dark ocean depths have been made legendary. They’ve been known to dive more than 3,000 feet in pursuit of squid.

They’re the largest of all toothed whales, reaching lengths of 60-plus feet, and they can consume thousands of pounds of squid and fish per day.

It remains unclear how long the sperm whales might remain in the area, but many are hopeful that this won’t be a one-day wonder.

–Find Pete Thomas on Facebook and Twitter

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Couple in hot-air balloon rescued by surfers

Posted: 06 Oct 2014 10:55 AM PDT

hot-air balloon rescued by surfers

Hot-air balloon was towed to shore by surfers and lifeguards; video screen grab

It was a beautiful evening, with the setting sun casting brilliant colors across the horizon … an idyllic experience for a newly engaged couple aloft in a hot-air balloon, and the perfect moment to pop the question.

But it seems that for Eric Barretto and his fiancé, what will be remembered most about proposal night was being swept out over the ocean and becoming the subjects of an emergency rescue as the balloon descended into the breakers at a popular North San Diego County surf spot.

“It’s unforgettable. That’s all I can say,” Barretto told NBC News. “I don’t know if we’ll do it again.”

The bizarre incident occurred Sunday just before 7 p.m. at Cardiff State Beach. The pilot said the balloon had been carried much farther west than normal by offshore winds.

hot-air balloon rescued by surfers

Hot-air balloon being pulled to shore; photo courtesy of Jennifer Fenati

When it became apparent he could not venture back to the east, above land, the pilot thought the best course of action was to set the carriage down in the surf zone.

He managed to keep the balloon aloft long enough for surfers to grab ropes and help tow the balloon to shore. The couple, however, was asked to jump overboard and swim to the beach.

“Between the lifeguards and the bystanders in the water, the surfers here at Cardiff reef, everyone did a great job and they got the balloon back up onto the beach without injury,” Encinitas Marine Safety Capt. Larry Giles said.

The couple and the pilot were fortunate that this hadn’t occurred a day or two earlier, when the waves were much larger.

Several companies offer romantic sunset hot-air balloon odysseys in North San Diego County. They typically launch a mile or two inland, and are rarely seen near the ocean.

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3 shark attacks in 2 days at Vandenberg AFB

Posted: 03 Oct 2014 10:18 PM PDT

A surfer and two kayak fishermen were attacked by sharks–or perhaps one shark–on Thursday and Friday at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, north of Santa Barbara.

All three attacks are believed to have involved great white sharks.

SharkDiverGWS

Generic great white shark image is courtesy of Martin Graf/Shark Diver

The attack on the surfer occurred Thursday, prompting the closure of beaches at the north end of the military base through the weekend. On Friday, kayak anglers were attacked in separate instances at the south end of the base.

As of the time of this post, Vandenberg acknowledged only Thursday’s attack on the surfer. It posted the news on its website homepage.

The kayakers, however, shared their news privately and on Facebook. Their story had yet to become mainstream news.

However, Vince Culliver, a fireman at Vandenberg and one of the kayak-fishing group, told GrindTv that he was about 10 feet away when his friend, Ryan Howell, was launched out of his 12-foot kayak, by a great white shark that measured nearly 20 feet.

The shark grabbed the stern of Howell’s kayak as it breached during the ambush attack, lifting the tail end and spilling Howell into the water. Culliver tried maneuvering his pedal-powered kayak to reach Howell, but wakes caused by the thrashing shark temporarily impeded his progress.

This was less than two hours after another kayaker, whose name Culliver could not recall, was knocked out of his kayak by a shark. The man was a novice paddling out with his son to meet the group.

Boaters were summoned via radio to assist both kayakers, whose vessels had been badly damaged.  It was not until after the second attack that the group decided to stop fishing and hurry to shore. The attacks occurred between noon and 2 p.m.

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Kayak damaged by great white shark attack at Vandenberg Air Force Base; photo via Jurassic Sportfishing

Details about the first incident are scant, but a statement posted Friday on the Vandenberg Air Force Base website states that the attack on the surfer, which occurred a quarter-mile north of Wall Beach, was not fatal.

It’s worth noting that these mark the fifth October attacks on Vandenberg Air Force Base beaches since 2010. (The public is allowed on VAFB beaches.)

A 2010 attack occurred on October 22 and claimed the life of Lucas McKain Ransom, 19, a student at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Ransom was bodyboarding with a friend at Surf Beach when he was bitten on the leg by a great white shark estimated to measure 14-plus feet.

The 2012 attack occurred on October 23 and claimed the life of Francisco Javier Solorio, 39, who was surfing with friends when he was bitten.

Solorio was helped ashore and attempts were made to revive the surfer, but paramedics arrived to find him dead at the scene.

Vandenberg Air Force Base is located in Santa Barbara County, about 130 miles north of Los Angeles.

On Friday the base posted this statement on its website homepage:

10/3/2014 – VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Surf, Wall, and Minuteman beaches are closed until Oct. 5, at 4 p.m. due to a confirmed shark attack one-quarter mile North of Wall Beach. The attack wasn’t fatal. Officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base are requesting the public avoid VAFB beaches due to safety considerations until 4 p.m. Oct. 5.

It’s unclear why October seems to be a particularly dangerous month along the stretch of coast on Vandenberg property.

However, this is the time of year that adult great white sharks begin arriving along the coast after spending months offshore.

White sharks typically feed on seals and sea lions, and scientists believe that surfers who are attacked by the ambush predators are mistaken as pinnipeds.

Most attacks on surfers involve only a single bite, helping to support this theory.

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5 exotic vacations for adventure seekers

Posted: 03 Oct 2014 02:03 PM PDT

Exotic vacation

Penguins can be observed right outside your tent on the Emperor Penguin Camping Tour in Antarctica. Photo courtesy Adventure Associates

If you’re looking for something different—really different—and you are feeling adventurous—really, really adventurous—then do we have some exotic vacations to suggest to you.

We’re not talking Yellowstone or Yosemite—not that there is anything wrong with visiting those iconic national parks. The exotic vacations we’re talking about range from Antarctica to the Arctic with an element of danger and/or thrill-seeking mixed in between.

So without further adieu, GrindTV Outdoors presents 5 exotic vacations for adventure seekers:

exotic vacation

Get up close and take spectacular photos of the emperor penguins. Photo courtesy of Adventure Associates

Exotic Vacation #1: Emperor Penguin Camping Tour, Antarctica

Travel to Union Glacier in Antarctica and camp with the emperor penguins at what is described as the only facility of its kind in Antarctica.

The nine-day tour begins by flying from Chile to Antarctica by private transport jet, landing on an ice runway, and staying at Union Glacier Camp in the remote southern Ellsworth Mountains. From there, guests are flown by ski aircraft to sea ice near the emperor penguin rookery where guides will set up came for the five-day stay among thousands of penguins.

“Watch adults display and feed their young,” the Adventure Associates website says. “Listen to trumpeting and whistling calls as parents and chicks search for one another. If lucky, we’ll photograph Weddell seals lazing by tide cracks. And at each step we’ll marvel at the magnificence of where we are. Each night, fall asleep to the mingled calls of thousands of Emperors.”

exotic vacation

Tourist are flown to an area next to an emperor penguin colony where they camp for five days among the penguins. Photo courtesy of Adventure Associates

Adventure Associates also offers a ship voyage that uses helicopters to get to the Snow Hill penguin colony in the Northern Weddell Sea. It also has flights to the South Pole.

“As the photos hint, being in that setting with the emperor penguins is a powerful, otherworldly experience,” Greg Mortimer of Adventure Associates told GrindTV Outdoor. “It is an overwhelming place to get a real sense of raw natural power.”

Departures are in November, and price includes a round-trip flight from Punta Arenas, Chile, meals and accommodations, and guided treks and climbs.

Price: $40,700.

exotic vacation

As exotic vacations go, being lowered into a volcano might top them all. Photo by © Vilhelm Gunnarsson courtesy of Inside the Volcano

Exotic Vacation #2. Inside the Volcano, Iceland

Iceland is one of the most active volcanic regions in the world because it sits on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where Eurasian and North American plates are moving apart. In the middle of this sits Thrihnukagigur volcano, which last erupted 4,000 years ago. Fortunately, it gives no indication of erupting in the near future.

A tour operator called Inside the Volcano offers tourists the chance to be lowered into the dormant volcano that features various colorations, is big enough to fit the Statue of Liberty inside, and has a one-of-a-kind magma chamber.

exotic vacation

Entrance to Thrihnukagigur Volcano. Photo by © Evelina Kremsdorf courtesy of Inside the Volcano

“The magma chamber is often referred to as the heart of a volcano,” Inside the Volcano website says. “It’s there that the liquid rock waits to find a way through to the surface, causing a volcanic eruption. In most cases, the crater is usually closed after the eruption by cold, hard lava.

“Thrihnukagigur volcano is a rare exception to this, because the magma in the chamber seems to have disappeared. It’s believed that the magma solidified in the walls or quite simply retreated to the depths of the earth.”

exotic vacation

A steel cable elevator lowers tourists down into the Thrihnukagigur volcano. Photo by © Solve Fredheim courtesy of Inside the Volcano

The tour, which includes transportation from Reykjavik to near the volcano, starts with a 2-mile walk to get to the crater. There, tourists are lowered to the bottom of the volcano with an open cable elevator. Tours are five to six hours with up to 40 minutes inside the volcano. They run from May to October.

Price: $315 ($628 for the helicopter tour)

exotic vacation

You don’t have to be an experienced climber to enjoy climbing the world’s highest via ferrata in Malaysia. Photo courtesy of Mountain Torq

Exotic Vacation #3. Via ferrata climbing at Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

The best part about this adventure is that you don’t need to be an experienced climber to get a feel for high-altitude mountain climbing.

Mountain Torq, a mountaineering company in Malaysia, constructed what the Guinness World Records recognized as the world’s highest via ferrata, which is Italian for “iron road.”

A via ferrata is a climbing route that has a steel cable fixed to the rock running along the route, and often features iron rungs, ladders, bridges, and carved steps allowing otherwise dangerous routes to be easily accessed by inexperienced climbers.

The via ferrata made by Mountain Torq is 12,388 feet at its highest point and 11,191 feet at its starting point. It offers spectacular mountain surroundings and summit views.

exotic vacation

Climbers clip into a steel cable while negotiating across a suspension bridge at Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia. Photo courtesy of Mountain Torq

Three alpine sport climbing courses are available: Beginner Alpine Sport Climbing, Advanced Alpine Sport Climbing, and Alpine Sport Climbing—Lead climbing.

“Mt. Kinabalu is truly an alpine playground offering hikers and adventure seekers the ability to experience a range of mountaineering activities from hiking, via ferrata climbing, sport climbing, rock climbing to mountaineering expeditions,” Mountain Torq writes.

Price: $340 (includes mandatory one-night accommodation)

exotic vacation

A Gravity Bolivia mountain biking tour stops for a photo along the World’s Most Dangerous Road. Photo courtesy of Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking

Exotic Vacation #4. Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking, Bolivia

No matter what the weather conditions, the World’s Most Dangerous Road, a.k.a. the Death Road, is always open for the clients of Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking in Bolivia.

exotic vacation

The Death Road tour consists of a narrow dirt road and a 40-mile, downhill bike ride. Photo courtesy of Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking

From La Cumbre at 15,400 feet, mountain bikers descend more than 11,800 feet over 40 miles of mostly downhill riding, including the World’s Most Dangerous Road.

“This infamous narrow dirt road is cut precariously into the side of the mountain and descends 2,000m (6,500 feet),” the Gravity Bolivia website says. “With 1,000m+ (3,300 feet) sheer drops off to our left and hulking rock overhangs and cascading waterfalls to our right, we ride through mist, low cloud and dust.”

Here’s a YouTube video describing the ride:

The entire ride takes four to five hours, and while it is potentially dangerous (there have been a reported 21 biker deaths on this road), it is not a difficult ride.

Price: $110

Exotic vacation

Arctic Watch is a five-star wilderness lodge located 500 miles above the Arctic Circle. Photo courtesy of Quark Expeditions

Exotic Vacation #5. Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, Nunavut, Canada

For the first time starting in 2015, Quark Expeditions is offering a land-based adventure in partnership with Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, Canada’s most northerly lodge located 500 miles above the Arctic Circle on Somerset Island in Nunavut.

Quark Expeditions, a leader in Polar adventures, is billing this as its most intimate Arctic program.

exotic vacation

Arctic Watch offers a world-class beluga whale observation site. Photo courtesy of Quark Expeditions

The Arctic Watch is a five-star wilderness lodge that has a world-class beluga whale observation site. Polar bears, muskox, Arctic fox, snowy owls, peregrine falcons, ring and bearded seals, and hares are among the Arctic wildlife tourists can expect to see.

The 10-day expedition includes locally sourced gourmet dining and fully guided activities such as hiking, kayaking, river rafting, zodiac cruising, and exploring the Arctic tundra in all-terrain vehicles and four-wheel drive trucks.

exotic vacation

Arctic Watch activities include exploring the Arctic tundra via ATVs. Photo courtesy of Quark Expeditions

“This will be a truly raw and untouched Canadian Arctic experience for nature enthusiasts around the world, all accessible within a short flight from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories,” Quark Expeditions said.

The adventure can be scheduled between the end of June to the middle of August. Maximum occupancy is 26 guests.

Price: $7,995+

Follow David Strege on Facebook 

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Another shark attack at Vandenberg AFB

Posted: 03 Oct 2014 01:54 PM PDT

A shark attack Friday at Vandenberg Air Force Base, north of Santa Barbara, prompted the closure of three beaches on the military base until Sunday evening.

Details are scant but a statement posted Friday on the Vandenberg Air Force Base website states that the attack, which occurred a quarter-mile north of Wall Beach, was not fatal.  There were unconfirmed reports that kayakers were attacked by two sharks on Friday, including one that measured nearly 20 feet.

SharkDiverGWS

Generic great white shark image is courtesy of Martin Graf/Shark Diver

Area surfers might note that this marks at least the third October attack on Vandenberg Air Force Base beaches since 2010. (The public is allowed on VAFB beaches.)

The 2010 attack occurred on October 22 and claimed the life of Lucas McKain Ransom, 19, a student at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Ransom was bodyboarding with a friend at Surf Beach when he was bitten on the leg by a great white shark estimated to measure 14-plus feet.

The 2012 attack occurred on October 23 and claimed the life of Francisco Javier Solorio, 39, who was surfing with friends when he was bitten.

Solorio was helped ashore and attempts were made to revive the surfer, but paramedics arrived to find him dead at the scene.

Vandenberg Air Force Base is located in Santa Barbara County, about 130 miles north of Los Angeles.

On Friday the base posted this statement on its website homepage:

10/3/2014 – VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Surf, Wall, and Minuteman beaches are closed until Oct. 5, at 4 p.m. due to a confirmed shark attack one-quarter mile North of Wall Beach. The attack wasn’t fatal. Officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base are requesting the public avoid VAFB beaches due to safety considerations until 4 p.m. Oct. 5.

It’s unclear why October seems to be a particularly dangerous month along the stretch of coast on Vandenberg property.

However, this is the time of year that adult great white sharks begin arriving along the coast after spending months offshore.

White sharks typically feed on seals and sea lions, and scientists believe that surfers who are attacked by the ambush predators are mistaken as pinnipeds.

Most attacks on surfers involve only a single bite, helping to support this theory.

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Danny MacAskill survives making of ‘The Ridge’

Posted: 03 Oct 2014 09:06 AM PDT

Danny MacAskill

Danny MacAskill atop the Inaccessible Pinnacle. Photo is a screen grab from the video

What Scottish mountain bike stunt rider Danny MacAskill did in his latest video was so treacherous that his parents worried whether their son would come back alive.

“I was very apprehensive that he would seriously hurt or even kill himself,” Peter MacAskill told The Press and Journal of the U.K. “Danny didn’t go into details of what he did, to stop us worrying.”

What Danny MacAskill did was perform his usual array of mountain biking tricks, ride his mountain bike on some insane, death-defying lines on the 7-mile-long Cuillin Ridge of the Isle of Skye, and climb atop the infamous Inaccessible Pinnacle, a spectacular sight you see in the image above.

“I’ve always wondered whether it would be possible for me to ride my mountain bike up there,” MacAskill said at the beginning of the video. Well, turns out, it is possible. See for yourself in the video called “The Ridge,” made by Cut Media, based in Glasgow, Scotland:

As you can see, the scenery is spectacular and the stunts are vintage Danny MacAskill—the front flip over a wire fence at the 6:10 mark is a thing of beauty, too.

But climbing the 3,250-foot Inaccessible Pinnacle with mountain bike in tow is particularly stunning, not to mention daring.

Stu Thomson of Cut Media wrote about that part of the 10-day shoot in a blog, saying, “The day on the Inaccessible Pinnacle (THAT shot in the middle of the film) we left at 4 a.m. to be there for 7 a.m. That scene of Danny is about 7:30 am. Never in my life have I seen a crew of blokes so ecstatic to be awake at 7:30 a.m. That day was super special.”

Danny MacAskill

Danny MacAskill took more than one take to do a forward flip over a wire fence. Photo from Cut Media Facebook page

Thomson also explained that on most days the 10-man crew hiked a minimum of 2,952 feet to get up to the ridge and generally spent two to four hours going each way.

The effort was well worth it, as “The Ridge” is every bit as entertaining as previous pieces of works by Danny MacAskill, including “Epecuén,” “Industrial Revolution,” and “Way Back Home,” the film that elevated him to fame for his stunt riding.

“Ever since I was a kid growing up on Skye, I have always dreamt about riding a bike up on the Cuillin Ridge,” Danny MacAskill said, according to Bike Magazine. “The project took a lot of planning and was probably one of the most physically demanding films I have ever worked on. It was definitely a labor of love, [and] I wanted to show off the island for how it is, and make everyone who lives there proud to be from this amazing part of the world.”

He definitely did them proud.

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What the heck is cyclocross?

Posted: 03 Oct 2014 04:00 AM PDT

cyclocross

Tim Johnson racing cyclocross. Photo: Cannondale

Within the American cycling world, cyclocross is growing in popularity. But the average person still has no idea what it is. So, what is it? It’s a hilarious and unique form of cycling racing that requires athletes to ride multiple loops filled with various obstacles, such as stairs, steep banks, sand pits, and wooden barriers. It also includes pit crews and NASCAR-esque pit stops, largely because cyclocross is, in a word, muddy. Its crowds are large, crazy (translation: drunk), and vuvuzela-blaring, and the races are cheap to enter and don’t require a special bike or gear at first. (Riders can obviously move up to a cyclocross-specific bike if they like the sport and want to put more time into it.)

To get the scoop on this rising sport, we caught up with former mountain bike racer Tim Johnson, who is now at the top of the cyclocross world. He tells us why people are riding skinny-tired bikes around city parks, how ’cross has grown, and what he does to stay strong.

How did you get into cyclocross (and cycling)? What’s your backstory?

I was introduced to ’cross in the late summer of 1995 after finishing up the mountain bike season at the World Championships in Germany. I was 18 and had just represented the U.S. as a junior rider. Stu Thorne, now of Cyclocrossworld.com and our Cannondale/Cyclocross world team manager, asked if I’d like to join them at the race in early October. That first road trip to a small race in New England was just the beginning. I loved it, and by the end of that season I was the national champ.

What does it take to be good at cyclocross? What skills do you need to have?

A great cyclocrosser needs to have the ability to push their engine very hard. Our races take place at the upper reaches of heart rate and power. Couple that with the ability to think tactically while navigating a course that is very technical and varied and you have lots going on, all at a high intensity level.

How do you train specifically for it?

We have to be able to recover from each effort as quick as possible. Sometimes you only have four to five seconds where you’re not pedaling and you have to hit the reset button each time. It’s physically impossible to go 100 percent for one hour. We just try to do 99 percent for the hour and make that 1 percent of “chilling out” count!

What advice would you give newbies?

Have fun. You’re riding a bike that looks like a road bike but you’re on the dirt and in the woods. It takes lots of concentration to keep upright and going in the correct direction. Take a look around at those next to you and remember that you’re not the only one having a potentially challenging time, ha!

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Tim Johnson running his bike during a cyclocross race. Photo: Cannondale

Gear wise, if you’re making the move to cross, what do you need that’s different?

At first, not much. Cross races are really easy to jump into and try whether you’re on a mountain bike or a townie (a more urban bike). After you’ve tried, it makes sense to figure out how to move up to a CX bike and then seek out the next few chances to race locally. A surprising part about cyclocross gear is the way that we use tire pressure to gain performance. We are limited by the size of the tires we use, so tread pattern and pressure is what we adjust. Sometimes I’ll race with 18psi in my tires on a CX bike while on a road bike it’s more like 100psi to 110psi.

What’s the coolest part of it? Why do you love it?

Without a doubt, it’s the atmosphere. A cyclocross event is just a great mix of people who are there for the exercise and outdoor time. Everyone is there for the party. It’s not a bad bunch of folks we roll with.

Seems like a lot more people are racing cyclocross these days; how have you seen it change?

During my first CX race, we might have had 100 people across three categories in total. Now, we can have two to three events happening on the same weekend that each have 1,200 to 2,000 people. CX just passed mountain biking in number of “racer days” that USA Cycling uses to track cycling disciplines. Dropping into a non-UCI race from time to time reminds me just how much fun cross is to those who are finding it for the first time. The barriers to entry are so low that it’s really the most user-friendly of bike events.

Any personal rituals, tricks, or secrets?

I have gone through different phases over the years, but I think the most beneficial thing that I’ve added to my racing and training is eating well. Instead of seeking out food on race day when I’m hungry and risking getting hungry, I now plan ahead and make sure I have clean, whole food available for me to eat. I usually have rice and eggs, but I will usually time my meals so that I don’t have that empty stomach feeling where I’m in trouble. The racing we do is so high-intensity that we can burn more than 1,000 calories in just that one hour. With warmup time and bad weather, it becomes a tough day on the body.

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Cam Zink hits huge 360 step-down for best trick

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 11:50 AM PDT

Cam Zink hits huge 360 step-down

Cam Zink, shown here during a practice run, took best trick with a massive 360 drop-down. Photo: © John Gibson/Red Bull Content Pool

Freerider Cam Zink added to his mountain biking resume at the Red Bull Rampage on Monday, adding a massive 360 step-down to take best trick of the competition. It’s said to be one of the largest 360 drops ever performed on a mountain bike.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for the Reno, Nevada, freerider to surpass the winning ride of Andreu Lacondeguy of Spain. Nevertheless, Zink’s trick, one everybody was talking about in practice, had the mountain biking community abuzz. Here’s his run with the big trick that earned him second place:

As the announcer said, Zink has done just about everything you can do on a mountain bike. He won the 2010 Rampage, and stole the show at last year’s Rampage with what at the time was the biggest backflip by a mountain biker, at 78 feet. That won him the best trick of the event.

Zink subsequently broke that “biggest backflip” record. In August, Zink set a Guinness World Record for the longest dirt-to-dirt mountain bike backflip, going 100 feet, 3 inches in a live broadcast on ESPN at Mammoth Mountain.

Now, if you want to see what Cam Zink’s ride looked like through his eyes, the POV video is right this way:

Zink was obviously disappointed with second place but found a silver lining.

“Second place with the best trick is about as close as it can get, like the best consolation, but I wish the judges liked my line a little better,” he told Red Bull. “But it is what it is. We’re happy. We’re walking. Yeah, it was good day, but [like a] true competitor, I want to win, that’s for sure.”

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Light-painting artist brings creatures to life

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 11:24 AM PDT

light art animals

Eagle and snake, by light-painting artist Darren Pearson; photo via Caters News

Imagine a world in which creatures of the universe, come nightfall, spring to life in a dazzling array of color and light.

Take the giant white eagle, for example, as it swoops down with outstretched golden talons toward a blue-green snake coiled in defense, and flicking its ruby-red tongue (top image).

Light art animals

Octopus by light-painting artist Darren Pearson; photo via Caters News

Or the mysterious octopus, perched on the rocky shore at twilight; or the enormous hammerhead shark, a brilliant white and classically shaped, lurking in the blackness beyond the city skyline; or the mighty scorpion, as bright as the stars, scampering across the desert.

These “light paintings” are the work of photographer Darren Pearson, 31, whose neon-light art is an attempt to bring certain critters to life, but in a larger-than-life fashion.

Light art animals

Scorpion by light-painting artist Dennis Pearson; photo via Caters News

The Southern California photographer uses sheets of LED lights and a long exposure, and essentially paints his animals with swirling circles of neon lights. He then sets them in real-life landscapes, which he captures with timelapse photography.

The giant eagle light painting, for example, is set along the Angeles Crest Highway in Los Angeles County.

Light art animals

Desert fox by light-painting artist Dennis Pearson; photo via Caters News

The scorpion is brought to life in the Anza-Borrego Desert, and the desert fox is set in Joshua Tree National Park.

Pearson told Caters News: “The photos themselves are not that difficult to make. However, an accurate depiction of the animal is always very difficult to capture.

Light art animals

Tiger by light-painting artist Dennis Pearson; photo via Caters News

“That’s why I do them. They’re challenging, and take a zen-type of concentration. They usually take more than one attempt to perfect.”

Pearson has been light painting since 2008. He was inspired by an image from Gjon Mili, which revealed Pablo Picasso creating a light drawing titled, “Pablo Draws a Centar.”

The Los Angeles-based Pearson, on his website, states that perhaps the most difficult aspect of his work involves “finding a cool spot without ambient light or sketchy night-people.”

Light art animals

Jellyfish by light-painting artist Dennis Pearson; photo via Caters News

He describes what goes into the creation of his light paintings as “spinning a glass prism in front of the camera while shining light into the lens to create rainbow prismatic circles.”

Most of his landscapes are far beyond the bright lights of L.A., scattered throughout Southern California.

The majestic seahorse, for example, is set in Torrey Pines State Park in north San Diego County.

The tiger is in Los Angeles, presumably at the L.A. Zoo.

Said Pearson: “I wanted to get more natural with these pictures and pay homage to the creatures and their homes that I’m visiting.”

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Pat Keller paddles on despite injury

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 04:00 AM PDT

Pat Keller

Pat Keller running the Green Race backwards on purpose (called switchback). He’s going through the Notch right above Gorilla. Photo by Curtis England

At 28 years old, Pat Keller is one of the most accomplished whitewater kayakers in the U.S. He’s bagged at least a dozen first descents, including the 100-foot Ozone Falls in Tennessee. He may also be one of the most broken—he recently snapped his collarbone, his ninth major injury during his 15 years in the extreme sport.

But his attitude is, “Who’s counting, right?”

Pat Keller's broken hand

One of Pat Keller’s many injuries: a broken right fourth metacarpal. X-ray courtesy Pat Keller

“I’d say do what you love and pursue your goals, however lofty, while your body is heading toward its peak,” says Keller. “I know I’m gonna hurt when I’m older. But Tao Berman put it pretty well when he said, ‘I don’t wanna regret having not run something.’”

Keller’s choice of whitewater kayaking as his primary focus even began with an injury. As a kid, Keller participated in different sports until he tore the ACL in his right knee. “I focused my attention on kayaking at age 9 because I could no longer ski and do gymnastics,” he says.

“Pat walked up to me around that time and said he was going to grow up to be a world-class kayaking instructor and travel the world,” said Shane Benedict, Keller’s old instructor at Adventure Quest and Liquidlogic Kayaks cofounder. “One of the strongest attributes of Pat as a paddler is that he has his own style and his own vision of what is possible in a kayak.”

With a year of world-class instruction, Keller moved on to win short boat in North Carolina’s Green Race at age 15 (and different classes again at 20, 21, 22, and 27), earn a silver medal at the Freestyle World Championships at 17, and win the Homestake Creek Race in Colorado at 20. There was no stopping him.

Except, of course, for the injuries, like when he broke the second metacarpal of his left hand running an 80-footer in Costa Rica, and a cracked a rib running a 40/40 on the Class V+ Toxaway Creek in North Carolina. These injuries are sprinkled in among others from sports such as dirt biking and motocross.

Pat Keller

Pat Keller running Gorilla Rapid; photo courtesy Curtis England

But Keller heals and then keeps on going, despite what some of his critics say.

“I’ve been told things like, ‘You’ll regret this when you’re older and can’t do the sport anymore at 35,’” says Keller. “Another good one is the simple ‘Dude, what the f***?’”

Whitewater kayaking has entered an age where paddlers now run 100-foot waterfalls around the world and complete incredibly difficult first descents in remote and dangerous countries like the Republic of Congo and Mexico. Those who survive these expeditions usually end up with injuries, a broken back and shoulder being the most common, that affect them the rest of their lives. The evolution of this and other adrenaline sports begs the question: Is the risk worth the cost?

For Keller, it is.

Pat Keller broken collarbone

An injury like this might make your average athlete reconsider the risks he takes in paddling. Not so with Pat Keller. X-ray courtesy Pat Keller

“Few other sports exist where humans, in our tiny levels of understanding and thin muscles, can dance with and become a part of something so powerful and so visceral,” he says. “Kayaking, mountain biking, and skiing all share that trait, and that’s why I love them. It’s whatever we want to make of it.”

After a certain level, death becomes a bigger risk. Flush drowning and blunt force trauma are almost annual occurrences on Idaho’s North Fork Payette. The Great Falls of the Potomac took a life a year and a half ago. A Class V+ steep creek in New Hampshire took the life of an American Whitewater staff member in 2012. These and other deaths were high-level paddlers on stout whitewater runs. At a certain point, the margin for error becomes razor thin.

Given the risks Keller faces every day, he must balance logic and safety with his desire to become one with nature—for the sake of his health and the sanity of his loved ones. This is why Keller says that kayakers must prepare as much as possible for the challenges associated with their sport—they must work on the skills they need and develop their body strength to keep themselves at that peak level as long as possible. They must also try to avoid injury by listening to their instincts, and making the best choices given their realm of experience, knowledge, and confidence.

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‘Trail Doctor’ offers humorous biking tips

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 03:00 AM PDT

A new video series has arrived to fix what ails you on the trails. Thirty-year mountain bike industry veteran Dan Milner, dubbed the “Trail Doctor,” combines humor with some seriously helpful tips for riding and maintaining mountain bikes in 12 upcoming on-trail eponymous episodes.

Milner’s tips and tricks come from traveling and testing the limits of his bike and body, such as one memorable event in Les Deux Alpes, France. “I took a fall and tore my knee ligaments. Then while trying to still ride down the mountain to safety, I punctured [got a flat tire],” Milner says. “The only tube I had was a fat, car-type Schrader valve, but my wheel rims were drilled to take narrow, high-pressure Presta valves. I had to gouge out the valve hole using my multi-tool to take the wider valve, while my knee began to balloon to the size of my head.”

Trial Doctor

Dan Milner, a.k.a. the “Trail Doctor,” works on changing a mountain bike tire. All photos courtesy of Dan Milner

While tubeless technology is making flat tires less common these days, it’s still important to know the basics of changing a tire, so you can help yourself—and maybe others—on the trail. “Fixing punctures is easy and quick if you do it right, but get it wrong, and it can eat 10 or 20 minutes out of a ride,” Milner says. “Those are 20 minutes that feel like an eternity if you’re waiting for someone to get it right, and they are 20 minutes that are way more fun to spend railing singletrack.”

Milner says tubeless tires present their own set of problems to learn to fix, and for the moment most people are still riding tubes. “We’ll get around to tubeless before long. There’s a new episode every two weeks!”

Dan Milner, a U.K.-based photographer, has been involved in every aspect of the mountain bike industry, including bike mechanics, sales, and testing. “I first threw my leg over a ‘mountain bike’ back in 1985, in the toeclips and pre-helmet days of riding footpaths of South Wales,” Milner says. “But it’s my 17-year career as a mountain sports photographer, with a taste for challenging adventures, that has most sculpted my name as a mountain bike aficionado. I’ve ridden MTBs in remote places—from Afghanistan to Argentina to India to Morocco—and a lot of places in between.”

trail doctor

Trail Doctor Dan Milner negotiates some rocky terrain in Nepal.

Milner’s favorite type of riding these days is “enduro” all-mountain style. “Nothing beats earning your descents in some place that feels like it’s just you, the trail, and whatever it throws at you,” he says. “Learning to get yourself out of trouble means you can go ride these kind of places.”

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GrindTV.com - Outdoor Blog


35,000 walruses spotted on Alaska beach

Posted: 01 Oct 2014 01:51 PM PDT

35,000 walruses spotted on Alaska beach

Walruses mass together on beach near Point Lay, Alaska; photo by Corey Accardo/NOAA

Scientists conducting aerial surveys recently spotted an estimated 35,000 Pacific walruses gathered tightly on a remote beach in Northwest Alaska.

While it was an impressive sight, the mass gathering is troubling because walruses typically haul out more sporadically on floating ice in the Chukchi Sea, their feeding grounds above the Arctic Circle.

The mammals require sea ice on which to rest. But this summer there is virtually no ice, and the extraordinary scene on the beach near Point Lay, an Inupiat Eskimo village, helps to illustrate the possible effects of climate change in the region.

35,000 walruses spotted on Alaska beach

Photo by Corey Accardo/NOAA

The aggregation, photographed Saturday, is one of the largest in recent years. But there have been others during the past decade: first in 2007, then in 2009. In 2011, a gathering about the same size as the recent gathering appeared on the same half-mile stretch of beach near Point Lay.

Point Lay is located 300 miles southwest of Barrow and 700 miles northwest of Anchorage.

Pacific walruses spend winters in the Bering Sea. Females give birth on sea ice and use ice as platforms from which to dive for snails, clams, and worms. Their long tusks help them haul out onto the ice.

Each summer, as sea ice recedes north, females and their young follow the remaining ice into the Chukchi Sea, north of the Bering Strait.

The massive haul-outs are troubling not just because of a climate change standpoint. They are dangerous for the animals. Younger, weaker walruses can be trampled or suffocated.

Andrea Medeiros, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, told the Associated Press that a survey team counted about 50 carcasses last week. The animals might have been killed during a stampede.

A necropsy team is scheduled to collect the carcasses next week, to try to determine a precise cause of death.

Also, because the walruses have traveled so far from their feeding grounds, they might lack the strength and nourishment needed to return to feeding areas.

Environmental groups, naturally, are very concerned.

“The massive concentration of walruses onshore—when they should be scattered broadly in ice-covered waters—is just one example of the impacts of climate change on the distribution of marine species in the Arctic,” Margaret Williams, managing director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Arctic program, said in a statement.

Williams added that mass walrus haul-outs also have been documented on the Russian side of the Chukchi Sea.

She continued: “The walruses are telling us what the polar bears have told us and what many indigenous people have told us in the high Arctic, and that is that the Arctic environment is changing extremely rapidly and it is time for the rest of the world to take notice and also to take action to address the root causes of climate change.”

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Chinese man sets planking world record

Posted: 01 Oct 2014 11:07 AM PDT

planking world record

Mao Weidong sets planking world record in Beijing, China. Photo: Associated Press

Amid much fanfare, a Chinese man set a Guinness World Record for the longest time in an abdominal plank position with an incredible duration of 4 hours, 26 minutes.

Mao Weidong, a police officer from the Beijing SWAT team that was formed in 2005 to combat violent crimes and terrorism, accomplished the planking world record last Friday in an auditorium at the SWAT training base outside Beijing, China, according CCTV News and other media outlets.

Cameramen, media, and an audience watched as Mao took his position on a raised platform equipped with a clock. Resting only on his elbows and tiptoes, Mao proceeded to smash the previous planking world record of 3 hours, 7 minutes and 15 seconds set by American athlete George Hood in 2013.

China News did a report on the achievement. Though it’s in Chinese, you can get an idea of just how serious people took this planking world record:

To really get a sense of how awesome this record truly is, just try it for 4 minutes and see how well you do.

“I can’t do 3 minutes!!” one person wrote on the CCTV News Facebook page.

planking world record

Mao Weidong (left), who set a planking world record, receives his Guinness World Record certificate. Photo from CCTV Facebook page

A senior officer told CCTV News that Mao’s daily training contributed to his achievement.

Equally remarkable is that people actually sat there and watched him for 4 hours, 26 minutes. Other than sweat and take an occasion sip of water from someone offering a water bottle, Mao didn’t do much other than remain in the abdominal plank position for much, much longer than your average NFL game.

Entertainment-wise, it probably ranks up there with watching paint dry.

Interestingly, Mao’s time has additional significance other than just being a planking world record. Mao was intentionally shooting for the time of 4 hours, 26 minutes as a goal because April 26 is his wife’s birthday.

Whew—good thing she wasn’t born in December.

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Great white shark attacks one of its own

Posted: 01 Oct 2014 09:57 AM PDT

Great white shark attacks great white

Great white shark asserts dominance over smaller white shark; video screen grab

A passenger on a shark-diving expedition off South Australia has captured rare footage of a large great white shark attacking a smaller white shark.

It remains unclear, however, whether that was the larger shark’s intention, at least initially, or whether it had merely been going after the bait when the smaller shark, after making a pass at the bait, got in its way. (See video.)

The fate of the smaller shark also remains unclear.

Adam Malski, 33, was back on the boat at the time of the dramatic clash, which he captured on video. The rare event also was witnessed by the captain and dive master near Neptune Island, 50 miles at sea.

The bait, presumably a large fish, had been tied to a rope and set beyond the stern. Cages are beneath the surface behind the stern, allowing divers to get up-close views of sharks as they’re lured in by the scent of the bait.

great white shark

Great white shark as seen from the safety of a cage; video screen grab

Malski told the U.K. Mirror: “The day where the shark attacked the other was surreal. I asked the dive master and skipper of the boat what would happen if a smaller shark got in the way of a larger shark. The skipper responded: ‘The big shark would take the smaller one down.’

“Literally six seconds later, that amazing scene was witnessed by me, the skipper, and the dive master. They had never seen anything like it before.”

The footage was making the rounds Tuesday on Facebook, and shark experts were chiming in.

The Marine Science Conservation Institute, run by Michael Domeier, commented:

“Very interesting white shark vs. white shark moment caught on film. We have seen violent aggression between adult white sharks at Guadalupe Island … not so sure this is what’s happening in this clip. It looks like both sharks were going for the same bait and ended up mouth-to-mouth. Didn’t end so well for the little guy!”

Mexico’s Guadalupe Island is one of the world’s premier shark-diving destinations, in part because of the amazing water clarity. I’ve been on two dives there and observed from topside larger sharks asserting their dominance as they and other sharks maneuver around the stern, investigating the area close to the bait.

Martin Graf of the company Shark Diver added: “From my observations, it is unusual for a much bigger shark to bite a much smaller one. Typically those bites happen between sharks of similar size. Most sharks under about 9 feet at Guadalupe are pretty clean (free of scars). The biggest number of bites (aside from mating bites) are on males from about 11 feet to 14 feet long.”

Passengers on most shark-diving expeditions, wherever the location, typically emerge with an enhanced appreciation of the apex predators, after being able to see them up close and watch how gracefully, yet cautiously, they maneuver through their realm.

Said Malski: “I spent many hours observing them in their territory and up close and saw 18 magnificent creatures in total. All of which were inquisitive but not aggressive.

“Even when one bumped my hand and camera when I was 20 meters underwater, there was no aggression—just inquisitiveness.”

Most adult white sharks have unique markings, or scars, and outfitters often give them names.

The large shark that attacked the smaller shark is named Gilbert.

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Experience fall at this Appalachian getaway

Posted: 01 Oct 2014 05:00 AM PDT

Mohonk Preserve

Mohonk Preserve is nature’s Photoshop—no need for filters here. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

If hiking had to choose a favorite season, it would most definitely pick fall. Low crowds, plenty of sunshine, cool but not cold temperatures—walking around in the outdoors was meant to happen from September through November. But while East Coast leaf-peeping crowds scamper off to New England to catch the changing season, Mohonk Preserve along the New York Appalachians is in the Big Apple’s backyard, and one of the best kept secrets in the state.

With more than 40 miles of trails for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding, the preserve offers plenty of adventure and enough terrain to sustain it. One of the highlights has to be the Mohonk Mountain House, an old 20th century hotel that still operates on the picturesque cliffs above Mohonk Lake. Stolen straight from a Bavarian postcard, it’s pretty hard to believe this little niche in upstate New York is home to such natural beauty.

Before straying too far from home, the Tri-State needs to add Mohonk to their weekend to-do list. Here’s everything you need to know.

Mohonk Preserve

There’s a certain magic to a leaf-covered walk in the woods, and Mohonk is no exception. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

What: Mohonk Preserve is an 8,000-acre private land trust and member supported nature preserve along the northern edge of the Shawangunk Ridge (a section of the Appalachian Range). The preserve partnered with the Mohonk Mountain House in 1986 to become a National Historic Landmark and currently receives about 150,000 annual visits from hikers, climbers, and skiers.

Where: Just 90 miles north of New York City, Mohonk is located in Ulster County near New Paltz and Gardiner.

How to get there: From New York City, take I-87 North to exit 18. Follow signs for Route 299 West, then turn right on to Route 44. The visitor center will then appear on your right.

When to go: Fall! Summer and spring aren’t bad times to be in the woods, but when the leaves are changing up north, it’s hard to beat a fall hike.

Mohonk Preserve

Prominent ridgelines run through the preserve, making for good climbing and some good overlooks. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Must hit: There are several good vantage points in the preserve, but the Staircliff Path offers some of the best views out over Mohonk Lake and the iconic mountain hotel. For a longer hike, the High Peters Kill hike is a 7.5-mile round-trip with awesome ridge views. For climbers, the area offers more than five linear miles of cliff face with more than 1,000 routes and tons of bouldering options.

Do: If you’re going to get a couple weekends in, buy a trail pass. It costs $55, but it’ll pay itself off pretty quickly considering you’ll pay $12 each trip otherwise.

Don’t: Park at the Mohonk Mountain House. Though it is partners with the preserve, it is a private resort and you will get a nice fat ticket. There are four trailheads around the preserve that offer parking, so check the Mohonk Preserve website for more info.

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How to freedive for California spiny lobster

Posted: 01 Oct 2014 04:00 AM PDT

California spiny lobster

A California spiny lobster hides in a crack in 20 feet of water off the San Diego coastline. Photo by Justin Coté

With the season for California spiny lobster just opened, now is the perfect time to get out there and grab yourself some of the most sought after crustaceans on the West Coast. Plentiful from Monterey Bay to Baja California, spiny lobster can be hunted from September 27 until March 18, 2015. While anglers can catch spiny lobster with hoop nets or on scuba, the most challenging and therefore rewarding way is to freedive for them. Here are a few tips to get you started …

The various gear you'll need to hunt California Spiny Lobster; photo Justin Coté

The various gear you’ll need to hunt California spiny lobster. Photo Justin Coté

What gear you need
-Mask and snorkel
-Thick, warm wetsuit
-Weight belt
-Gardening gloves
-Swim fins
-Dive bag
-Lobster gauge to measure your catch
-Fishing license and lobster report card

Where to go
Lobsters don’t like sandy bottoms; they prefer rock structure and reef. You could be the best freediver in the world but if you’re in the wrong spot you’re going to surface empty-handed every time. Ask around … just don’t ask me where my spot is!

California spiny lobster

Because it had room to scoot back with a flick of the tail, this California spiny lobster wasn’t landed, but did make for a cool shot. Photo by Justin Coté

How to do it
While floating on the surface, look for slight overhangs, caves, and cracks in the reef. Once you’ve spotted a spot where you think there may be some bugs, relax and breathe deep. Upon descent, aim straight down to get to the bottom quickly and without wasting oxygen. Once you’ve spotted your prey, quickly figure out the best angle for attack. Grabbing them by the antennae doesn’t work, as they’ll just break off. You need to grab it by the carapace (head) and hold tight as it flips its tail in an attempt to free itself and not become dinner. Also, a lot of times you’ll see a cluster of lobster; take a second to find the biggest one and go after that one. Be patient and don’t stress when you lose a few; the act of grabbing a lobster is the toughest part and takes a lot of practice.

Be careful of
-Getting your arm stuck in a cave. No lobster is worth losing your life over!
-Taking small lobster—the carapace must measure at least 3.25 inches to be legal, and the limit is seven lobsters per person. Fines are steep; don’t be a poacher! For a complete list of rules and regulations go to dfg.ca.gov.
-Rip currents, rogue waves, banging your head on rocks, and other dangers associated with the ocean. Always dive with a buddy!
-Diving at night. This can be very rewarding, but take even more precaution than you would during the daytime.

California spiny lobster

With the going rate for California spiny lobster between $25 and $35 per pound, this is about $80 worth of food. Note that it’s illegal to remove the head until you get home and are about to cook it. Photo by Justin Coté

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GrindTV.com - Outdoor Blog


Andreu Lacondeguy wins Red Bull Rampage

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 02:45 PM PDT

After a weekend of thunderstorms, rebuilding lines, and weather delays, Andreu Lacondeguy of Spain emerged Monday as the winner of the Red Bull Rampage 2014—finally.

Lacondeguy was a fourth-place finisher in each of the last three Rampage events but this time beat out previous winners Cam Zink of the U.S. (second), Brandon Semenuk of Canada (third), and defending champion Kyle Strait of the U.S. (fourth). Lacondeguy scored 95.25 in his first and only run at the event in Virgin, Utah.

“I’ve always believed in myself,” Lacondeguy said, according to The Spectrum. “I’ve been getting better every year and knew it was just a matter of time before I would be on the podium.”

Andreu Lacondeguy wins Red Bull Rampage

Andreu Lacondeguy of Spain during the finals of Red Bull Rampage 2014. Photo: © Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool

Lacondeguy’s winning run can be seen at the top. If that looks treacherous, watch what it looked like through the eyes of Lacondeguy, who went down the steepest and most difficult run possible:

More from The Spectrum:

He capped the run off with a huge flatspin backflip off the Polaris RZR booster. After his terrific first run, riders down at the bottom were waiting and cheering as they witnessed one of the top runs in Rampage history. Lacondeguy was awarded a score of 95.25 on his first run.

His first run was all that he needed as other riders were unable to top his score after their second runs.

“I knew I needed that extra little bit to be on the top and this year I just picked the steepest line,” he said. “As soon as I heard the countdown I just got out of the cage and pinned it to the bottom.”

h/t Bike magazine

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Coyote struck by SUV, gets stuck in bumper

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 11:11 AM PDT

coyote gets stuck in bumper

Coyote struck by car got stuck in the bumper. It’s expected to recover from three fractured legs. Photo is from the Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Facebook page

A train conductor on his way to work arrived at the Waukegan, Illinois, train station employee parking lot with a number of people staring at the front of his SUV. What they saw defied logic. A coyote was stuck in the bumper, and it was still alive.

Mark Armour, the driver of the SUV, was as surprised as his co-workers, who first thought the animal was a fox.

Armour immediately called the police and an animal control officer was sent to the scene.

Coyote resting comfortably after having fractured legs

Coyote was resting comfortably after having its fractured legs set. Photo is from Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Facebook page

“He said he thought he hit something, he could feel it, but he didn’t see anything,” animal control officer Amber Manley told the Lake County News-Sun.

Manley knew right away it wasn’t a fox but a coyote, and was amazed it fit perfectly into the tight space.

“It was even more amazing he survived,” she told Lake County News-Sun.

Manley used safety equipment to prevent getting bitten as she extracted the animal from the bumper. The coyote was docile and apparently in shock.

Manley transported the coyote to Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation where it was determined the animal had three fractured legs. The fractures were set and the coyote was given antibiotics.

The next day the coyote was alert and eating. Officials are hoping the coyote makes a full recovery and can be returned into the wild in the spring.

“I was the driver!” Armour wrote on the Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Facebook page. “I am so glad ‘Vern’ will recover. I will be putting the shoulder to my coworkers, to raise some funding to donate to Vern’s recovery. Thank you so much for taking care of him.”

Vern is no doubt appreciative.

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Bow angler shoots world-record mako shark

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 10:17 AM PDT

world-record mako shark

809.5-pound mako shark was shot off Huntington Beach; photo courtesy of Jeff Thomason

For the second time this summer, the host of a television hunting show has traveled to California and used a bowfishing outfit to capture a world-record mako shark.

Also for the second time, the bow angler is being assailed via social media by shark fans and conservationists.

Jeff Thomason is the latest record-setter. The 809.5-pound mako shark he shot and reeled in recently off Huntington Beach has been approved by the Bowfishing Association of America as the new record.

world-record mako shark

Large mako shark swims near boat off Huntington Beach; photo courtesy of Jeff Thomason

Thomason, who is from Texas and hosts the show, “Predator Pursuit,” shattered the previous mark: a 544-pound mako shark landed in mid-June by Patrick Eger, the host Big E TV in Wisconsin.

Large mako sharks roam pelagic waters off Southern California, making the area popular among local and visiting anglers.

Most local anglers and shark-fishing outfitters, however, maintain a low profile because of an increasingly vociferous anti-shark-fishing element.

world-record mako shark

About 400 punds of meat from world-record mako shark was donated to a shelter for homeless; photo courtesy of Jeff Thomason

Fishing for mako sharks is legal, but all species of sharks are believed to have been over-fished to some degree over the years, and news of the capture of a large shark for record consideration, or as a trophy, invariably draws sharp criticism.

When word of Thomason’s catch began to spread on the Internet this past week, it was met with the same type of disapproval that accompanied Eger’s catch.

“Why all this stupid macho thing?” reads one of dozens of Facebook comments on the White Shark Interest Group page, which has more than 18,000 members.

“Why didn’t he get in the water and shoot it with that bow?” reads another.”

There was at least one comment in defense of Thomason: “Makos aren’t threatened and [they’re ] widely eaten… This WAS NOT finning and the meat [was] not wasted.”

The global shark-finning trade is the reason many shark species are in peril. Estimates place the number of sharks killed for their fins, to be used in soup in Asian markets, at nearly 100 million per year.

Thomason told Lone Star Outdoors that his group, which like Eger’s group was fishing with guide “Mako” Matt Potter, encountered a few great white sharks during its expedition, but could not shoot them because white sharks, unlike makos, are protected.

The mako was lured to the boat by chumming fish parts and blood, a common method among conventional anglers, too.

It wasn’t long before Potter spotted a large mako approaching the boat.

“They’ve got to be about three feet from the boat to get the arrow to stick, so we threw a fish on the line and teased him to the boat,” Thomason recalled. “I try and shoot for the top of the back. As soon as the arrow hit, all hell broke loose.”

With the aid of Potter maneuvering the boat during the fight, the mako was reeled in and subdued in about 15 minutes. (Arrows are attached to a line, fixed to a big-game reel.)

“There was a certified weigh station in Los Angeles, so we had someone bring a boat trailer and we loaded him just like a boat,” Thomason said. “We threw a tarp over him because he was already attracting a crowd. It was pandemonium at the dock.”

The episode was recorded for an upcoming show, and Thomason said about 400 pounds of meat from the shark was donated to a shelter for the homeless in Los Angeles.

For the sake of comparison, the world record for a mako shark caught on rod and reel stands at 1,221 pounds. It was caught by Luke Sweeney in 2001 off Chatham, Massachusetts.

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Ivan Trifonov pilots hot air balloon underground

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 02:36 PM PDT

hot air balloon underground

Ivan Trifonov claims to be the first to pilot a hot air balloon underground. Photo is a screen grab from the video

Generally, when you think of a hot air balloon, you think of it rising high into the sky. Ivan Trifonov decided to take his in the opposite direction—underground.

In what is believed to be a world first, Trifonov piloted a hot air balloon underground via the 675-foot Mamet Cave on Velebit Mountain in Croatia.

Trifonov, a Bulgarian who lives in Austria, piloted the hot air balloon over the 200-foot opening, descended into the cave, touched the bottom, and ascended out, claiming the feat as a first.

The flight on Sept. 18 took 25 minutes and is condensed in this raw video from the Associated Press that was first released Monday:

Trifonov, 70, already has established Guinness World Records as the first to fly a hot air balloon over the Mediterranean Sea, in 1989, over the North Pole, in 1996, and over the South Pole, in 2000. He was also reportedly the first to fly over Jerusalem, the Great Wall of China, and the Kremlin in a hot air balloon.

hot air balloon underground

Ivan Trifonov already owns Guinness World Records as the first to hot air balloon over the North and South poles, and Mediterranean Sea. Photo is a screen grab from the video

His stunt flying a hot air balloon into a cave was filmed at various angles, as you can see. He told Associated Press: “It was very hard, and I don’t think anyone else will ever repeat this venture.”

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Marathon runners slowed, not stopped by train

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 02:08 PM PDT

Marathon runners slowed, not stopped by train

Marathon runners try to get in front of unexpected freight train; supplied photo via the Republic

Marathon runners in Columbus, Indiana, were just beginning to hit their stride Saturday when a freight train rolled in front of their path and stopped them in their tracks … but only temporarily.

It was a bizarre scene that many competitors will be talking about for weeks, because at one point during the drawn-out delay, many runners decided enough was enough: They began scurrying between cars, climbing under cars, and even scrambling over cars in order to continue.

“There were so many people, and they just wanted to make their time, [so] they just didn’t care,” one witness told ABC 6, which reported that there were two delays caused by the same train.

About 300 people participated in the Mill Race Marathon.

Race organizers had been assured months ago by Louisville & Indiana Railroad that trains would not run during the event. But a supervisor apparently thought he could get this particular train through the area before the 7:30 a.m. start.

The Republic reports that the train appeared in the path of the runners about 20 minutes after the race began. Apparently, the train stopped because of the presence of so many runners.

Race organizer Andy Pajakowski told the Republic that as he tried to negotiate with railroad personnel on site, the conductor blew the horn and the train started moving forward.

But it was still too dangerous to proceed, so the train was stopped again, and many runners seized the opportunity.

Police tried to hold them back, but many found their way through or around the mechanical obstacle, despite shouts by the conductor that the train has the right of way, and to stay back.

“I was yelling at people to stop, but no one was listening,” Melissa Burgin, a competitor from New York, told the Republic. “It was dangerous; the conductor was still trying to move. Shows how runners are stubborn.”

Thankfully, there were no injuries reported, and a spokesman for the railroad assured that nothing like this would happen again.

“Over, under or around?” became the joke theme of an event that’s supposed to be a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.

Organizers said that’s still the case, but acknowledged that some competitors experienced delays ranging from several seconds to 1 to 3 minutes.

Said Craig Dinsmore, a runner from Columbus: “I’m really frustrated. That was a close call.”

–Hat tip to Runners World

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Video shows hikers hit by Mt. Ontake ash cloud

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 12:29 PM PDT

Mt. Ontake

Mt. Ontake erupts, sending a huge ash cloud down on hikers scrambling to get down the mountain. Photo is a screen grab from Kuroda Terutoshi’s video

Japanese hiker Kuroda Terutoshi captured dramatic video of the moments just after Mt. Ontake erupted Saturday in a volcanic disaster that reportedly killed at least 36 and injured another 63, according to ABC News.

Terutoshi posted a vertical video showing a huge ash cloud that would soon envelop him and other hikers as they scrambled down Mt. Ontake, a popular Japanese hiking destination 130 miles west of Tokyo.

Terutoshi’s original video, which has generated 7.1 million views on YouTube, was reworked into this widescreen version:

CNN reported that there were 200 to 250 hikers in the area at the time of the eruption with most of them managing to make the long trek off the mountain.

“It was like thunder,” a woman who runs a lodge near the 10,120-foot summit of Mt. Ontake told NHK of Japan, according to the BBC. “I heard, boom, boom, then everything went dark.”

Another climber told the BBC she barely escaped with her life.

“Immediately after I watched the eruption, I rushed away, but I was soon covered with ash,” the climber said.

More than 350 rescue workers began climbing two separate routes up the mountain Sunday. Here’s more from CNN:

Among the climbers trapped in the cottages, at least 11 were injured, officials in Otaki said. They said they had observed 17 to 20 inches of volcanic ash covering the ground in some areas.

The Japan Meteorological Agency has raised the Volcanic Alert Level for Ontake from 1 to 3. That means the public is advised to not approach the volcano, the summit of which is at an altitude of 10,060 feet (3,067 meters).

The agency warned that another large eruption could take place in the next six days or so. Small continuous eruptions continued Sunday.

The volcano’s plume of smoke and ash was reported to have disrupted air travel in Japan, causing delays at several airports.

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Was SUP paddler too close to blue whale?

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 11:49 AM PDT

paddler too close to blue whale

Rich German enjoying close encounter with blue whale; video screen grab

A standup paddler has captured incredible footage of his close encounter with an endangered blue whale off Laguna Beach, California.

At times, Rich German seems only a few feet from the majestic creature, and his underwater shots reveal beautiful closeups of the mammal’s face, body, and fluke.

It must have been a surreal experience; one the SUP paddler is likely to remember for the rest of his life.

But it might also inspire others to venture out on their SUP boards and give this a try—and that’s where this situation gets sticky.

blue whale

Blue whale as seen up-close from underwater; video screen grab

Federal authorities are looking into whether German might have violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act by repeatedly pursuing the mammal on his SUP board—an increasingly troubling occurrence throughout California.

“Irresponsible human behavior can disturb animals, destroy important habitats, and even result in injury to animals and people,” said Monica DeAngeles, a marine mammal specialist with NMFS.

NMFS also is trying to confirm whether German was the SUP paddler videotaped capturing his footage by the crew of a Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Safari vessel on September 17 off Laguna Beach.

Captain Dave’s video (second video posted below) reveals an entirely different scene. A crewman can be heard on a loud speaker informing the SUP paddler that he was breaking the law by harassing the small blue whale. The SUP paddler and a kayaker, who ignore the crewman’s pleas, can be seen frantically trying to keep up with a juvenile blue whale, which measured 50 to 60 feet.

Captain Dave’s boat can be seen in the background in German’s footage and in the video screen grab atop this post.

Why is this a big deal? Because blue whales are endangered; there are only about 10,000 worldwide. Those presently off California are feeding before migrating south to their calving and nursing grounds.

paddler too close to blue whale

SUP paddler and kayaker close to a blue whale, as seen from a nearby whale-watching boat; video screen grab

Also, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, enacted to allow all marine mammal species to recover, defines harassment as any type of behavior that causes a mammal to change its behavior. This could be as subtle as causing an animal to alter its course.

“The Marine Mammal Protection Act does not provide for a permit or other authorization to view or interact with wild marine mammals, except for specific listed purposes,” DeAngelis said. “Therefore, interacting with wild marine mammals should not be attempted and viewing marine mammals must be conducted in a manner that does not harass the animals.”

NMFS guidelines suggest that people aboard any type of vessel, whenever possible, remain at least 100 yards away from whales and other mammals.

German, meanwhile, has used Captain Dave’s Facebook page to defend himself against critics accusing the paddler of harassment.

“To me these are sacred animals with great wisdom to share,” German stated. “I have an actual connection with these animals. I am the last person in the world who would ever ‘harass’ them as I am being accused.

“I share my footage because people all around the world love them also. Most people will never in their lives have the opportunity to experience what I am blessed to experience on a daily basis. Anyone who knows me and what is really going on out on the ocean knows I am completely harmless.”

German also accused Captain Daves, as well as other whale-watching companies and private boaters, as being hypocritical, stating that he often sees boats of all sizes surrounding marine life.

“I find it very hypocritical that a whale watching company is giving me a hard time,” German continued. “They are the ones approaching and surrounding marine life … on 50-100 foot boats with loud engines, PA systems, and hundreds of noisy customers.

“I am out there on a small board doing it out of pure love and to spread awareness about our most sacred beings. While I am sure the operators do care for the animals, they are out there to make a profit.”

While German seems to make a few strong points, commercial whale-watching crews are not scrambling to stay almost directly on top of whales. They would not be in business very long if the opposite were true.

NMFS, meanwhile, is concerned about the message German’s video sends: that it’s ok to paddle directly alongside powerful animals while they’re trying to feed.

“NMFS takes all of these reports very seriously,” DeAngelis said. “NMFS does not support, condone, approve, or authorize activities that involve closely approaching, interacting, or attempting to interact with whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, or sea lions in the wild. This includes attempting to swim with, pet, touch, or elicit a reaction from the animals.”

–Find Pete Thomas on Facebook and Twitter

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Flights to Los Cabos will resume October 8

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 08:12 PM PDT

IMG_7661

Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucas before Hurricane Odile; photo by ©Pete Thomas

Major airlines have begun accepting reservations for commercial flights to and from Los Cabos International Airport (SJD), beginning October 8.

Unofficially, flights could resume even sooner (some are saying so, perhaps hopefully, in private).

CaboSolmar

Image courtesy of Solmar Resorts

The airport, on the outskirts of San Jose del Cabo, sustained significant damage when Hurricane Odile came ashore in the state of Baja California Sur on September 14-15.

The storm hit Cabo San Lucas, at Baja’s tip, the hardest.

Alaska Airlines on Friday at 7 p.m. updated its website to reflect that it would resume flying one daily roundtrip flight from Los Angeles to Los Cabos beginning October 8.

I  looked into this and was provided the option of booking a 10:10 a.m. flight into SJD for $179 (one-way).

The United Airlines website also is accepting flights beginning October 8. Presumably, other airlines have followed or will follow suit.

Major airlines had implied that they would not resume flights until the end of October. Some insiders, however, have suggested that this was a ploy to negotiate cheaper landing fees at SJD.

Regardless, this is a major step toward recovery. Many hotels are still closed, but reopenings are expected to occur between mid-October and the end of November. October and November are peak months for tourism throughout BCS.

Cabo Living Magazine reported Friday on its Facebook page that of the 59 Baja California Sur hotels overseen by the tourism agency Fonatur, 55 sustained hurricane damage, with 5,474 rooms affected.

Tourism Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu said power has been restored to nearly 100% of the northern part of the state, 80% in Los Cabos, 98% in La Paz, 70% in Mulegé, 75% in Comondú and 95% in Loreto.

More than 70% of gas stations in BCS are back in operation.

–Image is courtesy of Solmar Resorts

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Red Bull Rampage freeriders go off 76-foot cliff

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 02:58 PM PDT

Andreu Lacondeguy - Action

Red Bull Rampage rider Andreu Lacondeguy jumps off 76-foot cliff after Graham Agassiz succeeded before him. Photo: © John Gibson/Red Bull Content Pool

Riders competing at the Red Bull Rampage mountain bike freeride event are known for pushing the limits. Graham Agassiz and Andreu Lacondeguy pretty much proved that Thursday in practice when they both rode off a 76-foot cliff.

First, the riders checked out the drop, looking over the cliff. Then they checked the wind. “There’s a little headwind,” Lacondeguy reported to Agassiz after dropping a handful of dirt to measure the wind direction.

And then they did what Red Bull Rampage riders do. They went for it.

Agassiz flew off the cliff first, followed later by Lacondeguy. Watch Red Bull Rampage video footage of the incredible drop:

After Agassiz, a mountain bike freerider from Kamloops, Canada, nailed the landing, the jump was measured from takeoff point to his landing spot.

“Aggy is crazy,” said Lacondeguy, a freerider from Barcelona, Spain.

Red Bull Rampage rider  Graham Agassiz rides off 76-foot cliff. Photo is a screen grab from the video

Red Bull Rampage rider Graham Agassiz rides off 76-foot cliff. Photo is a screen grab from the video

Then that also makes Lacondeguy crazy. Because soon after, he was making the same attempt, though after taking at least a dozen dry runs at the drop before committing.

Red Bull Rampage 2014 is scheduled for Sunday in Virgin, Utah.

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Is the Iceland Worm Monster real?

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 11:39 AM PDT

Video footage of the Iceland Worm Monster, a mysterious serpentine creature along the lines of Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster, has been authenticated by a panel of experts convened to determine whether the film shot in 2012 is real.

After two years of controversy, the 13-person panel in Iceland narrowly voted (seven in favor) to authentic the film, entitling amateur videographer Hjörtur Kjerúlf to a small reward, according to Slate, which has a video report above.

Not surprisingly, the critics are still calling it a hoax, saying the ruling was merely a ploy to increase tourism.

Iceland Worm Monster allegedly swimming against current of a glacial river. Photo is a screen grab from the video

Iceland Worm Monster allegedly swimming against current of a glacial river. Photo is a screen grab from the YouTube video

In 2012, Kjerúlf captured video of what looks like a huge snakelike creature weaving its way upriver against the current of a glacial river that feeds Lagarfljót, a freshwater lake in east Iceland. Critics called it a hoax.

At the time, Kjerúlf never claimed it to be the Iceland Worm Monster or the Lagarfljót Worm, but he was adamant about it being real.

“This is absolutely not a hoax by me; that is ridiculous,” he told IceNews: News from the Nordics. “This is no joke.”

He explained that he was looking out his kitchen window having coffee when he spotted the monster in the river and decided to take video of it, thus reigniting the debate over whether the Iceland Worm Monster exists or not.

Scandinavian investigator Miisa McKeown of Finland told Discovery News at the time that it is merely an optical illusion, that an object is stationary in the water and only appears to be moving up stream but is not.

Iceland Worm Monster was first sighted in 1345. Photo is a screen grab from the video

Iceland Worm Monster was first sighted in 1345. Photo is a screen grab from the YouTube video

Some suspected it was an ice-caked fishing net or a large piece of cloth stuck on a submerged branch or rock.

Loren Coleman, director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, told the U.K. MailOnline that he believes it is an elaborate hoax based on the suspicious robotic look of the creature in the film.

“The traditional sightings of this lake’s ‘monster’—going back to 1345—are not snakelike,” Coleman said. “Instead, they describe Lagarfljótsormurinn as having a hump, a long neck, and whiskers, more like a long-necked waterhorse than a giant snake.”

The Iceland Worm Monster—also referred to as Lagarfljótsormurinn, Lagarfljótsormur, and the Lagarfljót Worm—is said to be as long as 300 feet and said to live in Lagarfljót where it’s been sighted raising its back above the water.

The first mention of the Iceland Worm Monster was in 1345. Sightings were considered a precursor of a coming natural disaster.

Author Jón Árnason gave rise to the Iceland Worm Monster in a collection of Icelandic folktales in 1862 and 1864.

Before the 2012 video, other modern sightings of the Lagarfljót Worm were said to have occurred in 1963, 1983, and 1998.

Stephen Archos Sveinsson, chairman of the sannleiksnefndar Lagarfljót Serpent “truth commission,” said the project was difficult, but ultimately the majority of the panel concluded there was “no reason to doubt Lagarfljót Serpent.”

What do you think?

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Angler jumps in, lands shark with a bear hug

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 10:22 AM PDT

Angler jumps in, lands shark with a bear hug

Angler jumps in, lands shark with a bear hug; video screen grab

Landing a large shark from a rock jetty is challenging, but recently in Florida an angler decided that the easiest way to land the 5-foot shark he had hooked was to jump in and carry the predator to shore.

The accompanying footage shows the angler, who presumably had passed his rod to a friend, swimming from the line to the shark, and placing the shark in a bear hug.

This was not a staged incident, stated Greg Pace, who videotaped the catch, in the comments section on his YouTube channel.

“It was a blacktip shark and he threw it back after unhooking it from the beach,” Pace wrote. “I saw him put the large ladyfish on [as bait] and freeline it for 15 minutes until the shark ate it.  I had never seen anything like it. ”

It’s worth stating prominently what many might be thinking: This was not an act of bravado, but one of misguided carelessness. The angler could have been seriously injured, or worse.

Angler jumps in, lands shark with a bear hug

Hooked blacktip shark is circled in red; video screen grab

A hooked shark is perhaps more dangerous to a nearby swimmer than a free-swimming shark.

Many will recall an incident earlier this summer off Manhattan Beach, California, involving a juvenile great white shark that bit a swimmer as it was struggling at the end of an angler’s line.

The angler had baited the white shark from a pier, and the distance swimmer just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

That incident occurred after years of white shark sightings from the pier, often near swimmers and surfers, with no attacks.

Fortunately for the swimmer in the accompanying video, the shark seemed too exhausted to mount any further struggle.

States a blogger for Shark Attack News: “I would say don’t ever try this yourself but then, does this really need to be said? Thankfully, no one got hurt … this time. But one should keep in mind that blacktips have been responsible for many bites in Florida.”

The catch was made in Jupiter Inlet. Pace, the video uploader, had not replied to a request for more details at the time of this post.

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