Simple Trail Etiquette

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I often ride my mountain bike down a local mountain trail.  This trail is multi-use, in that it is open to all: hikers, dog walkers, sometimes even horseback riders.

Mountain Bike Trail Etiquette

I see a lot of bad trail etiquette, and a lot of people who seem oblivious that there even is such a thing as trail etiquette.

The number one thing to remember is just common sense: those moving fastest yield to those moving slower.  Just as its true on the street: cars yield to bikes, bikes yield to pedestrians, runners yield to walkers, and so on.

When in doubt, communicate with your fellow trail user.  Say “Hi!”, let them know you’re approaching and when you are passing.

If you are hiking, and being passed by a mountain biker you may hear the term “one back” or “two back” from a biker which indicates that there are more riders in the group coming up behind the first rider.

Trail Etiquette

If you’re the one being passed, maintain your line and allow the other trail user to move along.

Good trail etiquette allows everyone to share the trail together with minimal drama and hassle.

Trail Etiquette

The Secret of Hiking

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I’ve got a secret to share with you:

Hiking is really just walking.

Sure, sometimes hiking is a strenuous off-road activity over large rocks and harsh terrain.

Hiking Chris Binkley

 

And sometimes hiking is walking on a calm smooth path.

 

Map it Chris Binkley

 

Either way, in my opinion, hiking should always include majestic views.

 

Mountains Chris Binlkley

 

There are hikes in every part of the country for every experience level.

 

Mountainize.com

 

Whether you plan to jump over boulders, or walk down a heavily populated packed dirt trail a stone’s throw from a vibrant downtown, hiking is a simple activity.

 

Jump Chris Binkley

 

Go for a walk (call it a hike if you must), keep it simple, and have fun.

 

How to Prevent Bruised Toenails

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One of the very first times I went hiking I came home with a bruised toenail.

What does that even mean?  I didn’t even know that could happen.

But sure enough, once I got my boots and socks off there it was: a black toenail.

We had been hiking at a fairly moderate pace when I jumped down off of a tall rock.  I felt it right then, and wondered if I had hurt something.  It didn’t hurt to continue walking, so I marched on.  But I knew something had happened inside my boot.

I headed to the internet to figure out what a bruised toenail meant for the future health of my foot.  Luckily, my toe ended up just fine after I waited for the black portion of the nail to grow out.  (If you are of the female persuasion a little toenail polish can help the situation along.)

photo:theirishkiwi

The medical term for this condition is Subungual hematoma.

My time researching the issue lead me to the following tips:

  • Keep your toenails clipped short.

  • Lace ’em up tight!  If your boots aren’t laced tightly enough, your foot can slide around inside the shoe and cause your toes to jam up toward the front of the boot.

  • Bruised toes are especially susceptible during long downhill hikes.  Make sure to re-tighten your laces often to prevent the sliding of your foot.

  • When you buy boots purposely try to make your toe-nails hit the front. They shouldn’t. If they do then those boots probably don’t fit you properly.

I Would Move There: Profile of a Mountain Town Joseph, Oregon

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Joseph is a small mountain town in northeast Oregon. Situated six hours east of Portland at 4,150ft above sea level, and surrounded by the towering Wallowa and Seven Devils mountains, Joseph is a rather picturesque small mountain town.

Mountain Town: Joseph, OR

Basics

With a population hovering around 1,000 Joseph maintains a thriving main street (yes, they literally have a Main Street) equipped with local breweries, bank, library, cafes, and art galleries.

Mountain Town: Joseph, OR

The physical town of Joseph is less than one square mile.  Though, the community is often referred to as Wallowa County, as the surrounding unincroporated areas add to the recreation and other opportunities.  The county borders Idaho to the west and Washington to the north.

Joseph, OR Mountain Town

Enterprise, the closest larger town, is just five miles away with larger town comforts such as a Safeway grocery store and a BJs warehouse club.

Recreation

For such a small town Joseph has plenty of events and celebrations packing the calendar.  From a classic car show, to traditional Fourth of July celebration, triathlons, Native American celebrations, sled dog races and more.  For the locals, a summer-long farmers market with accompanying concert series offers access to local fresh produce.

Joseph Or Bronze Bike Rally

While there isn’t exactly a dedicated bicycle shop in town, the local hardware store has kept up with local demand by expanding their bike offering to an entire room.  Several of their employees were even sent to the United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, OR to be schooled on the basics of bikes.

A beautifully pristine lake nestled between snow capped 9000′  mountains, nearby Wallowa Lake offers camping, hiking and boating.  There is even a tram that can be taken up to the top of the mountain.  Bring along your mountain bike, and you’ve got the equivalent of a shuttle-ready mountain biking nirvana.

Wallowa Lake

There is also a recreational train, the Eagle Cap Train, offering relaxing scenic rides through the local mountains.

There is a local ski run, void of the tourist drawing amenities it is a locally-run area.  With one t-bar and one rope tow up the mountain and a 640′ elevation gain its the perfect little mountain for kids, beginners or just drama-free fun.

Ski Wallowa Or

Local Business

For such a small town there is a shockingly long list of local storefronts:

Joseph OR Main Street

Joseph’s Sheep Shed is a local yarn shop and fiber gallery.

Bee Crow Bee is a local shop offering a line of carefully handmade bath & body products.

Mad Mary is a shop offering “everything fun & fattening”.  It’s a fun gift shop and soda fountain all in one.

Downtown Joseph Or

Lodging

Lodging options are plentiful.  From B&Bs like Barking Mad Farm where you can stay in a turn of the century farm house with views of the mountains.  To the basic Indian Lodge Motel and the East Street Cottages.

Barking Mad Farm

Weather

Though they certainly feel all four seasons, the weather in and around Joseph is rather mild, as being in a valley surrounded by mountains shelters the area from many of the extreme weather fronts.

Economy

The local economy, while healthy, does rely on government jobs (being the largest area employer).  Average income hovers just below $30k, with the average two bedroom house priced around $100k.

Welcome to Joseph, OR

Lifestyle

The lifestyle in Joseph, OR is summed up pretty well by the county chamber:

“When you are 65 miles from a McDonald’s or a Wal-Mart, and two and a half hours from a mall, you will find a whole new definition of the phrase for quality of life – It’s a “way of living”.  Here, the focus is definitely not on consumption.  It’s on family and community.  It’s on entrepreneurship.  And perhaps above all, it’s on outdoor beauty and recreation.”

Fish Trap at Wallowa Lake

We first heard of Joseph when Russ & Laura rolled through and interviewed Dan Price.  Then Tammy at Rowdy Kittens visited while on a writing retreat.  Joseph, by all accounts, is a delightful mountain town.

 

This is the first in a series of posts profiling mountain towns.  Let us know where your favorite mountain town is to see it featured in a upcoming post.  

 

Your Mountain is Waiting: Our Favorite Outdoor Lifestyle Quotes

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We’ve been squirreling away quotes about camping, biking, mountains and outdoors for some time now.  We thought it would be fun to compile them all into one post.

 

Mountain Snow

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There is an intense but simple thrill in setting off in the morning on a mountain trail, knowing that everything you need is on your back. It is a confidence in having left the inessentials behind and of entering a world of natural beauty that has not been violated, where money has no value, and possessions are a dead weight. The person with the fewest possessions is the freest. Thoreau was right.

– Paul Theroux

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I love to be outdoors. I prefer being outdoors to, you know, being inside.

– Keith Carradine

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The clearest way into the universe

is through a forest wilderness.

– John Muir

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I became a loner. I became a mountain man. A lot of those things are very good qualities and they help you do your work, help you be singular and keep the artistic integrity of your work intact, but they don’t make it very easy to live your life.

– John Milius

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The modern world is fast, complex, competitive, and always concerned with what happens next. There is always more to do than there is time. The landscape and even the light are mostly artificial. This can be exciting, but all too often it is frustrating, stressful, and exhausting. In contrast, hiking for weeks or months at a time in an unspoiled natural environment is a simple, repetitive activity that leads to calmness and psychological well-being, a feeling of wholeness, of being a complete person. Each day follows the same pattern, linking in with natural rhythms–walk in the light, sleep in the dark, eat when hungry, take shelter from storms. Only the details are different. I get a great pleasure from this simplicity, from the basic pattern of walk and camp, walk and camp. It is good to escape the rush of the modern world and for a period of time to live a quieter, more basic life. Problems and worries subside as the days go by; they are put into perspective by the elemental activity of putting one foot in front of the other hour after hour, day after day. And on returning from the wilds, restored and revitalized by the experience, I find civilization can be much easier to deal with; indeed, aspects of it can seem very desirable.

– Chris Townsend

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There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same.

– Chinese Proverbs

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A mountain has no need for people, but people do need mountains. We go to them for their beauty, for the exhilaration of standing closer to mysterious skies, for the feeling of triumph that comes from having labored to reach a summit.

– Earl Hamner, Jr.

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Mountain Lake

Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.

– John Muir

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I had daydreams and fantasies when I was growing up. I always wanted to live in a log cabin at the foot of a mountain. I would ride my horse to town and pick up provisions. Then return to the cabin, with a big open fire, a record player and peace.

– Linda McCartney

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Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…

– John Muir

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I do not own an inch of land,

but all I see is mine.

– Lucy Larcom

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There is no bad weather. You are not well equipped!

– Unknown

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Men go back to the mountains, as they go back to sailing ships at sea, because in the mountains and on the sea they must face up, as did men of another age, to the challenge of nature. Modern man lives in a highly synthetic kind of existence. He specializes in this and that. Rarely does he test all his powers or find himself whole. But in the hills and on the water the character of a man comes out.

– Abram T. Collier

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A simple equation exists between freedom and numbers: the more people, the less freedom.

– Royal Robbins

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Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful.  Everything is simply happy.  Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance.  Look at the flowers – for no reason.  It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are.

– Osho

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Marry a mountain girl and you marry the whole mountain.

– Irish Saying

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I’ve learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.

– Andy Rooney

Mountain Snow

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I never had any other desire so strong, and so like covetousness, as that… I might be master at last of a small house and a large garden, with very moderate conveniences joined to them, and there dedicate the remainder of my life to the culture of them and the study of nature.

– Abraham Cowley

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It is impossible to overestimate the value of wild mountains and mountain temples as places for people to grow in, recreation grounds for soul and body.

– John Muir

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We’ve been swimming at nude beaches and I love to go skinny dipping, but I’m sorry, sitting on top of a mountain, that’s just, you’re trying to show off or something. That’s ridiculous.

– Andy Richter

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You can never conquer the mountain. You can only conquer yourself.

– James Whittaker

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The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.

– Galileo

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It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.

–Horace Kephart

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No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied – it speaks in silence to the very core of your being

– Ansel Adams

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I was comin’ down the mountain.

– Jane’s Addiction

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If you are faced with a mountain, you have several options.

You can climb it and cross to the other side.

You can go around it.

You can dig under it.

You can fly over it.

You can blow it up.

You can ignore it and pretend it’s not there.

You can turn around and go back the way you came.

Or you can stay on the mountain and make it your home.

– Vera Nazarian

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There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same.

– Chinese Proverb

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The mountains are calling and I must go.

– John Muir

Mountain Sunset

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A man does not climb a mountain

without bringing some of it away with him,

and leaving something of himself upon it.

– Sir Martin Conway

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Climb up on some hill at sunrise.  Everybody needs perspective once in a while, and you’ll find it there.

– Robb Sagendorph

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We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home, in towns and cities.

– Nessmuk (G.W. Sears)

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I got into an argument with a girlfriend inside of a tent.  That’s a bad place for an argument, because then I tried to walk out and slammed the flap.  How are you supposed to express your anger in this situation?  Zipper it up really quick?

– Mitch Hedberg

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If you don’t let go, you can’t fall off!

– Jerry Moffat

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Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out – it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.

– Robert Service

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Even in these mercifully emancipated decades, many people still seem quite seriously alarmed at the prospect of sleeping away from officially consecrated campsites, with no more equipment than they can carry on their backs. When pressed, they babble about snakes or bears or even, by God, bandits. But the real barrier, I’m sure, is the unknown.

– Colin Fletcher

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The bicycle is its own best argument.

– Richard Ballantine

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Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.

– Rachel Carson

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No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied – it speaks in silence to the very core of your being.

– Ansel Adams

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Always in big woods, when you leave familiar ground and step off alone to a new place, there will be, along with feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the unknown, and it is your bond with the wilderness you are going into. What you are doing is exploring. You are understanding the first experience, not of the place, but of yourself in that place. It is the experience of our essential loneliness, for nobody can discover the world for anybody else. It is only after we have discovered it for ourselves that it becomes common ground, and a common bond, and we cease to be alone.

– Wendell Berry

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I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

– John Muir

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To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter; to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.

– John Burroughs

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Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.

– Dr. Seuss

 

Infinite Use: Zip Ties

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There are items which seem to hold an infinite number of uses, that are worth carrying on any outing whether an outdoor adventure, a day at work or anywhere in between.

Zipties are one of these infinite use objects. They weigh almost nothing, take up almost no space at all, and are so simple a young child could use them.

Zip Tie Love

Zip Tie Heart

Zipties have the original intent of lashing together electronic cables. They are wonderful for this purpose, and can help to streamline and clean up a tangle of wires behind your computer or entertainment center.

Most often zipties are made from a hard nylon material. Their brilliance comes in their secure one-way ratcheting system. Once tightened down they do not let loose.  They can be tightened further but can not be loosened. This feature is what allows you to feel confident in their use.

Zip Ties

Depending on your intended use and amount of preparation time available, it can be a good idea to have several styles of zip ties around. They come in various lengths, thicknesses and colors. For outdoor use there are UV-resistant variety available. For weight bearing and truly heavy duty use I recommend the variety with a metal tab as part of it’s rachet system. There are also ziptiees made entirely of stainless steel.

Given their low per-piece cost, zip ties can be utilized without much concern.

I have zip ties holding my lights on the front of my basket.

Zip Ties on my Bike Basket

Lighting mount zip tied to the front of my bike basket.

Zipties also fasten my basket to my handlebars.Bike Basket Zip Ties

Bike Basket mount arms zip tied to my handlebars.

Zip ties can help secure luggage, bags or anything else with zippers, shut.  Before heading away from camp for a hike, ziptie your tent doors shut.  No, this isn’t the end-all be-all of security but it does provide a hindrance, and also a way for you to know if anyone went snooping when you where away from your bag or tent.  Clip them open with scissors or a pocket knife upon your return.

Zip Tie Zippers

Jason from Gear Talk uses zipties to hack his own Nalgene style bottle for his back country adventures.

Zip Tie Cap Keeper

Need to lash an extra piece of gear onto your pack while hiking? Zipties to the rescue!

The friendly folks at Dutch Bike Co. have documented their DIY snow tires using zipties.

Zip Tie Snow Tires

Did the pull to your zipper snap off? Throw a ziptie on there for easy zipping.

I’ve used a ziptie to secure a trash bag onto a picnic table while camping on a particularly windy night.

Simply Bike uses zip ties to decorate her bike.

Lovely Bicycle uses zip ties for a clean look to her after-market dynamo lighting installation.

Keep in mind that depending on the color of your zip ties, they can become an almost invisible helper.

Alternately, they can also become a style element:

Zip Tie Art

Then there are those who just enjoy the style of the zip tie and what it represents:

Zip Tie Ring

The best ways to utilize zip ties really are only limited to your particular situation and a little creative thinking.

Zip Tie Repair

Where have you used zipties before?