Category: Issue 108

Editor’s Note: Primal Bliss

A wild person’s guide to the four pillars of adventure

One of the main benefits of outdoor adventure is how it connects us to all kinds of really cool, wild people. Personally I’ve always felt that outdoor adventure is way better when shared with others. The process of planning and executing a group adventure, whether it’s a two-hour surf session with a friend in Santa Cruz, a three-day guided raft journey with your extended family on the American River, a mountain bike weekend in Downieville with a dozen friends, an odyssey up the PCT with someone you just met while hiking the trail, or a few hours spent at your favorite ski resort doing tree runs with your kids, the shared rituals are pretty much sacred to me.

Building a lifestyle around the rituals of shared adventure has been my focus for about twenty years now. When I’m not working …

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Best of the Fests 2019

Here comes festival season!

There’s something for everyone, from gatherings for beer lovers to music fests to celebrations of the myriad of human-powered summer sports. If you know of a festival not on this list, let us know and we’ll add it! ASJ partners are FULLY in bold — we appreciate their support of adventure enthusiasts throughout California, western Nevada and beyond.


>> Coachella – April 12-14 & 19-21 • Indio // Music and Arts Festival in the Coachella Valley. //

>> Lucidity Festival – April 12-14 • Santa Ynez  // An open-source transformational arts and music festival. //

>> Desert Hearts – April 26-29 • Los Coyotes Indian Reservation // A tribute to House, Techno, & Love with intimate gatherings focused on art, music and community. //

>> Back to the Beach – April 27-28 • Huntington Beach // Enjoy two days in the sand …

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Growing Wild

The burgeoning education model of forest school is reconnecting children with nature

Words and photos by Bruce Willey

“The best classroom and the richest classroom is roofed only by the sky.” — Margaret McMillan

The connection between nature and humans has never been so fraught or frail. With rapid technological wonders vying for our attention spans, the weedy wonders of nature have, for many, fallen by the wayside. And there’s a name for it: nature-deficit disorder.

Nature-deficit disorder has come to define children who spend too much time indoors, dependent on screens and a life shaped by a digitized reality. The titles of best-selling books like Last Child in the Woods and Balanced and Barefoot attest to the growing worry amongst child psychologists and parents alike that attention-deficit disorder, depression, and obesity — to name a few — can be correlated with a disconnection to nature.

Enter the forest school …

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Big Flow

This is a banner year for California whitewater

By Barry and Kennedy Kruse

Believe or not, there might just be more than 300 individual, wholly runnable sections of whitewater in the state; some of them magazine-cover, pool-drop classics the likes of which are found in few places anywhere in the world. Trevor Croft of Rafting Magazine says, “California is a unique place for rafters to connect with each other and the world around them. So many rivers exist to suit anyone’s skills that you can find the best guides in the world paddling alongside beginner boaters. It creates an incredible culture and opportunity to learn in our corner of the rafting world. If you are a first timer just learning what rafting is all about, there is no better place to experience an adventure sport that truly anyone can enjoy than right here in California.”

Throughout California’s mountain ranges – …

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California Bicycle Coalition

Making it safer and easier to live the bike lifestyle

By Leonie Sherman

If you’ve enjoyed a ride on a bike path, along a designated bikeway or in an urban bike lane somewhere in the Golden State, chances are the California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike) had something to do with getting it there. CalBike, headquartered in Oakland, was founded in 1994 to bring together the growing number of local bicycle organizations to fight for bikes at the state level. In practice that means they advocate in the state capitol and across the state for policy changes that make it easier for all Californians to lead healthier, more joyful lives by riding bikes safely in their communities.

“What communities really need to be bike friendly is a network of streets that connect destinations in a community with safe and attractive bikeways that don’t have stress from auto traffic,” says CalBike’s executive director …

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Rolling Lonesome

Nevada’s Highway 50 by Bicycle

By Leonie Sherman

The first time I drove Highway 50 through Nevada was in January almost a decade ago. The mercury hovered at 18 below. I think we saw four other cars in seven hours. We stopped to gawk at hundred mile vistas of open rangeland and snow-capped peaks without even bothering to pull over. The only sound was from our humming car and wind whistling through our down parkas. We crossed 12 mountain ranges, rising like rocky waves from an ocean of sage. I knew I had to bike it. A lonely road is a bike-friendly road.

In 1986, Life magazine and the American Automobile Association (AAA) called Nevada’s 408 miles of Highway 50—the road stretches almost 3,000 miles from Sacramento to Ocean City, Maryland—“The Loneliest Road in America.” “It’s totally empty,” the magazine quoted an unnamed AAA counselor as saying. “We don’t …

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Mr. Toads

The Story of a Trail

By Deanna Kerr

There is a trail in the Sierra Nevada that winds its way through mountainous areas on the southern shore of Lake Tahoe. Just over five miles long, the narrow trail meanders through some beautiful terrain with rocks the size of grizzlies and forests of pine trees with crooked postures. It rambles through the habitat of goshawk and spotted owls near Saxon Creek. During the latter part of the 19th century, cattle grazed in that area and used the 5.2-mile path to access the creek for drinking water. Over time it became known as the Saxon Creek Trail.

Parts of the trail fell out of use in the first half of the 20th century because cattle operations decreased, and the needs and preferences of the locals changed. People started using the mountain trails on the southern shore of Lake Tahoe for recreation rather …

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Earn Your Beer: Issue 108

Snowshoeing June Lake

By James Murren

I parked my car where the snow plows had stopped clearing the road that goes from June Lake to Silver Lake in the eastern Sierra Nevada. Accumulated snow in the area was measured in feet and I was excited to go snowshoeing.

Where the snow plow stopped, snowshoeing began, meaning the unplowed road was the trail. As I strapped on my snowshoes, a backcountry snow boarder came walking out from the other side of the snow pile.

“Good, you’ll help pack it down,” he said. We exchanged a few musings on the recent weather as I finished with the final strap. He commented that the snow-covered road/trail was not tracked after  a half a mile or so.

A little ways down the road, two ice-climbers were seemingly learning how to use their axes on a snowy section of wall that was not more than …

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Gear We Love: Issue 108

Goodies for your active lifestyle

1. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Bikepacking Tent

Big Agnes really nailed it with this tent designed specifically for bikepacking. We already know that Big Agnes produces high quality adventure gear utilizing the very latest technology. Add a host of features specific to bikepacking, and la voila — the ultimate overnight cycling adventure awaits you.

This two-door, free-standing tent features shortened pole segments for optimal handlebar, pannier, and saddlebag storage, and it packs down into a light but tough compression sack that can withstand the rigors of the trail. Extras include plenty of storage (oversized pocket with portals for media, two regular mesh pockets, and a 3-D shelf above your feet), webbing for dry helmet storage, daisy-chain webbing loops on the fly for drying wet clothes and gear, and so much more.

You get plenty of room at 29 sq ft with 9 / …

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Ear to the Ground: Issue 108

News & notes from the outdoor industry

Mt. Shasta trail access to expand

Forty-five miles of new trail is in the works for the Shasta Trinity National Forest. A collaboration between MSMBA (Mt. Shasta Mountain Bike Association), the US Forest Service, and Mount Shasta Trails Association, the proposed Gateway Phase II trail expansion project will open up additional non-motorized recreational opportunities for mountain biking, hiking, trail running, and horseback riding around the City of Mt. Shasta. Trails will connect to the existing Gateway trail system.

Get details about this Gateway Phase II trail expansion project at

Trails will also link to Mt. Shasta Bike Park which boasts two chairlifts and over 25 miles of trail already developed. Scenic chairlift rides, hiking, disc golf and weddings are also available. The park is currently developing a “Beyond the Boundaries E-bike Experience” program which will introduce riders to a new trail …

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