Luxury adventure company Eleven takes its name from the ‘80s “rockumentary” This is Spinal Tap. In the movie, band member Nigel tells new guy Marty that while other bands’ amps go up to ten, theirs go to eleven: one louder than ten. Staying at Eleven’s Scarp Ridge Lodge amid the Colorado high country of Crested Butte is, well, an eleven experience, full of luxurious comfort.
Island hopping in the North Atlantic
My bartering skills need work. Hungry and in search of fresh seafood at the farmer’s market, I sidestep locals blocking my beeline to the solitary oyster stand. Splayed out in front are seven mammoth slurpers of the Ruisseau variety. Countless foam coolers offer the promise of more, but the woman behind the stand brings sad news: the baker’s half-dozen of bivalves will have to do. They are the last she has.
I begin to trundle off, disappointed and craving more of the renowned Ruisseaus, when it happens: Nolan D’Eon, the man behind Eel Lake Oyster Farm, is apparently en route with a huge shipment of more oysters than I could hope to shuck. I blurt “gimme twenty” from behind a smile, newly-minted (molded?) plastic Canadian dollars flying from my pocket. If this were Seattle or Hong Kong I’d swear it was a setup, but in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, victory is mine.
Essentials for a Smooth Trip
Travel pros. You’ve seen them. You’ve envied them. They glide through check-in, make the body-scan look like a photo shoot and sightsee like locals. Sure, part of it might be their passport with 200 stamps, but the right kit makes a world of difference, too. Whether you’re embarking on a shuttle flight or a trip around the globe, there are a few pieces of gear that will improve life on the road dramatically. We’ve got ‘em.
If we had to pick a favorite communist country (don’t tell Joe McCarthy) it’d probably be Cuba. There’s something incredibly charming about our vision of the place. It might have been dreams of the weather, the Panama hats, the Buena Vista Social Club — or just the time-capsule aura that many of us associate with…
That wetsuit ain't for show
When I first received the invite for a Wilderness Collective trip I had many reactions, which were, in no particular order: “I haven’t camped since I was six” and “I hope the people don’t suck” and “it’ll be nice to go on a pleasant, Instagram-worthy tour off the coast aboard a yacht in order to roast marshmallows on an island”. Our destination would be the Channel Islands archipelago, eight land masses situated over 30 miles seaward from the shores of California’s coast. The multi-faceted trip would not, in fact, be about yachts and butler service. I didn’t know that yet.
Ketch of the Day
The nautical lifestyle, with its mix of refinement, adventure and expensive equipment, makes a natural fit for luxury timepieces. Officine Panerai does things a little differently than other brands. Rather than go for the cutting-edge carbon fiber multi-hull racing scene, the storied Italian watchmaker takes a more nostalgic view on sailing by sponsoring a series of classic yacht regattas up and down New England. We were invited to the first of the three American regattas, the Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta, in the charming maritime port town of Marblehead, Massachusetts. It was a proper mix of flapping Dacron, wooden-hulled 12-meter yachts and cocktails at no less than three proper blue-blood yacht clubs. Oh, and there were a few cool watches, too. Read on for the full photo essay.
Blue Water, White Death
The history of shark movies is littered with some good, some bad and some very ugly films. Before Sharknado, before Open Water, even before Jaws, there was Blue Water, White Death, which may just be the greatest shark movie ever made.
Diving’s Identity Crisis
There’s a popular saying among nostalgic dive bums that reads, “Remember when sex was safe and diving was dangerous?” Times have changed, and while I won’t comment on the hazards of promiscuity and the risks of STDs, I will say that diving has gotten too safe. Or at least that’s the perception — and one that, ironically, is keeping people from diving. What diving needs is a re-branding campaign.
Tagging sharks in the Bahamas
Sharks are hot right now, despite, or perhaps because of, their scarcity. People love them, vilify them, study them or eat their fins. Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” is one of the year’s most highly anticipated television events, up there with the Super Bowl or finale of “The Bachelor.” Still, they’re very endangered due to a combination of targeted fishing to satisfy the appetite for shark fin soup, pollution, coral reef degradation or as bycatch in nets and on long lines. This last method, which claimed an estimated 97 million sharks in 2010 alone, accounts for 80% of shark deaths annually and is the subject of an ongoing study being conducted by scientists at the Cape Eleuthera Institute in the Bahamas. We endured a bumpy ride in a tiny turboprop to visit this remote outpost and see what they were finding. Along the way we came face to face with this top predator of the deep.
Cue the “Jaws” theme
Despite the fact that that the world’s shark population is perilously shrinking, it is still possible to find places to dive with these magnificent creatures. And that may be just what they need most: seeing them at eye level cruising effortlessly against a strong current, always wary, always watchful, one learns to appreciate them for the miracles of evolution that they are, rather than as bloodthirsty killers. So strap on a tank, check the seals on your camera housing and drop in to the middle of the food chain at one of these destinations.
Just add water
While we love diving for its ability to transport us to an alien world, defy gravity and commune with nature, we also love it for the gear. Diving may be the most gear-intensive sport out there, with the possible exception of mountain climbing. Without your mask, you don’t see, without your tank and regulator, you don’t breathe, without your dive computer, you risk a nasty case of the bends. For our recent trip to the Bahamas, we packed along our favorite warm water diving kit, a collection of necessities, safety backups and just a little bit of style.
Not exactly roughing it
The vintage polished aluminum of Airstream Trailers is as recognizable as the curvaceous body of a ‘Vette. Nowadays, they transport everyone from happy families to celebrities; Felix Baumgartner even holed up in one before his stratospheric leap. Previously unchanged in its 82-year history, the newly released Airstream Land Yacht ($140,000) brings a new level of sophistication in materials and design to this classic roving hotel room.
Because they’re there
Mountaineering can be an intimidating sport to get into: all that gear, the dizzying heights and tales of frostbite-blackened digits aren’t necessarily warm and fuzzy things. But if you have the urge to sample the rarified air up high, there are still some peaks that are accessible to the novice alpinist right here in the U.S. Once you’re actually prepared, check (at least) one of these beauties off your list.
Mount Rainier - 14,410 feet
Mount Rainier rises 14,410 feet above the landscape two hours to the southeast of Seattle. It towers above its surroundings, dwarfing the smaller peaks of the nearby Tatoosh Range and creating its own weather systems. It is the largest and most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48 states. From the city on clear days, it is a beacon, almost a benevolent presence. Yet Rainier is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the Western Hemisphere. Should it ever erupt again, the resulting mudslides and ash would threaten not only Seattle but much of Washington state and beyond.
For climbers, Mount Rainier presents a tantalizing challenge given its accessibility to a major urban center and the established routes that zigzag up its flanks. Its topography and numerous glaciers and crevasses make it an excellent training ground for bigger climbs in the Alps and Himalayas. Only about half those who attempt to summit it succeed each year, the other half turned away by weather, unstable conditions or fatigue. It was also the scene of one of the worst mountaineering accidents in North American climbing history when an ice fall killed 11 climbers in 1981.
It sounded like a good challenge.
The Gear for Rainier
To take on our recent ascent of Mount Rainier, we rounded up some of the latest and greatest mountaineering gear. And after two days, 9,000 vertical feet of climbing and weather that ranged from downright scorching to subzero wind chills, we’ve got a thing or two to say about each piece. So whether or not you plan to use any of this gear in your urban, or more rustic, adventures, you can be assured we’ve put it all through rigorous testing in a worse place. Just don’t take an ice axe on the subway.
Come June, those of us in the northern latitudes leave the hearth behind and burst into the sunlight to savor a precious few months of warmth, pressed for time before the days grow short again. This often entails going yet farther north, and in Minnesota, “up north” often means the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. We spent a long weekend in a cabin outside of Ely (“Ee-lee”), a gateway town to the BWCA.
Come for the Uranium, Stay for the Adventure
Forty miles south of an absolutely barren stretch of I-70 on the Colorado-Utah border sits the unlikely adventure travel capital of the Southwest desert. What Moab, Utah lacks in vegetation it makes up for in the sheer volume of red-rock activities local adrenaline junkies have dreamed up. We came to Moab with one thing in mind: to summit Ancient Art Tower — but our free days were easily filled with stunning hikes in Arches National Park, exceptional sport climbing and bouldering along the Colorado river, and more than few local craft beers and wines.
Hit the dusty trail(s)
Picking our 10 favorite mountain bike trails for our week of cycling is like asking a parent to pick their favorite kid: we love them each for different reasons. Still, armed with a Rolodex of memorable rides, we set out to catalog the best of the best. The IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association) and other groups have been creating mouthwatering single track all over the world as diverse as the styles of bikes in your local shop — and they keep getting bigger, better and longer.
Mortgage house, book ticket, feed soul
If you have a hankering for more exotic fish than you can find in the nearest stream, river, or lake, consider packing a bag with a few travel rods and the rest of your gear and giving destination fly fishing a try. That’s all well and good (great, really), but as always, you should strive for the cream of the crop. Here are three trips worthy of the bucket list of any fly fisher.
Summer? Not so fast.
You can bet that after a few months on the run from ski patrol, when all the rules are thrown out for one weekend, snow bums’ll throw a world class party. If your idea of fun is seeing guys throwing down tricks while skiing and boarding in togas and Speedos — and plenty of ladies hitting the slopes in bikinis — we’ve got a few of the best end-of-season parties for you to put on your schedule.
The Road is Life
With age comes the ability to do a long highway cruise better than we ever could as a youngster. Summer’s right around the corner, so we’ve compiled above all the gear you’ll need to make new memories on the road. Get what you need and hit the road, Jack. Grab the wheel and point it west, take a buddy and leave the rest.
The Youngest Man to Ski to the North Pole Solo
One of only three people to have skied solo to the North Pole — the youngest to do so by over a decade — Ben Saunders is also an avid cyclist, Twitter presence and Land Rover enthusiast. We chatted with him about his own heroes, what scares him and his next epic adventure.
[Cacao] farm to table
Back safely in the U.S., I removed the cacao ball from my running shoe. I unwound the plastic wrap from the dark brown orb and sniffed it. My best friend, Mycah, and his wife, Ashley, had picked it up at a cacao farm in Baracoa, a small town on the eastern tip of Cuba. This was the good shit. I pictured myself shaving it over ice cream to impress a date or using it to flavor chili. Oh, this chocolate here? I got it from a guy in Cuba. Chef François Payard showed me how I could actually use it.
Gear for a 3-week Caribbean journey
Packing for three weeks of travel could easily balloon into roller bags, laptop cases and fanny packs. If you’re staying in luxury hotels and somebody else is handling your gear, fine. Bring the sheepskin robe. But if you may have to spend full days carrying your luggage on your back, then you’re limited to the essentials. Here’s what I stuffed into my GORUCK GR2 for three weeks in Cuba.
Getting attached to GORUCK's Weekend Bag
On my first night with the GORUCK GR2 ($395) we slept together in a bus station — and we’ve been going steady since. Specifically, after a flight from Cancun to Havana and midnight bus from Havana to Santa Clara, in the geographical center of Cuba, I looped a carabiner through the side webbing of the GR2, clipped it to my jacket’s pit vents, rested my head gently against her rugged 1000D cordura, and knocked off for six hours in a metal row chair.
A Photo Essay
It started with an email from my buddy.
Meet you in the lobby of the Islazul Gran Hotel De Camaguey @8am on March 18th, 2013. I will be in touch – Peregrine.
Actually, we’d talked about the possibility of a Cuba trip when Mycah — his name isn’t always Peregrine — and his wife found out the she’d been awarded a fellowship to study urban agriculture there. I had not booked my tickets. I wasn’t really sure I’d go because it was near a grand between the flight to Cancun and the next one to Havana, plus I’d been traveling a lot the past year. I told him it was 50/50. Then in early March I was offered a quick business trip to Cancun ending in mid-March. You don’t balk when serendipity tugs at your Johnson, so I shot off a quick email reply: F*ck it. Tickets booked. See you there.
You've got twelve weeks. Get busy!
We love winter and all it brings: fires, warm sweaters, skiing and flasks of Scotch. But come June, we’re ready to bust out and undertake some adventures that can only be done in the warmer months. Memorial Day is traditionally when bikes and boats and boots get dusted off and you hit the ground running until the Labor Day slow down. This summer, why not go a little further and tackle something truly epic? We’re here to help with five great summer-only adventures. There are only twelve weeks of summer, so get planning.
An inside look at the insider's home of horse racing
Kentucky is the undisputed mecca of the thoroughbred industry in the U.S., both for breeding and racing. Each year since 1875 this truth has been reaffirmed on the first Saturday in May, when sport’s brightest spotlight turns toward Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. Its reputation as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” is well-deserved. The same goes for the race’s record attendance numbers, which eclipse both the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. But those who follow the sport beyond the Julep-fueled weekend of seersuckers and sundresses know that much of the prestigious race’s success is owed to another place a mere 80 miles east.
Integral travel companion
I have terrible luck checking luggage, and the list of destinations where I’ve arrived with only the clothes on my back spans the globe: Iceland, Sri Lanka, Portugal, Germany. The problem is, most carry-on bags are unwieldy, anonymous “roll-aboards” or lumpy backpacks that are better suited for campus or the trail. The TUMI Tegra-Lite ($595) bucks those trends and has quickly become my second favorite travel companion, behind my wife.
Mr Hasemeyer tests gear, tries not to die
Scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon, homestyle potatoes, a bowl of oatmeal and two cups of coffee: when preparing to take on Squaw Valley with Chris Davenport, simply a two-time World Champion skier who recently scaled and skied Mt. Everest, one must fuel up. So I did.
Sitting on 3,600 acres northwest of Lake Tahoe near the California and Nevada border, Squaw Valley offers skiers the chance to take on wide open runs (groomed and not) of greens, blues and blacks, most of which are clean of trees (death sticks), allowing the average skier to be more daring with less severe consequences. This range in terrain, altitude and weather presented the perfect setting to test my new gear — a Bern helmet, Gordini gloves, and Obermeyer jacket and pants — while being guided by this veteran pro.