Explore: December 2012

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9 posts from December 2012


Q&A: Kayaker and Windpower Fan Jeremy Rodgers

Jeremy Rodgers Kayaking

Jeremy Rodgers is a sponsored paddler for the US Canoe and Kayak Team, and a Colorado-based chiropractor, to boot. While his big water kayaking has given him an appreciation for the outdoors, he has shown commitment to the environment by living as green a lifestyle as he can and by traveling as green has he can: in a repurposed 2006 diesel-run van or his “Ultimate Multisport Van,” which is fully solar- and wind-powered and whose wind turbine he flies as “proudly as the American flag.” In the latest of our Q&As with green athletes, Jeremy tells us why athletes have a responsibility towards the environmental movements and why all adventures require a woman’s companionship.

SIERRA: What came first: Your chiropractic practice, your athletics, or your commitment to the environment? 

JR: Growing up in Oklahoma, football and wrestling were king. Wrestling taught me many life lessons about discipline and balance that I attribute a lot of my success as a big water kayaker.

Environmental awareness was a distant thought to me growing up in the heart of the energy belt, where "if you can afford it, you have a right to consume it" This was the environmental attitude that defined the early 90's in the Midwest.

Much has changed, and I'm proud of my home state of Oklahoma for acceptance of local environmentalism. Where are your favorite places to paddle?

Every continent has jewel river basins that teach us the history of that country's own ecosystem, but if I had to commit to one place that makes the list of kayaker's best natural wonders, I'd put that place as Pacuare Canyon, Costa Rica with Southern Chile's Patagonia in a close second.

How did your commitment to green vehicles evolve--especially considering that it's not directly paddle-related?

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5 Unbelievable Hotels Made of Natural Materials

Hotel de Glace

Part of the excitement of going on a vacation is finding that special home away from home for the trip. Why not go all-natural with your vacation fantasy? One look at some of these impressive hotels made of natural materials and you'll be booking that reservation faster than we can say eco-adventure time! 


For an extended winter wonderland experience, shack up in the Hotel de Glace in Quebec for a weekend. Not only is this hotel made entirely of ice, every year features a new theme (this past year's theme was Northern Quebec) so that visitors get a unique experience every season. This elaborate ice castle includes an icy cafe, art gallery, themed suites, and for those with impending nuptials, they even have a chapel. Just make sure to make your reservations early, this hotel is only open from January 5th through March 24th. And don't worry, if a whole weekend is just a little too bone-chilling for you, stay for a night and spend the rest of the weekend in the warmth of hotels nearby. 

Palacio de Sal HotelSalt

At the Palacio de Sal located along the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, salt isn’t just that staple mineral on the dinner table; it’s what the dinner table is made of. That’s right, what makes this hotel unique is that the entire building, complete with furniture inside, is made from 100 percent salt. But that doesn’t limit the luxury; the hotel features a lavish dining room, game room, and even a saltwater pool for guests to enjoy during their stay. One of the most interesting features about the hotel are the bedrooms built to resemble igloos—giving guests the effect of sleeping in an ice-themed room without the bluster at bedtime.

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Outside, In: Gear That Keeps You Fit When It's Cold Out

When you can't play outdoors, you tend to get less fit. These at-home devices will help you preserve the strength you'll need to make a gear-laden scramble as soon as the snow melts off the nearest Class IV trail, or to pick up those paddles when that lake finally thaws. 

Bosu exercise ball

The hemisphere-shaped BOSU ball is hard and flat on one side, so it stays stationary. Thomas LaFera, a New York City trainer, suggests stepping onto the Bosu with one leg in a forward lunge, then returning to a standing position for three sets of 10 lunges per side. "It strengthens all those muscles you use when you hike or backpack," he says. For an extra workout, add hand weights or a backpack. $86 TRX kit

Side lunges are great for the hips, hamstrings, quads, lower back, and groin, which means they benefit both backpackers and skiers. The TRX Home Suspension Training Kit makes lunges easier and reduces the risk of knee strain. Anchor the straps to a sturdy door frame, grab the handles, and tighten the straps. Stand to one side, step into a lunge, then go back to standing. Do three sets of 10 on each side. $199

Bike trainer
Stationary bikes can cost hundreds. To save a bundle, use your own bicycle for indoor training. The BLACKBURN Tech Mag 3 Trainer lifts your rear tire off the ground and rolls it against a resistance wheel, which can be set to varying levels of tension. Most bike-stand trainers are a chore to set up, but a threaded axle makes it easy to center your cycle on this stand. $160 Twist elastic band

Shoulders are a major source of pain and discomfort for swimmers and paddlers. To strengthen your rotator cuffs, tie one end of the TWIST Smart Tone elastic band to a doorknob. Stand perpendicular to the door, with the strap in the hand farthest from the door, upper arm at your side, hand straight out in front, but with your elbow at your side. Then swing the strap away from your body. The tension should be light enough for you to do three sets of 10 reps per side. Now reverse the motion, swinging the strap across your stomach. $16 to $22

Continue reading "Outside, In: Gear That Keeps You Fit When It's Cold Out" »


Journey Across America: The 178-Day Hike

Kleckner on the roadFrom stable living to the open road, Nicholas “Hobo Nick” Kleckner recounts his epic walk across the country in just 178 days—monsoons, run-ins with the law, McChicken sandwiches and all.

What made you want to head out on the road?

Well I had a good job, a house, a new car, new motorcycle. So I guess by society’s standards I was moving forward in life, but I felt like I wasn’t growing. So that’s what really started wearing on me—I just needed to break out of that rut. Eventually, I kind of pushed it to the point where I boiled over and I just came to this spot where I just decided to walk away from it all.

Wasn’t that scary for you?

Oh yeah, for sure. But I feel like I fought [that frustration and stress] for so long that when I boiled over and I walked away, I wasn’t as scared… I kind of just came to the point where I hit that peak and I knew that was what I had to do. There was no real second guessing about it, but I would say that it was just really scary in the sense of having to live on the streets. That’s just a scary thing in general.

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7 Amazing Animal Musicians

Singing wrenFrom frogs chirping through the night to whales humming across the oceans, nature is full of fantastic music. Not all of it sounds pleasant to the human ear, of course (the droning of cicadas can cause ear damage at close range, and even crickets can wear out their welcome), but it's hard not to admire the way animals make such complex and astounding noises.

There's more to animal calls than just taking a deep breath and hollering. Some animals play their bodies like instruments, and others make sounds that humans need machines to pick up. To highlight some of this diversity, we've compiled a list of 7 unusual animal sounds, some of which make music that seems almost... philharmonic.

Mother Nature's 7 Animal Orchestra

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Winter Vacation: 5 Migration Destinations

Animal migrationAs the days grow shorter and colder, as the trees shed their leaves and the nights grow frostier, we wouldn't blame you for dreaming of travelling to a more clement climate. Where would you spend the winter, if you could? Hawaii? Mexico? Or maybe you'd rather just hole up in the basement? Well, a lot of animals are one step (or wingbeat, or flipper-flick) ahead of you.

So, whether you're a bird or a worm, listen up. Here are  5 of the most popular vacation destinations. . . for wildlife.

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5 Awesome Places to Ice Skate in the U.S.

Places to ice skateDo your holiday traditions include some time on the ice? To inspire you to enjoy the cold weather this winter, we've compiled a list of 5 great outdoor ice-skating rinks where you can practice triple axles, share first dates, or enjoy quality time with your kids. These places offer something for everyone; so whether you're just a beginner or a regular Michelle Kwan, skating is a great way to celebrate one of nature's coolest creations: the ice.

Did your favorite rink make our list?

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35 Reasons to Hike the Appalachian Trail

Appalachian TrailNeed a reason to embark on an epic journey on the Appalachian Trail (AT)? How about 35 reasons? The well-worn route runs from Georgia to Maine and can take hikers five months to complete. For some, that's not nearly enough. AT hiker Kevin Gallagher said, "I sure would have loved to keep going."

To illustrate some of the reasons hikers like Gallagher love the AT, the folks at HikingBoots.com recently created a cool infographic to mark the trail's highlights and inspire us to plan our next adventure.

Check out the infographic below.

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Winter Hibernation Quiz: Which Animal Are You?

BearFor humans, life goes on as usual during the winter, but that's not the case for a few of our furry — and not so furry — animal friends. Some animals hibernate during the winter as a response to the lack of food and warmth their geographical environment offers during this cruel season. Do you ever wish you could take a very long nap when the going gets tough?

Take our quiz to find out which animal you most resemble and learn some cool facts about the critters who enjoy winter siestas.

Quiz: Which Animal Are You?

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