Rubber Ducky, a Book Review

10/1/2018
By Jaime Cary
Mountain to Sound Outfitters

What do great white whales and bath toys have in common? More than you might think. When Donovan Hohn hears the story of 28,800 bath toys that were lost at sea, he found himself on anMoby Duck Cover epic adventure searching for the infamous toys. In Moby-Duck, he recounts his search from the factories of China all the way to the shores of Greenland to find the elusive specimens, and finds that the search for these toys effects far more than just the bottom lines of the companies who made them and the beach combers who search for them.

Moby-Duck starts with the feeling of a travelogue. A new father goes off on a grand adventure to reconcile the notion that plastic toys are safe and the idea that plastics are harmful to the planet that he is leaving his son. Hohn’s witty humor drives an adventurous narrative and makes bad news a little harder to swallow all while delivering an extremely hopeful message. He boards bush planes in Alaska and cargo ships crossing the Pacific Ocean, all in search of his own white whale, the innocent rubber ducky.

Along the way, he interviews everyone he can find who has had a connection to the bath toys. He searches high tide lines with beach combers and uses what they find to predict ocean currents with oceanographers.  He also meets with scientist to discuss how plastics effect our planet, and what we can do about it.moby duck

Witty, informative, and extremely heartfelt, Moby-Duck is a fantastic book about how we interact with the world, from when we are small children imagining rubber ducky’s in the wide ocean of the bathtub to adults searching for our very own white whale. Whether you live next to the ocean and witness plastic pollution, or are a land lubber whose kids play with the infamous bath toy, Hohn’s book is a fantastic read that offers a deeper look into one of the most cherished and mundane toys of our childhood.

This book is available for purchase at Mountain to Sound Outfitters.

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Rubber Ducky, a Book Review

Ravenous Raccoons of the San Juan Islands

Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats… Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not.” -Wind in the Willows

9/24/2018
By Taylor Parsons

Whales

Whether you’re out braving tempests in the open sea, out for a cruise through the bay or floating down a local river, there’s something special about being able to simply mess about in boats. I’d like to take a minute to talk about one boat in particular, and how great it was to mess about in the San Juan Islands over Labor Day weekend 2018. I had the privilege of taking the Tempest 170 out for a three-day tour this year and I only have good things to say about it.

I have never been to the San Juan Islands before. Though I’ve messed about in boats for my whole life, on trips ranging from 1 to 28 days, I’m always excited to experience something new. Being able to grab your kayak, head to a water body of your choosing, and just be “out there” is such a freeing way to be. So when a friend invited me on my first overnight sea kayak trip I couldn’t turn down the offer.

Now, my girlfriend and I may have what some people would call “a problem.” Between the two of us there are a total of 9 boats hanging out at our home, but none of them are sea kayaks. Of course, our problem is not the large number of kayaks, rafts and canoes we use almost every weekend, but the lack of sea kayak in our floating quiver. Enter the Tempest 170: a boat that has been the winner of the Sea Kayaker Magazine Reader’s Choice Award for “Best Day and Weekend Touring Kayak,” and named “Best Beginners Sea Kayak” by OutsideOnline. Our local paddle shop, Mountain to Sound Outfitters, along with Alki Kayak Tours, let me take it for a spin over my three-day tour.

Our small crew packed our things and rolled our boats out behind the cars and bicycles headed to Friday Harbor. My first impression of the boat was how much gear it can store. Between the two hatches in the stern and single hatch in the bow, there is no shortage of space for all of your overnight essentials. As we reached the harbor and started packing the last of the gear, I found myself asking my friends if they had any gear or food they wanted me to carry. I grabbed some extra food, shoved some extra water into the easily-accessible hatch behind my seat, and still had room for more. With that, we were off. As motor boats streamed in and out of the harbor and two float planes landed within 100 feet of our route I was also glad the three hatches in the boat led to separate compartments. These compartments are separated by bulkheads that, if something happened and a hatch started to fill with water, would still allow me to float.

Ferry Image

Our journey involved paddling north from the harbor, stopping at a couple islands along the way, and camping for the night in the wind- and human- power only camp sites found on Jones Island. We found a fantastic camp that you can only use if you own a sail boat or kayak. Best of all, even with the three-day weekend, my friends and I got first pick of our site. Once again, the Tempest showed it’s worth as a great touring kayak, as I found all of my gear was still dry.

I spent the night sleeping under the stars and waking up to the tamest raccoons I’ve ever met trying to get into our food. Note for next time: bring a bear can or figure out a better way to seal hatches. These guys can pry open even the hard-to-open hatch covers on this boat. After waking up to over half a dozen eyes staring at me with apples and crackers in hand, I had to get creative. Strapping a paddle tightly across the hatch pretty much did the trick. Lesson learned. Luckily, if you own your own boat you can buy hard plastic hatch covers that go over or replace your watertight neoprene ones.

boats on shore

The next day, we tooled around the islands some more as we headed south to Blind Island, another wind- and human- power only camp. With motor boats out en force, the Tempest braved all the wakes and wind thrown at it. When the larger wakes passed by at the right angle, I found myself paddling hard and catching longer and longer surfs on these waves. I’ve been sea kayaking before in more expensive boats and never felt more comfortable surfing than in the Tempest.

After another great night spent sleeping under the stars, we made the journey back to Friday Harbor without a hitch. The biggest open-water crossing of the trip was no match for this boat. Back on shore, we stripped off our wet gear, grabbed some ice cream, and waited for the ferry to start loading; a fitting end to a great trip off “roughing it” without frozen treats. Though I’m sure you could keep things frozen in this boat with a good flexible cooler and some ice…

Friends

Bottom line: If you’re looking for a fantastic touring kayak to weather any storm and take you to your next big adventure, the Tempest may just be the boat for you. It handles well, surfs waves easily, tracks well with the skeg engaged, and stores all the gear you’ll need. I hope to take it out again on my next flat water adventure!

san juan map

The Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 is available at Mountain to Sound Outfitters for $1319.00. Charts, maps, books, paddles, PFD’s, and safety equipment also required for this trip can also be purchased at Mountain to Sound Outfitters.

Ravenous Raccoons of the San Juan Islands

Growing Up With A Park Ranger

Tyler

by Tyler Goodwin
6/16/2018

Most people growing up in Alaska have great stories with their parents from their childhood that greatly influenced how they interact with the outdoors nowadays. I am no different. My father was a park ranger in the Alaska State parks for the majority of my life and as a family we went on countless adventures. The earliest and most impactful experience in the outdoors that I can remember is floating the Sheenjek River in our family raft with my dad on the oars. We saw a wolverine at the top of a tree and dealt with the biggest mosquitoes known to planet earth. We were on the river for what seemed like weeks which was challenging for me, being so young, but I took away a lot from it. I learned that no matter what adversity one encounters, one can overcome almost any challenges in the outdoors. From that trip my confidence being outside made a significant leap which has followed me on every trip I’ve done. The fact that my dad never coddled me as a child and threw me head first into every trip was a great way to grow up in Alaska and develop my skills in the outdoors.

My father was also a huge influence in introducing me to skiing. The first memory I have is from when I could barely walk; we went on a family trip to Thompson Pass in Alaska. I was put on skis while we were watching the snowboarders roaring past. Skiing has developed into one of my greatest passions as an adult and some of the greatest times in my life have been skiing at Alyeska as well as several trips we made to Lake Tahoe and the Alta Ski Area in Utah, all with my dad. Without my father’s positive influence on me in the outdoors I wouldn’t have had all of the fantastic trip experiences I did and wouldn’t be the person I am today.

Love you Dad

Growing Up With A Park Ranger

Outdoors with my Dad

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6/12/18
By Jaime Cary
Mountain to Sound Outfitters

Growing up, I always loved the outdoors, but I doubt they would be as big a part of my life without my Dad. My father taught me to ski before I could run. I have vivid memories of flying down mountain slopes in his backpack, laughing the whole way down; my nose poking out from under my hat, mittens so fluffy I couldn’t make a fist. For birthdays he would take me hiking, or we would blow up the big raft my parents bought when I was three and float the river. He was always pushing me to ski harder stuff or offering me advice on lines to take in the water. If I had good grades, I was allowed to play hookie on a big powder day.

I was routinely taken out of school for river trips, starting with a Gates of Ladore trip when I was eleven. I was taken out of school during the week of finals and whisked off to Utah and Colorado, where I was taught how to swim rapids and shoo Mormon crickets off the lunch table. As we drifted down stream and my Dad named off the rock layers, I knew that I would never get this feeling out of my system.

Many ski turns and river miles later, I still find myself most at home in the outdoors. The lessons my Dad taught me have come to be the most valuable, and I cherish the adventures that we go on. Thank you Dad. I couldn’t have done it without you.

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Outdoors with my Dad

Layering Advice for Summer Kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboarding from Expert Staffer Heather

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7/14/2017

Heather started paddling at age 7 in her home state of Maine.  After college, she got serious about kayaking and became a Registered Maine State Guide and let commercial tours.  When she moved to Washington, she brought her passion and experience with her.  Here are her must-have summer layers and accessories for kayak and SUP.

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Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero
Protect your head from a downpour with the ultimate in waterproof protection.  Or, enjoy the brushed lining that wicks perspiration away from your skin.

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Smith Guides Choice Sunglasses
With ChromaPop lenses and an aggressive wrap for superior light protection, these shades are ready for all the sun you can get this summer.

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Marmot Intensity Tank
Grab this lightweight racerback tank top for intense paddle sessions.  This tank is engineered to quickly wick moisture, dry fast and maximize airflow.

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Astral ABBA PFD
Designed for female paddlers of all skill levels, this PFD is built with environmentally friendly materials and optimized for comfort, strength and safety.

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Travelon Cell Phone Case
Protect your digital camera or smartphone from water.  This pouch is submersible to 65 feet and has a foam insert that allows it to float.

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Dakine Insider Boardies
These lightweight board shorts will dry fast if you get splashed or fall in the water and are stylish enough for a full day on or off the water.

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Astral Rosa Sandals
Reduce foot slippage with the ultimate flip-flop.  Sticky rubber on the outsole and footbed make this the ideal footwear for paddling, swimming or hiking.

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SEAL LINE Blocker Dry Sack
Organize and protect your extra clothing, water and snacks in this strong, fully welded seam construction dry sack.

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Immersion Research Zephyr Jacket
This light and breathable all-around paddle jacket is fully seam sealed.  It is versatile enough to wear kayak fishing or for a hard SUP workout in chilly weather.

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Outdoor Research Palisade Pants
Have these waterproof and fully seam taped pants in your dry bag in case the weather turns bad or the wind picks up.

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Platypus SoftBottle / Snack
This flexible, green designed bottle is a great source for hydration out on the water.  Finally, don’t forget to pack your favorite snack.

Layering Advice for Summer Kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboarding from Expert Staffer Heather

Stay Warm No Matter What

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1/24/2017
By Hannah Letinich
Mountain to Sound Outfitters

Maintaining warmth and comfort on the mountain is key to enjoying a full day at your favorite resort. We are passionate about the technical details of the products we sell. From ventilation, materials and construction we have some toasty recommendations below to keep you warm when the next cold front comes through the Northwest.


SMITH Vantage Helmet
Has vents that can be closed for maximum warmth. Choose to close them halfway (pictured above) or all the way on the coldest days.


ROXY Wilder GORE-TEX Jacket
Comes with a Biotherm fleece neck gaiter for warmth. It is infused with a high performance complex to keep skin moisturized in all weather conditions.

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HESTRA Women’s Heli Gloves
Are constructed with 109 individual pieces for dexterity, durability and warmth. Leather palms keep heat in and the fleece liner dries fast so you can ski every day from open to close.


QUIKSILVER Porter Youth Pants
Have fleece insulation in the seat for extra warmth when riding the bunny slopes or resting in the snow.

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SCARPA Freedom SL 120 Boots
Have Intuition liners, which are proven in the coldest mountaineering environments. Using the same cold weather technology designed for advanced mountaineering boots.


ROSSIGNOL Pure Elite 80 Boots
Have Merino Wool liners for high thermal comfort in the coldest conditions. Wool keeps feet warm even when wet, and provides odor control, breath-ability and a buttery soft feel.