Stalking the Summit of Mt. Rainier

My good friend Jeff Handlin and his brother Scott just fulfilled a dream by attempting to summit Mount Rainier. “We found out there is no such thing as conquering a mountain; it can flick one off like a piece of lint anytime it feels like it,” Jeff said in an email to me. “But if one perseveres respectfully, it may deem worthiness and grant passage for a short time.”

Jeff and Scott battled steep slopes, crevasses and 50mph winds to earn their summit view at 7:30am Wednesday, June 15th.

“We agreed this was pretty much one of the hardest things we’ve ever done,” Jeff wrote, “but we were treated to one of the most grueling and rewarding experiences of our lives.”

Here are a few of Jeff’s photos from the climb.

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At Muir Camp. Photo by Jeff Handlin

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On Disappointment Cleaver Route. Photo by Jeff Handlin

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Worth the Effort. Photo by Jeff Handlin

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A New Day on Rainier. Photo by Jeff Handlin

Congratulations, guys!

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Harbor Fish Market Video – Portland Travel Videos – Tripfilms

Harbor Fish Market Video – Portland Travel Videos – Tripfilms.

I kneel down in the middle of a floor soaked in icy water, feeling the wetness seep into the fabric of my pants. The scent of fish hangs thick in the air. People around me make an effort not to pay attention to what I’m doing. I hit “record” and pan across the scene, following a woman named Patty as she packages lobsters up in brown paper bags. I stop recording and let the euphoric “I got the shot” feeling spread through me. It’s tempered by the fact that I don’t have time to replay the footage to be sure–and, of course, Patty has moved on to her other duties. I move into my next position to catch the next quick clip.  The location is Harbor Fish Market on Custom House Wharf in Portland, Maine, and this is my latest freelance gig: hometown video correspondent for tripfilms.com. For them, I’ll be shooting 10 1-minute films about Portland. I’m very excited to be working with these guys, since, in a very practical way, they put me on the path to living one of my long-forgotten dreams: Travel Show Host.
Not long ago, you had to be very cool, charismatic, and–most important–backed by a network to be a travel show host. For a while during the mid-90’s I would rush home to find out where Lonely Planet’s “Globe Trekkers” Ian and Justine were headed to next. I wanted to be one of these guys, jet-setting to exotic locals, meeting interesting people and eating cringe-worthy local delicacies.  Eventually, my interests moved on to things that don’t require a production crew and I lost touch with my yearning to take people out into the world from their livingrooms. Last winter, the bike/ski shop I work at opened a new location at a XC ski center. Embedded in the center’s web-page was an amateur video made by a film student about the trails. This use of video on a webpage reminded me of a statement I heard several times while attending the SATW (Society of American Travel Writers) Travel Writing/Photography Institute: because high bandwidth is becoming more common, video is THE THING to get into. I typed “travel, video” into a search engine and was deposited into TripFilms.com. I saw a bunch of people traveling, and creating travel videos. Though most didn’t have the polished feel of a “Travel Channel” production, they had every bit as much heart, were every bit as deep in the culture and appeared to have just as much fun. Plus, these filmmakers were fully independent! A few more clicks of the mouse led me to an extraordinary revelation. HD camcorders capable of creating decent quality video were less than a $1000! In less than 15 years, technology has completely altered the landscape. Since scraping together the money to buy my camera and software, I have signed on as an intern for Matador TV. Looking for “the best travel content on the web” led me to an overwhelming amount of awesome filmmakers from solo travelers looking into a camera at arm’s length to full-scale productions. I also found Web Series like “In Transit” and “Brainrotting” and “The Season.” These series showed me that a person can actually produce a TV show with multiple episodes themselves. People like David Adams and Peter Bragiel are stars. Now I’m a star, too–well, not yet. But I am living my travel host dream.

mountain biking on the monture trail, montana

Farewell, Mountain: A riding Retrospective on Monture Trail, Montana [Mountain Bike Tales]

Here’s the link to my most recent story appearing in Mountain Bike Tales:

Farewell, Mountain: A riding Retrospective on Monture Trail, Montana

The story has roots in a ride I took with friends Aaron Teasdale and Rod Kramer a few years back on one of the trails most in danger of closure in the United States. With the current situation of Montana (and the greater US) trails getting more perilous, I wove it together with the recent Federal Court ruling closing trails in a WSA near Bozeman that threatens access everywhere. The story is an adventure of hope.

5 Best Places to Keep Your Adventure Sports Alive During Winter [Matador Network]

New travel article for Matador Network about the 5 best places to keep your adventure sports alive during winter. It features five incredible indoor adventure parks around the world.

 

How to Become a Hut Master [Matador Network]

My latest article for the Matador Travel Network is up and can be seen here:

http://matadorsports.com/how-to-become-a-hut-master

It’s a short article about how to land the dream-job of being a backcountry “hut-master.”  Check it out.  Also, spend some time looking over some of the other content on the network.  These guys do a great job (and make my life as a writer easy in the process.)  They, and I assume a majority of their readers, live for travel and it shows.  Don’t be surprised if you look up at the clock and see that a couple of hours has passed while you’ve been surfing their sites.

The Art of Achieving Childhood Dreams

Here is another TED talk.  Think a man who has spent his life trying to build virtual worlds can’t teach us something about living better in the real world?  Think again.  Randy Pausch, one of the pioneers of 3-D virtual reality talks about making childhood dreams come true.  Then, he takes it a step further and tells us how we can do it, too.  It’s a bit longer than most TED talks at a little over an hour.  Set aside a little time.  You’ll be glad you did.

http://www.ted.com/talks/randy_pausch_really_achieving_your_childhood_dreams.html

Talk by neuro-scientist on how we read people’s brains

Ever wonder what makes people tick?  Sure, most of us do.  As a writer, I feel it’s my job to distill the things I observe in others into words on the page.  This link to a short video clip reveals how our brains read other brains and make moral judgments.  A must-see for writers trying to capture the essence of “why characters do what they do” on more than a purely intuitive level.  The clip also addresses, to a lesser degree, the “hard problem of consciousness.”

http://www.ted.com/talks/rebecca_saxe_how_brains_make_moral_judgments.html