Into the Art of “Into the Mind”

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Photo Credit: suchablog.com

Wow! Into the Mind, a ski and snowboard film by Sherpas Cinema is beyond my highest expectations for such a film. This film focuses so much energy and attention on the small things in nature, the things that often go unnoticed. I was highly impressed at the filming and cinematography efforts behind this masterpiece that truly make it stand out in its niche. The visual and emotional effects behind this film are outstanding! Oh! There just happens to be some bad ass skiing and boarding as well. Here is the official Youtube teaser/trailer for the film.

If you simply cannot stand to wait another minute to watch this film after seeing the trailer, then scroll down to the bottom of this post and I’ve made the buying easy for you.

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Photo Credit: bewaremag.com

I am highly recommending that anyone and everyone that is even slightly interested in watching this to do so immediately! Some things to remember when watching this film: 1. It is very, very, very interesting and worth your time to watch this 2. Make sure you have the hour and twenty three minutes dedicated solely to this, meaning put your devices away and focus on this piece of art 3. It will open your mind to an extreme, adventuring world that these professionals get to live out day in and day out.

I’ve already made the decision easy for you here and have included a link below where you can buy it and watch instantly from your Smart-TV, Xbox, PS3, computer, phone, or whatever you like through Amazon instant video.

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Click this photo to watch instantly!

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Posted in Art, Film Review, Outdoors & Exploring, Skiing and Snowboarding

A Bridge to be Admired

Bridges were initially formed naturally, by nature in the form of a fallen tree leading from one side of a body of water to the other. There is still plenty of current evidence of these natural bridges you’ll see when walking through the forest or fishing your way up a small mountain stream. People figured out this comprehensible idea and began brainstorming ways to man-make a bridge. Bridges used to be a simple structure and some of those early methods of making the path easier can still be found today. Over time stone, concrete and metal have moved their way in to dominate most of the world’s modern bridge structures. They are amazing, some of them being beautiful pieces of architecture and art and thus tourist attractions. I found myself crossing a simpler kind of bridge this beautiful October fall day and I didn’t wanted to take it for granted.

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Without a bridge to cross on this chilly October day, I would have been wading through the shallow, yet frigid waters of Lolo Creek to get from one side to the other. Thank God I happen to carry waders and wading boots in my vehicle at all times, along with plenty of other outdoor essentials in the case that I get stranded. That being the case, for me to ford the creek wouldn’t cause any potential shivers or shrinkage. When out of doors and enjoying all that nature has to offer, I often find myself thinking of how others before us consistently lived outdoors, survived off of the land, and used their own muscle and means to make a living and provide for each other.

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I truly admire those that lived in what we now call a “simpler” time. They were not graced with the modern marvels and technology of today that seemingly make our lives easier and more efficient. I admire those that lived in past times where there were no cars, there wasn’t always a bridge to cross, and there was never a promise that dinner would be served that evening. When I am out exploring nature solo and feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I sense that something else is near or that I am being watched, I like to think of our ancient ancestors. Those living in times when they didn’t have bear spray or firepower to protect them. They didn’t have cars. Hell, they didn’t even have shoes! They sure managed though and did a hell of a job at it!

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I didn’t want to take this simple bridge for granted because it provides me a path. This bridge gave me a clear definition of where I was destined to go and where my journey exploring outdoors would take me. This bridge brings me to and from the spot where I soon hope to harvest an animal and provide meat to survive off of. This bridge casts a shadow on a creek that I love dearly and enjoy casting a fly on. So I took the time to honor that structure and admire the craftsmanship behind it. The bolts and nails may be rusty, the wood may be faded, but the means and purpose of what this bridge serves for stand strong.

Today was another wonderful October day outside in beautiful Big Sky country. It marked a special day for me though, one that I won’t forget for some time: a day where I took to enjoying simple and often unnoticed things in my life. I truly took the time to appreciate everything that was happening in and around me.

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Posted in Art, Outdoors & Exploring, photography

An October outing on the Bitterroot River

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Daily temperatures around the Bitterroot Valley, MT area having been steadily dropping and a freezing morning frost is now a common occurrence. October has been showing us some nicer days as of late though and yesterday (October 5th) was a prime example of that. The sun was out, the air was seemingly warm, and this recipe called for some much needed fishing! I haven’t been able to get out on the water a lot lately so this was very relaxing and a good practice session of sorts to work out any faults in my casts. fly fishing, bitterroot river, montana fly fishing, montana, streamer fishing, rainbow trout, october, fall fishing

Although I personally didn’t catch a fish (which is hard to do within a quick 45 minute outing) I had an amazing time in the presence of the Bitterroot River and Lolo National Forest. As my special lady and I stood at the open hatch of my Subaru Outback stringing up the rods and basking in the first recent sign of a nice day I examined the water for rising fish and none were seen. That was when I decided to give streamers (which I am constantly learning more and more about) a try. My girlfriend Michelle is a fan of throwing live bait into the river rather than flies and was simultaneously making her choice to tie on a hook and worm.

We walked down to a nice looking spot and as I was walking downriver from where she was I instantly heard her excitement and yells! She had already hooked into a nice fish; on the first cast no less. Maybe there is something to be had fishing with worms. I grabbed my net, ran down to where she was and we netted a beautiful Montana rainbow trout. fly fishing, bitterroot river, montana fly fishing, montana, streamer fishing, rainbow trout, october, fall fishingWe took in the beauty the fish and the moment offered and then released the growing rainbow back into the chilly depths.

I truly enjoyed our short outing on the river and focused more of my time on just being there and taking in the surroundings rather then seriously trying to hook into some trout. October is a beautiful month: the month of my birth and is a time where I consistently find myself heading out of doors to explore. Tight lines to those out seeking those feisty fall browns and silvers. fly fishing, bitterroot river, montana fly fishing, montana, streamer fishing, rainbow trout, october, fall fishing

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Posted in Fly Fishing, Outdoors & Exploring, photography

On the Basics of Fly Fishing

Fly fishing can seem a little daunting at first glance, but once you actually get out there and try it for yourself it becomes second nature. I started worm fishing at a very young age with my father and brother. It wasn’t until I was nearing my teens that I began to feel an interest to try casting with this really long stick while standing in the middle of a river. I started to learn the basics of fly fishing on my own: through research, oral interpretation of what the guys at the local fly shop were explaining to me, and ultimately through throwing myself out there with a nine foot fly rod.

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To understand the basics of fly fishing, one must first understand the gear that is involved in this sport. The typical trout river fly rod measures nine feet long and is designated a specific numerical weight. That numerical weight, a five-weight fly rod for example, should always match up to the type of fly line you are using. The fly reel is seated nicely at the very bottom end of the fly rod and is scientifically weighed out to match the numerical five-weight system. One must be sure to always match those numbers together for best performance. Beyond the typically neon colored fly line comes a leader line that usually measures seven to nine feet: this is the start of the transparent or clear line. Behold! We are still on a weighted system and thus this leader line is specifically weighted as well. fly fishing, fishing knot, fly line, fly fishing line, fly leader, leader lineEntering leader line thus enters the tippet line. The tippet is the thinnest of these fishing lines and the one that actually connects with the fly that you will tie on.

Now that you have a general idea of the basic fly fishing setup, one can begin to dive into the wonderful world of casting. The ten to two method seems to be a pretty generic term in the world of fly fishing casting, but it is the best principle to learn from. Casting the fly rod can be thought of like the hands of a clock: enter the ten to two method where one casts backwards to the imaginary ten o’clock hand and forward to the two o’clock hand. If you are right handed then your right hand will be gripping the cork on the rod and your wrist will be making the ten to two casting method. When one is casting back and forth in the air without letting the line drop to the target, that is known as false casting. You really should become familiar with false casting and the ten to two casting method, as it makes up the whole driving effort behind your fly to fish, fish to fly presentation. Diving even deeper into the basics of fly fishing casting is the need to consistently let out more and more fly line as you are false casting the fly line through the air. So, given the same right handed fly fishermen: while casting with your right hand holding the rod, your left hand should be both taking out more fly line from the reel and letting it slide through your fingers into the eyelets of the fly rod, thus letting more line out into your cast.

fly fishing, fly fishing casting, casting, ten to two casting, montana, clark fork river, missoulaFly fishing can seem a little daunting at first glance, but once you have learned and practiced these basics of fly fishing, it will become second nature. Remember that these are the basics and not every single detail is included, yet I feel that this is a very solid starting point and one that should be studied into thoroughly. Practice, practice, practice the cast and hooking into that sorry fish that tries to eat your fly will only come naturally.

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Posted in Art, Fly Fishing, Outdoors & Exploring

At The Mercy Of The Wild: Feeling Whole And Centered

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The time has been approaching for quite some time and is now officially here. The air is cooling and the sun is setting sooner and sooner each night. Instincts within us are leading us out into nature once again to escape, to survive, to hunt. I normally wear a neat, trimmed beard, but the time has come where it is filling in across my whole face in preparation for the change of seasons. Just like the animals can tell that winter is on its way, I am starting to feel it in the air, see it in my face, and prepare for it in my mind.

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The sun setting in the foothills of the Mission Mountain in Montana.

This time has been approaching and is finally here where many, like me, are strapping up their boots, packing up supplies, and heading out deep into the woods in search of our primal connection with the earth. It is time to escape from our regular daily routine and jobs to carry out a long lived tradition. I find it amazing that while out in search of meat one can simply live with the supplies you can carry on your back, leaving behind all of the junk that has built up in storage sheds, garages, and closets.

For me, at this point in my life, it is honestly not about the size of the buck or elk that I harvest, but more about providing and economically filling the freezer until next year. I have been feeling more and more honed in to that instinctual drive that sends me deeper and deeper into the forest to find what I am searching for. Its that same voice and conscious that tells me to “stay at this spot a little longer, wait here in this natural blind” and “don’t give up or call it a day because night is coming and the snow has thickened”. Venture on and reap the benefits that you have been working so hard towards all year!

Just being out in the mountains and connecting to my senses and surroundings is what I continue to seek. I do not take for granted the times where I feel so connected to my surroundings: where I can hear every pine cone falling from a tree, the fast current of a distant natural spring flowing through the earth, or the crack of a downed tree limb as I quietly wait in suspense completely unknown as to what might be coming out from around that bend. It is then, when I am deeply connected to, yet at the complete mercy of the wild that I feel whole and centered.

I’ll be continuing to ready my mind, body and soul for the hunt as you are reading this. I hope, for your own sake, that you too will dedicate this season to connecting with your senses and instincts out in nature. I know it can be hard to find the time to dedicate to this, trust me I do know, but the benefits gained are far beyond the consequences of calling into work sick a day or two this fall. Again, best of luck to everyone out there this season reaping the benefits of your hard work and dedication. Venture on and explore hard this year!

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Hunting Season is here in Montana

Fall seems to come quicker and quicker each year. I have been thinking about different hunting opportunities and scoping areas out since last fall, but the time flies by and there is only so much you can do on top of a busy life!

Hunting season for deer and elk with archery has approached in Montana (as of September 7th). Although I have gone through the proper training and certification for bow hunting in Montana, I think I am going to sit out this season and start prepping for the General Rifle season that is approaching in October. The rifle ranges are getting pretty busy around here and I need to finish zeroing in the Vortex to make sure a clean kill is had! The buzz on social media and different blogs that I regular is contagious and things are definitely getting fired up around the state. I have seen some photos of some amazing hunting experiences and I am excited to eventually share mine with you on here. I wish you all a good season and safety out in the woods.

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I also plan to go out and purchase an Upland Bird license in the upcoming days as that season is well underway and birds are being put in freezers quickly. A little grouse hunting before work is always a good time and I am getting excited just thinking about getting out there on some more adventures. Instead of kicking myself in the ass for what in my mind feels like unpreparedness, I am going to do what I can with the time I know have. Make the best of this season!

Stay tuned for some updates and of course photos on this hunting season. I am really looking forward to being able to provide and bring some meat to our table here in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana. Venture on and good luck to all of you out in the backwoods searching for game.

A few of my personal recommendations relating to this post and hunting in general:

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Lolo Creek Complex fire

A fire started in Lolo National Forest recently that spread very quickly and did cause structural damage along the way. Being a resident of Lolo, Montana myself, this was a very scary sight: too close for comfort. My heart goes out to those helping to contain this as well as to those who were evacuated and lost their homes and belongings to nature’s strong hand. US Highway 93 runs south out of Missoula and into the Bitterroot Valley past Lolo, Florence, Stevensville, Victor, Hamilton, and Darby; eventually leading into Idaho. US Highway 12 runs west out of Lolo and on into Idaho. What started as two separate fires on either side of Highway 12, quickly jumped the road into one known now as the Lolo Creek Complex fire. This fire’s currently active area has now claimed its stake north of US 12 and west of US 93.

Photo Courtesy of KPAX.com

Photo courtesy of KPAX.com reporters.

The time lapse of this fire has been very surreal to watch right from my front door:

Smoke from my window.

Smoke from my window.

Driving in towards Missoula Sunday August 18th I was able to see some smoke billowing over the mountains and into the sky, but then seemingly overnight the whole valley was completely filled with smoke. Ash and debris even started falling in the early part of the week of August 19th and boy was it hot outside! I watched local neighbors get evacuated and move anything they could while praying and hoping for the best. The fire was in total control for the first few days and was considered 0% contained as it ripped and roared through the mountains, downing five residential properties in its wake.

Photo Courtesy of KPAX.com

Photo courtesy of KPAX.com reporters.

Photo courtesy of KPAX.com reporters.

Photo courtesy of KPAX.com reporters.

This fire became the nation’s number one priority and fire fighting personnel hit it hard to protect the 1200+ Lolo residents at risk near Highway 12. “Fire officials report that 600,000 gallons of water and over 200,000 gallons of fire retardant, the equivalent of over 3.2 million 16-ounce bottles of water have been poured onto the blaze.”KPAX. Sadly, Lolo Creek has definitely taken a hit being the closest water source to out the blaze. Lower portions of the creek are nothing but rock beds now with dead fish scattered about. Being the nation’s number one fire priority helped out very much and some 600+ personnel are fighting with all of their efforts to out/or at least redirect the blaze. Redirect they have! The fire is still burning strong, but the quiet town of Lolo is no longer at risk as of now. Thank you! KPAX TV reported on Sunday August 25th “The Lolo Complex fire has burned an estimated 10,567 acres so far and remains 40% contained. Evacuees were allowed to go back home and U.S. Highway 12 was reopened on Saturday.”KPAX.

All that remains is the chimney. Photo courtesy of KPAX.com

All that remains of this house is the chimney. Photo courtesy of KPAX.com

Photo courtesy of KPAX.com reporters.

Photo courtesy of KPAX.com reporters.

My girlfriend Michelle and I decided to take a drive down US Highway 12 once it reopened to see a closer perspective of this fire’s wake. We instantly turned off the music and focused solely on Lolo National Forest surrounding us. This was a very somber drive with lots of “how sad” and “wows” being said. Although I was driving and had to focus on that, I was able to catch glimpses of the burnt mountainsides, smouldered grasses, burnt trailers, destroyed houses/properties, and the currently still smoking tree stumps. Again, this was a very somber and sad drive to see firsthand the destruction that has been had. More positively though, there was very active fire fighting personnel around every turn and all efforts are in full force! Big ups to the Montana Army National Guard who have came through to help as well. Thank you to all of them. Credit must also go where credit is due to KPAX for always providing up-to-date reporting and information! The fire continues to burn in more rugged and rough terrain, but with it being 40% contained things are cheering up around good ol’ Lolo, Montana.

I was able to capture a short video clip on our drive. This is on US Highway 12 near mile marker 21 where fire fighters are continuing work to put out the smouldering stumps. The whole mountainside I captured in this video of the South side of US 12 is burnt.

Missoula County Disaster and Emergency Services has set up a cash donation fund where you can help and support the victims affected by the Lolo Creek Complex fire: Click Here (United Way of Missoula) to find out more.

Here are a few of my personally recommended reads relating to Montana fires (they are commission-based Amazon affiliate links):

Young Men and Fire By author Norman Maclean (commonly known for another amazing read “A River Runs Through It“)
The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan
Historic Photos of Montana by Gary Glynn

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