Archive for November, 2013

Our Playground – 2013 Vol. 3

Another video I put together from my trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. One of the most fun trips I have had the pleasure of taking!

—Featured on the Orvis blog: The Boundary Waters and the Brule

Outdoor Gaming in the Centennial State

sequoia entrance

Las Vegas and Atlantic City have made a mark as America’s undisputed gaming destinations. Sprawling and grandiose casino complexes in these two cities have, consequently, defined how poker, blackjack and other casino games should be played – splashing chips and winning green bills in style. But in other parts of America, new forms of gaming are taking shape, and card sharks are increasingly turning to an entirely different way of gaming – that is, playing it outdoors.

Playing casino games outdoors is a new concept being introduced in many parts of America, where one can trek, fish and camp while at the same time betting one’s stakes in a card game under towering sequoia trees or in a lake yachting cruise. This idea has become viral that even the biggest names in the casino business are beginning to bring their gaming tables outdoors. Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget Casino, for instance, has literally thought outside the box by opening an outdoor blackjack area in front of its famous bay area.

Outdoor gaming is especially appealing in Colorado, with its breathtaking landscape of mountains, forests, mesas, canyons and rivers providing a vivid backdrop for the Centennial State’s outdoor- and game-loving residents. Colorado’s wide array of natural parks such as the Rocky Mountains National Park, the Eleven Mile State Park, and the Spinney Mountain State Park offers not only mountains to climb or vast lakes to fish, but also picturesque spots to play blackjack, baccarat or any casino card game. It is played best every after a mountain trek, a biking trip or a fishing expedition, when one needs to rest and seeks to do something for amusement. Of course, one can’t bring heavy casino equipment such as roulette wheels or craps tables in a national park, the same way that Castle Jackpot’s water dragons can’t exist in Colorado waters.

It is hoped that playing outdoor casino card games will lure more people to visit the wilderness and gain a deeper appreciation of nature. It won’t be a surprise if outdoor- and casino-loving Coloradans will lead the initiative and convince more Americans to visit the countryside and commune with nature.

Electronics in the North Woods

Why would you bring electronics with you when you go camping or hiking or fishing? Aren’t you trying to escape the day-to-day barrage of electronic distractions? Especially if one is going to an extremely remote place like the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota? My reason? An overwhelming urge to share – via photography and video – the amazing things I see on these trips.

For the Minnesota trip, my good friend Randy Wilson and I spent six days in the boundary waters and another day on the shores of Grand Marais, MN. That’s a long time to use a battery for a camera or phone or video camera, so I brought along my Goal Zero Guide 10 Solar Kit. It was my first time using these solar panels and I was a bit skeptical as to how many times I would be able to charge my electronics. I have to say, it did not disappoint.

All the equipment was easily charged up during the week thanks to the many charging options the Guide 10 has – two phones/mp3 players, two GoPro cameras, one point and shoot camera and one DSLR camera, none lost any battery time. And along with the solar panel charging option, there is also the battery pack. I charged that before taking my trip and on the second day I used it to charge up my phone and a GoPro battery and it still had juice left to charge Randy’s phone as well. At the same time I was using the battery pack, I had the panels out in the sun charging my other GoPro battery!

It seemed like I used the Guide 10 every other day, as listening to music at night and then taking photos and video during the day quickly drained batteries. But with the solar panels there was never a photo op missed or a video shot lost.

The panels weigh in at .8 lbs and the battery pack with batteries weighs a mere .4 lbs. For this trip I didn’t have to hike the kit anywhere, it stayed at base camp. But when I take my next backpacking excursion, the Goal Zero Guide 10 will definitely be coming along with me – so I can continue to capture and share these indescribable experiences. A picture is worth a thousand words, and I don’t want to miss even one!

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