I went walking in the wilderness to find my love
Clumsily I stumbled out of the great unknown
Now I'm running home to you through the icy dawn
Painted in that golden hew of the rising sun
Fell in love with the underground and a gypsy queen
I layed down in a shallow grave that she dug for me
Now I'm running home to you in the rising sun
Till my feet go black and blue, I will run
Now I'm cutting up the tracks through the ghetto of the east end
and I'm barefoot through the glass my love
I'm running home to you
I went walking in the wilderness
I went walking.
Wishes don't have to be reserved for your birthday. Dream big...
You might get burned along the way.
But a little faith in the higher power of nature & the universe will carry you onward and upward.
Walking with black bears.
Befriending seal pups.
Camp dinner with does and their fawns.
I love these spillway streams where fresh water meets salt water.
Moonrise kingdom over the lone wolf den.
Woke up enshrouded in fog.
Poppy constellations amongst the arid summer grasslands.
Tropical northern California.
Thank you to the rancher who put this fresh water faucet in the middle of nowhere on the trail.
Prime real estate... Ocean to the front left. Stream to back right.
No tent fly. No problem. Clear, sunny skies for days on end.
This rock was looming in the distance for what seemed like an eternity.
Then suddenly, I was there. Goooaallll!
Looking back at where I started, I got nervous about how far away point A looked off in the distance, but thrilled by the freedom of my disappearing act.
Into the mystic.
For a route that has no elevation gain or loss, it was one of the trickiest I've been on in a while. Rock hopping and trudging through sand with a fully loaded pack immensely tested my mental and physical strength. I didn't accomplish as many miles as I had mapped, nor summit the peak I had been looking forward to climbing for the last few months. I did however learn how to chill, listen to my body ( I had been sick and was still quite weak), and let go of ego. Being sick turned out to be a great opportunity to let go of my expectations and to just reflect on shit that had been burning inside me that I didn't even realize was bringing me down. It's so easy to procrastinate taking care of ourselves in these busy lives we lead. Maybe I did realize that I was dwelling on that crap, but too afraid to acknowledge it. I told myself, "It's ok to be vulnerable. You have nothing to prove."
One thing I love the most about an endurance activity like backpacking is that I fall into a meditative state. When I first set out, there's all these erratic thoughts about current happenings in my life. Some of them are about things I dream about and desire, some of them are positive and joyful, while some of them worry me, a lot.
So I enjoy kicking my own ass to the point that those little things drift away. There's no way I can keep fretting about what party I'm missing or if some guy is going to call me or if that girl is judging me when all I can concentrate on is getting through the exhaustion of body and brain. Instead my mind focuses on putting one foot in front of the other and how much I love my family and want to spend more time with the people and places that I really love and that really love me. I'm telling you, shit gets real in the wild.
When not trekking down the trail lost in thought or befriending critters, I read a good book, slept a ton in my cozy den, and lived the simple, pure life that backpacking is all about. In the end, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I'll be back...
We settle into camp thinking we're the only humans around for miles when out of the mist approaches one man, two men, then another, and even a woman with two horses. Hallucinations? Ghosts?
No... The Pacific Crest Trail that runs alongside our remote camp spot has delivered thru-hikers on their way from Mexico to Canada. They are tired yet more alive than most people I encounter on a daily basis who have access to amenities and luxuries. These folks live an incredibly minimalist lifestyle but are rich in spirit, gratitude, stories, and determination.
We all end up sharing a blazing hot campfire, a strong bottle of bourbon, lots of beer, slurred songs, and a sacred plot of land. Good night.
She used to love me with a love that wouldn't die.
Looking at her now I can't believe she said good-bye.
CityWild has been resurrected and is now featured on Surfline as Tripwire of the month. Our trip was all about breaking free and finding adventure in unexpected places. To sum it up, eight surfers hike ten miles from Malibu Creek State Park to First Point. We were on a mission to camp, hike and surf our way to bliss, navigating a challenging Malibu Creek Canyon trail to the infamous pointbreak in an attempt to escape the chaos of city life and really find ourselves.
As surfers, we intrinsically set out to chase swell, catch waves and immerse ourselves in the tranquility of the sea. That search relieves us from the monotony and confines of our busy lives and rejuvenates us with a sense of hope and purpose.
Our trip was all about breaking free and finding adventure in unexpected places. Living in Southern California, this native wandering might've led us to serenity in the midst of urbanism.
Californians have the opportunity to embrace an adventurous lifestyle right in their own backyards. It's no secret, but most folks don't take advantage of the raw potential the Golden State has to offer.
The trail alternated between the south side and the north side of the creek. We often crossed by hurdling our bodies and gear across water and boulders, a maneuver as risky as it was rewarding. Shane Passantino going the distance.
As we passed through the iconic Malibu Wall, we couldn’t help but reflect on how far we had actually traveled by foot to get to the ocean. From the campground and our makeshift canyon trail to cliff jumps and stream paddles, we were exhausted, but ready for waves. Eveline Van Brande and Sean Johnson, victory dance.
You can check out the lengthy verison of the CityWild Malibu adventure on the CityWild tab on this blog, and you can check out the Surfline version here.
All photos by and a huge thanks to Adam Reynolds for collaborating on this project with me.
Here are my favorite photos from the last two weeks around Mammoth. Ended up hiking over 50 miles in about a week, which is nothing compared to the PCTers and JMTers who average 20 miles of backpacking a day. But hey, getting that much trail mileage covered in between working full days makes me a very happy little wolf.
I recently got asked what I would like to be if I could be anything (work wise) and honestly, being a professional hiker sounds pretty Fn amazing. Anyone hiring? Mother Nature? Pick me! I promise to hike my butt off and respect the land. Adventuring around the Sierras gets me so high on life. Such a magical place filled with a bounty of wild creatures and landscapes. I generally don't disclose locations but I can say, if you head up that way it's not hard to find some incredible places to go explore and be amazed by.
By the way -- I may have some backpacking photos from the trips over the last couple months coming down the hatch soon. Just have to find the time to post... which after working on my computer all day for Surfline, I'm usually off galavanting at sundown, hiking or riding the horses or surfing, not editing photos. ;) But stay tuned...
This song is so damn good. So is the band. Take a listen...
Adventure beckons to you.
You need not be the alpha, nor do you need the pack.
Set forth and explore this life and you will find no regrets.
Erik Eiser coming through with these epic words and photo...thanks EE
Flying over the Sierra Nevada Mountains is an insanely beautiful experience. The aerial view provides a unique perspective of a land I'm so used to traveling through by car and foot. The enormity of the mountains really comes to life when you get to see the whole great expanse from above.
When I'm out there backpacking I feel incredibly small because hiking a mere few miles through peaks and passes takes days on end due the ruggedness of the terain. Seeing it all from above made me feel even more miniscule, and amazed....at the sheer beauty of the world, nature, and space.
Here are some photos I took out of the plane the other day. I hope they inspire you to fly high and roam free.
The backcountry out past Yosemite.
Looking south down the Owen's Valley, the gateway to the Sierras from SoCal.
It is snowing at last up here in the Sierras. Got a duster a couple of days ago and now it's really starting to come down. Waiting for the mountain to fill out a bit, then heading up soon to get some steeper and deeper turns in for the first time this season...yeeeeeaaaay!
Storm's a brewin...
Weighed down, in the best of ways...
Growing out my winter wolfling coat for the season up here in Mammoth. As mild as they may claim you to be, bring on that snow El Niño.
HWY 395-N last Saturday... complete with rainbows, unicorns, and fairies. Well, maybe just rainbows, but when the mountains are that big, anything is possible...
Living in Mammoth part time is a blessing that I'm thankful for all the time. The mountains and my family there have shaped me into the little outdoor adventure vagabond that I've grown up to be. From snowboarding to wakeboarding, from camp outs and backpacking, from river floats to rock climbing, the Sierra Nevadas are an outdoor enthusiast's ultimate playground.
Close enough but far enough away from the coastal cities of Southern Cal, head up to Mammoth for a breath of fresh air and some adventure. Feel free to ask away in the comments section below if you need some recommendations for the area. One being to be sure to stop by my fam's boutique, Tonik, for some swank threads. ;)
Couldn't post this without including the legend, braddah Iz.
floating above the earth
cloud shadows stretch towards the sea
descending towards the earth
cloud shadows block the sun from my face
verdant land rises overhead
as rubber makes contact against aspalt
black on black on green on red
natural jungle meets concrete jungle
i think about standing
in the ocean
in the sky
in the forest
arms stretched out
floating through the golden emerald abyss
breeze blows miniscule drops
of seaspray and heavenly freshwater
there is no hiding from the rain ocean or waterfalls
now, sitting relaxing enjoying
to the left
an outer reef billows as devil wind scratches the once unscathed face
directly in front
shorebreak pounds the sandbar where yesterday i basked in the calm shallows
icy cold blue mountained tin in hand
a smile permanently stretched across my face
but today i crossed that sandbar
now covered in turbulent whitewash
that isn't so white because it is clouded with sand of coral lava and shell
stepping off the sand bar
i dive and am suspended momentarily
i go limp inside a passing wave
my body arches
nearly ripped backwards by the wave's vehemence
a swift contraction of my body sends me
passing through into still waters
breath stings my lungs
my head turns to watch the offshore spray
the shards of a shattered glass wave
another set appears
i look forward to once again immersing myself
into a passing wall of water
in between waves
floating on my back
suspended on the surface
thoughts drift out of the oceanic depths of my skull
into the expansive weightlessness of the sky
i am here
this is happening
thank you Kauai.
Surviving the campout, swims, parties, sharks and skeeters. Be home soon. Photos and stories to come. Aloooha...
Tuesday I'm off to the lush garden isle of Kauai, one of my favorite places on Earth. I'm so excited I started packing a day early, which is good because I'm trying to pack camping gear and the usual tropical vacation stuff into one suitcase and carry on back pack. Luckily, in the tropics you don't need many layers of thick clothes that take up a lot of space, and I have backpacking gear that is really lightweight and condenses down well.
My good friends moved to Kauai and are bulding a house, cultivating a farm, and starting their life together is Kilauea. They are getting married Nov. 1st and all the wedding festivities sound so fun! I can't wait to celebrate with them and a bunch of our other good friends.
Here is the basic list of my essentials::
- Bikinis, Jean Shorts & Dresses
- Matuse wetsuit
- RAEN sunglasses
- Fins, Mask & Snorkel
- Leash (board waiting for me there)
- Tent & Sleep Pad
- Towel & Sarong
- Sun Protection
- Camp Cookwear
- Healthy Snacks & Guayaki Yerba Maté
The only thing missing is my return ticket home... all part of the adventure.
A smidgen of paradise from my Encinitas yard. I can't wait to fully imerese myself in true paradise...
The love birds, Paul & Nicki, at home in Kauai...
Baja Norte (the northern region of Baja, Mexico for all you gringos) is considered the wild west of Mexico. Countless point breaks, reef breaks, and shore breaks are sure to give you enough paddle time to be arm breakers. Add a ten-story blinking Jesus, donkeys painted like zebras, cha-cha dance offs, vineyards, tacos, tequila, and cantinas and you are sure to get a taste of the real wild west. From my house in Encinitas, I can get to my favorite surf spots and taco stands in less than two hours. It’s hard to believe I’m in such a different element just two hours from home.
Morning surf checks with las chicitas.
The zone. Looking south towards Gavitoas from Punta Marena.
San Ysidro is the fastest way to get to Baja from costal California towns. Once you pass the guards, keep right and follow al signs for “Highway 1 Rosarito/Ensenda Scenic Route”. This will take you to the toll road, which is super speedy and worry free. Exit the toll road at Puerto Nuevo and start making random surf, shopping, and food stops at that point.
Be sure not to forget your passport, as they are required to get back north across the border. If you do forget it, no worries- you can say adios to your friends and get more waves to yourself.
The Mexican driving style can make you loco! People go really slow or really fast. I just cruise.
First things first upon crossing the border- tequila and lobster! Puerto Nuevo has some of the best restaurants and shopping in Northern Baja. Even better than restaurants are little taco stands. They have the best tacos ever and fresh fruit, like coconuts. My favorite is El Leñador, which is on the west side of the highway somewhere near the massive Jesus.
You can’t go wrong with staying at Las Gaviotas, a gated community about an hour south of the border. They have a website with endless possibilities of budget-friendly houses to rent that are right above a pretty good surf break. The hood is super safe, has a beautiful pool on the cliff above the ocean, and even has its own pop-up shop fish market. I could go here for a week and never leave, but of course the land outside the Gavi walls lure me out for exploration.
Tres amigos at Gavis.
The way up view from Punta Marena's suite.
If you have a camper/trailer/motorhome, I recommend camping, but tent camping can be a bit sketchy. After K38 you’ll see random signs like this for day use and overnight camping. I grew up camping here and running rampant through the fields and beaches. Good times that toughened me up and opened my eyes to third world living.
Unless you have a SENTRI pass, there is no escaping Mexico easily. If you go to Mexico frequently, definitely apply for a SENTRI pass. It’s a borderline fast pass that allows you to swiftly move through a special borderline in about 10 minutes or less.
So, ¡Ándale! Hopefully you can make it to the wild west of Baja Norte soon. Just be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to feel out of your element, and you’ll be golden. More to come in terms of a Baja wave guide soon on The Salty Wolf.
Everybody loves a local (wanna be) wolf. Nicoco's pero Mister looking content in his homeland.
...getting lost along the golden coast of California for a couple weeks.
"Wilderness is not only a condition of nature, but a state of mind and mood and heart.”
- Ansel Adams
Jobs fill your pocket. Adventures fill your soul.
Which is why I recently took some time off from Surfline to travel on Highway 1 along the golden coastline of California. With my partner-in-crime Gray on board, we set off for two weeks of camping, hiking, surfing, and all sorts of exploratory adventures. I'm a sucker for animals and nature, making Northern California heaven on earth for me. From climbing redwoods to frolicking with seals and deer, all while avoiding white sharks and black bears, we got to experience the wildlife of the north lands up close and personal. Add the vast hills, rigged peaks, and sheer ocean cliffs and you have one majestic expanse of topography that I'm eager to return to soon.
For the first week, the sun blazed and fog stayed at bay, but our return southbound gave us a taste of more typical Northern Californian weather. We got rained out on the Lost Coast and I came the closest to being electrocuted by lightening that I've been in my life. I should've taken some hints from the seals who scattered from the beach to the sea in a matter of seconds upon hearing the first boom of thunder. Luckily, there was a lighthouse nearby that we hid in until the storm let up and then we ran a few miles back to camp in the rain, laughing and cursing ourselves for attempting to be weather forecasters the whole way back.
Seeking shelter from the way up north storm, we camped in a redwood forest just north of the Marin Headlands. It was quite tropical in the forest and I learned that redwood forests are actually rain forests, but called "temperate" meaning there are cooler temps, opposed to the tropical vibes we usually associate with rain forests.
More tales and photos of roadtrippin' camp life soon...