Fremont Indian State Park

Last Saturday, after running Mt. Timpanogos, Kyra, Paityn and I joined my sister and brother-in-law on a mini road trip down south where we were able to check out the Fremont Indian State Park. While I’m no anthropologist or researcher in ancient Native American culture I was quite fascinated with what is known of the Fremont Indian’s history and especially the traces they left behind.

The Fremont Indians are most known for their pictographs found mostly in Utah, but the surrounding states as well. Fremont Indian State Park has some of the largest collections of their amazing rock art and within minutes of being in the park I felt a reverence for the land and people who came before.

Fremont Indian State ParkFremont Indian State Park

Without delving into the whole Wikipedia history of the people it is interesting to note that the Fremont Indians existed from about 700 AD to 1300 AD, nearly 1000 years ago. Walking where they walked and seeing first hand the rock art they created nearly a millennia ago brought some unexpected strong spiritual and emotional feelings for me.

Something about the land felt sacred and hallowed to me. I pictured a tiny civilization living in the pristine valley where they hunted small game, stored corn in rock silo’s, lived together in small pit homes and of course carved beautiful rock art. I could almost picture their sun baked bodies and moccasin wrapped feet as I breathed in the high desert air and felt the chill of night approaching.

Fremont Indian State Park Landon FaulknerIMG_9768.JPG

The Fremont Indians had left their indelible mark on history, yet we know little about the intricacies of their culture. As I walked the rocky trails of the surrounding area I could’t help but think about the remarkable impression the Fremont Indians had made. As I pondered and pictured their ancient culture I couldn’t help but observe my own life; my own decisions; my own passions; my own family. I bagan to contemplate my connection with nature and my connection with God. I began to wonder what impression I would make on others, what mark I may leave for others to find. Would it be a message of positivity and hope? Would I someday leave this world a better place than when I entered it, or would I add to the calamities and sadness that seem so obvious?

Each day we have the opportunity to evaluate our lives and make changes and course corrections for the better. Daily we can work to become better, more kind and more loving individuals. Everyday we have the opportunity to leave our mark on another person’s heart, let’s make sure that mark is a good one.

Fremont Indian State Park Hundred Hand Cave

Fremont Indian State Park

Running Mt. Timpanogos

There are some inherent benefits to living in a small valley with gorgeous mountains just minutes away. Sure the view is nice, but more than just the view it means trail running everyday. Since moving to Utah I have only ran on the road on two occasions. Every morning I am able to get up early, drive 10 or 15 minutes and wind my way through canyon trails or to the top of summits in the southern Wasatch front. Road running has become a painful and laborious idea when compared to the pristine beauty of the trail and naturally I have wanted to push myself to do more on the trail.

That drive to push myself has had me starring at Mt. Timpanogos for about three weeks now. I have been dying to adjust to living at about 5,000 ft so that I could make the run without dropping a lung in the process and last Saturday I decided it was the day to go for it.

Mt. Timpanogos is the second tallest peak in the Wasatch Range and stands at 11,749 ft which isn’t terribly high, yet it’s a gargantuan mountain in it’s sheer mass and size. It dominates the Utah Valley landscape and has become one of the most popular peaks in the Wasatach Range, and arguably, the state. There are two trail to the summit, the Aspen Grove Trail (from Provo Canyon) and the Timpooneke Trail (from American Fork Canyon). The more popular route is the Timpooneke Trail and the trail I ultimately decided to take for my summit run of Mt. Timpanogos. The trail sees about 4,700 ft of elevation gain in the 7 mile climb to the summit.

Hiking guides say to give about 10 to 12 hours to make the round trip to the summit of Mt. Timpanogos and back. The last time I hiked Mt. Timpanogos I had done it in about 6.5 hours. Not really knowing where I would land as far as time I decided I wanted to at least be under 5 hours.

Mt. Timpanogos sunrise

I got the the Timpooneke trailhead at 4:30am and already the parking lot was nearly full. It was a cold cloudless morning and the stars shown brightly above the dark aspen forest. I got myself ready and set out at 4:51am. I climbed slowly yet easily paying close attention to every step. The predawn darkness was suffocating and it took total concentration to avoid tripping on a rock or root, or rolling my ankle as I ran. I had forgotten how technical the trail to Mt. Timpanogos’ summit was and as I ran I realized my splits coordinated perfectly to how technical each split section was.

After what felt like just a few minutes I had climbed up to the first meadow area and I could make out the flash of a few headlamps cutting through the darkness across the meadow on the mountainside above me. Whether hikers or runners they were at least a mile a head of me, but I wanted to catch them. The trail winds across the meadow then away from the eventual Mt. Timpanogos summit and the headlamps I was watching, before switching back and climbing upwards towards the basin below the summit saddle.

I tried to speed my pace slightly without emptying my tank to early, my competitive nature painfully apparent with every labored breath. Soon their headlamps disappeared around the mountainside, but I worked to maintain my pace. Then, rounding a corner I was met by a flood of headlamps shinning brightly into my eyes, “Whoa, runner! Move over!” the lead voice called to those coming down behind him, “way to go man, you’re flying!” he encouraged as I ran past.

Running Mt. Timpanogos Landon Faulkner

Startled by the sudden appearance of a descending group I had accelerated past them and had to slow drastically to catch my breathe. Looking up I once again saw the dancing lights above me on the mountain. I had made up significant ground, I would be able to beat them to the summit of Mt. Timpanogos with just a couple of more miles left.

I hopped my way through the rocky trail that marks the climb to the summit basin eager to catch my faceless competition. Within just a couple minutes I ran passed a group of three moving very slowly even on the flatter meadow area, “that couldn’t be the group I was after, could it?” I contemplated. I looked ahead and saw another group of three headlamps just a bit further, “that must be them” I reasoned. I slowed to take a quick glance around me without having to worry about tripping on an unseen rock and was amazed what I saw. Countless flickering headlights marked the trail from the basin and up to the saddle before they disappeared around the other side of the mountain only to reappear at the summit. After running for 5 miles in solidarity I would now likely be passing dozens and dozens of people on my way to the summit.

I focused back on the trail and soon called out, “can I get past y’all on the right?”

“Yeah of course,” came the answer followed by a realization, “so that’s how you caught us!”

The group, shrouded in darkness, seemed to realize instantly that I had been running, not hiking. I pushed myself past them towards the finally climb as the first bits of pre sunrise light began to illuminate the trail. I stopped to put my headlamp away before I began the climb to the saddle, caught my breath then set out. Soon I was passing group after group. The final climb steepens and turns very rocky which seemed to create a traffic slow down. As soon as I reached the saddle I witnessed another major traffic slow down. Strewn across the saddle were about 50 people, all sitting and staring eastward waiting for the sunrise reds and yellows to turn into an actual sun.

Mt. Timpanogos sunrise

I ran past the large group and continued toward the final summit scramble. I continued to pass people, but not as quickly, as much of the final climb is a slower scramble. This is about the time I started hearing comments about my attire as people realized I wasn’t just hiking. I heard things like, “aren’t you cold?” or “nice shorts…” I continued without stopping to give answers about why I was wearing split shorts and an ultra light running jacket at 11k feet while everyone else had on hiking boots, pants and down jackets.

I got to the summit just as the sun was coming up and checked my watch: 2:09:31 to the summit (splits listed at the end). Without even registering the time pulled out a homemade rice cake (thanks to Skratch Labs) and munched down a few bites. I spent about 5 minutes on the summit eating and watching the sunrise along with about 100 people all on the summit, then packed up and headed down. I continued to hear comments about my lack of clothing as I hopped my way down the steep ridge of Mount Timpanogos.

Mt. Timpanogos Landon Faulkner

Mt. Timpanogos Landon Faulkner

I picked my way down the summit ridge and saddle carefully passing people I had passed just minutes before on my way up. As I reached the summit basin and was able to run on less technical terrain for a bit I began to process things. I had reached the summit in just over 2 hours, that meant I had a real chance at breaking 4 hours from car-to-car. I began working to accelerate the best I could on the less technical parts of the trail. I tried my hardest to keep myself locked-in and focused on each step.

I checked my splits again after a couple of miles only to realize that I wasn’t on schedule to run Mt. Timpanogos in sub 4 hour car-to-car time, but I was actually on schedule to run it in 3.5 hours. I continued down the mountain hoping to break the 3.5 hour mark, even if just by seconds. I had gas left in the tank, but it didn’t feel like a ton, I was hungry but couldn’t eat. I had tried to suck down some Justin’s Almond Maple Butter without any success, I had given up and continued on. However, as I continued to descend I pushed through it and felt better and I felt faster. Pretty soon I realized I had just over a mile left to the car and just under 10 minutes to get there in time.

I accelerated pushing hard on the now easy dirt trail. I yelled ahead at hikers, “coming down, can I get past?!” They would step aside and I would barrel past them checking my watch. I knew I was close, I could feel it and I knew I was going to do it. I could feel the drained excitement of breaking my own expectations as the parking lot came into view. I jogged the last 25 feet and stopped my watch: 3:28:37; I had done it and I was stoked! I took off my hydration pack and shoes and ran a couple of barefoot cool down laps around the parking lot as I began contemplating a back to back Mt. Timpanogos summit run; back to back summits, almost 30 miles and about 8,500 feet of elevation gain. “Yeah” I resigned within myself, “I would be back to do a double…”

 

Splits: (Follow on STRAVA)

Mile        Time          Elevation Gain

1               14:51          517ft
2               17:14          523ft
3               14:45          403ft
4               16:51          606ft
5               18:37          691ft
6               15:25          526ft
7               21:35          747ft
7.4       SUMM IT      2:09:31
8               22:07          -225ft
9              10:56           -688ft
10            9:24             -484ft
11           10:24           -678ft
12            9:53             -617ft
13           10:57           -455ft
14           10:42           -581ft
.06      7:46 (pace)    -283ft
14.6           RT               3:28:37

Cariloha: 6 Reasons to go Bamboo

Bamboo apparel is still left of mainstream, but with the help of Cariloha it is making a strong move towards being the go-to fabric in almost any situation. I have been wearing Cariloha products for a few months now during my training runs and I have a few observations about running in bamboo. Or in other words, six reasons you should go bamboo.

1.) Bamboo is Tough Stuff

First off Cariloha’s bamboo apparel is tough, durable and will last forever. I wear Cariloha bamboo socks on every run and most days I decide to wear shoes (I prefer being barefoot or wearing sandals) and they have help up to the abuse better than any other sock I’ve worn. I’ve also been clumsy enough to take a couple hard falls while running after tripping on technical trails. While my skin has been grated off from the rocky trail like cheese my Cariloha performance crew has always escaped with nothing more than some dirt and dust from my ill-advised tumbles.

Landon Faulkner Cariloha bamboo

2.) Bamboo is Soft

I know it seems somewhat counterintuitive to first say that bamboo is tough then follow with how soft it is and chances are if you’ve never tried bamboo you really don’t know how soft it is. It is one of those “see it to believe it” type things, except you actually have to feel it, not just see it. As part of the fit line, Cariloha has the most comfortable shorts and pants you could dream of. My favorite piece of clothing to put on during those cold mornings and days are Cariloha’s Bamboo Training Pants. Slip these guys on and you’ll never want to wear anything else. Like all of Cariloha’s products these pants are softer than anything else you’ve worn, especially anything you’ve worn to train in.

3.) Bamboo Doesn’t Stink

One huge plus is that Cariloha bamboo products don’t stink. Bamboo is a natural fiber like cotton, which doesn’t easily harbor all that bacteria that makes your clothes stink like your synthetic options. For my to be able to enjoy a 2 or 3 hour run and not have Kyra pass out when I get home because I stink so bad is always a huge positive. That has been especially true with Cariloha’s Compression Shorts.

Landon Faulkner Cariloha bamboo

Landon Faulkner Cariloha bamboo

4.) Bamboo Wicks

I realize I just compared bamboo to cotton in my previous section, but only so far as they are both natural fibers and that’s where the similarities end. While cotton is absolutely rotten for almost any sport, bamboo easily and quickly wicks your sweat away helping keep you dry. I sweat like crazy when out on the trail and having a natural fiber shirt that wicks as well as Cariloha’s fit line is hard to beat.

5.) Bamboo is a Miracle Plant

What the heck does that mean? Well in a time when people are growing more and more concerned about preserving and conserving our environment bamboo offers help and answers in a miraculous way. Bamboo has many uses from building/construction applications to food, and of course apparel. Some types of bamboo can grow upwards of four feet and day and reach maturity in two years. Bamboo is extremely sustainable and renewable which goes a long way when it comes to helping preserve the world in which we live.

 

6.) Bamboo is Hip

While I mentioned bamboo has not made it’s way into the mainstream of apparel yet, that doesn’t mean it isn’t hip. Isn’t it true that all popular things start as a small trend that just continues to grow? Well bamboo is a trend that is growing quickly and Cariloha has done well to stay at the forefront making more that just performance-wear. Cariloha carries everything from bed-sheets to towels and from socks to hats; they literally have you covered when it comes to bamboo.

Landon Faulkner Cariloha bamboo

Outdoor Research Ultra Trail Gaiters

Lightweight, comfortable and breathable; just a few of the things you get from the Outdoor Research Ultra Trail Gaiters. I’ve been testing these gaiters for a number of weeks now starting with somewhat relaxed trails in the Northern California foothills and more recently in Utah’s rugged Wasatch Mountains. Overall, I have to say the Ultra Trail Gaiters are definitely up to the challenge of your most technical trail runs.

Construction

IMG_2961
The Ultra Trail Gaiters are made to be lightweight and breathable, while still offering good protection and some water-resistency. How does Outdoor Research do it? Well, the Ultra Trail Gaiters use Cordora® fabric which is the top of the line in durable, breathable and water-resistant fabrics. The Ultra Trail Gaiters are stretchy and conform well to the shoe and leg. There is an elastic draw string at the top of the gaiter to help keep it in place. On the other end of the gaiter there are a few things to prevent the Ultra Trail Gaiters from riding up. First there is a moldable forefoot section that contours to your shoes which also includes two lace hooks to keep them in place. At the heel of the shoe there is a strip of velcro (we’ll get more into that later) and anti-slip silicone dots. Lastly the Ultra Trail Gaiters come with optional instep cord to keep the mid section of the gaiters cinched around the shoe. Oh, and don’t forget about the reflective print for optimal safety on the… trail.

My Thoughts

My first thought when putting on the gaiters and running in them was, “wow, these are comfortable!” During my runs I forget I am even wearing them because of their high comfort level. The Ultra Trail Gaiters stay in place well and do well to prevent any pesky rocks or debris from getting in my shoes and causing me to stop to remove it or keep running and risk a blister. They have held up extremely well on my long trail runs, including some very gnarly trails in the Wasatch, laden with coarse granite rocks.

IMG_2962I generally haven’t used the instep cord since my first few runs. The cord showed some fraying and wear, especially since running shoes typically don’t have a high section in the instep like a hiking boot. However, this cord is optional and I have found that the gaiters perform just as well without the strap. The velcro heel strap requires that your shoes come with velcro on the heel already (like in the case of the Altra Lone Peak 1.5) or that you use the provided velcro to stick on the heel of your shoes to keep them in place, which is what I had to do since I mostly run in Vivobarefoot Trail Freaks. This can be problematic for some runners, like me, who rotate between different pairs of shoes. I did find that even without the velcro the gaiters did pretty well, however.

In Comparison

There are a number of trail running gaiters on the market in the same class as Outdoor Research’s Ultra Trail Gaiters, how do they stack up?

Well when compared to the Salomon S-Lab Gaiters they are lighter (compared to both their “High” and “Low” models). The Ultra Trail Gaiters also cover more of the shoe and more of the leg to help prevent debris from entering your shoe even in extreme motion. Salomon S-Lab Gaiters: High: $40, Low: $30

Altra also has their own gaiter, the Altra Trail Gaiter that is similar to the Ultra Trail Gaiter, however, the Altra Trail Gaiter doesn’t use Cordora® fabric and is in turn much lighter, but also much less durable. Altra Trail Gaiters: $20

So in comparison the Ultra Trail Gaiters seem to be the most comprehensive gaiter in my opinion. While not nearly as light as the Altra Trail Gaiter they are much more durable and water-resistant. They are also more protective and lighter than both models of Salomon’s S-Lab gaiters. The tradeoff, however, is that getting the best product on the market costs a little more, but in this case the Ultra Trail Gaiters are listed at $45, just $5 more than the Salomon S-Lab High gaiters.

Final Thoughts

IMG_2963All in all I have loved the Outdoor Research Ultra Trail Gaiters. They are comfortable and very protective. The only downside in my mind is the velcro on the heel because I rotate through different shoes routinely. That means not all of my shoes are equipped to work perfectly with the Ultra Trail Gaiters.

Besides the velcro issue I found it extremely hard to beat the overall versatility of the Ultra Trail Gaiters. They offer many ways to adjust the comfort and feel of the gaiter from the elastic draw string to the molded toe and lace hooks, and from the optional instep cord to the velcro heel. No other trail running gaiter on the market offers as many options for customizing the fit to your shoes. All in all, I think it is impossible to go wrong with the Ultra Trail Gaiters.

 

Moving and Beyond, Part 2

Last week I shared a bit about our move and our decision to pack our belongings in a truck and drive our lives to Utah. So far it has been a decision that has brought with it a fair amount of worry financially and logistically, however things have been working out better than I ever could have imagined. From finding a place to live, getting accepted to school on short notice, getting the courses I need on short notice, and even getting two job offers, Kyra and I have felt extremely blessed.

As for the two job offers, I said in my previous post that I would share some more details about them and which one I chose. The first offer I received was to work as a mentor at a home for boys with high functioning autism (formally known as Aspergers). The position was similar to the type of work I had been doing for the past 4 years and was directly applicable to my degree in psychology. They offered a good start pay and a lot of opportunity for rapid advancement into managerial positions. While this is the field I have been trying to divorce myself from, the job sounded interesting, I do enjoy the work (for the most part), and I liked the opportunity for growth. So taking all of that into consideration I accepted the position.

Well I mentioned another offer I had received as well. Let me first share a timeline; We got to Utah on a Thursday, found an apartment on Friday, moved in Saturday and I interviewed and received the job offer to work at the boys home on Monday (I was scheduled to start work Friday). On Wednesday I had an interview with another company who also offered me a job, one that I was pretty excited about because of it’s potential for growth and the industry in which it existed, that was a job with Teton Sports.

Teton Sports

After talking things over with Kyra, thinking and praying about the two options we made a decision. Thursday morning (one week after moving to Utah) I emailed the boys home to let them know that my plans had changed. I apologized for the confusion and for accepting a job that I declined before I actually started, but I was pretty stoked about my decision nonetheless.

Fast forward a week to yesterday, Wednesday, when I started my first day at Teton Sports. I couldn’t be more excited about working for Teton, a company I have admired and enjoyed getting to know over the past year. I will be working primarily in customer service with growth into other areas as I learn and grow within the company. The idea of working for a quickly growing company in the outdoor industry couldn’t be more thrilling to me. The potential for advancement within a quickly growing company is also exciting to me. All in all it feels so nice to be in an environment that is stimulating, engaging and innovative. It’s going to be a wild and fun ride, one I am stoked to take!

Why Janji? Why Run for Another?

Recently I came across a running apparel company that really caught my eye. I was scrolling through some deals on Left Lane Sports and saw a tech tee that was bright, hip and stood out as  bit different from most running and technical apparel. I was intrigued and googled the brand, “Janji” and was met with pages of totally fun and exciting apparel that had a new and vibrant feel all it’s own. As I looked further into the company my intrigued only continued to grow as I realized Janji’s mission was to “run for another.” Their business model revolves around donating portions of their sales to help provide clean drinking water in a number of under-developing countries as well as here in the United States.

 

janji

Janji had two awesome things going for it right from the get go; a look all it’s own and a devotion to giving back. Wanting to know more I sent an email to the email given on Janji’s site. About a day later I heard back from Dave Spandorfer, the cofounder of Janji. I explained my interest in what Janji was doing and how they were doing it and asked if I could ask a few questions, interview style, about what Janji is all about. Below are my questions in italics and Dave’s responses.

 

*       *       *       *       *

 

Janji is focused on giving back and helping those less fortunate. Janji’s tag line is “Run for Another.” What does it mean to “Run for Another” and how can people get involved?

We really  believe at Janji that runners are just amazingly good people. Runners race for a cause. They run to support one another. And the way we see it, runners should have a brand that also gives back. That’s why all of our gear goes back to giving clean water—something that’s so fundamental to running, but something basic that hundreds of millions of people around the world lack.

That being said, Janji isn’t a substitute for charity—we still want people to race for a cause and run for something bigger. But if we can find a way to give back simply through buying running apparel that feels good, looks good, and does good, we as a runners can accomplish some pretty cool things.

Jani: Run for Another

 

How does the Janji business model work? That is to say, could you take me through how a purchase of Janji apparel is used to provide clean drinking water for those in under-developing countries and in the USA?

 

Every piece of Janji apparel gives clean water specifically to a country. So let’s take Janji’s new Men’s Haiti Longsleeves, one of my personal favorites. When someone buys it online, we give one year of clean water to someone in Haiti by sending 10% of the online sale ($4.60) to our partner in Haiti, Water.org. These aren’t water bottles we’re sending over; we’re building deep water wells and filtration devices that give families in Haiti access to clean and safe water, something too many people in the world lack.

 

You and Mike are the co-founders of Janji. What prompted you to team up and combine your mutual love of running with a desire for providing clean drinking water through the development of a running apparel brand?

Mike Burnstein and I came up with the idea for Janji on the way to the Division III NCAA track meet, where we were both running the 10k. The day we ran was one of the hottest recorded May days in Cleveland history. So before the 25 lap race we hydrated endlessly and then during the race we had a water spray on one side of the track and cups for drinking water on the other side. We felt so lucky to have the resources we needed to run that race, and wanted to use our sport to give back in a way that no one else was doing.

Jani: Run for Another

 

Janji means “promise” in Malay. What “promise” is Janji seeking to uphold and why should people support it?

We feel extremely lucky to have been born in the US and to be able to run whenever we feel like it (so long as we’re healthy!). It’s our promise as a running community to use this amazing sport to give back in a way that’s beyond just achieving personal bests. For us, that means helping improve access to clean water in places around the globe that aren’t so fortunate.

 

Besides the fact that Janji is doing amazing things to positively influence and help countless individuals and families Janji has a unique style. In a market of bright running apparel Janji stands out with unique designs and colors that are bold yet still warm, soft and diverse. What are some of your influences for clothing designs and colors?

Nearly all of the influences come from geographical inspirations we find in the country the shirt benefits. We certainly want to give it the soft and warm feel, but we also want our designs to stay deeply rooted in the communities that we help. So for Janji’s Men’s Kenya Longsleeve, we take an iconic animal from Kenya (the Zebra) and then interlace the pattern with Maasai inspired textile prints. We want Janji running apparel to look really different from everything else out there, since we’re different than any other brand out there.

 

People generally seem like they want to give back and they want to be a part of a good cause. What personal touches does Janji use to cultivate that desire and help people feel a part of the cause?

That’s a great question. Janji is about giving back, although we often don’t want to be too explicit about it since that can often rub people the wrong way. That being said, we also know that to run for another is an inspiring thing. That’s why every piece of Janji carries subtle reminders: we have the shirt’s often abstract country geographical inspiration, the back neck that reminds people where the shirt goes to, and then an awesome Janji logo badge on the front that reads “run for another” with a water droplet on the inside.

Janji: run for another

 

Lastly, Janji is currently working with four organizations in six countries including the United States to provide clean drinking water. What are Janji’s long term goals for reaching other countries and other individuals?

That’s a great question as well. We’re obviously small and just starting out, but since we launched two years ago we’ve expanded from two countries to six. The goal over the next two years is to expand into even more countries around the world, such as India and Ethiopia this spring, and build Janji into a running brand that can one day make the lives better for millions of people worldwide. We have big dreams, but then again, we have a supportive community of runners behind us. Runners are great people who love to make the world better through their sport.

 

*       *       *       *       *

For more information on Janji, their unique and extremely comfortable apparel as well as their story, visit their site at runjanji.com. Also, keep an eye out for my review of some seriously awesome Janji apparel coming soon!

Moving and Beyond

Let’s face it; moving sucks. Don’t get me wrong, I love exploring and living in new places, but the actual act of moving is rather horrid. Fitting the odds and ends of life into boxes is annoying and stressful.

Last week I finished up my last day working as a Social Worker in California and with a loaded U-Haul and our little car in tow we headed East on I-80 with seldom more than a plan for me to go back to school. We had no jobs lined up, no apartment, just the knowledge that the time had come for me to return to school and work towards an MBA. After a 13.5 hour day in the U-Haul we pulled into Kyra’s Aunt and Uncles driveway where they had kindly offered to let us crash while we looked for a place to call our own. My heavy eyes closed before my head even hit the pillow.

u-haul moving

That was Thursday. Friday morning was apartment hunting day. We zig-zagged through Orem and Provo, Utah looking for a good deal on a place to live. We eventually met with a landlord who was leasing a condo. We loved the condo and it fit our needs perfectly, yet we had another appointment to see another condo later that evening. Our would be landlord explained that he would be leaving to go hunting that afternoon and wouldn’t be back until late Saturday which would delay our move-in time should we decide to move in. So in an act of amazing trust he pulled out his keys, handed them to me and simply said, “check out the other place, if you still like this one go ahead and move in and we’ll sign papers on Monday. If you decide not to move in just put the keys under the mat and let me know.” I’m now writing this post from our desk in that same condo, starring out the big living room window up at the summit of Mount Timpanogos. Needless to say we chose the first condo.

We had found a place and it almost felt to easy, now I needed to find a job. That’s a story whose details I will get to another time, however. In short though I have received two job offers in two very different fields that both require a commute. One is a dream job with great potential for growth, but requires a substantial drive. The other job is similar to what my work experience history is, and a field I have wanted to move away from, however, it too offers quick growth and is a bit shorter of a commute. I believe I have made a decision, but you’ll just have to wait to hear the full story.

Paityn Moving

I have also had a few opportunities to get out and do some summit running. Man do I feel at home nestled in a valley at almost 5,000ft, surrounded by beautiful and rugged mountains. This too is a topic I will address much more in the very near future.

All in all I have been absolutely amazed at how well things have worked out. Kyra and I feel blessed to have found opportunities so quickly and easily. Now I can really begin to concentrate on school, which has also started this week. It’s a busy yet exciting time.

Outdoor Research Redline Jacket Review

Super lightweight, packable, water-resistant and breathable – just a few of the characteristics being touted by the Outdoor Research Redline Jacket. Of course those are all things any runner would want in a running jacket, but actually having a jacket that does just that seems unlikely, that is until you actually try the Redline Jacket. When I pulled this tissue thin jacket out of the box I was sure I would be cold and wet within minutes on the trial or it would rip into millions of pieces with any contact from a bush or branch. Since receiving the Redline Jacket a number of weeks ago none of that has happened. In truth this jacket has steadily climbed its way to the top of my layering list for running.

Let’s Talk Specs

As a person who enjoys the technical aspect of gear and gear construction, let’s start with a look at the Redline Jacket’s specs. First off it is made from 100% ripstop nylon with a trim fit style which means this jacket is literally the weight of a few pieces of paper: 4.8 ounces to be exact. The Redline Jacket is water-resistant, wind-resistant, breathable and it packs into its chest pocket. The jacket has a full center-front DWR coated zipper with a locking slider so it stays in place. The Redline Jacket also boasts a carbine clip and reflective trim for easy carrying and visibility. Lastly the cuffs are half elastic and contoured to cover the upper part of your hand from the wind as well.

Outdoor Research Redline Jacket Landon Faulkner

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3…

Now I know what you may be thinking, if the Redline Jacket is everything it is claiming to be it is among the best technical layers you could take along on a run. Well, after testing the Redline Jacket it is hard to dispute that it is everything it claims to be.

My first trip with this jacket was on a trip to Oregon nearly two months ago. The mornings were much cooler than in California and I was glad I had packed the extra layer along and was excited to begin putting it to the test. The mornings I wore the Redline Jacket in Oregon the temperature was in the low 40’s with clear skies, but a little breezy. It was cool enough that I could go long sleeve and risk overheating, or a light layer and possibly shed the jacket if it got too warm. I opted for the chance to see just how wind-resistant yet breathable the Redline Jacket actually was.

Outdoor Research Redline Jacket Landon Faulkner

Outdoor Research Redline Jacket Landon Faulkner

What I experienced was a jacket that cut out the wind without the slightest hiccup and it stayed breathable enough that I was comfortable wearing the jacket for the full distance or nearly full distance of all of my 8 to 10 mile runs. First test passed: the Redline Jacket really was wind-resistance and yet highly breathable.

Back in California the hot summer dragged on and I wondered when I would get a chance to test out some other aspects of the Redline Jacket. I had worn it here and there on early morning runs throughout the summer in California, but I seemed to always be testing the wind-resistancy/breathability aspect of the jacket; I needed some moisture.

That chance came last weekend as Kyra and I loaded Paityn up for a little weekend getaway camping trip to Butano State Park in the California Redwoods. The weather was cool, cloudy and misty; finally a chance to test how the Redline Jacket would do against a bit of moisture. Once again the Redline Jacket lived up to its hype. I stayed dry in the misty weather without overheating or being too cold.

 

My Favorite Features

Overall the Redline Jacket is the perfect running jacket for those cool runs where it may be windy and a little bit wet, but some features stood out to me.

1.) Super Lightweight: I’ve already mentioned this, but it’s hard to get over how light this jacket is. At 4.8 ounces it’s lighter than even some of my long sleeve running tops and it does a better job with the wind and rain naturally. The Redline Jacket goes on almost any run with me, the benefits given the extra weight (which is next to nothing) is worth it.

2.) Packable: the Redline Jacket stuffs easily into its own chest pocket and has a carabiner loop which makes it easy to stuff and clip to almost anything. I generally just stuff the jacket into my running pack and am off since it packs down to nearly nothing.

Outdoor Research Redline Jacket Landon Faulkner

 

Improvements?

Yeah, I’m sure there are improvements to be had, but it’s hard to name any. Throughout testing I kept thinking, “what does this jacket lack?” Well after all the runs with this little guy and the constant pondering of that question I haven’t much to show for it. The only thing I would like to see is hooded version of the Redline Jacket. I realize this adds weight, but I’m just one of those guys who always loves having the option to pull on a hood.

Final Thought

The Redline Jacket is worth every penny of it’s $89 price tag. Heck, you can buy a long sleeve technical tee for that price that is heavier, not as breathable, not wind or water-resistant and bulkier to pack. The Redline Jacket is the perfect layering piece, a jacket I’ll never leave at home without when I’m out running those mountain trails.

 

Weekend Adventures: Butano State Park

With our time in California drawing to an end Kyra and I are doing our best to get out and enjoy the beauty of this state. Last weekend I had Friday off which meant a three day weekend and some time for adventure and a night camping in Butano State Park.

I had some appointments Friday morning in Oakland with some local companies; Edgevale USA and Bedrock Sandals. Before I go any further, if you haven’t heard of Edgevale USA, they make some awesome apparel, all local and high quality stuff. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time you’ve likely heard me talk about Bedrock Sandals. It was great to catch up with the guys in their Fort Bedrock shop and hear about some of the exciting things to come.

Kyra and Paityn Santa Cruz

Paityn in Santa Cruz

Landon, Kyra and Paityn Santa Cruz

After we finished up in Oakland it was time to head to Santa Cruz, and eventually Butano State Park. It was a busy Saturday on the boardwalk and wharf, but we poked around a bit. Paityn was not a fan of the cold water and once was enough when it came to getting her toes wet. It was a beautiful day on Monterey Bay; sunny and warm. We eventually made our way downtown for our tradition of dinner at Pizza My Heart before heading North on scenic Hwy 1.

Butano State Park is said to be one of the least known state parks in California, yet one of the best places to enjoy the beautiful California redwoods. As I was looking for a campground somewhat last minute for us to crash during our weekend getaway Butano State Park was true to the rumor as it was the only campground with some vacancies. I quickly reserved us a tent site and I was excited all Friday to see what made this park so beautiful.

butane state park, california

 

butane state park teton sports mountain ultra tent

However, as we drove up Hwy 1, getting closer to the turnoff for Butano State Park it looked impossible that we would be in the Redwoods as all. We found the turnoff and began the 15 minute or so drive to Butano State Park from the coast. the way was grassy and hilly with some trees, but it didn’t look like we would hit any redwoods, at least not anytime soon. As we got close to the park more trees appeared, yet they were all old pine trees covered in drooping moss. The forest looked beautiful, but I was a little let down as there were just no redwoods. Into the park we went nonetheless, we checked in with the rangers at the park entrance and began to drive into the park to our campsite. Just past the park entrance we made a right turn and there, right before us, was a lush and beautiful redwood forest. Almost completely out of nowhere Butano State Park exploded into a redwood forest of extreme beauty, I was stoked.

We spent the evening setting up our little camp. I was excited to finally try out the brand new Teton Sports Mountain Ultra Tent (I’ll definitely be talking more about this rad tent in a separate post). Then we wandered around amongst the giants which had taken up root and called the coastal range home hundreds of years ago. Paityn was in heaven, she absolutely loves being outside and she was eating up the new surroundings.

It wasn’t long before the sun faded and the dark of night engulfed us. Kyra and I enjoyed our small campfire for a bit before passing out for the night. The next morning we lazily packed up with our sights set on slowly making our way back home. I wish we had more time to explore Butano State Park as their are a number of trails I would have loved to run or hike with Kyra and Paityn, I guess we’ll just have to come back.

butane state park, california light trails

butane state park, california light trailsbutane state park, california light trailsAfter packing up we got back on Hwy 1. Just a few miles up the road we decided to stop at Half Moon Bay, a beautiful little coastal town. We meandered around downtown for a bit and got breakfast at a coffee shop. The weather had changed from warm and sunny from the day previous to cool, cloudy and misty. I was loving the change and respite from the valley heat in which we live.

With our bellies full we continued our drive home. By the time we hit San Francisco we were ready to be back home and drove right on through. As the miles passed I watched the outside temperature creep up from a cool 58 degrees to 101 by the time we were back home. With a shower, some dinner and a movie we were all ready for bed. A busy weekend of seeing and experiencing new things had come to an end and we called in a night early; asleep by 9pm. We were all tuckered out after a great weekend trip.

landon faulkner and paityn butano state park california

So Much to Do, So Little Time

It’s a pretty common phrase. We hear it all the time and I’m sure we have all felt the pressures of getting things done on a tight time crunch. Well I’m really feeling it. Life has turned into a whirlwind of emotions and to-do lists since last week and I’m doing my best to keep up.

Kyra and I have talked a lot about furthering my education over the past two years. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Utah in 2012. I went right to work as a Social Worker and planned on applying to Ph.D. programs and working towards a career in counseling psychology. However, after graduation that just didn’t feel right. I switched to Law School as the answer. Heck I took the LSAT and applied to schools and was accepted, but alas, that too felt wrong.

Graduation Day
My Graduation Day

It was about this time that I began blogging and realized that I love business and marketing, things I never before thought I would be interested in. Maybe it was the idea of suits and ties in stuffy board meetings, but business had seemed like a game I didn’t want to play. That is until I began really connecting my love of the outdoors with the business world. Almost overnight I had found my calling in life: marketing in the outdoor industry. The only problem, the rest of the world didn’t know or care that that was my calling in life.

So began the long an arduous process of job hunting and applying. A never ending uphill climb of rejections letters. I kept telling myself I was just gaining experience and would be there soon. I volunteer for a company handling their social media channels, I market myself, I blog, I was learning and progressing, but wasn’t finding luck with a job.

That is until last week, but before you assume I got a job offer let me clear it up, I didn’t. I got a very kind and personalized rejection letter. However, instead of being bummed I had some immediate and clear inspiration and I believe that I can be led and guided in my life by a Heavenly Father. That doesn’t mean that things won’t be difficult and hard, but it does mean that things will work out.

So back to this flash of inspiration and revelation. I read the kind rejection email and realized that it was time I do more than apply and pray from a job, it was time I get the experience the only way I knew how; go back to school. It was more than just the direction of schooling though, it was a very clear answer to go to school at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah and get an MBA.

Moving Van

I talked with Kyra about the idea. It was something we had discussed a number of times and I had been under the impression that once I got a job in the outdoor industry then I would go back to school, but this changed everything. It felt real and exciting. Kyra mirrored my excitement then pulled out her journal. She turned to a page from back at the end of May and read the inspiration she had received some two months earlier as it relates to my education, “attend UVU’s MBA program,” that was the short of it at least. It’s interesting to see how things work out.

And it really will be interesting to see how things work out. Everything is being done on short notice, as you could guess. I am working to apply and get the courses I need for this fall semester which starts on August 25. I put in my two weeks notice today at a very stable job where I’ve been for two years. I am working my hardest to expedite the admissions process with UVU so I can get the courses I need as a Utah resident even though I haven’t lived there for two years.

I’m also working on lining up a job and an apartment; all difficult tasks on such short notice. So, when I say so much to do in so little time I mean it. I feel a bit overloaded and stressed trying to make it all come together, but I’ve got to keep reminding myself: a leap of faith isn’t a leap of faith without that initial and most difficult “leap.”

Looking on the no-stress side of things I am stoked to be moving back to Utah for school. I have missed the beautiful Wasatch mountains and I am excited to feel like I am making progress towards a career in business/marketing in the outdoor industry through more education. So, wish me luck, it’s going to be a wild ride these next few weeks. If you have any connections for jobs, housing or the like in the Orem/Provo area let me know, I need all the help I can get.

Make Adventure