Indoor rock climbing actually. Central Rock Gym here in Hadley, Ma is an incredible place for anyone who wants to learn how to boulder, top rope(belay), or lead climb. The place is huge!
The bouldering area is along the side wall of the building and a few hundred feet long. It has some very very challenging holds, and some rather easy ones. I’m by no means good at indoor rock climbing. I have a lot of fun doing it on the area mountains but this was totally different. I used muscles I didn’t even know I had. And with indoor rock climbing not only does it give your body the work out of a life time, it gives your mind a work out as well. You have to plan out each step and each movement of your hand, and if you make one wrong move you will likely fall down and have to start over. At CRG they use a rating system for each planned out climb. For bouldering they all begin with V followed by a number 0-10 for degree of difficulty. I was doing mostly v0-v3 yesterday but did complete one v6 and was very proud of myself. I didn’t get to check out the top roping or lead climbing because you need to go to a short class on how to do it which I missed. I’m hoping to get out and do that this week though. I think the coolest part about CRG is how willing to help everyone is. I was having some trouble on a few of the routes so a guy came over and showed me how he would do it. After watching him I got it pretty quick. The hardest part is having the strength in your fingers to hold on. All in all it was super fun and I will be going back very frequently!
As far as preparing your hands and fingers for this, just try this workout for hands of steel! For this work out all you need is a bucket and at least 20 pounds of rice. You may need more rice or two buckets depending on the size. First thing you do is throw on a short sleeve shirt and pants that you can flex a little bit in for one of the exercises. Each one of these excercises you should do 5-10 repetitions followed by as short a break as you feel comfortable with before moving to the next. And now on to the workouts!
1.) Stab your hands into the rice, make a fist, pull your hands out and repeat.
2.) Stab your hands into the rice, spread your fingers as far as possible and pull your hands out palms facing down.
3.) Push fists into the rice, rotate in one direction for 15-20 seconds, then switch directions.
4.) Push fists into the rice, move them side to side keeping your arms stationary sort of like making a “U” side to side. Do this for 15-20 seconds.
5.) Push fists into the rice, move them forward and backward keeping your arms stationary sort of like making a “U” front to back. Do this for 15-20 seconds.
6.) Place open hands on top of rice, take large pinches of rice quickly for 15-20 seconds.
7.) Touch your fingers to your thumb, dig into the rice, spread your fingers and thumbs out wide, and repeat.
8.) Dig your thumbs as deep into the rice as you can and repeat.
9.) Stab your hands into the rice, grab a handful of rice and squeeze as hard as you can then repeat.
10.) Follow number 9 only this time stand in an athletic stance and stop after one time. This to me is more to show you the difference in power when you’re standing rather than kneeling. And the first couple times I did it I felt it in my back, probably from the stance.
That’s it, how’d you do? Most people say this was super easy and it’s a pointless workout, but try it after you’ve rock climbed for a few hours. And trust me the soreness does not set in instantly, you’ll feel it the next morning. Good luck and maybe I’ll see you out at CRG.
Small stream fly fishing.
This past weekend I had to bring my truck to a friends house that lives out in the woods. On my way there I passed a very small stream passing under the road. I had some time to kill so I stopped and hiked down stream a bit. The stream was very small as you can see from the photo, but I think it will be a good place throughout the spring and fall, maybe not so much in the summer though.
Since it is winter out here in Mass the stream was frozen in a bunch of spots making the fishing pretty tight. I only caught one fish but I saw at least a dozen, all of which being 6″-8″ brookies. For this I was using my Soyokaze with 8 feet of #3.5 TUSA level line and 2 feet of 6x tippet. I was fishing a small size 18 Ishigaki Kebari that I tied specifically for small streams. With this set up I could cast with pinpoint accuracy. In fact, where I caught the only fish of the day, I had to cast around a couple trees, piece of ice, and a boulder. I had lots of trees overhead as well. With my 9′ Soyokaze I had no problems casting around all of these obstructions. One thing I like about small streams the most is that a lot of anglers discount their ability to hold fish, they dont want to try to cast to the tight spots, or they only want to catch the monsters and think ‘big river big fish’. That isn’t always true, the smallest stream I ever fly fished was litterally a foot deep and one to two feet wide. On that stream I caught a 16 inch brown and a bigger 13-14 inch rainbow. The rainbow surprised me because most of them I’ve ever caught were no more than 12 inches. And since most anglers don’t bother with these streams I get the solitude I love! I’m a big fan of hiking in to streams just to get that solitude and hear the sounds of nature. I’ve had multiple occasions where I fished a stream for a few hours, look up, and see a deer or two drinking the water and not being bothered by me. That tells me I am doing a good job of not disturbing nature and that is my ultimate goal. Another challenge with small stream that I find fun is trying to figure out how to cast to the perfectly guarded pockets. Makes you much more aware your surroundings. So as you can see I love the smaller streams, what are your favorite spots to fish?
Beginners guide to Tenkara Part One: The Gear to Getchya Going.
When getting into Tenkara there are a number of sources to help you figure out exactly what will work for your given situation. I intend to give you one more source with GetLostHiking.
The first thing you may want to do is set your price limit. For me I wanted to stay under $100 incase I didn’t like it. I bought the Daiwa Soyokaze 27SR for a couple reasons. The biggest reason was that it’s only about $75. But another reason was that it’s intended to be a Tanago rod (basically micro fishing rod) and therefore has a very sensitive tip section. This is great for detecting strikes and you can also really feel the strength of the fish. One thing about Tenkara anglers is most of them consider a Tenkara rod to only be a true Tenkara rod if equipped with a cork grip. If you follow Chris Stewarts TenkaraBum.com blog, you’ll see not everyone agrees. But anyway for the gear I had Fortunately been fly fishing for awhile before Tenkara so I had some already. But what I got was the rod for $75, a line spool to hold the line you use to fish with for $5, a 12 foot line to go on that line spool for $15, and a spool of 5X tippet for $5.
This picture shows a different line spool than the TenkaraBum.com spools
If you include the shipping I was right around my $100 mark. And I did get all of this from TenkaraBum.com. Now other things I consider essentials, either nippers and hemostats or hemostat scissors $10-15, a fly box $3-50 depending on what kind you want, and a net $15-LOTS. Now you can probably go without a net but they sure do come in handy! Fly boxes come in all shapes, sizes, and weights. I have a Flambuea water proof fly box half foam and half compartment (among a few other boxes). This box is a little bulky and a bit heavier than some others but I wanted one since I started fly fishing and finally broke down and spent the $20 one costs. Before that I had a cheap $3 box that worked just fine. As far as nippers I like the Fishpond Aussie nippers because of their comfortable shape and extreme light weight. I have a pair of Berkley hemostats I got on sale at Walmart. They are awesome, very thin for getting the tiny size 30 flies and have a nice grip for the finger holes. Additional things that are nice to have? I like my waders because trout streams are very cold and where I fish you need to be in the water. Although I just got a wonderful Simms vest for Christmas that I’ve been using, I like is a chest pack, after reading about how well it works for Jason Klass of TenkaraTalk.com I had to have one. However I cheaped out on mine, DO NOT CHEAP OUT! Mine is very heavy and hurts my neck after just an hour or two. I should’ve spent the extra money to get a lighter one. And that’s all I use for Tenkara fishing. Thanks for reading and please let me know if I missed anything!
The idea behind this site is to post as much as I can about backpacking, fishing, and other outdoor activities. As far as my knowledge and experience goes, I have lots of knowledge on hiking, but not so much on snowshoeing, lots on fishing, but not so much on backpacking. I’ve recently gotten into a lot of different outdoor activities and with this blog I’m hoping to learn literally everything possible about them! Depending on how much money I can save up I’m hoping to go on my first real backpacking trip too. I’m planning to go with my girlfriend to Mount Washington for a few days. The reason I’m going there is because I live in Western Ma and that is the tallest mountain with the most challenges in the area. Everyone I’ve talked to about it says there are very difficult trails to the top, and very easy trails. I plan to take the toughest possible! And usually, I’m not one to stay on formed trails anyway.
My kind of trail.
For hiking I usually go to a local place called Mount Tom, it’s a blast! It’s also only about 1,000 feet tall. But it’s 10 minutes from my house so I like to go there and have some fun. I usually climb straight up the side where it’s a lot of rock climbing. I will hopefully get into real rock climbing and mountaineering sometime soon but for now, it’s all about free climbing a couple hundred feet up the mountain. If anyone reading this lives around Western Ma, I’d love to go out hiking with you and hear about where you often go. Other things I hope to really get into are back country snowboarding. I usually go to ski mountains with lifts, this year I’m going to more local areas that I can make my own lines on. Another dream of mine, that this blog will hopefully give me the knowledge to do, is to hike the entire Appalachian trail! I also want to go to Alaska and backpack near areas with fishing so I can travel with little food in my pack and catch dinner. Even though I’m not a full blown backpacker yet I’ll still have some tips on the site from time to time as well as review some items I’ve picked up for hiking/backpacking. I’m hoping to be able to set up some sort of bulletin board type thing as well where anyone can post a question and anyone can answer it, doesn’t have to be related anything in particular on the blog, but I have no idea how to do that yet so if anyone knows what to do post a comment. Or post questions and I’ll do my best to answer your questions and quickly as well. As you can see I have a lot of plans and things I want to do so check in to see any updates. Also I’m just about to start going to school for environmental sustainability which I’m super excited about! I really want to work with the EPA to protect the amazing environments the U.S alone has to offer us. You’ll learn I’m a pretty big advocate of leave no trace practices as well, where I go hiking a lot there is a road to the summit house and cell towers/radio towers. Along this road I see water bottles and things of that nature all the time. If I can get to it, I’ll throw it in my pack and toss it in the trash later that day. Everyone who cares about adventure enough to read blogs about it probably takes care of the environment anyway, but just think, if everyone litters just once a week that’s 300million items dropped out the window every week just the U.S. Not only does it make highways and other road ways dangerous, it ruins the beauty of the outdoors and more importantly, connects animals to humans that much more. We don’t want bears, mountain lions, moose, or anything getting into human food. Their bodies are not used to it nor are they capable of digesting a lot of those foods. Down in the smokey mountains this is a big problem, so much so that you actually have to hide your coolers/food in your cars. Bears can identify and get into coolers like you wouldn’t believe according to various outdoor guides. And most people apparently don’t care very much, so they’ve put fines and other penalties in place. When I was in Cosby, Tn camping and checking out the area, I was told the fines could be as much as $10,000 depending on what happened to the animals and other people in the area, possibly even jail time for endangering other humans as well as the environment. So, take care of your food and waste, no bottle or wrapper is worth animal attacks! Another way to protect the environment when you’re fishing is to care for the fish properly. When you catch the fish and get it to your net or hand keep the fish in the water. And try not to handle the fish for too long, if you want to take a picture, keep the fish in the water until your camera is ready, take the fish out real quick for the picture and then right back in the water. Also one thing I rarely see people take the time to do. Don’t let the fish swim away too soon after catching it, they need to recover. Face them up stream and hold them for 20-30 seconds or until you feel their energy coming back. But anyway welcome to the blog and expect plenty more about safety outdoors for both you and the environment!