Sunday, February 27, 2011

Go anywhere, do anything

In this series of Go to Gear I would like to discuss a piece that is totally essential to anyone, regardless of the amount of time you choose to spend outside: the softshell.

I have chosen The North Face's Apex Bionic Jacket.

There are a few simple reasons why this is the best jacket out there.

1. Price: this jacket can be found online for around $130, however you can often find it at outdoor shops on sale. The price cannot be beat!

2. Features: we are talking waterproof, totally windproof and proper fitting for layering. The side pockets are very roomy and the chest pocket offers ample space for a phone or an Mp3 player. The fabric of the jacket is a unique stretch material that leaves the wearer ample space for the movements required for multiple activities.

One surprising features of this thing is the breath-ability. It keeps you warm and dry without making your body feel stale with stagnant air trapped in!

3. Style:

This jacket is perfect for someone who is just getting into the outdoors, a student commuting to class, bike messengers, mall goers, hikers, campers, hip business people, or anyone who wants to arrive in style while being protected from the elements.

I have had my Apex Bionic for four years now and it has seen all sorts of weather; vicious Michigan winters, torrent downpours, gale-force winds and everything in between.

I urge you to pick one up ASAP!


Saturday, February 26, 2011

A day for Bugs

I have been going through my external hard-drive compiling some bug shots and I would like to share them with you. I really enjoy macro pics of the creepy crawlies.

I am not quite sure what most of them are, if you know the name of one I would like to know. Just leave a comment with directions as to which bug you are describing!


Hope you have a great weekend!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Can you tell me what this is?

I have a little contest for you today. Below is a picture that I took from near the top of Dorr Mtn. Can you tell me the correct name of the rock structure?

Bonus points will be awarded if you give a little history bit about them as well! Good luck!

Hey don't forget to follow us on twitter: randomstreamoc

If you would like to contribute to RSOC please contact us at:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Eddie Bauer Friday Harbor Jacket Total Review

In the world of outdoor sports there exists a continuing trend to be lighter, thinner and brighter when it comes to gear. What we are offered is an array of tissue paper thin shells that feel as though they will disintegrate when moisture approaches. (though this is how they feel, I can attest that they are very durable and suitable for wear and tear of the outdoors.)

However, some of us want a jacket that has all of the capabilities to defy the elements and feels also feels like it can do so.
This thing scoffs at snow.

I give you the Friday Harbor by Eddie Bauer.
The Friday Harbor performs well in whatever the Great Lakes region had thrown its way. Ice hiking on Lake Michigan, Feb '11

I picked this jacket up late last spring because I was in the market for a new rain jacket. Since I am not very much for the ultralight stuff this looked like my kind of jacket.

It comes in modest colors and has a comfortable, fitted, cut. The Friday Harbor is sized a little large and makes layering easy. The weather edge technology keeps you dry and shielded from the winds too.

This jacket has gone everywhere with me and I have used it in many conditions including a rainy trip to Maine in late fall, Mid-Summer torrential downpours, Dead of winter ice hikes on Lake Michigan, and even the occasional trip to school.
Friday Harbor, keeping the mist off me at Niagra Falls, Oct '10

It truly is a versatile jacket. The vent system makes it comfortable to wear as a wind breaker in warmer weather. It is also semi packable. I throw mine in my day-bag nearly every time  I head outside.

Another major plus about this jacket is the pocket situation. There are 4 exterior pockets and one interior and they are all easily accessed with a pack on.

The hood is removable, however I have not found it to be obtrusive and have left mine on continuously.

If you are looking for a good all season jacket look no further. This thing was designed for use in temperate regions where the weather changes in an instant and I can tell you from experience that it has not failed me yet!
Taking on water during one of the early summer tornadoes, SE MI June '10

Head over to their website and check them out now:

You will not be let down!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I will admit it, I need inspiration to keep my focus while working out in the colder months (in the gym). So I turn to magazines and podcasts to do this.

To my surprise today I received the latest issue of Outside Magazine! What better form of motivation!

Looks like it is going to be a good one!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Northern Michigan Glaciers

If snowshoeing recharged my batteries two weekends ago, then the trip this weekend was the equivalent of swapping the old rechargeables out for new lithium ion ones!

After my Criminal Law midterm on Friday I hopped into the sideseat of the Subaru and pointed North for what I though was to be a weekend of quiet, boring studies alone. However, this weekend kicked more butt than I could have ever imagined. Not only did I get the majority of my work done, but I also got to spend time with my family and we even got some outdoors time in!

Part one: The journey.

The Northernly trip started out under gray skies with a hint of ice in the air. While we remained on the eastern side of the state the weather was calm and frankly a little boring for traveling weather. However once we hit the great divider: Clare, we were blasted by thick, beautiful clumps of Lake Effect goodness. I tried to get a few shots but the great darkness in the sky did not permit such acts. You see, up north, when you turn out the lights it is dark! 

From here on the drive was accompanied by the type of snow that falls where I come from. It falls slowly, almost hanging in the air and then gently lays down with its kin to blanket the ground underneath. It is a wholesome snow, stout and soft.

Upon arriving home I feasted upon homemade chocolate chips! Thanks Mom. 

This is where I thought my journey had ended for the weekend, however as per usual, I over estimated the amount of time that I would need for my homework, and underestimated the amount of sleep that I need! Knowing that I wanted to be able to do things on Saturday I stayed up until around 4 getting a good jump on the work. The finished product was quite good if I do say so! Take that adverse possession!

Part two: Family time and a minor Glaciation 

Saturday morning we awoke early and zipped down to Chelsea's grandparent's house where we were greeted with pancakes and conversation. After spending some time with them we headed out to arguably one of my most favorite places in the world; Portage Point.

When I was a younger man I used to drive out here, daily. Then one winter I discovered that the water freezes into giant mountains far out into the lake during the colder months. These mountains resemble fractionalized version of the glaciers that carved out this great area and it is kind of neat to see them rising out of water where we swim and skim board in the summer. Lake Michigan really provides four seasons of awesomeness if you are willing to experience it!

Now that we live further away from the lake whenever we get a chance to come out to it we soak it up and make the most out of it. I would like to share a few shots of the ice hike with you, you will enjoy: (after enjoying check out what it looks like in the summer)
The ice extends easily 400' out into the lake. To put this into perspective I took this shot, I am about even with the end of the pier and the ice continued for another 150-200'

This is the top of a little ice cave I found, no good pics inside though.

The ice bubbles remind me of desert pavement, look it up it is pretty cool, made by a slightly similar concept too!

If we were in the Arctic, this is definitely where a seal would pop up!

One part Grinch who stole Christmas, one part explorer!

After the ice hopping we grabbed a drink at my favorite natural spring and headed to see my grandparents. Chelsea showed Grandma some new tricks with her camera and I discussed the prison camp-like settings of test-taking in law school. They even hooked us up with some new wine bottles to cut!

Saturday night we hit up the casino for dinner with Chelsea's Mom, Fred and Izzy. We had a good time and then settled in to ride out the remainder of the snowstorm watching Seinfeld and finishing up some homework!

Our return trip to SE MI was guided by beautiful sunshine, dry roads and minimal traffic, only in Michigan can you be in one spot and experience 2.5 seasons in less than 48 hours! That fact is pretty cool in that it makes even the shortest trips up there seem longer!

Take care all. Enjoy this week, and Happy Valentine's Day!


Hey please check out some of my other sites:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sneak Peek Guys!

We took a surprise trip up to the homeland this weekend!

Needless to say a trip north is not complete with out some beach hiking. What does a beach hike look like this time of the year? 

Well, here is a little sneak peek of what is to come once I dump the Pics tomorrow:

Beauty, thank you Nature!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Daily Inspiration!

Man, in the midst of all of this studying, do I need inspiration today! This inspiration comes from C. Bromley.

This shot is of me, in one of my favorite places, Old Baldy. Doing what I love to do. I cannot wait until I can do this again. When my time to myself does not consist of making coffee, and posting quick blogs on here. Maybe second semester will be much easier, hopefully I will have time management and book briefing down pat. Hopefully I will get to make a trip up North.

And another:
Woohoo on the water!

Wait, scratch that! This is inspiration right? Well then, yes, yes it will be easier, Yes I will have the hang of it, and yes We will be taking more weekend trips Up North, why? For a few reasons: 1 no more wasted nights on intro class. 2 hopefully 3 days of class per week, and 3 a mastery of time management for law school!

Inspired indeed! This spring/ summer will be the best ever! We are going to kick butt!

Scratch that too! Today will be the best ever. I am going to smash this Contract law midterm right outta the park! And tomorrow, Crim, I have your number too! And this weekend, I am going to take on Adverse Possession with a vengeance.

So here is to today!

I hope yours is a little brighter after reading this post!



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Sunday snow trip

We awoke early Sunday morning and trodded out the door and down the road to Parker Mill Park.

This park provides beauty year-round. It offers boardwalk hiking through a typically Michigan marsh, and single-track jogging and biking trails.

There is also a nice creek that runs through the park.

This was a great way to recharge my batteries for the upcoming hectic week of midterms. I think that we will be making a trip to Barton Dam this coming weekend to celebrate the ending of midterms!

I think that this spring I am going to use Parker Mill as a place to practice slacklining. Since I have never done it this seems like a quiet, and safe place to learn with looking like a spectacle!

Time to get a little more studying done!

Oh yeah, I have an extension, in photos, of this little hike over at:
Check it out please!

Have a great Sunny Day!


Saturday, February 5, 2011

What a Saturday!

So, we thought that our blizzard was on Wednesday right? Wrong! We had our own mini blizzard today!

There was heavy, wet snow, drifts, blowing snow and whiteout conditions:

Look at this lonely, abandoned bike... I feel bad, somewhere out there exists a person who would put it to good use this winter.What a shame.

We left the house just before this storm really began, and let me tell you, when it started, the people all stopped. Our trip was not a waste though. We used some Kohl's cash, and hit up the local REI.

I snagged a sweet flannel at Kohl's and these bad boys at REI:

These are the top part to the REI Sahara convertible pants. However, somehow a patron received them with no bottom parts and brought them back. Their loss is my gain! I picked up these 45 dollar duds for 6 bucks at the REI yardsale! Oh yes it pays to be a member! I also gained some knowledge as to what I need to get hooked up with my new skiis! 3-Prong boots. So I am on the lookout.

I hope you all are enjoying you weekend. I am studying for some Midterms but tomorrow we are taking a quick break; not for the superbowl, but for some morning snowshoeing! Expect pics.


Friday, February 4, 2011

A new venture

I have embarked on a new adventure: amateur nature photography. It is true that I enjoy taking pictures, however I would never call myself a professional, as I am not trained as such. However I would like to share my shots with all of you via:

I will use the above site to supplement the pictures in RSOC. I usually only put a few of my pictures from outings on RSOC and will allow me to showcase some of the other pics that I have taken.

I hope that you enjoy.

Thank you for your support.


Make-shift slacklining Kit

There you have it. My attempt at fashioning a slacklining kit. I have 40' of flat web and another length of nylon round rope for some extra rigging. I also got a carabiner for adjusting and securing the webbing side.

I have seen kits made about like this. I think that I may purchase another biner tonight in order to make a cam-style locking system.

I welcome any and all help that I can get from people on this topic. I have never done this before, but I think it will be a fun way of getting outside during the warmer times.

Please, let me know what else I need to get!

thank you



Sometimes it is hard to get out of bed, get a workout in and then plop down to study for several hours followed by class.

Today is one of those days.

On days such as this I need to find a whole bunch of inspiration to pull me through the day.

The beginning of my inspiration comes from the group at M22:

Another of my motivators of the day is my XC skiis that I will be picking up this morning. Though they are old and probably need a little work, I still cannot wait to give them a try.

The final motivator: I was approached by a classmate last week in regards to some mountain-biking, I think that he is pretty serious about it, and I think that when the weather warms up that I am going to take him up on his offer of checking out some of Ann Arbor's terrain. What better motivator to get in shape and stay current on all of my schoolwork than the promise of some outdoors fun?

I leave you, to go study, with a parting shot from the Portage Point Channel. The geometric shapes of the ice are just awesome.

Hope your weekend is swell!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Daily Inspiration!

Oh man, I may not be to this point by the end of the summer, but I will definitely be aspiring to! I am very excited to begin slack-lining!


Got em!

Yesterday I found a pair of XC skiis on craigslist!

While they are not the newest and coolest, they will still do for me. The price you ask? Well how about the best price imaginable; FREE! Just need to look for a pair of boots now!

This day is off to a swell start!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In the market for

I enjoy my snowshoeing so much that I think I might like XC skiing. I am currently searching the chasm of craigslist for some older model skiis for cheap!

The hunt continues,


...Well that was a let down.

I am very grateful that we do not have school today, however in the land of limited snowdays one must not waste them on the frivolous threats of fear mongering weathermen!

I understand that the storm was very bad in parts of the country, and that adequate warnings for those places is necessary, but to put the whole map into a panicky and frenzied state is a bit of a waste.

The nighttime did not bring this area the dumping of the century, as was foretasted, however we did get some snow:
Are you kidding me? Where I come from this little amount would be a blessing, not a cause for catastrophe!

Calvin looks at the petty amount of snow with disdain.

Sunny the dog was hoping for a little more snow too... maybe next time!

The snow is still falling, albeit at a much slower, prettier rate now. Continue to check in to see how the conditions are advancing. 

Personally I am hoping for some more snow.

Fingers crossed I head back to the contracts book.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

You call this a storm!

I say bring it Mother-Nature!

I am not phased by the minuscule amount of snow we have received thus far.

I really hope that when we awake in the morning there is a load of snow and that we can strap on the shoes and clomp to the park!

As for now, I will give you a little weather report:

The snow is falling at what I would call a very moderate rate, so far this "storm" is lacking in umph. Approximately 2.5 new inches, a light dusting has fallen.

This makes me feel like:
(Whoa, crazy Eyes time)

Where is this storm MAN? Weatherman that is. I have heard big things about it, and it is all a lot of hot air so far! Really hoping I am wrong.

Keep Checking back


Strange Creatures come out during Blizzards...

I heard that the storm is cooking up and that we should be on the lookout at around 10. So the snow that is falling now is like practice snow!

But what is this?
Holy Snow Monster!


Well there you have it friends, the snow people are here. Updates to follow, time to compose myself after this harrowing experience.




We are getting some in South Eastern Michigan. I hope are all bundled up. As you can see the snow is falling rather quickly, however I still an skeptical as to the amount that we will get.

However, in consideration we have our snowshoes at the ready!

Keep following tonight and tomorrow while we chronicle this "storm"


Weather updates

Why glue yourself to with all of their boring, blah blah blah when you could have some exciting news from someone you know!


Once the "storm" approaches I will be giving updates, pictures and other relevant content to help you survive during this "storm"

Who knows, I may even have a small feature for arts and crafts time!

Stay tuned as we await the "storm"


Whoa man!

So after looking at this during the break during class I cannot help but be in awe:

Though I would not be so keen on skiing down those faces, I would love to hike up them and enjoy those sights. Maybe one day that will be a possibility!

Back to class: