MERRELL.COM Blog MERRELL.COM Blog Mon, 26 Jan 2015 00:49:13 GMT Hike Hard, Rest Easy <p>Since 1981, Merrell&rsquo;s been the footwear that gets you to the mountain - built with innovation &amp; exceptional design. Nothing proves this more that the development and story of our infamous <a href="">Jungle Moc</a>. Brought to you in &rsquo;98 from one man&rsquo;s idea for a new category that changed the industry.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/10/Picture3.png" alt="" width="436" height="328" /></p> <p>Meet Clark Matis, the brains behind the Moc. You knew us for hikers and casuals, but something was missing. What about the campsite after your hike through the trails of Yosemite or the lunch break after Bike up your local single track? Something was missing &amp; the gap needed to be filled. We paired the rugged outsole inspired by mountain bike tire with the sleek upper of a popular casual model creating most popular Merrell Love Child to date.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/10/Clark Matis.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="364" /></p> <p>Since &rsquo;98 we&rsquo;ve sold over 12 million Jungle Mocs throughout the world &amp; we&rsquo;re here to bring you even more. Here's your chance to win your very own Jungle Moc in our <a href="">Moc-A-Day Giveaway</a>.</p> <p>Check out the new models we&rsquo;ve brought to the family:</p> <p>Women&rsquo;s</p> <p><a href=" ">Jungle Glove</a>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=" ">Jungle Glove Lace</a><a href=""></a></p> <p><a href="">Jungle Glove Canvas</a></p> <p>Men's</p> <p><a href="">Jungle Moc Touch Breeze</a>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=" ">Jungle Glove </a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 13 Oct 2013 05:35:00 GMT My First Trail Half Marathon - Annie Bertucio <p>&ldquo;If you want to cry, cry,&rdquo; I told myself. &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t change your pace, but you can cry.&rdquo;</p> <p>I was somewhere between mile 9 and 10 of my first trail half-marathon and struggling to keep my pace. My biceps were burning and I was audibly wheezing. I had set a goal to go under two hours and was on pace to do so, but starting to drain.</p> <p>Half-marathons are possibly the most addictive runs to do. If you haven&rsquo;t trained for one, go find your pals and start cranking; you won&rsquo;t regret it. Thirteen miles is long enough to get the endorphins flowing and leave you feeling accomplished, but short enough that you can train for it before the kids wake up.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/6/blog02.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>This race, however, was actually 14.2 miles. I tried to block that thought from my head and focused on the hot pink shirt ahead of me. My running partner was using her expert meditation skills to peacefully glide through the woods, and consequently pulling away turn by turn. Following her lead I tried to calm my brain, relax, and let my legs naturally keep their rhythm. I was no Zen runner. My head was somewhere between a miserable, &ldquo;Do I need to puke?&rdquo; and an elated, &ldquo;Hot damn, you&rsquo;re still on pace!&rdquo;</p> <p>A few weeks prior, our training group had done 14 miles in less than two hours. The incredible ladies had made our runs more social hour than intense workout. We were putting in long miles at respectable paces, but had so much fun dodging in and out of the woods, chatting life, getting muddy, and yelling, &ldquo;Who has to pee?!&rdquo; that our long Saturday runs became the highlight of my week.</p> <p>I approached the 10.5 mile aid station with 1:37 on my watch. My fiery biceps cooled when I realized, &ldquo;You can do this, you can maybe actually do this!&rdquo; I swigged the aid station Gatorade and started hauling. I could feel something wet burst in my socks&mdash;a blood blister. The elevation and heat had made my feet swell more than expected, but the thought of adding blood to the sweat and tears already on my <a href=";CID=AFL-Merr1-10">Merrell Mix Masters</a> sounded inspirationally fierce.</p> <p>Trail running requires more attention and strategy than road running. Each stride falls on unpredictable terrain; there is no &ldquo;zoning out.&rdquo; The fallen tree ahead of you comes with a choice, under or over, and you have to pick the fastest and safest method that lets you keep your pace up. The good news is that trees don&rsquo;t bite, and bounding over logs and hopping through mud are the most exhilarating challenges you can add to a run. At one point in the race I decided the fastest method around a tree was straight through. I flailed my arms like a propeller, gave a warrior cry, and kept on running. It was awesome.</p> <p>What wasn&rsquo;t awesome was the hill at mile 13. Over our pre-race tacos, the gals and I had looked at the elevation map the night before. The last 1.2 miles was uphill. A 200 foot gain, but nothing we hadn&rsquo;t done before. I took my first stride up the mile 13 hill and instantly felt it. The runner behind me yelled expletives, followed by the runner behind him. Our family friendly race had just turned R-rated.</p> <p>I tried to jog some, I tried to power walk some. Hills are best attacked by keeping good posture and letting your hips lead the way. I kept trying to recite a Kara Goucher quote about hills, but finally said my own expletives and bent over, shoulders over ankles, even pushing off rocks with my hands through one of the switchbacks.</p> <p>Coming around the corner and seeing the &ldquo;Timberline Marathon&rdquo; banner was a feeling of incredible elation. I hadn&rsquo;t made my 2 hour goal (thanks, Hill from Hell), but I had run hard, powered my way through low points, finished strong and muddy, and had the time of my life. I sprinted across the finish and between gasps of air said, &ldquo;I really need to rest, and then I want to do that again.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong><em>Marathon Training Tips They Don&rsquo;t Tell You</em></strong></p> <p><strong>Put Down the Razor<br /></strong>Any sort of skin on skin contact is a potential chaffing area. Freshly shaved skin is even more sensitive to chaffing. I never shave my armpits 2 days before a long run, and leave a nice wide unshaven patch around my inner thighs for 5 days before (sexy, eh?). I shave my shins, calves, and outer thighs to avoid ingrown hairs in cuts and scrapes from the trail.</p> <p><strong>Get a Happy Meal<br /></strong>Not a McDonald&rsquo;s Happy Meal, but your own personal happy meal. Every runner works best on a certain food combination. Use your long runs before the race to experiment. Tempeh tacos, brown rice, and beans ended up being my perfect food. Let&rsquo;s not talk about the time I thought I could run 12 miles on pizza.</p> <p><strong>A Bear Craps in the Woods, and So Do You<br /></strong>Welcome to the world of endurance trail running. You&rsquo;re going to have to go to the bathroom. Waiting until the end when you can find a port-a-potty isn&rsquo;t going to end well (see: &ldquo;Get a Happy Meal&rdquo;). Step off the trail, be 200 feet away from water, and drop trou. Fellow runners are too tired to turn their heads sideways to look, I promise. If you&rsquo;re on a training run, it&rsquo;s polite to dig a 6-inch hole and cover it back up. If you&rsquo;re in a race, we&rsquo;ll make an exception for you, just this once.</p> <p><strong>Run The Full Distance<br /></strong>Lots of half-marathon training plans cap you off at 10 or 11 miles with the theory that on race day, you can pull out an extra two from adrenaline. While this is true, knowing that you are physically capable of running the entire distance is a huge boost to your race-day confidence when things get tough. Run it at a slow pace with as many breaks as you&rsquo;d like, and well enough in advance that you have time to recover, about 3 weeks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 05 Jun 2013 18:04:00 GMT Merrell and Life Time Fitness Offer Free Outside Fitness Classes <p>Continuing our commitment to get more people outside connecting to the world, we are hosting &ldquo;Outside Fitness Powered by Merrell,&rdquo; free outdoor fitness classes at more than 100 Life Time locations nationwide. Each class will be led by Life Time&rsquo;s certified personal trainers and will focus on bodyweight exercises in a boot camp class format. &lsquo;Outside Fitness Powered by Merrell&rsquo; will be offered three times per week in June, July and August 2013.&nbsp; For more information, including class schedules, locations and registration, visit <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>&ldquo;We see a growing movement of people looking for venues to cross train outside &ndash; from city playgrounds to trail heads doing pull ups on branches,&rdquo; said Meg Hammond, director of global marketing at Merrell. &ldquo;By offering free classes that focus on the benefit of connection with the outside, we hope to motivate more people to set personal goals. Its time to unplug and connect to your world through outside fitness.&rdquo;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/5/3162MRL_full page advertorial_SHAPE MAG_FINAL_2.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="595" /></p> <p>&ldquo;Outside Fitness Powered by Merrell,&rdquo; is the next activation of Merrell&rsquo;s larger &ldquo;Connect to Your World&rdquo; campaign providing free and functional ways for people to live active, healthy outside lives. A month ago Merrell, with minimalist and ambassador Tim Ferriss (author of The 4-Hour Body), gave people &ldquo;The 4 Fundamentals of Outside Fitness,&rdquo; a 4-step, bodyweight-only fitness program focusing on the power of a connection to the outdoors. &ldquo;Outside Fitness Powered by Merrell&rdquo; classes are based on the &ldquo;4 Fundamentals&rdquo; bringing a love of the outside to fitness to meet anyone&rsquo;s athletic goals. People will feel the benefits of being fueled by fresh air and strengthened by a connection to the world as they cross train in a free and fun environment.&nbsp;</p> Fri, 17 May 2013 03:04:00 GMT American Hiking Society's National Trails Day <p>Merrell is a proud partner of the American Hiking Society's National Trails Day&reg; (NTD), a celebration of America's magnificent Trail System, and will occur this year on June 1, 2013. NTD features a series of outdoor activities, designed to promote and celebrate the importance of trails in the United States. Individuals, clubs and organizations from around the country host National Trails Day&reg; events to share their love of trails with friends, family, and their communities. NTD introduces thousands of Americans to a wide array of trail activities: hiking, biking, paddling, horseback riding, trail running, and bird watching and more. For public and private land managers alike, National Trails Day&reg; is a great time to showcase beautiful landscapes and special or threatened locales as thousands of people will be outside looking to participate in NTD events.</p> <p>National Trails Day&reg; evolved during the late &lsquo;80s and &lsquo;90s from a popular ethos among trail advocates, outdoor industry leaders and political bodies who wanted to unlock the vast potential in America&rsquo;s National Trails System, transforming it from a collection of local paths into a true network of interconnected trails and vested trail organizations. This collective mindset hatched the idea of a singular day where the greater trail community could band together behind the NTD moniker to show their pride and dedication to the National Trails System.</p> <p>National Trails Day&reg; events involve a broad array of activities, including hiking, bike riding, trail maintenance, birding, wildlife photography, geocaching, paddle trips, trail running, trail dedications, health-focused programs, and children&rsquo;s activities. Whatever you like to do outdoors, there is bound to be an event to fit your interests. <br />Merrell is committed to creating opportunities for people to get outside and enjoy all the natural world has to offer. What better way to connect to your world than through trail clean up? Trails give you the opportunity to get your heart pumping, lungs expanding, and muscles working at various levels of difficulty, thereby improving your physical as well as mental well-being. With obesity rates skyrocketing, exercise is increasingly important, and trails provide a wide variety of opportunities for being physically active.</p> <p><a href=""></a></p> Fri, 17 May 2013 02:33:00 GMT Jorge's Fish Tacos - Alpha Michael Chambers <p>There is nothing better than capping off a long day of outdoor adventure with a fresh, delicious meal. And no food screams "adventure wind down" quite like the fish taco. I know what you're thinking, Mike you're from Massachusetts what on Earth do you know about fish tacos? No, my real name isn't Miguel but I have spent a considerable amount of time in Central America. It was on one of these trips that I was introduced to a fish-taco guru by the name of Jorge who took a liking to me and introduced me to the world of Jorge's Fish Tacos. My life has never been the same.</p> <p>Jorge&rsquo;s Grilled Fish Tacos<br />Sauce (It&rsquo;s all about the sauce)<br />Yield: 2 cups (You&rsquo;ll appreciate the leftovers)</p> <p>Ingredients&nbsp;</p> <p>1 cup low fat sour cream or Greek yogurt<br />1 cup reduced fat Mayonnaise<br />2 limes<br />3 tablespoons of fresh cilantro<br />1 (or 2) hot peppers of your choice (I suggest Jalapeno with a little bit of Habanero. Be careful!)<br />1 teaspoon of ground coriander<br />1 teaspoon of dried dill weed<br />1 teaspoon of cumin<br />1/2 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder</p> <p>Optional:<br />1 tablespoon of sugar</p> <p>Directions:<br />1. Mix sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and mayonnaise, whisk until blended.<br />2. Squeeze limes into mixture. <br />3. Add spices, peppers and cilantro. Mix until blended.<br />4. Cover and refrigerate. Serve cold. <br />Fish<br />Yield: 4 servings</p> <p>Ingredients</p> <p>1lb white, flaky fish (Mahi Mahi, Cod, Flounder)<br />1/4 cup olive or canola oil<br />1 lime, juiced<br />Black pepper<br />1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped<br />8 flour tortillas</p> <p>Garnishes</p> <p>1/2 head of red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced<br />Cilantro</p> <p>Optional:</p> <p>Diced tomato<br />Avocado</p> <p>Directions:<br />1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. <br />2. Place fish in a medium size dish. Whisk together the oil, lime juice, pepper, and cilantro and pour over the fish. Let marinate for 20 minutes.<br />3. Remove the fish from the marinade place into Stainless Steel fish tray. Put fish on hot grill. Do not over cook the fish! Let rest for 5 minutes then flake the fish with a fork.<br />4. Place the tortillas on the grill and grill for 20 seconds. Divide the fish among the tortillas and garnish with any or all of the garnishes.</p> <p>Pairings: Pacifico, Sangria, Margs, or water with lime</p> Thu, 02 May 2013 09:31:00 GMT 2013 Schedule of Merrell Sponsored Events! <p>Hit the trails with&nbsp;Merrell this summer!&nbsp;We want to give you all an opportunity to get active and spend some quality outside time with us. We&rsquo;ve listed our full event schedule below. We hope to see you this summer!</p> <p><br /><a href=" ">Merrell Down &amp; Dirty National Mud Run Series&nbsp;</a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/4/IMG_1341.JPG" alt="" width="438" height="327" /></p> <p>April 14 &ndash; Los Angeles, CA<br />May 5 &ndash; Miami, FL<br />May 19 &ndash; Chicago, IL<br />June 23 &ndash; Hartford, CT<br />July 13 - Philadelphia, PA<br />July 21 &ndash; Washington D.C.<br />August 25 &ndash; Detroit, MI<br />September 29 &ndash; New York, NY<br />September 13 &ndash; Atlanta, GA<br />September 27 &ndash; Sacramento, CA</p> <p><br /><a href=" ">Pineland Farms </a>&nbsp;May 25 &amp; 26 &ndash; New Gloucester, ME</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/4/IMG_0762.JPG" alt="" width="438" height="327" /></p> <p><br /><a href=" ">Park City Food &amp; Wine Classic </a>&nbsp;July 10 &ndash; 14 Park City, UT</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/4/599971_10151150769927718_1416104234_n.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="293" /></p> <p><br /><a href=" ">Forecastle</a>&nbsp;July 12 &ndash; 14 Louisville, KY</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/4/522487_10151515528201458_1542556296_n.jpg" alt="" width="403" height="403" /></p> <p><br /><a href=" ">Steamboat Wine Festival </a>&nbsp;August 7 &ndash; 11 Steamboat Springs, CO</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/4/425887_10150511491409092_370151754_n.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="294" /></p> <p><br /><a href=" ">Iceman Cometh </a>&nbsp;November 3 - Traverse City, MI&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/4/GeorgiaGould_Iceman_win-Sarah_Lukas.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="288" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hope to see you there!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 10 Apr 2013 09:37:00 GMT Meet Tim Ferriss <p><a href="">Tim Ferriss</a> is author of the #1 New York Times best sellers <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0307465357&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=offsitoftimfe-20">The 4-Hour Workweek</a> and <a href=";tag=offsitoftimfe-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=217145&amp;creative=399369&amp;creativeASIN=030746363X">The 4-Hour Body</a> and <a href="">The 4-Hour Chef</a>. He takes a less is more, minimalist approach to life, work, cooking and fitness and is known for his &ldquo;minimal effective dose&rdquo; approach to creating elegant solutions for the masses. He&rsquo;s been called &ldquo;The Superman of Silicon Valley&rdquo; by WIRED, one of Fast Company&rsquo;s &ldquo;Most Innovative Business People&rdquo; and &ldquo;the world&rsquo;s best guinea pig&rdquo; by Newsweek, which ranked him as a top 10 &ldquo;most powerful&rdquo; personality on the 2012 Digital 100 Power Index.&nbsp; Tim combs the world and tries it all, distilling best practices for his readers in his writing and teaching. Based on his Meta-Learning philosophy, he has developed the 4 Fundamentals of Outside Fitness with Merrell, which is designed to provide maximum fitness benefit in minimal time.&nbsp; To help people unplug and reconnect, all movements are performed outside. <a href="">Click here</a> to watch the video. He&rsquo;s figured out the 4 moves you can do and workout all the major muscle groups in your body. The best part is they can all be done outside</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/3/MRL_2013_Tim Ferriss Advertorial V4_LR (2).jpg" alt="" width="438" height="601" /></p> <p><br />We took some time to ask Tim about why he is working with Merrell and his thoughts on our new approach &lsquo;Connect to Your World&rsquo;. <a href="">Check it out.</a></p> Wed, 06 Mar 2013 21:52:00 GMT Alpha Dustin Is Cooking Up A Hearty Healthy Breakfast For The Pack <p>Hello fellow Merrell Packers!!! Are you looking for a Sunday morning rib sticking, long run, summit reaching, indulgence that will satisfy even the most "lumberjack" of mountain men but will still stay within the realm of healthy? Well, try out this fully loaded vegan banana french toast recipe.</p> <p><strong>What you will need:<br />1.&nbsp;Flax, Coconut, or Olive Oil (Any of your favorite oils will work)<br />2.&nbsp;Bananas<br />3.&nbsp;Agave Nectar<br />4.&nbsp;Sugar In The Raw<br />5.&nbsp;Cinnamon<br />6.&nbsp;Whole Wheat Bread</strong></p> <p><strong>Step 1:<br /></strong>Turn your heat to medium-hot and throw some olive, flax, or coconut oil into a hot pan.</p> <p><strong>Step 2:<br /></strong>Cut some bananas in half and throw them right in there, drizzle some agave nectar on top, sprinkle some sugar in the raw and cinnamon on there, and let that banana ooze out some goodness and meld with the agave nectar, raw sugar, and cinnamon. This will create exactly the right mixture you will need for you bread (coming up next). Cook the bananas on both sides for about 4-5 mins each, keep adding a little agave to maintain a wet mixture.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/3/bananas.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="330" /></p> <p>&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Step 3:<br /></strong>Toast two slices of whole wheat bread</p> <p><strong>Step 4:<br /></strong>Remove the bananas from the pan, grab your toasted bread, rub both sides of the toasted bread onto the hot pan with all of the oozing goodness until you soak it all up and cover both sides of bread.</p> <p><strong>Step 5:<br /></strong>Leave the two pieces of bread on the pan until both sides have had time to cook and let the oozing goodness permeate into the bread (just like egg would normally do)</p> <p><strong>Step 6:<br /></strong>Cut some fresh strawberries, grab some other fresh fruits that you like such as blueberries, oranges, raspberries, etc. Place your bread on a plate, lay the bananas on top, then add your fruit, then drizzle some agave nectar on top, and top it off with a little more cinnamon and raw sugar.</p> <p><strong>Step 7:<br /></strong>Pour you a cup of fresh coffee and enjoy your breakfast ;-)</p> Sun, 03 Mar 2013 06:50:00 GMT Begin with One Step <p>I always enjoy traveling internationally as it provides an opportunity to learn from different cultures and gain unique perspectives. As someone who spends much of his time at the ends of the earth, it is even more enjoyable traveling to our planet&rsquo;s mid point. Equally interesting in these places, is the student&rsquo;s relationship with snow and ice.</p> <p>&lsquo;Does it hurt?&rsquo; a friend of mine was once asked about falling snow.</p> <p>At Greengates, I talked geographical differences between the North Pole, South Pole and Mt. Everest. To the uninformed, these places might all seem like cold vast wastelands barely discernible from one another, but the reality couldn&rsquo;t be more different. Antarctica, for example, is a continent. That means all the snow and ice there piles up year after year after year into huge ice sheets that are nearly two miles thick. The North Pole, on the other hand, is in the Arctic Ocean and all the ice there is floating on water and only gets to a thickness of five or six feet. Mt. Everest most people know is the tallest mountain in the world, but to get to the summit, you have to snake your way up the Khumbu Ice Fall - a long glacier literally pouring over the side of Everest.</p> <p>Understanding the differences of these places is one of the most important factors to success. Crampons on Everest, skis in Antarctica and snow shoes on the Arctic Ocean. Still, equipment alone will not achieve the goal. As physically challenging as these types of adventures are, the mental aspects are far more overwhelming and achieving a big goal like this involves a variety of skills, training and perseverance.&nbsp;</p> <p>But why is that important to the students at Greengates? Surely the percentage of budding mountaineers here is fairly low if not zero.</p> <p>Not everyone&rsquo;s Everest actually involves climbing Mt. Everest. The thing is, we all face big challenges that can seem imposing if not impossible. But what I&rsquo;ve learned is that we all have the ability to accomplish difficult tasks and the key is relatively simple. Take the big problem and break it up into manageable pieces.</p> <p>On an expedition, in life and during presentations, I have a simple philosophy: begin with one step.</p> <p>Think Snow!</p> Sun, 03 Mar 2013 05:32:00 GMT Glide Outside: Four Reasons to Get into Cross-country Skiing (and Four Must-Knows) <p>Looking for a new winter adventure? Trying to cross-train for the upcoming spring season?</p> <p><br />Cross-country skiing is the often overlooked sister of downhill winter sports. You may have tried cross-country as a kid and left with a bad taste in your mouth; sliding around in the tracks, chasing after Ma and Pa in far too many layers of clothing. Here are four reasons to give cross-country another go, and four must-knows to get you on the mountain.</p> <p><br /><strong>1) The Ultimate Hike</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/scene.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><br />Winding trails, rolling hills, lakes, rivers, and views of the mountain&mdash;cross-country skiing is the ultimate snowy hike with views that can&rsquo;t be beat. Many established trails circle below the downhill slopes, making for breath-taking peek-a-boos of the peaks.</p> <p><strong>2)&nbsp; A Low-Impact, Total Body Workout</strong></p> <p>Cross-country skiing is easy on the joints, making it a great activity for all ages.&nbsp; Proper technique results in a total body workout, from calves to arms to shoulders to core. A gentle stroll through the woods is an efficient fat fryer, or kick it up a notch and torch calories while feeling your muscles burn!</p> <p><strong>3) Bring The Pack&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/friends.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Cross-country lends itself to exploring with old friends and bonding with new ones. Take your Pack to race each other around the track, scream down your first black diamond hill together, and top it off with a warm beverage back at the lodge.</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;4) The Secret Off-Season Weapon</strong></p> <p>Tired of working on strength and stability in the gym? Cross-country requires serious core strength and balance, and activates your stabilizing muscles in ways standard conditioning rarely hits. This is especially pertinent for runners and triathletes: the stride and glide action call on your glutes, biceps femoris (part of the hamstrings), and sartorius (a thigh muscle that controls knee and hip rotation).</p> <p>What you need to know:</p> <p><strong>1) Two Different Styles&mdash;Two Different Strides</strong></p> <p>There are two predominant styles of cross-country skiing: Skate skiing and Classic. Each style requires a different ski, boot, and pole. Classic is done in a groomed track and is more &ldquo;beginner friendly&rdquo; than skate skiing. Skate skiing is done outside the track and requires a more balanced, coordinated movement. If it&rsquo;s been a few years&mdash;or if it&rsquo;s your first time&mdash;start with Classic to gain your bearings.</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;2) Dress For a Winter Run&nbsp;<br /></strong>&nbsp;<br /><br />Cross-country works up a sweat. Layer up like you&rsquo;re going on a 25 degree winter run&mdash;wool base layers underneath a <a href=";CID=AFL-Merr1-10">mid-weight top</a>, covered with a <a href=";CID=AFL-Merr1-10">wind-resistant jacket </a>for those extra cold days. Wool socks, gloves, and a hat, and you&rsquo;re ready to go!</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;3) Bring Snacks</strong></p> <p>Just like any other outdoor adventure, your body needs to be fuelled! Pack <a href="">energy bars </a>in your pockets, bring along your water bottle, and properly refuel your body post-ski.</p> <p><strong>4) Don&rsquo;t Be Afraid to Ask!</strong></p> <p>Rentals and lessons&mdash;not just for the kids. Properly fitted equipment is essential for a good time, so rely on the shop to get you outfitted before you invest in your own. Take a lesson for your first few times on the trails and let the experts show you correct form and technique. Once you&rsquo;re on the trails, give a wave and a nod to other skiers. The cross-country skiing community has some of the coolest cats around, and you never know what sage wisdom a seasoned regular is willing to offer up if you ask for a pointer!&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> Thu, 14 Feb 2013 18:52:00 GMT Kudos for Merrell’s Hiking and Multi-Sport Icons <p>&nbsp;<br /><strong></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/outside.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="80" /></p> <p><strong>MOAB VENTILATOR MID</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/moab2.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="147" /></p> <p><em></em></p> <p><em>Merrell&rsquo;s <a href="">Moab Ventilator Mid</a> ($100) is designed as a desert boot, with a focus on breathability, but they hold their own in damp and warm weather, too. Without a Gore-Tex liner, they're not the right boots for a downpour, but the lack of Gore-Tex will actually boost breathability in mixed conditions. And they&rsquo;re extra lightweight&mdash;really a high-top running shoe&mdash;but are still comfortable and protective.</em></p> <p>Read the full review on <a href="">Outside Online</a>. Shop the <a href="">Moab Mid Vent</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/examiner.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="82" /></p> <p>&nbsp;<br /><strong>SIREN SPORT MID LEATHER WATERPROOF</strong></p> <p> <p><strong> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/sirenmid2.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="147" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> &nbsp;<br /><em>Bottom Line: Highly recommend</em></strong></p> </p> <p><em>If you are serious about hiking, you better get some serious hiking boots. You can make do with sneakers, but once you go boot you never go back. There are many perks to proper hiking boots: great stability, traction, support and protection that regular shoes cannot provide.</em></p> <p><em>After a couple pairs of clunky hiking boots, the feel and ease of wearing the Merrell Siren boots was almost joyous. These lightweight boots lace up effortlessly and feel no different from regular sneakers when simply walking. A great thing about these boots is the fact that there is no risk of breaking your laces when tightening and tying like other boots I have had. The cloth loops do not cut into the shoelaces and thus I have not had to buy replacement laces once, whereas I previously had to every month.</em></p> <p><em>On rocky terrain the boots perform superbly, providing more traction and support than any footgear I have had. They also are more comfortable than any hiking boots I have worn. Their waterproof feature gives confidence when traipsing through water-logged areas. According to customer reviews, some do not feel the boots are entirely waterproof. However, I have always had dry feet wearing these boots - even through creek crossings and in the snow. Maybe it is a quality control issue, or people do not understand they are only waterproof up to the ankle; submersion over the top of the boot will get your feet wet. Even so, they come with a one year guarantee if defective.</em></p> <p><em>The only issue experienced was some discomfort around the ankle during the first week break-in period. This has fully receded and thus is forgiven. Everything about these boots I love and I never go hiking without them.</em></p> <p>Read the full review on <a href=""></a>.&nbsp; Shop <a href="">Siren Sport Mid Leather Waterproof</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/popsugar.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>SIREN SPORT GORE TEX</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/sirensport.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="147" /></p> <p><em>If it takes more than a little snow or cold weather to keep you from hitting the trails, then have I got a shoe for you? Merrell sent me a pair of <a href="">Siren Sport Gore-Tex XCR</a> trail running/hiking shoes ($100), and my feet are in love. Not only are they adorable and sleek enough to wear with casual jeans (not bulky or manly looking), but these weatherproof sneaks also impressed me on the trails.</em></p> <p>Read the full review on <a href="">Fit</a>. Shop <a href="">Siren Sport Gore Tex</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/outdoorgearlab.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="106" /></p> <p><strong>MOAB VENTILATOR MID</strong></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p> <p><strong> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/moab2.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="147" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <em>&nbsp;<br />The Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid perfectly fills a niche role. No other boot can handle hot weather and soggy conditions as well. It's perfect for activities like canoe tripping or canyoneering. If you've resigned yourself to the fact that your feet are going to get wet, the Moab Ventilator is the shoe you want.</em></strong></p> </p> <p>Read the full review on <a href="">Outdoor Gear</a>. Shop the <a href="">Moab Mid Vent.</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/outdoorgear.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="62" /></strong></p> <p><strong>PROTERRA SPORT</strong></p> <p> <p><strong> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/proterra2.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="147" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </strong>Watch the full review online at <a href=";v=LC-ydmOpyAU">Outdoor Gear TV</a>. Shop the <a href="">Proterra Sport.<br /></a></p> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 12 Feb 2013 07:49:00 GMT Barefoot Top Tips <p>If you think you can&rsquo;t get more out of your walks, runs or hikes, think again. Merrell Barefoot can help tune up your stride and turn on your adventure. Discover how to stimulate your senses and awareness, develop stronger muscles and find a more balanced posture in the shoe designed to move you.</p> <p>Before you get started, here&rsquo;s a list of things you should know:</p> <p><strong>Start at the beginning. </strong>Whether you&rsquo;re a seasoned athlete or a weekend warrior, barefoot training should start with the fundamentals. Build on them step by step to get the most out of your barefoot experience.</p> <p><strong>Practice good form.</strong> Proper foot strike, and other factors can optimize barefoot performance. You can learn correct training techniques with our guide to <a href="">Merrell Bareform.</a></p> <p><strong>Build endurance gradually. </strong>Barefoot works muscles in your feet and legs that you may not be accustomed to using. If you usually wear socks, your feet may also be tender in the first days of training. Take it slow and easy for better results.</p> <p><strong>Pay attention to your body&rsquo;s signals.</strong> With any new training regimen, some soreness is to be expected. However, if soreness persists or worsens, take a break.</p> <p><strong>Choose familiar terrain at first. </strong>Different types of terrain can affect your training. Steep ups and downs and areas filled with obstacles, like roots or rocks, should be avoided until you&rsquo;ve built up greater endurance and strength.</p> <p><strong>Set achievable goals. </strong>If you&rsquo;re struggling with soreness, blisters or other limitations, don&rsquo;t hesitate to shorten your training times or modify your activities.</p> <p><strong>Raise your game.</strong> The more you put into barefoot training, the more you can get out of it. Barefoot helps develop greater strength in your feet and legs and may increase your agility and balance&mdash;benefits you can put into play for your favorite sport or adventure.</p> <p><strong>Be smart.</strong> Barefoot frees your feet to develop natural strengths and a closer connection to your environment. It can be an awesome feeling. In the beginning of your training, you can avoid the temptation to push too hard, for too long by sticking to a set training regimen.</p> <p><strong>Find the right shoe.</strong> Sure, we might be a little biased, but we think the lineup of <a href="">Merrell Barefoot shoes</a> are the best on the market. Try on one of our low-profile designs. We think you&rsquo;ll agree that our 0 mm heel drops, flexible designs and mapped cushioning make for a great ride. We invite you to take a pair for a spin at a store near you. Just use our <a href="">store locator</a>.</p> <p><strong>Have fun!</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>TIPS FOR BAREFOOT WALKING</strong></em></p> <p>Develop greater strength. Get connected to the terrain. Experience new adventure. It all starts with Barefoot. Free your feet!</p> <p>There has been a great amount of interest in the benefits of good running form in recent years, but not nearly as much with respect to walking. At Merrell, we believe that many of the same elements of running form can and should be applied to walking. With a slight modification to the ABCʼs of Merrellʼs Bareform Running, we have developed a series of similar principles for what we call Bareform Walking.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The ABCʼs of Bareform Walking</span></p> <p><strong>A</strong>lign your posture</p> <p><strong>B</strong>alance your foot-landing</p> <p><strong>C</strong>ondense your stride</p> <p><strong>Aligning</strong> posture is a basis for all human movement, so it should come as no surprise that proper alignment is the foundation for walking with good form. The ability to &ldquo;stack&rdquo; your joints from the ground up, center your hips and align your upper torso, neck &amp; head serves as the foundation for healthful movement whether you are walking, hiking, jogging, running or biking.&nbsp;</p> <p>Bareform Running and Walking both utilize a &ldquo;<strong>balanced</strong>&rdquo; foot-landing, but in slightly different ways. The Bareform runnerʼs foot will land nearly flat on what we refer to as the mid-foot - or with a slight forefoot-to-mid-foot &ldquo;roll&rdquo; - with the support knee being quite flexed. The Bareform walkerʼs foot, by contrast, will land slightly heel first and then roll forward with a slightly flexed or &ldquo;soft&rdquo; knee. The heel lands with a more subtle impact and softer knee during Bareform Walking than during conventional walking form.</p> <p><strong>Condensing</strong> - or shortening slightly - the walking stride is the third piece of the Bareform puzzle that allows the foot to land less out in front of the hips. This softens the landing, and makes for a smoother transition from one step to the next with less stress and strain on the various foot, leg and hip muscles. These muscles take the brunt of the pounding from &ldquo;hard-heel&rdquo; foot-landings that can occur with conventional walking form.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 11 Feb 2013 19:34:00 GMT M-Connect Series – Reviews from the Experts <p style="text-align: left;">It&rsquo;s always an honor to have some of the gurus of the running world review our products. They put our footwear and clothing through its paces and ultimately help us make better products for you. We share our new M-Connect Series line with the &lsquo;who&rsquo;s who&rsquo; of the outside community. Here is what they had to say. Make sure to check back regularly as we have heard more good news is on the way!</p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: left">&nbsp;</p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: left">&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/shape-logo1.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="195" /></p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: left"><strong>MIX MASTER MOVE GLIDE</strong></p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: left">&nbsp;</p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: center"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/glide.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="147" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>These minimalist shoes were built with the outdoors in mind, which is obvious by the traction you can see just by looking at them. They have a more slender look and seem to merge what Merrell is known for (outdoor sport, hiking, and walking) with a barefoot running shoe. Another SHAPE editor found that they're good for the gym: "I've been wearing the shoes while lifting and really like them. I feel more stable since I'm closer to the ground due to the minimal padding. When I did pikes on a medicine ball, I really noticed a difference from my other shoes and felt it helped me balance better, which meant my form was better. They're a little loose in the toe box, though."&nbsp;</em></p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: left">Read the full review on&nbsp;<a href="">SHAPE'S website</a>.&nbsp;Shop the&nbsp;Women's <a href="">Mix Master Move Glide.&nbsp;</a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/runnersworld.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="48" /></p> <p><br /><strong>ROAD GLOVE 2 for MEN</strong></p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: center"><strong><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/raod2.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="147" /></strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong>&nbsp;<br /><em>Even with a Vibram-rubber outsole covering its entire bottom, the Road Glove 2 remains surprisingly light. That's because there's very little else to this shoe. Your foot sits a mere 10.6 millimeters (less than 1/2 inch) away from the road surface&mdash;it's the only true zero-drop shoe in this guide. That doesn't leave much room for a cushy midsole, though testers say there's enough padding to soften hard roads and protect against debris like rocks and sticks. The upper is so thin; you can see your socks through the mesh.<br /><strong>BOTTOM LINE:</strong> A firm and level platform, suited for runners with experience in minimal footwear.</em></p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: left">Read the full review on <a href="">Runner&rsquo;s World Online.</a>&nbsp;Shop the Men&rsquo;s <a href="">Road Glove 2</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: center"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/self.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;&nbsp;<strong>&nbsp;BARE ACCESS 2 for WOMEN</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/bareaccessarcW2.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="147" /></p> <p>&nbsp;<br /><em>If you're a pavement pounder, the Bare Access 2 is for you. Rubber buffers were designed specifically for impact on the hardest surfaces. </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Read the full review on <a href="">SELF&rsquo;s website</a>. Shop the <a href="">Women&rsquo;s Bare Access 2</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/birthdayshoes.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="43" /></p> <p><strong>BARE ACCESS 2 for MEN</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/bareaccessM2.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="147" /></strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong><br /></strong>&nbsp;<br /><em>The new edition of the Merrell Bare Access is a complete overhaul of the original and mostly for the better. The coarse mesh upper with synthetic leather overlays has been exchanged for a two-layer mesh with plastic overlays. The midsole continues the zero drop tradition, but does have some slight structural changes that will be covered in more detail later. The most dramatic changes were made to the outsole. Vibram rubber hides a majority of the EVA midsole, while the coverage of its ancestor was limited to the high wear areas. This new generation puts the Bare Access in a good position to compete with similar "transitional" shoes like the Saucony Kinvara.</em></p> <p>Read the full review on <a href="">Birthday Shoes&rsquo; Blog</a>.&nbsp;Shop the <a href="">Men&rsquo;s Bare Access 2</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/runblogger.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="57" /></p> <p><strong>BARE ACCESS 2 for MEN</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/bareaccessM2.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="147" /></strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong>&nbsp;<br /><em>I give the Merrell Bare Access 2 a slight edge over the Altra Instinct 1.5 due to the fact that the Merrell Barefoot last fits me so perfectly. Roomy forefoot, glove like fit through the midfoot and heel, and very little excess material (resulting in a considerably lighter shoe than the Altras). Like the Instinct, the Bare Access 2 has a full rubber outsole which should provide excellent durability. Great shoe</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Read the full review on <a href=""></a>. Shop the <a href="">Men&rsquo;s Bare Access 2</a>.</p> <p><strong>MIX MASTER 2 for MEN</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: center"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/mix2.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="147" /></p> <p><br /><em>The Mix Master 2 ticks of most of my boxes &ndash; roomy forefoot, low drop (4mm), comfortable interior, under 10oz in weight. It has a rock plate and provides solid protection on trails and crushed gravel roads, and traction is good via the lugged outsole. I&rsquo;ve only run one trail ultra (a 50K), but if I had to run one tomorrow these would probably be the shoes on my feet (not sure I could handle zero drop right now over marathon+ distance).</em></p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: left">Read the full review on <a href=""></a>. Shop the <a href="">Men&rsquo;s Mix Master 2. </a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/sneakerreport.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="76" /><br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>MIX MASTER 2 for MEN</strong><strong><br /></strong>&nbsp;</p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: center"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/mix2.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="147" /></p> <p>&nbsp;Read the full review at <a href="">Sneaker Report</a>. Shop the <a href="">Men&rsquo;s Mix Master 2.</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: center">&nbsp;</p> Mon, 11 Feb 2013 01:59:00 GMT What’s Inside a Hiking Shoe? <p>So many adventures, so little time &hellip; so many hiking boot choices!<br />&nbsp;<br />At Merrell, we love the outside -- a passion won from many miles trekked: Across purple peaks to take in grand vistas. Over weeklong trips carrying packs that felt heavier with every trail sign we passed -- no matter how much food we ate to lessen the load. Up to the top for sunset and home in time for dinner, smaller-scale adventures: All of these satisfy our insatiable need for nature and motion.</p> <p>From woolly bear caterpillars and staring down mountain goats to impromptu laughter with new friends on the trail, we get the ins and outs, ups and downs and highs and lows of hiking.</p> <p>Let our experience guide you to find your ideal hiking shoe to do what you love outside.</p> <p><strong>THE TRAILHEAD &ndash; Start at the beginning</strong></p> <p>Every hiker and every trail is unique. To help you navigate choosing your ideal next pair of hiking shoes, we&rsquo;ve packed insights from our collective adventures into this tutorial to give you some things to consider before you buy.</p> <p><strong>THE TRAIL: The Nature of Your Hiking Adventure </strong></p> <p>Hiking comes in many flavors. A burly boot is overkill if you&rsquo;re into adrenaline and speed, but just the thing if you love multi-day treks to the summit with a heavy pack. Pick your passion below:</p> <p><strong>Backpacking</strong> - You log miles in on the trail for more than one day, sometimes a week&hellip;or more. You set up backcountry camps along the way and carry serious amounts of gear in a heavy pack (30lbs or greater). You have a topo map and a compass and are not afraid to use it.</p> <p><strong>Day Hike</strong> &ndash; You get up the mountain and back home in a single day, but the journey is at least five miles, includes elevation gain and you often carry a mid-weight pack (under 30lbs) with extra layers, first aid kit and food.</p> <p><strong>Quick Trip</strong> &ndash; Out for a couple of hours with family or friends, you enjoy taking in 0-5 miles that entails perhaps more talking than climbing, and carry a small pack with your snacks or lunch -- and a raincoat, just in case.</p> <p><strong>Speed Hike</strong> &ndash; You like to sweat, and your trail outings are your daily workout. You thought about going running, but that just didn&rsquo;t fit the bill today. Your favorite things:&nbsp; challenge, varied terrain, sports watches, energy gels and a water bottle carrier.</p> <p><strong>THE JOURNEY: Types of Hiking Boots and Shoes</strong></p> <p>In the end, the hiking shoe you choose is really a matter of personal preference and what feels the most comfortable. With an array of hiking shoes and boots in the Merrell line, we developed recommended uses for each type of shoe to help you identify your needs. Our footwear uses the FIST scale, which refers to how flexible to rigid a shoe is on a spectrum.&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/Fist.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="312" /></strong></p> <p><strong>Light Hiking Shoes (FIST level 1-4)</strong> &ndash; At Merrell and the greater outdoor consumer world, these are often called multi-sport shoes. Sometimes resembling a really &ldquo;teched-out&rdquo; running shoe, these are ideal for a Social Trip or Day Hike. Specific Merrell styles that fit in to this category include: the <a href="">Men&rsquo;s Moab</a> and the <a href=";search=Search">Women&rsquo;s Siren</a>.</p> <p><strong>Hiking Boots (FIST Level 6)</strong> - Available in a mid or high-cut (described below), hiking boots are usually a mid-weight product, sturdy enough for some time on the trail, but not so bulky that you feel weighted down. With solid lugged outsoles for traction, these support your feet and ankles when you carry a small pack via a partial rigid board, or shank, underfoot for support. Merrrell styles that fit in to this category include: the <a href="">Chameleon (Men&rsquo;s and Women&rsquo;s</a>), <a href="">Women&rsquo;s Calia</a> and <a href=";search=Search">Men&rsquo;s Geomorph</a>.</p> <p><strong>Backpacking Boots (FIST Level 7-8)</strong> - Designed to carry a pack and to support heavy weight, these rugged beasts are steadfast through every element of your mountain challenge. Beefier mid or high cut backpacking boots provide ankle support and stability for carrying a heavy pack, with a full board for rigidity to support underfoot. To best tackle uneven, variable terrain, they use a heavily lugged outsole for traction. Merrell styles that fit in to this category include the <a href="">Men&rsquo;s Sawtooth</a> or our <a href="">Original Men&rsquo;s Wilderness</a>.</p> <p><strong>HIKING BOOT FEATURES: Considerations</strong></p> <p>Some features you need some you might not. Try to find a hiking shoe or boot that has the best package of features to fit the type of hiking you most enjoy. Below we describe basic hiking boot features to prepare you</p> <p><strong><em>1. Boot Cut: How low should you go?</em></strong></p> <p><em>Low Cut</em> &ndash; Great for travel, social trips and day hikes, low cut hiking shoes are lighter weight, easy to pack, highly versatile, feel fast and are a great choice for lighter loads and well-maintained trails. Due to the lower cut, they do offer less roll resistance and therefore ankle protection and you might get a little dirt, debris or mud inside your shoe.</p> <p><em>Mid Cut</em> &ndash; Offering greater ankle support and protection from dirt and debris, mid cut hiking boots provide ankle support and are a great choice for carrying a pack with weight and/or a multi-day trip.</p> <p><em>High Cut</em> &ndash; The high cut boot&rsquo;s upper rises above your ankle to provide maximum balance and support. This type of boot is dialed for longer treks, orienteering off-trail and carrying heavy loads (+30lbs).&nbsp; Boots designed for snow and winter conditions are generally offered in the high cut style.</p> <p><strong><em>2. Boot Anatomy: Materials and Construction</em></strong></p> <p>Shoes are comprised of three main parts, the <em><strong>Upper, Midsole and Outsole.</strong></em> Below, we detail how our hiking shoes are made and the function of each piece of the shoe.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/Bootparts.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="312" /><br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>The Upper</strong> - You have two main material choices when selecting a hiking shoe upper: leather or synthetic</p> <p><strong>Leather</strong> - Beyond cosmetic appeal, the type of leather used in hiking and casual footwear manufacturing has a strong effect on waterproof capability, durability and affordability. We use the following leathers in Merrell footwear.</p> <p>&bull;&nbsp;Full Grain Leather &ndash; The outer surface of the leather, usually the strongest, most expensive part of the hide, can be smooth, shiny or textured and responds well to various waterproofing agents. Subject to nicks and abrasion but its general thickness and tight knit fibers give it durability.<br />&bull;&nbsp;Reverse Full Grain Leather &ndash; Same as full grain, but inside out. The strongest, most durable leather due to its inherent thickness and because the rough exterior withstands abrasion.<br />&bull;&nbsp;Nubuck Leather &ndash; Full grain leather that has been buffed to reduce irregularities in the hide. Responds well to embossing, pressing and various waterproofing agents. (Note: Waterproofing will usually result in a darker appearance)<br />&bull;&nbsp;Split Leather &ndash; The split side of the hide once the full grain part of the leather has been removed. Extremely durable because the rough exterior stands up well to abrasion. The most affordable leather available. Can be oiled, waxed and buffed (suede) to improve appearance and water resistance. Slightly looser fibers than full grain provide a softer feel. Also referred to as dura leather.<br />&bull;&nbsp;Pigskin Leather &ndash; This leather is ideally suited for unique color requirements. It is treated with leather protectors during the retan and coloring process, offering superior performance against water and stains.</p> <p><strong>Synthetic </strong>&ndash; Manmade materials are also an option to create the upper of a hiking shoe.</p> <p>&bull;&nbsp;Ventilated &ndash; For warmer weather climates and very dry conditions, an upper made with ventilated mesh can be a great way to stay cool by letting air flow around your foot. The mesh is durable enough to keep debris and dirt out. <a href="">Check out Merrell&rsquo;s Ventilated Hiking options.<br /></a>&bull;&nbsp;Waterproof Synthetic Leather: These leathers are vegan-friendly, and often function similarly to leather, adding water resistance and durability. They also offer a mid priced alternative to traditional leather.</p> <p>Once you have determined the right upper material, you can look at added linings like Waterproofing or Insulation.</p> <p><strong>Waterproof Linings</strong> - Boots billed as &ldquo;waterproof&rdquo; feature uppers constructed with a waterproof, breathable membrane. Probably the most recognized brand name of a waterproof breathable membrane is GORE-TEX. One downside of waterproof boots and shoes is a trade off in breathability, meaning there is less ventilation: Your feet may feel warmer on hot days, but they&rsquo;ll be dry!</p> <p>Shoes become waterproof in one of two ways:</p> <p>&bull;&nbsp;Full bootie construction, which is similar to building a waterproof sock with no seams into the shoe. <br />&bull;&nbsp;Seam-sealed construction, which waterproof-tapes pieces of waterproof membrane together in the shoe to make a fully waterproof product.</p> <p><a href="">Check out Merrell&rsquo;s Waterproof Hiking Products.</a></p> <p><strong>Insulated Linings</strong> - When the temperatures drop and the snow is falling, look for a boot that provides insulation in the upper to keep you warm. Insulation fibers and materials capture body heat and reflect it back, creating a thermal microclimate inside the shoe.&nbsp; Many boots offer temperature ratings to give you an idea of the type of climate they are designed for.</p> <p><a href="">Check out Merrell&rsquo;s Insulated Hiking Products. <br /></a><strong><em></em></strong></p> <p><strong><em>The Midsole</em></strong></p> <p>The Upper part of your shoe is very visible. But, the midsole is just as important but, generally not as visible to the average consumer. This is the &lsquo;guts&rsquo; of the shoe and the place in the shoe construction where we create comfort and stability. The area below, highlighted in orange, is an example of a midsole. It is below the foot bed where you place your foot and above the sole which touches the ground. This section outlines some of the technology which Merrell uses in its midsoles.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/Cutaway.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="312" /><br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Q-Form Comfort for Women</strong></p> <p>Men and women are anatomically and biomechanically different. Instead of ignoring these differences, Merrell created a women&rsquo;s specific midsole to provide a soft landing, realign your posture and provide cushioning for all day comfort. Here is a drawing of how we designed the Q-Form Comfort midsole.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/qform.jpg" alt="" /><br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Air Cushion<br /></strong>Found exclusively in Merrell footwear, the air cushioned midsole absorbs shocks and adds stability. The disc of cushioned materials compresses to absorb shock up to four times the body&rsquo;s weight. The orange disc shown below is the Air Cushion.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/cutaway2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong><em>Outsole<br /></em></strong>Outsoles for hiking are categorized by their level of stiffness. The stiffer the boot, the harder it will be and the more durability it offers as you go off the trail. Refer to our FIST scale recommendations above. Rubber is the predominant material used to make hiking outsoles.</p> <p>On the outsole, be sure to note the Lug Pattern and the Heel Brake:</p> <p><strong>Lug Pattern</strong> &ndash; The orientation of the bumps, or &ldquo;lugs,&rdquo; on the bottom of the shoe will determine how your foot moves through the dirt, trail and ground you tread. The deeper the lugs, the greater the level of traction will be. You should also note the amount of space between the lugs, as greater space allows dirt mud to slide through the outsole &ndash; but too much space also sacrifices traction, so seek a balance!</p> <p><strong>Heel Brake</strong> &ndash; You might notice a &ldquo;heel brake&rdquo; on the sole of the shoe &ndash; a raised heel zone that helps reduce your chance of sliding on steep descents. Some hiking footwear does not use this, encouraging the use of your foot and toes&rsquo; natural strength to prevent sliding or slipping on the trail.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/Vibram.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="266" /><br />The most noted rubber outsole that you can find on a hiking shoe is made by the Italian company <a href="">Vibram&reg;. </a>The world leader in high performance rubber soles and compounds for outdoor footwear, Vibram&reg; is used in many of Merrell hiking products. <a href="">See Merrell Footwear with Vibram&reg; Outsoles.</a> Look for this yellow logo.</p> <p><strong>Construction</strong></p> <p>The three parts of the shoe &ndash; upper, midsole and upper &ndash; need to be joined together. There are two predominant forms of shoe construction:<br />Strobel Construction - Currently the more popular type of construction, Stroebel construction attaches the upper and outsole by either using heat to weld materials together, or with adhesives. This creates a very flexible boot or shoe, and sometimes less bulk.<br />Norwegian Welting sews the upper directly onto the outsole. This creates a very sturdy, although sometimes very stiff, boot. Merrell&rsquo;s first hiking boot &ndash; the Wilderness &ndash; use Norwegian Welt construction.</p> <p><strong>3. FIT: If the Boot Fits&hellip;Your feet will thank you! </strong></p> <p>There are a number of factors which go in to making a well fitting shoe. We are going to share some of the design factors we consider when trying to make a shoe that will fit you. We have also outlined some things that you can consider when assessing proper fit.</p> <p><strong>Design Factors</strong></p> <p>Last &ndash; A last is a piece of wood, metal or synthetic material roughly following the shape of the foot and acting as a form on which a shoe or boot is made. It is the foundation or &lsquo;vital center&rsquo; of all of Merrell&rsquo;s footwear. Though years of testing, Merrell has designed lasts that specific not only for men and women, but for different kinds of outdoor activities. We feel that shoes should fit snug in the heel and precise over the instep to keep feet from sliding forward. You should have plenty of toe room and be able to wear mid-weight hiking socks or a combination of a light liner with a mid-weight sock.</p> <p>Women&rsquo;s Specific Fit &ndash; Merrell footwear is especially designed for men and women, with entirely separate lasts for each. From the beginning, Merrell has used separate lasts for men and women. Our women&rsquo;s lasts have always taken in to account that:</p> <p>&bull;&nbsp;Women&rsquo;s feet are narrower than men&rsquo;s at the ball of the foot, the Achilles tendon and the heel.<br />&bull;&nbsp;Women have proportionally longer toes than men.<br />&bull;&nbsp;Women have a higher instep and arch.<br />&bull;&nbsp;Women&rsquo;s calf muscles are longer, carrying farther down in to the boot.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/Last.jpg" alt="" /><br />&nbsp;<br /><strong><em>Tips for a Proper Fit</em></strong></p> <p>Merrell is known for footwear that fits right out of the box. It is important for your boots and shoes to fit correctly and comfortably at the time of purchase. Look for a snug fit across the arch of your foot, in the heel and room in the toe box. Here are some things to look for when assessing the fit of a new shoe.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/Fit.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="312" /></p> <p><strong><em>Front to Back</em></strong> - The best starting point for size is to reference your normal shoe size. We design our boots to fit like your street shoes. No mystery, confusion or conversion. Put the boots on over the correct sock combination without lacing them. Stand up and push your toes forward so they touch the front of the boot. You should be able to slip one finger into the space behind the heel. If there isn&rsquo;t enough room, the boot is probably too small and you should try the next half size larger. For boots to be used carrying moderate to heavy load (See our Backpacking section), a full finger space is highly recommended as your feet may swell with the weight.</p> <p><strong><em>Side to Side</em></strong> &ndash; Tap your heal back in the heal cup of the boot and lace them up. The boot should feel snug across the ball, around the instep and in the heel. The arch should be comfortably supported and the toes should be free to wiggle and curl. It is important to check that the instep is snug, which will help give internal control and prevents toes from sliding forward when you go downhill.</p> <p><strong><em>Check the Fit</em></strong> &ndash; To check the fit in the heel, walk up an incline. The heel should lift a maximum of &frac12; inch. In a stride, your foot bends at the ball, and heel tries to pull away from the boot. Because of our precise fit, the upper follows the heel. This prevents the slipping and sliding that eventually causes blisters. To check the fit in the toes, walk down an incline. Your toes should not jam in to the front of the boot, but gently tap the front of the footwear.</p> <p><strong><em>A Note on Width</em></strong> &ndash; The standard/medium width of Merrell footwear is a Men&rsquo;s D and a Women&rsquo;s B. If the foot feels too loose or too tight in this width, you may want to adjust the overall volume of the fit. <a href=";search=Search">Merrell&rsquo;s custom fit system of footbeds</a> allows you to modify the volume and width to fine tune the fit of our footwear. While this works for some people, in some cases a standard/medium width may not fit.&nbsp; In these situations, <a href="">a wide (EE for Men and D for Women)</a> is recommended.</p> <p><strong><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Socks</span></em></strong></p> <p>When we design the fit of our footwear, we considered sock thickness. In choosing socks for Merrell footwear, the following guide should apply.</p> <p>Hiking Boots - Heavyweight, think, dense socks with or without a liner sock. Example: <a href="">Women&rsquo;s Alpenglow</a> or <a href="">Men&rsquo;s Courant</a></p> <p>Light Hiking Boots or Multi-Sport Shoes &ndash; Light or medium weight dense socks. Example: <a href="">Women&rsquo;s Siren Sport</a> or <a href="">Men&rsquo;s Chameleon Stretch</a></p> <p><strong>We hope this information will help you enjoy your next outside adventure. Please share with us any pics or stories from your trip &ndash; <a href="">Facebook</a>, <a href="">Twitter </a>and <a href="">Instagram</a></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 10 Feb 2013 22:04:00 GMT Tips on Prepping for your next Trail Run - Merrell Alpha Michael Lewis <p>Before I venture out on my trail runs I always reference my checklist to be sure that I don't forget anything.</p> <p>I try to have a routine for before, during and after a run.</p> <p>I always start with some tea and a light breakfast so as not to get weighed down. It's very important to pre-hydrate before you head out to ensure that you aren't burning through your first bottle too fast.</p> <p>The most obvious and important item on that list is certainly water. I bring about 16oz for every 5 miles I'll be going. I don't typically need 16oz on a 5mile run BUT it's always good to have it for those "just in case" moments.</p> <p>I generally carry two 24oz bottles and one is plain, cold water and the other will have a blend of carbs and electrolytes in it. I also carry electrolyte pills with me and take 2-3 every 60-90 minutes depending on how hot it is.</p> <p>Never wait until you're thirsty to drink water. By then you are already well on your way to becoming dehydrated and it takes time to catch up. I always like to know about any local sources of portable water such as a garden hose in someone's yard, or a water fountain at a local school.</p> <p>These little reminders are great to consider especially if you're going on a hike or run with people. If they are short on water it'll be up to you to help out so bring a little extra or make sure they bring enough. Be a pack leader!</p> <p>Always bring sun glasses. There's is nothing more punishing than having to squint for 3 hours, and subject your eyes to damaging sunlight or even glare from an overcast day. Sunscreen is always a plus too. Apply some before you go and maybe have a little travel size in your pack incase you need to reapply later.</p> <p>I also like to pack an extra layer just in case I end up climbing higher than planned or the weather turns and temperature drops. You also never ever know if you'll need to spend the night in the hills and an extra layer could be a life saver. I tend to bring a long sleeve zip up that rolls up into a nice small tight ball which i tuck in my pack or tie it around my waist.</p> <p>Also, I bring extra shoe laces. They take up very little room, add no weight and will come in handy if you snap a lace or encounter a "MacGyver Moment".</p> <p>As you go you'll burn calories using up the glucose in your blood and glycogen storage so you'll need to feed the machine. I try to head out with at least 3 gel packs and 2 nutrition bars for every 2-3 hours of activity. To give you an idea of burn rate I went out for a 4 hour run today and burned roughly 4,000 calories. Now it's not effective to try and consume that many during activity but it's wise to keep fueling the fire.</p> <p>Last thing I do before I go have fun is check the weather. Much of this is common sense, but I can speak from personal experience that the weather will impact your water, food, clothing and electrolytic needs. I look at the what the low and high is going to be and I usually add 10 degrees to the high because my body will heat up and make 60 degrees feel like 70 or more.</p> <p>Make certain you have extra water and some food in the car so you can have it immediately when you're finished. Rehydration and food immediately following activity will help replace what you burned and reduce soreness afterwards.</p> <p>The most important thing to do is be safe and go out and have fun and don't forget to stretch.</p> <p>PS don't forget your Merrell trail shoes.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/2/020613_Mlewisrunninglist.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="350" /></p> Tue, 05 Feb 2013 20:33:00 GMT Wake Up Call by Merrell Alpha - Keighley <p>Every once in a while, life will throw something your way that wakes you up.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m not saying that my life was unfulfilling, by any means. I was happily married, working as a therapist for kids with autism, and finishing up my degree at a nearby college.&nbsp; However, it had gotten to a point where I was doing the same thing, day in and day out.&nbsp; Wake up, go to school or work (and most days, both), come home, do homework, read or watch a movie, rinse and repeat.<br />&nbsp;<br />After a few months of that, it got really, really boring.</p> <p>The wake-up call came in a really strange way. The video game Skyrim had just come out, and both my husband and best friend were obsessed with it. Whenever I got home, they&rsquo;d already be at the house, in front of the TV, playing the game.&nbsp; Since the TV was tied up, and most of their conversations centered on the game, I decided one day to read through random blogs. After reading a handful, I came across a blog written by a woman who had been doing themed runs. Her most recent run was a beer run&mdash;run one mile, get a beer, run two, get another, run one more, and get another beer. To me, that sounded great! Her pictures included her in some outrageously colorful outfits, arms around other runners, clutching medals and pitchers of beer, celebrating at finish line after finish line.</p> <p>I decided, there and then, to do a beer 5k. I announced that out-loud to the living room and got slight nods. Then of course, I realized I would have to be able to run a 5k. I got dressed up, went outside, and proceeded to spend the next thirty minutes more physically miserable than I had ever been in my life.&nbsp; But mentally, I felt fantastic. I had done it! I had to take breaks, I got breathless, I wake achy and sore, but I had done it.</p> <p>Less than a month later, I ran my first race ever, a two-mile Turkey Trot.</p> Mon, 04 Feb 2013 00:06:00 GMT Extreme Camping Tips: Make Sure You Pack the Right Hiking Gear & Boots <p>Is your inner adrenaline junkie calling out for more extreme camping adventures? Stepping up the intensity of your next outdoor excursion offers the rewards of exploring new places, checking something off your bucket list, and giving you bragging rights at the bar. However, it also carries risks you should be prepared for. Learn about new activities to add your skill set, hiking gear and training you&rsquo;ll need, and adventure travel locations to start preparing for with our extreme camping tips.</p> <p><strong>Extreme camping opportunities<br /></strong>There are always new adventures to be had in the great outdoors, so get outside and explore some of our favorite extreme camping activities:</p> <p><strong>Mountain running:</strong> With the right adventure hiking gear and experience, you can start racing up mountains for an incredible workout, not to mention the view at the top. Our <a href=" ">barefoot shoes</a> made for trail running have the protection your toes need for racing over rocks and roots, as well Vibram soles with the strong grip needed to run on the rock face above the tree line.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Winter hiking:</strong> Winter camping requires proper adventure hiking gear, like a sleeping bag that will keep you warm despite low temperatures and a tent that can withstand snow and wind. If you&rsquo;ll be heading over mountain tops you&rsquo;ll need cramp-ons for your insulated hiking boots to provide additional traction over snow and ice.&nbsp; Finally, make sure you have snow shoes to strap on to your hiking boots to keep you on top of deep snow. Before winter camping for the first time, be sure to talk to someone who is experienced to get the safety tips and hiking gear you need for your extreme camping trip.</p> <p><strong>Solo Hiking:</strong> Hiking alone calls for additional safety precautions and it may mean taking different hiking gear as you&rsquo;re only packing for one. Carefully plan your trip and inform others where you&rsquo;re going before you go. Make sure you also have supportive hiking boots with strong traction to reduce the chance of injury when you&rsquo;re hiking alone. Before heading out on a solo hike, it&rsquo;s important to have several years of experience under your belt and survival training in case of an emergency.</p> <p><strong>Technical climbing:</strong> Technical climbs are an incredible adventure, but they also require precision, skill and new hiking gear. If you&rsquo;re thinking about taking up technical climbing, start small at a local gym with a rock wall, take on some trails with more bouldering opportunities, and head out with certified instructors to do smaller rock faces. Barefoot shoes can be a great gear choice here as they allow your feet to fit into the cracks and smaller ledges, while providing a strong grip.</p> <p><strong>Great adventure travel spots<br /></strong>It&rsquo;s not just about what you&rsquo;re doing; sometimes it&rsquo;s more about where you&rsquo;re going. Adventure travel provides tougher terrain with rewarding views and extreme camping opportunities. Whether it&rsquo;s the next state over, or halfway around the world, incredible extreme camping challenges await. Get outside and check out these spots that help you go beyond your own backyard and explore something more:</p> <p><strong>&bull;&nbsp;Climb Mount McKinley, Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua:</strong> Alaska, Africa and Argentina. These more extreme camping trips require stamina, preparation and offer incredible views at the end. Tack them on to an extended adventure travel trip whether you&rsquo;re salmon fishing, on safari or surveying South America.</p> <p><strong>&bull;&nbsp;Hike the Mont Blanc Circuit:</strong> Climb to where the hills are alive on this journey through the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. Advised for strong hikers, guided hikes through the mountains of these three countries will test your limits, but the breathtaking scenery is certainly worth it.</p> <p><strong>&bull;&nbsp;Conquer the Grand Tetons:</strong> After you&rsquo;ve master technical climbing, put it to the test in the Tetons. With paths for both intermediate and advanced climbers, these foreboding mountains offer a challenge for any outdoor explorer. But if you can meet it, and cross the Cathedral Traverse, you&rsquo;ll be left with a breathtaking view of the range and the valleys beneath.</p> <p><strong>&bull;&nbsp;Explore Manchu Picchu:</strong> Set in a gorgeous tropical rainforest in Peru and overcome by time and moss, Incan architecture remains as a reminder of the frail balance between man and nature. Follow the Salcantay Route to the ruins for a trek through South American culture, beauty and history.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&bull;&nbsp;Complete the Appalachian Trail:</strong>&nbsp; From the mysterious south to the mountainous north, the Appalachian Trail covers 14 states and everything from swamps and farm country to historic battlefields and challenging mountain peaks. Whether you do a section at a time, or set out to complete it all at once, the Appalachian Trail offers the opportunity to meet new people and explore new places, while presenting the physical challenges of extremely varied terrain.</p> <p>When preparing for these more extreme camping adventures, allow yourself plenty of time to plan and learn the techniques you&rsquo;ll need on the trail. Then, be sure to get the right hiking gear and <a href=" ">backpacking grade hiking boots</a>&nbsp;that will hold up in the toughest conditions. For more information on these and other extreme camping opportunities and how to get where you&rsquo;re going, check out the National Geographic bucket list&nbsp; put together in 2011.</p> Sat, 19 Jan 2013 18:51:00 GMT What is your why? <p>As adventurers, explorers, endurance athletes and outdoor enthusiasts we are often faced with the question why?</p> <p>Why do you _____________ (run, train so hard, like to get muddy, climb mountains, compete in races, prefer sleeping in a tent)?</p> <p>It can catch you off guard and even leave you feeling discouraged. It&rsquo;s personal. Everybody has a why, but not everybody has discovered their why. I&rsquo;ve spent a good portion of my life responding to this question with a short, defensive phrase, &ldquo;if you have to ask why, you&rsquo;ll never understand.&rdquo; But recently I&rsquo;ve given the question more thought and here is my response:</p> <p><br />Why?</p> <p><br />Because I can. Because nothing makes me feel more alive. Because of 26 orphaned children in Kenya. Because I&rsquo;m scared. Because I am absolutely terrified. Because it makes me feel alive. Because I want to see if I can. Because it&rsquo;s hard. Because it teaches me about myself. Because I want to help others realize their dreams while living mine. Because I want to raise money for my cause. Because I&rsquo;m determined. Because I love the camaraderie. Because I want to see what I&rsquo;m made of. Because it makes me stronger. Because it&rsquo;s beautiful. Because I want to see the world. Because I want to be a better person. Because I was inspired. And because I want to inspire.</p> <p><br />What is your why?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 16 Jan 2013 05:38:00 GMT Goals... They don't just happen..... You have to GET OUTSIDE and make it happen TODAY! <p>Dustin Hinton - Merrell Alpha Pack Leader</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/1/picture (a).JPG" alt="" width="438" height="438" /></p> <p>In 2011 I had ZERO goals, ZERO drive, and ZERO medals, I was 220lbs, I didn't swim, I didn't bike, and I didn't run. I was eating a lot of food and doing a lot of NOTHING... I decided it was time to set a big goal, The 140.6 mile IRONMAN Triathlon, but I wanted to do it in one year, a real Couch to IRONMAN, and I wanted to complete every race along the way (13.1, 26.2, 70.3, and 140.6). Everyone thought I was a nut, crazy, and INSANE, but I wanted to do something big, something that would wake up my inner athlete, and most of all something that would give me a huge sense of accomplishment. I set small more reachable goals along the path to the BIG goal, that way I would have a string of accomplishments along the way to help me keep moving forward with confidence and excitement.</p> <p>Every small goal became more and more challenging, but with each finish I became stronger, more confident, and happier as a person. I started to discover things about myself that I didn't know existed. While spending hours and hours outside, in nature, with all of the fresh air, water, the hot, the cold, the rain, the snow, and all of the elements, I started to feel more and more ALIVE. I ran with groups of people, I swam with groups of people, I biked with groups of people, and along the way I made friends, the best of friends... There is something about moving forward, TOGETHER, with large amounts of people that just puts lightning in your veins and just wakes up your brain.</p> <p>I noticed quickly that time was really flying by and before I knew it the 13.1 was gone, the marathon (that had long intimated me) had passed, the 70.3 was in the rear view mirror, and now only one big goal remained, IRONMAN LOUISVILLE. I remember packing up the car and driving from New Orleans to Louisville, just my 4 year old son, my goggles, my bike, and my Merrell Bare Access shoes... It was a true journey... My son kept asking me during the drive, "Are we at IRONMAN yet Daddy?" HAHA, "Not yet Bud, Not yet..." Long story short, the gun went off and 15 hours and 55 minutes later I crossed the finish line, I became an IRONMAN, I held my son, and they put the medal around his little neck (you should have seen his eyes light up). That day was the single greatest day of my life, hands down...</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/1/picture (b).jpg" alt="" width="438" height="438" /></p> <p>Goals, when set, come quickly... Time is an unstoppable force and you just have to pick the right goals, you have to dream big, put your head down and work as hard as you can, and in the blink of an eye you'll be standing at the start line, and soon crossing the finish line. Sometimes we wait for the right time, we wait for everything to be perfect, we WAIT, and we WAIT, and we WAIT... Waiting is just another excuse... If you are waiting for a sign then here it is, GET OUTSIDE, START TODAY, AND DON'T GIVE UP UNTIL YOU REACH YOUR GOAL! Sincerely, YOUR SIGN!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/1/picture (c).jpg" alt="" width="438" height="438" /></p> <p>Oh, and P.S. - Goals sometimes come with an extra bonus, Like losing 55lbs... (I'm at 165lbs now!!)</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2013/1/picture (d).jpg" alt="" width="438" height="438" /><br />Do you have a goal (big or small)? Join The Pack by <a href="">clicking here</a> then tell us your goal by Tweeting it, Posting it on Instagram, or Post it to Our Merrell Facebook page. Use #MerrellPack and #BeMerrell for us to see it and let's all work together and reach your goal!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 09 Jan 2013 11:16:00 GMT Meet the Merrell Alphas! <p>The Merrell Alphas have arrived!</p> <p><br />What&rsquo;s an Alhpa? Alphas are elite members of The Pack. They lead by example, inspiring others through attitude and action, while challenging themselves to go beyond their own limits each and every day.</p> <p><br />Merrell set out to find any one from adventure racers to trainers, coaches to ultra runners &amp; we found them! What can you expect from this group of Alphas? They&rsquo;ll be busy advocates for our outside playground &amp; sharing what their up to along the way. Expect to see videos, blogs, tips, recipes &amp; more from this crew.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Meet the team:</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/12/Picture1usepack.png" alt="" width="438" height="263" /></p> <p><br />From Top Left to Right<br />Anne Bertucio, Eric Larson, Michael Lewis, Dustin Hinton<br />From Bottom Left to Right<br />Michael Chambers, Keighley Sadler</p> <p>Be on the lookout for tweets, posts, blogs &amp; more from this crew!</p> <p><br />Anne Bertucio &ndash; Portland, OR<br />Twitter: <a href="">@shevolutionfit<br /></a>Instagram: anniebertooch<br />Blog/Website: <a href=""></a></p> <p><br />Eric Larson &ndash; Boulder, CO<br />Twitter: <a href="">@ELexplore<br /></a>Blog/Website: <a href=""></a></p> <p>Michael Lewis - Santa Barbara CA<br />Twitter: <a href="@bizmike">@bizmike<br /></a>Instagram: bizmike<br />Blog/Website: <a href=""></a></p> <p>Dustin Hinton &ndash; Mandeville, LA<br />Twitter: <a href="">@dustinhinton<br /></a>Instagram: rundustin<br />Pinterest: <a href="">dustin hinton<br /></a>Youtube: rundustin<br />Website/Blog: <a href=""></a></p> <p>Michael Chambers - Little Compton, RI<br />Twitter: <a href="">@closeincontours<br /></a>Instagram: expeditionx<br />Blog/Website: <a href=""></a></p> <p>Keighley Sadler - Big Bend, WI<br />Twitter: <a href="">@keighleysadler<br /></a>Instagram: alphakeix<br />Pinterest: <a href="">cuppinkeix</a>, <a href="">Keighley Sadler</a></p> <p>Think you&rsquo;ve got what it takes to be an Alpha? We&rsquo;ll be adding to the team in Spring 2013. Apply here: <a href=""></a></p> Thu, 20 Dec 2012 16:14:00 GMT Robyn's Backyard Bootcamp <p>On those days where you only have 20 minutes for adult recess, you are taking a day off of running, and/or you want to work on overall core strength; here are a few fun exercises to do in your backyard or local park! For the best workout, move through each exercise quickly, and switch back and forth from upper body to lower body to abdominals in a circuit fashion, so as to minimize burnout on one muscle group and keep the cardio momentum up!</p> <p><strong>UPPER BODY</strong></p> <p>Push Ups-- Shoot for 2 sets of 15 of each to start, and work up to 3 sets of 30!</p> <p>*Straight Pushups--All the way down, baby! Correct pushups should only leave one fist of space between you and the ground.&nbsp; Have a buddy check you on depth by placing a fist, with thumb up, under the middle of your chest.&nbsp; If you don't touch it, it doesn't count. :)</p> <p>*Narrow/diamond Pushups--place hands in front of you in a position in which your index fingers and thumbs are touching one another, forming a diamond.&nbsp; For additional burn and tricep involvement, keep your elbows pinned to your sides throughout the pushup.&nbsp; Owwwww.&nbsp;</p> <p>*Wide Pushups--Great for chest muscles! Place your hands about 6 inches outside of your shoulder width on each side</p> <p>*Four Count Pushups--Start with your arms straight in pushup position. Count "1" is halfway down to the bottom, count "2" is all the way down, count "3" is back to halfway up, and count "4" is the return to straight arms.&nbsp; For extra fun, hold for 3 seconds at each level.&nbsp;</p> <p>*One legged Pushups--Same as the two legged kind, but holding one leg several inches off the floor tripod style.&nbsp; Switch legs halfway through the set!</p> <p>Pull Ups&nbsp;&nbsp; If you haves a swing set, sturdy gate, underside of a slide or monkey bars around, you have a pull up station! Start with 3 sets of 1-5 if you can, and work up to 3 sets of 15-20.&nbsp; If you have a friend/teammate with you, it's a great idea to spot (aka help!) each other by placing some positive upward lift underneath your bent knees</p> <p>*Normal Grip--Hands shoulder width apart with forward grip (palms facing away from you)<br />*Reverse Grip--Hands slightly less than shoulder width apart and palms facing you. Great for biceps</p> <p>*Wide Grip--Hands about 4 inches wider than shoulder width apart, forward grip.&nbsp; Great for your lats!</p> <p>Planks--Planks are perfect for your core and back strength.&nbsp; The "plank" position is similar to a pushup position, but you are on your elbows instead of your hands.&nbsp; In other words, facing down, elbows on the ground and forearms and palms flat on the ground and parallel to one another (like the sphinx). Start with 30 seconds and work up to 2 minutes of each variation!</p> <p>*On elbows--Don&rsquo;t let your back sag and keep your abs tight!</p> <p>*On one side--Roll over onto one side, now balanced on only one elbow and stacked onto one foot.&nbsp; Put the other hand on your waist.&nbsp; Switch sides after 30 seconds or one minute, superstar status if you can hold for 2 minutes on each side.</p> <p>*On straight arm--Same as above, but this time instead of resting on one elbow, you're resting one straight arm and stacked onto one foot, sideways to the ground.&nbsp; Other arm extends to the sky.</p> <p>Bench Bonus Fun!&nbsp; If you have access to bench, or set of stairs, you can supersize your upper body workout!</p> <p>*Incline Pushups--Hands on the bench and feet on the ground, generally a 45 degree angle</p> <p>*Decline Pushups--Hands on the ground and feet on the bench!&nbsp; Great for shoulders.</p> <p>*Shoulder Slides--Hands on the ground and feet on the bench. Keep your arms straight and just glide forward over your shoulders as far as you can and then back toward the bench.&nbsp; Slowly. Awesome shoulder definition and strength builder.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/12/MRL_FW12_8043_LowRes_RGB.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="292" /></p> <p><br />-----------------------------------------------</p> <p><strong>LOWER BODY</strong></p> <p>Lunges--For each drill, start with 2 sets of 15 on each side and work up to 3 sets of 30</p> <p>*Forward--Step one foot forward about 2 feet and then bend your front leg to a 90 degree angle (so your thigh is horizontal to the ground and your knee is just over your toes).&nbsp; Then press off that bent leg and bring the leg that was behind you forward into a standing position once again.&nbsp; Now lunge out with the opposite leg. If you can find a space of about 25 yards, you can lunge and move forward all the way down a stretch of park. OR you can do lunges in place.</p> <p>*Sideways--Now face 90 degrees to the direction of travel and lunge sideways, with your toes slightly outward facing, and your knees bending at a 90 degree angle over your feet.&nbsp; Again move forward with each consecutive lunge or lunge from side to side in place.</p> <p>*Lunge Switches --Power Move!--Step out into your lunge position and then explode upward and switch legs in the air, landing in a lunge position on the other side.&nbsp; Explode upward again each time you land and switch legs.</p> <p>*Over/Back jumps and hops--Power Move!--Find a small 3-8 inch tall obstacle or find an obvious crack/line in the ground.&nbsp; Stand sideways to the obstacle and jump over and back over the obstacle quickly, side to side, explosively jumping to the other side the moment you land.&nbsp; Once you have this move down, you can try it forwards and backwards and/or increase the height of the obstacle. Superstar status: Try it on one leg, hopping.&nbsp; Good times!</p> <p>*Wall Squats-- This is a static move, for strength.&nbsp; Put your back up against a wall, slide your feet out and slide your back down the wall until you are in a position that appears as though you're sitting in a chair with your thighs horizontal to the ground, and your knees over your toes.&nbsp; Hold that position for 1 minute at first, and work up to 5 minutes.</p> <p>Bench Bonus Fun!--Supersize your lower body workout with a bench or anything you can step up onto! Try 2 sets of 10 to start and work up to 5 sets of 15 of each</p> <p>*Bench Jumps--Power Move!--Face the bench and jump with explosive power up onto it with both feet.&nbsp; Jump back down and repeat.&nbsp; You've achieved superstar status when you can go from the ground to the bench back and forth without stopping for 15 reps.</p> <p>*Step Ups--Just as it sounds. Step up onto the bench, push and extend your leg using your gluteus (butt!) muscle and step down, switch legs and repeat!</p> <p>*Step up with Leg Raise or Hop--Same step up as above, but upon extending the lower leg (the leg that's stepping on the bench); also raise your trailing leg as high as you can behind you simultaneously.&nbsp; Great gluteus workout on both sides with each step.&nbsp; As you get more advanced, you can add a power move and hop as you explosively push through the bottom leg. <br />-------------------------------</p> <p><strong>ABDOMINALS</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong>*Bicycles--Just like in grade school! Lay on your back with your hands beneath the small of our back, filling in the space and head a few inches off the floor.&nbsp; Bicycle motion with your leg for 3 sets of 30!</p> <p>*Scissors--Same start position as the bicycle, above, but keep your legs straight and scissor them up and down, alternating.&nbsp; 3 sets of 30!</p> <p>*Hello Dolly&rsquo;s (at least that's what my Navy Seal friends called them!).&nbsp; Same start position as bicycle, above, and start with legs together and elevated 6 inches off the ground.&nbsp; Straddle your legs wide and bring them back together repeatedly until tired! 3 sets of 30!</p> <p>*Tuck ups--Lay on your back.&nbsp; Quickly and simultaneously raise your chest and your bent knees and grab your knees into a tuck position, balancing on your buns momentarily.&nbsp; Reset and repeat! 3 sets of 15 to start.</p> <p>*V Ups--Same start position as tucks ups, but the advanced version, the "V Up" involved keeping your legs straight when you raise them to meet your upper body so you're balancing on your buns in the "V or Pike" position vs. the tuck position.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/12/MRL_FW12_3231_LowRes_RGB.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="658" /></p> <p><br />------------------------------------------------</p> <p><strong>PARTNER DRILLS</strong>--Getting strong with a little help from your friends!</p> <p>*Wheel Barrow--Yeah for "Field Day at School" memories! Get into the pushup position and have a friend pick your feet up at the ankles.&nbsp; Now walk 25 yards on your hands before returning the favor to your friend on the way back.&nbsp; 2 sets each</p> <p>*Handstands--Great for shoulders!&nbsp; Place your hands on the ground and have your partner help you kick up into a handstand.&nbsp; Hold the handstand for 1 minute.&nbsp; It's harder than it looks! 2 sets each</p> <p>*Back to Back Chair Sits--Stand back to back with your partner and lean your weight against one another (trust drill!).&nbsp; Interlock your arms at the elbows for support. Slowly squat down together until your thighs are parallel to the ground and hold for 1 minute! Stand back up, walk it out and try 2 more!</p> <p>*Back to Back Squats--Stand back to back with your partner and lean against one another.&nbsp; Interlock your arms at the elbows for support. Slowly lower yourselves together into a squat/chair position with your thighs parallel to the ground and return to standing. Repeat 20 times, twice!</p> <p>Who knew that a backyard, jungle gym, or park could be so good for your soul on so many levels!&nbsp; Congratulations on your awesomeness superstar!&nbsp; You're better every day....</p> <p>~XO Robyn</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 16 Dec 2012 14:32:00 GMT Wine Pairings in the Woods <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: left">Imagine kicking off your hiking boots and relaxing by the campfire with a smoky glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. In the past, wine has not been the first choice of outdoor enthusiasts. After all, heavy glass bottles don&rsquo;t go well with a &ldquo;carry in, carry out&rdquo; policy, especially for backpackers. And if you&rsquo;re a wine enthusiast, you may shudder at the thought of drinking boxed wine. However, throughout the years, boxed wines have improved to the point that even a true connoisseur can admit they have a time and a place. Check out our recommendations for wine pairings in the woods.</p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: left"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/11/IMG_7278.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="308" /></p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: left"><strong>How to travel with wine in the woods<br /></strong>There are two common ways to bring wine to the woods: boxed wines and portable decanters. Each has its own benefits, and what works best for you will depend on your taste and the campfire meals you have planned.</p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: left"><strong>The benefits of boxed wine in the woods<br /></strong>Boxed wines lend themselves well to camping because they&rsquo;re lighter and more portable. They&rsquo;re also more eco-friendly than their glass counterparts, reducing landfill waste by about 85 percent and leaving half the&nbsp; carbon footprint.</p> <p>The bags of most boxed wines are durable, so you can take them out for better transportation or to cool them in a nearby stream (as long as you keep the spout out to avoid contamination). Plus, the air-tight valve&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; reduces oxidation and will keep your wine fresher, longer. But if you&rsquo;re worried about puncturing bags or don&rsquo;t want to bring three liters of wine into the woods, many brands make 500ml tetra paks (about 2.5 glasses per box), which allow you to bring a little variety to your wine selection in the woods.</p> <p><strong>Perfectly portable camping decanters<br /></strong>Not sold on bringing boxed wine? For the true connoisseur, there are several ways you can bring your favorite varietal of vino with you in the woods:</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &bull;&nbsp;The PlatyPreserve Wine Preservation System from Platypus is a durable, lightweight bag that holds one 800ml bottle of wine and protects it from UV rays and oxygen.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &bull;&nbsp;The Sea to Summit Pack Tap bag is designed to hold water, but its Mylar bladder is the same material used for wine bladders, so it won&rsquo;t transfer flavor to your vino. The pack is available in two-, four-, six- and 10-liter bladders and can be rolled up when empty.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/11/IMG_3214.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="308" /></p> <p><strong>Pairing wine with food in the woods<br /></strong>These wine pairings will help you get the best flavor from your campfire meals. When you&rsquo;re pairing wines, try to remember to choose light wines for light meals and match the country your varietal comes from with your recipe&rsquo;s country of origin.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &bull;&nbsp;<strong>Salmon</strong>: Pair this dish with a Pinot Noir or Burgundy as their light, underlying structure will match the fish. If you&rsquo;re looking for a brighter flavor, something crisp and fruity, a Pinot Gris would also pair well, especially if you&rsquo;re using a buttery sauce. Dominio IV Dundee Hills makes a Pinot Noir that ranked highly in a 2011 New York Times taste test, but it&rsquo;s pricier than other boxed wines, coming in at $90 for three liters.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &bull;&nbsp;<strong>Chicken Kabobs</strong>: A deliciously easy campfire meal, kabobs are full of color and flavor and go well with a Chardonnay or White Burgundy. Eco Vino packages their Chardonnay in a convenient pouch, so you can keep your wine cool if you&rsquo;re camping near a stream or lake.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &bull;&nbsp;<strong>Fresh Trout</strong>: What&rsquo;s better after a long day of hiking and fishing than relaxing around a campfire and making a meal of your day&rsquo;s spoils? A versatile fish, trout pairs best with a Cabernet Franc but will also match well with a Pinot Noir or even a Merlot. Consider a From the Tank white or red wine pairing with this campfire meal. The New York Times sat this brand at number two on its list.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<strong>&nbsp; &bull;&nbsp;Chili or beef kabobs</strong>: A Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot is a great choice with beef as the tannins balance the full flavor of the fattier meat. When you have a spicier campfire meal, you want a wine that can keep up, so pair a Syrah with a peppery steak or Dutch Oven chili. The perfect wine pairing for this may be the Wineberry Domaine Le Garrigon Box, which was number one for the New York Times and is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan grapes.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &bull;&nbsp;<strong>Dehydrated Meals</strong>: They&rsquo;re not as tasty as the gourmet campfire meals you can whip up at a campground or on a canoe trip, but their portability makes them practical for backpacking. Add some flavor to Italian meals with a Merlot or Chianti, or choose a Sauvignon Blanc for your lighter meals that aren&rsquo;t cooked in a red sauce. Black Box makes an interesting Sauvignon Blanc that ranked sixth for the New York Times and also has a good Merlot and Malbec.</p> <p>Just heading out for the day? Copa Di Vino makes premium, single-serving wine glasses that are portable and eco-friendly. These plastic glasses are easy way to pair wine with food, sip at sunset or enjoy around a bonfire with friends.</p> <p><strong>A final tip for wine in the woods<br /></strong>When you&rsquo;re camping and bringing wine in the woods, it&rsquo;s important to stay hydrated. Before you sit down to that relaxing glass of Cabernet and warm your <a href=" ">hiking boots</a>&nbsp;by the fire, be sure to fill up your hydration pack and replenish your fluids.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 25 Nov 2012 19:38:00 GMT Free Up Your Running Form with Barefoot Running Shoes <p><br />Proper running form is important to the health and strength of your muscles and joints. Barefoot running is all about re-training your body to run the way it was designed to run. Often, runners rely on their shoes to correct their form or support their injuries. Many over-stride and heel strike, absorbing force in their joints which can cause pain and damage over time. With barefoot running, the minimalist shoes allow you to run with a midfoot-strike, positioning your foot to distribute the force of running more evenly. It also helps you get back to natural alignment, strengthens muscles and gives you a better workout by using your body&rsquo;s natural propulsion. Consider how men&rsquo;s or women&rsquo;s barefoot running shoes could improve your running form and overall performance with these tips on barefoot running.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/11/MRL_FW12_3001_MediumRes_RGB.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="292" /></p> <p><br /><br /><strong>&bull;</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>Start slow.</strong> With a minimalist shoe, your muscles are working differently, which may cause pain or soreness as you begin. You&rsquo;ll probably want to work your way down to barefoot running with minimalist running shoes that have more cushion than a true barefoot shoe. Merrell&rsquo;s Barefoot Run Bare Access 2&nbsp;<a href="">running shoe for men</a> and women is a great starter shoe. Once you get used to the zero drop design from heel to toe, move to a shoe with a little less cushioning. <br /><br /><strong>&bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong>&nbsp; <strong>Listen to your body</strong>. When you&rsquo;re starting out, you should only run one to two miles a day in your barefoot shoes, and pay close attention to how your body feels. If you&rsquo;re sore, cross train a few days and maintain the same distance each time you run until your muscles get used to the new stride. Over time, running in barefoot shoes can reduce pain and injuries while running as it strengthens your ankles, calves and Achilles tendons. However, this is going to be a new experience to your body, and you should ease into it to avoid injuries. Build your endurance gradually.<br /><br /><strong>&bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Pay close attention to your running form</strong>. Barefoot running shoes connect you with the ground, strengthen and tone your muscles, and they&rsquo;re lighter than traditional shoes, but they won&rsquo;t magically correct your form. To avoid injury while running, focus on where your foot falls, your posture, and your strides per minute. You may even want to run with a friend who will critique you so you know where to improve your running form.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/11/MRL_FW12_6411_MediumRes_RGB.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="292" /><br /><br /><strong>&bull;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Get the right shoe for you.</strong> Men&rsquo;s and women&rsquo;s <a href=" ">barefoot shoes</a>&nbsp;come in several different styles, including shoes designed for watersports, running, climbing, training and every-day wear. If you&rsquo;re a trail runner, consider our trail gloves that have the protection you need when navigating roots and rocks. Or, if you&rsquo;re looking for the perfect strength-training shoe, check out our line of training shoes. <br /><br /><strong>Run the way you were meant to with barefoot running shoes for men and women</strong><br />Connect to the earth and nature in a way you never have before with barefoot running shoes. Whether you&rsquo;re a sprinter, distance runner or adventure racer, barefoot shoes can benefit your running form. You&rsquo;ll discover your muscles are getting stronger, your posture&rsquo;s getting better, and you&rsquo;re getting faster. Get the most out of your workouts and hobbies with men's and women&rsquo;s barefoot shoes. For help getting started use the <a href=" ">Merrell training plan</a>, and find out from our coaches how <a href=" ">barefoot running</a>&nbsp;is better for your body.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 06 Nov 2012 19:28:00 GMT #BeMERRELL Photo Contest <p>We all want to believe we can do things. Special things. Personal things. Shared things. Our #BeMERRELL contest is about sharing how you get outside &amp; inspiring others to do the same. Whether it&rsquo;s through challenges, time with family, or just being plain weird. We want to see it all! That&rsquo;s why we are looking to you, our loyal fans, for inspiration this month. Show us how you #BeMERRELL by sharing your adventures with us. We believe in getting outside &amp; making the most of our time in the beautiful outdoors. We&rsquo;re pretty sure you feel the same so share away!</p> <p>So here&rsquo;s the deal&hellip; Show us what you&rsquo;re up to! Share your experiences with us through pictures. Show us your struggles, your accomplishments &amp; just good ol&rsquo; fun days in the sun.</p> <p>How? <br />&bull;&nbsp;Share your photos with us on <a href="">Twitter</a>, <a href="">Instagram</a>, or <a href="">Pinterest</a>. <br />&bull;&nbsp;Include your own &lsquo;Be _____&rsquo; (you fill in the blank) phrase in your post. <br />&bull;&nbsp;Make sure you use the hashtag #BeMERRELL &amp; @MerrellOutside so we can find it. <br />&bull;&nbsp;Once you share with us, we will post to our #BeMERRELL Pinterest Board for all to see &amp; enjoy!</p> <p><br />Okay so now we&rsquo;ll get to the good part. We've got prizes!&nbsp;WINNERS CHOSEN JANUARY 3. Here&rsquo;s the categories:</p> <ul> <li>Most Adventurous</li> <li>Most Laughable</li> <li>Most Inspirational</li> <li>Quirkiest</li> <li>Grand Prize Winner</li> </ul> <p>Prizes will include Merrell Money, and (drum roll please) our Grand Prize winner will receive a one of a kind Merrell Bicycle!*</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/12/MRL_BikeGiveAwayPic_10_LowRes_RGB.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="292" /></p> <p>&nbsp;<br />Here&rsquo;s some examples to get you thinking&hellip; Ready, set, go!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Be Fearless #BeMERRELL</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/10/BeFearless.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="291" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Be Lost&hellip; We&rsquo;ve all been there! #BeMERRELL<br /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/10/BeLost_JS.png" alt="" width="438" height="329" /></p> <p>Pinterest page: <a href=""></a><br />Twitter: <a href=" "> </a>&nbsp;<br />Facebook: <a href=""></a><br />Twitter &amp; Instagram: @merrelloutside<br />Hashtag: #BeMERRELL</p> <p>*Must be US resident to be eligible for prizes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 29 Oct 2012 08:15:00 GMT Molly Cam: Harvest 2012 <p>Woof!&nbsp; Woof! Woof!&nbsp; We love harvest!&nbsp;&nbsp; After a long, sunny, beautiful summer the grapes came into their full sugars a little more than a week ago - then the waiting began.&nbsp; See, at Styring, we wait.&nbsp; We wait for flavors.&nbsp; We wait for rain.&nbsp; And this year, we got both!</p> <p>A little rain is a good thing.&nbsp; It washes away the dust and makes the fruit seem fresher.&nbsp;&nbsp; A little rain followed by sun would have been perfect and that's what the weather initially predicted.&nbsp; BUT of course, that's not what happened.&nbsp; We got a LOT of rain - more than 3 inches!&nbsp; All of our neighbors brought in their grapes before it started and we chewed our nails for three days as it soaked down to our souls.&nbsp; Fortunately, our grapes have deep roots because we dry farm and we had three months without rain -- so we didn't take up much water from the downpour.&nbsp; We had one full day of beautiful sun then pulled in the grapes with spectacular results.&nbsp; The flavors are robust, the sugars are spot on what we wanted and everything is clean and pretty.&nbsp; We expect this to be an amazing vintage.&nbsp;&nbsp; Farming is risky.&nbsp; Craft winemaking is steeped in tradition and part of that is holding out for more -- most of the time it's worth it.&nbsp; Looks like 2012 will be a year for the books.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/10/Berrys.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="330" /></p> <p>Right now we're in the throes of fermentation so that relief has been replaced with a lingering exhaustion until everything's in barrel in a couple of weeks.&nbsp; We hope many of you will visit us during the coming year.&nbsp; Happy Harvest to all!&nbsp; Woof!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/10/punchdown.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="590" />&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 23 Oct 2012 00:29:00 GMT Around the Family Table By Family Foodie – Isabel Laessig <p>When I look at our Kitchen Table, it is so much more than just a piece of furniture in our home. It is certainly not the most expensive piece of furniture that we own.&nbsp;&nbsp; This poor thing has been used and abused. It has scratches and dents on top. We tend to keep place settings set at all times so that its imperfections are not obvious to guests.</p> <p><br />When I look at it, I don&rsquo;t see its imperfections. I see comfort, laughter, tears and transitions. I see Sunday Supper, history, and I see lots of character.&nbsp; I see sticky fingers, homework, card games and reminders of our &ldquo;no thank you bite policy.&rdquo; Our Kitchen Table has been through ups and downs with us but it&rsquo;s always there waiting for us and offers comfort every time we gather Around the Family Table.</p> <p><br />Who would have known when I found this beauty so long ago that it would be such a big part of our lives?&nbsp; It is really quite simple and there isn&rsquo;t much to the design but when you really look at each scratch and dent, you can almost read our story and family mission.</p> <p><br />I have always known how much spending time Around the Family Table has meant to me, but I did not realize how much it meant to my children until my oldest left for college.&nbsp;&nbsp; On the morning she left for college, she told me the thing she would miss most was the time spent Around the Family Table.&nbsp; For us, it all started with Sunday Supper and soon became a way of life.&nbsp; I will always treasure how much Alexandra loved meatballs and when she tried meatball salad, she was immediately addicted.</p> <p><br />It is true, the Family Table is the heart of our home and where memories that will last a lifetime are made.&nbsp; Like our table, the food that we serve is simple but unforgettable.&nbsp; Our family meals are about so much more than food.&nbsp; Our time Around the Family Table comforts and feeds our family with the ingredients they need to face the world on their own.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/10/Meatball-Salad2.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="543" /></p> <p>While we love enjoying a good meal made up of&nbsp; Meatballs and Pasta Around the Family Table for Sunday Supper, and love using our leftovers as a base for easy Weekday Suppers.&nbsp; The first time we enjoyed meatballs on top of a bed of salad was at a restaurant in South Florida.&nbsp; Ron and I couldn&rsquo;t believe how much we enjoyed this combination and decided that we must make this at home.&nbsp; Once the meatballs are made, there really is nothing to it and you are set for easy weekday supper.&nbsp;&nbsp; Sometimes I use <a href="">Portuguese Meatballs</a>&nbsp; and other times my <a href="">Traditional Family Meatballs</a>.&nbsp; There really is no wrong way to make this fabulous meatball meal.</p> <p><br />I make a salad bed with Romaine Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumbers and dress with Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil.&nbsp; Throw in a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper and you are go to go!&nbsp; The best part is the splash of parmesan cheese on top of the meatballs..&nbsp; Delish!</p> <p><br />I am a believer that everyone needs a mission.&nbsp; Whether you are a brand or a family, creating a mission is one of the most important things you can do!&nbsp; We talk to our children about our family mission and they understand that we are in this together.&nbsp; It is our obligation as a family to make a difference.&nbsp; We are grounded in our Sunday Supper Mission.</p> <p><br />I have been inspired by <a href="">Merrell </a>to get outside and make a difference with my family.&nbsp; We are taking the <a href="">Merrell Challenge</a> as a family and loving every minute of it.&nbsp; I love a brand with a great mission and <a href="">Merrell </a>is on a mission to get us all outside!</p> <p><br />Follow Merrell on <a href="">Twitter</a><br />Follow Merrell on <a href="">Facebook </a><br />Follow Merrell on <a href="">Pinterest</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 17 Oct 2012 00:18:00 GMT Savoring the Finest of the season: Setting the table with Foraged, Wild Foods By Lisa Rose Starner <p><br /><strong>Field experiences<br /></strong>As a child, my family went hunting for morels and my first pie I made in my first college apartment was one from foraged mulberries. As I became a regular forager, I started gathering the easy plants for meals at my table -- the dandelions, the violets, the nettles, the burdock, the garlic mustard. All easy to identify, easy to prepare.</p> <p>My love for plants has grown so much that I can identify so many trees, flowers, vegetables, seeds, etc. in my gardens &amp; neighborhood to use for food, fiber &amp; plant medicine. I feel so empowered with that relationship to the wild world around me. And this is something, too, that my own children are now learning as they work alongside me in the garden and accompany me on hikes in the woods.</p> <p>It excites me to see that foraging is becoming more and more popular a skill, especially as urbanites yearn to connect to the land around them.&nbsp; The uncultivated spaces around us offer many different plants that can be used as wild foods and herbal preparations to keep us well. But where to start? How to venture into developing your skills as a forager?</p> <p><strong>So where to start? Get outside.<br /></strong>As a forager and herbalist, frequently I am asked "What's outside now that I can forage or harvest?" or "How do I know what's edible?" or "Where do I start if I want to forage?"<br /><br />My answer usually is, "If you want to forage, you'll have to get outside." Being outside, taking time to learn the land and plants around you is key not only in learning what plants are edible, but it helps cultivate within you a relationship to the land around you. It helps foster an understanding&nbsp; of place and over time, this relationship will lead to being a steward of the land in the most true sense.</p> <p>Additionally, being a forager and plant medicine maker requires that I pay attention to the cycles of the year beyond the bloom times of basic fruits and vegetables. Several years ago I didn't know at first when the burdock would be ready to harvest or at what point in the spring the nettles would be just too big to use. Now I can intuit the subtle changes in the weather and how that might affect a wild rose harvest or perhaps even a wild mushroom bloom. This is a skill that will develop the more and more you are outdoors observing nature.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/10/Picture12For.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="438" /></p> <p><strong>Pick a place that you are familiar, map it, and watch<br /></strong>Foraging, at its essence, is being able to rely on the wild plants that live around you. So in thinking about your *getting outside* -- step into your yard (patch of grass, even) right outside your doorstep to start your learnings. Pay attention to the plants that live around you. With a field guide, sketchbook and perhaps a camera in hand, begin to document the plants that you see.</p> <p>Make a map of the area. Draw it out by hand. Look it up in Google Maps to see where you *are* &mdash; take note of the significant geological structures like lakes, streams, forests (gypsum mines!) and also the manmade, built constructs in your community like highways, factories, etc.&nbsp; This is where you live.</p> <p>Then, begin to go outside on regular walks where you live, intentionally taking time to *notice* all that is growing. Take note of the new plants that will come up across the season.</p> <p>Add the plants you notice to your map. Take photos, draw pictures of plants to learn them more intimately. Don't get caught up in learning their names at first.&nbsp; Collect these photos and take plant clippings if you need, and from there start your ID process.</p> <p><strong>Foraging 101: Ethics, ID &amp; Plant Populations<br /></strong>It's wise, for a multitude of reasons, to know for certain the plants before you do any harvesting. Don't harvest unless you can positively ID the plant of interest.&nbsp; This is both respectful of the plant and also can help prevent you from making yourself seriously ill from harvesting the wrong plant or harvesting and eating the wrong plant part. Safety first &mdash; poisoning is possible, and a drag.</p> <p>Get a few basic plant ID guides - the Peterson Field Guides are easy to procure as are the field guides by The Nation Wildlife Federation. If you do not want to invest in field guides for plant ID, head your nearest library or nature center for field guide resources.</p> <p>Online writings by foragers Steve Brill, Sam Thayer, Leda Meredith, Lagdon Cook, Butter Powered Bike and Hank Shaw&nbsp; are great resources for recipes. And while written for an herbalist audience, New York herbalist 7Song authors an excellent primer on ethical foraging and wildcrafting.&nbsp; Read it here.</p> <p>No field guide or resource is completely exhaustive, and you'll find yourself seeking out a multitude of resources on your foraging learning journey. There are also more and more app-based field guides popping up, and they vary in functionality.&nbsp; But technology increases, I am sure one day we will have access to an app that is like a Shazam for plants! And even then, I am sure we will also still need to rely on those field guides.</p> <p>Beyond positive plant ID, it is important not to harvest until you can affirm that the harvest won't negatively impact the plant's population. Some things to ask: Is it local to your area and is it plentiful and even considered an invasive species (like Garlic Mustard)? Is it a threatened plant? Should I only be clipping the tops so the plant can regenerate? Are more people harvesting this<br />&nbsp;<br />plant and will my harvest, too, stress its abundance in our region?</p> <p>Of course, also be sure to have legal permission to be gathering from the lands that you want to forage. Parks all have various<br />rules about foraging and if it is private land, it&rsquo;s good karma to ask permission rather than trespass. And who knows if you ask them to got along with you, you might make a new friend or two!</p> <p><strong>Easy plants to learn to ID<br /></strong>My favorites? I always point out to beginners plants like Plantain, Dandelion, Burdock, Wild Mints, edible berries like Mulberry, Raspberry and Blackberry. Depending on where you live, you may also have Purslane, Garlic Mustard, Nettle and Elderberry. And then there are the Pine needles, the Sassafras leaves, the Crabapples and Elderberries.</p> <p>Once you begin to learn what grows around you, you will find yourself foraging at all times of the year. It's quite a rewarding and gratifying way to add nature's bounty to your table.</p> <p>And one last thing before you head out: Foraging isn't about free forest food for the taking. It's about relationships with the plants around us. Do no harm, and leave the places from which we harvest in better shape than what we found them.</p> <p>So from here put on your boots, grab a basket, head out to the woods and have fun!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Recipe: Foraged Nettle &amp; Michigan Morel Risotto</strong></p> <p> <p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/10/Foraging.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="583" /></p> <p>1/4 pound young nettles (about 3 big handfuls - it will wilt like spinach)<br />12 oz risotto/arborio rice<br />1 onion, chopped<br />4 Tablespoons butter<br />1/2 cup dry Michigan white wine (an extra glass for the chef)<br />6 cups chicken or vegetable stock<br />1 oz grated Parmesan cheese<br />1 cup chopped fresh Michigan morels (if lucky) or fresh shitakes<br />&frac14; cup chopped, fresh parsley<br />Salt, pepper to taste<br />Heat the stock in a large saucepan.<br />Wash the nettle leaves. Blanch for 2 minutes in boiling salted water, drain and chop very finely. Set aside to add at the end. Cook onion and morels gently in half the butter in a large saucepan for a few minutes until tender.<br />Add rice and cook over a slightly higher heat for 2 minutes while stirring. Pour in the wine, deglazing the pan. Cook, uncovered, until all the wine has evaporated, then add about 1 cup boiling hot stock; leave the risotto to cook, stirring occasionally and adding about 1/2 cup boiling stock at intervals as the rice absorbs the liquid.<br />After about 14 - 15 minutes' cooking time the rice will be tender but still have a little 'bite' left in it when tested.&nbsp; Add the prepared nettles and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring.<br />Take off the heat and stir in the remaining butter which will melt and make the rice look glossy;<br />Sprinkle with the freshly grated Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir gently and serve immediately.</p> </p> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 09 Oct 2012 17:11:00 GMT CSA Trouble? How to Use Up That Strange Vegetable By Guilty Kitchen <p>This is a special post brought to you by moi, of course, and none other than the lovely Merrell Shoe &amp; Clothing&nbsp;Company.</p> <p>Guilty Kitchen partnered with Merrell, outdoor shoe and clothing brand, this month, to encourage communities to come together outside (where all the fun happens). Farmers markets and grape harvests are places in the Fall that bring families and friends together to celebrate a fine life outside. Together we share an original recipe, created specifically for Merrell, that uses a key ingredient you probably get a lot of at your local CSA and often don&rsquo;t know how to use. Ever wonder what to do with all of that kale besides boring old kale chips?</p> <p>Are you a member of a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture? CSAs are springing up all over North America as convenient ways to eat locally produced foods. Farmers produce a crop (be it vegetable, animal, fruit, fish or eggs) and people buy shares. The product is delivered to your door or picked up at farm stands in your neighbourhood. CSAs provide a great way for anyone and everyone to participate in supporting local farmers. The farmer is assured his crop will be sold, and you, the buyer get to enjoy fresh, local food at better then market value (most of the time).</p> <p><br />But what happens when you receive a lot of the same vegetable? Worse, you keep getting a vegetable that you have no idea what to do with or have very little use for? I often see kale as a popular CSA vegetable as it is as easy as weeds to grow and makes for a great addition to any CSA box. The problem is, most people don&rsquo;t know what to do with it beyond saut&eacute;ing, green smoothies, making it into the ever popular kale &ldquo;chip&rdquo; or throwing it chopped up into their salads or mashed potatoes. But kale has many uses indeed.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/10/IMG_4133.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="292" /></p> <p>Kale is a wonderful vegetable filled with vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, fiber, copper, calcium, vitamin B6, potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamin E, omega-3 fats, vitamin B2, protein, vitamin B1, folate, phosphorus and vitamin B3. It&rsquo;s a super vegetable!</p> <p>It&rsquo;s also delicious and for anyone following low carb, paleo, gluten free or grain free diets, it&rsquo;s a miracle in the wrap department! Lettuce makes a convenient wrap, but kale is far superior in the health department.</p> <p>So if your CSA box is filling your fridge with kale leaves and you&rsquo;ve had just about enough of green smoothies and kale chips, then try this great wrap for dinner. It also saves well for leftovers the next day, a self contained lunch for anyone on the go.</p> <p><br /><strong>Kale and Bison Roll Ups</strong></p> <p><strong></strong><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/10/KaleWraps.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="291" /><br />6 large kale leaves<br />1 tsp coconut oil<br />1 small onion, diced<br />1 clove garlic, minced or grated<br />3/4 cup shredded carrot<br />2 cups shredded zucchini, squeezed of excess moisture<br />2 cups shredded green cabbage<br />500g extra lean grass fed ground beef or bison (or a mixture of the two)<br />sea salt to taste<br />fresh cracked pepper to taste<br />2 tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce<br />1/4 tsp cayenne<br />1 1/2 tsp dried oregano, chopped<br />1/4 tsp coriander<br />1 tsp chili powder<br />1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (optional garnish)<br />1/2 an avocado, sliced (optional garnish)<br />1/4 cup chopped chives (optional garnish)</p> <p>1. Cut the stems off the Kale at the bottom of the leaf. Flip the kale over and run the knife parallel to the leaf (along the stem) to make it flatter. This will also help when you bite into it.</p> <p><br />2. Fill a pot fitted with a steamer attachment with two inches of water. Bring to a boil and arrange leaves flat in the steamer. Steam for about 3 minutes. Remove and drain on towels. Set aside until needed.</p> <p><br />3. In a heavy saucepan (cast iron is best), heat coconut oil until hot. Place the onion and garlic in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, or until onions are browned. Add in the other vegetables and cook until softened.</p> <p><br />4. Add in the ground meat and cook for another 7-8 minutes, or until browned. Season with salt, pepper, coconut aminos and other spices. Remove from heat and set aside.</p> <p><br />5. Place a large spoonful of the meat mixture onto a flattened and laid out kale leaf, top with optional garnishes. Roll the bottom of the leaf over the meat, then each side into the middle and finally roll up like a burrito. Set seam side down on plates and serve.</p> <p><br />6. These are great dipped in creamy aiolis and served with a side salad!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For more information and to celebrate getting outside as a community check out, visit and join Merrell&rsquo;s social communities for more. Share your recipes, tips on getting outside and join in the fun. <a href=""></a></p> <p>Twitter: @merrelloutside</p> <p>Facebook: <a href=""></a></p> <p>Pinterest: <a href=""></a></p> Tue, 09 Oct 2012 11:43:00 GMT Tastes like Harvest to Me! <p>As a wine dog, one of the things I love most is walking the vineyard.&nbsp;&nbsp; See, I'm an omnivore so the world is my snack cabinet.&nbsp; This time of year, closing in on harvest, there are so many things to eat it's tough to put my attention to any one thing.&nbsp;&nbsp; I'll spot a juice plumb on the ground, then succumb to the distraction of a mouse scurrying down the vine row.&nbsp; No sooner do I snatch him up by the tail and the smell of ripening grapes catches my nose.&nbsp; Honestly, I'm all over the place.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/10/grapds.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="583" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">You can taste the sun in this Riesling.</span></p> <p>Today I tasted the Pinot Noir and it is delicious.&nbsp; Sugars are just about right so I expect the wine man to bring them in any day.&nbsp; Now, don't get all riled up about me eating grapes.&nbsp; First, there are plenty of grape seeds in the coyote scat and they seem pretty healthy to me.&nbsp; Second, I don't eat many - just a nick here and there to make sure they taste good.&nbsp; And, finally, there are plenty for you this year, so&nbsp; no worries.&nbsp; Unlike 2010 where we lost the whole crop and 2011 where is was thin, this year looks like a bumper yield and high quality too.&nbsp; I've tasted it, so I know for sure.&nbsp; Now don't you feel better.</p> <p><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-size: small;">Walking trail along the upper vineyard, cloaked in apple trees.</span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>I've heard that in Italy they call the fall season around harvest "Vendemmia."&nbsp; I don't speak Italian but I call harvest "yummy time."&nbsp; Gotta go... I see some rotten apples on the ground and you know what that means... deer run!&nbsp; Woof!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/10/boots.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="583" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">My world is full of feet... hahaha. Deer will come by for these apples later.</span></p> <p>p.s.&nbsp; follow @mollythewinedog on twitter and see her in the US Wine Dogs 2013 book, in bookstores now.&nbsp; AND she's Miss May in the Wine Dogs USA Calendar 2013.&nbsp; Woof!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/10/molly.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="328" /></p> Sun, 07 Oct 2012 05:06:00 GMT Fall Fashion That You Can Actually Wear Outside By Kate Schweitzer - Senior Web Editor of Marie Claire <p>Where I work, fashion is a full-time job. Between predicting key trends at Fashion Week and rounding up the best luxe looks for less, I am always aspiring to live up to the job description and dress my best every day.</p> <p>Oddly, though, it isn't dressing for work -- where I'm surrounded by fashion editors and talented stylists -- that puts me in a panic. It's trying to decide what to wear when I'm not heading into the office.</p> <p>If you're like me, you've built a wardrobe of board-room-ready duds and you've perfected that whole "day-to-night transition" with your ensembles, but you've completely neglected any plan for, say, a stroll through the park, a bike ride in the mountains or a lazy day at the winery. You end up either feeling overdressed and uncomfortable or wearing workout gear normally reserved for the gym.&nbsp;</p> <p>Here, five of this fall's biggest runway trends and tips for how to make them really work for you on your off-hours adventures.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Oversized Sweaters<br /></a></strong>It was a welcome surprise when designers sent models down this season's runways in slouchy knits. There's nothing more comfortable, and it is the perfect layering piece for that in-between fall weather. Another perk? These sweater silhouettes aren't fitted, so you're never self-consciously pulling on hems -- when you could be sitting back and relaxing. (Of course, if you prefer to be a bit more body-con, just belt it!)</p> <p><strong>Wide-Brim Hats<br /></strong>Get rid of that old beanie! One of this season's best runway accessories for the great outdoors is the 1970s-inspired wide-brim hat. Like any other quality cap, the wool felt material will keep your head warm and the sophisticated style will have you feeling hot.</p> <p><strong>Burgundy Raincoats<br /></strong>Not every day outside can be sunshine. For those wetter moments, a quality raincoat is a style staple that is always on trend. But if you want to make it more of-the-moment, opt for one in burgundy, a rich, earthy red that is one of autumn's most captivating colors. In fact, vinyl-coated burgundy raincoats were one of the most seen outerwear options on the runways.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/10/IMG_7726.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="656" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Leather Ankle Boots<br /></a></strong>Although all-over leather seems to be making a resurgence, there's no need to squeeze into tight leather pants on your next great adventure. Instead, keep warm with leather ankle boots. Another benefit for those going off-road? Skyscraper heels are out, and flatter soles are in! One boot I'm already lining up for fall is the Captiva boot from Merrell's Vendemmia collection. The espresso color, lightweight feel and waterproof construction might make it my official shoe for fall.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/10/IMG_9221.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="291" /></p> <p><strong>Tartan<br /></strong>For the second year in a row, plaid has been one of the most popular trends of Fashion Week. The unofficial pattern of picnics, you won't want to nestle up in nature without a tartan-patterned scarf or shawl.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/10/IMG_9614_2.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="656" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 03 Oct 2012 12:48:00 GMT Returning Tradition to the Table: Growing & Harvesting Kitchen Herbs for Wellness By Lisa Rose Starner <p>Many people are going locavore this year and are choosing local farmers over the supermarket!!! It&rsquo;s now quite popular to have tilled the grass for edible plants and vegetables as their outdoor landscapes instead of lawns.&nbsp; Canning is back, as is pickling and freezing the summer's bounty for winter.&nbsp;</p> <p>But imagine this -- your own herbal apothecary filled with local herbs that are gathered from your gardens, the farmers market, and even field hedgerows and woodlands that you can turn to when you feel a cold coming on or get an upset stomach after an indulgent meal.&nbsp;</p> <p>For many, the word herbal apothecary evokes images of shelves, bottles and jars all filled with mysterious herbs, herbal formulas from exotic plants.&nbsp; But to have an herbal apothecary that your family can turn to for basic ills and chills, plants need not be exotic or mysterious - in fact, as more and more people look to local plants and herbs to incorporate into their natural wellness routine, beginning your own apothecary can begin as close to home as the garden.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/Pictureh6.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="438" /></p> <p><strong>Grow your own. Tips for adding herbs into your garden for harvesting.</strong> Got gardens? In establishing a supply of herbs for your own herbal, consider growing a few perennial kitchen herbs like popular plants such as Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Mint, Bee Balm, Chamomile and Lavender.<br />These well-known plants will not only offer you a source of fresh culinary herbs throughout the season for cooking, but can be dried for tea for winter's warm sipping. Also keep in mind that it's nice to have these culinary herbs close to the kitchen for easy harvesting when cooking!</p> <p>Kitchen herbs can be easily integrated into a current garden plan if you already do have a garden or yard, or can be easily grown in containers on the patio and in the windowsill if you are an apartment dweller and lack growing space.&nbsp; These basic kitchen garden herbs are widely available at local greenhouses and can often be found at the farmers market (when selecting transplants for your gardens, be sure to look for plants that have a vital energy and have been started in chemical-free, heavily composted soil).&nbsp;&nbsp; And even if it&rsquo;s fall and the snow&rsquo;s soon to fall in your area, these are herbs that can survive indoors with the proper care.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/Pictureh8.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="438" /></p> <p><strong>Farmers Markets.</strong> Don&rsquo;t feel left out if you aren&rsquo;t a gardener. The fall harvest season is the best time of year to hit the farmers markets for garden-fresh herbs that you can preserve and dry. Check out <a href=""></a> for a market or farmer that sells herbs in your area.</p> <p><strong>Harvesting &amp; Preservation.</strong> Throughout the growing seasons, kitchen herbs can be easily cut with scissors and can be used to make herbal honey or vinegars.&nbsp; Their stalks can be bundled and hung to dry simply dried on screens to later be blended together for a soothing aromatic tea blend. An added bonus for cutting back the first round of blooms: Sometimes an early cutting of the flowers will result in a second bloom. Lavender will often do this if it's a warm summer.</p> <p>To dry the plant material for tea, individual leaves and flowers can be harvested and dried on screens in a dry space. The larger stalks can be bundled and hung to dry. Be sure to harvest the plants after the morning dew has evaporated and that the plants are fully dry before storing in glass jars.&nbsp; If the plant is not thoroughly dry before storing, there is a high likelihood that the drying plant material will mold in the container &mdash; and that&rsquo;s a drag. Be sure to always label and date the jars as you put up your herbal harvest.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/Pictureh9.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="438" /></p> <p><strong>Using your herbs in your apothecary.</strong> Tasting, smelling your freshly harvested herbs will set you on your way to better understanding how plants can be used in times of illness and as part of a regular diet.&nbsp; Take note as to how they taste in tea using both dry herbs and fresh plants. Notice a difference?</p> <p>Notice how the aromatics of Chamomile can help calm an upset stomach. Like the rising aromatics while infusing mints, sage, and thyme &amp; rosemary on the stove? It's not only great as a tea to sip, but it is wonderful for an herbal steam for the sinuses. Want an herbal bath? Brew the herbs on the stove, strain, and add to bath water. The aromatics can help soothe away the stress from the day and relax tense and sore muscles (great when feeling sick as well).</p> <p>Over time, you will learn ways to prepare the herbs to suit your tastes, learn a variety of uses for the plants and also learn how they may have an action on the body. So as you continue along your herbal harvest journey, experiment with the herbs singly as a tea or try blending them together!</p> <p>Over the coming season, you may find that you like working with plants so much you will want to delve into making herbal salves, herbal infused oils and tinctures.&nbsp; Or become a forager of the wild, uncultivated plants. You certainly will discover that it is truly satisfying to begin to rely on the natural world for wellness and to connect to a&nbsp; tradition of herbal healing and reliance on plants that is as old as time itself.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Burdock &amp; Rose's Gypsy Tea<br /></strong>At the onset of feeling a chill of a cold (in Spring, Summer or Winter), brew this traditional blend in a covered pot so that the aromatics of the plants don't evaporate away. Drink HOT (this is a therapeutic in and of itself, and will also help the body relax).</p> <p>Recipe (Herbs can be procured locally from a reputable grower near you on <a href="">LocalHarvest.Org </a>or via <a href=""></a> : <br />1 Part Yarrow (Bitter, Helps clear chills on the surface of the skin)<br />2 Part Elderflower (Aromatic, Helps the body regulate temperature) <br />2 Part Bee Balm or Peppermint (Aromatic, antimicrobial)<br />1 Part Thyme &amp; Rosemary&nbsp; &amp; Lavender as desired <br />Cover with equal parts boiling water. Let steep for 5 minutes. Drink HOT.</p> <p>And like Grandma always says, Put on a hat!&nbsp; Cover the body, keep it warm, take to bed and REST. If you really are feeling crummy, consider making a large thermos of tea to keep hot by the bedside - this will help you to stay in bed and support the body's immune system as it works on staying well.</p> Tue, 25 Sep 2012 06:06:00 GMT Taking Risks <p>&nbsp;How many times in our lives have we put something off because we're not ready, we need more time, we don't feel comfortable, etc etc.&nbsp; I've completed 10 Ironman Triathlons and over 40 10 day non-stop Eco-Challenge Adventure Races through the most remote places on earth, and here's a secret:&nbsp; I didn't feel 'ready' for any of them.&nbsp; There was always more I could have done to train, something I needed more time to prepare, or I wished I could delay the start until a day when I felt stronger.&nbsp; Truth be told, I would most likely never have approached a start line or undertaken those "risks" to journey into the unknown physically, emotionally, interpersonally if there wasn't a specific date on the calendar and someone with a megaphone saying "go!".&nbsp; But I am ever so glad I did.&nbsp; I wouldn't give back those moments, memories, and lessons for anything on earth.&nbsp; Because it is in those moments of risk, where we are forced to rise to a challenge, that we add another brick to the foundation of our character, confidence and strength. So how do we stop "wishing" we had more guts and inspire ourselves to ditch the vanilla life for a big, satisfying scoop of Rocky Road less Traveled?</p> <p>*Step Into Character--Nobody knows what's going on inside your head but you.&nbsp; Remember that to the outside world you appear 100% to be the businessperson,&nbsp; triathlete, writer, (enter your dream here).&nbsp; Try to see yourself the way your colleagues and friends see you--confident, smart, talented--and BE that person.&nbsp; For example, I'm the biggest introvert on earth, and I'm a speaker for a living. How? Right before I go on stage, I think about the person that everyone in the audience is expecting to meet (vs. little scared me!), and the moment they invite me onto the stage, I become her.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/ProjectAthena_GrandCanyon_Day2 13.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="287" /></p> <p>*Do It Anyway-- How you feel is far less important than what you DO.&nbsp; Feeling scared, nervous and uncomfortable when you're rappelling off that symbolic cliff is just a GIVEN.&nbsp; It's the price of admission for an exceptional life!&nbsp; The only difference between you and the person who is living their dream is that he/she felt the fear and 'did it anyway'.&nbsp; Whenever I told my judo coach I was scared before a big tournament, his response was always the same "yeah... what?&rdquo;&nbsp; Fear will always be there when we face risks.&nbsp; In fact, I've come to embrace fear as the vigilant guardian and trusted friend that gives me a "heads up" to be at my best.&nbsp; But we just can't let our emotions affect our locomotion.&nbsp;</p> <p>*Focus on How It Will Feel to Succeed (instead of obsessing about failure)--When you're driving your car or riding your bike, where is your focus? On where you WANT to go, right? Where we get into the most trouble is when we start focusing on where we DON'T want to go (the ditch, the puddle, the loose gravel, etc)--because that's inevitably where we will end up! So why, when we're analyzing our risks, do we get so obsessed with what we don't want to have happen instead of envisioning what success will look like? Top athletes are masters of visualization.&nbsp; They envision themselves performing the perfect routine, victoriously crossing the finish line, etc, and suffuse the feeling of that success into their mind and heart with the hope of achieving peak performance.&nbsp; We can do that, too! What will it look like, feel like, smell like, and who will be there cheering when you achieve that goal? Use that image to guide you on your mission as well as inspire you through the rough patches along the way.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/ProjectAthena_GrandCanyon_Day1 76.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="287" /></p> <p>&nbsp;I see you at that finish line, victorious! Don't you?&nbsp; The capable, talented, smart, driven person who let fear whisper in their ear but let courage rule their heart?&nbsp; Yep.&nbsp; That's you!</p> <p><br />Adventure Always (and happy Rocky Road Ice Cream Life!)<br />~ XO Robyn</p> Mon, 24 Sep 2012 21:03:00 GMT 6 (Fun) Ways to Stay Fit in the Fall - By Carrots N Cake <p>As soon as the summer ends, I always seem to struggle with sticking to my regular workout routine. There are fewer warm, sunny days and my New Year&rsquo;s motivation is months away, so it's almost like I'm in no-man&rsquo;s-land. But, I know if I don&rsquo;t fit in some quality sweat sessions during the fall, I'll celebrate the holiday season with a few extra pounds on my small frame&mdash;and it&rsquo;s tough to feel festive when my clothes are too tight! Of course, I want to stay healthy and fit all year round, so I've found that as long as I try new activities, my workouts stay fun and exciting. In the fall, in particular, this means I end up feeling motivated through the cooler months and all winter long too. Here are my favorite ways to keep fall workouts fun!</p> <p><strong>Take a hike</strong></p> <p>Hiking is a great way to get your heart pumping while enjoying some fresh air in the great outdoors. <a href=""></a> provides information on local hiking opportunities near both large and small metropolitan areas in the US, so find a place to hike and make a day of it. Grab some friends, lace up your sneakers, pack a lunch or some snacks, and get your hike on! The scenery and feeling of accomplishment after your hike are better than an afternoon at the gym any day!</p> <p><strong>Register for a fall road race</strong></p> <p>September, October, and early-November are packed with 5K, 10K, and half marathon races. Instead of trudging it out on the treadmill day after day, register for a road race to keep you motivated. First, find a training plan online (I like Couch to 5K and SmartCoach) to build up your endurance and keep you on track with your workouts&mdash;you&rsquo;re training for a race after all! Then, add your workouts to your daily calendar to keep you accountable to your race training. You&rsquo;ll stay motivated all through the fall and kick butt on race day! Been there, done that? Register for an obstacle course race, such as the Spartan Race, Rugged Maniac, or Warrior Dash. These kinds of races are becoming really popular because they combine fitness with fun and adventure, so you'll need to keep up your fitness to climb over walls, under barbed wire, and navigate water pits. Now, that's an exciting way to stay fit!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/MRL_FW12_4714_LowRes_RGB.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="292" /></p> <p><strong>Create your own bootcamp</strong></p> <p>Bootcamp-style workouts are a lot of fun. Who doesn&rsquo;t love a challenge? You can create your own bootcamp by doing strength and cardio exercises at home, gym, or outside at a park&mdash;all you need is a good pair of sneakers! Try this circuit: Burpees, walking lunges, push-ups, triceps dips (off a bench or curb), and sit-ups. Do the first exercise (Burpees) for 90 seconds without stopping and then rest for 60 seconds. Move onto the next exercise (walking lunges) and then do the same. Continue to work for 90 seconds followed by 60 seconds of rest for the remaining exercises. If you want more of a challenge, repeat the entire circuit two or three times.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/MRL_FW12_6499_LowRes_RGB.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="292" /></p> <p><strong>Unleash your inner athlete </strong></p> <p>Sometimes dragging yourself to the gym can be, well, a drag, so how about joining an adult league to mix things up? Sports quite literally make a game out of working out, so you'll get your heart rate up, burn calories, and have a great time doing it. Many adult leagues hold both outdoor and indoor competitions in the fall months, and they're a great way to stretch your body and social calendar too. If you already missed the chance to sign up for a team, offer to be an alternate. When the season gets going and schedules get busy, teams often need extra players, so you'll be the first person they call.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/MRL_FW12_3036_LowRes_RGB.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="657" /></p> <p><strong>Turn fall chores into a workout</strong></p> <p>Does it seem like fall chores take up the majority of your free time? Turn those chores into a workout! You'll get your heart rate up, burn calories, and cross those tasks off of your to do list. Talk about killing two birds with one stone! The key to turning your chores into a workout is focusing on the ones that have the highest calorie burn, like raking and bagging leaves or cleaning out the gutters on your house. To get yourself in the right mindset, throw on your sneakers and put on some rocking tunes. And, if you want a real challenge, do 10 push-ups, sit-ups, or squats every time a new song starts to play.</p> <p><strong>Offer your services</strong></p> <p>Volunteering for a community-service project, such as cleaning up a park or other green space, is a great way to add some outdoor activity to the fall season while improving your community at the same time. If you spend the whole day moving around, it definitely counts as a workout!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 23 Sep 2012 05:33:00 GMT Guilty Kitchen: Autumn in the Apple Orchard <p>Autumn is a time of crisp, cool mornings. The sound of leaves crunching under your feet and the smell of wood smoke hanging in the air like the last drops of dew on a spider's web. It's a time of year we tend to overlook those simple things in life, but the transition from hot and lazy summer days to the cooler months of fall are something I take in with gusto every year. I am totally one of "those" people. I relish the fall, the colours, the scarves, the boots, the kids returning to school...oh wait.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/EPicture5.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="327" /></p> <p><br />Autumn also signifies the end of the harvest season. Of course there are winter vegetables to be had throughout the cooler months, but the last of the summer fruits leave the market during those darker days of September and October. The one fruit that remains right through though, is the ever humble apple. Did you know many apples are in season from August right through to June? July is the only season devoid of the crisp, hand held least in my (particularly lucky) neck of the woods.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/EPicture6.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="327" /><br />But most of us think of apples, pumpkins and Halloween as soon as those leaves start changing. Pumpkin patches are so popular these days that the crop has taken over a significant portion of many farmer's late summer yields. But what of the less popular, ever unassuming, apple? Did you know that many orchards allow you to pick your own bushels of apples as they ripen on the tree? A fun family event is bundling up the kids, towing along the wagon and reaching up to pick your very own, fresh apples.</p> <p><br />Bake up a pie, crumble or tart, press some fresh juice or cider or just eat them fresh out of the fridge (apples soften very quickly at room temperature), just don't miss this fun time of year. If your area doesn't feature the U-Pick variety, just visit your local farmer's market to take in the bounty the season has to offer. There are over 7,500 varieties of apple known in the world, which one is your favourite?</p> Wed, 19 Sep 2012 00:48:00 GMT Outdoor Nation Merrell Delegate: Andrew Mills <p>Outdoor Nation Austin - Get Outside</p> <p>So I was lucky enough to be able to go down to the great state of Texas two weekends ago as a delegate for Merrell for the Outdoor Nation Summit Series. Merrell selected and outfitted a few delegates (and one stoked tech rep-ME) to go and be a part of these events that have been taking place at a few key major cities across the country.</p> <p><br />The purpose of the summits is to inspire, at a local level, a movement that encourages more people to get outside and enjoy the natural world around them. Now before this trip, I was a bit skeptical of what Texas could offer as far as &ldquo;the outdoors&rdquo; was concerned. Having never been to Texas I just assumed it was a bunch of ranches, that it&rsquo;s ridiculously hot, and there isn&rsquo;t anything fun to do outdoors. I was one for three on that.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/tumblr_m7n37oTnGx1qd8k5r.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="292" /></p> <p>The heat was there in full force, but I&rsquo;ll get to that later. The biggest thing I learned was that not only was their fun things to do outdoors in Austin, and also the larger state of Texas, but there is a passionate community of people who want to see others enjoy all their state has to offer. Less than five minutes from downtown Austin you could be at a local climbing crag, or kayaking a river.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/tumblr_m7n383RBKd1qd8k5r.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="292" /></p> <p>The first day began, and we were split into different groups based on similar geography. With most participants being from Austin, I was the odd man out from Boulder, CO. I hopped into a group from Austin, and quickly realized that these folks had big plans. I guess it is true, everything is bigger in Texas.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/tumblr_m7n38jd8bf1qd8k5r.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="382" /></p> <p>These groups that we were assembled in were tasked with coming up different proposals that in some manner encouraged participation in the outdoors or started conversations about getting outside. On the last day, we would all vote to decide the best ideas. The top ten ideas would receive funding to actually get their idea started.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/tumblr_m7n39br2oS1qd8k5r.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="292" /></p> <p>Our group brainstormed a lot of great ideas, but we kept coming back to this idea that people in Austin needed to be informed of the great opportunities in their backyard. It wasn&rsquo;t that people hated the outdoors, but rather they just didn&rsquo;t know what was availed. In order to help them hear our message, we decided to form a &ldquo;street team&rdquo; of sorts.</p> <p><br />The group would run a low budget, guerilla marketing campaign that would help highlight the efforts of groups in the area and also the amazing recreation available in the greater Austin community. If successful, the idea could also be a blueprint for other groups to use in their cities.</p> <p><br />We wrapped up the first day with an idea starting to form, but hadn&rsquo;t worked out details. However, it was time for dinner, and that meant a little Texas BBQ. We ate outside in McKinney Falls State Park, which also would be our campsite for the night. After dinner, another outdoor brand, The North Face, had a few of their sponsored athletes tell their stories and how they found a passion for the outdoors. As the conversation with the athletes and some great folks from Leave No Trace winded down, a lighting storm rolled in as darkness set.</p> <p><br />Bolts darted from cloud to cloud as the Austin contingent met to discuss details. After deliberations, we settled on a name, how the presentation would go, and who would be speaking. A few other groups split off to pursue projects that complimented the work of the &ldquo;street team&rdquo;. <br />Soon it became dark and the clouds looked ominous, but that never stopped a group of adventurous young people who have a state park to themselves. We soon found ourselves exploring the lower falls, but were cut short as the cloud to cloud lightening soon became a real storm.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/tumblr_m7n3ay6dGq1qd8k5r.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="652" /></p> <p>Now, I&rsquo;m originally from Michigan, and I now live in a mountain environment. This means that I&rsquo;m not good in the heat, not good at all. Being stuck that night in a tent, with the moisture from the pouring rain increasing the humidity, the hot air becoming more and more sticky by the minute. It did not make for a great night&rsquo;s sleep. However, our fly and tent kept us dry. The same can&rsquo;t be said for the rest of the group. Bummer!</p> <p><br />Not a fun night in the classic sense because of the rain, but definitely Type Two Fun. The next day was presentations. The group had come up with 19 different ideas!!! It would be hard to narrow it down to just the top 10, but we would get through. Every group took a different and unique approach, which kept the day refreshing as we heard the new ideas.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/tumblr_m7n3buEkGj1qd8k5r.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="292" /></p> <p>In the end, the Austin street team group that I was a part of ended up with the second place grant of $1,500!!! The group has met already and is meeting again this week to start planning their tactics for getting the word out about the great outdoors.</p> <p>The adventure from this trip didn&rsquo;t end at the conference though. A fellow Merrell delegate and I got the opportunity to try some indoor camping&hellip;as we slept in cots at the Dallas Fort-Worth airport due to missing our connections because of weather delays.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/tumblr_m7n3ia7gJT1qd8k5r.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="438" /></p> <p>All in all though, a great experience and I&rsquo;m excited to see how the work that started in Austin continues.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 17 Sep 2012 23:45:00 GMT Returning Tradition to the Table: By Lisa Rose Starner <p><strong>Preserving the Finest of the Season. <br /></strong>Now more than ever local food, farm-to-table adventures and preserving the harvest is in vogue. The resurgence of canning and food preservation is very popular; and people today are finding that it&rsquo;s fun, healthy and the simple act of canning or making jam can be a time to gather around in the kitchen to nourish friendships as well as stock the pantry with the season&rsquo;s bounty.</p> <p><strong>The season&rsquo;s most fresh.</strong> From garden to market, beginning as early as late May, the farmer&rsquo;s harvest season is ON. Local farm stands and farmers markets have tables piled high with fresh, healthy, sun-kissed produce: Early summer brings us berries and greens and then high summer rolls in with the tomatoes, summer squashes and melons. Fall brings root vegetables like freshly-dug parsnips, carrots, celeriac root, potatoes and in late fall, winter squashes are set in rows for our choosing.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/Picture11.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="438" /></p> <p>Berries can be mashed into jellies and jams, melons and stone fruits infused into liquors with herbs for cordials, root vegetables combine well for hearty soups to be frozen, and the apples can be munched on for snacks and mashed up for applesauce. Tomatoes can be stewed and canned for winter&rsquo;s soups, stews, and sauces.&nbsp; Pumpkins can be baked, pureed and frozen for pies, curries, breads and chili. Dark leafy greens like kale can be blanched and frozen to later add to green smoothies for that vibrant green hue.</p> <p>Healthy meats, too, from local farms and deer hunts can be frozen or made into jerky for nutritious sources of protein that will also help the body remain warm during the cold, winter days.&nbsp; Stocks made from the Thanksgiving turkey and other meat bones can also be frozen and used throughout the year for nutrient dense soups and other amazing dishes calling for homemade stock.</p> <p>If you are not fully familiar with the growing season in your area, take a look at a seasonal harvest calendar to get an idea of what is ready for harvesting when. What is in season at the Farmer's Market? What is ready to harvest in the garden?&nbsp; Seasonality and getting produce picked in its most vibrant state is one of the best parts about the canning/preserving process. Need to locate farms and markets in your area? Check out <a href=""></a> for the nearest food growers near you.</p> <p>To a novice food artisan, it can seem overwhelming with all the fantastic produce at the market. It can easily leave one confused as to where to start. My tip? Think about the dishes you like to make on a regular basis and what you may want to have on hand through the winter. Prefer canned peaches, string beans, or stewed tomatoes? Want to have a selection of condiments on hand like syrups or mustards? Want to make jams that can be used for toast, strudels?</p> <p>If you are new to all this and you feel you need some guidance, think inviting over a few friends that might already know a bit about canning -- jam makers, pickle makers, lacto-fermenters, booze infusers -- you know the lot &mdash; they always have the best cocktail parties because their bars are stocked with handmade simple syrups and boutique garnishes!!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/Picture8.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="438" /></p> <p>These seasoned sorts can help with the technical aspect of canning and can make those new to the preserving process feel comfortable in learning new skills.&nbsp; But remember, for the beginner food preservation and canning need not be overwhelming. Preserving the harvest can be as simple or as grandiose as you want it to be, depending on where YOU are at in your kitchen learning and where you want to go with your canning adventures.</p> <p><strong>Need recipe inspiration?</strong> Popular online food culture groups like Food in Jars, Canning Across America, Nourished Kitchen and Punk Domestics offer an amalgam of recipes for preserving the harvest, covering everything from infused liqueurs to lacto-fermentation techniques.&nbsp; No limits to the imagination once canning basics are nailed down &mdash; just make sure any recipe you use is tested and is food safe. Improvisation and food preservation are NOT compatible &mdash; unless you like courting a good case of botulism.</p> <p><strong>Got family recipes?</strong> This is an AWESOME time to resurrect and discover a part of your own history.&nbsp; Bring out the old recipe books for Grandma's fail-safe pickles or jam. If Grandma is still living, give her a call and ask her about her food preservation memories. And if you want to do some canning as a group, make copies beforehand to use as a reference and also for others to keep for their own recipe box.&nbsp; The sharing of recipes in and of itself is one of the great takeaways from a canning party.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Get organized.</strong> A well stocked pantry makes preservation more easeful. As you become a more seasoned food preservationist, you will learn what to have on-hand to preserve the bounty of the harvest on the fly.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/LPicture6.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="326" /></p> <p>It&rsquo;s in every cook&rsquo;s interest to keep costs low in setting up (and replenishing) their food preservation kit.&nbsp; Procuring second-hand equipment like canners, funnels, ladles, measuring cups and jars (new lids are required with each new batch of preserves) whenever possible is awesome. Grandma, resale, garage sales and estate sales are great ways to help build out your canning supplies. So in assembling your party, perhaps there is someone with a secret garage sale knack willing to help the group save some money.&nbsp; (See below for a basic list of supplies you'll need for your canning adventures).</p> <p><strong>Food safety.</strong>&nbsp; I mentioned this earlier &mdash; this is a big deal, but don&rsquo;t let it be a barrier to putting food up for the winter. Before any food preservation begins, make sure you have a basic working knowledge of food safety, handling and processing. Take some time to review food safety basics.&nbsp;</p> <p>For canning, the USDA offers a FREE online resource with a complete index of topics on canning and process at the National Center for Home Food Preservation. LOTS of good information, and highly recommended to be reviewed to ensure your kitchen is setup and the cooks are prepared for proper food handling and processing for maximum food safety.&nbsp;&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />And remember &mdash; this shouldn&rsquo;t be all work.&nbsp; Take time to laugh, enjoy the company in the kitchen.&nbsp; Savor the moments of the season.</p> <p><strong>Sidebar: <br />For a Well-Stocked Canning Pantry <br /></strong>Jars, bottles of all sizes per the recipes you'll be making (remember to make enough so everyone leaves with a few jars)<br />New lids<br />Canners, large pans, small pans, tea kettle for boiling water<br />Jar tongs, hot pads, ladles, funnels, measuring cups and spoons <br />Pressure cooker, if so desired<br />Pens, paper pencil to record the recipes, amounts especially if the canning party is experimenting with new recipes and test batches<br />Preservation materials: Vinegars, olive oil, honey, sugar, sea salt, kosher salt, liquor<br />Herbs: Dill, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cumin, garlic, onion, salts - list not exhaustive, and premade mixes are fine<br />Plenty of hand towels, dishrags, and aprons (food safety = work clean)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat, 15 Sep 2012 20:11:00 GMT A Lucky Trip to Colorado's Steamboat Wine Festival <p>I know it probably gets said a lot, but in my case, it was very true: I never win anything. So, at one fateful Merrell press dinner, when I won a free, all-expenses-paid trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for the Steamboat Wine Festival, I knew my luck was changing.</p> <p>As if the folks at Merrell hadn't done enough already, they invited my fiance, Matt, along and helped us prep for the big trip with the gear we'd need, particularly some great shoes from Merrell's Vendemmia collection: Suede oak-colored Avesso flats for me and a pair of Palvai waterproof dark olive dock shoes for Matt. And then, we were off.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/Picture1.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="399" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Day 1</p> <p>Upon arrival to Steamboat, we spent the first few hours just getting accustomed to the elevation -- the town is at a base elevation of 6,900 feet -- and to the overt friendliness of everyone we met &hellip; something pretty foreign to us in New York City. You could strike up a conversation with anyone, which was something we did on our 20-minute gondola ride up to the top of Mount Werner for the festival's kick-off celebration. The couple we met pointed out patches of dead trees, caused by the mountain pine beetle infestation that has ravaged much of Colorado this year, and thus exacerbated the wild fires that break out on occasion. They also pointed out a beautiful Victorian home nestled on the side of the mountain. Apparently the owner, who lived in Kansas and moved to Colorado, missed his old home so much that he moved the entire thing in pieces. Incredible.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/Picture2.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="589" /></p> <p>Once at the top of the mountain, the friendliness continued as wine makers from around the globe poured us taste after taste of some of the best wines we've tasted. It was so good that Matt -- normally one to opt for a good beer or a nice brand of whisky -- zipped past the booths of breweries and distilleries to "check out a good cab I overheard some people raving about." Another good samaritan warned us to take it easy: All that alcohol coupled with the 10,000-foot elevation at the mountain's peak might make us a bit worse for wear. Luckily the panoramic views kept our attention enough to keep us from getting too tipsy. The homemade pasta stations, seemingly endless cheese plates and trays of chocolate-covered strawberries didn't hurt, either.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Day 2</p> <p>Most good wine festivals have amazing sessions that really help you become a wine-tasting pro. The Steamboat Fest was no different. Attendees could take a class on the "Secrets of Wine Blending" or find out if they've met their match at a food and wine pairing seminar. Although there's a lot to learn at these events, Matt and I knew that we didn't come to Colorado to sit inside. So the aptly titled, "Let's Get Outside Hikenar" was the perfect way to combine our love of the outdoors with a little wine knowledge thrown in. Hosted by Merrell, we were outfitted with the brand's coolest clamshell backpack to hold our water, sunglasses, wallets and even iPad if we thought to bring one. (Why would we need one on a trip like this?!) The two-hour hike along the Vista Nature Trail was guided by locals who told us all about our surroundings and by Master Sommelier Damon Ornowski, who had a knowledge of plants and crops that only a true wine expert could. He also obviously had a great breadth of knowledge on wines from importer Vin Divino, and he shared them with us at an apres-hike lunch on the mountaintop.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/Picture3.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="585" /></p> <p><br />A lot of times, on trips like these, you get so wrapped up in the festival that you never explore the town. The Steamboat Wine Festival refused to let this happen: That night, Merrell hosted a wine-fueled stroll through downtown Steamboat, where bars, restaurants, retailers and wine galleries opened their doors. The weather was perfect for such a stroll, which went down the town's equivalent to Main Street and veered along the beautiful Yampa River. (Yampa means "bear" in Native American, yet another kind local told us.) On a similar note, Matt and I accidentally walked into a liquor store that wasn't a part of the festival, but in a mark of true Colorado friendliness, the owner gave us an impromptu tasting of some of his best beers!</p> <p>&nbsp;As the stroll was winding down, Matt and I fully intended to make it an early night, but as we were heading out, we heard the reverberations of a loudspeaker in the distance. I couldn't make out much but it was enough for me to recognize that it was a rodeo in full effect. And you don't pass up the chance to watch a rodeo! When in Colorado, right? I was a bit disappointed not to have packed my cowboy boots and hat, but that didn't stop us from enjoying ourselves as we watched saddle bronco riding, men wrestling with calves and team roping. For Matt, it was literally his first time at the rodeo, so he couldn't believe it when they unleashed a bunch of six-year-olds onto the arena floor to chase a calf in what's lovingly known as the Calf Scramble. I think he was bummed it was only for kids.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Day 3</p> <p>The climax of our trip was another outdoor session, this one called "Mud, Sweat &amp; Cheers" -- a mountain-biking ride down the, well, mountain. As someone who's recently taken up road biking in New York and likes trying new things, I'd been looking forward to my first time on a legit mountain trail. On our ride up the gondola with our rented bikes, cool new Merrell backpacks and commemorative Merrell bike jerseys, I warned Matt, an expert rider, that we might need to split up so that I could go with other beginners and he can enjoy a more adventurous ride with the pros. "No, no," he said. "It'll be more fun if we do it together." How sweet. So, once at the top, when it was time to divide into groups, Matt, as he often does, switched gears (no pun intended) and prodded me to come with him, saying, "You don't need to go in that beginner group -- you are better than them." How he convinced me, I'll never know, especially seeing as when I looked at the beginner group, they looked just as nervous as I did. So, we set off, with Matt and I in the group led by pro cyclist Rishi Grewal. About 10 seconds in, I hit an inconsequential rock and fell. I could tell this was not going to be easy. After enough falls (and more than enough angry glances at my soon-to-be husband), I was clearly holding up the group. Never wanting to be the center of attention, especially when the attention is due to my inability to stay upright on a bike, I encouraged the group to go on ahead, which left Matt and me alone at the top of a mountain. Knowing there was only one way to get to the bottom -- and thus to the session's complimentary lunch and wine tasting -- I got back on my bike and sloooooooowly made my way down. On steep declines (and I mean steep!), I got off my bike and walked it. On even steeper declines, I simultaneously scooted down on my butt and yelled at Matt for going against my better judgment. Soon enough, we hit a point where the mountain leveled out and the trail became a scenic ride of fun switchbacks, much more my speed. Two hours later, Matt and I made it to the bottom. I could have kissed the ground, I was so relieved. Over lunch at Truffle Pig restaurant, I gave the highlights of our wild ride to a reporter Nicole Inglis and Joe Lange, of LangeTwins Winery and Vineyards. Lange, along with David Phillips of Michael David Winery and Tom Holdener of Macchia Winery, hosted the lunch to showcase the wines of their California town, Lodi, which is known as the Zinfandel capital of the world.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/Picture6.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="329" /></p> <p>&nbsp;After cleaning up (they weren't kidding about the mud and sweat in that "Mud, Sweat and Cheers" title), we hit up the festival's finale, the grand tasting in Gondola Square. It felt like a reunion of sorts, as we sampled wine from Damon Ornowski and Joe Lange and others we'd met along the way. It was the perfect way to toast our trip.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/Picture7.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="329" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Day 4</p> <p>On our way off to the airport, we decided to pick up the morning's issue of the local paper, Steamboat Pilot &amp; Today. Of course, the Steamboat Wine Festival was the front page story. But as I began scrolling the article, I couldn't believe what I was reading: "A couple from New York decided to give themselves a challenge and head down with the advanced downhill group." The reporter from our mountain-biking excursion wrote about how I was "very terrified" and how we "went at our own pace." It was official: We'd become celebrities. I immediately began jumping up and down, grabbing a few more copies of the paper to obviously send off to family and frame on my wall at home. Matt didn't understand why I was that excited: As a writer and editor, I'm used to seeing my name in print. But this was different. Like the lucky win that sent us out west in the first place, this was just another of the many firsts I had in Steamboat Springs, Colorado!</p> Thu, 13 Sep 2012 00:00:00 GMT Packing for Your Next Hike! <p>I've packed many a backpack over the years for our adventure races and ultra runs, which means I've uttered many a curse word while lamenting the fact that I put something important at the bottom of my pack, in an inconvenient spot, or exposed it to loss/damage.&nbsp; So to keep you from having to wash your own mouth out with soap on the trail, here is the good, the bad and the not so pretty about how to pack, what to bring, and where to put it for your next big hike!</p> <p>The Pack</p> <p>For a day hike, you will rarely need anything bigger than a 20 liter pack.&nbsp; For multiple day hikes, a 30 to 60 liter will be the call.&nbsp;&nbsp; The most important factors for me when choosing a pack are: lightweight, durable material, LOTS of mesh pockets on the outside of the pack (back, sides, top), big pockets on the waist belt on both sides, pockets on the shoulder straps (can you tell I'm a fan of outside pockets? Easy access, baby!), a solid enough waist belt to carry the bulk of the weight, the ability to easily dry and drain, and last but not least, how it fits on my body.</p> <p>The Must Haves</p> <p>For a Day Hike:<br />*Balaclava (it&rsquo;s that funny hood that makes you look like you're robbing a bank :) --for temperature control. My FAVORITE piece of gear.&nbsp; I also cover my mouth and breathe through it to control cold/dry/dusty-air-induced bronchitis and asthma.&nbsp; I usually wear one around my neck for the duration of the adventure. <br />*Lightweight cycling type gloves--quick temperature control and hand protection <br />*Bivvy space blanket (sleeping bag style).&nbsp; My favorite is the Adventure Medical Kit Thermo-lite--90% chance you won&rsquo;t need this on a day hike, but it's worth it for that 10% chance that you or a friend will need it!<br />*Blister kit--duct tape, sportslick (or Vaseline) to prevent friction, mini scissors, and &ldquo;Glacier Gel" blister dressing<br />*100 Oz water bladder AND water bottles.&nbsp; When it comes to hydration, &ldquo;one is none".&nbsp; It's too much of a risk to only have one container.&nbsp; Stuff happens. <br />*Headlamp (always. no matter how long you plan to be gone).&nbsp; Even well-planned day hikes often become post sunset "adventures".<br />*Lighter<br />*Cell phone (and/or SPOT device) with waterproof bag/case.&nbsp; <br />*Waterproof bags in 2 sizes (for food, clothes, cell phone).&nbsp; I like Alosaks for general use.&nbsp; They're tougher than a Ziploc but lighter and less bulky than a 'dry bag'.&nbsp; <br />*Waterproof (at least windproof) jacket.&nbsp; Some great ones:&nbsp; the Merrell Mariposa or Pangea Shell<br />*Wet Wipes<br />*Pocket knife<br />*Sunscreen</p> <p><br />Add for overnight hikes/camping<br />*3 season lightweight tent<br />*Small stove and pot to boil water<br />*Lightweight sleeping bag (I love the tiny ones by Macpac for summer)<br />*Alpine Aire dehydrated meals <br />*Waterproof 'Dry Bags' (with roll down top) to keep your food, extra socks, and warm clothes dry if it rains.&nbsp; <br />*Medical kit with antihistamines, anti-inflammatory, bandages, Imodium, aspirin, etc<br />* Lightweight fleece top (Merrell Fractal) and dry bottoms (light pants or tights).&nbsp; It's important to be able to get warm and dry, especially for sleeping and recovery.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/MRL_FW12_7251_LowRes_RGB.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="291" /></p> <p><br />Pack It UP!</p> <p><br />INSIDE<br />The inside of the pack should be filled with items you will not need until you have a planned stop to eat or camp.&nbsp; The heavier items should go at the bottom so that you bear more weight on your hips than on your shoulders.&nbsp; Build from the bottom of the pack to the top based on the weight of each item as well as the likelihood you will need access to that particular item while you are hiking.&nbsp; For example:</p> <p>*At the bottom (heavier items you don't need immediate access to)<br />--Sleeping bag and mat<br />--Lunch/dinner/evening meals (not your snack food)<br />--Cooking gear</p> <p>* In the middle<br />--Medical kit<br />--Dry socks, fleece layer, and additional dry clothes--all inside a waterproof bag<br />--Waterproof shell jacket<br />--Water bladder in its vertical sleeve along your back (if your pack has a sleeve.&nbsp; I like sleeves because they hold your water in the best gravity-fed position)</p> <p>*At the top (lighter things you may need access to while hiking)<br />--Additional snack food (that won&rsquo;t fit on the outside of your pack)<br />--Warm hat/balaclava and warm gloves<br />--Headlamp<br />--Additional maps <br />--Cell phone and/or GPS (in a waterproof bag)</p> <p>OUTSIDE<br />The outside of a pack is the most important part! That's because you are going to pack it with everything you may need access to while hiking.&nbsp; If you have chosen the right pack and packed it correctly, you should be able to continue to eat, drink, get warm, get cool, fix your feet, protect your head/hands/skin/lips and go to the little girl and boy's room without ever having to stop to dig into your pack! Your hiking mates will be happy you're organized so that the forward momentum of the group isn't slowed down every time someone has to pee, eat, drink, find their headlamp, fix their feet, find their warm hat, etc.&nbsp; Can you imagine all of the individual stops? You'd never get "there"!&nbsp;&nbsp; The other beautiful thing about lots of outside pockets is that your hiking buddies can come right up next to you and hand you the food you can't reach without even skipping a beat. And they can stash THEIR food in the rear mesh of your pack too, so their little mini bar of snacks is always within arm&rsquo;s reach without having to contort themselves into some kind of yoga maneuver to reach into their own side mesh pockets.&nbsp; In races, I often ate more food out of my teammates' packs than my own. ;) Plus, OPF (Other People's Food) is far more interesting than yours by about halfway through any adventure. So share the food, share the love.&nbsp;</p> <p>Here's how I like to organize my outside pockets:<br />*Rear mesh pocket<br />--Helmet (if riding, climbing, or potential rock fall is on the agenda)<br />--Resupply stash of my chips, trail mix, Cheetos, etc.&nbsp; These move from the rear mesh to the side pockets during any short stops on the trail as I deplete my easily accessible supply<br />--Tow line made of mini bungee cord and a carabineer so you can share your strength with a teammate by attaching it to the front of their pack</p> <p>*Side mesh pockets<br />--Right side mesh: salty/fatty snacks<br />--Left side mesh: sweet snacks<br />Then you can choose what you crave at the moment and know where it is without looking!&nbsp;&nbsp; In the beginning of a hike, I reach for sweets.&nbsp; By halfway through, I'm much more attracted to salty/fatty snacks</p> <p>*Waist belt pockets<br />--Hard Candy (spearmint, ginger, cough drops, jawbreakers, gummy bears) for quick energy and for helping out your pals when they don't feel great.&nbsp; No matter how funky you feel, you can always suck on candy to get you home!<br />--Wet Wipes in a baggie<br />--Blister Kit--make this accessible so you can quickly fix your feet or your friend's feet before the blisters get worse! If this is deep in your pack, you'll be much less inclined to use it.<br />--Pill bottle with electrolyte caps (I like Sustain by Zee Medical), ibuprofen, Excedrin<br />--Lip balm and mini sunscreen</p> <p>*Shoulder strap pockets<br />--Money, ID and/or credit card<br />--Dental floss--yes, I know this sounds crazy.&nbsp; But I had a teammate who always brought a piece of floss, and not only did he get the jerky out of his teeth with it, we used it to fix many a broken bike or piece of gear!</p> <p>Have the best time out there, my friends!&nbsp; And remember that a happy camper is a prepared and efficiently-packed camper--who also has lots of friends to cover their butts when they're not.&nbsp; :) 'Together' is the best way to make sure we stay safe, stay healthy, and all come home in one can't-wait-for-the-next-adventure piece!</p> <p>Adventure Always,<br />~ XO Robyn</p> Wed, 12 Sep 2012 01:36:00 GMT Outdoor Nation Merrell Delegate: Nkrumah Frazier <p>Participating in the Outdoor Nation 2012 summit in Austin, TX was a very enlightening, inspiring and potentially life changing event for me. As a delegate I was exposed to incredible individuals, programs, organizations and ideas.</p> <p>We were encouraged to create ideas for projects that would facilitate and encourage young people to enter into, interact with and enjoy the outdoors. At 33 years old I am certain that I was the oldest delegate in attendance at the summit. Despite my age I was made to feel welcome from the very start. I used my age and experience with similar ventures to help facilitate some of the group discussions and project planning. With the insightful guidance of the Outdoor Nation staff members we were able to be a part of the conception of 19 projects and morphing them&nbsp; into programs that can be readily implemented into their respective communities.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/Nkrumah.Frazier1.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="328" /></p> <p>The Outdoor Nation team was extremely helpful and knowledgeable throughout the entire process. They offered guidance and advice that guided each group through the brainstorming process of the projects selection and ultimately its design and secure ways to implement each project.</p> <p>In the end, 8 projects received funding through this process. The Outdoor Nation team encouraged delegates involved with projects that did not receive funding to continue planning and preparing their projects and to apply for grant money that is available through the Outdoor Nation organization via their website at a later date.</p> <p>Through this experience I gained valuable lifelong friendships with other people that love the outdoors just as much as I do.&nbsp; I also learned that getting an idea from my head to the discussion table isn&rsquo;t as hard as I have been thinking it would be.&nbsp; All that I need is a team of supporters and to make realistic goals for myself.&nbsp;</p> <p>Nkrumah Frazier<br />Outdoor Nation 2012 Austin, TX Summit delegate opportunity</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 11 Sep 2012 10:18:00 GMT Time Around the Family Table Outdoors #Vendemmia <p>It&rsquo;s that time of the year&hellip; a new school year is upon us.&nbsp; I moved my daughter into her sorority house at college.&nbsp; My son in High School started his Senior year and is busy with his academic and football schedule.&nbsp; And my two &ldquo;not so little guys&rdquo; started&nbsp; fifth and seventh grade.</p> <p><br />It&rsquo;s that old clich&eacute; ~ where did the time go?&nbsp; One minute they were starting kindergarten and the next, they are starting college. This time of year, the craziness starts for us. It&rsquo;s Back to School Time, It&rsquo;s Football Time, It&rsquo;s Homework Time, It&rsquo;s just time!&nbsp; Time, such a precious word, that we pay little attention to as it ticks away second by second.&nbsp; When we really think about it, time is one of the most important gifts we can give our family.</p> <p><br />We are a total sports family.&nbsp; There is nothing more exciting than a good Football game at any level.&nbsp; It is truly the highlight of our week and many times, the highlight of our year.&nbsp; I have to admit, keeping up with three football games and practice schedules per week, is not an easy act to balance.&nbsp; As my older two children have grown, I have become more aware of just how precious time is.&nbsp; When we really think about it, we have 17 summers with our children before they leave for college.&nbsp; When broken down this way, this does not seem like very much time.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/Family Foodie - Cuban-Sandwich-2.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="623" /><br />This year,&nbsp; the first day of School for my two younger ones was a half day.&nbsp; I picked up my boys and we headed to the park for the afternoon.&nbsp; They were thrilled when I pulled up with Gracie, our newly rescued Boston Terrier, and a basket full of Cuban Sandwiches, cherries, blueberries and grapes. They had been asking to try <a href="">Cuban Sandwiches</a> for a while and today was the perfect day to surprise them and take the family table outdoors.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/Family Foodie - Phillipe-Park-Reis-and-Gracie.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="585" /></p> <p><br />We had so much fun discovering the park through Gracie&rsquo;s nose. Literally, I think she sniffed and ran through every inch of the park. Part of the fun was figuring out what she wanted to explore next and chasing her.&nbsp; As we were leaving, the boys asked me if we can do this every time they have a half day this year.</p> <p><br />It&rsquo;s so true the family table can be anywhere.&nbsp; I loved bringing our Family Table outdoors!&nbsp; Spending time Around the Family Table is about the memories that are made&hellip; those memories will last a lifetime.</p> <p><br /><em>To celebrate the changing of seasons, </em><a href=""><em>Merrell</em></a><em> has gathered wine aficionados, foodies and fitness friends to share some of their favorite recipes, tastes and outside activities during Fall.&nbsp; So come along, grab a glass&nbsp;of your favorite wine, savor the long days and join us to get outside during Vendemmia&nbsp; </em><a href=";feature=g-upl"><em>;feature=g-upl</em></a><em>.&nbsp; I am honored to partner with Merrell and help spread their mission to get outdoors.&nbsp;</em></p> <p><br /><em>Merrell wants you to take the family table outdoors with us!&nbsp; Check out the new Vendemmia Fall Line Look Book&nbsp; </em><a href=""><em></em></a><em>.&nbsp; I am in love with their new Vendemmia Fall line.&nbsp; I want you to have as much fun outdoors with your kids as I am.&nbsp; Leave a comment below and tell me what you are planning on doing outdoors with your family this season for a chance to win your choice of (1) pair of adult shoes and (1) pair of children&rsquo;s shoes.&nbsp; You will love love love Merrell as much as me!</em></p> <p><br />And that&rsquo;s not all!&nbsp; You are going to want to follow Merrell and enter to win a trip for 2 to the <a href="">Park City Food and Wine Classic</a>:</p> <p><br />Pinterest page: <a href=""></a><br />Twitter: @merrelloutside<br />Hashtag: #vendemmia<br />Facebook: <a href=""></a><br />Enter Contest: <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 09 Sep 2012 18:50:00 GMT Merrell Vendemmia – The Finest Season <p>To celebrate the changing of seasons, we have gathered wine aficionados, foodie and fitness friends to share some of their favorite recipes, tastes and outside activities during Fall. So come along, grab a glass of your favorite wine, savor the long days and join us to get outside during Vendemmia!<br /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/IMG_3665.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="333" /><br />Vendemmia is the age-old tradition of the Italian wine harvest and the inspiration for a Merrell Vendemmia Fall Collection of shoes and boots. For a few autumn months, the terraced hillside vineyards come alive with hard work and easy elegance. Want to see more, watch our video in Italy where the inspiration began - <a href=";feature=g-upl">;feature=g-upl</a>.<br />&nbsp;<br />Join us here and on these blogs to celebrate the season of fine outside living through wine tips, harvest recipes, fun ways to stay fit during Fall, and family activities of the season. From wine with friends at the vineyard to apple picking with the family or cycling to the Farmer&rsquo;s Market, this season offers an abundance of fun outside excursions to do together.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/9/IMG_2468.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="292" /></p> <p>Meet our Guest Bloggers:<br />Family Foodie &ndash; <a href=""></a><br />Lisa Rose Starner &ndash; <a href=""></a><br />Guilty Kitchen &ndash; <a href=""></a><br />Carrots N Cake &ndash; <a href=""></a><br />Marie Claire fashion editor Kate Schweitzer<br />Molly the Wine Dog - @mollythewinedog<br />&nbsp;<br />Share your favorite recipes, wines and outside fun Facebook (<a href=""></a>), Twitter (@merrelloutside) and Pinterest (<a href=""></a>).<br />&nbsp;<br />Fall is here. Now Get outside!</p> Mon, 03 Sep 2012 16:47:00 GMT Outdoor Nation Merrell Delegate: Lorin Paley <p>&nbsp;I grew up really lucky. Not in the sense that I could win a game of cards or the lottery, but in the sense that I was fortunate enough to have awesome parents that always brought me outside. Whether it was an after school hike or a weekend swim, my family made the outdoors an everyday part of our life. Now in America, the health and job crises have come to a crossing. Obesity and inactivity is causing huge debt in the form of the health crises and even though outdoor recreation provides more jobs than construction and finance, with obesity on the rise, those jobs will disappear as places to recreate and healthy people who can recreate disappear. I belong to the first generation that is expected to die earlier than the generation before us.&nbsp; Coming to the Outdoor Nation NYC summit, I was excited to work towards changing the tide on the epidemic of nature deficit disorder.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/8/Lorin Paley1.jpg" alt="" width="417" height="311" /></p> <p>Outdoor Nation (ON) is a for youth by youth movement to reconnect youth to the outdoors, fighting this nature deficit disorder, but what it also does is help kids realize their potential. ON should advertise, warning, you may be an empowered outdoor steward after this summit. During each summit, the hundred or so college aged kids, myself included, are broken down into focus groups, identify the biggest barrier keeping kids from getting outside in their communities and design a project that could break that barrier with a $1,000 grant. The groups then present their projects and the three top voted at each summit get grants. With 8 summits this year, that is 24 chances for Outdoor Nation to empower kids to make a difference in their communities!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/8/Lorin Paley2.jpg" alt="" width="418" height="441" /></p> <p>This past weekend was the first summit of the season in NYC. I sat down not expecting much, and was immediately thrown out of that attitude. My team was a group from Jersey with so much enthusiasm and belief; I couldn&rsquo;t help but to be as excited as well. By the end of the day we had a fully fleshed project and continued to work on it during our night off. The next day, we presented our idea, won a grant and are looking forward to a launch date in about 5 weeks! Look for us on Facebook soon!</p> <p>&nbsp; <br />Lorin Paley&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br />They say life is an adventure. Prove them right.<br />See What' up <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 02 Sep 2012 11:20:00 GMT Choosing Your Teammates! <p>Based on The 8 Essential Elements of Human Synergy<br />Adventure Racing is one of the only sports in which you actually have to have your teammates with you, side-by-side, tackling a series of problems, against incredible odds, in changing conditions, and striving for a seemingly impossible goal of getting everyone across the finish line TOGETHER after 600 miles of joy. :)&nbsp;&nbsp; That&rsquo;s why Adventure Racing is just as much an interpersonal journey as a physical one, and a perfect analogy for teambuilding in every aspect of our lives.&nbsp;&nbsp; In the best of times, you will experience moments that will bond you to your teammates in a very special way for life; In the worst of times, you will walk away having experienced the worst aspects of human nature and be left to pick up the pieces of your shattered hopes.&nbsp;&nbsp; In my experience, a lack of teamwork skills is responsible for at least 40-50% of the DNF&rsquo;s (Did Not Finish) in Adventure Racing, and it is far too important a factor to overlook in any discussion about the sport-- or our families or work lives.&nbsp; Believe it or not, according to a Harvard Business Review Study, the "corporate climate" that you create as a leader (aka how friends/coworkers/family members feel about working, racing and living with you) is responsible for at least ONE THIRD of your results as a team. So the ability to create Human Synergy is far too big a skill to overlook!&nbsp; So here&rsquo;s my two cents on what it takes to build a World Class Team in any endeavor, from the mountains of Ecuador to the quest to reach the next level in your business. It&rsquo;s also a great formula to use when evaluating just the right teammates for your next adventure!&nbsp;</p> <p>After years of study in what causes a team to rise from &ldquo;good&rdquo; to &ldquo;world class&rdquo;, I&rsquo;ve come to the conclusion that the biggest factors are the attitudes and actions of the individual teammates.&nbsp; In the races my team and I have won, we were not the strongest or the fastest, but we were able to create a &ldquo;human synergy&rdquo;&mdash;an ephemeral quality or &ldquo;magic&rdquo; that made the TEAM stronger than the collective training and experience of the individual members. If I could bottle it, I would certainly be a millionaire-- but after a good deal of thinking about the subject, I have a pretty good idea of the essential elements required for this human synergy.&nbsp; Here&rsquo;s the first part of the highlight reel:</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/8/Team Merrell Jump.JPG" alt="" width="444" height="319" /></p> <p><br />The 8 Essential Elements of Human Synergy</p> <p><br />T&nbsp;&nbsp; Total Commitment<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; Do your teammates embrace the 4 P&rsquo;s of Commitment:&nbsp; Planning, sense of Purpose, Preparation and Perseverance?</p> <p><br />E&nbsp;&nbsp; Empathy and Awareness of Teammates<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Do you and your teammates care for one another as much as you care about yourself? You must be able to put yourself in one another&rsquo;s shoes often, and give one another what you need on both a physical&nbsp;&nbsp; and emotional&nbsp; level.&nbsp; Treat one another the way that you would want to be treated.</p> <p>A&nbsp;&nbsp; Adversity Management <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; How does your team deal with an "adventure" that&rsquo;s not going so smoothly?&nbsp; You must remember that Adventure Races, just like our daily lives, are generally a long series of problems to solve, and not the straightforward journey you were hoping for.&nbsp; The right attitude is key.&nbsp; Does your team see roadblocks or challenges? Are they focusing on the Hope of Success or the Fear of Failure?&nbsp;&nbsp; And they must never let the pursuit of perfection hinder progress!</p> <p><br />M&nbsp;&nbsp; Mutual Respect<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; It&rsquo;s important that there be a level of trust, respect, and loyalty on a successful team.&nbsp; Find things to love about your teammates while minimizing the things that bug you.&nbsp; Remember the great skills and attitude that each teammate brings to the table, and try not to gossip and divide the team.</p> <p><br />W&nbsp;&nbsp; &ldquo;We&rdquo; versus &ldquo;I&rdquo; thinking<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &ldquo;We&rdquo; thinking is about bringing everyone across the finish line with you, and not just being a standout player on your own.&nbsp; Are your teammates constantly thinking about how to utilize your collective resources for the most successful outcome?&nbsp; If they are the strong link, do they just happily enjoy themselves at the front of the pack, or are they realizing that feeling good means you should be carrying more weight for someone who is struggling?</p> <p><br />&nbsp;O&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Ownership of the Project<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Choosing the kind of teammates that can wrap themselves around the goals of the team, heart and soul, is extremely important.&nbsp; Gaining consensus from the team on expectations and goals is key. And remember to inspire your teammates vs. simply motivate them. Motivation is for now, inspiration is forever.</p> <p><br />R&nbsp;&nbsp; Relinquishment of Ego<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Your ego is the heaviest thing in your backpack!&nbsp; Choose teammates that willingly accept help, ask to help, and ask for help.&nbsp; You will be the strongest link on the team and the weakest link of the team at one point or another.&nbsp; Get over it and don&rsquo;t let your ego, or that of your teammates, get between you and the finish line!</p> <p><br />K&nbsp;&nbsp; Kinetic Leadership<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; A great team allows different leaders to emerge, based on their particular strengths.&nbsp; Don&rsquo;t confuse captainship (aka management) with leadership.&nbsp; A captain is just the person that ensures that their team has all of the tools that they need to be successful.&nbsp; A leader comes forward when their strength and experience is the most useful to the team.&nbsp;&nbsp; On the best teams, the leadership revolves constantly.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/8/Merrell Trekking to Gear Check.jpg" alt="" width="436" height="343" /></p> <p><br />Tips:<br />*Be the teammate you would want to race with *Be cognizant of the fact that, due to the intensity of the emotions generated in almost any sport, the way that you treat people, (especially during their lowest moments) will always be remembered *In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make&nbsp; (for you Beatles fans) *Try to &ldquo;coach&rdquo; versus criticize.&nbsp; Extending a hand is always more impactful than pointing a finger *Remember your priorities--our team&rsquo;s priorities, in order, are to: stay safe, stay friends, and go like hell *Check your ego at the start line *Back up but never give up *Accept help and ask for help as a gift to the helper *Give respect as a gift and not a grade *Believe the best in your teammates. It saves a lot of trouble *Change your leadership style like a golfer changes their clubs. Use the right style for the moment.</p> <p><br />~ XO Robyn</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 22 Aug 2012 09:21:00 GMT Outdoor Nation Merrell Delegate: Laura Carhart <p>Merrell Delegate: Laura Carhart</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/8/Laura Carhart 1.png" alt="" /></p> <p>Being an outdoor enthusiast has always been a part of my life, so when I heard about Outdoor Nation&rsquo;s Boston Summit I knew I had to go. I support everything <a href="">Outdoor Nation </a>&amp; <a href="">Merrell </a>stand for so I was excited and jumped at the opportunity to get to share my voice. Another great perk besides a summit dedicated to getting people outside? Free gear! Who could pass up the awesome free gear Merrell &amp; Outdoor Nation gave away!</p> <p>At first when I arrived at UMass in Boston I did not know what to expect from the summit, but immediately I was blown away with everyone&rsquo;s attitudes. We were all there for a common cause, to get people outside! Right away people were connecting with each other and sharing their knowledge of the great outdoors. Barriers that usually kept people from communicating with each other immediately fell away. It didn&rsquo;t matter if you had reached the summit of 100 mountains or if you never reached a summit at all, everyone was ready to change the millennial generation into the outdoor enthusiasts we know they can be given the opportunity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/8/Laura Carhart 3.png" alt="" /></p> <p>During the summit everyone split off into groups to brainstorm and create projects with the main goal of getting people outside. The groups mapped out business proposals and presented them to everyone the following day. There were about 17 groups with 17 amazing ideas. Nine of these projects received grants from Outdoor Nation to start their project up and help towards the cause of getting people outside! My group received a $750.00 grant from Outdoor Nation! We proposed a program called Deals for Wheels. Deals for Wheels is a community based program that encourages active transportation (such as biking, skateboarding, rollerblading - any mode with wheels) by providing discounts from participating local businesses to individuals who use active transportation to get to the establishment.</p> <p>I am truly passionate about the outdoors and am excited that Outdoor Nation &amp; Merrell gave us the platform to make change for our generation. As a student at Unity College majoring in Wildlife Management I know that this world needs our help, with these grants I believe the millennial generation will change and have more opportunities for outdoor education. We will educate the children of tomorrow about the world we have today this in turn will breed a new generation of outdoor lovers and help preserve the world we know.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/8/Laura Carhart 2.png" alt="" /></p> <p>~~ Laura Carhart</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Have a great idea to get people outside? Check out <a href="">The Merrell Pack Project</a>.</p> Fri, 17 Aug 2012 11:41:00 GMT 'Sup with Stand Up Paddling? <p>Everywhere and anywhere there's a body of water, people are taking up SUP!&nbsp;&nbsp; What's so great about stand up paddling?&nbsp; Pretty much everything.&nbsp; If you had told me a year ago that there was a water sport I would love as much as ultra distance kayaking, I would have told you "no way".&nbsp; But beginning with my first SUP race this past December, "yes...WAY!"&nbsp; There is nothing not to love about SUP:&nbsp; Anyone can do it, you have an incredible view, you're generally dry, gear is easy to store and transport, you get to spend some quality time with friends (aquatic and bipedal), and most importantly, everyone in this sport extends their hand and welcomes you as&nbsp; "ohana" (family in the Hawaiian culture).&nbsp; Races become "gatherings" of friends who all support one another both on and off the water.&nbsp; After my first race, I literally had 5 new friends.&nbsp; In fact, I will never forget how friendly the first woman that I approached at my first race was: Out of sheer desperation, after seeing all of the buoys on the course, I paddled up to a woman who looked kind enough to help, and asked her if she could give me a quick lesson in going around turns.&nbsp; She quickly paddled up next to me, literally 2 minutes before the gun went off, and demonstrated the best technique to use to efficiently make tight turns on the board.&nbsp; Then she threaded her way to the front row of the starting line and promptly won the women's race.&nbsp; :).&nbsp; At the end, she waited for me and introduced me to all of the other women she knew in the race, invited me to join her training group, etc etc.&nbsp; I had never felt so welcomed in a new sport.&nbsp; And EVERYone I've met in the sport since then is just like her!&nbsp; Yadda Yadda Yadda, if you love being on the water but don't love lugging a kayak, and you want to make a dozen instant friends, then SUP is your next sport.&nbsp; Here's how to get started:</p> <p><br />Choosing a Board:<br />SUP boards come in a few "stock" sizes, which also correspond to generally accepted race divisions:&nbsp; 12'6", 14' and Unlimited (anything over 14').&nbsp;&nbsp; Lighter women generally like the 12'6" because it's easy to power.&nbsp; Bigger women (like me! 145lbs) and men generally dig the 14' boards because they're a little longer and, therefore, ever so slightly faster--they just require a bit more power to keep em moving. Construction methods and materials vary, but you have a choice of everything from teak/wood, to eps foam/epoxy resin, to carbon fiber, and even inflatable boards (great for travel!).&nbsp; The board you choose will depend on your budget, goals, and stomping grounds.&nbsp; I.e. If you want a board to occasionally surf on as well as go longer distances, or you're dealing with a rocky coastline, you won't want carbon fiber.&nbsp; If you plan to play/race in mostly flat water conditions, a carbon fiber board could be a great call.&nbsp; Either way, play with a few types of boards before buying one. There are also tons of great deals on used boards as people continue to upgrade (check resources section below) .</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/8/merrell_edits_dhake0021.jpg" alt="" width="491" height="326" /></p> <p><br />Where to SUP?</p> <p>SUP isn&rsquo;t just for the ocean anymore! People are SUPing and SUP racing in every lake and river they can find.&nbsp; Where there is water, there is SUP.&nbsp; Believe it or not, people have already SUP'ed the Grand Canyon, The Colorado River 100, and the Missouri River 340 Mile Paddling Race.&nbsp; In fact, there's even a formal division for SUP in the Missouri River 340 because there were enough silly people who requested it!<br /><br />Paddles<br />Carbon fiber uber-long outrigger-type paddles are generally the norm in this sport, and are not too expensive.&nbsp; You can get an adjustable one or have one sized to fit you and your paddling style.&nbsp; The adjustable ones are nice if you are going to be using different boards or if you're going out with new friends who are not your same height.&nbsp; In terms of fitting the paddle to you, the "T" handle should be 8-12 inches above your head when the paddle is placed, blade edge on the ground, in front of you.&nbsp;&nbsp; <br /><br />Paddling Technique<br />Reach, reach reach reach reach.&nbsp; That's pretty much what I heard the entire time during a recent stroke technique class I took from one of the inventors of SUP, Dave Kalama. For the most powerful stroke:&nbsp; feet are firmly planted on the board, shoulder width apart, and with your arms in a "K" position reaching waaaaaaay out toward the top of your board, rotate your shoulder forward to get the maximum reach, then bury the blade smoooothly and completely and pull with your core (in other words, think about pulling your whole body, as a unit attached to the board, to where the paddle is, vs. bringing the paddle to you).&nbsp; The blade should exit the water when it reaches your heel and go no further back.&nbsp; Otherwise, you're just picking up water.&nbsp; Then you propel the paddle forward again into the K position on that same side and repeat.&nbsp; There is no set number of times you should paddle on each side before switching.&nbsp; You'll get a feel for how many it takes on each side before you start veering off course.&nbsp; Start with 8 or 10 reps on each side and feel it out.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/8/merrell_edits_dhake0022.jpg" alt="" width="499" height="331" /></p> <p><br /><br />Resources:</p> <p>To watch The Pack SUP video with Pack Leader Brent Allen <a href=";feature=g-upl ">click here</a>.</p> <p><br />Here are some of my favorite resources for information about SUP events, races, equipment, etc:<br /><a href=""></a>, <a href=""></a>, <a href=""></a>, <a href=""></a>, <a href=""></a>, <a href=""></a><br /><br />For Paddling Technique videos, Google: Jim Terrel (owner of Quickblade Paddles), Danny Ching, Bark Paddleboards, Todd Bradley, Dave Kalama, and Candice Appleby<br /><br />Happy Paddling, my friends! Let the SUP LOVE fest begin! <br /><br />~XO Robyn</p> Wed, 15 Aug 2012 07:59:00 GMT Outdoor Nation Merrell Delegate: Edd Duran <p>Merrell Delegate: Edd Duran</p> <p>Going to the Outdoor Nation NYC Summit as a Merrell delegate was one of the highlights of my summer. As soon as I got there I was introduced to the other delegates and it was such a treat to be teamed up with such amazing people!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/8/edd.duran5.jpg" alt="" width="399" height="266" /></p> <p>Andy, Lorin and I, along with six others, worked together to develop a program designed to provide incentives people who get others outside. It will be an internet-driven challenge competition where people can earn prizes for completing certain challenges, all of which include taking others outside! Our project won one of the grants given away at the summit and though the program is still in its barebones stage, our entire team is very excited about kicking it off in the near future.</p> <p>Throughout the weekend, several people asked about our Merrell Barefoot sneakers. Without any previous planning, Andy and I raised our legs and put our shoes on the table for some show &amp; tell. We had a good laugh about it and had to repeat the show later for somebody else.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/8/edd.duran6.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="300" /></p> <p>The Outdoor Nation NYC summit helped me to become a better outside ambassador because I got to meet other like-minded people and discuss the barriers that are blocking people from enjoying the outdoors. Seeing what works for others and discussing how we can make things work together was awe-inspiring! The number one thing that I&rsquo;ll take from the experience is that there are other like-minded people out there. We care about the same things and are willing to do something to help people get past these barriers to allow others to enjoy the outdoors like we do. That simple little fact is so refreshing!<br /><br />Edd Duran<br /><br />If you're interesting in applying for a Merrell Pack Project Grant check out</p> Fri, 10 Aug 2012 04:59:00 GMT Let’s celebrate wine, food, friends and #SundaySupper <p>I know, I know&hellip;. I say it all the time &rdquo; I am so excited for this #SundaySupper event.&rdquo; &nbsp;I really do mean it, there is just so much to be excited about and this week is no different. &nbsp;In fact, it may be even a little more exciting. &nbsp;The #SundaySupper Group is incredibly honored to have Merrell join us Around the Family Table. &nbsp;Let&rsquo;s celebrate wine, food, friends and #SundaySupper together.</p> <p>Just like #SundaySupper, Merrell is passionate about what they do and it shows. I love that they Think Outside. &nbsp;&rdquo;Outside is more than a place, it&rsquo;s our history and inspiration for the future.&rdquo; &nbsp; This week our talented group of bloggers are sharing with you what #SundaySupper means to them and their lifestyles.</p> <p>#SundaySupper is so much more than one meal a week!</p> <p>Merrell has chosen these 10 amazing bloggers to host a giveaway on their site. &nbsp;Make sure you stop by for a chance to win some great Merrell Products. &nbsp;From city streets to mountain trails and everywhere in between, we are impressed by Merrell&rsquo;s passion! Blueberry Muffins by <a href="">Magnolia Days</a>.</p> <ul> <li>Blueberry Muffins by&nbsp;Magnolia <a href="">Magnolia Days</a> </li> <li>Korean Ribs &ndash; Alaska Camping Edition with&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">MrsMamaHen</a></li> <li>Fresh Corn on the Cob by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">In the Kitchen with Audrey</a></li> <li>Hearts of Palm Salad with Avocado by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Basic n Delicious</a></li> <li>Shallot BBQ Shredded Beef by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Juanita&rsquo;s Cocina&nbsp;</a></li> <li>Taking #SundaySupper Outdoors With a Fun Picnic&hellip;Featuring Spicy Pinto and Black Bean Salad with Roasted Corn and Avocado by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Weekend Gourmet&nbsp;</a></li> <li>On Top of Our Game with Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars by<a href="" target="_blank">&nbsp;The Watering Mouth&nbsp;</a></li> <li>Chicken &amp; Dumplings Around the Campfire by<a href="" target="_blank">&nbsp;Daily Dish Recipes&nbsp;</a></li> <li>Wine &amp; Food Festivals; a lifestyle the whole family can enjoy! by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Wine Everyday</a></li> <li>Outdoor Grilling Filipino Rice Cakes in Coconut &amp; Banana Leaves by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Queen&rsquo;s Notebook</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>The Sunday Supper fun continues.</strong>&nbsp;Take a look at these wonderful stories and recipes for this event:</p> <ul> <li>Embracing Old Family Traditions while creating New Ones ~ Enchiladas de Chile y Ajo by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Girlichef&nbsp;</a></li> <li>The Embassy&acute;s Nut Crescents by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Vintage Kitchen Notes</a></li> <li>Chicken Curry Pie by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Small Wallet Big Appetite</a></li> <li>Prosecco Sangria by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Pippi&rsquo;s in the Kitchen Again</a></li> <li>Grilled Campfire Steak with Bleu Cheese Sauce by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Messy Baker&nbsp;</a></li> <li>Bringing #SundaySupper to All by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Doggie at the Dinner Table&nbsp;</a></li> <li>Honey Mustard Baked Beans by<a href="" target="_blank">&nbsp;Cindy&rsquo;s Recipes and Writings</a></li> <li>S&rsquo;mores Brownies: Desserts Make #SundaySupper by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Mama Mommy Mom&nbsp;</a></li> <li>Tandoori Salmon Rolled in Whole Wheat Couscous by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Sue&rsquo;s Nutrition Buzz&nbsp;</a></li> <li>Whole Wheat Macaroni with Spinach Pecan Pesto-Enjoying &nbsp;by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Soni&rsquo;s Food for Thought&nbsp;</a></li> <li>Southwestern Chicken Wraps&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Fam Friends Food&nbsp;</a></li> <li>Ahi Tuna Salad Family Style&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Family Foodie</a></li> <li>Wines For The Foods That Move You&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">ENOFYLZ</a></li> </ul> <p>Let&rsquo;s celebrate wine, food, friends and #SundaySupper. &nbsp;The fun starts every week at 3:00pm ET by showcasing fabulous recipes. At 7:00 pm ET, we will start our live chat. &nbsp;Join us on twitter by using hashtag #Sundaysupper or using&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Tweetchat</a>. &nbsp;We love to feature your recipes on our<a href="" target="_blank">&nbsp;#sundaysupper pinterest board</a>&nbsp;and share them with all of our followers.</p> <p>You might want to say hello to our friends at Merrell too: <a rel="nofollow nofollow" href=";h=rAQFPJWf1AQEzLOYFt_f6bJBw-WB62uNz3Kdnq5ajIQl-BQ" target="_blank"></a></p> <p>Or connect with them on Twitter <a href="" target="_blank">@merrelloutside</a> and Facebook&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank"></a><br />Check them out on<a href="" target="_blank"> You Tube&nbsp;</a></p> <p>By: <a href="">FamilyFoodie</a></p> Sun, 29 Jul 2012 18:28:00 GMT The Pack - Taking Risks <p><strong>Taking Risks</strong><br /><br />How many times in our lives have we put something off because we're not ready, we need more time, we don't feel comfortable, etc etc.&nbsp; I've completed 10 Ironman Triathlons and over 40 10 day non-stop Eco-Challenge Adventure Races through the most remote places on earth, and here's a secret:&nbsp; I didn't feel 'ready' for any of them.&nbsp; There was always more I could have done to train, something I needed more time to prepare, or I wished I could delay the start until a day when I felt stronger.&nbsp; Truth be told, I would most likely never have approached a start line or undertaken those "risks" to journey into the unknown physically, emotionally, interpersonally if there wasn't a specific date on the calendar and someone with a megaphone saying "go!".&nbsp; But I am ever so glad I did.&nbsp; I wouldn't give back those moments, memories, and lessons for anything on earth.&nbsp; Because it is in those moments of risk, where we are forced to rise to a challenge, that we add another brick to the foundation of our character, confidence and strength. So how do we stop "wishing" we had more guts and inspire ourselves to ditch the vanilla life for a big, satisfying scoop of Rocky Road less Traveled?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Step Into Character--Nobody knows what's going on inside your head but you.&nbsp; Remember that to the outside world you appear 100% to be the businessperson,&nbsp; triathlete, writer, (enter your dream here).&nbsp; Try to see yourself the way your colleagues and friends see you--confident, smart, talented--and BE that person.&nbsp; For example, I'm the biggest introvert on earth, and I'm a speaker for a living. How? Right before I go on stage, I think about the person that everyone in the audience is expecting to meet (vs. little scared me!), and the moment they invite me onto the stage, I become her. </li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Do It Anyway-- How you feel is far less important than what you DO.&nbsp; Feeling scared, nervous and uncomfortable when you're rappelling off that symbolic cliff is just a GIVEN.&nbsp; It's the price of admission for an exceptional life!&nbsp; The only difference between you and the person who is living their dream is that he/she felt the fear and 'did it anyway'.&nbsp; Whenever I told my judo coach I was scared before a big tournament, his response was always the same "yeah... what?&rdquo;&nbsp; Fear will always be there when we face risks.&nbsp; In fact, I've come to embrace fear as the vigilant guardian and trusted friend that gives me a "heads up" to be at my best.&nbsp; But we just can't let our emotions affect our locomotion.&nbsp; </li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Focus on How It Will Feel to Succeed (instead of obsessing about failure)--When you're driving your car or riding your bike, where is your focus? On where you WANT to go, right? Where we get into the most trouble is when we start focusing on where we DON'T want to go (the ditch, the puddle, the loose gravel, etc)--because that's inevitably where we will end up! So why, when we're analyzing our risks, do we get so obsessed with what we don't want to have happen instead of envisioning what success will look like? Top athletes are masters of visualization.&nbsp; They envision themselves performing the perfect routine, victoriously crossing the finish line, etc, and suffuse the feeling of that success into their mind and heart with the hope of achieving peak performance.&nbsp; We can do that, too! What will it look like, feel like, smell like, and who will be there cheering when you achieve that goal? Use that image to guide you on your mission as well as inspire you through the rough patches along the way.</li> </ul> <p><br />I see you at that finish line, victorious! Don't you?&nbsp; The capable, talented, smart, driven person who let fear whisper in their ear but let courage rule their heart?&nbsp; Yep.&nbsp; That's you!<br /><br /><br />Adventure Always (and happy Rocky Road Ice Cream Life!)<br />~ XO Robyn</p> <p><a href="">Join The Pack</a></p> Mon, 09 Jul 2012 00:29:00 GMT I AM #PrettyStrong: Emily Snayd <p><a href=";feature=player_embedded">Watch</a> Emily unleash her natural power and beauty and find your #Prettystrong with our <a href="">traning programs</a>, <a href="">playlists</a>, and <a href="">Merrell Barefoot Shoes</a>-designed just for you!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/6/emily strong1.JPG" alt="" /></p> Mon, 11 Jun 2012 06:07:00 GMT I AM #PrettyStrong: Lauren Heindl <p><a href="">Watch</a> Lauren unleash her natural power and beauty and find your #prettystrong with our <a href="">training programs</a>, <a href="">playlists</a>, and <a href="">Merrell Barefoot shoes</a>-designed just for you!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/5/Lauren Blog.JPG" alt="" /></p> Tue, 22 May 2012 07:33:00 GMT I am Merrell: Jon Sanregret <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/I am Merrell Jon Sanregret Final.jpg" alt="" /></p> Thu, 10 May 2012 02:02:00 GMT I am Merrell: Seth Cobb <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/IAM Seth Cobb1.jpg" alt="" /></p> Thu, 10 May 2012 02:00:00 GMT I am Merrell: Abby Stutzman <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/I am Merrell Abby Stutzman Final.jpg" alt="" /></p> Thu, 10 May 2012 01:59:00 GMT Outdoor Nation Merrell Delegate: Mike Defenbaugh <p>Merrell Delegate: Mike Defenbaugh</p> <p>I'm into the outdoors... ok so that's an understatement. I'm REALLY into the outdoors. I love getting back to the natural wonders that surround us everyday, and I love sharing those times, places, and feelings that com along with epic outdoor adventures. So, maybe it's not a big surprise that I was chosen by <a href="">Merrell</a> to go to <a href="">Outdoor Nation's</a> Minneapolis Summit in July of 2011 (it was a pleasant surprise for me!). It was a huge honor to be chosen as well as receive a bunch of great Merrell gear; not to mention having all my travel arrangements taken care of by, who else but, the good folks at Merrell! Now there's an opening act, I'm told I get free gear and a flight to MN! Hard to follow, right? Nope, Outdoor Nation blew me away with a whole weekend which entwined outdoor fun with youth's concerns and actions to be taken in getting youth (as well as all people) outdoors. All in all, if I had to put a word on it, &ldquo;epic&rdquo; weekend. Here's how it went down for me...</p> <p>First we should note that I'm not a big fan of flying on big commercial planes... until recently parachutes were not allowed and I never know who is flying the huge sardine tube at 30,000 feet. I have no problem jumping out of planes, love it in fact, but my irrational fear of big commercial airlines remains. Even with that, I sucked it up when Merrell said they'd book my flight from Milwaukee, WI to Minneapolis, MN (no need to be rude). I arrived at the airport, calm, mostly; the flight went off without a hitch, at least I assume so since I took a nap. My friend Shane was supposed to pick me up at the airport, but since he had to work I took the bus on over to the University. It was pouring cats and dogs out, but being a good hiker I was geared up and outfitted with some of Merrell's best gear (thanks again yall) and dried quickly once in the U.</p> <p>The first moments you meet new friends are usually the most exciting, but considering the rain most people's spirits weren't as high as they could be. None-the-less we sat together as discussed who had sent us (our sponsors) and what we hoped the weekend would be. As more of the delegates arrived we all sat down for a quick run-down of the weekend and what was to come. After a delicious lunch we got to work by answering questions and giving input on what was an outsiders rights, responsibilities, and the biggest issues keeping people from getting outside. We all had some dinner and checked into our dorms where we met our roomies. Michael Dalheim and I are still planning a peak bagging weekend in Colorado, if that speaks to how quickly and easily we became friends. Later, before heading to bed, the New Wilderness Project gave a performance and showed us what the outdoors meant to them. It was inspiring almost as much as it was genuine, a heartfelt performance, a sharing of love with those who understand the feeling. That night, we spent our last couple hours getting to know each other and playing outside before finally hitting the hay.</p> <p>The next day, we had an early breakfast to get ready for the day's activities. We brainstormed ideas and solutions to the issues we had talked about the night before and focused our thoughts on key issues. Lots to consider and a great time of &ldquo;what if's&rdquo; assuming anything and everything was possible! After a light lunch we all were sent back to the dorms to get ready for the day's &ldquo;activity&rdquo;. Canoeing! Yes, we spent the day with Wilderness Outfitters canoeing down the mighty Mississippi River. Traveling through the lock and dam system we floated, well... some floated, and some of us raced! Darn right, a good old fashioned showdown of shear brute strength and stamina, friendly competition of course! We had worked up a pretty sizable appetite by the end of our journey, so Outdoor Nation hooked us up with catering from Famous Dave's BBQ joint! And, as if that wasn't enough, two of the gentleman who had been canoeing with us the whole time revealed themselves to be Cedar Wright and Juan Martinez, a well known climber and an outdoor community leader! We all sat 'round as Cedar and Juan wowed us with their tales of adventures, stories of their lives, and inspiring words of wisdom to the youth of the outdoor community (or Outdoor Nation!). What a day, in my book, you can't beat it. That night as we all gathered back at the dorms we all shared our stories with each other and became a family. Some of us even shared drinks at the local hootch house. I remember very clearly the feeling of comfort as I laid down to rest that night, and of course the impending hangover the next day...</p> <p>The next day a miracle occurred, I felt awesome! Good thing too since we sat down to hash out our plans for the possible grant money we could receive. Our main question was about what was stopping people from getting back outdoors and how we would inspire the next generation to get the fun outdoors! Through our large group and small group work we hammered out our proposals to send off to the heads of Outdoor Nation for final review. After all was said and done we had completed some monumental work, met new friends (and family), and gained perspective on who else loves the world out there. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life and I'm proud to say I'll be going back again. I guess you could say that since Merrell geared me up, Outdoor Nation educated me, and the delegates inspired me... I feel, more than ever, that I can say I'm ready for anything.</p> <p>When your soul wanders, your mind is lost, and your world is crashing down on you, see your refuge in the spaces between spaces; let nature help you see what's really important. May your journey be joyful, may the weather be fair, and if we lose the way, let us all take care. I'll see you on the trail, cheers!</p> <p>1.)<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Canoeing down the Mississippi River and meeting Cedar Wright and Juan Martinez!</p> <p>2.)<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Meeting friends I'll never forget and becoming part of the Outdoor Nation family.</p> <p>3.)<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>I had been looking to meet more like-minded people who cherished our green spaces and do my part for them as well as the next generation of outsiders. I'd tell my friends to apply because Merrell totally took care of me from the clothes I was wearing to arranging my travel plans, not to mention sponsoring one of the coolest events I've ever been a part of!</p> <p>4.)<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Since I left the Summit I've been working with other members on our partnership with Milwaukee's Urban Ecology Center's &ldquo;Teen Adventure Challenge Day&rdquo;; I've devoted so much more of my time to helping everyone around me get the fun outdoors!</p> <p>5.)<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>I'm an adventure guide, so I spend a lot of time hiking, paddling, camping (especially backpacking), and more recently climbing!</p> <p>6.)<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>You don't know it yet, but you want to be a part of this movement. GTFO, I'll see yall on the trail with all of the outdoor nation!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If you are interested in becoming a Merrell Delegate, apply now at <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 08 May 2012 18:44:00 GMT Merrell and Outdoor Nation 2012 Delegate Search! <p>In 2012, we will once again sponsor up to 35 (16-28 year old) delegates who will not only attend the <a href="">Outdoor Nation</a> nationwide Summits, but also serve as outreach ambassadors &ndash; working as a team to share experiences from the Summits as well as subsequent project updates. Last year, <a href="">Merrell</a> sponsored 25 delegates &ndash; who are actively spearheading on-the-ground efforts to connect a new generation with the outdoors. Interested individuals should visit <a href="">here</a>. &nbsp;</p> <p>Merrell Outdoor Nation interview with 2011 delegate: Kathryn Schuster</p> <p><strong>1. What was your favorite moment at the 2011 Summit?</strong></p> <p>Getting together as a small group and coming up with ideas for grants. So many people had amazing ideas to get the youth back outside!</p> <p><strong>2. What was your biggest takeaway?</strong></p> <p>Meeting all the people, and being re-inspired to get back outside with or without someone! Go for a hike if you can&rsquo;t get a group of people to go camping with you. Go kayak by yourself! I even went to Nashville for a Merrell Oyster Race by myself!!!!</p> <p><strong>3. Why did you apply to be a Merrell delegate and why would you tell your friends to apply?</strong></p> <p>One, I am a Merrell Outdoor enthusiast! Two, you get your trip paid for (flight). Three, you get some awesome swag to sport!!</p> <p><strong>4. What about the Summit has changed the way you live today?</strong></p> <p>Like I said, I get outside by myself more. Before I thought that I always had to hike or do whatever with groups of people or friends. Well, I don&rsquo;t have too many friends that like to get outside as much as I do, or are as adventurous as me. I met so many people that reminded me to stop caring about what people think and just get outside and find your own self! I am more conscious about what I can do to get other people outside! Telling my story about a great hike or weekend adventure seems to have inspired a lot of my friends to do their own adventure too!!!</p> <p><strong>5. How do you GTFO?</strong></p> <p><strong></strong>I kayak, hike, camp, rock climb, run/walk my dog, take photographs! I am going to work on my own project of &ldquo;Free MY Feet&rdquo; and take pictures of the place my Merrell Pace Glove Barefoot shoes take me!!! (Lychee orange should show up good in photos/instagram!!!!!!!)</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/4/Kathryn Schuster.jpg" alt="" /></p> Thu, 19 Apr 2012 15:20:00 GMT #Pretty Strong Training Program-Week 2 <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hello! Now for week two of the <a href="">Merrell Women&rsquo;s Barefoot Training Program</a>. &nbsp;The next few days of the program were cool because I was finally able to run! Spring also came early in Michigan so I was able to do some of my training outside. &nbsp;Let&rsquo;s get started!</p> <p>Day 5</p> <p>The workout consisted of kneeling lunges and a 30 minute walk. &nbsp;The lunges were really a way to stretch out those muscles before the workout. This was my first time doing this kind of stretch. &nbsp;I liked it so much that I plan to incorporate it before and after my future workouts. It felt great! After stretching I was able to go outside and enjoy the weather for the 30 minute walk. After the walk, I headed to the gym to do some of my own exercises including cycling (I need to buy a new bike!). &nbsp;</p> <p>Day 6</p> <p>I was so excited to start Day 6 because it was the first day that I could actually run in my <a href="">Merrell Barefoot shoes</a> (I have the <a href="">Dash Gloves</a>!). &nbsp;This workout required walking, jogging in place and running. &nbsp;Because it was raining, I did this whole workout in the gym. During the walk I really concentrated on my form. I wanted to make sure it was good before I did my first run. &nbsp;The 10 second jog in place was also helpful to get me to practice running correctly before that 10 minute run. &nbsp;Next, I started running. The run felt really good, as I felt no pain in my knees (I mentioned in my first blog that I usually have knee problems when running.) Although I wanted to, I made sure not to go longer than the 10 minutes listed in the training program. &nbsp;Running naturally causes you to use muscles that have never had to be worked before. &nbsp;Going too hard in the beginning, without really transitioning can cause you to hurt yourself.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/3/steph shoes1.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>Day 7</p> <p>After doing my ankle circles I threw on my shoes and headed outside for a run. It was like 80 degree&rsquo;s and sunny! &nbsp;While running I was thinking wow, I feel like I have the proper form down pat (at least I think I do). The 10 minute run feels better than my run before transitioning. I have had no joint pain thus far which is great! &nbsp;After the run, I found some stairs outside and did 30 minutes of training on the stairs. Going up and down, continuing to practice proper form and building strength.&nbsp;</p> <p>Day 8</p> <p>Today I was able to train with my husband. It made the workout a little more enjoyable. I encourage everyone to train with company as much as possible. Keeps you going! &nbsp;Anyway, I did the ankle circles as usual. After those were completed I did the Clams. &nbsp;This workout wasn&rsquo;t too difficult for me. &nbsp;This made me feel pretty good about myself and my progress. Ha Ha! After those were completed I did my walk and run with the hubby. &nbsp;I&rsquo;m feeling great!</p> <p>Day 9&nbsp;</p> <p>This workout started with Jumping Jacks. &nbsp;As I mentioned in the last blog, this isn&rsquo;t a workout that I do often. &nbsp;But it is always fun. &nbsp;Jumping Jacks remind me of being in gym class as a kid&hellip;in a good way. I decided to do more than 5 reps because I wanted to challenge myself a bit more. I did 10 instead. &nbsp;Please do what works for you! &nbsp;Now onto the walk and run, I really, really wanted to run longer in these Merrell&rsquo;s but had to hold back for now. &nbsp;Do not want to do too much too soon!</p> <p>Having completed 9 days of the program I can say that it is really great with helping with the transition. &nbsp;I have enjoyed it thus far and am excited to keep going with the rest. &nbsp;Stay tuned for the next 5 days! Check out the training program at <a href=""></a>. &nbsp;Don&rsquo;t forget to watch the <a href="">video</a> to learn the full benefits from my co-workers.</p> <p>-Steph</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 26 Mar 2012 18:30:00 GMT I AM #PrettyStrong: Lauren Van Proosdy <p><span style="color: #444444; font-family: Verdana; font-size: 11px; line-height: 17px;"><a href="">Watch</a> Lauren unleash her natural power and beauty and&nbsp;find your #prettystrong with our <a href="">training programs</a></span><span style="color: #444444; font-family: Verdana; font-size: 11px; line-height: 17px;">, playlists, and <a href="">Merrell Barefoot Shoes</a></span><span style="color: #444444; font-family: Verdana; font-size: 11px; line-height: 17px;">-designed just for you!</span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/3/Lauren prettystrong.JPG" alt="" /></p> Sun, 25 Mar 2012 23:04:00 GMT I AM #PrettyStrong: Kendra Wolfe <p><a href="">Watch</a>&nbsp;Kendra unleash her natural power and beauty and&nbsp;find your #prettystrong with our&nbsp;<a href="">training programs</a>, playlists, and <a href="">Merrell Barefoot shoes</a>-designed just for you!</p> <p><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/3/kendra pretty strong2.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 15 Mar 2012 01:41:00 GMT #Pretty Strong Training Program-Week 1. Let's go! <p>Before I dive into my experience with the first 4 days of the <a href="">Merrell barefoot Women&rsquo;s Training Program</a>, let me give you a little background about me. &nbsp;I am a girly girl. I love nail polish, lip stick, shoes and fitness! I am new to the marketing team at <a href="">Merrell</a> but love my new role. &nbsp;As for fitness I recently completed a boxing class which was both a lot of fun and tons of work. &nbsp;I enjoy running, swimming and biking. &nbsp;Currently I have been running 2-4 miles a day, 4 days a week and was a little worried that starting this training program might slow me down. Trust me ladies, it doesn&rsquo;t have to! All I did was mix in the training program with my normal routine and I was good to go! I also have knee problems and heard that running in correct form (Bareform!) could help. &nbsp;Let&rsquo;s begin!</p> <p>Day 1 &ndash;&nbsp;</p> <p>The training program starts off pretty simple in terms of transition but can be awkward if you don&rsquo;t have room in your place to walk around barefoot for 30 minutes. I considered going outside but it was cold (I&rsquo;m in Michigan!) and I was afraid of stepping on something and cutting my foot. I decided to go upstairs to the workout room and walk barefoot on the treadmill. Other than a few people giving me a confused look, this method worked perfectly for me. I was able to get a 30 minute walk in while strengthening my feet. While it felt a little weird at first, I quickly started to feel the muscles in my feet and legs going to work! <span style="text-align: center;">After I completed all three activities I made sure to add in my normal routines that wouldn&rsquo;t upset the transition. I did 30 minutes on the elliptical machine and then did my ab workout. Off to a great start!</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/3/steph feet.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Day 2 &ndash;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">I haven&rsquo;t done jumping jacks in ages! It&rsquo;s funny because it&rsquo;s a simple exercise that gets the heart rate up but yet I never think to do it. &nbsp;Anyway, after doing my ankle circles, jumping jacks and posture resets I got back on the treadmill to do the 30 minute walk. &nbsp;For some reason I could feel the &ldquo;burn&rdquo; in my feet even more on the second day. &nbsp;I guess I have really never (except for as a child) walked a long distance barefoot. &nbsp;</p> <p>Just like the day before, after completing my walk, I jumped on the elliptical machine. After doing that and some upper body workouts with light weights, I felt great!</p> <p>Day 3 &ndash;&nbsp;</p> <p>Today was a free day! It was perfect because it was 60 outside (again, I&rsquo;m in Michigan). I decided to just explore my surrounding area with a friend. We walked and ran for about an hour. It was a good time!</p> <p>Day 4 &ndash;&nbsp;</p> <p>I was excited for the workout today because I saw that squats were on the agenda and&nbsp;I haven&rsquo;t done them in ages. &nbsp;As I am sure you know, these are great for lower body strength. &nbsp;I did 12 reps and could feel it! &nbsp;Next was the 30 minute walk. I was excited that I could put shoes on this time. It was the first day that I was able to walk with my Merrell&rsquo;s on. &nbsp;I was really tempted to run at some points but I knew that would be a bad idea in terms of transitioning. Instead I just concentrated on my form.</p> <p>After the walk, I put on my non-barefoot shoes and did&nbsp;a 30 minute run. It&rsquo;s okay to incorporate non barefoot shoes into your routine, especially while transitioning.&nbsp;</p> <p>Four days down and am feeling great&hellip;36 more to go!</p> <p>Come back next week for my experiences with the next 5 days of the training program! If you want to try the training program yourself, download it at <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>-<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Steph</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 12 Mar 2012 00:46:00 GMT Want To Find Your Pretty Strong? <p>Nearly 2 years ago I made a change. A big change it seemed at first, but really it was a small step in a positive direction. No, I didn&rsquo;t stop drinking beer (carbs are good for running&hellip;right?) or eating chocolate (must get in those antioxidants). What did I do?</p> <p>I put less on. I got closer to the ground. I let my feet kiss the ground, as nature intended. What started as a pair of <a href="">barefoot shoes</a> for product testing became a lifestyle. It took some practice and patience but I found my balance. &nbsp;I now mostly run in barefoot shoes for the connection with the ground that leads me to find my natural form, to discover my natural athlete. I&rsquo;ll be honest, there are some days where I need a bit more cushioning and I wear different shoes. But because of my training in barefoot shoes, my stride has become smoother and my landing more even. Over time I am more efficient. My feet are strong. My legs are strong. It is that strength that guides my body, naturally. What started as a mile here or a mile there is now 10, 12, 13 miles of freedom. I just keep on going!</p> <p>The benefits I feel from less on my foot have now transitioned to benefits in the gym. During boxing class I am more nimble on my feet. When lifting weights I can feel my feet and legs working, my core engaged, supporting my movement. I can feel my whole body working together.Curious? Try it. Its not an all or nothing debate. Its about finding the tools that work for your fitness toolbox. It&rsquo;s about discovering your potential, naturally.</p> <p>Working out inspires me, keeps me sane, sets me free. The road and trail (and oftentimes the gym) are all ears to my thoughts, my vulnerability, my creative wandering. It is in those moments of sweat that I am twice the person I would be sitting on thesidelines. I consider that <a href="">Pretty Strong</a>.</p> <p>-Emily</p> Tue, 06 Mar 2012 14:27:00 GMT The 2012 Merrell-Go-Round Calendar <p><span style="text-align: left; font-size: small;"><a href="">Merrell</a> event season is here and with it comes our recently named Merrell-Go-Round! &nbsp;For 2012, the Merrell-Go-Round will be making appearances at the <a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud and Obstacle Series</a> and the <a href="">Merrell Oyster Adventure Race. </a></span></p> <p><span style="text-align: left; font-size: small;">Check out the calendar below for an event date near you and stop by our Merrell tent to take our shoes for a test drive in the Merrell-Go-Round!</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small; ">April</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">4/15 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href=" ">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run&nbsp;</a>&ndash; Los Angeles, CA</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">May</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">5/6 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a>&nbsp;&ndash; Miami, FL</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">5/20 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Merrell Oyster Urban Adventure Race</a>&nbsp;&ndash; Austin, TX</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">5/20 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a>&nbsp;&ndash; Chicago, IL</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">June</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">6/3 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a>&nbsp;&ndash; Dallas, TX</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">6/24 -<a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a>&nbsp;- Denver, CO</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">6/30 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Merrell Oyster Off Road</a>&nbsp;&ndash; Bend, OR</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">July</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">7/14 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Merrell Oyster Urban Adventure Race</a>&nbsp;&ndash; Seattle, WA</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">7/15 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a>&nbsp;&ndash; Philadelphia, PA</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">August</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">8/18 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Merrell Oyster Urban Adventure Race</a>&nbsp;&ndash; Portland, OR</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">8/25 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Merrell Oyster Urban Adventure Race</a>&nbsp;&ndash; Denver, CO</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">8/26-&nbsp;<a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a>&nbsp;- Detroit, MI</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">September</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">9/29 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Merrell Oyster Urban Adventure Race</a>&nbsp;&ndash; San Francisco, CA</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">9/30 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a>&nbsp;&ndash; New York, New York</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">October</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">10/6 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Merrell Oyster Urban Adventure Race</a>&nbsp;&ndash; Nashville, TN</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">10/14 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a>&nbsp;&ndash; Atlanta, GA</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">10/28 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a>&nbsp;&ndash; Sacramento, CA</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><br /></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 20 Feb 2012 04:09:00 GMT 2012 Schedule of Merrell Sponsored Events! <p><span style="font-size: small;">Here at Merrell, we like to get busy outside during the summer months.&nbsp; What does that mean?&nbsp; It means you can find us at all kinds of places. &nbsp;If there is something fun going on outside, we will be there and we hope YOU can join us! Check out below for a&nbsp;complete month-by-month schedule&nbsp;to find out&nbsp;where&nbsp;our next&nbsp;Merrell Event will be.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: x-small;">February</span></p> <p style="font-size: 10px;"><span style="font-size: small;">2/11 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">GR Urban Adventure Race</a>&ndash; Belmont, MI</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">April</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">4/15 &ndash; <a href=" ">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run </a>&ndash; Los Angeles, CA</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">May</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">5/6 &ndash; <a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a> &ndash; Miami, FL</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">5/11 &ndash; <a href="">5/3 Riverbank Run </a>&ndash; Grand Rapids, MI</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">5/20 &ndash; <a href="">Merrell Oyster Urban Adventure Race</a> &ndash; Austin, TX</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">5/20 &ndash; <a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a> &ndash; Chicago, IL</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">5/26 &ndash; <a href="">Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival </a>&ndash; New Gloucester, ME</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">June</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">6/2 &ndash; <a href="">National Trails Day </a>- Nationwide</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">6/3 &ndash; <a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a> &ndash; Dallas, TX</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">6/16 -<a href="">Merrell Barefoot Mountain Fitness Camp</a>&nbsp;with Moosejaw&nbsp;- Boulder, CO</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">6/24 -<a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a> - Denver, CO</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">6/30 &ndash; <a href="">Merrell Oyster Off Road</a> &ndash; Bend, OR</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">July</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">7/5 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Park City Food and Wine Classic&nbsp;</a>&ndash; Park City, UT </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">7/13 &ndash; <a href="">Forecastle Festival </a>&ndash; Louisville, KY</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">7/14 &ndash; <a href="">Merrell Oyster Urban Adventure Race</a> &ndash; Seattle, WA</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">7/14 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Project Athena Relay Marathon</a>&nbsp;&ndash; Richmond, VA</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">7/15 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a>&nbsp;&ndash; Philadelphia, PA </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">August</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">8/2 &ndash; <a href="">Wine Festival at Steamboat </a>&ndash; Steamboat Springs, CO</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">8/18 &ndash; <a href="">Merrell Oyster Urban Adventure Race</a> &ndash; Portland, OR</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">8/18 - <a href="">Key Log Rolling Open</a>&nbsp;- Minneapolis, MN</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">8/21 &ndash; <a href="">Mitchell&rsquo;s Run Road Race </a>&ndash; Rockford, MI</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">8/25 &ndash; <a href="">Merrell Oyster Urban Adventure Race</a> &ndash; Denver, CO</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">8/26- <a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a> - Detroit, MI</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">September</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">9/29 &ndash; <a href="">Merrell Oyster Urban Adventure Race</a> &ndash; San Francisco, CA</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">9/30 &ndash; <a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a> &ndash; New York, New York </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">October</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">10/6 &ndash; <a href="">Merrell Oyster Urban Adventure Race</a> &ndash; Nashville, TN</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">10/14 &ndash; <a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a> &ndash; Atlanta, GA</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">10/28 &ndash; <a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run</a> &ndash; Sacramento, CA</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">November</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">11/3 &ndash; <a href="">Project Athena Moab Marathon</a>&nbsp;&ndash; Moab, Utah</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">11/3 &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="">Iceman Cometh</a>&nbsp;&ndash; Traverse City, MI </span></p> Sun, 05 Feb 2012 17:11:00 GMT Take Me to the River <p>Let's ease into this Monday with some visual aids.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/hangingontrees.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Last week <a href="">Active Child</a> released their music video for "Hanging On." The song is equal parts intense melody, flowing electroinc beats, and lush strings.</p> <p>And did I mention there's a harp? Yes, Active Child (aka Pat Grossi) develops the string section all on his harp. You don't see that every day. (Unless you're a harpist. Or 18th century Baroque fan. Or Cupid.) OK you don't see that every day in popular music.</p> <p> <object width="438" height="252"> <param name="movie" value=";hl=en_US&amp;rel=0" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="438" height="252" src=";hl=en_US&amp;rel=0" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed> </object> </p> <p>The Hanging On video brings us outside to join a lone fly fisherman. The landscape of his journey to the river and details of the catch match the intricate soundscape created in the music. We see the leaves he steps on to get there, the choosing of lures, the rushing river. He takes us somewhere else: outside, but also back in memory, perhaps glimpsing his younger fly fisherman self.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/hangingonwater.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Now go make your own analysis on the rest of the sounds and sights. Active Child's album is perfect for a Monday&mdash;enough harmonic inspiration to keep moving, beats to avoid a desk nap. Just don't get caught by any large fish today.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/hangingonvest.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Gone Fishing,<br /> -KK</p> Mon, 30 Jan 2012 05:55:00 GMT The Chance to Relax <p>The joy of doing nothing:</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/joysofhike.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Here, David Hiser captures backpacker Steve Miller in 1972, mid-break in Utah. The original caption for this photograph reads: "One of the Joys of a Long Hiking Trip in the Desert Is the Chance to Relax and Do as You Please."</p> <p>Beyond the immediate silliness of seeing "Do As You Please" as a photo title, this seems like a strange observation to make. Because usually relaxation means...uh...napping in a hammock. Or in a large hot tub, followed by a free massage. General static activity, right?</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2012/1/utahbutte.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Hiking miles through the Canyonlands, or any-lands, is strenuous on the body. But there is also an integral part of the trek that includes stopping along the way or finding a final destination to rest. It is the time to take in the scenery, to appreciate your progress, divvy up snacks, or just to do nothing.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/canyonlandsbreak.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Getting outside does not always mean high intensity&mdash;we are not all scaling Everest this weekend. And that's pretty OK, since there are plenty of other adventures to explore, challenging or not. Also, that would be way too many people on Everest and highly unsustainable and probably boring.</p> <p>Here's to doing nothing this weekend, at the end of your long hike. Or maybe at the beginning of your hike. Or maybe instead of a hike, you plan on doing nothing outside. Breathe the air, take in the scenery, talk to your companions.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2012/1/canyonlandscampfire.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Or talk to you masseuse about all the mountain climbing you will be doing <em>next </em>weekend.</p> <p>Relaxed,<br /> -KK</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/canyonlandstrail.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photographs from the <a href="">EPA's Documerica Project </a>(1971-1977)</em></p> Thu, 26 Jan 2012 15:28:00 GMT Merrell Barefoot Road Glove Reviews <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="text-align: left;">The </span><a style="text-align: left;" href="">Merrell&nbsp;Barefoot&nbsp;Road Glove</a><span style="text-align: left;"> was called the "bloggiest shoe of the week!" from </span><a style="text-align: left;" href=""></a><span style="text-align: left;">. &nbsp;See why by checking o</span><span style="text-align: left;">ut what the running bloggers had to say in their reviews. &nbsp;Keep an eye for the Road Glove arriving at your local retailer's shelf and visit our <a href="">Merrell Facebook</a> page for info on how you can score some great Merrell Barefoot prizes upcoming in February and March.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="">Running and Rambling</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="">Maple Grove Barefoot Guy</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="">Birthday Shoes</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="">Shodless</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="">Runbarefoot</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="">Barefoot Josh</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="">Minimalist Running Shoes</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="">Runblogger</a>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="">Average Guy Hits The Road</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/Black Road Glove.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 24 Jan 2012 03:58:00 GMT Yosemite, Then and Now <p>Have you ever been to Yosemite?</p> <p>Sheldon Neill and Colin Delehanty decided we should all go together. Their collaboration, <a href="">Project Yosemite</a>, has gifted us with a beautiful time-lapse video of views from all around the park.</p> <p> <object width="437" height="246"> <param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /> <param name="movie" value=";;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=ff0179&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="437" height="246" src=";;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=ff0179&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always"></embed> </object> </p> <p>A high definition tour of one of the oldest national parks, you say? And I don't even have to leave my couch? Or computer chair! Or beanbag perch!</p> <p>Well not exactly. (Let's use the images as fresh inspiration to get there, or get to your local Yosemite.)&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/vintageyosemitecathedral.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2012/1/yosemitemtn.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Artists, photographers, and explorers have documented Yosemite for years to show us its peaks and valleys, seasons, and wildlife.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/vintageyosemitemariposa.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/yosemitetree.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Project Yosemite's video is an amazing artifact of what Yosemite looks like now, a modern way to capture the latest iteration of a long history of landscapes. It is a reminder that we live in close proximity to wilderness, even when we don't feel it. And it is a reminder to continue to collect Yosemite with experiences and images.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/vintageyosmitemirrorlake.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/yosemitenightsky.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>In this way, we can look to the then, now, and future of Yosemite. We have been in awe of this landscape for centuries&mdash;creating this kind of archive will serve our memories as we continue to preserve the space.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/vintageyosemitebutte.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/yosemiteoverlook.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Yosemite-bound,<br /> -KK</p> <p>Additional photographs by C.E. Watkins from <a href=""><em>Yosemite Views</em> (1861-1866)</a> at the New York Public Library.</p> Tue, 24 Jan 2012 01:40:00 GMT I am Merrell: Ryan Gallagher <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/I am Merrell Ryan Gallagher Final.jpg" alt="" /></p> Fri, 20 Jan 2012 05:10:00 GMT We Were Wanderers <p>What does it feel like to experience a new wilderness?</p> <p>James W Griffiths' short film <a href=""><em>We Were Wanderers On A Prehistoric Earth</em></a> honors the exquisite landscapes of Malaysia. The sweeping shots of flora and detailed fauna bring us to an outside space that feels untouched.</p> <p> <object width="438" height="186"> <param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /> <param name="movie" value=";;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="438" height="186" src=";;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always"></embed> </object> </p> <p>These visuals are coupled with excerpts from Joseph Conrad's <em>Heart of Darkness</em>: "The day was ending in a serenity of still and exquisite brilliance. The water shone pacifically; the sky was a benign immensity of unstained light." (You can read the full combined text below).</p> <p>Luckily this film does not include the darker excerpts of the novel and also the larger themes for which it is criticized like...ahem...colonialism.<em> But I digress.</em> Griffiths carefully chose this text for its beautiful descriptive quality. He uses Conrad's prose to draw us into the feeling of experience this new landscape for the first time.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/wanderersants.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>That would be a beautiful gift, setting foot on our earth before modern history. What would it look like? Where would you go?</p> <p>And how the heck do you draw a map for that?</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/wandererwaterfall.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Griffith's film takes us to that place for now&mdash;a forest that seems to be from another time, pristine, beautiful. Now go find your own new wilderness. There's bound to be a primeval forest nearby.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/wanderersmist.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>We<strong> are </strong>wanderers,</p> <p>KK</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/wewerewanderers2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>"The high stillness of primeval forest was before my eyes, standing higher than the wall of the temple. The silence of the land went home to one's very heart--its mystery, its greatness, the amazing reality of its concealed life. </em></p> <p><em>Over the great river I could see through a somber gap glittering, glittering as it flowed broadly by without a murmur. Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. The sun was fierce, the land seemed to glisten and drip with steam. The great wall of vegetation, an exuberant and entangled mass of trunks, branches, leaves, boughs, festoons, motionless in the moonlight, was like a rioting invasion of soundless life. </em></p> <p><em>Forthwith a change came over the waters, and the serenity became less brilliant but more profound. The day was ending in a serenity of still and exquisite brilliance. The water shone pacifically; the sky was a benign immensity of unstained light. In its curved and imperceptible fall, the sun sank low. The dawns were heralded by the descent of a chill stillness. </em></p> <p><em>All that mysterious life of the wilderness that stirs in the forest, in the jungles, in the hearts of wild men." </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri, 20 Jan 2012 00:00:00 GMT Connecting to Climb <p><a href="">Alpine Mentors</a> is fostering a new generation of climbers, stewards, and citizens.</p> <p><a href=""><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/alpinementorsmtn.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>You know the old proverb: Give someone a mountain and they'll have a mountain. Teach someone to mountain and they' forever! That's how it goes, right?</p> <p>Steve House's <a href="">Alpine Mentors</a> program is the more eloquent and inspiring version of that idea: Connect experienced climbers with unexperienced climbers as an opportunity to teach and learn. Introduce young people to a challenging outdoor experience that they may not otherwise access. In this way, Alpine Mentors brings the next generation of passionate alpinists into the fold.</p> <p><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/mountseattlegrouphike.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Climbing can be an intimidating community to enter without proper introduction: safety precautions to follow, gear to learn, instincts to build. (Also, carabiner jokes to hear). This kind of opportunity for young climbers offers immediate access to those resources, person to person.</p> <p>The human connection mentoring provides is not just about passing on skills. This act of bringing others to the outdoor experience is a powerful tool.</p> <p><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/mountaineerparty.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>We all have some nugget of wanderlust that brings us outside and continues to draw us there, whether it is to explore or exercise or smell the air. Or maybe find a good view for lunch. Usually that seed was planted by someone leading you into an early outdoor experience&mdash;it could have been a family member, friend, community leader. Someone literally (or figuratively) held your hand and guided you onto your first mountain, or into your first lake, or pointed out your first trail marker.</p> <p><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/coloradokidsdig.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Mentoring also provides a chance to share philosophies and challenge first-time users to develop their own sense of the land. Alpine Mentors sounds like it will make good climbers, but also smart people who will care for their mountains, and themselves.</p> <p>There are many opportunities to share your gifts with those around you. If you are an experienced alpinist, <a href="">apply to be an Alpine Mentor</a>. If you are an experienced <em>anything</em>, bring people with you the next time you go outside.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/mtrainierreflections.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Holding hands,</p> <p>-KK</p> Mon, 16 Jan 2012 17:35:00 GMT I am Merrell: Amy Roder <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/I am Merrell Amy Roder Final.jpg" alt="" /></p> Fri, 06 Jan 2012 00:44:00 GMT Up and Away <p>Richard Branson promises to take us all up into space.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/shuttle1982.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Branson created Virgin Atlantic Airways and is now <a href="">building a private space shuttle business</a> to take commercial travel to the next level (of altitude). Virgin Galactic currently boasts reservations for 475 people, who have each paid $200,000 for the opportunity to go into space. Does that come with in-flight meals?</p> <p>To tell you the truth, I'm feeling rushed. Hold your rocket-powered horses. Not that I have even close to enough frequent flier points for that, but there's a whole lot to explore here on earth still. I want to visit the <a href="">oldest tree in the world</a> and experience an uninhabited island and get a little closer to setting foot on all of our continents.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/spacelab67.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I'm not saying you shouldn't go. And by you, I mean all those willing to ante up. Although the American space program has changed recently, there are many scientists who believe that this kind of private space tourism could fund the future of our exploration of space as a whole. And that sounds like a viable step.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/smithsonianconstellations.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>So maybe I'm a homebody, but I'm going to hang here for a bit. There are still paths to find and places to go and earth-bound humans to see.</p> <p>Space is amazing and promises to be a whole new wilderness. I just want to make sure we explore our own too.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/nightskyadams.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>From the ground,</p> <p>-KK</p> Thu, 05 Jan 2012 10:30:00 GMT To Warmer Climates <p>Let's talk about the weather, huh?&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/highlandlakesad.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Temperatures are dropping/will drop/have dropped. It's <a href="">cold in North America</a>. Anyone need a vacation yet? Let's plan one.</p> <p><strong>Requirements:</strong></p> <p>1. Sunny weather.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/highlandlakesboat.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>2. Friends for good hang outs.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/highlandlakefriends.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>3. Fun. (Including fun outfits)</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/highlandlakesfish.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you're one of the few snowbirds traveling south for the winter, raise a waterski! And for the rest of us, we'll be reminiscing about when lakes were a welcome swim, while we skate on top of them.</p> <p>To wintersports and watersports,</p> <p>-KK</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2012/1/highlandlakescruiser.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Reminisce with more photographs from the <a href="">Lower Colorado River Authority</a>.</p> Wed, 04 Jan 2012 07:24:00 GMT Resolutions, Simplified <p>We all need help with our 2012 to-do list.</p> <p>The new year is fast approaching, and with it comes a chance to start afresh! To make new choices, change old habits. At least that is the sense you get from all the new year hype. It gets complicated when your list of life changes and dreams starts to stretch so long that you get overwhelmed with the logistics and the act of "resolving" in itself. Especially for the Nostradamus fans, who are trying to fit a whole lot in for 2012.&nbsp;</p> <p>So we are keeping it simple this year. A resolution that keeps us happy, healthy, and active.&nbsp;And this one doesn't even require giving up refined sugars:</p> <p><a href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2011/12/originsresolutiongomed.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>Cheers to a 2012 of large dreams outside.&nbsp;</p> <p>We will see you there, with bells on. And hiking boots, of course.</p> <p>-K.K.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="438 px" /></p> <p>Need a reminder? Download your 2012 Resolution <a href="">here</a>.</p> Thu, 29 Dec 2011 07:30:00 GMT Archiving the Fresh Coast <p>Ed Wargin is holding on to the coast, one photograph at a time.</p> <p>A long-time professional photographer, Wargin has transformed his connection to the Great Lakes as a Minnesota native into a project documenting the region.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/freshcoastlog.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="">The Fresh Coast Project</a> sits at the intersection of art, history, wilderness, and memory, as Ed Wargin captures the details along the 10,000 plus miles of shoreline that make up the Great Lakes. And he's using (gasp) both digital and film mediums.</p> <p>Digital photographs are the primary vehicle for most of the images we see these days. Especially when hanging in the internet world. So...all of us here. Part of the core mission of The Fresh Coast Project is utilizing film as a marker by which to tangibly track the Great Lakes. These are real pieces of wilderness memory that Wargin is creating&mdash;moments of wildlife, land, and water&mdash;that will serve as artifacts of something as changeable as a shoreline.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/freshcoastrocks.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>First of all, looking at just the digital versions of these photographs makes you want to hop on the next floatplane to the upper reaches of the lakes. (Now is your opportunity to find a floatplane, right?) These images are simply beautiful.</p> <p>But they also succeed in drawing you in to a kind of <em>in</em>tagible place of memory that Wargin creates with his carefully curated choices of scene and mood. The <a href="">rocks and trees and bullfrogs</a> are not a tourism plug. Their detail suggests more about the Great Lakes-as-resource, that the region is connected to real communities of people, industry, wildlife. By archiving the coast, Wargin hopes to create stewards of the future.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/freshcoastfalls.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>"The project is not so much about telling you the story of the Great Lakes, but it is about telling your grandchildren the story of the Great Lakes."</p> <p>The Fresh Coast Project is an ode to the ol' Spirit of the Lakes: one that dips its canoe into the water and navigates the landscape and knows its inhabitants. Wargin is creating physical evidence of that spirit. Now carry it with you.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/freshcoastfishing.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>From the dock,</p> <p>-KK</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/freshcoastrock.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>All photos courtesy of <a href="">The Fresh Coast Project</a></p> Mon, 26 Dec 2011 23:40:00 GMT A Holiday Wilderness <p>How do you celebrate the holidays outside? Let me count the ways:</p> <p> <object width="438" height="292"> <param name="movie" value="" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="438" height="292" src="" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always"></embed> </object> </p> <p><strong>1. Dashing through the snow (and gravel and streets and stairs)</strong><br />Turns out, you don't have to go to the mountains for a big ski. JP Auclair demonstrates the power of powder (and sometimes lack thereof) in a small town, swerving around buildings and above cars.</p> <p><strong>2. Joining in some reindeer games</strong><br />This lone reindeer looks like he's having too much fun. There's the spirit&mdash;we all need to get outdoors and run around.</p> <p><strong>3. Letting Jack Frost nip at your nose...on purpose</strong><br />If you're the adventurous type, maybe a cold-weather climb is your holiday speed. Cory Richards filmed his record-breaking winter climb in 2011, documenting each challenging moment of ice, wind, and frosty beard.</p> <p><strong>4. Observing the Festival of Lights, up north</strong><br />Witnessing the display of Northern Lights in person is a holiday unto itself. Mother Nature is lighting one, two, or maybe all eight of your menorah candles in one fell swoop.</p> <p><strong>5. Chestnuts roasting on a meticulously-kept-leave-no-trace fire</strong><br />So the original yule log is not actually outside. But yours can be! Just like the rest of your trips outside, celebrating the holidays should include packing in. And that includes all traces: campfire, s'mores, and holiday cheer. Bring it all home with you.</p> <p>See if you listen closely, the holiday are already giving you explicit instructions for celebrating outside. And if that doesn't fuel you, a couple pounds of sugar cookies will.</p> <p>Reporting live from Santa's mountaintop ski lodge,</p> <p>-KK</p> Fri, 23 Dec 2011 03:00:00 GMT I am Merrell: Pat Konarska <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/I am Merrell Pat Konarska Final.jpg" alt="" /></p> Thu, 22 Dec 2011 03:41:00 GMT What To Do In The Dark <p>December 22nd marks an important point in our celestial path.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/celestialphotos.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>"As our spinning globe of rock and metal tracks its steady path around the Sun, we find ourselves crossing once again through the winter solstice, the point at which Earth&rsquo;s northern pole is pointed as far from our fierce stellar parent as it can be." At least that's how <a href="">Scientific American</a> describes it.</p> <p>Whew. Sounds like an important spot, right? And for those of us situated on the Northern Hemisphere of this globe of rock and metal, it also marks an important day: the shortest one of the year.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/vintagesciencesolstice2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>That's a tough pill to swallow for most of us, as a lot of our time spent awake, feeling alive, exploring outside, is during daylight hours. What do we do when those are few and far between? What do we do in the dark?</p> <p><strong>Look Up:</strong> Spend time checking out the night sky. The longest night of the year will give you plenty of time for that. If you don't know a lot of the astronomical details, read up! Or just stare, mouth agape.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/ourplaceinthesky.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Take a Night Hike:</strong> Who says you can't be outside at night? Choose a path that you've taken during the day and explore it in the dark. Your eyes will adjust just fine.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/nightmountain.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Hunker Down:</strong> Light some candles. Romance yourself with a good book or cozy up with someone else. If the lack of light outside means you're in bed earlier...12 hours of sleep it is!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/snowcabinnight.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Contemplate Your Impending Winter <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">Doom</span>:</strong> Winter's here. It's gonna get colder. If you're feeling anxious about the dropping temperatures, now is your signal to hibernate (or graft a base layer of flannel to your body). And if it's you are of heartier, cold-and-snow-loving stock, welcome!</p> <p>And for everyone in between, this is the shortest day of the year...things can only go up from here!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/nighthikemoon.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>To being outside, night and day,</p> <p>-KK</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 21 Dec 2011 07:17:00 GMT Do Good, Get Outside <p><span style="font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; color: #1f497d;"> </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 15px;"><strong>Do Good, Get Outside</strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 15px;">Getting outside can mean more than engaging in outdoor sports. &nbsp;Recently more than 100 people &lsquo;got outside&rsquo; in Asheville, NC in the name of volunteerism. &nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 15px;">For 23 years now, the Annual Warren Haynes Presents: The Annual Christmas Jam has brought thousands of music fans to Asheville in December for a benefit concert that has raised nearly $1 million dollars for Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity. &nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 15px;">In recent years, the concert-goers experience has been enriched by the addition of the Merrell Before the Jam, Lend a Hand volunteer event. &nbsp;In the days leading up to the Jam, local and out-of-town fans unite at Asheville Habitat&rsquo;s construction sites to help build houses for families in need. &nbsp;Participants receive Merrell gifts, savor great food (donated by local restaurants), and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow fans as they get involved - in a hands on way - with the cause the concert supports.</span><span style="font-size: 15px; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 15px;"><strong>Part of the Jam experience</strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 15px;">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s like a reunion now. &nbsp;I stay in touch with folks who live here during the year, but then I get to see all these great people that I met in previous years because people come back for this. &nbsp;It&rsquo;s part of the Jam experience</span><span style="font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;now,&rdquo; says Jake Quinn of Asheville, NC.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; font-size: 15px; text-align: center; border: 2px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/Before the Jam - FRI group shot.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 15px;"><strong>Paying it forward</strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 15px;"><strong></strong></span><span style="font-size: 15px;">John Voykin (pictured) treks from British Columbia, Canad</span><span style="font-size: 15px;">a to attend the Pre-Jam and Xmas Jam and in recent years has come early to lend a hand on the construction site. &nbsp;A contractor by trade, John has enjoyed Before the Jam, Lend a Hand so mu</span><span style="font-size: 15px;">ch that he convinced his local Contractor&rsquo;s Association back in Canada to sponsor two Habitat projects there.</span></p> <p><img style="text-align: center; border: 2px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/Before the Jam John V.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 15px;"><strong>Volunteering to make a differen</strong></span><strong style="font-size: 15px;">ce</strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 15px;">Despite a to</span><span style="font-size: 15px;">ugh start this yea</span><span style="font-size: 15px;">r with heavy rain the first two days, volunteers successfully prepared the 2011 Xmas Jam House for a December 9 wall raising event. &nbsp;Warren Haynes joined Habitat, Merrell, Before the Jam volunteers, the media, and the homeowner family, to raise the wall of a house made possible by Xmas Jam proceeds. &nbsp;This year&rsquo;s partner family was the perfect match, with mom Michelle Bevans being a life-long</span><span style="font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;Warren Haynes and Xmas Jam fan. &nbsp;A single-mother of two who has always worked in non-profits and education said, &ldquo;It was hard for me to think of myself as the one who needed assistanc</span><span style="font-size: 15px;">e. &nbsp;It has been humbling. &nbsp;I had to swallow my pride when I submitted my application to Habitat.&rdquo; Kent Doobrow, Sales Representative for Merrell, &nbsp;provided the Bevans family with footwear and app</span><span style="font-size: 15px;">arel during the event, and five Merrell employees rolled up their sleeves and volunteered on the site that day.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 15px;">&ldquo;It is amazing that playing music can build houses,&rdquo; said Haynes. &nbsp;&ldquo;We make a few phone calls, but really it&rsquo;s the musicians that play for free and all the volunteers that come out here and help build.&rdquo; &nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/Warren and Bevans family.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat, 17 Dec 2011 21:22:00 GMT Of Hikes Past <p>It feels good to have photo evidence of adventures.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2011/12/dave reading.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>There are always some physical markers to help us remember: bruised knees, a broken compass, that perfect walking stick you found. Documenting with photographs is another way to keep a hold on memories.</p> <p>Lucky for us, nostalgia crops up in digital form every day. So page through a few of <a href="">these albums</a> and find the memories to send you outside again. And then take pictures.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2011/12/readinghike.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/robeating.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/girlsestespark2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Dusting off the photo albums,</p> <p>-KK</p> <p>Photos of "Our Family" from <a href="">glenngould</a>.</p> Wed, 14 Dec 2011 07:00:00 GMT Planning Ahead, Planning Well <p>The idea of prefab housing strikes fear in many an American heart.</p> <p>Images of shoddily-made homes dance in our wee little heads. And maybe a few nightmares that we'll be trapped in a trailer from the 1960s forever.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/jensrisomday.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>We are thankfully mistaken. Prefab construction continues to evolve, emphasizing solid materials and good design.<br /><br />Jens Risom's home still has a retro sensibility, but it is anything but musty. Risom, <a href="">a Danish furniture designer</a>, built his house in Maine in 1967 and it still stands (physically) as a testament to the prefab movement. Risom's home is a beautifully example that you don't need a lot of fuss to connect with the environment around you&mdash;sometimes just some planning.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/jensrisominside.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>It's like going out on a long hike: you need well-packed gear, but it does not have to be excessive. You need to know your route. You probably need rain protection. You won't perish without trail mix, but you will be able to hike with a lot more energy. And what would you do if you showed up to the trail without hiking boots? Hurt a lot, that's what. Or walk on your hands.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/jensrisomtruck.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The intricate planning aspect of prefab housing provides opportunities for sustainable manufacturing, detailed building plans, and recycled materials abound. We can create sustainable design that connects a house to the outside in very intentional, specific, simple ways.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/jensrisomsun.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>These are principles that can apply to all kinds of house construction, whether created on site or in a factory beforehand. Prefab just simplifies some of those steps and eases the process towards green. So if you are out there doing it by hand, power to you.</p> <p>And if you're still wondering why you need to think about trail mix ahead of time...we should talk.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/jensrisomfullframe.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Wear your boots,</p> <p>-KK</p> <p>Photographs courtesy of <a href="">LIFE</a>. Interested in more of the technology behind prefab housing? <a href="">Inhabitat is a great resource to start</a>.</p> Mon, 12 Dec 2011 04:14:00 GMT Bare Pond <p>Watch out. Mother Nature sometimes gets involved in the lives of her inhabitants.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/shoetie.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Ever have the feeling that the forces of nature are at work as you trek through the wilderness? That maybe Mother Nature has some major motives behind rustling the trees and rushing the river along?</p> <p>Like the rainshower that forced you to find shelter, or the fresh snow or the hidden rock that snapped your canoe paddle halfway down the river run. They turned into a new path, new conversation, maybe a new friend. Or perhaps just sore arms. Even citydwellers know the feeling&mdash;ever find a $20 bill blowing around a street corner? That's a dinner upgrade. Mother Nature seems to be at the helm of our <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">manifest</span> outdoor destinies.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/bareswim.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Here's one story, in which Mothe Nature makes natural attraction a little more apparent for her guests. For your viewing pleasure, Merrell Origins presents: <a href=";feature=g-upl">"Bare Pond."</a></p> <p> <object width="438" height="252"> <param name="movie" value=";hl=en_US&amp;rel=0&amp;hd=1" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="438" height="252" src=";hl=en_US&amp;rel=0&amp;hd=1" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed> </object> </p> <p>Hang on to your shorts, folks. Mother Nature can make for a bumpy, awkward ride.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/redeagleorigins.jpg" alt="" /></p> Wed, 07 Dec 2011 18:41:00 GMT We get outside... just like you! <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/WGO Zachary2.jpg" alt="" /></p> Wed, 07 Dec 2011 03:39:00 GMT Winter Hibernation-No way! <p>Written by: Denise McHale (Team Merrell)</p> <p>November 15, 2011</p> <p>Temps have dropped quickly and you&rsquo;re feeling like you want to hibernate and have someone call you in April (or in our case in Yukon in May??!). Here are a few tips to get you out of the house, and motivated to get fit and/or stay fit this winter.</p> <p>Tip #1</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t think about it, just &ldquo;Get Outside&rdquo;. You may be saying, what the heck kind of advice is that, but seriously, don&rsquo;t over think it. Get dressed for the weather (more on that shortly), and open the door and get just out there. I guarantee you&rsquo;ll be happy once you do!</p> <p>Tip #2</p> <p>Try a new sport or activity. There&rsquo;s nothing like some new shiny gear and an awaiting challenge to provide some inspiration.</p> <p>Tip #3</p> <p>Make it social. Get out with friends, find a workout buddy. Setting up a meeting with a friend or a group makes cancelling because of inclement weather much more difficult. It&rsquo;s tough to call and say, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m feeling kinda wimpy today&rdquo;!</p> <p>Tip #4</p> <p>Allow yourself time to acclimate to the change in seasons. You may be inclined to overdress as the temps first begin to dip, so dress in layers, so you can add or remove as needed. If you&rsquo;re going to be doing a high aerobic based activity, you should be slightly cold when you first get outside and start moving.</p> <p>Tip #5</p> <p>Invest in some good quality basics and layer as needed based on your personal heat generation.I generally wear a base layer, (<a href="">Merrell Ambrosia</a> is awesome! or <a href="">Merrell Geo Half Zip</a> for men), followed by a mid-layer such as fleece, and a wind-stopper layer on the outside when temperatures get frosty. Same for hands in cold temps too &ndash; base layer and wind-stopper or over-mitt on top.</p> <p>Tip #6</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re running or walking outside in winter, keeping your feet warm and dry will go a long way to motivating you to get out there. Waterproof shoes or boots in a half size or size bigger than you normally wear is a great investment to keeping your feet happy. A thicker pair of socks and throw some gators on if you&rsquo;ll be in deep snow and you&rsquo;ll be toasty and dry.</p> <p>Tip #7</p> <p>Fear can be a great motivator and inspiration! Sign yourself up for a new challenge-whether it&rsquo;s a race, a mountain you want to climb, or a river you want to paddle, Get Outside, and have fun!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri, 02 Dec 2011 01:14:00 GMT I am MERRELL Lauren VanProosdy <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/I am Merrell Lauren VanProosdy Final.jpg" alt="" /></p> Thu, 01 Dec 2011 08:04:00 GMT Classic Hiking Advice: Ask Your Feet the Hard Questions <p>In 1981, Randal Merrell gave <a href=""><em>Backpacker Magazine</em></a> some sage advice: Ask your feet.</p> <p>In fact, he gave a couple pages worth of advice: well-made lighweight boots and a good fit stand supreme. <a href=""><em>Backpacker</em> featured Uncle Randy</a> as the resident bootmaster and expert for hiking and backpacking footwear.<em> "Some say Randal Merrell builds the best boot money can buy."</em></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/tradesecrets.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/merrellbootmaker.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Don't be fooled by the outdated ads (man the 80s were hip) or black and white print (remember when magazines weren't full color on every page?), because Randy's boot expertise is as timely now as it was in 1981, right when he was <a href="">developing the perfect Merrell Wilderness boot</a>.</p> <p>Lightweight hiking boots are still the way to go, compared to the cumbersome boots of yore. Why? Ask your feet.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/bootstitches.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>In Randy's words,<em>"By now you will have developed some theories and questions of your own, which is just what you should be doing. Your feet are unique, and only you can choose the right boots for them. Ask them some hard questions, and listen to what they tell you. Then go get fit."</em></p> <p>It is that simple. Let's all get a little self-reflective and talk to our feet. What do you guys want to do? Go outside? Comfortably? Sold.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/backpacker81.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Two feet on the trail,</p> <p>-KK</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/12/merrellad84.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>You can find the full issue of the 1981 Backpacker Magazine with Randy Merrell's boot thoughts on <a href="">Google Books</a>. Looking for more Merrell history? You <a href="">found it</a>.</p> Thu, 01 Dec 2011 08:02:00 GMT We get outside... just like you! <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/WGO Stacey2.jpg" alt="" /></p> Thu, 01 Dec 2011 07:27:00 GMT Biodegradable Hiking Essentials <p>"Leave No Trace" is an important principle in the wilderness.</p> <p>We all want to stay clean, green, and avoid disturbing the environment. And there's definitely a whole lot of fancy high-tech products to bring with you on the trails. Biodegradable this and soil-friendly that. How about we avoid all that packaging? Let's talk about things you can pack in that you <em>don't</em> need to pack out.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/redleaves.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>An Abbreviated List of Biodegradable Essentials:</strong></p> <p><strong>Sweat:</strong> Specialized soap is expensive. And you're already bathing in sweat after hours of hiking, so why not bathe in some more? Sweat is biodegradable and rolls right down your back. Phew!</p> <p><strong>Downed Foliage:</strong> Fallen leaves can be anything you want them to be..hats, fans. Just don't transport them from one forest or biome to the next. Palm fronds do not belong in the desert.</p> <p><strong>Body Heat:</strong> Who needs a fire? They take a lot of work, care and attention to maintain in the backwoods. That's why you brought your hiking buddy: put those bodies together, tell some old camping stories and you'll be warm in no time.</p> <p><strong>Aging Logs: </strong>Mean perfect balance beams and resting spots! No need to pack that camp chair made of natural fibers. And who knows if you'll need a canoe on the trip?</p> <p><strong>A Really Good Time:</strong> Enjoying yourself is definitely recyclable. And much easier than dragging Mousetrap on the trail and keeping track of all the pieces. So get going on making your own fun. That's why we came out here, right?</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/flyfishing.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>OK so this is just the Reader's Digest version. Before your next wilderness trip you should read up at <a href="">Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics</a>. They've got the full scoop.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/trailwisesleepingbag.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Pack it in/out,</p> <p>-KK</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/hikingsticks.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Images brought to you by the <a href=";printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=backpacker&amp;hl=en&amp;ei=WULVTvqeEOXe0QGl3tCKAg&amp;sa=X&amp;oi=book_result&amp;ct=result&amp;resnum=1&amp;ved=0CDgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&amp;q=backpacker&amp;f=false"><em>Backpacker Magazine</em> archives</a>.</p> Tue, 29 Nov 2011 04:21:00 GMT Merrell Origins Fall/Winter Lookbook <p>New seasons, new get outside!</p> <p>We all need some inspiration to make it outdoors in cold weather gear, as it is November and many leaves have already a-changed. So get ready for any and all snow-capped exploring with the new <a href="">Fall/Winter Lookbook for Merrell Origins</a>.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/lookbookman.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>Dust off that layer of summertime haze/bugspray from your eyeballs with some lovely <a href="">Merrell Origins photography</a>, brought to you by <a href="">Someoddpilot</a>. Out of that hammock and into the mountains! With the <a href="">Wilderness</a>, <a href="">Solo</a>, <a href="">Eagle</a>, and thick sweaters as your companions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 21 Nov 2011 02:06:00 GMT CALLING ALL THE LADIES! <p>COME RUN AND PLAY WITH US&hellip;OR AT LEAST JOIN THE CONVERSATION!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Calling all of the ladies, women, girls. Where are you? If I started this blog by calling you to a girls night out for a happy hour, a social group run or a coffee chat amongst friends&hellip;would you come? I bet so! So I beg the question now&hellip;where are you when we want to talk and try minimalist/barefoot running and working out? We all like to get our sweat on. So why not learn about a healthier way to move? If you are skeptical, that&rsquo;s totally cool, but I challenge you (like any fun runner would) to read on.</p> <p>Before I dive into the heart and soul of &ldquo;us&rdquo; and running, I thought these two quotes from &ldquo;Born to Run&rdquo; would inspire us to keep loving the run! (If you haven&rsquo;t read this book, I challenge you, again, to read it. It will change your running life.)</p> <p>"<em>All she is doing is&hellip;.running. Running and smiling. But the smile is strangely stirring. You can tell she&rsquo;s having an absolute blast, as if there is nothing on earth she&rsquo;d rather be doing and nowhere on earth she&rsquo;d rather be doing it than here.</em>"&nbsp;</p> <p>We are women, girls, ladies. We are RUNNERS. It is a common thread that connects many of us. We run alone to dream. We run alone to escape. We run alone just to run. We run together to chat. We run together to push each other. We run together to help each other meet goals. &nbsp;We run to be healthy.&nbsp;</p> <p>So why are there so few women in the natural running movement?&nbsp;</p> <p>Sweat is beautiful and a sign of strength (I like to refer to sweat as my &ldquo;liquid awesome&rdquo;. Each drip a sign of strength, determination and fun.) We run to be strong, to feel healthy, so why hide our feet? Why place them in coffins that take away from any sensory feedback from the ground that makes them, and you stronger?</p> <p>Strong feet equal a stronger runner. They provide us with balance, alignment and efficiency. Strong feet make the run fun. &nbsp;They sense the grass, gravel and road. &nbsp;In turn, these surfaces listen and feel your body as you run to meet your goals!&nbsp;</p> <p>Those few of us women who have made the transition to <a href="">minimal and barefoot running</a>, FEEL the benefit. We relish in the strength of our bodies AND our feet. We are just like any other fanatical or social runner out there, only we have less on our feet. We feel how our form has changed, and making running more efficient and enjoyable.&nbsp;</p> <p>So where are you girls? We want you to join our tribe or to at least be part of the conversation. What is holding you back from learning about better form and barefoot running? Is it the transition time? Is it fear of injury? It is just weird to you?&nbsp;</p> <p>Tune in on December 1st from 1-2 p.m. and 7-8 p.m. on our Facebook page, <a href=""></a> for our first &ldquo;Womenalism Chit Chat.&rdquo; Skeptical, fanatical, curious? We want to hear it all! I&rsquo;ll be live to comment on all of your questions (don&rsquo;t be shy&hellip;I want to hear it all!)</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">12/01/11-1 to 2pm and 7 to 8pm-Emily Snayd</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href=""></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">12/08/11-1 to 2pm-Iris Sutcliffe-<a href=""></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">12/15/11-1 to 2pm-Caity McCardell-<a href=""></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">01/05/12, 1 to 2pm; Katie Kift-<a href=""></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">01/12/12, 7-8pm EST; Krista Cavendar</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href=""></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">01/19/12, 7-8pm EST; Shelley Robillard-<a href=""></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 20 Nov 2011 01:29:00 GMT Survival of the Fittest <p>Let's all review some hot tips for the Backcountry.</p> <p>1. Be safe.</p> <p>2. Use common sense.</p> <p>3. Bear wrastling is not the best use of your time outside.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/canvascover.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>(But it could get you on the cover of the December 1903 issue of the <em>New York Tribune</em>.)</p> <p>If you need a brushup on #2, common sense, we should talk. It's a pretty specific skill to develop for wilderness. It comes with practice and experience and listening to people who have both. So while you are working on all of those, Merrell has illustrated some handy Backcountry Survival Tips to help navigate:</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/saveyourbattery.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/prisonrules.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>We have even included some activities <em>other than wrastling</em> to do with your friendly woods-sharing creatures:</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2011/11/feedingfrenzy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/dontrun.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="">Stay tuned</a> for more survival tips to come. And make sure to share you own, to add to our collective common sense bank.</p> <p>Working on a safety badge,</p> <p>-KK</p> Wed, 16 Nov 2011 22:28:00 GMT I am Merrell: Kent Doobrow <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/I am Merrell Kent Doobrow Final.jpg" alt="" /></p> Wed, 16 Nov 2011 04:03:00 GMT Proper Attire <p>A good outdoor outfit is hard to find.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/poncho.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Or easy to find, if you use all of your resources. There are more technical guides for wilderness apparel in the world than you can shake a stick at. Like maybe a walking stick, if you're interested in hiking.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/paddleman.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>You can find advice for outerwear, innerwear, footwear (<a href="">hello!</a>), packs, and more, all over the place. Finding your favorites and feeling comfortable? That's a longer process.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/clothingsuggestions.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/footwearsuggestions.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>So here's a toast to that favorite parka or long underwear or <a href="">hiking boot</a>. It is wonderfully worn in, ready to travel and maybe even gets you excited for your next excursion outside. Most importantly, it feels like yours.</p> <p>Wear it on the trail. Mother Nature's runway is long and tree-filled and very forgiving.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/ladyscouts.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Waterproof and lightweight,</p> <p>-KK</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/1970smountain.jpg" alt="" /></p> Sun, 13 Nov 2011 08:19:00 GMT I am Team MERRELL <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>Name:</strong> Greg McHale<br /><strong>Nickname:</strong> Gregger <br /><strong>Home town:</strong>&nbsp; Whitehorse, Yukon<br /><strong>Sports:</strong> Adventure racing, Ultrarunning, Hunting</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>How I got into adventure racing:<br /></strong>Every day is an adventure race in the Yukon</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>What the outdoors means to me:</strong> <br />It provides a reprieve from the business of day to day life</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>5 tips for getting into my sport:</strong> </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;1.Increase your pain tolerance</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;2. Train hard</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;3. Do it with friends<br />&nbsp;<br />4. Purchase quality equipment</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;5. Have a positive attitude</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>My greatest accomplishment to date is:</strong> surviving the Yukon Arctic Ultra </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong> <p><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/greg arctic 1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>When I was little I wanted to grow up to be:</p> </strong><br />o&nbsp;A Teacher<br />o&nbsp;A Fire Fighter<br />o&nbsp;A Professional athlete <br />o&nbsp;A Super Hero <br /><strong>o</strong>&nbsp;Other: a policeman </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>Most amazing place I&rsquo;ve ever competed at was:</strong> Utah </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>The best advice I would give fellow athletes is:</strong> suck it up when it gets tough.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong> <p><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/greg and denise 3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>My favorite thing to do after a long race/challenge is:</p> </strong>o&nbsp;Celebrate with friends and teammates <br />o&nbsp;Eat and drink to replenish my body <br />o&nbsp;Rest and relax <br />o&nbsp;Move onto the next thing&hellip; I never really stop&nbsp; <br /><strong>o</strong>&nbsp;Other: Hunt</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>What keeps me going when a competition gets tough is:</strong> the knowledge that the feeling of quitting will last much longer than the current pain I am experiencing</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>The one movie I&rsquo;ve seen a million times and still love to watch is:</strong> K-2 </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>One of my success secrets/tips is:</strong> if I told you that it wouldn&rsquo;t be a secret any more.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>My favorite competitive activity is:<br />o&nbsp;</strong>Running<br />o&nbsp;Biking<br />o&nbsp;Swimming <br />o&nbsp;Rowing<br />o&nbsp;Can&rsquo;t choose just one&hellip; I love them all! <br />o&nbsp;Other: ____________&nbsp; </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>Best training food is:</strong> chocolate milk</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>Life&rsquo;s too short to:</strong> sweat the small stuff&nbsp; <br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>If I could only wear one pair of Merrells for the rest of my life, I&rsquo;d wear:</strong> Seismics </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 08 Nov 2011 14:47:00 GMT Nature Calls <p>Wiped some dust off this old gem and pulled it from the shelf.</p> <p>Everyone loves a privy-themed jigsaw puzzle!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/naturecalls2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cabin entertainment at its best.</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 07 Nov 2011 21:52:00 GMT Mother Nature in the Streets <p>Lest city-dwellers forget, Mother Nature is all around us.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/ludotree.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Amidst the towering structures and expansive shades of grey, it gets harder to find wilderness when you're city-locked.</p> <p>Street artist <a href="">Ludo</a> brings a pop of green to the walls of major metropolitan areas in Paris, Los Angeles, New York, London. His series "Mother Nature's Revenge" creates a dialogue around social and economic issues and politics, bringing in elements of nature.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/ludoflower2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Ludo combines images of technology and man-made objects with the living world: butterflies, flowers, mushrooms. This natural/mechanical mashup certainly has an eerie effect on some walls&mdash;a bunch of <a href="">skull grapes</a> looks less than tasy and you probably wouldn't like to meet <a href="">this mosquito</a> in a dark alley. But it's also a wonderful reminder of Mother Nature's power and proximity, that wilderness can creep into even the most urban city lives.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/ludoblackberry.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><br />Where else do you see nature and city collide? Don't try this particular hobby at really, don't (there are some legal lines that you probably shouldn't cross when it comes to street art, unless you want to be the next anonymous/Banksy). So maybe try this on your own apartment walls first.</p> <p>But also think about the other ways that the outdoors can enter into your urban life. Or how you can go find it.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/ludodollar.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>To green in the sidewalk cracks,</p> <p>-KK</p> Fri, 04 Nov 2011 04:27:00 GMT I am Merrell: Jared Aldrich <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/I am Merrell Jared Aldrich Final.jpg" alt="" /></p> Thu, 03 Nov 2011 00:38:00 GMT Try something new... like Merrell barefoot <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/barefoot FB testamonials.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">For more Merrell barefoot advice including tips and tricks, click <a href="">here</a>&nbsp;</span></p> Tue, 01 Nov 2011 20:33:00 GMT Desktop Landscaping <p>Does your computer ever feel too digital?</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/tandyad.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The background image might as well be poorly scribbled signs on cardboard: "Trees Wanted" and "Will work 4 mtns."</p> <p>An oxymoron, perhaps, but I'd like an outdoor computer. To pretend that I'm staring into binoculars instead of a search engine. And trick my brain into thinking it's a printed map instead of sans-serif web-optimized fonts.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/trscomputer.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Until then, add some sweeping color to your digital experience. Here are some Origins landscapes that could 1. Take you to the river, so to speak and 2. Inspire you to clear your desktop! (A feat of thousands). Download the originals for your desktop at the <a href="">Origins homepage</a>.</p> <p><a title="Merrell Origins Desktop Background" href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/originsdesktopriver.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p><a title="Merrell Origins Desktop Background" href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/11/originsdesktopmtn.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>If you look really hard, about 50 trees in on the left and 22 trees up...there! That's me. Waving at you.</p> <p>Get outside,</p> <p>-KK</p> Tue, 01 Nov 2011 10:10:00 GMT We get outside... just like you! <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/WGO Miles2.jpg" alt="" /></p> Mon, 31 Oct 2011 05:43:00 GMT We get outside... just like you! <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/WGO Matt2.jpg" alt="" /></p> Mon, 31 Oct 2011 02:55:00 GMT Adventurers Anonymous <p> <script type="text/javascript"><!-- $(function() { $('#video-player')[0].innerHTML = '<iframe src="" mce_src="" allowfullscreen frameborder="0" height="292" width="438" />'; }); // --></script> </p> <p>There are too many people having too many adventures for you to be sitting at home.</p> <p>Here are some individuals who should help inspire. They are doing amazing things outside: climbing, paddling, building, jumping. They are a veritable Dream Team of Feats when put together. So check out their big adventures and see what new ones you can create. It doesn't have to be huge, no X Games-style tricks or steroids required, but training and experience will help. Start small, dream big. That's what they did!</p> <p> <object width="438" height="292"> <param name="movie" value="" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="438" height="292" src="" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always"></embed> </object> </p> <p>6 videos for your "<a href="!/MerrellOrigins/adventurers-anonymous">Adventurers Anonymous</a>" playlist (feel free to watch on or off the mountain):</p> <p><strong>On Assignment </strong><br />On assignment?? This doesn't seem like work. <a href="">Camp 4 Collective</a> films as <a href="">Jimmy Chin</a> documents the climbing community of Yosemite, capturing amazing views of the park and amazing climbs. They even make dangling off a cliff face in your tent look fun.</p> <p><strong>Carving the Mountains</strong><br />The Madrid-based <a href="">Longboard Girls Crew</a> take their carving from the streets to the mountains. Beautifully shot by Juan Rayos, we get close to these ladies as they pick up speed down the curving roads of the Madrid peaks. Keep your eyes on <a href=" ">these women</a>, as they are moving fast and building up a global crew of passionate longboarders.</p> <p><strong>Experience Zero Gravity</strong><br />These guys are leaping from serious heights and Base Jumping has <a href="">never felt so zen</a>. The wind gently blowing in your hair, the pillowy clouds catch your fall...shhhh just jump.</p> <p><strong>Alone in the Wilderness</strong><br />Dick Proenneke retired in 1967 and started a grand adventure: decades of solo living in the remote Twin Lakes region of Alaska. He constructed his own cabin, and life, in the wilderness. Lucky for us, <a href="">Dick had a camera</a> and thoughtfully narrates here.</p> <p><strong>MOVE</strong><br />Alternate title: "Guys with Cameras + Wandering Feet." A visual travel journal spanning 11 countries, sharing the <a href="">color</a> and light and <a href="">sounds</a> of an epic trip. Make you want to travel? Yup.</p> <p><strong>The Edge of the Earth</strong><br />Eric and Justin Dennis film this documentary of their journey through the Gates of the Arctic, one of the most remote parks in the US system. On the way, they use some creative logistics to deal with the numerous travel hurdles, all with a ton of film equipment. Oh and did I mention they did it <a href="">all with solar power</a>? An amazing feat of outdoor adventuring, starring a rarely-seen Alaskan landscape and brought to you by the sun!</p> Thu, 27 Oct 2011 16:19:00 GMT Exploring Mendoza <p>After arriving in Buenos Aires, Argentina and spending a week there, we made the trek west to Mendoza at the base of the Andes.&nbsp; One of our main goals of traveling through South America was to improve our Spanish skills, so we rented an apartment and signed up for 4 weeks of Spanish lessons. Why did we choose Mendoza as the place to settle down for a month?&nbsp; In order to get outside!&nbsp;</p> <p><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/LOTC trees1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Mendoza is known for their tree-lined streets which thrive in the arid climate due to a complex set of aqueducts that bring snow-melt to the city</p> <p>Mendoza is situated on the east side of the Andes at about 1,000 meters above sea level, and it enjoys a nice dry, warm climate.&nbsp; With it's proximity to the high mountains, Mendoza is filled with outdoor shops and adventure guides willing to take you on any number of outdoor activities.&nbsp; We met up with a Canadian ex-pat living in Mendoza who took us to his favorite hiking spot and we put our Merrell gear to the test climbing a 3,850 m peak, which was surrounded by 5,000+ m peaks.&nbsp; The goal of our dayhike, a 3,850-m summit, surrounded by 5,000-m peaks</p> <p>Mendoza is also known for being the jumping-off spot for climbers wishing to conquer Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the western hemisphere at 6,962 meters.&nbsp; Not wanting to miss out on catching a glimpse of the 'big one', we made the 2-hour drive up into the high-Andes to a great viewing spot for the mountain.&nbsp; Unfortunately, the winds were pretty intense and causing clouds to form over and surround the summit, but it was impressive none-the-less</p> <p><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/LOTC mountain1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>James pictured with Aconcagua hiding in the clouds in the background</p> <p>The thing Mendoza is probably the most well-known for is it's Malbec wine production.&nbsp; The specific climate, altitude, and soil conditions are perfect for the Malbec grape, and wineries are everywhere!&nbsp; Over our month here, we toured several different wineries, some just outside of town in the Maipu district and others located about an hour's drive away in the stunningly beautiful Valle de Uco region near the town (and like-named nearby volcano dominating the horizon) of Tupungato.&nbsp; We aren't wine experts, but we enjoyed tasting the different varieties while soaking in the views of the Andes.</p> <p><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/LOTC vineyard1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Winery in the Valle de Uco region with 21,500-ft Tupungato volcano in the distance</p> <p><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/LOTC Kirsten wine1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;Kirsten in her Merrell Sundial dress enjoying a Mendoza Malbec</p> <p>Since our month in Mendoza is almost up, we are getting ready to hit the road again.&nbsp; This time we are headed north to the Atacama desert, one of the driest places on earth.&nbsp; Our plan is to spend about a month making a big loop north through Argentina, cross over the Andes into Chile, experience the desert, then start heading south again along the Chilean coast down to Santiago.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 27 Oct 2011 00:24:00 GMT The Best Cabin in the World <p>The Best Cabin in the World is located off unpaved roads.</p> <p>You'll probably get lost the first three times you go and you don't have enough cell service to GPS yourself there. But if you've got enough people shouting directions from maps, or enough time before dark to turn around a few times, you'll get there. And then you'll know it by heart.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/peakcabin.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>It is constructed with hard work and hard woods. It looks sturdy and feels cozy. Real estate eyes might call it an "open floor plan," but we can just call it one big room.</p> <p>It is stocked with supplies. Gas lights and candles are on hand. Hearty food stores means everyone is hungry and everyone is cooking. Even your friend who has never fried an egg in his life. Justin can be in charge of PB&amp;Js.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/cabininside.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>It welcomes all kinds of company. Friends and family. Or just you, mountains and trees. Or you and friends and the outdoors. It's an equal opportunity employer.</p> <p>It requires wood chopping. And water pumping. And hiking. And swimming. And fire-building. And using the privy (thoughtfully).</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/sweatloadge.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>It is TV-less and there is no built-in iPod hookup. But there could be singing. And there are streams rushing and birds calling and <em>What was that?! I think there's an animal outside!</em> and branches scratching the siding and <em>No there it was again, I think there's definitely a huge bear outside</em>! and definitely pinecones falling on the roof. Just pinecones.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/redcabin.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>It means focusing on one task, one footfall, one long drink of already-boiled water. It means time outside. Time with the stars and the trees. Time to realize how close you are to the wilderness. And it is a cabin to keep you there.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/snowcabin.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>It is The Best Cabin in the World.</p> <p>Best,</p> <p>-KK</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/cabinfireplace.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 25 Oct 2011 09:49:00 GMT Collecting Pages <p>There are more than a few living room cabinets in the world overflowing with back issues of <a href="">National Geographic</a>: jumbles of stacks, pages yellowing.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/natgeolandscape.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Unfortunately we live in a time of &ldquo;clean lines&rdquo; (white walls), and &ldquo;minimalist furniture&rdquo; (Ikea!), and saving space (we live on top of each other!). So it&rsquo;s easy to see any collections as clutter. Or any of these overflowing cabinets as dust collectors.</p> <p>Until you pull apart some of the shiny magazine pages, a few still sticky, and can catch a glimpse of the Andes.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/natgeoyellowstone.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>National Geographic has documented natural, environmental and cultural history for over a hundred years. That&rsquo;s a pretty good track record for a little yellow magazine.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/firstnatgeo.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The magazine itself grew out of the National Geographic Society as the group&rsquo;s official journal (and a prime example of 1800s marketing/membership ideas). What began as a scientific journal for a small group of the American elite grew into something iconic the moment the publication included photography.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/natgeocanyon.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Now National Geographic has perfected the art of pictorial journalism the way every parent has perfected the art of disguising broccoli (in mac &amp;cheese/under mashed potatoes). This is photography that can transport you anywhere in the world in such a vibrant way, you may as well learn about it.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/natgeoclouds.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Even in times when Americans didn&rsquo;t travel much past their front door, let alone have television or the internet, National Geographic used their photo-filled pages to inspire. Their visual expeditions around the world, and in the US, inspire exploration, appreciation, or at the very least, curiosity.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/natgeoswim.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>National Geographic now has their entire 123-year history <a href="">available in a digital library</a>, if that floats your computer-bound boat. But I&rsquo;d say you should go dive into some dusty back stacks, hold those pages in your hands, and see a volcano erupt, or desert trek, or perhaps your next adventure.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/natgeobears.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Your fellow visual learner,</p> <p>-KK</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/natgeosnowman.jpg" alt="" /></p> Wed, 19 Oct 2011 18:44:00 GMT I am MERRELL Karen Strough <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/I am Merrell Karen Strough Final.jpg" alt="" /></p> Wed, 19 Oct 2011 05:47:00 GMT I am MERRELL Bill Inman <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/I am Merrell Bill Inman Final.jpg" alt="" /></p> Tue, 18 Oct 2011 23:53:00 GMT I am MERRELL Kelly Campbell <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/I am Merrell Kelly Campbell.jpg" alt="" /></p> Tue, 18 Oct 2011 22:09:00 GMT Everywhere to Go <p>Gary Snyder started working outside early in his life.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/snyderginsberg.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>At sea, on the mountains, abroad; Snyder labored as a fire lookout, a chokersetter in the logging industry, trail crew for the US Parks Service, wanderer Japan.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/siberianoutpostsnyder.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>So it's no wonder that this connection to the outdoors, to nature, has generated some of the most authentically place-ful American poems. No, not peacefu. Place-ful. As in we're all standing on that exact spot, the very particular boulder that Gary Snyder describes.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/garysnydercrouch.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>He can even bring us to his writing desk, as he <a href=";sq=beat%20poet&amp;st=cse">soliloquizes his computer</a> (sorry PC).</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/aplaceinspace.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Snyder is able to articulate the spirit of backcountry, of discovery, as he experiences it.</p> <p><em><strong>The Trail Is Not a Trail*</strong></em></p> <p><em>I drove down the Freeway<br /> And turned off at an exit<br /> And went along a highway<br /> Til it came to a sideroad<br /> Drove up the sideroad<br /> </em></p> <p><em>Til it turned to a dirt road<br /> Full of bumps, and stopped.<br /> Walked up a trail<br /> But the trail got rough<br /> And it faded away&mdash;<br /> Out in the open,<br /> Everywhere to go.</em></p> <p>He's searching for the trail as much as we are.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/snyderchalkboard.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I've got everywhere to go,</p> <p>-KK</p> <p>*<a href="">"The Trail is Not a Trail" by Gary Snyder, from <em>Left Out in the Rain</em>, 1986.</a></p> Sun, 16 Oct 2011 19:48:00 GMT Merrell featured in magazines <p>&nbsp;<img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/mag11.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;<img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/mag22.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;<img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/mag33.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/mag44.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/mag55.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/mag66.jpg" alt="" /></p> Sun, 16 Oct 2011 16:59:00 GMT I am Team MERRELL: Denise Mchale <p><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>Name:</strong> Denise McHale<br /><strong>Nickname:</strong>&nbsp; Dmac<br /><strong>Home town:</strong>&nbsp; Whitehorse, Yukon<br /><strong>Sports:</strong> Adventure racing, ultra running</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>How I got into adventure racing:<br /></strong>Raid the North Extreme was being hosted in Yukon in 2002. The City of Whitehorse approached Greg and I to see if we would be willing to enter a team. We figured - How hard could 500km of continuous remote wilderness travel be for days on end, sleep deprived and hungry with two other strangers?? We really had no clue what we were in for, but survived and finished the race and were hooked. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>What the outdoors means to me:<br /></strong>The outdoors to me is a place of freedom and exploration. It is a chance to let go of daily life, to push my limits and to simply be in the moment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>5 tips for getting into my sport: </strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;1.Research and seek advice</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;2.Recovery is equally as important as training</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;3. Quality training is better than quantity<br />&nbsp;<br />4.Mental strength can be every bit as important as physical strength </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;5. Don&rsquo;t take yourself too seriously </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>My greatest accomplishment to date is:<br /></strong>Breaking the Canadian record for the 100km </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/denise1.jpg" alt="" /></strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>When I was little I wanted to grow up to be:</strong> <br />o&nbsp;A Teacher<br />o&nbsp;A Fire Fighter<br />o&nbsp;A Professional athlete <br />o&nbsp;A Super Hero <br /><strong>o</strong><em>&nbsp;Other: a photographer</em> </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>Most amazing place I&rsquo;ve ever competed at was:<br /></strong>&nbsp;Abu Dhabi </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>The best advice I would give fellow athletes is:<br /></strong>Stop and look around once in awhile! </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>My favorite thing to do after a long race/challenge is:<br /></strong>o&nbsp;Celebrate with friends and teammates <br />o&nbsp;Eat and drink to replenish my body <br />o&nbsp;Rest and relax <br />o&nbsp;Move onto the next thing&hellip; I never really stop&nbsp; <br /><strong>o</strong><em>&nbsp;Other: All of the above</em></span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>What keeps me going when a competition gets tough is:<br /></strong>Reminding myself that I am fortunate to have the health, physical ability and opportunity to have these experiences.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>The one movie I&rsquo;ve seen a million times and still love to watch is:<br /></strong>&nbsp;Point Break. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>One of my success secrets/tips is:</strong> <br />Show up at workouts with a plan.</span></p> <p><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/denise2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>My favorite competitive activity is:<br />o</strong><em>&nbsp;Running<br /></em>o&nbsp;Biking<br />o&nbsp;Swimming <br />o&nbsp;Rowing<br />o&nbsp;Can&rsquo;t choose just one&hellip; I love them all! <br />o&nbsp;Other: ____________&nbsp; </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>Best training food:</strong> <br />Coke</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>Life&rsquo;s too short to:</strong>&nbsp; <br />Not take chances and do things that scare you</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>If I could only wear one pair of Merrells for the rest of my life, I&rsquo;d wear:<br /></strong>Seismics!</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 13 Oct 2011 03:06:00 GMT Muddy Merrell Madness <p><span style="font-size: small;">The weather was perfect. There was a cool crispness to the fall morning. The sun was shining down on us, and it had rained the day before. Not only would there be man-made mud but Mother Nature decided she wanted to add to the fun. The races on tap for the <a href="">Merrell Down and Dirty National Mud Run and Obstacle Series</a> presented by Subaru in NYC were two 5ks, a 10k, a mile run, and a 100 yard dash. The latter two were made up especially for kids. All the while the races were going on there were other activities to entertain the masses. And by masses I mean the almost 5,000 athletes participating and the countless spectators and volunteers. I had braved the streets of SoHo to pick up my packet the day before at the Eastern Mountain Sports store there so I was able to skip that step. Getting to the event and parking were so easy I almost felt like I was in the wrong place. Lucky for me there were signs set up so I knew I was in fact at the correct location.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">My first stop once in amongst the vendor village was to the Operation Gratitude tent. I had a large envelope in my hands that contained 100 or so letters and pictures from my students and other students at the school I teach at. The idea was for these letters and pictures to be included in the care packages that Operation Gratitude send to our deployed soldiers and wounded warriors back home. Carolyn Blashek, the founder of Operation Gratitude, was very grateful for my students support and pointed out that they had brought supplies for cards and letters to be made at the event. They had stickers, pens, crayons, and so many different types of paper I couldn&rsquo;t count them all. One of the greatest things was hearing that the Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Runs have raised $51,000 for Operation Gratitude thus far. That didn&rsquo;t include the people that were stopping by to donate money throughout the day. With each care package costing about $15 to assemble and ship the Mud Runs have helped to send out over 3,400 packages and counting. Carolyn was especially excited to tell me that their 750,000th package would be shipped out before the end of the year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">From there I made my way to the Merrell tent. I could not contain my excitement at the sight of a human sized hamster wheel.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/ddmudrun3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The folks at Merrell had brought a whole size run of their <a href="">Trail Gloves </a>for men and <a href="">Pace Gloves</a> for women to try out. What better way to try out a shoe then to get on a hamster wheel that is nice, clean, and carpeted. I was eager to feel how my <a href="">Sonic Gloves</a> felt to run in since I had just gotten them on Friday and was going to be running in them for the first time. Let me tell you, I give hamsters and gerbils a lot of credit. It was hard to get a good pace on the wheel. In fact there was a hand rail on one side so you could hold on to if you had to. The kids were disappointed that you had to be at least 16 years old to try it out but by the end of the event there had to have been at least 100 adults giving it a try. Many people were getting their first exposure to a barefoot running shoe and were very eager to listen to their benefits from the Merrell staff. All the different colors of shoes also turned out to be a hit. I particularly liked how there were kids barefoot shoes, casual barefoot shoes, and shoes from Merrell&rsquo;s new Origin collection hanging down from the top of the tent.</p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/ddmudrun2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Somehow I managed to get all of this in before my 9:30 start time. I met up with Christine, who also works at the EMS Waterford store, so we could run together. To help control the start we were to get into a corral based on our projected mile pace time. From there each corral was let out in a stagger.</p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">There is nothing worse than trying to get yourself right in a good rhythm only to be stuck behind slow pokes. I have heard of this technique being used in marathons but it totally made sense for this race. If we weren&rsquo;t staggered we would all be standing around at each obstacle waiting our turn to get through it. The first part of our race was a lovely stretch along the cement stone walkway along the beach. Running with the barefoot shoes I was able to feel all the spaces between each block. This is not a bad feeling but more of an unusual sensation that you may have never noticed before. I also really enjoyed running through Mother Nature&rsquo;s puddles and not getting wet feet. I know I was at a mud run and would eventually be soaked but I really wanted to test out how well the softshell upper was on the Sonic Gloves. Sure enough in Mother Nature&rsquo;s puddles my feet stayed warm and dry. With colder weather approaching I was very pleased with how my shoes were handling the abuse. Over the course of 5k they would go on cement blocks, mud, asphalt, mud, grass, sand, mud, Pelham Bay, and did a mention mud? The only downfall of wearing the Sonic Gloves opposed to my Trail Gloves was that Pelham Bay stayed in my shoes when I got out. If the shoe can keep Pelham Bay in the shoe then it must be good at keeping puddles out.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Many runners chose to wear their race shirt during the event. This was a great idea. I too was rocking some Merrell Opti-Wick for the run. No matter what, you were going to get very dirty and wet but it certainly feels a lot better wearing wicking, polyester then cotton. My once gray shirt became very brown but it is spending sometime soaking in a bucket with my other clothes. Based on the soaking I am extremely confident that when it gets washed it will be gray again with no hints of brown. I was somewhat hesitant about my Opti-Wick shorts at first though. They seemed kind of stiff and I was concerned about how they would feel while running. Soon enough they became a non-issue. Actually they were better than a non-issue. The shorts outer shell seemed to bead water and mud away. This in turn helped me because my shorts didn&rsquo;t get weighed down with water. They went from being a concern to being a big &ldquo;Ah ha!&rdquo; moment for me.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/ddmudrun4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The obstacles were great. They provided a little challenge along the way. It was enough to feel that much more accomplished but at the same time they enabled whole families to get out there. At one point I was running along side of a girl that had to have only been 13 or 14 years old. For those younger than 13 there was the Adventure Kids races.</p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">This truly was a family friendly event and I would love to see more kids out there doing it next time. One of Merrell&rsquo;s objectives is to get more people outside and moving around and this most certainly did just that. So what do you say kids; how often do Mom and Dad tell you to go run and crawl through a giant mud pit? Even better how often do you see your mom or dad covered from head to toe in mud? Let&rsquo;s get outside and have some fun!</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">For me the event would not have been complete without a haircut. I had hosed off and changed but managed to get mud covered again while taking pictures and here I am asking if I can get my hair cut. Paul Mitchell is one of the sponsors of the Adventure Kids run and they were giving out free haircuts in exchange for donations to Challenged Athletes Foundation. This organization provides sports opportunities and support to veterans and first responders who have served honorably and have suffered permanent physical injuries. Stylists volunteer their time to come and cut dirty, muddy hair. I give major props to them since they did not have sinks to clean hair in. They average about $500 in donations but on this day the 7 stylists really stepped it up and by noon they had already raised over a $1000 and had a waiting list to try to get a haircut. I was muddy and dirty but man did my hair look good when I left.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Looking ahead there are plans in the works for expanding the Merrell Down and Dirty Run to come to more cities next year so be on the lookout. Also, be on the lookout for some Merrell <a href="">barefoot shoes</a> that are road running specific to hit store shelves for the Spring &rsquo;12 season. On the race packet the last instruction was to have fun and give at least 3 volunteers high fives. Done and done. To all of those volunteers that I didn&rsquo;t get to high five and to the behind the scenes people at MESP for making the day something to remember here is an air high five. I will try to give more high fives next time.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 11 Oct 2011 12:37:00 GMT why team merrell <p><span style="font-size: small;">I remember the moment very clearly.... armed with our team&rsquo;s resume of race wins for the year, I walked into the Merrell booth at the Outdoor Retailers Show.&nbsp; I assumed our wins and accomplishments was what Sue Harvey Brown from Merrell wanted to hear about, but as I got about halfway through the list, Sue leaned over and put her hand on my arm. She said "Robyn, we LOVE you and the team, and it is not because of what you've won, it&rsquo;s because of who you ARE".&nbsp; I still get goose bumps thinking about it. In an instant, I knew I had made the right choice in seeking out Merrell as the company we wanted to play with for the rest of our racing careers.&nbsp; I thanked God that I had finally found a real home with a company that "gets it".&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">In 2004, my teammates and I began racing as Team Merrell/Zanfel Adventure, and a new world class Adventure Racing team was born!&nbsp; We had collected a few big wins and top finishes, and I knew that Sue was very proud of us. It wasn't until 2005 however, that I realized how lucky and blessed we were in choosing Merrell as our team title sponsor.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/TM1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Adventure Racing (or any adventure, for that matter!) is not about what you do or where you've been or even what you've won- it&rsquo;s about who you are.&nbsp; You don't get to the finish line with ego and bravado; you get there with humility, teamwork, and grace.&nbsp; My most epic experiences in the outdoors have not been spent standing on the podium, but those very humane moments shared between my teammates and I.&nbsp; It is no coincidence that my memory bank over the past 15 years is not full of places we've been, but connections we&rsquo;ve made in those moments of fear, triumph, defeat, joy.&nbsp; It is about those times when my teammates have been my heroes, my coaches, and my saviors&hellip; and when they&rsquo;ve allowed me to be theirs.</p> </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">The most important part of those memories is the moments of synergy, mixing strength and weakness for the good of the team, hurling toward the next checkpoint as one mind and one heart, unencumbered by ego or reproach for weakness, are the heart and soul of sport. It&rsquo;s when we're firing on all four cylinders as a team, and creating synergy- that is the hallmark of a great adventure racing team. The beauty of pulling together as a team and striving for a seemingly unreachable goal is the glow that lights my heart when I'm not racing.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>&nbsp;<span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span></p> <p> <p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/TM2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Experiencing that feeling with your best pals in the outdoors is what I wish for all of you.&nbsp; First of all, get outside!&nbsp; Take the time to embrace the day, live in the moment, and enjoy time with your friends. Relish in the joy of just being able to get out there and experience adventures with people closest to your heart. Second, let your teammates be your heroes, and have the courage to be theirs.&nbsp; There really is a magic in that, and you will be faster and happier because of it. When you're tired, give up your pack, when you can't turn the pedals over, take that tow line or a friendly push. Just know that letting someone be your hero for a moment is a true gift to them, and to you. This is the beauty of sport- the collective strength being used to your best advantage, the mutual respect through it all, the fact that you'll come out a better person by caring for others as much as you care for yourself.</p> <p>The finish line is merely the happy ending to any journey-- because this kind of epic experience with your pals is too vast and meaningful to be pinned down to a place or a time, (although those things are fun to chase).&nbsp; Don&rsquo;t get me wrong, I do love to win, but the most important thing to remember (in training, racing, or just life), is something that the Beatles said so eloquently... "And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make". So go make some love out there today! I can guarantee you that after 14 years of racing, that's the most important reward of all....</p> </span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/TM3.jpg" alt="" /></p> </p> </p> Tue, 11 Oct 2011 06:46:00 GMT name the next barefoot shoe <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/namenextshoe.JPG" alt="" /></p> Tue, 11 Oct 2011 04:04:00 GMT Added Tree Value <p>According to a new study by the US Forest Service, trees affect your property with more than just shade. As <a href="">GOOD reports</a>, trees actually bump up the value of your land. <br /><br />Using financial data is all the rage these days, mostly because it's what people respond to. Money talks! (Really loud. Especially with <a href="">fun infographics</a>.) And I'm all for utilizing the dollar signs to describe relationships if it can draw attention to things that have other kinds of value.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/mariposa trees.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>So before you start calculating dollars per square foot per raked leaf per moneybags, let's come up with some other equations of our own. Here are some other reasons why having trees around is the best investment you'll make this side of a shoebox under your mattress/high-yield savings account/pair of real wool socks.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/hazyforest.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Plant a Tree, Boost Your...Oxygenated Air Value</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/treeroots.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>...Small Ecosystem Value</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/methuselahtree.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>...Lifeblood Value</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/birchwood.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>...Wilderness Value</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/treemen.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>"What do you think this tree's worth, Sam?" "I don't know, Jeb. I would estimate at least 2 units of wilderness, 20 points of fresh air and 18,000 joy dollars."</p> <p>-KK</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 10 Oct 2011 13:42:00 GMT Going Primal <p><span style="font-size: small;">Sometimes we need to monkey around to remember the fun in life and the fun in running. Remember when you were a kid? The freedom of opening the door and running outside barefoot to chase your friends around the yard with no care in the world? Thanks barefoot&hellip;you&rsquo;ve brought out the kid in us again! </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Intrigued? Keep reading to hear how team Merrell and their 15 guests took on the NYC Barefoot Run for a weekend of enjoyment!<br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 2px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/NYBRstart.jpg" alt="" width="435" height="322" /></p> <p>&nbsp;<br />Last weekend we attended the 2nd Annual NYC Barefoot Run weekend with 15 guests that spanned from influential running editors and bloggers, to barefoot running gurus. The purpose of the weekend for us (Merrell) was to first and foremost have fun and to collectively find solutions to spread barefoot as the enjoyable, form focused, safe and fun activity that we have learnt it to be. As background, here at Merrell, barefoot has not just been a business driver but has been a culture driver. Sure we got in it for the opportunity, but it turned into much more. Rather than talking the talk, many of us are walking the walk, or barefooting the barefoot. Together we have embraced the movement and are transitioning to barefoot style running and a barefoot lifestyle. It is fun to see how a product collection can inspire and bring a company together in an activity that truly embodies the spirit of the brand &ndash; Let&rsquo;s Get Outside. As a runner, what a better way to get outside than to run, and run barefoot where you can actually feel the outside under your feet!<br />&nbsp;<br />Together with our guests we embraced the weekend. Saturday morning we met in the lobby of the hotel to head down to barefoot running clinics taught by the likes of Jason Robillard (our Merrell barefoot ambassador and founder of the Barefoot Running University), Dr. Mark Cucuzzella (a family doc, owner of Two Rivers Treads and partner in the Natural Running Center), and Barefoot Ted (a barefoot running guru and independent athlete committed to re-discovering primal human capacities.) After a run down 5th Ave (literally) we, along with other NYC Barefoot Run participants, learned about form, proper breathing and education, and really began to immerse ourselves in the barefoot world (potty squats and all.) It was an amazing opportunity for all of us to learn from the best in the barefoot world. Next stop, our Merrell hosted symposium (or as we like to call it our Barefoot Jam session.)<br />&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 2px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/barefootjam.bmp" alt="" width="435" height="322" /></p> <p><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Beers, coffee and lunch proved good icebreakers! 17 Merrell guests and seven Merrell executives sat shoeless on comfy couches and chairs to jam on the Barefoot movement. Our very own marketing guru and chief Barefoot fun officer, Craig Throne, moderated the discussion which fostered key points that we collectively felt would make Barefoot running a movement rather than a trend. Where are all the women? How will kids drive the movement forward (they are the next generation of healthy runners, why not teach them now)? What is the next level of education? How do we properly get retailers to educate consumers on proper form? How do we get the mainstream to see the benefit and not just the oddity? All of these topics lit a hot discussion that we hope benefited everyone in the room.&nbsp; Time was up and we were off to the Merrell Hydration Party that for some, was a late and indulgent evening.&nbsp; Speakers like <a href="">Dr. Daniel Lieberman</a>, <a href="">Chris McDougall</a> and our ambassador <a href="">Jason Robillard</a> spoke on barefoot running. Good times were had by all! <br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 2px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/BarefoottJam1.jpg" alt="" width="435" height="322" /></p> <p>&nbsp;<br /><span style="font-size: small;">Sunday morning at the crack of dawn, we scurried off to the 2nd annual NYC Barefoot Run. A few of us in TuTus, one in a cape and 400 participants we were ready to run our distance.&nbsp; Quickly, everyone became kids once again and were able to run (play) with friends and enjoy the beautiful day on Governor&rsquo;s Island. Avocados, bananas, paleo granola, carbs in the form of beer and water fueled our run. When else can you eat an avocado with no utensils? Or see a newly engaged couple be pulled by Barefoot Ted in a rickshaw around the island? Together, newbie runners, pure barefooters, and runners in &ldquo;barefoot&rdquo; shoes ran their distance of choice and rediscovered what it means to run natural.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Thanks to the NYC Barefoot Run Crew and our guests for an epic weekend!<br />&nbsp;<br /></span><span style="font-size: small;">Guests included:<br />Warren Greene &ndash; <a href="">Runner&rsquo;s World<br /></a>Amby Burfoot &ndash; <a href="">Runner&rsquo;s World<br /></a>Adam Chase &ndash; <a href="">Running Times<br /></a>Curt Munson - <a href="">Playmakers<br /></a>Jay Dicharry- <a href="">UVA Endurosport</a> <br />Peter Larson - <a href="">Runblogger<br /></a>Nicholas Pang &ndash; <a href="">Minimalist Running Shoes, Natural Running Center<br /></a>Pablo Paster - <a href="">Treehugger<br /></a>Justin Owings &ndash; <a href="">Birthday Shoes<br /></a>Josh Sutcliffe &ndash; <a href="">Barefoot Josh<br /></a>Dr. Mark Cucuzzella - <a href="">Natural Running Center<br /></a>Christian Peterson &ndash; <a href="">Maple Grove Barefoot Guy<br /></a>Katie Kift - <a href="">Barefoot KatieK<br /></a>Tucker Goodrich - <a href="">Yelling Stop blog</a> <br />Jesse Scott - <a href="">In Search of Solid Ground <br /></a>Jason Robillard - <a href="">Barefoot Running University</a> <br />Shelley Robillard - <a href="">Shoeless Shelbell</a> </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 09 Oct 2011 18:38:00 GMT Take a Look at Origins <p>It&rsquo;s hard to keep good news a secret.</p> <p>The only things I can typically keep to myself are: who ate the last of the dessert, inside jokes, and humming. Ok and that&rsquo;s not even true, since A. that was me (it was pie, sorry). And B. &amp; C.&hellip;those are never quiet for long. So it&rsquo;s pretty impressive that Merrell Origins has been keeping a big, huge internet-shaped secret for all this time. (Drumroll)</p> <p><a href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/merrelltumblr.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>Merrell Origins has a <a href="">TUMBLR</a>!</p> <p>Now that we&rsquo;ve got that off our chests, come join us over at <a href=""></a>, where we&rsquo;ve been quietly reblogging our Origins posts to get our feet wet. We want to make sure we connect with you outside, inside, and internet-side. Give us a shout when you have stories, photographs, and adventures to share. If you need a friendly reminder of where we started, <a href="">get to know the blog</a>.</p> <p>For now, just pretend we're your crazy uncle who's been living under a rock (literally or figuratively) for most of your life and are just now emerging into the blogosphere, maybe with some really artsy under-rock photos, and really need some Tumblr friends. And don't worry, we won't traverse far. You can always find us here.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/forestpath.jpg" alt="" /></p> Wed, 05 Oct 2011 19:31:00 GMT We Get Outside... Just Like You! <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/WGO Mark3.JPG" alt="" /></p> Wed, 05 Oct 2011 00:31:00 GMT We Get Outside...Just Like You! <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/WGO Rebecca3.JPG" alt="" width="520" height="423" /></p> Wed, 05 Oct 2011 00:05:00 GMT We Get Outside...Just Like You! <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/WGO Jared5.bmp" alt="" /></p> Tue, 04 Oct 2011 23:36:00 GMT I am MERRELL Megan Turner <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/IamMerrellMeganTurner.jpg" alt="" /></p> Tue, 04 Oct 2011 04:43:00 GMT I am Team Merrell: Robyn Benincasa <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>Name:</strong> Robyn Benincasa</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>Nickname:</strong> I'm sure there are many. :) My Adventure Racing friends used to call me The Human Cockroach</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>Home Town:</strong> Cardiff Ca</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>Sports:</strong> Adventure Racing, Ultra Paddling, Ultra Cycling, Ultra Elliptigo! </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>How I got into AR/Ultra-everything:</strong>&nbsp; I was racing Ironman Triathlons for 5 or so years and discovered that the more gnarly the conditions, the better I placed. So I began to look for longer, sillier events. In 1994 I read about the Raid Gauloises, the "Worlds Toughest Adventure Race" in Runners World, and soon thereafter I found myself at the start line of the Raid Gauloises in Borneo with an all-female team. After 9 non stop days of muddy, leachy terrain and death-defying whitewater, I was hooked! Yadda yadda yadda, I've since competed in over 36 Expedition Competitions on 5 continents, from nearly every Eco-Challenge, to multiple Raids, Southern Traverses, Primal Quests, World Championships, etc. Being on the podium for Team Merrell is very cool, but the most memorable experiences come from those moments of synergy in which the team is operating on one heart and one mind, doing whatever it takes to get one another across that finish line. It's a life altering experience to say the least. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>What the Outdoors Means to me:<br /></strong>Connection to others, to our bodies, to those who have come and gone before us, and to the beauty of the world. Sometimes during a run or hike I have to stop and take it all in because its so heartbreakingly beautiful to be alive.&nbsp; </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>5 tips for getting into my sports:<br /></strong>*choose great TEAMmates over athletic superstars<br />*Learn to navigate--if you can orienteer/navigate you can get on awesome teams quickly *Always bring little tow lines (5 feet of 4ml shock cord with a carabiner on the ends), salt tabs, and a balaclava to regulate temp. *Wear thin, non cotton socks and shoes that drain and dry easily. You WILL be wet! I dig Wigwam Ironman socks and Merrell Cruise Controls as a combo. <br />*Check out the US Adventure Racing Association <a href=""></a> for races in your area. There are tons of fun events&nbsp; from 2 hrs to 3 days</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>My greatest accomplishment to date is:<br /></strong>*Winning the Raid Gauloises in Ecuador and the EcoChallenge in Borneo *Breaking 2 Guinness World Paddling Records for "longest distance paddled in a kayak in 24 hours by a female" this year (flat water and moving water) *The fact that my boyfriend didn't leave me after picking me up out of a boat I had literally been in for 460 miles (43 hours)in a race down the Yukon River last Summer. Now THAT's love.<br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/RobynPaddling1.jpg" alt="" width="461" height="316" /></p> <p><br /><strong>When I was little I wanted to grow up to be:<br /></strong>*A Teacher<br />*A firefighter<br />*a professional athlete<br />*a superhero<br />*other: ALL OF THE ABOVE, and a veterinarian. 3ish out of 5 isn't bad!</p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>The most amazing place I've ever competed was:<br /></strong>*Patagonia, Argentina</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>The Best Advice I Would Give Fellow Athletes is:<br /></strong>Never stop searching for what inspires you and where your unique talents lie. Its a process of elimination, but when you find your sweet spot (distance, sport, passion, the right team/solo), its amazing how quickly you begin to be competitive, if that's your goal. And whether you're competitive or not, I've discovered that the finish line is usually pretty anticlimactic compared to the moments out there along the way. The finish line and how you placed is rarely ever a true indicator of your experience out there, and THAT's the part your friends and family want to hear about. So don't get caught up in the numbers! The stories are always far more compelling. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>My Favorite thing to do after a long race/challenge is:</strong> *celebrate with friends and teammates *eat and drink to replenish my body *rest and relax *move on to the next thing, I never really stop ALL OF THE ABOVE! </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>What keeps me going when the competition gets tough is:</strong> *Realizing that nothing I'm going through will hurt as badly as the memory of quitting or giving up. I fast forward my brain to my happy place, sitting with my parents and friends in their warm house telling the stories of the adventure and realize that its up to me, right now, which story I will be telling. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>The one movie I've seen a million times and still love to watch is:</strong> *The Sound of Music</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>One of my secret success tips is: <br /></strong>*2 hip replacements. Ha! Modern technology is pretty cool. I wouldn't be upright anymore without em. And hey, the process lead to lots of paddling, so there was a silver lining. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>My favorite competitive activity is:<br /></strong>Running <br />Biking<br />Swimming<br />Rowing<br />Can't choose one...I love them all!<br />Other: Paddling, Standup Paddling, Hiking, Mountain Biking, </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>Best Training Food:<br /></strong>*Nutella, PB+J, anything that ends in "...O's"</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>Life's too short to...<br /></strong>*miss a day of telling your pals/family how awesome they are *obsess about ripped abs or time splits.&nbsp; The unknown and imperfection of things is part of the adventure! </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>If I could only wear one pair of Merrells for the rest of my life, I'd wear:</strong> Cruise Controls or Seismics</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 04 Oct 2011 02:34:00 GMT Project Athena <p><span style="font-size: small;">There are some races where you go out, run the race, and at the end ask "what cause was this for again?"&nbsp; Project Athena is not one of them.&nbsp; Everyone who is participating in the race is either a survivor, or a friend or family member, supporting them and encouraging them to achieve their dreams.&nbsp; </span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/PA family2.jpg" alt="" width="422" height="320" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;">People dress up like gods and goddesses, or wear matching camouflage tutu's, along with many other fun outfits to show their team spirit and support.&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;<img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/camo tutus2.jpg" alt="" width="405" height="320" /></span></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">The events are great and every one has so much fun, whether they are running in the race, searching for their next clue with their teammates for the adventure scavenger hunt... and let's not forget the kids challenge! The mini gods and goddesses kids challenge has a giant inflatable obstacle course for kids to go through during the race.&nbsp; The kids&nbsp;are all simles as they jump out of the bouncy obstacle course and make their way to the finish line. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/PA kids finish2.jpg" alt="" width="420" height="319" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Project Athena creates such an overwhelming feeling of positive energy and support, it is hard to put into words without actually being there to experience it for yourself.&nbsp; If you or someone you know is a survivor, or if you just want to be a part of this special celebration of beating the odds and achieving dreams, then join Project Athena in celebrating survivors!</p> </span></p> <p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/PA kids finish3.jpg" alt="" width="324" height="421" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> Mon, 03 Oct 2011 08:19:00 GMT Outdoors, Together <p>We all like to <a href="">wax poetic</a> about solo trailblazing.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/solocamp.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Maybe a car ride on the open road without a passenger, or an unaccompanied hike into the wilderness. Losing yourself in a long jog around the lake. We all need quiet time and space, especially in this crazy old world of hustle and bustle and distraction and&hellip;wait let me just read this other thing over here first. Now where was I?</p> <p>As much as we want to pioneer adventures on own, though, bringing friends along is a whole different, wonderful, outdoor ballgame. Even one will suffice.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/umbrellahike.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>A Few Prime Reasons to Explore Outdoor Spaces Together</strong><br />(cue <a href=";feature=related">Doublemint commercial</a>) <strong></strong></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><strong>1. Transportation:</strong> Arguments over steering aside, canoe paddling is easier with two. And if you&rsquo;re hiking, piggybacking is key: Phew! Just carry me for a while.<br /><strong>2. Conversation:</strong> You get to have it! With someone else! (Of the <em>Homo sapiens sapiens </em>variety) <br /> <strong>3. Eyes:</strong> You&rsquo;ve literally doubled your sights on the landscape. Who knows what your friend sees over the next ridge that you may have missed. <br /> <strong>4. Snacks: </strong>More of them. What's that you say, traveling companion? You are preparing massive quantities of trailmix, heavy on the candy? Yes, you may join. <br /> <strong>5. Musical Entertainment:</strong> Harmony practice. And Row Your Boat in rounds!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/sthelensmtn.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Bottom line is: The More the Merrier, Sharing is Caring, and S&rsquo;Mores Taste Better in Groups. Plus all other common euphemisms for connecting yourself with the people around you <em>and</em> the great outdoors.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve got a whole stack of these fun friend facts in my back pocket. Bring me on your next excursion and I&rsquo;ll tell you some more.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/grouphike.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Your Acquaintance,</p> <p>KK</p> <p><em>Speaking of friends...have you connected with <a href="">Merrell Origins on Facebook</a> yet?</em></p> Sun, 02 Oct 2011 19:17:00 GMT Merrell Road Glove Review <p><span style="font-size: small;">The Merrell Road Glove.&nbsp; Simply put, it is to roads what the <a href="">Trail Glove</a> is to trails.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Merrell took the formula that made the Trail Glove a success, worked out a few details based on feedback from the barefoot running community, and developed a shoe that did exactly what a good minimalist shoe should- make you forget it&rsquo;s there.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Before I get to the actual review, it should be known that I work with Merrell to develop and conduct barefoot running education.&nbsp; Our effort is known as <a href="">Bareform</a>, and we use the &ldquo;ABC&rsquo;s of barefoot running&rdquo; as our clinic format.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve talked about my decision to work with them before here.&nbsp; The short version- they were the first (and I think only) shoe company that acknowledged being barefoot was best, and their shoes were designed to give protection without interfering with natural form.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Anyway, I like to fully disclose this because of the potential conflict of interest.&nbsp; If you have any doubts about my impartiality, try them yourself.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Before going to the store, read this article on selecting the right shoe for you.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;">The Elusive Road Running Minimalist Shoe<br /></span>My perfect <a href="">minimalist shoe</a> for road running needs the following qualities:</span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: small;">Zero drop heel- raised heels mess with my posture, which affects balance and causes me knee pain. </span></li> <li><span style="font-size: small;">Minimal cushioning- My body is more than capable of absorbing the minimal ground collision forces as I kiss the ground with my feet. </span></li> <li><span style="font-size: small;">Wide toe box- gotta let the toes splay! </span></li> <li><span style="font-size: small;">Sole that provided a flat platform- The road is flat; I need my shoes to provide that same surface. </span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: small;"> <p><br />That&rsquo;s about all I need, yet no shoe really fit the bill.&nbsp; My Luna huaraches are close, but aren&rsquo;t great in wet conditions.&nbsp; My now-ancient KSOs were good, but I don&rsquo;t always want separated toes.&nbsp; EVOs has a weird toe box flex.&nbsp; Frees and Kinvaras had a raised heel.&nbsp; Altras were too padded.&nbsp; Kigos were too narrow.&nbsp; Bikilas didn&rsquo;t fit my toes well.&nbsp; I could go on and on&hellip;</p> </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">When Merrell told me they were in the process of designing a road shoe, I immediately gave them my list of demands and one more request- do all of this but don&rsquo;t lose the magic of the Trail Glove.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">I know they received a ton of feedback from a lot of different sources, so my suggestions probably had minimal impact.&nbsp; Regardless, they listened.</span></p> <p><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/roadglove2.jpg" alt="" width="473" height="314" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Testing Conditions<br /></span>Since it is a road shoe, I figured the best first run would be&hellip; around the Eldora Ski Resort west of Nederland, Colorado!&nbsp; The route was a tough technical 15 mile out and back with 3000&prime; of elevation gain (8,000&prime; to ~11,000&prime;.)&nbsp; The second run was up Round Mountain west of Loveland, CO.&nbsp; The third run was the Mt. Sneffles Marathon on gravel roads from Ridgway to Ouray, Colorado.&nbsp; By the fourth run, I finally did some asphalt running.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;">The Road Glove<br /></span>The best way to describe the Road Glove is to compare it to the Trail Glove.&nbsp; The fit is nearly identical, as is the function.&nbsp; The shoe hugs your feet in roughly the same places, while allowing freedom where needed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">When first wearing the shoe, one difference is noticeable.&nbsp; The sole of the Road Glove does not touch the arch of your foot as the Trail Glove did.&nbsp; Many people mistakenly called this &ldquo;arch support.&rdquo;&nbsp; It didn&rsquo;t provide support, it was intended to keep the foot in place inside the shoe when traversing gnarly mountainous trails.&nbsp; Since most people won&rsquo;t be using the Road Glove for mountainous running, this was eliminated.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">The upper is a little softer than the trail glove, which gives it a little bit more flexibility.&nbsp; It also has a sockless liner much like the Trail Glove.&nbsp; Aside from these minor details, the upper feels much like a hybrid between the Trail Glove and Sonic Glove.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">The real difference, which is felt immediately, comes from the sole.&nbsp;&nbsp;heh&nbsp;Sorry about that one.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Back on task&hellip;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">The sole of the Road Glove is pancake flat.&nbsp; Compare that to the Trail Glove, which had a fairly aggressive tread for trails.&nbsp; That tread was spectacular on trails, but kinda sucked on roads.&nbsp; The Road Glove sole solves this problem by flattening all lugs and tread.&nbsp; This is the single thing that made this such a huge improvement for road running.&nbsp; The foot landing feels exactly like landing when wearing a huarache- which is exactly what makes it so good.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">As far as other characteristics- the shoe is fairly well ventilated and dried quickly.&nbsp; During the mountain runs, I traversed several streams and snow fields, which provided a pretty good test.&nbsp; The shoe kept my foot in place well when wet.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">The Omni-lock lacing system was removed, as it shouldn&rsquo;t be necessary for road running.&nbsp; However, I did miss it during my mountain runs.&nbsp; With the Trail Gloves, I could tighten the top lace to prevent slippage while still maintaining good toe splay.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Traction was surprisingly good on the rocky mountain trails&hellip; definitely on-par with the Trail Glove.&nbsp; In mud, the flat sole didn&rsquo;t perform too well.&nbsp; On roads, the conditions the shoe was designed for, traction was excellent even on wet asphalt.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;"> <p><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/roadglove3.jpg" alt="" width="501" height="332" /></p> </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Overall Thoughts&hellip; The Good<br /></span>The shoe is a nearly perfect road shoe for barefoot and minimalist runners.&nbsp; It allows barefoot form while still providing protection.&nbsp; This pretty much sums up the positive characteristics of the shoe.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Overall Thoughts&hellip; The Bad<br /></span>There are a few negatives.&nbsp; On my first two runs, the collar around my Achilles cut into my left foot.&nbsp; The problem disappeared after the first 20 miles or so, which may just have been a form issue.&nbsp; I haven&rsquo;t had the problem since, but I am eager to test a second pair as a comparison. [EDIT- after confirming with Merrell, the collar height on the Road Glove is identical to the Trail Glove.&nbsp; To confirm that this was an isolated problem, I tested a second pair of shoes and did not have an issue.]</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">I would like to have seen the Omni-fit system on the shoes for one reason- they make BAD ASS Crossfit shoes.&nbsp; The ability to cinch the laces more would have been beneficial when doing box jumps.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">The color schemes still have a distinctive outdoor feel, though much less than the Trail Gloves.&nbsp; This is a strong personal preference, but I like loud colors.&nbsp; Note- there are color combinations I haven&rsquo;t seen yet.&nbsp; This may be a moot point.&nbsp; [Edit- I just saw the rest of the available colors- MUCH better than my test pair!]</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">I should mention toe spring before it comes up in the comments.&nbsp; First, I think toe spring in flexible minimalist shoes is an overblown concern.&nbsp; It simply doesn&rsquo;t affect gait.&nbsp; I discussed the issue here.&nbsp; Second, the toe spring evident in the pictures disappears in actual function.&nbsp; It keeps the upper from pinching the tops of the toes.</span></p> <p><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/roadglove4.jpg" alt="" width="505" height="342" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Unintended Uses<br /></span>This shoe is more or less guaranteed to be one of the first choices for barefoot and minimalist shoe runners searching for a road shoe.&nbsp; However, I think it&rsquo;s hidden value comes from its other possible uses.&nbsp; As I mentioned above, it has become my favorite functional fitness shoe due to the fit and flat sole.&nbsp; Crossfitters will LOVE it&hellip; too bad they seem to have abandoned their love of minimalist shoes in favor of those Reebok posers&hellip;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">The shoe could also be the answer as a minimalist court shoe.&nbsp; I don&rsquo;t play too many court-like sports, but I did run around a tennis court for awhile.&nbsp; Traction was good.&nbsp; Most importantly, balance was excellent!&nbsp; It wouldn&rsquo;t surprise me if people start using these shoes for all kinds of court sports&hellip; volleyball, tennis, four-square, even basketball.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">The shoes will also serve as better casual shoes than Trail Gloves due to the sole.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve worn mine for extended periods of walking, standing, and driving.&nbsp; The shoes performed all tasks admirably.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Conclusion<br /></span>The Road Glove is exactly what it should be- a road shoe that doesn&rsquo;t interfere with natural gait.&nbsp; Merrell took the formula that worked for the Trail Glove and applied it to this shoe.&nbsp; The shoe isn&rsquo;t perfect, but it works exceptionally well for me.&nbsp; If you are in the market for a minimalist shoe for the road, this should be on your short list of shoes you MUST try.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Merrell and Barefoot Running<br /></span>I have a unique position.&nbsp; I routinely talk to lots of barefoot and minimalist shoe runners, and also get occasional glimpses into the inner-workings of Merrell.&nbsp; No other company has done a better job of reading what the barefoot and minimalist crowd wants, then putting that into action.&nbsp; The result is obvious- a bunch of damn good shoes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Unlike most other companies that rely on data or marketers to develop shoes, Merrell cares about all feedback.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s the reason they actually want me to talk about the things I don&rsquo;t like about their shoes.&nbsp; To make the best possible shoes, they need the best possible feedback.&nbsp; That feedback can only come from the trenches.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">To that end, feel free to discuss the things you like and the things you dislike when these shoes hit the market.&nbsp; Merrell will be dramatically expanding their minimalist offerings in the spring based on the varied feedback they received.&nbsp; Please continue that dialogue!!!</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 29 Sep 2011 06:14:00 GMT I am MERRELL: Liz Runey <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/IamMerrellLizRuney3.jpg" alt="" /></p> Wed, 28 Sep 2011 18:05:00 GMT Our first week in South America! <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;">After a summer of climbing mountains in Colorado, we made it to South America for our 10-month long adventure south of the border!</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;">Our first week in South America has been a blast!&nbsp; We flew into Buenos Aires and spent our first week there based out of the San Telmo neighborhood.&nbsp; The city of Buenos Aires is a beautiful city and is the 17th largest metropolitan area in the world with about 14 million people (according to wikipedia).&nbsp; BA experienced major growth in the late 1800s and early 1900s with a huge influx of Spanish and Italian immigrants&hellip;and the architecture reflects this.&nbsp; A large portion of the original buildings have been well-maintained, and the room we rented in a loft was no exception.&nbsp; Overall, the look of the city is very 'european': BA more resembles Madrid than it does Mexico City, more resembles Rome than it does Lima.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/pink building.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;">We love food, and have really enjoyed dining Argentine-style.&nbsp; Argentines typically have a light breakfast of</span><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;bread and espresso, then (after several more espressos throughout the morning) at 1 or 2 they start a large lunch which can easily last two hours, then they have a lighter dinner at around 9.&nbsp; Even though most Argentines in the bigger cities don't partake in a siesta, Kirsten and I wanted to promote the old way of doing things and enjoyed a light snooze after lunch.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/cooking1.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;">This past Sunday was a chilly spring day, so I put my Merrell Origins Eagle Down Shirt and Eagle Origins Boots to good use.&nbsp; The shirt kept me warm without being overly hot, and the boots were stylish and sturdy for the long walk on the cobblestone streets.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/James.bmp" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;">One of the highlights of staying in San Telmo was having quick access to the San Telmo street market th</span><span style="font-size: small;">at takes place every Sunday and stretches for several city blocks and lasts from morning until after dark.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/10/city.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;">After a week of exploring Buenos Aires, we have moved west: we have arrived in Cordoba, Argentina on our way to the base of the Andes in Mendoza, Argentina!</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 28 Sep 2011 10:25:00 GMT Music for Your Outsides <p> <script type="text/javascript"><!-- $(function() { $('#video-player')[0].innerHTML = '<iframe src="" mce_src="" allowfullscreen frameborder="0" height="292" width="438" />'; }); // --></script> </p> <p>When you can't get outside, music can help.</p> <p>Whether you're stuck at a work, got lost in an internet vortex, or just can not make time to spend outdoors, it helps to have a little push. Sometimes you need a driving rhythm or a simple melody to get you out of the clutches of your desk chair. Here are some audio visual aids to help wean your glassy eyes off of the fall television lineup and get inspired to think about the spaces outside your front door: music videos set oudoors, videos with music about the outdoors, outdoor videos about music...take your pick.</p> <p id="video-player"> <object width="428" height="252"> <param name="movie" value="" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="428" height="252" src="" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always"></embed> </object> </p> <p>7 videos for your "<a href="!/MerrellOrigins/music-for-outsides">Music for Outsides</a>" playlist (feel free to watch fullscreen):</p> <p><strong>Surf Erie</strong><br /> <a href="">Monster Rally</a>'s wafting surf rhythms are a <a href="">perfect match</a> for the lapping lake and blurred sparklers. Video creator <a href="">Tyler Coray</a> gives us one for the summer times.</p> <p><strong>Golden Tree</strong><br />Set to <a href="">Martin Brooks</a>' blues, this looks like something the <a href="">filmmaker</a> casually captured on a regular weekend daytrip: No big deal! Just practicing no-handed bike riding with my friends! Let's hope some of these moves translate&ndash; get ready for the Doggy Paddle and Laser Eyes coming to a dance floor or a sidewalk near you.</p> <p><strong>Whale</strong><br /><a href="">Yellow Ostrich</a> reminds us that everyone could use a good old-fashioned run through the woods. Right?</p> <p><strong>White Winter Hymnal</strong><br />This stop-motion music video for <a href="">Fleet Foxes</a> manages to focus on the beautiful details of its starry outdoor setting, even when they are <a href="">made of clay</a>. How do you make beard hairs sway in the wind? My fingers hurt just watching it.</p> <p><strong>Lifetime Video Zine #3 with Chad VanGaalen</strong><br />If you haven't already checked out <a href="">Lifetime Collective</a>, now's the time to get on board. Apparel is a part of their larger project to bring together artists and people doing interesting work: this video zine captures musiciain <a href="">Chad VanGaalen</a> in moments strolling outside with his ukelele. And bonus performance points for his sense of humor and indoor skate ramp. OK, yes some of it is indoors...just close your eyes and imagine for that part.</p> <p><strong>In the Dirt</strong><br />Kids! Winter hats! A very different kind of wilderness (urban, snowy), but a perfect one for <a href="">S. Carey</a> to accompany.</p> <p><strong>Amor Fati</strong><br /><a href="">Washed Out</a>'s warm synthesizers takes us along rambling roads, as the protagonist travels across Iceland, stopping at the occasional house party and sheep farm along the way. After watching the video, I'll be locating the nearest waterfall by which to brush my teeth. See ya!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/nohandcanoe.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>We'll be sharing Merrell Origins favorites at <a href="!/MerrellOrigins">VHX</a>, so join us there, where you can see what we are watching and create your own outdoor playlists to inspire.</p> Tue, 27 Sep 2011 07:52:00 GMT Good Clean Fun <p>Ever feel like you don't have enough resources to know how to start an adventure?</p> <p>Nope. Probably not. The amount of information out there is a wide expanse of outdoors knowledge, with everything from magazines to television programs, and this tiny little corner we like to call the world wide web. You can find upteen reviews of climbing spikes in one moment and learn <a href="">how to paddle a canoe</a> in the next. Only takes a click to buy your very own <a href="">doubles hammock</a>!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/goodcampsite.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/twotents.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>But it can also be overwhelming: five different recipes for homemade trail mix is too many to choose (I only want the candy pieces, please), I'm not sure I can take enough days off of work to summit the Alps this weekend (we'll see about October, though), and which outdoors message board do I trust?!</p> <p>And that is why I like this family camping feature that <a href="">Better Homes &amp; Gardens published in 1961</a>.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/carefreecamping.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The 1960s was another time...we'll just call it The Dark Ages. When you couldn't get gear reviews online or see tweets of travels minute-by-minute. When the outdoor blogging community was still in print. Here is a simple guide to how to "Enjoy Carefree Camping!" The publication includes simple instructions for selecting a good campsite, checklists for your equipment, and "good ways to fill free time." The cheery calls for kids, parents, and yes, even women, to enjoy the outdoors together all seem a little dated and a lot like a Lassie episode for our modern eyes (headlines include "Modern Camping for Modern Women" and "Children Like Camping Excitement"), but the enthusiasm is simple and laid out for everyone to experience.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/campdinner.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Not to romanticize the time before internet, but I'm going to romanticize the time before the internet here for a minute. Back in The Dark Ages, guides like these provided instruction and motivation for families to enjoy an outdoor experience that was previously considered only for experts. And there was no Angry Birds to distract you.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/roadside.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The wealth of information we have now is really just a wider group of the personal diaries, manuals, catalogues, and postcards that have always made up the collective people-going-outside experience. It's definitely more spread out. But the breadth also makes you appreciate the personal stories, the in-depth accounts, whether it's with <a href="">images</a> or <a href="">sound</a> or prose.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/rockyshore.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>So maybe it's not so much the how-to's and the what-to-do's, but the inspirational resources you are looking for, in pursuit of your next adventure. And those are the gems you take two extra Google searches for.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/campsite.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>In print,</p> <p>KK</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 26 Sep 2011 23:55:00 GMT Blind Lake Ambition <p>"Branding 10,000 Lakes" creates and then answers a Herculean challenge:</p> <p>Give each one of Minnesota&rsquo;s lakes a visual identity that captures its character beyond the water&rsquo;s edge.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/trianglelake2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>As designer Nicole Meyer affirms, <a href="">logos for lakes are usually just plain ugly</a>. So she plans to create a new design for each lake. Her realistic enthusiasm is refreshing, as this is a huge project estimated at 27 years, creating a new logo each day until all the lakes are logo-ed (or at least until someone tells Nicole Meyer that there are actually <a href="">more than 10,000 lakes</a> and she gives up the last 5 years). Oh and she does it beautifully.</p> <p>This ambitious challenge to create daily makes other designers look like they&rsquo;re taking their sweet time: meeting with clients, sketching, redrafting, finalizing. Lollygaggers!</p> <p>Each day, Meyer works with a different one of 10,000 (plus) tough customers to design for: ever-moving water, changing shorelines, the intangibles of an outdoor experience. No wonder lakes need a PR boost.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/leechlake2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>10,000 (and more) is a big number to throw around. And like many other states (&ldquo;This many mountains!&rdquo; &ldquo;xyz miles of trails!&rdquo;) Minnesota is pretty proud and often uses quantity to describe its incredible landscape. Appreciating each one of the individual lakes is the challenge. So <a href="">while a logo for each lake is a simple idea</a>, it lends some color to each piece of that behemoth 10,000-lake-shaped pie.</p> <p>Logos will not replicate the experience of a lake, but they may be an attractive reminder to make the trek to the waters or a good bookmark for you to return. And why not have a beautiful representation of your lake? What an amazing intersection of design and outdoors.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/pinetreelake2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/looplake2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Head over to <a href="">Branding 10,000 Lakes</a> for new lake logos every day. Literally, every single day.</p> <p>Did I mention that Minnesota has more than 10,000 lakes?</p> <p>KK</p> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 04:29:00 GMT To the Quivering Forest <p>Fleet Foxes is the perfect harmony for your drive to the outdoors.</p> <p> <object width="437" height="246"> <param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /> <param name="movie" value=";;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="437" height="246" src=";;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always"></embed> </object> </p> <p>This video, <a href="">shot in Paris</a> back when the band was "getting big" (We've become very interested in knowing someone before the peak of their popularity bell curve. Remember, "hipness" is really a matter of dates), follows the gentlemen through a decidedly urban setting.</p> <p>Fleet Foxes seems a bit out of place here, as they walk through the Paris streets and parkways. They wear vests and boots and a comfortable nonchalance that suggests their native Seattle more then upscale Paris chic. (But perhaps by 2008, Paris fashion was catching up to the Pacific Northwoodsman. Remember, "hipness" is a matter of dates). Here it seems they stumble onto an open space to perform: the vocals are echoed, the whitewashed background is not exactly picturesque.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/fleetfoxeslandscapes2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>And yet they make music about traveling to the countryside. Of a place far away from structured architecture or streets, a place that sounds wild. They could show you that mountain or that forest, and <a href="">many times </a>they do <a href="">use rich visuals</a> to accompany their music, but it speaks for itself. This is how Fleet Foxes succeeds: they can transport you to a place of their telling.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/fleetfoxesnorthwest2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>So when you're driving out of the city this weekend, here's your soundtrack. And if you are still quite a ways from the nearest "quivering forest" and you need to cheat, use their lush melodies and rolling rhythms to imagine your own landscape.</p> <p>Still working out the hip-chronology,</p> <p>KK</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/fleetfoxesdriver2.jpg" alt="" /></p> Thu, 15 Sep 2011 12:12:00 GMT Give a Hoot <p>Woodsy Owl was created for the first Earth Day in 1970.</p> <p>The National Forest Service apparently needed a mascot that:</p> <p>1. Encouraged kids to take care of the nature around them&nbsp;<br />2. Got along well with Smokey&nbsp;<br />3. Rhymed incessantly</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/woodsykids2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>To aid in his mission of environmental protection, Woodsy needed some pretty particular gear. Luckily his outfit is <em>written into US Law</em>: "The term Woodsy Owl means the name and representation of a fanciful owl, who wears slacks (forest green when colored), a belt (brown when colored), and a Robin Hood style hat (forest green when colored) with a feather (red when colored), who furthers the slogan, Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute."</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/woodsycard2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The awesome thing about Woodsy Owl was that the campaign got kids and their families involved in nature. In a world where some of the most recognizable icons are fast food chains or sports mascots, it's impressive that little&nbsp;Woodsy had such likability. Getting people to think about the environment and encourage outdoor adventure is a challenge, so Woodsy had a toolbelt of paraphernalia to remind you: bumper stickers, stuffed animals, songs, PSAs, <a href=";pID=53">zipper pulls</a>. &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/woodsytoy2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Woodsy did look a touch strange when appearing as a live-action mascot costume, but&nbsp;<a title="Woodsy Owl Video" href=";feature=related">kids love the darndest things</a>.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/woodsyphoto2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Woodsy Owl could seem dated these fancy blockbuster-style action effects and a wholesome message. He's gotten a few updates recently, <a href="!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gjAwhwtDDw9_AI8zPwhQoY6BdkOyoCAPkATlA!/?ss=119995&amp;navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&amp;cid=null&amp;navid=150130000000000&amp;pnavid=150000000000000&amp;ttype=main&amp;pname=Conservation%2520Education%2520-%2520Woodsy%2520Owl">now looking like a Skinnier Woodsy Owl</a>, with pants and soled shoes (wait are those Wilderness boots he's wearing??) and he even has his own <a href="">Facebook page</a>. But his message, created in another era, is more important now than ever. Getting younger generations excited about being outdoors and interested in protecting their surroundings is a cause that demands a million mascots. Luckily we've got a fanciful owl and&nbsp;<a href="">excellent</a> <a href="">organizations</a> doing good work to start.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/wodsybook2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>With that I say: Give a Hoot, Put On a Boot (And go outside!)</p> <p>PSA-ready,</p> <p>KK</p> Tue, 13 Sep 2011 11:54:00 GMT Postcard to July <p>Now that we've blazed through the Labor Day Weekend finish line, summer is pretty much out.</p> <p>Don't look too surprised, as you were duly informed and <a href="">fully warned</a>. So while we are all busy sweating in our <a href="">new fall school clothes</a>, I've got this video on loop.</p> <p> <object width="525" height="223"> <param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /> <param name="movie" value=";;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=ffc30f&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=1" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="525" height="223" src=";;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=ffc30f&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=1" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always"></embed> </object> </p> <p>Talk about dreamy summer times. <a href="">Monster Rally</a>'s Surf Erie sounds like the perfect background to a long luau-themed nap in the shade. And the <a href="">video by Tyler Coray</a> mixes the band's surf sounds with fleeting shots of a camping trip to the Olympic peninsula, creating a veritable postcard to summer.</p> <p><img src="../../../%7EUploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/crescentpostcard.jpg" alt="Lake Crescent postcard" /></p> <p>I'd say the postcard goes something like this:</p> <p><em>Dear July,</em></p> <p><em>You're the best.</em></p> <p><em>Sincerely, <br />Monster Rally</em></p> <p><img src="../../../%7EUploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/crescentpostcardback.jpg" alt="Lake Crescent vintage postcard" /></p> <p>Or if they wrote really small and utilized all corners of the postcard:</p> <p><em>Dear July,</em></p> <p><em>You're the best! It looks so different over here without you. You were always hot enough to jump in the lake. And you made tent staking so much easier with soft ground. I can still taste your s'mores.</em></p> <p><em>Come visit us before the equinox, ok?</em></p> <p><em>Sincerely, <br />Monster Rally</em></p> <p><em>P.S.: Still laughing about our inside joke with the colored smoke bombs!! We sure had a lot of those.</em></p> <p><img src="../../../%7EUploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/surferiewoods.jpg" alt="Monster Rally Surf Erie video" /></p> <p>You know that crackling fireplace video loop that department stores and other fireplace-less souls play during the winter months? Well maybe I can just have a continuous loop of Surf Erie on a flat screen in my kitchen. It will be a permanent background of forest walks and lake swims and bonfires to get me to the next July. All to the tune of tropical jams.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/surferielake.jpg" alt="Monster Rally Surf Erie video Lake Crescent" /></p> <p>Now who wants to donate a flat screen TV to a good cause?</p> <p>Until the equinox,</p> <p>KK</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/surferiefire.jpg" alt="Monster Rally Surf Erie video fire" /></p> Wed, 07 Sep 2011 17:02:00 GMT Merrell Origins Lookbook for Summer/Fall <p>Look! Look!</p> <p><a href="">Someoddpilot</a> is taking us outside via <a title="Merrell Origins Lookbook" href="">beautiful lookbook</a> for Merrell Origins' Summer/Fall collection. The <a href="">Wilderness</a>, <a href="">Solo</a>, and <a href="">Eagle</a> join for a walk in the woods, complete with friends and trails for inspiration.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/originsslideshow2.JPG" alt="" /></a></p> <p>Whip out some binoculars over your lunch break and head over to the <a title="Merrell Origins Lookbook" href="">slideshow</a> for some inspiration. We'll be outside waiting!</p> <p>Peep and run,</p> <p>KK</p> Mon, 05 Sep 2011 14:46:00 GMT Labor Day Zen Panic <p>Don&rsquo;t panic, but all bets are off after Labor Day weekend.</p> <p><img src="../../../%7EUploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/lilypad.JPG" alt="Weekend Lake Lilypad" /></p> <p>OK we&rsquo;ve got to panic a little bit, because this is your last ditch effort for summertime. Come Tuesday, the various stages of summer vacation dream in which we&rsquo;ve all been floating will quietly transform into a familiar kind of harried bustle. Kids are back in the classroom and suddenly your boss is not so understanding about you sneaking out at noon on a Friday. And the temperature will no longer demand watermelon for 3 meals a day. Wait, how does the oven work? And now we all have to wear pants?!</p> <p><img src="../../../%7EUploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/lakesun.JPG" alt="Weekend Lake Sun" /></p> <p>So let&rsquo;s say we all need to panic <em>just enough</em> to get ourselves to a state of Labor Day Zen. We need to hurry up and ourselves into a fit of calm to buffer this transition. That&rsquo;s where <a href="">The Weekend Lake</a> comes in.</p> <p> <object width="524" height="295"> <param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /> <param name="movie" value=";;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="524" height="295" src=";;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always"></embed> </object> </p> <p>This slice of life up at the weekend cabin is the epitome of chill: wonderful shots of scenery, a solid canoe ride, dogs practicing water safety. And <a href=";width=560&amp;height=340&amp;fmt=18">you know we love a good rock skipper</a>, right?</p> <p>These shots are great inspiration for planning your long weekend, whether <a href="">at the lake</a>, a cabin, or anyplace in between for Labor Day. You need but a few additional ingredients: some family/friends, a peaceful locale, good food, or all of the above. Bubbles are optional, depending on mood. Talent shows, naps, and midnight swims are highly recommended.</p> <p><img src="../../../%7EUploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/paddle.JPG" alt="Weekend Lake Canoe" /></p> <p>If you get too relaxed by end of the weekend, don&rsquo;t say I didn&rsquo;t tell you so. And by &ldquo;tell you so&rdquo; I mean, tell you to take Tuesday off ahead of time. Somebody's got to think ahead amidst the stresses of easy-breathing. Phew.</p> <p>Where is your &ldquo;Weekend Lake&rdquo;?</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/9/lakemist.JPG" alt="Weekend Lake Mist" /></p> <p>Heading up North,</p> <p>KK</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 01 Sep 2011 20:13:00 GMT Great Heights <p>Last week, three Americans <a href="">made big news when they completed a big climb</a>&mdash;the first recorded ascent of the world's second-highest unclimbed peak.</p> <p>The mountain? Saser Kangri II in the Karakoram range of India. Since I haven't even gotten past the pronunciation yet (Jammies sounds like it could be a&nbsp; cozy Indian state, but probably not how you say it), I think I can mouth-gape for us all when I say: Wow.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/climbmagmtn.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Reaching those kinds of heights requires a lot more practice, equipment, skill, and grit than the rest of us amateur mountain-lovers can sweat out in a lifetime.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/climbmagredcover.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>We continue to admire their feats, the long history of pioneers making new and different climbs. While we summit smaller peaks, hike day trips, practice on climbing walls, we are still very much in the same community: drawn by the tallest peaks, the widest rivers, the longest trails.</p> <p>'In awe' is a very great height to reach.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/climbmagbw.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Onward and upward,</p> <p>KK</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/climbingmagazine-165.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>P.S. Check out <a href="">Climbing Magazine's</a> extensive library of past covers for more faces and places they've featured since 1970.</p> Mon, 29 Aug 2011 16:43:00 GMT Take Shelter <p>Mother Nature seems slightly upset, weather-speaking. Or at least it feels that way, with Hurricane Irene barreling through the Caribbean and toward the Eastern Seaboard.</p> <p>As east coasters move inland, we think about finding shelter.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/PCHwindow.jpg" alt="Prairie Chicken House window" /></a></p> <p>Herb Greene's prairie house <a href="">looks warm and dry</a>. Built on the prairies of Norman, Oklahoma, it is a simple construction, crafted of natural materials. The form is one of very <a href="">particular design and purpose</a>, coming out the organic movement of the 1960s.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/PCHlookmag.jpg" alt="Prairie Chicken House Look Magazine" /></a></p> <p>Look Magazine dubbed the residence the "Prairie Chicken House" in 1961, because of its resemblance to that noble and admired animal, the prairie chicken. (It would be pretty easy to be the reporter who walks up and eloquently analyzes the design with "IT LOOKS LIKE A CHICKEN." We're all that guy.)</p> <p>But this rather symbolic piece of architecture&mdash;now iconic for its kooky appearance in the middle of the prairies&mdash;incorporates many of the things we look for now in architecture. We have some fancy buzzwords we could use for its design: green technology, energy efficiency, natural ventilation, etc etc etc. But the architect's conscious purpose preempts our formal 21st century ideas of "green design," so it feels naive to call it that.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/PCHsketch.jpg" alt="Prairie Chicken House sketch" /></a></p> <p>This house keeps you connected to the outside elements, while protecting you in its space. As <a href="">Herb Greene himself describes</a>, he designed this for his family in a way that makes the shelter seem alive and human. So the Prairie Chicken House seems to be an extension of the land it's on, while simultaneously protecting its inhabitants.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/PCHladder.jpg" alt="Prairie Chicken House ladder" /></a></p> <p>And if it's protecting us with a chicken head and a hen's coat of feathers...sign me up. Take shelter.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/PCHoutside.jpg" alt="Prairie Chicken House landscape" /></a></p> <p>LEED rating pending,</p> <p>KK</p> Thu, 25 Aug 2011 19:04:00 GMT Our Final 2 Weeks in the Wilderness – Week 6 and 7 <p><span style="font-size: small;">Total Miles Hiked this Summer: 240 Miles<br />Total Elevation Gained this Summer: 98,000 ft</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Well, with 5 peaks left before we reach our summer goal of 36 peaks, we will unfortunately come up a little short. After Kirsten&rsquo;s knee problems in Chicago Basin, we decided to take it easier with more rest days between peaks. After climbing Longs peak yesterday, we reluctantly decided that it would be our last of the summer. Kirsten&rsquo;s knee wasn&rsquo;t getting any better and since she still needed it for South America, so we thought it was best to not push it.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">After Chicago Basin, we took a few days off to see if Kirsten&rsquo;s knee would improve. After a few days, we decided to continue climbing and drove up to Aspen to climb in the Elk Range.&nbsp; Our first peak to climb in the Elks was Castle Pk.&nbsp; The Elks are a beautiful range and Castle was no exception.&nbsp; Castle holds a lot of snow throughout the entire year, so we finally got some use out of our ice axes and microspikes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Next up in the Elks was going to be Maroon Peak and Pyramid Peak. However, since it was a weekend, the Maroon Bells overnight lot was full so we headed back to Buena Vista to continue making progress and finish up some peaks in the Sawatch.</span> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Back in the Buena Vista area, we still needed to summit Mt Harvard and Missouri Mountain.&nbsp; Earlier in the summer we hadn&rsquo;t been able to traverse from Mt Columbia to Mt Harvard due to extremely strong winds and lack of visibility.&nbsp; Also, we had substituted Missouri Mountain with Pikes Peak so that we could make an emergency stop at the apple store in CO Springs to get our Mac working again (turns out we needed a new hard drive).&nbsp; We had chosen to hold off on Missouri Mountain in particular because it has a deep and wide river crossing at the beginning of the 4WD road leading to its trailhead.&nbsp; Due to all the spring snow Colorado received this year, it would have been impossible for our Xterra to cross it back in early July, making the hike much longer.&nbsp; Later in the summer we knew we would be fine.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/Krocks.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Since we had already been up to the Horn Fork Basin to summit Mt Columbia, we decided to climb Harvard from the much less traveled route on the eastern slopes.&nbsp; It turned out to be a beautiful hike, most of it on open tundra.&nbsp; The hike was 11 miles round trip and 4,120 ft of elevation gain.</span><span style="font-size: small;">We were thinking we&rsquo;d take a full two days off between mountains, but after a day off, we decided it was time to climb Missouri Mountain.&nbsp; The river crossing was intimidating, but not a problem at all for the Xterra.&nbsp; The route up Missouri was short and sweet: 3,200 ft of elevation gain over only 2.7 miles (5.4 miles round trip).&nbsp; We made quick work of it and were back in Buena Vista that afternoon.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">After Missouri, the next peak north on our list would have been Mt of the Holy Cross, near Vail.&nbsp; However, the forest service had decided to close the road leading up to the trailhead for the entire summer in order to cut down the pine trees that had been killed by the pine beetle.&nbsp; The next best route would have been much longer and not on a trail, so we decided that mountain will have to wait until next summer.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Since Mt of the Holy Cross was off the agenda, we decided to hit a peak nearby that Kirsten had yet to summit but was my first 14er ever, something like 10 years ago: Mt Massive.</span></p> </p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">We drove to the Mt Massive trailhead, intending to spend a day relaxing, then climb it the second day.&nbsp; Around noon of our rest day, however, we saw that the sky was clear and we decided to snag an afternoon summit.&nbsp; This was a Saturday, and on most Saturdays you would expect to encounter quite a few other hikers, however when we reached the summit around 4 pm, the last of the other hikers were leaving and we had the summit all to ourselves.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/3pic.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p> <p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Our final goal of the summer was to climb Longs Peak.&nbsp; Longs Peak is a long hike (15 miles) and quite a bit of elevation gain (5,300 ft), so we had intentionally saved it for our last climb of the summer so that we&rsquo;d be in good shape.&nbsp; Also, it is known for being ridiculously crowded &mdash; probably because it can be seen from so many front range cities and also because of the huge number of people visiting Rocky Mountain National Park &mdash; so we knew we wanted to climb it on a weekday.&nbsp; We wound up splitting the cost of an overpriced $20 campsite with a random guy we saw setting up his camp named Stuart.&nbsp; Stuart is from Summit County and into mountain biking so we had a lot to talk about.&nbsp; Since he was alone (except for his dog Lucy, who isn&rsquo;t allowed on the Longs Pk trail or on any trail in RMNP for that matter) and he said he would like to hike with someone, we decided to hike with him.&nbsp; It turns out that he was a fast hiker which was nice&hellip;we started at 5 am, and averaged almost 3 mph up to the &lsquo;keyhole&rsquo; and reached the summit in about 4 hours (past the &lsquo;keyhole&rsquo; the route is single-file and you are only as fast as the slowest person on the mountain).&nbsp; Longs Peak is a great mountain with a magnificent 1,000 foot tall vertical northeast face overlooking you for most of the hike.</span> <p><span style="font-size: small;">As we continued to push forward with these 14ers, Kirsten&rsquo;s knee wasn&rsquo;t getting any better &ndash; in fact, it was getting worse. After our tedious push on Longs, we decided enough was enough. It was a hard decision since we were so close to our goal but probably wise since we still had 10 months of exploring South America, not to mention, less than adequate health coverage since we left our jobs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Now we&rsquo;re headed to Denver for about a week to wrap some things up and then to Texas before we leave for South America in mid-September.</span></p> </p> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> Mon, 22 Aug 2011 16:32:00 GMT Get in the Water <p>We are reaching that twilight time of the summer months when opportunities for swim trunks and seaside trips are dwindling. Especially for anyone living in, say, 40 of the 50 states, when icy water may keep anyone from jumping into the lake.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/beachboring.jpg" alt="Beach is Boring" /></p> <p>At this late point in the game, I fear we may have forgotten how fun the beach can be. It has gotten a bad rap for its sundrenched laziness. And we are all busy looking ahead to the back-to-schools and fall temps, already missing some of the prime beachfront real estate for your umbrella in the last weeks of August.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/wildwood.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Though not as immediately hair-raising/thrilling/dangerous as the much-beloved <a href="">Shark Week</a> of summer television, I think think we can all find something at our nearest bodies of water. Beaches mean an unabashed opportunity for playfulness: getting buried from the neck down, elaborate sand castle plans, running along the water. Swimming until wrinkled! When else can you get people excited by saying,"Hey guys, let's all go dig a HOLE!!?" Probably the best open swim you can find this side of the YMCA&ndash; a Last Chance Summer Beach Romance for you + water.</p> <p>Some helpful reminders to jog your beach memory:</p> <ul> <li>Straw hats and a nose of zinc oxide never go out of style. OK, they never go out of "fun". </li> <li>Underwater frisbee is a game that requires a decent amount of practice and lung capacity. </li> <li>Hermit crabs do not make lifelong pets. On the other hand, homemade seashell pictureframes are always a hit. </li> <li>You may not be planning on a sand-eating contest, but your picnic and the beach gods may know otherwise. </li> <li>Funny sunburn patterns will not be so funny tomorrow. (Insert serious sunscreen note here) </li> <li>We have way <a href="">too</a> <a href="">many</a> <a href="">beaches</a> here to be permanent landlubbers.</li> </ul> <p><img src="../../../%7EUploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/swimtrunks.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Remember that ever-present magic where the shore meets the water--the slow lap of the lake, the rushing in and out of ocean waves--and it looks different in every light. The early morning surfers of the coasts, the raucous late-afternoon boardwalk beach-goers, and the late night shell-seekers are all drawn for different moments of the experience. And some of the best parts of state or national parks are the areas beyond the water's edge. Climbing the dunes and exploring the paths, seeing where the inlets lead, and taking your fishing pole to the docks are all adventures beyond your beach towel. It's your choice, to nap or not.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/capecod.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>So let's get some urgency, some fire under our be-swimtrunked behinds. Go to the beach! Whether that's a day trip to the coast, or the lake around the corner. Let's all pile into the cars, trains, bikes and get there. Cram everything imaginable into a picnic basket, because swimming is a hungry sport. Strap on that bathing costume and toe-in to the water.</p> <p>The beach is boring? The beach is a wonder.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/waterhorizon.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>Flocking like the salmon of Capistrano,</p> <p>KK</p> Mon, 22 Aug 2011 00:22:00 GMT Chicago Basin – Week 5 <p><span style="font-size: small;">14ers this Summer: 25<br />Miles this Sumer: 194 miles<br />Elevation Gained this Summer: 78,105 ft</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Week 5 pretty much consisted of a few days off in Farmington with family and trying to bag the peaks in the Chicago Basin.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-size: small;">The Chicago Basin is a beautiful basin located between Durango and Silverton. The standard way to reach the three 14ers in this basin is via the touristy Durango-Silverton train. For $80, you can buy a ticket and take the train for 20-30 miles before it drops you off at the Needleton trailhead. From here, you hike an additional 6 miles to the base of Sunlight, Windom, and Eolus.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/trail.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Because $80 each is a lot of money and because James assured me the additional miles you hike by not taking the train are &ldquo;flat&rdquo;, we opted to hike into the basin via the Purgatory Trail (with full packs mind you) the full 15 miles each way. With our longest hike in so far, you probably get the drift by now that it is a pretty remote place. James had taken the train into the basin the previous year with the intent of hitting all the peaks but due to the timing of his trip falling on Colorado&rsquo;s monsoon season, he wasn&rsquo;t able to hit all the peaks.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">The basin and surrounding area had seen rain every day for the several days before we hiked in. We told ourselves that this was not a sign of what we would experience and surely the skies would clear before we hiked &ndash; they did not.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">We started the hike as early as we could convince ourselves to get out of bed &ndash; a whopping 7am, and headed for Chicago Basin. Our plan was to hike all 15 miles in one day (they were &ldquo;flat&rdquo; miles, right?). About 4 miles in, my left knee started giving me problems. As if the looming thunderheads were not enough to dampen my excitement, the persistent pain added additional insult to injury. I hobbled along determined to get to that basin all the while wondering if $80 wouldn&rsquo;t have been worth it. I thought about hiking out, but then what? If we or at least James wanted to summit these peaks, we would have to return and our schedule didn&rsquo;t allow for losing days. I went a few more miles where we took a break at a sweet campsite right next to the Animas River. It was still early and luckily hadn&rsquo;t started raining yet. Only 8 miles in, the campsite we were resting at started looking more and more appealing. I could see where we would put our tent and I could almost smell my Chicken Stew &ldquo;Mountainhouse&rdquo; dinner that I was supposed to eat that night. That was it. We were staying. We put up the tent just as we heard the Silverton bound train going by. We cleaned off at the river, built a fire, relaxed, made dinner and called it a night. Surprisingly, we never heard the train going back to Durango as it always does. This was odd.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Our plan for the next morning was to get up early, see how fast we could make it to our next campsite at the Chicago Basin and pray the weather was good enough for James to at least hit one peak that day. It had rained everyday; I&rsquo;m not sure why we still held out hope but I didn&rsquo;t see how else we would stay on schedule if he didn&rsquo;t climb something that day. I had decided at this point that I just needed to get to the Basin so James could summit. I had lost all hope of summiting any of the peaks due to my knee (since I still had to hike 15 miles out) so I put all my hope on James that he could at least be successful and not leave the basin a second time without any summits. So, off we went. The trail was very straightforward so James hurried ahead of me dropped off his tent and pack at a camping spot in the basin hoping to hit a summit.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/camp ground.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">I made it up to the basin, found his pack, set up the tent and settled into my sleeping bag to take a nap while waiting for him to return like the good wife that I was. Alas, he came back unsuccessful &ndash; the clouds starting rolling in and he didn&rsquo;t want to chance it. Probably a good idea since about an hour later, the thunder and lightning had started followed by an insane hail storm leaving an inch of white on the ground.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">At this point, we were running low on food &ndash; not dangerously low but low enough to where James would only have one more day to attempt all the summits. This was quite a tall order. The next morning, he got up at 4am and headed out. Being more than halfway through our peak goal of the summer, James was in really good shape. He is also really fast (when I&rsquo;m not hiking with him). He was able to summit all the peaks! I was really proud of him. I was back at camp packing up the tent and getting everything ready to head out when he arrived around noon.&nbsp; We still had 15 miles to go but after camping in the rain for 2 days, I was determined to hike all the way out. After only 4 miles, my feet hurt, my knee hurt, it was raining but we kept going. After a long day (even longer for James) we reached the car at 8pm.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/goat.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Chicago Basin really is a beautiful place, with tons of wildlife. I&rsquo;m looking forward to going back to see it from 14,000ft but with an injured knee and relentless rain, I must say, when we reached the car, I think it was one of my happiest moments on this trip.</span></p> <p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">As it turns out, we never heard the train returning to Durango because apparently sometime after we heard it go by, there was a mudslide and the train was stuck in Silverton for a few days while they cleared the mud and fixed the tracks. This was very unfortunate for the hikers who were waiting for it to pick them up and take them back to Durango. In the end, James&rsquo; idea of hiking in wasn&rsquo;t such a bad one after all since chances are we wouldn&rsquo;t have been able to catch it anyway.</span></p> </p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/rocks.jpg" alt="" /></p> Wed, 17 Aug 2011 07:03:00 GMT Tutorial: The Un-Tutorial for Mountainbikes <p>In my experience, most bicycles are pretty easy to get along with.</p> <p><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/bikefriend.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>You can make a pretty quick comfortable-friend connection with the typical cruiser, like that really outgoing person at parties who instantly looks you in the eye and compliments your shoes and lets you cut in line for the punch bowl.</p> <p>Mountainbikes take some getting to know. It&rsquo;s more along the lines of the friend of a friend who seems slightly elusive when you first meet, even though you end up at the same parties two weeks in a row. And then maybe they invite you out to coffee but choose a really expensive out-of-the way place to go. And then you realize it&rsquo;s the best coffee you&rsquo;ve had in months and it&rsquo;s right next to an incredible park with a view and you hang out for a while and get to know that he&rsquo;s also interested in photography and library sciences and really easy to get&nbsp;along with. You know, THAT guy.</p> <p><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/mtbfriend.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you want to make friends with mountainbiking, I'm sure there's a video out there that will set you up with all the essentials&mdash;the slightly more complex equipment, how to navigate trails, safety precautions when carving the back of a mountain...but who wants to sit through umpteen-step instructions?</p> <p> <object width="524" height="295"> <param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /> <param name="movie" value=";;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="524" height="295" src=";;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always"></embed> </object> </p> <p>Which is why I love this piece from <a title="Filme von Draussen" href="">Filme von Draussen</a>. His outdoor videos are the antithesis to all things &lsquo;instructional.&rsquo; This is by no means a tutorial video for making it out to the trails, instead it is a wholehearted challenge to get there yourself and do it.</p> <p>While I recommend a healthy introduction for any kind of adventure (Safety first, friends!), we need inspiration for our senses.&nbsp;Online communities can help you fix or build pretty much anything these days, which is wonderful for creating shared knowledge. Advice? Yes! Stories? Definitely. But a <a href="">photo tutorial for icecube-making</a>? Only useful for, say, the fateful day I spend too much time in the sun and become dehydrated and partly amnesiac.</p> <p><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/mtbwater.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I&rsquo;m looking for a few less tutorials and a few more sit-down conversations and experiences.&nbsp;What is this thing&nbsp;<em>about</em>? Mountainbiking is sweat and speed, nature and flow.</p> <p>Although I do think I can write my own tutorial from <a href="">Filme von Draussen's experiential tastes</a>.&nbsp;Step one: Go outside. Optional step 1.5: Film it to share later.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/mtbflow.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Fully helmeted,</p> <p>KK</p> Tue, 16 Aug 2011 14:19:00 GMT Dallas, Antarctica <p>Researchers <a href="">recently found evidence</a> that a billion years ago, before Pangaea, there was another Pangaea.</p> <p><a title="William Frazer Map of the World" href=",+The+Fra+Mauro+World+Map+of+circa+1450,+1804+%28credit+British+Library%29.jpg"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/frazermap.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>You know Pangaea&mdash;the supercontinent, a single landmass, that connected all of our continents on Earth? Turns out there was an even older Pangaea and her name was Rodinia.</p> <p>So it looks like a piece of Antarctica used to sit right next to Texas. You could have spied icebergs from the Alamo, or leapt over a ridge and feel the temperature drop 100 degrees. George W. might have accidentally shot his vice-president while hunting penguins. OK, yes, these might not have happened and there was no &ldquo;Texas&rdquo; or &ldquo;Antarctica&rdquo; before, say, recent human history. But none of us were there to say otherwise, so let&rsquo;s keep our imaginations on for a minute.</p> <p><a title="Missippi River Moves" href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/MSmaps.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>While I do like to picture what that would mean for today&rsquo;s world, saving airfare for polar excursions and all, this is a good time to remember that the face, climate, and content of the land would have been very different 1.1 billion years ago&mdash;a rather necessary reminder that our landscape is <a href="">changing around us every day</a>.</p> <p><a title="Emmet Gowin Photography" href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/Gowin1.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>But it also brings to mind a sense of connected lands, of through-ways, of endless paths. That&rsquo;s a fantasy that we still hold on to--the mystery of an ancient and untouched landscape. Imagine traversing thousands of miles, wilderness on all sides. The promise of open space. It would be a golden age for explorers: walking forever on an endless landmass. Passing forest and stream, looking out over a new panorama of continents. We would all adapt to have giant tree trunk legs and leathery feet to manage long journeys. I would play Kevin Costner&rsquo;s foil lead in the poorly reviewed but well-attended blockbuster Earthworld.</p> <p>As much as I like to romanticize her, Pangaea would be no fun for beach-goers. And Rodinia probably doesn&rsquo;t have a Rocky Mountains. So I will keep the flame of endless space alive in today&rsquo;s outdoors, one foot at a time.</p> <p>But come ON how cool would giant tree trunk legs be?!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/skyward.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>For a newly mapped world,</p> <p>KK</p> Wed, 10 Aug 2011 17:26:00 GMT Rescue on Mt Wilson- Week 4 <p><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;As a continuation from our previous post, the next morning we woke up and hiked up to the base of Mt Wilson.&nbsp; The majority of the route up Mt Wilson is Class 3, with one notable Class 4 move to access the summit block.&nbsp; On our way up the mountain, we noticed a group of 3 climbers ahead of us that were leaving the main route and were crossing a steep snow-filled couloir.&nbsp; We re-checked our map to make sure we weren&rsquo;t supposed to ascend the same way they were. We weren&rsquo;t &ndash; our route had no snow and made it&rsquo;s way up to the ridge instead of directly for the summit. We didn&rsquo;t think much of it; sometimes people do a variety of different routes for different reasons. James and I summited Mt Wilson and then descended about 1000 ft. The whole time the group of 3 seemed like they hadn&rsquo;t moved far from where we had first spotted them. Then out of nowhere we heard yelling coming from where they were located. We looked up to find one of the climbers sliding out of control down the steep 1000 ft snow-filled couloir. He was trying to stop himself but he was picking up so much speed that he ended up tumbling head over heels the 1000 ft to the bottom where the snow stopped and the rocks started. The whole time he&rsquo;s falling, I&rsquo;m realizing that I am probably witnessing this guy&rsquo;s death. At the speed he&rsquo;s going, he will hit the rocks and that will be it. When he finally stopped, we couldn&rsquo;t see him. Where the snow met the rocks, there was a small ridge blocking our view. James told me he was going to run over there to check on him and I yelled at him to get his phone out to see if he had service to he could call the rescue team. Before James could get there, we yelled to ask if the guy was okay. Surprisingly he yelled back that he was okay &ndash; no broken bones, just a little bloody. Nothing short of a miracle. Extremely shaken from witnessing the fall, we were more careful than ever descending the next 500 ft. Every rock seemed like a potential hazard. About 15-20 minutes later, we hear a helicopter coming towards us from the valley below. It turned out to be a rescue helicopter. He hovered over the spot where we could still see the same climbers and brought one of them to the basin just below where we were hiking. It looked like a woman with her arm in a sling. As it turns out, even before the fall, the woman from the same party had possibly broken her arm . In an attempt to be in a better position for the rescue, the group of 3 re-crossed the snow couloir at which time a guy from the group fell the 1000- ft. These people must have had the worst day in their lives. Luckily, everyone was okay with the exception of the arm injury. This made us realize that there are true dangers to climbing these mountains and we need to do everything we can to make sure we are climbing as safely as possible.&nbsp; We had our video camera accessible and were able to film some of the daring helicopter rescue. That must require some mad helicopter-flying skills to get this close to the mountain at 13,000 ft!</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 07 Aug 2011 23:18:00 GMT Early Early Fall <p>All eyes to the fall, folks. This week, Urban Outfitters features Eagle Origins on the front of their <a href=";navAction=jump&amp;navCount=55&amp;itemCount=80&amp;id=MENS">Early Fall Collection</a>.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/UOshoepage.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I find that I can only turn slightly bleary eyes on the changing season. It feels very preliminary, we're all still wearing swim trunks, and I think I'd like to cling a suntanned fist to the sunbleached summer a bit longer. So I'm going to call this an...Early Early Fall/Still Summer Please Collection.</p> <p>UO has picked some great styles to highlight in their men's section for this pre/late/any season. Make sure to peep the Wildnerness, Solo and Eagle in their "<a href=";navAction=poppushpush&amp;isSortBy=true&amp;navCount=65&amp;pushId=M_FEATUREDBRANDS&amp;id=M_FEATURED_MERRELL">Featured Brands</a>."</p> <p><a title="UO Hit the Road Contest" href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/UOcontest1.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>And have you checked out the Urban Outfitters <a title="Urban Outfitters Blog" href="">Blog</a> lately? Their <a href="">"Hit the Road" contest</a> has some fantastic shots from reader travel photographs this summer. Which reminds me, let's caravan here together before the season is over, early or late:</p> <p><a title="UO Hit the Road Contest" href=""> <img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/UOcontest2.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>At a snail's pace,</p> <p>KK</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/feet.jpg" alt="" /></p> Sat, 06 Aug 2011 08:00:00 GMT Food, Raw and Uncut <p>It's hard not to think about food this summer. Maybe it's the promise of outdoor eating: the freedom of a backyard, the smell of barbeque.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/meat.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Or maybe it's this unrelenting heat that somehow makes the task more appetizing than usual. And that's when I know it's serious&mdash;not even lower back sweat can deter wild food imaginings.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/bread.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>You need to unpeel your t-shirt from the back of that lawn chair and check out the trailers for &ldquo;Salt, Fresh &amp; Field.&rdquo; This show, currently in production on the West Coast, is what humidity-fueled food adventure dreams are made of.</p> <p> <object width="525" height="295"> <param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /> <param name="movie" value=";;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="525" height="295" src=";;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed> </object> </p> <p><a href="">Salt Fresh &amp; Field TEASER</a> from <a href="">Salt, Fresh &amp; Field</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p> <p>First of all, looking at any outdoor footage makes me hungry. Synapses are already firing between brain and stomach when I watched their <a title="Campsite Timelapse-Night" href="">time-lapse camping video</a>. Can we check out the science behind that? Is it the s&rsquo;mores? Anyway, back to the show.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/fishing.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Playing our food adventure guide is <a title="Chad Brealey" href="">Chad Brealey</a>, who definitely looks the part as he walks you through forest and stream. <br /><br /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/gun.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>But he also feels like someone you actually want to hang out with, as we hunt/fish/find ways to eat real food. No hint of snark in his assessment of sustainable food options (that&rsquo;s looking at you, celebrity chefs &amp; food personalities) and also the narrative shows no sign of suggesting extravagant upscale dining establishments as the poster child for food culture (&lsquo;No really you have to come experience our organic such-and-such for just $79.95 a plate!&rsquo;). Chad shows us real food, real people bringing food to your table, and real people wanting to eat it. We're right here, Chad! Over here!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/beer.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Because it feels like we&rsquo;re missing the story in the Farm-to-Table movement some of the time, doesn&rsquo;t it? If we&rsquo;re really supposed to care about the where and why of our dinner choices, I want you to <em>take me there</em>.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/hunting.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Show slogging through the riverbed to find the perfect spot to fish, negotiating the forest for a deer hunt&hellip;and the butcher! Let's see what the butcher looks like! Salt, Fresh &amp; Field is asking us to do just that&mdash;strap on boots and follow them on excursions across land and sea that take us back to the kitchen.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/butcher.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>So before you journey back into the heat, while you&rsquo;re still at your computer and not calling up Chad Brealey to schedule a personal outdoor food-finding adventure, you can fire up the internet engines and head over to their <a href="">website</a> and <a href="">Vimeo channel</a> to check out their videos.</p> <p>As the trout swims downstream,</p> <p>&ndash; KK</p> Mon, 01 Aug 2011 08:55:00 GMT At The Trailhead <p>Hang on, let me look at this map for a second. Found it. We&rsquo;re right here. See? Because the sun is setting over there&hellip;I&rsquo;ll try and explain later. Welcome! <br /><br /><strong>This is Merrell Origins.</strong> <br /><br />Merrell started with a simple dream and a tall order: outdoor shoes, made well. Tough sell, right? Lucky for us, Clark Matis and &ldquo;Uncle&rdquo; Randy Merrell embarked on an adventure in 1981 that led them to <a href="">"The Best In The World."</a> <br /><br /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/origins3.jpg" alt="" /> <br /><br />So rather than beers and ice cream cake, we decided to celebrate 30 years of good construction and good design with just that: good construction and good design. We&rsquo;re re-imagining the classic styles of Uncle Randy and Clark to bring some of that vintage charm back to our footwear. These designs are wearable, streetwise and fieldsmart. And they still have the signature smirk of those first Merrell shoes&mdash;a glimmer of wide-eyed adventuring. <br /><br /><strong>Our Traveling Companions</strong>: <a href="">"The Wilderness"</a>, <a href="">"The Eagle"</a>, <a href="">"The Solo"</a><br /><br /><strong>The Wilderness</strong> is the Real Deal McHolyfield. This boot harkens back to the original style that the Merrell dynamic duo conjured into being when they wanted an alternative to the stiff, heavy European shoes that dominated the outdoor scene. The Wilderness has been given a friendly push into the 21st century with construction incorporating recycled materials and an upgraded design, still sporting the signature blue laces. <br /><br /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/wilderness.jpg" alt="" /> <br /><br /><strong>The Eagle</strong> reminds me of those hiking boots you inherit from Dad&rsquo;s closet for your first trip on the trail: they show little sign of age, apart from accumulated mud, and are way too retro-cool to trade in for a modern pair. The updated Eagle holds your heel and ankle in place&mdash;a perfect mid <a href="">hiking boot</a> for a short hike, medium walk, or long frolic into the great beyond. <br /><br /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/eagle.jpg" alt="" /> <br /><br /><strong>The Solo</strong> redesign keeps the hiking shoe easy and lightweight with some eco-friendly improvements&hellip;so no judgments if you have to wear ankle weights for a while to get used to them. And these shoes look like a call to adventure! You can almost imagine the glint in Uncle Randy&rsquo;s eye when he chose vibrant colors for this outdoor pair. It makes the comfortable Solo wearable and maybe even a little cheeky. <br /><br /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/8/solo.jpg" alt="" /> <br /><br /><strong>Our roadmap:</strong> Forget the map. Who needs a map anyway? We&rsquo;ll be using the spirit of Merrell&rsquo;s original trailblazing as our guide <br /><br /><strong>Our wilderness guide:</strong> KK Apple: adventurer at heart and unabashed fresh-air breather. Hello! <br /><br />So join us! On this new adventure. On a permanent day trip to the outdoors. You&rsquo;re already outside, even if it&rsquo;s just for fleeting moments. So stay for a few. Look up, breathe in. Catch the sound of the rushing river nearby before you turn the corner and head back to the city. <br /><br />The Merrell Origins Blog is hunting for something real, something good. Something you can sink your teeth into and taste soft leather and soil and&hellip;ok, just maybe just metaphorically sink your teeth into. Make sure to follow us on <a href="">"Twitter"</a>, check us out on <a href="">"Facebook"</a>, and stay tuned here on <a href="">"Merrell Origins."</a> <br /><br />See you over the next ridge! <br /><br />&ndash; KK</p> Fri, 29 Jul 2011 13:20:00 GMT PRICEY CONDITIONS MAY EXIST – Week 3 <p><span style="font-size: small;">Jul<br />&nbsp;<br />14ers This Summer: 17<br />Miles This Summer: 127<br />Elevation Gained This Summer: 54,000 ft</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">This week definitely had its ups and downs. On the upside, we successfully climbed 5 peaks, moved on from the Sangre de Christo range to the San Juan range, and we were able to meet our friend Chris in the Navajo Basin to witness his finishing Colorado 14er climb! On the downside, we lost our digital camera and we lost a bit of confidence when we witnessed a helicopter rescue of some people who were climbing towards the Mt Wilson summit at the same time we were.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">The week started with three easier climbs: Culebra Peak, located on a private ranch which allows climbs for $100/person, Humboldt Peak, a rounded peak that looks out of place next to &mdash; and offers great views of &mdash; the craggy Crestones, and San Luis Peak, probably the most remote 14er in the state.&nbsp; These three were all simple walk-ups, and we climbed them in three successive days of 5 miles, 9 miles, and 12 miles (our longest yet of the summer).</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">After climbing San Luis a day early, we took advantage of a rest day in Telluride before meeting up with our friend Chris (and his wife Sara, daughter Lucia, and two of Chris&rsquo; long-time friends, John and Ben). They were all going to meet us at Navajo Lake for Chris&rsquo; final 14er, Mt Wilson (and its infamous ridge to its sub-peak El Diente). Telluride is a beautiful mountain town, but it is a fairly expensive place to eat and hang out &mdash; however, we can&rsquo;t say we weren&rsquo;t warned: on the way into town a yellow highway sign that normally reads &ldquo;ICY CONDITIONS MAY EXIST&rdquo; had been creatively modified via a &ldquo;PR&rdquo; prefix&hellip;we can confirm that pricey conditions did exist.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">After a restful day off, we hiked the 5 miles into the Navajo Basin to Navajo Lake with our full packs on in a quick 2 hours.&nbsp; Upon arrival at a nice camping spot, we realized we were witnessing a rarity: a clear afternoon in the Colorado high country.&nbsp; 95% of the time, our days start out without a cloud in the sky, then by around noon, clouds have started to build, which can turn into deadly (to exposed hikers anyway) thunderstorms.&nbsp; However, this day was different: at 2 pm there were only a few harmless clouds rolling by.&nbsp; We took advantage of this and dropped our camping gear and headed out for a rare afternoon summit.&nbsp; The summit in our sights was Wilson Peak, a dramatic 14er that dominates the views south and west of Telluride.&nbsp; The last mile along the south ridge of the peak was a dramatic change from the walk-up hikes from earlier in the week.&nbsp; Once on top of the 13,900 foot false summit, the remaining few hundred feet are quite daunting to look at.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">However, the final summit pitch looks worse than it is and doesn&rsquo;t exceed Class 3 scrambling.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">We were also keeping our eyes peeled for wreckage from any of the small-plane crashes on Wilson Peak&rsquo;s flanks, but we didn&rsquo;t spot any.&nbsp; We summited Wilson Pk by around 5 pm, and were back to our camp by around 7 pm, just in time for a quick dinner and bed, not knowing what the next day had in store for us&hellip;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Stay tuned for tales of 1,000 foot falls, massive rock falls, and helicopter rescues&hellip;</span></p> <p><br />&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/7/viewWilsonPeak.jpg" alt="" /></p> Mon, 25 Jul 2011 06:43:00 GMT Steamboat Wine Festival <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">If getting outside is a Merrell fans favorite past time, guess what their second favorite past time is? You guessed it, drinking wine. We savor high mountain peaks, glacier fed lakes and a fine Pinot Noir with the same respect and fond memory.&nbsp; Merrell has teamed up with the Steamboat Wine Festival to bring you both of your favorite activities in one Merlot packed weekend of hiking and biking.&nbsp; The Steamboat Wine Festival, August 4-7 in Steamboat Springs, CO, offers a weekend getaway full of events on the mountain and around town that will surely create new memories.&nbsp; Whether you choose to partake in Merrell&rsquo;s &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s Get Outside&rdquo; hike, cast a line at the &ldquo;Tight Lines and Fine Wines&rdquo;, pedal in &ldquo;Mud, Sweat, and Beers&rdquo;, or indulge in &ldquo;Chocolate Wine Pairings&rdquo;, there is sure to be a seminar or outdoor adventure for you.&nbsp;&nbsp; Even better, all the activities include food from culinary greats and master winemakers&rsquo; finest tastings.&nbsp; Each day is different and guests can choose their own journey.&nbsp; One thing we know and love is that its summertime, and the Steamboat Wine Festival allows us to &ldquo;Get Outside&rdquo; to make a few memories.&nbsp; For more information check out </span><a href=""><span style="font-size: small;"></span></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/7/Steamboat Pic.JPG" alt="" width="396" height="315" /></p> Sun, 24 Jul 2011 22:47:00 GMT Hot Showers and Hot Meals: These are a Few of our Favorite Things – Week 2 <p><span style="font-size: small;">14ers This Summer: 12<br />Miles This Summer: 78<br />Elevation Gained This Summer: 36,000 ft</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">We have completed a total of 12 14ers since we started climbing this summer which means we are 1/3 of the way through our goal of 36 Peaks (although, we still have a month and a half left since they get increasingly longer and more difficult). In the past week we climbed 6 mountains. For 5 of the 6, we had to hike in and camp. To reach the base of Kit Carson and Challenger Peak, we hiked 4 miles into Willow Lake which has to be one of the most beautiful lakes I&rsquo;ve ever seen. For Little Bear, Blanca, and Ellingwood, we drove as far as we could on a 4WD Jeep Road road but had to make the remaining 3 miles up to Lake Como on foot. The Xterra did really well making it as far as it did on the Jeep Road &ndash; only one part fell off, and it was only a mud flap so we can fix it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">On Little Bear, I (Kirsten) got to experience my first Class 4 terrain. However, it was a little sketchier than expected since the main class 4 section had water running down it and was in the skinniest part of the gully meaning any rocks that someone accidentally kick above you, all funnel to where you&rsquo;re climbing. I&rsquo;m glad we did it and glad we made it down safely, but it&rsquo;s probably not a mountain I will climb again. At only 4 miles round trip and little over 2,000 ft of elevation gain, it still took us about 6 1/2 hours round trip from camp to summit and back to camp.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Our favorite peaks this week were Kit Carson and Challenger. They had some of most beautiful scenery and were a big accomplishment for James especially, since this was his 3rd attempt on those two (the pervious 2 times, he had to turn back due to bad weather).</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">After 14 days and 12 mountains, we are feeling pretty good, thoroughly enjoying the beautiful scenery, and having a down-right awesome time! We have adapted well to the elevation and our muscles aren&rsquo;t sore anymore. Our feet and knees on the other hand are a different story. We haven&rsquo;t gotten any blisters at all thanks to our Merrell Chameleon shoes (which is pretty impressive since the first time I even put on my Merrells was on our first 14er this summer!). However, the constant pounding when we descend for hours every day, make our feet and knees sore &ndash; nothing a day of rest won&rsquo;t ease. Yesterday we climbed Blanca and Ellingwood, which marked 5 peaks in the last 4 days. During our descent of Ellingwood we realized we were really in need of a rest day.&nbsp; After descending Ellingwood, packing up our camp, and hiking out the three miles back to the car, we celebrated with a large meal in Alamosa, CO, did our laundry, rented a Red Box dvd, and are now enjoying a much-needed rest day.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Next up &ndash; Culebra!</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2011/7/kirsten lake pic.jpg" alt="" /></p> Sun, 17 Jul 2011 17:17:00 GMT NYC Barefoot Run <p><span style="font-size: small;">By now, many of us have heard about it.&nbsp; What was once a budding idea has bloomed into a new way of life for many runners. Barefoot running and barefoot footwear is here, challenging what we&rsquo;ve practiced and thought about running form for years.&nbsp; Let&rsquo;s face it, we ALL love being barefoot - indoors or out.&nbsp; Many have built up the stamina and strength to actually run barefoot.&nbsp; Others rely on barefoot shoes to help transition to this new and refreshing way of running.&nbsp; No matter your choice, the 2nd Annual NYC Barefoot Run&nbsp;(Sept 24-25, 2011) is a celebration of all things barefoot and offers a weekend full of events &ndash; a run, clinics, panel discussions and parties.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">On Saturday morning, meet the &lsquo;Kudus&rsquo; of barefoot running including Christopher McDougall, Jason Robillard, and Barefoot Ted.&nbsp; Join their clinics and learn from the experts.&nbsp; Join us on Saturday evening as we host the Merrell Barefoot party at the NYC Barefoot Run.&nbsp; It will be an energizing event to make sure that everyone is inspired to take on Governors Island on Sunday morning.&nbsp; Perfect your Merrell Bareform&trade; with hundreds of other barefoot runners at the weekend&rsquo;s marquee event &ndash; the run. Enjoy one of the most scenic and iconic routes that New York has to offer.&nbsp; Enjoy the view, share your NYC Barefoot Run stories, and make plans for your next barefoot run at the Post Race Party.&nbsp;&nbsp; Whether you&rsquo;re new or an experienced barefoot runner, this will be a weekend that will educate, energize, and inspire you towards your outdoor fitness goals.&nbsp; So BYOF (Bring Your Own Feet), we&rsquo;ll provide the party, and join us as we partner with the NYC Barefoot Run September 24-25, 2011.&nbsp; In the end, it&rsquo;s a weekend of celebrating the freedom and fun that barefoot provides.&nbsp; Who doesn&rsquo;t love that?&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br />Learn more and sign up at </span><a href=""><span style="font-size: small;"></span></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 2px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/7/NYCBR_square_no logos.jpg" alt="" /></p> Sun, 17 Jul 2011 11:39:00 GMT Life Outside the Cubicle: Our First Full Week <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">14ers Summited this week: 6<br />Miles hiked this week: 45.2<br />Elevation gained this week: 21,500 ft</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">So, we&rsquo;re sitting in the Wally La-La Laundromat in Buena Vista where they have free wi-fi and coin operated (hot) showers as well as laundry facilities. We just climbed our 6th 14er this morning since our trip began. That puts James&rsquo; total to 30 and mine to 20. We still have 30 remaining to climb this summer. The first day (Shavano and Tabeguache) was definitely the hardest with the most mileage and elevation gain in one day. Plus, our feet weren&rsquo;t used to the pounding that 11 miles and 5400 feet of elevation loss (descending is harder on your feet) inflicts. But after a week, we feel pretty good.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">After climbing Shavano and Tabeguache, we spent the rest of the week climbing Mt Yale, Mt Antero, Mt Princeton, and Mt Columbia.&nbsp; We were planning on traversing to Mt Harvard from Columbia&rsquo;s summit this morning, but really strong winds and low visibility from being in the clouds convinced us to turn back.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">We have really started to enjoy sleeping in the Xterra every night.&nbsp; It took us a night or two to get used to it, but now it has become super comfortable.&nbsp; So comfortable that we weren&rsquo;t looking forward to hiking in and tent camping at the base of Columbia last night.&nbsp; We haven&rsquo;t paid for sleeping accommodations yet, and hope not to all summer.&nbsp; We&rsquo;ve been picking up a red-box dvd in town when stocking up on supplies, then heading out and watching it in bed before we fall asleep.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Exerting this much energy everyday really shows you how sedentary our lives have become. There were days when we were working where I woke up in the morning, walked 30 ft to my car, drove to work, walked maybe 100 ft to the front door, and up 3 flights of stairs to my desk and sat in my cubicle all day until I walked to my car and drove home. Don&rsquo;t get me wrong, we were still fairly active &ndash; we mountain biked and ran a few times a week but that was by choice. There&rsquo;s nothing really requiring us to exercise anymore. Our food is readily available, we have cars to get from A to B, we have everything making our lives easier. I think about this a lot on the trail when we hike on old mining trails and I think about when they used to mine for gold and how hard it must have been. They probably didn&rsquo;t have goretex. After a week of working this hard, I feel like our bodies were meant for this.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">James &amp; Kirsten</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/7/mountain top blog pic2.JPG" alt="" /></p> Wed, 13 Jul 2011 06:38:00 GMT Project Athena! <p><span style="font-size: small;">The Project Athena Race series is here!&nbsp; With a 10k God and Goddess Run, 5k Athena Team Trek, and even a 1k Kidz Challenge, there's something for everyone.&nbsp; The Project Athena Race series is dedicated to helping women who have faced medical setbacks embrace recovery and conquer physical fitness goals.&nbsp; 100% of entry fees will help support&nbsp;survivors.&nbsp;&nbsp;Join us for this incredibly opportunity to race, and support an&nbsp;amazing foundation.&nbsp;Learn more at&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><a href=""><span style="font-size: small;"></span></a><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> Mon, 11 Jul 2011 15:30:00 GMT Life Outside The Cubicle <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">Many of us have thought about leaving our jobs to chase after a dream, challenge, or adventure. How many of us actually act on this? </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">Meet our friends James and Kirsten, who did act on this. They will be taking a one year break from their jobs to pursue their own adventure of climbing all 56 14ers (56 Colorado Mountains of 14,000ft or higher) and continuing their journey onward to South America!&nbsp; Feeling bogged down by years of accumulating "stuff", they desired the need to live simply and explore.&nbsp; This love of the outdoors and outdoor participation resonated with us (Merrell) and we wanted to team up with James and Kirsten to provide them with the necessary gear to take them to the highest peaks and down the furthest trails.&nbsp; We feel, it&rsquo;s when this happens, that their unique story can really come alive. Luckily for all of us that have a passion for the outdoors, we can follow their travels.&nbsp; Whether it's hiking Colorado's 14ers, or exploring South America, join us as James and Kirsten take us on an outdoor adventure that explores Life Outside the Cubicle.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 2.0px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/7/Kristen and James 3.jpg" alt="" /></p> Mon, 11 Jul 2011 09:57:00 GMT All We Need is Just a Little Patience <p><span style="font-size: small;">I will start this blog entry by admitting that I am not a very patient person. In learning to run barefoot and in barefoot shoes, I had to learn a few hard lessons in stepping back., slowing down and letting my feet lead me to patience, or the most amount of patience I could drum up inside myself. Most recently, my daughters gave me an even larger lesson in running and patience.<br />&nbsp;<br />Together Isabelle (8 years old), Hannah (5 years old) and myself got our running gear on, laced up our matching pink Merrell barefoot shoes and hit the local 5K. The coolest part of the race was that there were far more families and children running than stand alone adults. A sign that our healthy interests as adults can and do rub off on our kiddos. We started the race near the back and the girls told me they were going to run as fast as they could the whole entire way. Inside my brain I giggled, as I have never been one to pace myself in anything that I do. It sounded as if this trait was inside my girls too.This could be an interesting lesson for us all! <br />&nbsp;<br />The horn blew and we were off. Running as fast as we could, passing friends and laughing. As we neared the first half of the race, Isabelle stopped. She was done and ready to walk. &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s just walk and hold hands mom.&rdquo; What? I couldn&rsquo;t believe it. This was a race! What was she thinking? I breathed deeply, held her hand and walked &hellip; patiently. After 50 feet she was ready to jog, but only holding my hand. We jogged and walked, jogged and walked up atrail hill. We could see Hannah still chugging along way ahead of us, running with the third graders, determined to sprint across that finish line. As Isabelle and I got to the top of the trail, the trees opened to a beautifulvista of the town. We both stopped in awe as others ran past us not even realizing the beauty of the trail on which we were running. Isabelle stood there, picked a flower and just stared ahead at the view and said &ldquo;see mom, if we were running too fast, we never would&rsquo;ve seen this!&rdquo; And she was right. All we need is just a little patience. <br />&nbsp;<br />After a few minutes we began to jog again and the race had taken an entirely new context. Sometimes, even in a race, it is good to slow down and enjoy the moment. Sometimes when changing the way we want to run we can benefit from stepping back to change our form or perspective. I can&rsquo;t wait to run (and walk, and look and listen) with my girls again soon.<br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 2px solid black;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/7/Emily.JPG" alt="" /></p> Thu, 30 Jun 2011 22:38:00 GMT Jason’s Permanent Summer Vacation <p style="text-align: left;">If it isn&rsquo;t obvious, we are kinda in to the outside around here at Merrell. We&rsquo;d all rather hike, bike, run and paddle instead of sitting at our desks all day. Heck, we&rsquo;d rather get soaking wet in a warm summer rain than spend any time under fluorescent light. &nbsp;We love making shoes and clothes that help us get outside as often as we can. Summer is one of the best seasons in Michigan and you can see people in the office leaving early on Fridays or not coming in at all as they head &lsquo;Up North&rsquo; to the blue yonder of Lake Michigan. &nbsp;School is out, kayaks are on car racks and our daily runs are becoming that much more enjoyable with the sunshine. &nbsp;One of the members of the Merrell Team &ndash; barefoot running master, ultra-marathoner and all around nice guy &ndash; Jason Robillard is setting out on the summer vacation to beat all summer vacations. <em>It&rsquo;s a permanent one.</em> We&rsquo;ve all sat around and said &ldquo;If I didn&rsquo;t have to go to work every day, I&rsquo;d definitely do&hellip;.&rdquo;. But, then we come back to reality and plan a weeklong ski vacation to Chile to fill our need for adventure. Jason and his family are hitting the road to explore, RUN, see the country and have a grand ol&rsquo; time. Jason and Shelly (his super cool wife) have had yard sales, given away clothes they haven&rsquo;t worn in years, packed away their gear and are moving in to an RV with their three young children and niece. You can send their mail to &ldquo;Jason and Shelly c/o The World&rdquo; and they will pick it up along the way. They are taking the minimalist lifestyle to new heights. Jason and Shelly are going to blog about their experiences on the road, living the barefoot lifestyle and having fun doing it. Make sure to follow their various blogs to see pictures, video and fun moments from what will prove to be the barefoot adventure of a lifetime. We wish them all the luck in the world. We are extremely jealous.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">You can read about the family adventures..</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><a href="" target="_blank"></a></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Or Jason&rsquo;s other love &ndash; barefoot running.</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><a href="" target="_blank"></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 08 Jun 2011 12:21:00 GMT First Half Marathon - DONE! <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">Congratulations to Emily, our newbie Barefoot runner, who completed her first half marathon last weekend. Read below about the strength she found from herself, her friends, family and complete strangers. </span></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">Running &ndash; A Rhythm in Strength of Mind and Heart</span></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; text-align: left;"><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Today I accomplished a personal goal. I completed my first ever half marathon. I wasn&rsquo;t super nervous going into it, I didn&rsquo;t have a ton of time to train, but I had a friend by my side with each stride making sure I kept my pace, didn&rsquo;t over run in the beginning. It was an epic day of smiles, pain and gratitude. I accomplished my goal of a qualifying time for the NYC Marathon. This goal was met thanks to my friend, who knew me, my ways and gave me the rhythm I needed to succeed. I was exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. </span></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">But as we left the course, the final racer was crossing the finish. A woman, only a bit older than I, with a clean shaven head, and a beautiful stride to match her smile. She was the last to cross, but in my mind she was the first and only winner. Her head was a clear symbol of freedom from a disease that takes many. Her smile was symbolic of her strength to happily take on 13.1 miles with pride. Her stride was strong, steady and diligent. She inspired me, not to continue to run, but to run for the power and strength of mind and heart that is in each of us every day. </span></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">Somedays we get busy doing our thing and forget about what is important. She, that lady with a beautiful head, smile and stride, reminded me of what is important, what life is all about, and why each day should be lived and survived to the fullest. She reminded me that running is a sport of strength in mind and heart, that&rsquo;s what powers us through each stride. It gives me strength to help my father is in the midst of his battle. He called, coincidentally as this woman crossed the finish. I feel this was not a coincidence, but a sign of strength that I will continue to deliver to my amazingly strong father as he battles to become a survivor. </span></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-justify: inter-ideograph; margin: 0in 0in 0pt; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> Mon, 04 Apr 2011 18:27:00 GMT Listening to Your Body - Game On! <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;When Merrell started on our Barefoot journey, Emily started with us.&nbsp; Em started running seven years ago after the birth of her first daughter, mainly because the baby was happy in a stroller.&nbsp; It has since turned into an outlet for Emily, a place to challenge herself and find inspiration.&nbsp; Below she shares how important it is to listen to your body, even if your mind won&rsquo;t slow down.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Despite the fact that I&rsquo;ve been able to increase my miles and have accomplished some races in barefoot shoes, I still consider myself a Newbie. I have a lot to learn! A lot to learn in form, in listening to my body, in setting goals that continue to inspire me to go further and have fun.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">Through my &ldquo;barefoot&rdquo; miles, I realize how important it is to listen to your body. I may head out for a 6 mile run and just keep going for 10. I may head out to do 10 and feel tired and opt to turn around after 3. This doesn&rsquo;t make me fail, this makes me a stronger runner in that I know my body and am able to listen to it every step of the way. Through the connection to the ground beneath me, I&rsquo;ve become, with each step or mile, more aware of myself.&nbsp; </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">By becoming more aware of myself, I am able to set new goals. In two weeks I will tackle my first half marathon. I haven&rsquo;t given myself a ton of time to train, but know that I will have to take some days slower and longer and other days, I will have to increase my pace for shorter tempo runs to prepare my body and mind.&nbsp; Mentally this takes patience. As a full time working mom of three little nuggets with a newfound passion for running and adding the distance, I often find an hour to run and jet out the door. I go fast so I can accomplish the miles! With this new race and distance goal, I have to step back and learn patience. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">And so, game on! I will allow my competitive spirit to embrace that which it fears the most. It seems like an oxymoron, but to reach my goal, I have to continue to push my feisty free spirited nature through patience. I will do it so I can reach my goals and continue to enjoy the freedom and exploration that running continues to bring me. </span></p> Mon, 28 Mar 2011 15:06:00 GMT Merrell Wins Runner's World Best Debut Award <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">Here at Merrell, we&rsquo;ve been lucky enough to win awards for our <a href="">footwear</a> in the past. We get very excited when our shoes and clothing make gear guides or get recognition from somewhere that our products stood out about the rest.&nbsp; Recently, we received word that the Merrell <a href="">Trail Glove</a> and <a href="">Pace Glove</a> were given the honor of the Best Debut award from Runner&rsquo;s World for their Trail Guide issue.&nbsp; Needless to say, we were psyched, honored, humbled and proud. Really, really proud.&nbsp; </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">Bill Dodge, VP of Product Development for Merrell, summed it up best when he said &ldquo;We are thrilled with this honor from Runner&rsquo;s World. From design to development to testing we have put a lot of time, energy and heart into the Merrell <a href="">Barefoot</a> program. From marketing our focus has been on education, our barefoot microsite and our new iPhone training app, all of which provide people with the proper information to get the best start in barefoot shoes. We hope our barefoot program will inspire more people to get outside.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/3/RW cover 3.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">Bill hit the nail on the head.&nbsp; We&rsquo;ve worked really hard to bring you a Barefoot collection that really stands out above the rest.&nbsp; We&rsquo;ve stayed true to barefoot running by making a shoe with a zero degree drop, giving you the nearest experience to actually being barefoot, without having to worry about a stick impaling your big toe. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">To receive such an award from Runner&rsquo;s World for our Barefoot collection debut is a great honor.&nbsp; And it makes us that much more excited to continue bringing quality Barefoot shoes to the market.&nbsp; So what are you waiting for?&nbsp; Grab your Trail Glove or Pace Glove and get started on your Barefoot adventure! </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 28 Mar 2011 06:10:00 GMT Different is Good <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">Running barefoot always seems to get attention. &nbsp;Just about every barefoot run elicits a few "You forgot your shoes." or "Does that hurt?" comments. Most all of them are curious, friendly and positive. &nbsp;When I ran the </span><a href="" target="_blank"><span style="font-size: small;">Dam to Dam 20k</span></a><span style="font-size: small;"> last year, I heard some negative comments such as the suggestion that barefoot was stupid, a fad, and I would be unable to finish. &nbsp;These comments were surprising in their intensity but also because I hear very few negative things about going barefoot.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">When I began my barefoot journey, I felt a great deal of anxiety; anxiety about standing out and anxiety that <a href="">barefoot running</a> was a mistake. &nbsp;We feel anxiety about new and different things for good reasons. &nbsp;These feelings keep us safe and give us consistency. Consistency allows other people to interact with much less stress and conflict. &nbsp;Consistency is good but so is changing to something better. It is important that we find balance in our lives between keeping what works and progressing to what works better.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">I tried to run in shoes for many years. The constant injury and pain forced me to stop and heal but my desire to run was so strong that I always tried again. I tried to fix my problems by researching my specific running problems and buying progressively more expensive shoes to correct for my weaknesses. &nbsp;That is the more socially accepted way of running.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">One day my husband &nbsp;suggested a radically different approach &ndash; run barefoot!</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">Barefoot running - what a crazy concept I thought. That will never work I argued. &nbsp;You can't run barefoot! &nbsp;My reaction was a testament to the power of conformity. &nbsp;I had gone barefoot as a child. &nbsp;Bare feet were around before shoes and those bare feet must have run sometimes. &nbsp;Yet here I was arguing that is was not even possible let alone a useful idea because it was not what everyone does. &nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">The truth is that barefoot running is not a new or radical idea. &nbsp;My friend and sometime running mate Forey has been running barefoot and in minimalist shoes for 40 years. &nbsp;My brother in law had run barefoot in high school track back in the Fifties because he could not afford shoes. &nbsp;Barefoot running has always been there but popular perceptions changed. &nbsp;As the wealth of this country grew shoes were seen as a status symbol and barefoot became a glaring stigma of poverty. &nbsp; This stigma persists to this day even though shoes are available even to the poorest people. &nbsp;The power of the association of poverty with bare feet overwhelmed competing narratives that extol the great potential benefits of having bare feet. &nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">Still bare feet are seen as different and if we acknowledge the stress of being perceived as different then we need sufficient benefits to justify the cost in initial anxiety we experience when first trying something. The benefits of bare feet are many. &nbsp;Here are some of the big ones for me.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">The biggest for me is that the feedback of running barefoot enabled me to correct my running form so that my chronic running injuries went away and I can now run marathons. &nbsp;Running has been so good in my life. &nbsp;It calms my stress and energizes my life. &nbsp;I tried for so many years to run and thanks to going barefoot my running dreams have come true.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">Another benefit is all the wonderful people have met while running and promoting barefoot running. &nbsp;People who want my advice and they have information I need when things don't go right. &nbsp;The common interest of running barefoot often leads to the discovery of other shared concerns. &nbsp;I have many friends who are mothers of young children as well as barefoot runners. &nbsp;The support and insight they give sustains and invigorates my own interests in running and life in general.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">When I found success in running barefoot, my husband gave it a try. &nbsp;His chronic running injuries quickly disappeared and now we run together. &nbsp;The shared time away from the kids and engaged in a mutually enjoyed activity makes life so much better. &nbsp;With so many things causing stress in our lives it is important to have shared positive experiences.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">I think the greatest benefit to running barefoot has been the change in my perspective on life. &nbsp;I see life through the eyes of a barefoot runner. &nbsp;When I have problems and things are not working I ask myself is there a barefoot way. &nbsp;Barefoot to me means taking off your shoes so you can feel what is happening. &nbsp;It also means letting go of preconceptions and trying to understand why things are not working. &nbsp;It means looking closer at the metaphorical path you are running on so that you can maneuver through the hazards with agility, grace and strength.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">It may seem scary to try something different and new. &nbsp;When you give barefoot a try you will find out that most people think it is pretty neat, once they talk to you they will think it is a great idea and when they try it themselves they will forget it ever seemed different at all.</span></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><span style="font-size: x-small;"></span></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/2/Angie Bee header.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 30 Jan 2011 04:29:00 GMT Notes from a Newbie <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;">Do you remember when you were a child and the first thing you wanted to do when you woke up was to run out the door and explore and play? The woods in your neighborhood became the Island of the Wild Things; a game of kick ball could last all day long; and a willow tree would become a fairyland full of adventures. Your imagination is alive; all else is silent.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">That&rsquo;s what running is to me. It is a pure sense of freedom and exploration. A place I go to think, dream and explore. Alone, with friends, in the sun or weather wild, trails or road, no matter, it makes me stronger each with each stride.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">I didn&rsquo;t start running (other than school sports) until after I had kids. &nbsp;My first daughter was very fussy. My solution &ndash; put her in the stroller and go. If she was going to scream, the whole world could hear our pain! We would go miles and miles, breathing in the fresh air. &nbsp;Daughter 2 came and so did the double jogger stroller. I had a habit of visiting local tag sales searching for the best used double jogger I could find.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">I like to compete, mostly with myself. My first downfall I will always admit is that I have no idea how to pace myself. I go full force and full of energy in everything that I do. Life&rsquo;s short, live hard. I remember my Nanna (who broke her arm once roller skating in the house) telling me &ldquo;no one ever died from being tired, have fun, live life.&rdquo; And so, I do! My latest challenge (and running revelation) &ndash; <a href="">barefoot/minimalist shoes</a>.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">Nine&nbsp;months ago, I started running in </span><a href="" target="_blank"><span style="font-size: small;">Merrell Barefoot</span></a><span style="font-size: small;">. Talk about a way to force yourself to learn pace! As a natural midfoot striker, I knew it wouldn&rsquo;t be &ldquo;too&rdquo; hard to learn form, but I also knew I didn&rsquo;t want to injure myself. I started a bit too fast and the morning after I was like a granny hobbling down my staircase. I could barely walk or bend over because my calves and back side were so sore. Woah! Could running a short distance in barefoot shoes really change the muscles that were working? Sure felt like it! After three weeks, my new barefoot stride became comfortable and the soreness wore down, but I could feel my calves, glutes and feet getting stronger. Today, my calves are bigger and I have new muscles, and I don&rsquo;t mind at all. They are a sign of my dedication and love of running.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">I&rsquo;ve been adding distance, stopping when I am too sore or slowing down if my legs start to hurt. I am learning to listen to my body, feel it getting stronger, and with each stride, I feel and connect with the ground underneath my feet. It is like being a child all over again! Every root, pebble or stream is a new adventure, a new story, a new path that I am taking to get stronger and learn about myself. Each day, I open my door, and run out, like I did as a kid! I dance down my driveway and just go. Some days I don&rsquo;t set a path and run until I feel I can&rsquo;t go any farther.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">Over 1000 miles of running in Merrell barefoot shoes to date and I&rsquo;m not turning back. I like living and looking through the eyes of a child, it keeps me young! I like living hard, it keeps you strong in mind and body! And I am learning patience and pace&hellip;one barefoot step at a time.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat, 29 Jan 2011 08:42:00 GMT Trail Glove Review – Jason Robillard <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;">Barefoot Running University&rsquo;s </span><a href="" target="_blank"><span style="font-size: small;">Jason Robillard shared his thoughts on the new Merrell Trail Glove</span></a><span style="font-size: small;">. &nbsp;Let&rsquo;s just say &ndash; we were honored!</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;">Thanks for the <a href="">Trail Glove</a> Review Jason!</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: black 2px solid;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MERR/files/2011/2/MRL Notes-Jasonfinal.jpg" alt="" /></p> Sat, 29 Jan 2011 03:43:00 GMT