Madre Chronicles

Urban Camping - 7 Week Backpacking Trip Through Japan - Week 5

Mom found the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage on the National Geographic website. After the Onaida Nature Trail I was a little hesitant to go on another Japanese hike, but since National Geographic recommended it, we thought it shouldn’t be too hard, so we camped out at the start of the trail to begin our pilgrimage the next morning. The beginning of our hike began in a slight sprinkle but it eventually dried out. The cloud formations and atmosphere during the whole hike was miraculous. With the mist rolling in through the woods, the bright orange crabs crawling by, dark red wood chips covering the walkway, and the bright green leaves, the pilgrimage was visually incredible, but not as easy of a hike as we had hoped.

Urban Camping - 7 Week Backpacking Trip Through Japan - Week 4

We went from an ancient rugged rain forest to an automobile factory in Toyota. It’s named after the Toyoda family which owns Toyota. Mom found a sign out by the water fountain that said “this is not a gargle station”. Our response was “What is a gargle station and why is there a sign against it?!”

Urban Camping - 7 Week Backpacking Trip Through Japan - Week 3

The portion of Onaida Nature Trail  we went on was under the forest canopy the entire way except at the very end where I was surrounded by misty clouds and amazing ancient trees! Although lonely planet and the Yakushima tourist center both quoted that the Onaida Nature Trail would only take 7-8 hours, it took us a total of two and a half days. It was ridiculous how CRAZY the trail was; 

Urban Camping - 7 Week Backpacking Trip Through Japan - Week 2

Nara, a little town outside of Kyoto, was one of the few places that we saw a lot of other international tourists. We were all there for the same reason, to feed the famous deer. I believe that the high volume of visitors resulted in a higher proportion of street markets peppering the town. We enjoyed visiting this city, it offered some decent food from the grocery store in the train station and the feisty, photogenic deer were fun too. 

Urban Camping - 7 Week Backpacking Trip Through Japan - Week 1

Traveling from Seattle, WA to Tokyo was strange enough all by itself, but then to make it all the way to Kyoto in the same week, going from one great experience to another, and another. I just can't find the words to adequately express how much loved and learned about Japan from the first day I arrived, through the first week, and the 6 weeks to follow. We took the time to explore Tokyo for two and half days to get a better bearing on where we were and how to travel in this amazing world on the other side of the Pacific. 

Somoto Canyon - Cliff Diving! - Final Day

I peered over the edge to see how clear the water was below.  A slight mist of water on the rock made my footing like butter! I slipped, fell, and was about to involuntarily take my turn over the edge when...

Somoto Canyon - Secret World Wonder - Day 1

We hadn't done much research, we just knew we wanted to find it. Word was that Somoto Canyon had been relatively unexplored until 2004, and since then, tourism to this magnificent secret world wonder was growing slowly at best.  It would still be almost as secluded and publicly undiscovered as it has been to the villagers near by for ages.  We did not have access to a GPS or Maps on our cell phones. What we DID have was pencil scratchings of obscure directions and a stir-crazy sense of adventure. (..also machetes.. We thought we may have to clear our own way into the canyon, or fight off venomous vipers that methodically fall out of trees onto victims below. We had quite an imagination of how the trip was going to play out!)

Camping in Glacier National Park

Our trek appeared simple enough. Land at point A,  hike to first nighttime camp at B for 2 nights, and then make a trek to campsite C for one last night before hiking back. It’s amazing how squiggly dotted lines can seem so unimpressive, but when translated to carrying gear and hiking mostly uphill, they become the most powerful lines you can draw. It’s not my first trek into Glacier Park, and it won’t be my last, but it was my first chance to shed a lot of carry weight by packing in the Nubé Hammock Shelter instead of a formal tent!

Surfing Gran Pacifica, Nicaragua

Secluded Surf Spot in Nicaragua

Camping, Hammocking, Surfing, Hanging out

~ Adventure by Eli Baylis ~

Follow a bumpy dirt road lined with corn stalks and daisies to this special secluded spot near Gran Pacifica, Nicaragua. Playa Ausuchillas is a nearly vacant beach, besides fellow surfers and a few dogs. You basically have to dig to find it, but when you do, it's glorious. 

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When you arrive at Playa Ausuchillas, you'll come to a small clearing where you can park. Then take a short walk down a path off to the right as it opens up to this beautiful surf spot.  Shade is practically non existent here,  be sure to bring your own. 

SMr Camping Gear Used On This Adventure:

Nubé
Ginger Rust Pares hammock
Climb-Rated Carabiners
EZSlings

Transcending Borders - Road Trip from Mississippi to Mexico, and Central America

Prior to leaving on our quest driving from the US through Mexico and into Central America,  we read posts on the internet and listened as our friends and family offered endless warnings: “People in these areas are ruthless and violent” “Do not go, it’s too dangerous” “You WILL get kidnapped” “You WILL get robbed”. In many areas this may be true.

Adventure Racer Reviews The Nubé Hammock Shelter

Read Review: Nubé Gear Review For those of you who know me, you know I have a passion for the outdoors, which means I also have a passion for the equipment that I take out with me. I am a gear-junkie. Plain and simple! I like the best, and I invest in the best whenever I can. This is why I trust Sierra Madre Research to occupy my backpack with the outdoor gear that I need.  I literally wish they made everything I take with me. The quality is unrivaled. It is truly made FOR outdoor adventurists, BY outdoor adventurists.