More Dupont Fun

Our friends Steve & Steph came for a visit last weekend with Miss Lola and we all headed to Dupont for some mountain biking. Phil headed down the Reasonover Creek Trail only to find that his handle bars were completely loose and he had no multi tool. (We are often woefully unprepared on our circa 1994 bikes!) The rest of us pedaled down to Lake Julia, were some horses were splashing around by the dock. Despite the cool temps, Dupont was relatively uncrowded, and we stopped in at Bridal Veil Falls & Fawn Lake . Lola was a trooper and I imagine she will be leaving us in the dust on the singletrack before we know it!


Summer OR

I spent the last week peeking at new outdoor gizmos at the Summer Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, Utah. For those of you who have never been, it is a lot of cool products, tons of crazy festivities (like the Dizzy Butt Competition,) an incredible amount of walking, and lots and lots of work. True, there is lots of beer poured in the evenings and lots of shwag to be had, but in four days, I logged over 27 miles on my Montrail-supplied pedometer and I was mostly in the MK booth! I would say the highlight of my OR trip was the Wasatch Wobble, a 5K in Red Butte Gardens put on by Montrail. I would say the low point was a tie between the lost person knocking at my hotel door at 3:00 AM and catching the shuttle to the Wobble at 5:45am. Still, I am thrilled to be back in the Blue Ridge mountains, where the air is cooler and crisper, and the beer exceeds 3.2%. Ahhhh!

In the meantime, some new goodies arrived at the shop:

Arc'teryx Harnesses -- Time to retire that tattered thing you have been lugging around and welcome in the 21st century

Sanuk Shoes -- I am excited to say that mine are MORE comfortable than I imagined!

LGO Shirts -- These organic tees keep selling like hotcakes and we have some new colors!

Arborwear -- Rugged pants that last & last. The founder came to the MK booth for brews!


Staying Cool in the Heat

As we head towards the true dog days of summer, it gets more important than ever to keep cool while staying active outside. Keep these practices in mind to beat the heat.

Be realistic- Listen to your body and allow yourself to recover from inclines and faster portions of your hike or run. With the added heat factor, you may find your body working less efficiently and feel the need to allow more rests to allow your body to acclimatize to the conditions.

Hydrate- Keeping your body properly hydrated in summer is essential. Carry water and electrolytes to help you get through your activity and keep hydrating after you finish to help your muscles recover effectively. Low profile packs like The North Face Thresher make it easy to tote your water and stay active. A creek or waterfall can be a great place to splash water on your face, head or neck, but keep your mouth closed! Water should be treating before consuming!

Dress appropriately- Wicking fabrics and light colors will make a palpable difference in keeping your body cool as you work out. Add sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen to better protect yourself from sun exposure. Wear wicking socks to keep your feet dry and blister free.

Avoid the Sun- Now is the time of year to head out in the mornings and evenings, when cooler temps will give you an extra boost and the sun's rays are less intense. These can be the best times to view animals of the forest as well.

The rewards of summer outings are plenty, from wildflowers and wildlife to swimming holes and wild fruit. Enjoy!


An afternoon stroll - Dupont State Forest

If you are looking to take the dog for a quick stroll or an easy-to-find swimming hole, Fawn Lake & Fawn Lake Loop provide the perfect spot in Dupont. Daisy had a great time jumping in the water and Jasmine promptly stole the ball every time she came back from doing all the hard work! Park at the Reasonover Parking area and head left- it's hard to miss!


Hiking in Pisgah National Forest - Shining Rock

There are plenty of reasons to hike in the Graveyard Fields area of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and magnificent views is just one of them.

1. Rhododendrons in Bloom
2. Blueberries! (They aren't ripe yet, but will be next month.)
3. Higher elevation = cool temps in July
4. Clear mountain air does wonders for the soul!
5. Panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains

Sunday we hiked to Shining Rock in Pisgah National Forest, following the Art Loeb trail at times. The actual bright white quartz of Shining Rock reminded me of spring snow melt in the Rockies. Grab your hiking boots, pack a lunch, and go check it out!


Arc'teryx Harnesses

The Award Winning Arc'teryx R320 Climbing Harness has arrived at Looking Glass Outfitters! This is the best in an all around, weight saving, full function harness, for long routes, short routes, sport or trad climbing. Phil grabbed his on the day it arrived and headed to Looking Glass for a quick multi-pitch climb after work, raving about its comfort and barely-there feeling. It is definitely a Cadillac in the climbing world, with ground-breaking technology and high-end pricing, but your hips will thank you! Try it on and discover what you have been missing!


Dupont Mountain Biking

With family in town for 4th of July and a handful of mountain biking abilities, we decided to head to DuPont State Forest for a single track tour of waterfalls and such with Pura Vida Adventures. It was a blast and the weather was incredible!! We parked off Sky Valley Road and shuttled a car to Hooker Falls, enabling us to see maximum falls with minimal incline! It was a great time and Joe was an excellent guide.

p.s. YES we have Dupont Maps at the shop!!

The Covered Bridge
Lake Imaging
Joe & Phil at Hooker Falls


Once in a while you have to get back up...

The rough news keeps pouring down like the thunderstorms in Pisgah. We found out today from a friend that a climbing partner from years ago at Devils Tower was paralyzed in a terrible car accident recently. Tacos Satoko is a friendly, quite, smiling, climber that has traveled the world meeting people and climbing everywhere. While in DT she was a great source of inspiration and humor as she climbed with a big smile and her helmet tilted to the side. We hope her the best for a speedy recovery. She is currently in a hospital in Casper, WY and folks are trying to raise money to get her home to Japan. If you wish to donate a few bucks please see the link below.


Despite the deaths of John Bachar, Jonny Copp, Micah Dash, Wade Johnson, and numerous other mainstream Celebs. we at LGO are trying to remain positive and make the most of our time here.
Stay Safe
Phil, Jess, and Marcus.


The Season for Swimming Holes & Tubing!

For many, Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Forest are playgrounds for phenomenal climbing, hiking, biking and camping, but for oodles of people every summer, it is also a fantastic place for swimming holes and some old fashioned tubing! The Davidson River typically has just the right amount of flow to keep you headed back to Looking Glass Outfitters and the gates of the forest without thrashing you about.

Don't forget about:

Sun Protection- Despite the tree canopy, the sun often hits your skin and reflects off the water - perfect conditions for a pair of polarized Smith sunglasses!
Pack your Chacos - These durable sandals protect your feet from sharp rocks and stay snug in the water.
Keep valuables dry and secure - Make sure your keys and camera still work at the end of the day with a Sea to Summit Dry Sack Properly Hydrate - A Klean Kanteen or Sigg bottle can be easily tethered to your tube for easy sipping!

Be Safe & Have a blast!!!


Sad News - John Bachar 1957-2009

With heavy hearts, we have learned that John Bachar died July 5th while freesoloing in California. We were lucky to meet him at Looking Glass Outfitters in the fall of '08 and enjoy his fun-filled slideshow. This legend will be sorely missed! His accomplishments are too many to mention and his charisma was to unique to describe....

(Photo) Phil Hoffmann, John Bachar, and Marcus Webb at the Looking Glass Outfitters Grand Re-Opening Nov. 2008

Bouldering in Pisgah

With the sunlight at a maximum, Phil and I have found enough sunshine to head into Pisgah for a little bouldering some evenings after work. The temps come down, and if you are lucky, you might miss an afternoon shower, the summer crowds, and 99.9% humidity. So, pack your Mojo Shorts, your Velcro Muiras, profuse amounts of bug spray, and head on into the forest for a quick sesh if you want a fun way to forget about work for the evening.



Leave No Trace!
It is a simple concept, but unfortunately not always understood or accepted in the outdoors. Twice this summer I have seen defaced rock at Looking Glass in Pisgah National Forest. Before you carve your sweetheart's name in the rock, please think twice. Let's leave as little mark behind so all generations can enjoy our magnificent parks! For more information about LNT, check out their website here.

A few simple tips when heading outdoors:

Avoid short cuts through switchbacks, which cause erosion.
Leave what you find and take what you brought.
If you MUST use toilet paper, please bury it with your poo WELL off the trail.
Stay on the trail when hiking to minimize impacted areas.
Respect animals, plants, and rocks. Leave them there!


Pisgah National Forest- The Pink Beds

I was skeptical when I headed out to the Pink Beds on a Saturday morning, nervous that this loop would be crowded due to its lack of difficulty and its proximity to The Forest Discovery Center and its large picnic area. But, I was pleased to find the 5 mile loop was fairly empty. I headed out with trusty Daisy intending to hike, but when I was 3/4 of the way going clockwise around the loop, I was thirsty for more. I headed up the Barnett Branch Trail, saw a small black bear, got a peak at The North Face of Looking Glass, headed left at the Buckhorn Gap Trail, and turned around at the Buckhorn Gap Shelter. This tidy and cozy shelter easily sleeps 6 in wood bunk platforms and looks like a serene spot to camp. Knowing that the return trip was mostly downhill, I decided to jog home. By the time I returned to the car, I think I had logged about 10 miles, and the hike/ run had truly tuckered both of us out.

The Pink Beds Loop itself is really enjoyable for a variety of hiker levels, since it is mostly flat and has a spot to shorten the loop if you desire. You cross through lovely meadows, babbling creek bogs and the South Fork Mills River. The picnic area is roomy enough for some ultimate frisbee in your Chacos while your burgers cook on the grill. Another great day in Pisgah National Forest!