Friday, February 25, 2011

Science In Motion: The Newton Terra Momentus


Science In Motion is the Newton Running Co. motto, and I can see why. There is definitely something scientific going on with their shoes.

Anxious for some extra off-season fitness, I treated myself to the Terra Momentus trail running shoe. My first impression: Wow! This is not your average footwear. The Terra Momentus feels different and, upon further examination, it really IS different.

Outfitted with rubber levers beneath the ball of the foot and a thinner heel, these shoes promote what Boulder, CO-based Newton Running calls, Natural Running. In their words:

Run barefoot to discover your optimal running form. You'll discover immediately that when you run barefoot, you're not landing on your heels. Instead you are landing on your midfoot/forefoot. Landing on your midfoot/forefoot is the most natural way to run. It is also the fastest and most efficient way to run. Newton Running shoes are the only shoes that were developed specifically for Natural Running.

The secret to these shoes lies in Newton's patented Action/Reaction technology. (Click the link to see how it works).

Marketing hype or the real deal? It's still too early to tell, but I will say this. I love these shoes so far. I feel like I could run twice the distance I could before. I don't get any of the jarring and pounding that I get from other shoes and, overall, my legs just feel more aligned and efficient. It sounds cheesy, but I feel like these shoes actually make running easier.

I should also add that I stumbled upon Newton only after trying multiple pairs of "traditional" running shoes. I'm not a student of Chi,Pose, Evolution or Barefoot running. I just like to get out and run, hike, ride, and explore. That said, Newton felt the best on my foot. They felt so good, in fact, that I'm excited to run more often. Dare I say it? These shoes actually MAKE me want to run.

As for initial observations, I have a few.

1. The actuator lugs beneath the forefoot might take some getting used to. The shoes feel like they have cleats, so walking in them feels similar to walking in clipless bike shoes. As a cyclist, I'm used to this sensation. A non cyclist might find it strange. The lugs also change the alignment of your foot and ankle. You can really burn up your calves if you don't ease your way into these shoes. Newton recommends a two week transition period with light intensity and short distance.

2. The shoes threw me forward, if ever so slightly, when I first jumped on the testmill. I'm a midfoot/forefoot runner to begin with, but these shoes still affected my body position. If you tend to heel strike when you run, you'll probably feel more of an adjustment than I did.

3. The Terra Momentus is Newton's trail runner, but I'm skeptical of this shoe's performance on steep, loose, uneven mountain descents. As Newton is a Colorado-based company, I wouldn't expect this to be in issue. That said, it just doesn't seem like these shoes have as much footprint, (purchase), as other shoes on the market. Some online reviews confirm my suspicions, but the jury's out until I can put them to the test.

4. The florescent green grows on you.

I just started putting miles on these shoes. Expect a more detailed review in the coming weeks.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Matterhorn Trek-Sold Out


Please contact us to put your name on the waiting list.

Image: A traditional Walser village just outside of Alagna Valsesia-Italian Alps.
Matterhorn Trek, Italy|Ken Fuhrer

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Food & Drink: Apfelschorle


An abundance of good food is just one of the things that makes the South Tyrol a delight to explore by foot. Ask any chef of the region why the food is so tasty and they'll usually tell you that it's a result of delicious, good quality, local ingredients.

One of the ingredients that often finds its way into South Tyrolean cuisine is the apple. Apples grow in profusion in the South Tyrol, and they're distinctive. They're so distinctive, in fact, that they bear a special seal of authenticity, South Tyrolean Apple PGI, known throughout the entire European Union. In short, apples are ubiquitous in this region, and you find them in Apfelstrudel, you taste them in Apfelschmarren, and you delight in their refreshing sweetness in one of my favorite drinks, Apfelschorle.

Apfelschorle is the perfect drink for a hiker. It's refreshing. It's delicious, and it's extremely easy to make.

Schorle is the German word for any beverage that consists of fruit juice diluted with lightly carbonated water. Mix a general fruit juice with sparkling mineral water and it's called a Fruchtschorle. Mix apple juice with sparkling water and it's called an Apfelschorle.

Apfelschorle is less sweet and contains fewer calories than pure apple juice, making it extremely popular with hikers and athletes during the summer. The drink is extremely popular in Germany and commercial varieties abound, though they're usually artificially sweetened and contain minimal juice. If you have the opportunity to hike through the Südtirol, then order an Apfelschorle mixed with locally-produced apple juice. It's the only way to go.

Can't make it to northern Italy? Try mixing your own at home. Find a good quality apple juice, (preferably local and freshly squeezed), and cut it with sparkling mineral water. A 50/50 ratio is pretty standard but always adjust to taste. Salute!

Trips that visit this region:

Image: A nice break from hiking. Apfelschorle, homemade cake and big mountain views.
Ötzi Trek, Italy|Porter Teegarden


Monday, February 21, 2011

Snag A Spot While You Can

Click image to enlarge.

Some of our guided trips are almost sold out. Others are filling quickly. Here's a quick update.

July Engadine Trek-2 doubles and 1 single available
Tour du Mont Blanc-8 spots left
Matterhorn Trek-2 singles available

Please have a look at the full schedule for more trips and availability. As always, give us a yodel if you're interested in any of these tours.

Image: Hiking the Italian-Austrian lines of World War I.
Italian Dolomites Trek, Italy|Porter Teegarden

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Most Stunning & Challenging Treks In the World

Click image to enlarge.

We were excited to see the HuffPost feature the Haute Route and Ladakh as two of the most stunning and challenging treks in the world.

About the Haute Route they wrote:
Leading from Chamonix in france through the southern Valais to Zermatt in Switzerland, the Haute Route traverses some of the highest and most scenic country accessible to walkers anywhere in the Alps. The summer Haute Route walk (which takes a different course than the more famous winter ski-touring route) takes around two weeks to complete. It mainly involves 'pass hopping' and demands a high level of fitness, with every section containing a high huff factor.

About Ladakh:
Fewer folk trek on the Indian side of the world's greatest mountain range. So, if isolation's your thing try the Himachal Pradesh. Hardcore hikers can try teetering along the mountain tops for 24 days from Spiti to Ladakh. This extremely remote and challenging walk follows ancient trade routes. The bleak high-altitude desert terrain inspired Rudyard Kipling to exclaim, 'Surely the gods live here; this is no place for men'.

Image: An ancient stupa.
Markha Valley Trek (Ladakh), India|Daniel Sundqvist

Friday, February 11, 2011

NEW DATES: Bhutan Chomolhari Trek


FYI: The dates for our Bhutan Chomolhari Trek have changed. The new dates are May 13-25, 2011.

The trip is already half-filled. Please give us a shout if these new dates work for you. We'd love to have you join us on this unforgettable hiking tour through Bhutan.

“The Matterhorn of the Himalaya,” that's how many people refer to the Chomolhari, one of the most stunning mountain peaks on the planet. We'll enjoy remarkable views of this rocky giant as we thread our way through Bhutan, a magical kingdom perched at the top of the world...read more.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Celebrate the Sun


With bitterly cold temperatures and deep snows sweeping across much of the United States, it's only natural to fantasize about warm weather getaways.

Ryder-Walker turns mid-winter fantasies into warm weather realities with the Arches & Canyonlands hiking tour, a nine-day multisport adventure that celebrates the sun in the heart of the American Southwest.

Sun-drenched patios, warm sand, and clear blue skies

Arches & Canyonlands begins in Sedona, Arizona, a town with an established reputation for exquisite dining, inspired art galleries and a plethora of outdoor activities. By day, guests explore an enchanting desert landscape, hiking one of the many backcountry trails that spiderweb throughout the region. By night, sun-tanned explorers relax, with wine in hand, at one of Sedona’s premier luxury resorts.

Continuing to the tranquil hamlet of Bluff, Utah, hikers trade their hiking boots for paddles and bounce through one of the most exciting whitewater sections of the San Juan River. Using the riverboat as their base, guests explore ancient rock art and cliff dwellings with some examples dating back 5,000 years. Sun-drenched beaches, lost civilizations and two nights at a historic B&B make Bluff an irresistible desert retreat.

No desert tour would be complete without a visit to Moab, Utah, a vibrant oasis that continues to build upon its distinction as an outdoor adventure Mecca. Enthusiastic trekkers leave the well-trodden paths to explore hidden labyrinths, whimsical rock formations and natural sandstone arches. Explorers return from the wild to bed down in one of Moab’s most comfortable retreats, a tranquil hideaway with panoramic views extending in every direction.

Tour Highlights
  • Enjoy moderately strenuous hiking amidst sandstone towers and serpentine canyons.
  • Indulge in post-hike pampering in the trendy outoor adventure meccas of Sedona, Arizona and Moab, Utah.
  • Splash and smile through gnarly sections of whitewater on the San Juan River.
  • Blow through memory cards while snapping photos of scenic vistas and vestiges of ancient civilizations.
Tour Dates: May 1-9, 2011
Length: 8 nights/9 days.
Cost: $3750 per person in double occupancy.

Tour includes: Expert guiding, hand picked accommodations at luxury resorts and charming B&B's, breakfasts and dinners daily, luggage transport, incidental ground transport and more. Contact Ryder-Walker for more details.

Image: Desert wildflowers flanked by sandstone towers.
Arches & Canyonlands, Utah|Ken Fuhrer

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Grab a Last Minute Spot on the July Engadine Trek


It's that time of year again. We only have 2 doubles and 1 single available on our July Engadine Trek.

Grab a spot while you can.

Retreat in time to another era and a place far away: the enchanted En River Valley. Time forgotten 17th century villages with their fascinating architecture cling to the hillsides and numerous ruins and a castle mark the valley's importance through the medieval period and Hapsburg Empire. Above the valley the peaks of the Silvretta, Lischana and Bernina ranges soar. This trek follows the length of the En River through Switzerland, from near the Austrian border to that of Italy...read more.

Image: Hiking into Sils Maria. The lake in the foreground is called the Silvaplanersee. The village of Sils Maria, our home for the night, rests on the isthmus between the two lakes.
Engadine Trek, Switzerland|Ken Fuhrer

Monday, February 07, 2011

When You Come to a Crossroad in Life, Go up



I wanted to pack my trekking poles and fly to Bhutan the instant I saw this video. It's a promo vid for Kevin Grange's upcoming book, Beneath Blossom Rain-Discovering Bhutan on the Toughest Trek in the World.

Watch this video if you plan to hike in Bhutan. You'll see many of the places that we visit on our Bhutan Chomolhari Trek, including the Tiger's Nest temple and the isolated villages that border Tibet. Better yet, keep an eye out for Grange's new book Beneath Blossom Rain. The book promises an adventurous journey through the magical kingdom of Bhutan.

Pete McBride Photography put together the trailer. You can see more images of the Himalaya, and specifically Bhutan, at his website. He presents some great images that capture the human spirit of the Bhutanese people. Hint; use the arrows at bottom of the screen to flip through his collection. www.petemcbride.com/#/PROJECTS/Himalaya/1

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Matterhorn Trek is Almost Full


We only have 1 double and two single rooms available, so please give us a shout if you're considering this tour.

Highest mountains in western Europe, the Pennine Alps offer a sensational opportunity for hikers to explore a spectacular alpine environment. This itinerary finishes beneath the Matterhorn, the most iconic peak in the world. It also traverses beneath the MonteRosa, the Alps second highest peak. The Tour Monte Rosa has become a much sought after achievement in recent years, and our itinerary follows much of the same route...read more.

Image: A friendly local greets us for lunch.
Matterhorn Trek, Italy|Ken Fuhrer