I just returned from Denver after a great weekend at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. Looking back at last year, my highlights were very product focused. This year, I find myself focusing more on the important topics and ideas in the outdoor industry. I’ve put together a list of the 5 major industry related highlights that stood out for me.
Hoka One One is probably the fastest growing company in the light hiking and trail running world at the moment. Hoka started a few years ago with max cushioned shoes and took the industry by storm. For those already familiar with Hoka’s trail lineup, you’ll be excited to see refinements to the Speedgoat, Mafate Evo, and Challenger lineup. New for 2019, will be the burly and rugged Arkali.
A hike of Little Lakes Valley via Mosquito Flat makes for a quintessential Eastern Sierra outdoor experience. This 8.5-mile out-and-back hike passes by six alpine lakes and provides side trail options to quite a few more. Hikers will pass under the 13,000+ ft mountain peaks of Bear Creek Spire, Mt. Dade, Mt. Abbot, and Mt. Mills.
Over the past few years, REI has lead by example in retail by closing their stores on the day after Thanksgiving. Instead of requiring their employees to work amongst throngs of stampeding maniacs on Black Friday, they’ve chosen to close up shop and promote the idea of “Opt Outside”. REI is still offering a ton of great deals though, they’ve just chosen to offer them early. I’ve put together a list of some of the best items below.
Patriarch Grove rests at an elevation above 11,000ft, and requires 13 miles of driving on an unpaved dirt road. There are two .5 mile hikes at Patriarch Grove, the Timberland Ancients Trail and the Cottonwood Basin Overlook Trail. In this guide, I’ll provide directions, photos, maps, and instructions on combining these two hikes for a 1-mile figure eight loop.
The Discovery Trail is a short 1-mile loop hike that gains a mere 276 ft of elevation within the Ancient Bristlecone Forest. Although this hike is short, it can still be a challenge since it begins at an elevation above 10,000ft. The trailhead for the Discovery Trail is located at Schulman Grove, right outside the Ancient Bristlecone Forest visitor center. In this guide, you’ll find driving directions, maps, instructions, and photos.
The Topo Athletic Runventure 2 is a lightweight 0-drop trail shoe that’s currently the most comfortable shoe I own. Built for all-day wear, the upper is airy and breathable with a seamless socklike neoprene heel collar. The responsive midsole has a 15mm stack height that provides just enough cushioning for longer days on the trail. For the outsole, Topo uses a low profile lug design that’s best suited for hard pack and less technical outings.
The hike from Pine Knot Trail To Grand View Point is one of the most popular hikes in Big Bear, CA. This 7-mile hike gains 1230 ft and provides hikers with stunning views out towards San Gorgonio Mountain and a bird’s-eye look down at Big Bear Lake. This trail requires no permit and allows dogs.