Costa Rica Pt 1 – Landing in San Jose | Driving to the Rainforest in a Downpour

Part 1 of our Costa Rica Travel Series.

 


Itinerary for Day 1

  • Take an evening flight out of Baltimore, bound for Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica (connection in ATL).
  • Arrive in San Jose the next morning around 11AM
  • Pick up our rental car.
  • Sharpen up our Central American driving skills by cruising through downtown San Jose
  • Drive about an hour north from San Jose towards LaPaz Waterfall Gardens and Peace Lodge Resort
  • Navigate through an afternoon rain forest downpour.  This happened every day around 12:30PM.  The following morning we would awaken to a perfect reset of bright sun and clear blue skies.  We quickly learned to plan our outdoor activities between 6AM and Noon, followed by storm watching in the afternoons.
  • Arrive at the Peace Lodge hotel.
  • Lounge on the balcony and try to absorb the fact that we made it to Costa Rica.
  • Head out for a fancy Costa Rican dinner.
  • Get some much needed sleep and prepare for our upcoming day of rain forest exploration.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we do a rainforest waterfall hike and see how Sara does face to face with poisonous frog (spoiler alert: they become best friends).

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Aukey AC LC2 Review – $70 Action Cam w/ Accessories?

A Review of the Aukey AC-LC2 Action Camera

A detailed look at the Aukey Action Camera‘s specs, features, and operational instructions along with my personal experiences and thoughts on the unit.

Specifications and Features, as per the Manufacturer

  • 4K Ultra HD 25fps 12 Megapixel Action Camera with 170° HD wide-angle fisheye lens.
  • Delivers stunning, super-sharp videos and photos of your adventures, activities, and sports in all conditions
  • Includes an extensive accessories kit of mounts, brackets, and fixings for versatile use in varied configurations for all kinds of activities and situations
  • Freedom and convenience to view and control your camera over its local WiFi connection using your phone and the free app. Or capture photos and videos with a simple button press on the included 2.4GHz wrist remote
  • Waterproof case supplied for use when diving as deep as 30m / 98.4ft or doing other watersports. Also protects your camera from rain, mud, sand, and impacts
  • Package Contents: AUKEY Sports Action Camera, Accessories, User Manual, 24-Month Warranty Card

The Backpacking Trip that Never Was – Hiking the Susquehanna River

Getting our Bear Grylls on. Hiking with a full overnight backpacking load-out & zero intention of actually sleeping outside.

When an iffy forecast caused us to cancel an overnight backpacking trip we had planned about four hours from home, we decided at the last minute to still get outside.  Only instead of a full backpacking trip hours from home, we decided to grab our already packed gear and hit a local spot for a day in the woods.  Backpacking meals, hammocks, a tarp in case it rained earlier than expected, etc.  The only thing that wasn’t in our plan was to actually sleep out there.  And then things didn’t go to plan.  Again.

In the end, it was a great, fun day.  Certainly not what we expected, but better than sitting on the couch (well, all day at least).  We got some exercise, Sara had some of our favorite camping foods, and I got to test out some gear and packing techniques.  The moral of the story?  Do weird stuff.  Sometimes it pays off.

Trailhead Parking Location: Rock Run Grist Mill parking area. This is a decent sized parking area by the Rock Run Grist Mill at the intersection of Stafford Rd and Rock Run Road in Susquehanna State Park.

GPS Track Data for this trip can be found on my Trip Data Page.

Total Mileage: 4 miles
Total Elevation Gain: A whopping 225′

Susquehanna River Day Hike Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Notable Gear Used

Packit Gourmet Pico De Gallo salsa and Pasta Bolegnese
Denali’s Dog Backpack – “One Tigris Cotton Canvas Dog Pack”
Denali’s Collapsible Dog Dish – Doggone Dish
Toaks 750ml Titanium Pot
ULA Ohm 2.0 Backpack
Generic Canister Stove
ALLPOWERS 21W Solar Charger
Notch Hat (Classic Multi-cam Operator model)

Aerial Photography – DJI Mavic Pro
Primary Camera – Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

AllPowers Solar USB Charger Review

A detailed review of the AllPowers USB Solar Charger.

In this video, I go over my personal experiences and thoughts on the AllPowers Solar Charger, along with a detailed look at the features and specs.

For 10% off, click here and enter code 9KSMN867

Specs, as per the Manufacturer

  • Fast Charging Technology: Exclusive iSolar automatically adjusts the current and voltage to deliver its fastest possible current up to 4.8 amps per port or 5 amps overall under direct sunlight
  • Battery: Built-in 8000mAh. About 8-10 hours to fully charge under 70,000 lux light conditions. An hour charging can support 1.5-2.5 hours talk time
  • USB Outputs:  4 covered USB outputs (2 2.4A, 2 1A)
  • Size13.38×7.0x0.79 inch folded or 22.8×7.0x0.39 inch unfolded,
  • Weight 29.5oz
  • stainless-steel eye holes for attachment to backpacks, trees, or tents.
  • Package Contents: ALLPOWERS 21W Foldable Solar Charger, Carabiner, micro USB cable, instruction manual, 18 Month Worry-free Warranty and friendly customer service

Hammock Camping with my Dog – Seneca Creek Hiking & Backpacking Trip

Join my dog Denali and I for some Hiking, Backpacking, and Hammock Camping in the Seneca Creek Backcountry.

For this hiking adventure, my pup and I will be visiting the Spruce Knob-Seneca Creek National Recreation area, within West Virginia’s greater Monongahela National Forest. Our route will be a “lollipop”style hike – meaning we’ll use an “out and back” section of trail from the Spruce Knob trailhead parking area to connect with a series of other trails that form a loop. After completing the loop portion of the hike, we’ll backtrack out using the same section of trail from day one.

The Spruce Knob-Seneca Creek Backcountry offers around 60 miles of trails (marked with blue blazes) with an elevation range of 3,000 to 4,800 feet above sea level. The beginning of this particular loop is actually the highest point in all of West Virginia – Spruce Knob – standing at and elevation of 4,861 feet. Below is a list of trails for each day, along with stats for elevation gain and mileage.

Trailhead Parking: Spruce Knob Parking area (right by the observation tower).

Parking Notes:  No parking fees or overnight permits are required.  There are restrooms and bear-proof trash bins available for use.

GPS Track Data for this trip can be found on my Trip Data Page.

Trails used, Day 1

  • Huckleberry Trail
  • Hornton Trail (just for a short bit)
  • Judy Springs Trail
  • Seneca Creek Trail
  • Hammock Camp along Seneca Creek.

Day 1 – Seneca Creek Loop elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 1 Mileage: 6.5 miles
Day 1 Gross Elevation Gain:  221 feet (pretty much down hill all day)

Trails used, Day 2

  • Seneca Creek Trail
  • High Meadows Trail
  • Lumberjack Trail
  • Join back up with Huckleberry Trail
  • Arrive back at Spruce Knob Parking Lot

Day 2 – Seneca Creek Loop elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 2 Mileage: 10 miles
Day 2 Gross Elevation Gain:  2,173 feet (pretty much up hill all day)

Notable Gear Seen in the Video

Denali’s Hammock – 2T’s Hammock Chair from Dutchware
Denali’s Dog Backpack – “One Tigris Cotton Canvas Dog Pack”
Denali’s Collapsible Dog Dish – Doggone Dish
Dutchware Chameleon Hammock
Hammock Gear Burrow 40 Top Quilt

Hammock Gear Phoenix 30 Underquilt
Hammock Gear Cuben Hex Tarp
Katadyn BeFree Water Filter
Toaks 750ml Titanium Pot
Vargo Windscreen
Esbit Solid Fuel Cubes
ULA Ohm 2.0 Backpack

Aerial Photography – DJI Mavic Pro
Primary Camera – Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

World’s Lightest Camping Lantern (and cheapest)

Discussing my Favorite (and cheapest) Ultralight Camping Lantern Option.

Just a quick backpacking tips video to highlight a technique that I actually showed briefly in a video years back. I recently read a list of “camping hacks” that mentioned a DIY way to turn your camping headlamp into a lantern. They used a 1 gallon water jug to diffuse the light. Clever, and it probably works well, but it reminded me of my preferred method – simply using a headlamp and a balloon to create a lantern effect.

Surprisingly, I haven’t really seen or heard of hikers doing this very often. Perhaps it’s because it’s just too obvious, but I figured it was worth sharing.