December 22, 2012

Cabin Wedding

Plentiful snowfall and blistering winds have driven me today to the rocking chair next to the wood stove. Admiring the golden flames as they shoot up around the logs have me both warm and reminiscing on one of the greatest moments in 2012. A friend and fan of Backwoods Plaid invited me to capture one of the most memorable days of her life, her wedding. I refused, twice. I don't consider myself a real "photographer". I consider what I do a hobby, although I do have photos I'm proud of. She insisted that she "liked my eye for photography" - I gave in (after offering one last time that she find a professional).

Arriving one late-fall afternoon to an amazing set of private riverside cabins and seeing hundreds of wedding party, friends and family shook my nerves. The idea suddenly struck that there were no second chances. After the first few snaps of the camera, those thoughts lifted like the fog that lay over the river. Here are a few photos that came from a great weekend, great reception and two great friends.

December 17, 2012


(Columbia River Knife & Tool) 

Along with bringing outdoor adventure to you, I review superior outdoor products. Perhaps you've heard of the Oregon knife manufacturer, CRKT, who had sparked enthusiasm in outdoorsmen since 1994. I've been following this company for years. They recently contacted me and sent out two knives to review. Most often, I find the S.P.E.W. (Small Pocket Everyday Wharncliffe) model in my pocket. As the name indicates, the design is crafted for daily carry, either as a neck knife (using the supplied paracord underneath a shirt) or as a simple pocket knife. With this sleek profile, the knife is the most easily concealed I've held and always ready to be used for daily tasks. Below are quick specs and overall impressions:

Open Overall Length6.25 inches
Weight3 ounces
Blade Length3 inches
Blade Thickness0.1 inches

The SPEW is tough, but as expected from a Wharncliffe style blade, which drops to a sharp point, the knife would not suffice for prying, but that's not its designed purpose. 

Aesthetically, it's a great looking knife. When emptying my pockets at the end of the day, I've actually forgotten I was carrying it.

The gimping, although a bit underwhelming, is strong enough to hold your thumb in place while cutting. Even under a light rain or falling snow, your grip holds tight. 

Overall, this is a great compact pocket knife for protection or basic daily tasks. Should you choose to simply toss it in your gear bag, the sheath securely holds the knife until given a good pull. Impressively the blade arrives sharper than I imagined it would and at $45, the SPEW is a steal. Add it to your collection, because after all, you never heard a man say he had too many knives...

December 14, 2012


Below is a selection of photos I've recently posted to Instagram and a quick note. Follow me at @BackwoodsPlaid.

Christmas is coming around the corner and candles are resting peacefully on the mantle, casting a dancing glow about the room. Their golden light pares well with the shadows from the white bulbs of our decorated tree. An occasional crackle from the wood fire lightens the spirits. Warmth surrounds you here. This cozy nook is inviting and where I've found inspiration for writing lately. After all, this is my favorite season.

December 6, 2012

Island Vacation

The ferry slid into dock slightly before the sun broke through the afternoon sky. The next few days would prove relaxing as we explore a Maine island paradise in search of nothing greater than crashing waves and evening strolls along a sandy shore. The quaintness of the island community refreshes the soul and provides a break from the hustle of Portland life. Road traffic simply equates to a few bicycles, rusted Volvo station wagons, and golf carts. Artistry appears to dot the landscape on every corner; lobster mailboxes and cairns of smooth ocean stones separate this peaceful place from any other. The folks smile and welcome you. Here are a few photos from our journey.

December 4, 2012

The Backwoods Plaid Wish List

Last week I shared a Gift Guide of items personally tested and proven. This week I share items that are on my personal wish list. This is gear that I have researched and/or find fascinating. Pretty sure all of the below would enhance your and my outdoor experiences.

  1. Remaining warm and staying dry is key while in the wild. The lightweight MSR Zing covers your gear and friends for multi-day adventures.
  2. Winter weather brings cold chills. Stop cold chills with the legendary Filson Mackinaw Cruiser. 24oz. wool and 110+ 5-star reviews speak for themselves.
  3. Blog-inspiration can spark on any adventure. Be prepared to draft future blog posts with Field Notes.
  4. Kickin' through slush while celebrating 100 years of the famed Maine company is ideal. Besides - I don't have a pair of tan L.L. Bean Maine Hunting Shoes and should.
  5. I'm planning my first home purchase and a reliable wood stove will be my best friend. The Gransfors Bruks Splitting Axe sets the historic standard.
  6. Fresh black coffee while ice fishing is a dream. The Coleman Propane Stainless Steel Carafe brews on-the-go in the convenience of your own ice shanty. 
  7. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I'd love to wear my passion on my chest. The Best Made Co. Campfire Lapel Pin signifies outdoor passion.
  8. Slide under a Pendleton Wool Blanket as the snow envelopes your front yard. Guaranteed to warm. 
  9. 500 lumens is enough to light up the landscape (or blind an attacker) on your hikes and adventures this winter. The Surefire P2X Fury is what big boys dream of.