Category: Travelogue


Hello. my name is Kris, I am Astrals’ graphic designer, web designer and occasionally help out on product design such as the LE5 and LE7 lifevest. I also have a life outside this, which involves DJ’ing, photographing nature and Hippie Watching, which is an internationally appreciated form of people watching used to pass time at festivals. It can be done without the Guides I’ve written, but… why reinvent the wheel?, plus the sales of it help perpetuate the cycle of me going to festivals to charge hippies to make fun of them. This gastank ain’t gonna fill itself, SON! The below photos illustrate some of the uses people have found for the guides at festivals

The Guides in action

The Guides in action

Ephraim Hippie Watching

Ephraim Hippie Watching

ZsaZsa training the next generation of Hippie Watchers.

ZsaZsa training the next generation of Hippie Watchers.

I was asked by Bryan if I would be interested in trading a pair of the soon to be released Bakers for a humorous Jaded Review style review of them. Of course, I said yes, because who doesn’t want to trade gear for something they were going to do anyways? Now… to figure out how to somehow make the fact that I went to a party relevant to a shoe review.

I ran into my first dilemma – I have to assume most readers of this blog are not familiar with the west coast festival culture and the jenga-like towering mountain of nonsense these hippies have built their summer yurts on. I imagine it’s imilar to when you try to explain the river rat lifestyle to normals they look at you as if you politely asked them whether they would mind if you ate their dog. So, before I get into the shoe review, I feel it’s only fair to explain the environment they will be used in first.

For this unavoidably biased review I chose Photosynthesis Festival, which is one of the smaller festivals comparatively. It happens on the Northwest tip of Washingtons Olympic Penninsula on Makah Bay in the Nation of Makah. This is a Native America dry reservation with population of a few thousand.The Festival itself is a three day affair primarily centered around scaring local wildlife, small children and dogs by attempting to play techno loud enough to be heard from the moon using immense soundsystems.

This would be the third year in this location and leads to some very interesting encounters between the local Makah and hippies. It draws about 800 hippies and about 800 locals. The are itself is absolutely stunning – that is… when it’s not covered in clouds and misting. As an added bonus there is tons of smoked salmon and dungeness crabs around. To save needless typing – Everything south of this sentence is photo credit: me

Cape Flattery 5 Miles to the North of where the event was held. This is the northwest-most point in the US and where you can wrestle and tame your own winged rainbow covered spirit reptiles like in Avatar.

Cape Flattery 5 Miles to the North of where the event was held. This is the northwest-most point in the US and where you can wrestle and tame your own winged rainbow covered spirit reptiles like in Avatar.

Godrays.

Godrays.

The Gear:

I like gear. I like being appropriately ready for some crazy adventures while at festivals. Just past where the event is held there is five miles of jaw dropping tidal flats which connect up with Cape Flattery. We call this place CrabTown, which is an in-joke but knowing this will help explain a few things a bit below. These flats are covered in slippery kelp, crabs and all forms of beach detritus washed up from Japan and beyond. Even though Bryan only asked a Baker review, I brought my entire run of Astral shoes to give them all a try.

Essential Hippie Watching Gear: Left to right: Waterproof Ortlieb Vario panniers/backback, Go Ruck 1000d Cordura bag with Think Tank Camera system with 5dmkIII, 70-200 2.8II, 17-35 f2.8II and 50mm 1.4,  Watershed dry bag, and Packcubes.

Essential Hippie Watching Gear: Left to right: Waterproof Ortlieb Vario panniers/backback, Go Ruck 1000d Cordura bag with Think Tank Camera system with 5dmkIII, 70-200 2.8II, 17-35 f2.8II and 50mm 1.4, Watershed dry bag, and Packcubes.

The line of shoes Im testing this weekend. Front to back Black and Tan Porter, Green and Lime Brewer and Tuquoise Baker.

The line of shoes I tested this weekend. Front to back Black and Tan Porter, Green and Lime Brewer and Turquoise Baker.

Why am I here in the first place?

As mentioned before, I am a DJ which is another ludicrous profession where I press buttons which play other peoples music and dance around like I’m doing something of consequence. This time around I got a beach ‘showcase’ which means two friends and I all play in a three hour block. Since the three of us all have big hair we called it the Big Hair Showdown At Crabtown. This is the first place I tested the Bakers out. I can report that they are perfectly fine to DJ in, No trainwrecks or embarassing faceplants while dancing around. – see pictures below.

The Bakers 400d Cordura gives me peace of mind when walking through fields of crabs that throw their ‘come at me bro’ stance. We’ve later decided that this is not an aggressive stance; they are in fact throwing their claws  up in revelatory worship of you as an omnipotent deity.

The Bakers 400d Cordura gives me peace of mind when walking through fields of crabs that throw their claws up in their ‘Come at me, Bro’ stance. We’ve later decided that this is not an aggressive stance; they are in fact throwing their claws up in revelatory worship of you as an omnipotent deity. Either way, your feet are safe.

Flyer for The Bighair Showdown at Crabtown

The Tables have turned: the flyer for The Bighair Showdown at Crabtown

Essential Gear – Crabtown Anti-Social Club Flask for drinking whiskey on the sly in a dry reservation. shhhhh. Also Great for Childrens Birthday Parties, Funerals and parole hearings.

Essential Gear from 2011 – Crabtown Anti-Social Club Flask for drinking whiskey on the sly in a dry reservation. shhhhh. Also Great for Childrens Birthday Parties, Funerals and parole hearings.

The Baker – Performance Review

Now that I’ve regaled you with three pages of uncut nonsense… Let’s actually talk about this shoe. The Baker is a slip-on shoe with upcycled and regrooved tire tread sole, 400D Cordura upper and soft cushy midsole. It has the flushport in the back and mid-sole drain ports you are familiar with from the first two releases of Astrals’ shoe line. Since a majority of my time at a festival is spent either in a circle talking or walking somewhere else to stand in a circle to talk, comfort is important and the Bakers bring it. Of the three semi-technical shoes I brought it was the best fit for the wide range of activities I found myself participating in and also let the least sand and dirt in.These activities are explained and illustrated below

Other shoes make bold claims – but for my money the Baker is the only shoe I would trust for mission critical performance while operating a bike powered smoothie blender. p.s. Double Mountain: Hire me to write about your beer! I’m fucking killing it here.

Other shoes make bold claims – but for my money the Baker is the only shoe I would trust for mission critical performance while operating a bike powered organic smoothie blender. p.s. Double Mountain: Hire me to write about your beer! I’m fucking killing it here.

The Bakers excel at color coordinating with costumed Festival dogs. Ideal for accessorizing with a festival hottie – that is, ahrmm, if you aren’t happily married.

The Bakers excel at color coordinating with costumed Festival dogs. Ideal for accessorizing with a festival hottie – that is, ahrmm, if you aren’t happily married.

I ran across a sign advertising a workshop about “Monetizing Quantan Mechanics” which, frankly, I knew would be absolute gold; giving me a wealth of material to work off of for years. Apparently, if you buy these little holograms to put in your vehicles gastank it will not only clean the output of your car but it will also clean the input of the air going into your vehicle. These claims are backed up by revolutionary breakthroughs in the cutting edge field of ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. In fact, I believe I have a better understanding of Quantum theory than this guy for for two reasons: 1) I can spell it right 2) I know that most of the explanations of Quantum theory are simply oft-abused metaphors trying to explain the mathematics to people who don’t have a mathematical background about the illogical behaviors of sub-atomic particles. Not you know… Gastanks. </minirant>

The first step in monetizing anything – Try spelling it right. This was one of at least 6 workshops – the only thing worse at this festival was the dude who was trying to play saxaphone over everyones set.

The first step in monetizing anything – Try spelling it right. This was one of at least 6 workshops – the only thing worse at this festival was the tophat dude who was trying to play saxaphone over everyones set.

End of Festival Blow out sale on Holograms for your gas tank.

End of Festival Blow out sale on Holograms for your gas tank.

Turntable Bike soundsytem next to Holograms for your Gastank ‘workshop’ – The Joys of Hippie Watching – This shit writes itself.

Turntable Bike soundsytem next to Holograms for your Gastank ‘workshop’ – The Joys of Hippie Watching – This shit writes itself.

The Bakers performed well in all aspects of this. They work great running towards Quantum Snake Oil Salesmen so you don’t miss anything… Great for standing there, and great for running away after your brain absorbed a near-fatal dose of BS. Additionally, they would be excellent for pedaling that turntable bike soundsystem around.

It’s not all bad!

Lest you think that the festivals are filled with weird scams and dudes running around with a tophats and saxaphones let’s take a peak at a few of the better moments.

 

Main Stage in the evening with dancers and glow toy spinners.

Main Stage in the evening with dancers and glow toy spinners.

I took a bunch of these pictures because I figure kayakers and nature lovers would absolutely love the radiolarian/protozoan/diatom feeling of this glass piece.

I took a bunch of these pictures because I figure kayakers and nature lovers would absolutely love the radiolarian/protozoan/diatom feeling of this glass piece.

Inside the Tribe 13 Art Gallery. More next-level glass art featuring bubbles and kelp.

Inside the Tribe 13 Art Gallery. More next-level glass art featuring bubbles and kelp.

Inside the Tribe 13 Art Gallery - A collaboration between Alex Ubatuba and his partners whos name I stupidly didn't write down.

Inside the Tribe 13 Art Gallery – A collaboration between Alex Ubatuba and his partners whos name I stupidly didn’t write down.

Resin cast Romanesco brocolli flower

Resin cast Romanesco brocolli flower

Onward! To CRABTOWN!

Wel,l we didn’t goto the official crabtown – we went to another Tidal flat just north of Neah Bay (nicknamed New Crab Town) to look for fossilized crabs. I originally intended to test out and write about the Brewers here but my friend showed up with flipflops which is no way to explore tidal flats (doubly so since the last time we went it tore up his flipflops) So I gave him my Brewers and I went mucking about in the Bakers. All in all, the Baker performed fine but for the sort of crazy climbing and exploring I do I would much have preferred to have the Stealth rubber sole for traction and the shoelaces to keep it tight, which would have been really useful in the incredibly slick kelp fields. The tire tread did a surprisingly good job but I probably wouldn’t recommend it for everyone.

The wife, Alisha, flexing her crabtown steez while showing us this starfish breaking open a mussel. Astral Brewers in the back and hand wrought chain-mail bracelet I bartered for last summer.

The wife, Alisha, flexing her crabtown steez while showing us this starfish breaking open a mussel. Astral Brewers in the back and hand wrought chain-mail bracelet I bartered for last summer.

Crab!

I, for one, welcome our new crab overlords.

Wind Carved Sandstone.

Wind Carved Sandstone.

More awesome sandstone

More awesome sandstone

Seagrass, Mussels Bladderac and Seaweed.

Seagrass, Mussels Bladderac and Seaweed.

Tidal flats with seagrass and millions of little snails.

Tidal flats with seagrass and millions of little snails.

Lastly, The Spoils

After a good festival you end up with some good pile of junk to bring home to stack on your hippie altar. Here’s ours with some descriptions.

Festival Spoils - Including: Large Bismuth crystal & Melanite Andradite Crystal traded for some zines, 'Upgrade to Warlock Status' pin, 'Everyday is overtime for a Jedi Hustler' Money-clip, random Altar junk, Seal Vertabrae, Play money to make it rain whenever I deem necessary.

Festival Spoils – Including: Large Bismuth crystal & Melanite Andradite Crystal traded for some zines, ‘Upgrade to Warlock Status’ pin, ‘Everyday is overtime for a Jedi Hustler’ Money-clip, random Altar junk, Seal Vertabrae, Play money to make it rain whenever I deem necessary.

Thank you for reading this LOOOOOOOOOOONG article all the way to the end.

Travelogue: Maui, Hawaii

Haleaka Crater on Maui

Haleaka Crater on Maui

Haleaka Crater on Maui

Haleaka Crater on Maui

Haleaka Crater on Maui

Haleaka Crater on Maui

Rainbow Fog

Rainbow Fog

20121217-_MG_4038 20121217-_MG_4034

Sunset at Kipahulu State Park

Sunset at Kipahulu State Park

Double Rainbow after passing storm

Double Rainbow after passing storm

Kipahula Wave Curl at Sunset 20121216-_MG_3963

Jackson Chameleon

Jackson Chameleon

Rainbow Eucalyptus tree

Rainbow Eucalyptus tree

20121212-_MG_3812

Cape Kiwanda

Ok, you got me. I’ve been absolutely terrible about staying on top of the blog postings. File this post under “better late than never”.

This is a little photo journal of our trip to Cape Kiwanda on the Oregon Coast. It’s a beautiful gem on the Oregon coast because its one of the few places where it wasn’t covered by lava flow. This means that a large shelf of sandstone from the ancient ocean floor has been pushed up above the water where the elements slowly carve and shape it. This means you get to climb and explore amongst the result of millions of years of the energies of wind and water against sandstone. It’s one of those places that really makes me realize how immense a span of time a million years is.

I went on this little adventure with my friend Chad (Bogmon) and my best friend Alisha and Pro-tip: get past where everyone else goes and get amongst it. Afterwards several hours of playing the sun you can always opt for a well earned meal of Fish & chips with the Kiwanda Cream ale from Pelican Brewery. Damn good beer. Damn good fish and chips.

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda

Glacier Roadtrip

When asked by the good folks at Chilluminati if I wanted to play once again at the Karmaklysm event in Wisconsin this summer Alisha and I deciced to make it into a roadtrip to see Priest Lake – Idaho, Glacier National Park, the Grasslands, and Minneapolis along the long drive from Portland to Wisconsin. I was excited to give the newest addition to my kit a field test, this being the jawdropping  70-200mm f2.8 II. We had previously tried to book a 7 day backcountry hike, but it fills up fast and the hikes are awarded by lottery. We settled for a staying two nights. We camped at flattop mountain two nights. In the day in between hiking in and hiking out we hiked up to 50 mountain which was amazing – all in all it was a quality 27 mile hike. from which my legs are still sore.  After Glacier we drove all day until we could go no further and caught the National Grasslands in North Dakota in the early morning. By the evening we ended up in Minneapolis and enjoy dinner and drinks with our friend Mellissa. We spent the next two days at the event with our homie Chad (Bogmon for those in the know). Not a whole lot to say about the cannonball run on the way back other than we tried to barrel through it as fast as  possible. If you like any of the photos I recommend checking them out large to see the incredible detail the new lens captures (the wide angles of course are with the 10-22mm)


North Dakota Morning Storm

Awe-inspiring early morning storm front in North Dakota

Alisha in the Grasslands

Alisha spinning in the Grasslands

Alishas Sunflowers

Alisha took this one =)

Glacier National Park

Moutain range from across the valley.

Bokeh Bokeh Bokeh!

My first bokeh test. So smooth I want to eat it.

Priest Lake Sunset Bokeh

Priest Lake Sunset Bokeh test 2

Montana

Montana Field at days end.

Glacier National Park

Meeting of mountains

North Dakota Grasslands

Grasslands

Glacier National Park

Fractal Mountain side lit by sparse cloudbreaks.

Glacier National Park

View from Flattop Mountain

Misa
Misa posing for a sharpness test

Priest Lake

Sunset Bokeh

Glacier National Park
Alisha relaxing in an alpine meadow

Waterfall

Valley Floor

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

50 Mountain. This meadow fills me with a special feeling. =)

Glacier National Park

More Glacier majesticness. New word!

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

U-shaped Glacial Valley

Early Morning Storm

The business end of the storm.

Salt Lake City And New Art

I work for a company called Astral Buoyancy, they make really nice lifevests for insane kayakers who throw themselves off 200 foot waterfalls in large pieces of plastic. Every year we goto this really large event called Outdoor Sport retailer. I spent some time going around snapping photos (with permission of course) of my favorite booths there and also got some photos of products I had my artistic input in

The Temple

The Temple

The Temple

OR 2011

Columbia Sportswears Future Lounge

OR 2011

Oh man… futuristic logos

OR 2011

North Faces Set up.

OR 2011

Northface interactive display

OR 2011

Keens set up. I shoulda stuck around for happy hour.

OR 2011

Ospreys super function layout

OR 2011

Sorry I forgot which booth this awesome was attached to

OR 2011

Sanita Booth

Bad Kidz

The Bad Kidz throwing down

OR 2011

How many drunk kayakers can you fit in a van? 12.

OR 2011

An embossed folder I designed

OR 2011

A life vest I designed art for. more here

A limited edition carbon fiber helmet with the same art. This will be given away at some point in the future.

OR 2011

Crazy storm out of nowhere. Utah always puts the fear of god in me.

OR 2011

Some awesome graff spotted on the streets.

OR 2011

Future retro compostion

OR 2011

OR 2011

Inside the scale model of the Mormon temple theres this crazy pool on the back of oxen. What happens in there? Soaking?

OR 2011

Full picture of the inside of the mormon temple

OR 2011

Yonton of Astral and Jeff from American Whitewater raffling off the window painting.

Travelogue: Photosynthesis 2011

This would be the 4th installment of Photosynthesis, the third one I’ve been invited to play music at and the best one yet. The team joined forces with the Makah Native American tribe who live on the very northwest tip of the Olympic Penninsula. I consider this invitation very special considering how horribly our country has treated the people who lived on the land before us. The Makah were in full force and seemed to have a great time as 900+ freaks weirdos and scenesters amassed on their land. We were there for 4 days and got to see quite a bit including some great times with friends in what we ended up calling CrabTown. Its miles and miles of tidal flats with all sorts of oceanic debris and strange strange creatures that had us crawling on all fours going “no seriously WHAT THE FUCK?” The Crabtown monicker is inspired by a It’s Always Sunny in Philedelphia where they decide to become crab people and “Live by the Crab ; Die by the Crab”

Anways, personal in-jokes aside The land is pretty boggling in terms of how beautiful it is. The event was amazing. Soon Ill post a link to the recording of the set i played which also went over really well.

Photosynthesis 2011

Cape Flattery – possibly one of the most beautiful places Ive ever seen.

Beau @ Photosynthesis 2011

Playtime with b0t23

Photosynthesis 2011

Not quite Crabtown.

Jacaranda @ Photosynthesis 2011

Homie Jacaranda laying down the best downtempo set of the weekend.

Photosynthesis 2011

 

Photosynthesis 2011

More Flattery…because it will get you everywhere.

Holding Space

A box with pictures of galaxies on it… which everyone is holding. They are “Holding Space” … get it?

Photosynthesis 2011

Tidepool Romance

Photosynthesis 2011

H’Art center

Photosynthesis 2011

My amazing wife, Alisha.

Photosynthesis 2011

Still life in CrabTown

Photosynthesis 2011

Photosynthesis 2011

We’re crab people now, We Live by the Crab, we Die by the Crab.

Photosynthesis 2011

Photosynthesis 2011

Morgan, Chad and Beau

Photosynthesis 2011

Photosynthesis 2011

Photosynthesis 2011

Photosynthesis 2011

Photosynthesis 2011

Chad

Photosynthesis 2011

Prosperity 2011

Every year a band of hippies drive deep into the Washington high desert and annoy the local beaver population with really loud music. These are the photos from this years event. If you want more Prosperity type stuff I have photos from 2010 as well as a recording of my set from 2010.

It's Alisha

Dane Bubbles

Prosperity 2011

Brian

Robs Umbrella

i <3 mimosas

High Desert

Prosperity 2011

Prosperity 2011

Prosperity 2011

Prosperity 2011

Prosperity 2011

Sam in his nest

Beaver Log

Morning Tea Session in our tent

Prosperity 2011

Terry keeps it real.

 

Seattle trip photos

This past weekend I dj’ed up in Seattle and took an extra day to hang out with my friends Terry, Michelle, Rubin and Alisha and finally see the Seattle Public Library. I was first clued into the SPL after watching a TED talk about this amazing structure.(I embedded it at the bottom in case you want to see why this building is so amazing) I highly recommend you give it a watch. I was personally blown away at the efficiency on all fronts and considerations that went into the design so that it functioned as the heart of a thriving civic space.This was evident in that there were hundreds of people all efficiently using the library at the same time but I didnt see a single line. This is the other side of all the times I’ve complained about poorly conceived or designed spaces. I also tested out some video on my camera which is the first link, which I recommend checking out in full screen mode.


 

Convergence

 

Pointed

 

Alisha

 

Corner office

 

futurism

 

Lounge

 

repetition

 

Alisha

 

Theres a new Tea-Jay in town

 

Asian Book Store

 

Mt Defiance Hike

I’ve been wanting to do the Mount Defiance / Starvation Creek trail for a while but its near the end of the Columbia River Gorge and the actual hike itself is brutal – 5,000 foot elevation gain over 5 miles. Its more or less straight up the mountain. We got a late start so we didn’t make it to the summit of Mount Defiance, but we did do 3/4′s of the hike. We plan to go back and summit this summer.

This hike is a mix-bag with some 3 amazing waterfalls including the hole in the rock waterfall as well as some really nice basalt formations. Unfortunately, theres a portion of the hike that walks under some telephone wire.

For those wanting to do this hike take I-84 east from Portland to exit 55. From the parking lot you want to walk on the trail to the right which backtracks west alongside 84. Take this for a mile and there are signs.

 

Mount Defiance Hike

 

Mount Defiance Hike

 

Mount Defiance Hike

 

Mount Defiance Hike

 

Mount Defiance Hike

 

Mount Defiance Hike

 

Mount Defiance Hike

 

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Shasta Elemental

For the past couple of years we have journeyed down to Mount Shasta in Feb to spend time in a large cabin with a large group of our friends and listen to music, hike, throw rocks at freight trains and get loopy. This years highlights include climbing around in Castle Crags and hitting up Stewart Mineral Springs on our way out of California. Enjoy the photos



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