Reconnecting on El Cajon: A Photo Essay

I could feel the pollen filling my lungs. This spring was different from the four others I had experienced here in California; everything was alive and thriving thanks to a massive amount of rain that hit the region in the winter after an almost decade-long drought. I headed up the approach trail to one of my favorite climbing areas near San Diego, seeing the wildflowers [...]

Risk Analysis: Navigating Mental Hurdles after the Injury

words by Alexandra Pierce ::   “You had worse crashes when you were more hurt and you ended up okay,” I say to myself. Standing in the shower, I wrap my hands around the back of my neck as the water pours over my forehead. I repeat the mantra: “You had worse crashes when you were more hurt and you ended up okay.” I [...]

Leave No Trace: Correcting Common Beliefs in the Wild

Illustration by Lisa Kowieski “Ladies first,” the hiker said, stepping off the trail and gesturing to the thin strip of rooty ground next to the swampy trail. He watched in bemusement as our group of women splashed straight through the mud and puddles, chattering to each other about the best place to dig a cathole. I do this frequently: walk through puddles and talk [...]

Garibaldi Lake: Alpine Hiking, Glacier Views

We stood at the top of the ridge, staring down the luge track carved in the glacier by the brave souls that went before us. With only a moment of hesitation, my friend, Laura, took her place at the top and pushed off. One at a time we followed, flying down 90 metres of ice and snow, catching air and ending in a pile of [...]

OWA Review: CamelBak Solstice 10LR

What: CamelBak Solstice 10LR MTB Pack Where to Buy: backcountry.com, rei.com Perfect For: Fast, aggressive mountain biking *Disclaimer: This tester received a pack from CamelBak to test and review. Before testing begins, companies must agree to OWA terms which state that OWA will not publish positive reviews or accept financial compensation in exchange for gear or reviews.  OWA's aim is to only publish reviews on gear that, after testing, [...]

OWA Review: Giro Terradura Mountain Bike Shoes

  What: Giro Terradura mountain bike shoes Where to Buy: backcountry.com, competitivecyclist.com, evo.com, rei.com Perfect For: Mountain biking and hike-a-bike sections of trail *Disclaimer: I received these shoes from Giro to test and review. I was not asked to publish a positive review in exchange, and I received no financial compensation for this review. At OWA, our aim is to publish reviews on gear that, after [...]

VIDA MTB Series: Women’s Mountain Bike Skills

  *Disclaimer: I attended the VIDA weekend under a comped invitation in order to test and review the organization and their teaching style. I was not asked to publish a positive review in exchange, and I received no financial compensation for this review. At OWA, our aim is to publish reviews that, after testing, we feel would be beneficial to women outdoors.   After spending [...]

OWA Review: 9 Mountain Bikes for Tall Women

I’m a 5’10” female mountain biker, with a long inseam and reach. When it comes to mountain bikes, my height puts me in the sweet spot for fitting most bikes. I’m not limited to women’s-specific rides or smaller frame sizes. In this roundup of reviews, most of the bikes I tested could be referred to as “gender-neutral”, though there is one women’s-specific review in [...]

Photo Adventure: Capturing the Canadian Rockies

  Photo taken during sunrise at Lake MargotWords and photos by Susan Holt   As a landscape photographer, I find myself more at home in the outdoors than under a solid roof. This is a story about my favorite photo adventure I've taken to date. It's one that taught me how kind people can be and the inspiration provided by nature.   A [...]

OWA Reviews: Stio Second Light Jacket

  What: Stio Second Light Jacket Where to Buy: stio.com Perfect For: Cool weather, high-aerobic activities *Disclaimer: I received the jacket from Stio to test and review. I was not asked to publish a positive review in exchange, and I received no financial compensation for this review. At OWA, our aim is to publish reviews on gear that, after testing, we feel would be beneficial [...]