Hawkeye’s Update from the Pacific Crest Trail

*Excerpts from the Pacific Crest Trail Journal, follow the link to view the full write-up and all the pictures so far

“It’s hard to imagine, because my first 30 days has already been a lifetime of adventure, but we’re just getting started here, and this first part was merely a test-run, an appetizer leading into the smorgasbord of adventure ahead. With enough miles under my belt there has been enough time to learn a few things on trail and develop a bit of a routine.”


“Section C & D have provided an abundance of two trail dangers for me; the scream-inducing rattlesnake and the not-as-cute-as-it-sounds Poodle Dog Bush. I saw 4 rattlesnakes in 5 days, each one bigger than the last, and each one causing me to jump further into the air than I’m prouder to admit.”


“Wherever I sleep, or however I slumber, everyday starts in a similar routine (although always in a different landscape), which includes taking on or off the same 5 or 6 pieces of clothing that I wear everyday. As I put on my hiking shirt and see others in theirs, I can’t help but think sometimes that this thru-hiking business is kind of like an odd t.v. miniseries where the characters always wear the same wardrobe for the ease of the audience, only those wardrobes get progressively dirtier and more tattered as the show goes on.”


“My blisters are healed up and my mind is at ease, and despite the two braces sitting fashionably on my knees, I can now get my 20 miles a day with ease. And it’s good, because ahead of me and beyond the scorching gates of the Mojave Desert is the great Sierras, the holy sanctuary where the story will really just begin”



Wednesday’s Featured Product: Hults Bruk Axes


The original Hults Bruk mansion still serves as the headquarters of the company.

Hults Bruk was founded in 1697 by a stream in the country outside of the Swedish town of Norrkoping, which is kind of awesome considering people still dressed like this in the 1690s. Who wouldn’t want a Swedish axe that’s been made and perfected for over 300 years?

After getting these axes in the mail earlier this week, we are proudly one of only two places in the state of Iowa where you can get a Hults Bruk axe, so come on over and check out the collection. It’s almost summer, and that means bonfires; don’t get caught chopping wood with a boring old axe this year, do it in style. (Did I mention Father’s day is just around the corner?).



One of the seven Hults Bruk axes available at Fin & Feather right now, the Bjork axe is the perfect axe for getting the campfire ready. You can read more about the Bjork axe here. In addition to the Bjork axe, we also carry a variety of smaller hatchets and larger felling axes, depending on what you are looking for.


Before I let you go, check out this video of the Hults Bruk forge in action, and then stop by to see the finished products in person! 🔥

Be sure to check out the Hults Bruk website to learn even more about this sweet Swedish axe company. We sure are glad these axes are now available in America. You may not have known you needed one of these axes until just now, but we’ve been pining.

Hawkeye’s Update from the Pacific Crest Trail

*Excerpts from the Pacific Crest Trail Journal, follow the link to view the full write-up and all the pictures so far


*written and edited on trail

“When I originally planned my PCT adventure, I budgeted 10-12 miles for each of the first few days, just to break in the legs a bit, and much like many of the other people who started their journeys around me on the same day, those plans were passed by with the excitement of finally being out here. I bagged a healthy 15 miles on the first day (with 7 liters of water weighing me down), and have been averaging the same mileage ever since.

While I feel physically and mentally healthy about my miles (so far), I have ran into and said goodbye to a few hikers already that have proved that the fastest race horses out of the gate aren’t always the first to the finish-line.

On my very first day rumors began spreading around of two hikers who had to receive emergency evacuations thanks to dehydration and over-exhaustion, and since then I have seen nearly a half-dozen hikers bow out or take a step to the sidelines with leg injuries, mental qualms and above all, blisters. No judgements need to be passed upon these hikers, because the trail treats people differently, and speaking from experience it is easy to get ahead of yourself once your well-planned journey actually begins…”


I may have come to California and started my PCT journey by myself, but there have been few instances (except when I sought them) when I have been alone. It’s easy to make friends on the Pacific Crest Trail, especially if you’re not afraid to introduce yourself, and despite not being someone who likes to name drop, I have been blessed to meet some others hikers with names like D-Cup, Lid, Cairn, Beard-O, Sweet-Pea, 42, Evac, Dirty-B, Day-Pack and more.

As for food, I’ve been well-fed and always a little hungry. The best meal, or at least the most satisfying so far has been a combination of a long day, a wind-struck mountain side and two beef Ramen noodle packets, packaged salmon and two dollops of table butter… It doesn’t get much better than that…”


With over 2,500 miles to go, the best piece of advice I’ve gotten so far is to not think about that, instead just take it one step at a time, and right now, laying down in my tent on the 7th day of my 6-month journey, the next step for me is a good night’s sleep so in the morning I can see where the trail will take me next.”

Over and Out



Top 10 Gifts for Mother’s Day

1. Chacos

It’s no secret that we are obsessed with Chacos here at chacospurplefin & Feather (just come into our store and you are bound to find at least one employee sporting them), and it’s a great time to buy Chacos because the new line for Spring 2016 is out, and trust me, it’s awesome. With many new and fun colors and patterns, we’re sure the mom in your life will love them. Warning: she might be so happy and comfy in her new Chacos she might never take them off, it happens to the best of us.

2.Fjällräven Pack


Give her a head start on this year’s Fall trends with these adorable retro Swedish backpacks. This is the perfect gift because at the higher price point she might not buy one for herself, but we know she would love to have one. She can throw in her yoga clothes and bring it along to class, or fill it with everything you need for a day outdoors. The perfect balance between fashion and function makes the Fjällräven backpack a great Mother’s Day Gift.

3. Nemo Fusion Sleeping Bagnemofusion

This seriously cute Hot Pink sleeping bag is one part down, one part synthetic, combining the comfort of a synthetic bag with the warmth and pack-ability of down. Get this for the more adventurous mom in your life, and we know it will bring a smile to her face. Did I mention Hot Pink?

4.Hiking Socksdarntoughstripe

Do you or the mother in your life have a favorite hiking spot? Pair this gift with a planned out adventure this weekend, and be sure to make this Mother’s Day weekend extra special. Everyone loves a nice gift, and a fresh pair of socks are a seasoned classic. But the real gift here is the chance to spend some quality time outside and away from everything else.  Live in different places? Socks are the perfect gift to send in the mail, just be sure to ask her to take pictures of her fun hike.

5. Granite Gear Luggage


Is she the traveling type? Even if she doesn’t travel all the time, it’s always good to have at least one piece of nice luggage. We are obsessing over the Cross Trek series from Granite Gear which comes apart to reveal a detachable backpack. So versatile, convenient, and not bad looking either. If you have the extra time, you could even plan a trip together where she can use the new luggage.

6. Locally Grown Tees


You know your mother better than everyone else. Help her express her personal style with Locally Grown Tees and & Life is good Clothing. We especially like this “Paddle Local” graphic tee with a pedal boat on it, but you’ll have to stop by to see the whole collection. These shirts, which are made in the USA, are so super soft and comfy, it might just become her favorite shirt.


7. Dresses from Kühl, Toad & Co, and Löletoad & co dress

Not all dresses are created equal. Outdoor clothing lines like Kühl, Toad & Co, & Löle all make dresses a cut above the rest. We know she will look beautiful in one of these dresses (and comfy too) during Mother’s Day Brunch. The Rosemarie Dress from Toad & Co pictured here, which comes in so a variety of prints, is both Eco-friendly and breathable. We know it will be a hit!

8. Rain Gear

Spring is here, and with Spring TNFventurecomes rain! Keep her dry and fashionable with a cute new rain coat! We particularly like the bright colors in the Spring 2016 lines for both The North Face and Marmot. The Venture Jacket from The North Face, at just $99, is a great price for it’s value. It’s a great jacket that will really last, and with these bright colors, she can wear it all Spring and whip it out again in the fall to keep those bright summer vibes flowing.

9. Active Clothing


I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing that gets me more excited about exercising than new workout clothes, and we have a huge selection of active clothing at Fin & Feather that would be perfect for Mother’s Day. Try Löle, Tasc or even The North Face for active clothing she can wear for yoga, running, hiking, or all three. We especially like the bamboo clothing from Tasc; it’s so soft and feels amazing to work out in.

10. Fin & Feather Gift Card

Maybe you can’t decide what to get for Mother’s day, or maybe she is just hard to shop for. Consider getting her a gift card to Fin & Feather so that she can decide for herself what she wants for Mother’s Day. It could be one of the items above or something completely different, but with the great variety of options we have to  offer, we are sure she will find something great.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Wednesday’s Featured Product: Alite Designs Mayfly Chair

While sitting on the ground can make you feel close to nature, for extended trips or even a day trip to the beach, it can be nice to sit on something a little more inviting. This Wednesday’s featured product, the Mayfly Chair from San Francisco based company Alite Designs might be just what you need to bring a little more comfort to your life outside, and with their minimal styling and lighthearted design, they won’t get in the way of that natural feeling.


The Mayfly Chair has three legs, one of which you can fold up to turn the chair into a two legged rocker which you control with your legs. Or, if you leave the front leg down, you can recline without having to worry about keeping your balance. Just sit back, relax and breath in the fresh air (and feel the sand under your toes?). The low sitting chair packs up into its attached stuff sack to just 11.5″ X 4.3″ X 4.3″ and weighs just 1.6 pounds.

Small enough to throw in your backpack or on your bike for either a day trip or an extended vacation, at just $99, the Mayfly chair is definitely something to add to your gear collection. A seriously lighthearted chair to take with you anywhere.

The (Nearly) Complete Gear List for Starting the Pacific Crest Trail

As you may have heard, resident Fin & Feather Blog author, self-nicknamed Hawkeye, will be departing for the Pacific Crest Trail on May 2nd. As part of that process, or better yet, a huge part of the process was gaining and obtaining all the necessary gear to successfully complete the trek. While the gear will rotate in and out on the 6-month trek, for a variety of reasons, the only certain part of the set-up is the gear he’ll be beginning with:

*Disclaimer: While working at Fin & Feather helped in receiving certain promotions for gear, unfortunately for him no sponsors were gained in preparation for the trip, so you can consider all the gear you see below to be advertisement-free, instead it was just an ordinary person, with an ordinary budget, collecting gear for over a year:


From Left to Right: 

Big Agnes Scout 2 UL tent – Osprey Large Pack Cover – Soto Amicus Stove Combo-

Light My Fire Plastic Spork – Sea to Summit X-Bowl –

Therm-A-Rest ProLight Sleeping Pad – Sea to Summit TK II Sleeping Bag



From Left to Right 

Garmin GPS 64 – Harmonica – Sewing Kit – Beyond Coastal Face Balm and Chapstick –

Swiss Army Knife – Extra Tent Stakes – 2 Black Diamond Carabiners –

Petzel Tika Headlamp – Sea to Summit Tek Towel (small) –

Sea to Summit Alloy Pocket Trowel – Extra Strength Tylenol – Gear Aid Repair Kit

Iodine Tablets – Moleskin – 25 ft paracord – MSR Hyperflow Water Filter


DSC_0035 Left to Right 

(5) 64g micro-sd cards – Moleskin Mini Notebook – Field Notes – (3) GoPro Batteries  –

3Way GoPro Mount and Case – GoPro Hero4 Black – (3) DSLR Camera Batteries & Charger-

Goal Zero Nomad 7+ Solar Panel – Goal Zero Venture 30 Battery Pack


DSC_0036 Pictured:

  • MSR Hydromedary (3L)
  • Extra Dry-Bags, Stuff & Compression Sacks
  • Bandana




  • Nalgene Water Bottle
  • Extra First-Aid, Lights, Batteries
  • Food Items



The Pack: OSPREY ATMOS AG (50 Liters) + Helinox Passport Trekking Poles



250+ Pages of California Maps 

Commonly Asked Questions About the Pacific Crest Trail

Q&A with Hawkeye

On May 2nd, 2016 resident Fin & Feather Blog author, and the newly trail-named Hawkeye will be beginning a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. Having kept an extensive log of the most commonly asked questions he receives when telling people this, Hawkeye was happy to answer some frequent inquires about the Pacific Crest Trail.


What is the Pacific Crest Trail?

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a continuous footpath that takes users from the border of Mexico and California to the border of Canada and Washington. Stretching for over 2,600 miles, the PCT crosses through four National Monuments, five State Parks, six National Parks and numerous National Forests and Federal Wildernesses. The PCT is one of the original National Scenic Trails put into place by the 1968 National Scenic Trails Act, and has been meticulously looked after by local government organizations, volunteers and users alike ever since. Crossing through arguably some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in North America, elevation ranges from <1,000 ft. at it its lowest and over 13,000 at Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.   

pacific crest trail

How Will You Carry or Get your Food?

Generally speaking, the plan is to carry anywhere between one and six day’s worth of food at a time, and when you are carrying everything on your back, the more frequent I can resupply food and carry as little as possible the better. To get new food on the trail, 75% of my food resupply is going to be bought in towns and small communities found on or near the trail. The other 25% has already been packed up here at home in Iowa City, put into boxes, and appropriately labeled to be shipped out to me at pre-planned dates and post-office locations.

pacific crest trail 3

Will You Be Yourself on the Trail?

For the first month of this approximately 6-month journey, I will be traveling by myself but far from alone. Due to the increased popularity of the trail over the past 10 years, the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) limits the number of people that can start the trail each day between the traditional starting months of April and May. The limit this year was 50 people a day, and it filled up fairly quickly. So yes, I will be traveling by myself out to the trail, but I’m sure to make a few friends once I’m out there. For the following two months I will have an adventure partner travelling from the Iowa City area. After that, and for the remaining 2.5 – 3 months, time will tell who I’ll be traveling with (if anybody), and I’m excited to find out for myself.

pacific crest trail 4

How Do You Train for Such an Endeavor?

The main plan was just to walk, and walk a lot. Having purchased a Garmin VivoFit from Fin & Feather, beginning about six months ago I started to really pay attention to how many steps I got in a day, and was surprised when my average routine barely got me to 10,000 steps/day (roughly 5 miles). I’ll be required to walk a rough average of 20 miles/day on the PCT, so I started walking to work, walking to the grocery store, walking to my friends house, walking everywhere, eventually selling my car and hitting 50-60 miles on foot in five days. Along the way and over time, I started carrying my backpack and slowly adding weight, until finally I was hitting big miles with my pack on, and giving other commuters something to look at as I trekked down the sidewalks and streets of Iowa City. pacific crest trail 5



What Are You Going to Do After You’ve Finished the Hike?
Probably take a seat for a moment. In reality though, I don’t know the full plan because it is six months away. As it is on paper though, I’ll be back in Iowa City and will have six months worth of photos, video and writing to sift through. If everything goes according to plan, starting next January, 2017 the real story will begin and a complete recount of the journey will be published on the Pacific Crest Trail Journal. Until then, flexibility will be key, and a positive mind will go further than a new pair of shoes, I’m looking forward to the journey and I hope you do to.  

pacific crest trail 2


Fin & Feather Blog Author to Hike the Pacific Crest Trail

Starting next Monday, May 2nd, resident Fin & Feather Blog author Brad Lane will begin hiking the Pacific Crest Trail heading 2,700 miles south to north, from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada and crossing through California, Oregon & Washington, as well as some of the best mountain scenery North America has to offer.

Prusik Peak
Alpine Lakes Wilderness – Washington 
Hawkeye getting the shot

What does that mean for the Fin & Feather blog that you’ve been so accustomed to? Well it might mean a few fewer blog posts each week, but if we turn our attention towards quality over quantity, you wont be disappointed as Fin & Feather and Lane (a.k.a. Hawkeye as he’ll be known on the trail) take you for a fantastic voyage on an adventure of a lifetime exploring the Pacific Crest Trail.


Stay tuned for a detailed gear list, primarily acquired via the shopping aisles at Fin & Feather, some answers to commonly asked questions about the Pacific Crest Trail, and of course, updates from the trail every time a little Wi-Fi happens to be found in the wilderness.  The trip wouldn’t have been possible without Hawkeye’s tenure on the sales floor at Fin & Feather, as well as the excellent associates that helped him pick out the right gear for the trip, so if you’re planning an adventure of your own, check out the store today.

PCT Beard Shave
Pre-PCT Beard Shave – Pacific Crest Trail Journal Facebook Page

For other ways to stay tuned to the action, be sure to stay tuned to the Fin & Feather Blog, and perhaps hop on over to the Hawkeye’s personal website, the Pacific Crest Trail Journal for full updates on all the adventures and coming January, 2017 – a complete narrative recollection of the journey out west. Guaranteed to be a blast, time will undoubtedly fly between now and next Monday, and if you see Hawkeye before then be sure to give him a handshake or a hug, because when it comes time to fly off into the horizon, it will be you that will surely give him the fuel he needs to finish his epic journey.

Intro Page (smaller)

Ryan Wade Runs Through Iowa City Today on His Run Across Iowa


Native Iowa City habitant Ryan Wade will be running through Iowa City today as he journeys across the state of Iowa. Wade began day #5 in the town of Solon, just north of Iowa City and is expected to pick up a few runners as the day goes on. If you haven’t been caught up the run so far, be sure to check out Wade’s Campaign Page, his Facebook Page or even past Fin & Feather articles(1 & 2) to see all the action.

If you want to join in on the experience and help create awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, check out what Wade’s campaign posted about the run today in Iowa City:


“Day 5 brings Ryan Wade through Iowa City, Iowa. The plan for now is for him to leave at 8:00 a.m. from Solon High School and travel down to Iowa City. Another meeting point will be at the North Dodge Hy Vee around 11:00ish. Times are tentative depending on his pace.

Ryan will then have lunch at Pancheros Mexican Grill downtown between 11am and 1pm and continue running on towards Riverside, Iowa after that. You can run a mile or ten or twenty with him!

Please be aware that this is not an organized or supported run. We will not provide water or anything else along the way for participants who want to join so make sure to bring anything you need for your run. Stay tuned for updates or message us for more specific information about any of the day’s routes if you want to join him on another day. Routes are currently posted on facebook and at this page on the website: “


Be sure to check out all the fun today as Wade runs through Iowa City, and take the time to participate in something you’ll never forget. Whether you are a survivor, a fighter, or someone that cares for someone that is, it’s your turn to take a step forward into a cancer-free future.

Blog at

Up ↑