April 2016

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.

Update on Ryan Wade’s Run Across Iowa

Ryan Wade is currently halfway through his run across the state of Iowa, and if you haven’t been following the action, there is still time to catch up on all the fun. Wade will be running through the Iowa City area tomorrow and he’d love to see you there. For more information on when and where he’ll be passing through, as well as a way to donate to his cause (which supports the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) be sure to check out his homepage and Facebook Page.

To catch up on all the action, check out the recaps from day #1 – day  #3:

Day #1

Ryan Wade started his journey running across Iowa at the stroke of midnight on April 19th, at the border of Iowa and Minnesota, and in that spot between states, between days and between big dreams and actual reality, Wade was ready to tackle the course with the same mentality that his campaign for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has been based upon, One Step at a Time.

Rain was the name of the game for Wade and his support crew who ran 15 miles between the hours of midnight and 3:00 a.m. early Tuesday morning, but that didn’t seem to damper his spirits, or the spirits of Trevor Hallam and S­­ean Beard who ran alongside him, and despite the big hills and little sleep attained by the athletes and crew, everyone was all smiles when they eventually ran the 20 miles into Waukon, IA at 10:00 a.m. for a welcomed welcome-committee from the Chamber of Commerce.

Waukon, Iowa, if you haven’t had the chance to run through or visit, is a charming community of which Wade wishes he had more time to visit, but in his time there he did manage to meet a collection of nice people including the Monsignor at Saint Patrick’s (who gave Wade his blessing), a few community members including Nalla’s great grandma who shared Nalla’s story to the crew (Prayers for Nalla), of which surely gave Wade even more inspiration to run the rest of the 16 miles for the day.

Wade didn’t run those last 16 miles alone either, and with the support of his friends Taylor Parker, Greg McLaughlin & Luke Recker (#24) who journeyed from Iowa City to jog alongside Wade, and the three of them made their way through the beautiful northeast Iowa scenery. Mile 22 marked a special moment for everyone involved, commemorating the spirit of Austin “Flash” Schroeder, whose story is far from over in Wade’s run across Iowa.

Wade finished his total 38 miles and day #1 of running around 3:30 p.m. alongside his friends, and was welcomed back to his R.V. with fresh bacon, a Subway sandwich and a place to stretch his legs. The rest of the evening was devoted to recovery, and to scoping out one of the pit-stops for day #2 (Elkader), where his legs will take him and the adventure will surely continue.  


Day #2

Day #2 on Ryan Wade’s running odyssey across Iowa illustrated the Yin & Yang of Iowa spring weather, beginning with bright and beautiful sunny skies and ending with steady streams of fresh rain. Between the varying weather forecast there was a full spectrum of activity including new four-legged friends, scenic byways and nearly 35 miles of running. While Wade’s legs never gave out, even with the fresh rain momentarily weighing him down, it’s become clear to everyone involved that this task of running across Iowa can only be reserved for those with courage pumping through their veins.

The first stop of the day was in the town of Elkader (which is in the running for the most beautiful town in Iowa), where Wade and the support team were treated to lunch by the supporting sponsors of our trip, Central State Bank, who through their generous support (and delicious lunch) this trip found its fuel and the LLS found increased ways to change more lives.

After refueling in Elkader, Wade hit the road alongside the rain, and for just a moment, somewhere between the rain falling and the miles adding up, Wade found himself in a hard spot accustomed to anyone who ever had to work hard for their goals. Doubt is a fickle beast, and as it was proven today, can be best fought with the encouragement and support of friends and family. Big thanks to Abby Johnson, Neil Havlik & Kerry Thompson (of the world-famous Thompson Floors) who not only provided Wade a running partner, but provided some much needed encouragement to find that finish line for the day.

The day ended 35 miles farther south than it started in the town of Edgewood, and while Wade and his support team shouldn’t be surprised by the hospitality met in each town, Edgewood provided their ‘own charm and hospitality in the form of the dinner tab getting picked up at Franny’s Edgewood. Wade and his support team are looking forward to our next adventure in the town of Edgewood, as for now though, it’s getting late, and Day #3 is right around the corner. Next on the plate is some solid Z’s and good dreams about fresh legs. Until then, Wade’s encouraging everyone to live their own adventure and take it One Step at a Time.


Day #3

Day #3 of Ryan Wade’s expedition across Iowa and his feet haven’t fallen off yet, not for a lack of trying though. With a big 42 miles under his belt for the day, Wade might be walking around town like a cowboy whose ridden in the saddle too long, but it’s hard to catch him without a smile on his face. It might be the nice weather or the beautiful scenery that Iowa blessed the team with today, but more than likely it’s the people Wade has run across as he makes his way from one community to the next that makes his smile so big.

The first stop on day #3 was in Manchester, Iowa where the local radio station, KMCH The Mix, was kind enough to push the microphone close to Wade’s naturally soft-spoken voice and give him the chance to tell his story. As we’ve been finding out though, it’s not Wade’s story he’s telling, and as Wade puts it, the story isn’t about him at all – it’s about all of the survivors, caregivers and family members who have gone through harder ordeals than simply lacing up some running shoes and pounding the pavement. Big thanks to Rhonda Mensen and the crew at KMCH for giving us the opportunity to expand the conversation and awareness of the good work done by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Two outstanding athletes joined Wade today, and his epic 42 miles wouldn’t have been possible without Chad Furlong and Anne Johnson alongside his heels as he made his way to Coggon. It was a rough one, and if the support team has learned anything, it’s that a person running 40+ miles isn’t an ordinary person at moments, they are a sensitive creature confused in this world, looking for a reason why their body is still going, and if you have to blast whatever music you can find on the radio station to keep them going, if you have to dance and sing and perhaps act a little silly, even if their eyes are on the ground, their ears will hear the encouragement.

The night ended back where it started, in Edgewood, where we doubled back and the community once again stepped up to the plate and delivered on what it means to be an Iowa community. It wasn’t just the outstanding $4,520 the community presented to Wade, or the amazing home cooked meal bought for us by the town Cafe Rose, but it was more in the way they shook our hands, patted our backs, and made us feel at home despite being so far away from our own.

In our time back in Edgewood, Wade and the support team were lucky enough to meet a young man named Jake, who at the age of 10 was a Leukemia survivor, showing to all of us that you don’t need running shoes to inspire, you don’t need to bag 42 miles to be a fighter, and that sometimes when life deals you a patch of bad luck, all you can do sometimes is take it One Step at a Time.

Thanks to everyone who has made this journey what it is, and from Wade and his support crew stationed in the RV (generously donated for the week by Good Life RV), we are looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings and can’t wait to run into everyone down the road.    

Wednesday’s Featured Product: Eco Lips Lip Balm (the Best Lip Balm for the World)

Lip Balm 4Support an Iowa-born business and your lips this summer with this Wednesday’s Featured Product: Eco Lips lip balm. Chapped, dry lips are never part of the warm-weather memories that you like to keep around, so take them out of the picture with a moisturizing lip balm, specifically any one of the products from Eco Lips, because Eco Lips isn’t only good for your lips, it’s good for the world.


Lip Balm 3
Eco Lips Founder: Steve Shriver

Born in the state of Iowa in 1995, Eco Lips is still produced in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and besides their manufacturing location the other aspect of Eco Lips that hasn’t changed in a decade is their pillars of organic, good-for-you ingredients. Not to be confused with “natural” (which has limited strict definition), Eco Lips is USDA certified organic, meaning the ingredients were grown without the use of pesticides, and if you are like the good people over at Eco Lips, you know that your lips are worth the clean growing ingredients.

Lip Balm 5




Lip Balm 2Eco Lips has a variety of different lip balm products, ranging from SPF 15 balms to vegan salves (made with Candelilla Wax instead of Beeswax), so no matter how conscious of a consumer you are, Eco Lips and Fin & Feather can still make sure you are protected this Spring and Summer, and that your lips will never be dry.



Be sure to head on over to the Eco Lips website to learn more about their Iowa history, their organic ingredients and reasons why you should know what you are putting on your lips everyday. Better yet, stop on in to Fin & Feather and see for yourself the difference organic ingredients can have on your day.     

Running Across the State of Iowa with Ryan Wade and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Adventure Begins

wade-family Picture

Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday April 19th, at the strike of midnight, Ryan Wade will be beginning an adventure of lifetime running across the state of Iowa. He’ll be heading North to South across the eastern edge of the state stopping in small communities to say hello and spend the night wherever the support team can park the RV. While running across the state of Iowa might seem like an individual pursuit, Wade will have people cheering him on and supporting him the whole way and, more importantly, behind his epic run across Iowa is Wade’s ambition to raise $175,000 and receive the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Man of the Year Award.



DSC_0008Man & Woman of the Year Award

Each year, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society nominates individuals for the philanthropic Man & Woman of the Year Awards. Once nominated, the candidates have 10 weeks to raise as much money as they can and whoever raises the most capital receives the award.  While many fundraising efforts revolve around some classic events (i.e. waffle breakfast, silent auctions & sponsorship) Wade is prepared to take the fundraising efforts to a whole new level which involves over 240 miles across the state of Iowa.

The Route

Beginning in Eitzen, Minnesota, Wade will be starting his journey Tuesday at midnight making his way down the state covering an average of 30+ miles in the seven days it will take to finish his journey. Along the way, Wade will be stopping in communities, raising awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and just like the namesake of his campaign, he will be taking it all One Step At a Time.

Ryan-LLS-Run-Map (1)

Stay Tuned for More

Stay tuned for more as Wade makes his way across the state, and mark your calendars for Saturday, April 23rd as Wade runs his way through Iowa City. For more information on Ryan’s run, as well as a way to donate to the cause, check out Wade’s Campaign Homepage and Facebook Page today. To follow along with the action as Wade makes his way across the entire state, stay tuned to the Fin & Feather blog because this author, equipped with a camera and GoPro will be traveling across the state with Wade ready to capture all the highs and lows of running across Iowa in support for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“Training with Ryan Wade”

Boat Rentals @ H2O (Presented by Fin & Feather)

Since the summer of 2012, Fin & Feather has been able to add a little something extra to the water over at Sand Lake and the Terry Trueblood Recreation Center, and whether you like to paddle a canoe, roll with a kayak or do some SUP’ing, Fin & Feather has you covered with the H20 Center boat and kayak rentals.

Outside View

Kelsey3cropSmallOpening for the season
H20 always aims to open on Memorial Day Weekend, weather permitting, and depending on the spring forecast, that date is flexible in either direction. The best way to stay up to date on the boat rentals is to check out the H20 Facebook Page.

Operating Hours for the 2016 Summer Season:

Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.


Boats, Boats, & More Boats!Joel Picture

The best way to enjoy Terry Trueblood is floating on top of the water, and the Fin & Feather H20 station has a variety of ways to make some ripples on the shore. Whether you go with the all-age friendly & compatible Pedal Cruisers (aka Pedal Boats, 4 person capacity), or you hop in a canoe or Kayak (holds 2 or 1 people), if those two aren’t your flavor H20 also has an awesome selection of Stand-Up Paddleboards (SUP’s). Hourly Rates can be found below:

Pedal Boats: $15 / Hour

Canoes/Kayaks: $12/Hour

SUP’s: $10/Hour

By shelley


Group Rentals and the Snack Shack

Once you build up a nice appetite after cruising around on the lake, you can stop by the Snack Shack located in the same building as the rentals to fuel up for the rest of your day. Featuring cuisine you’d expect to find in the summer months (soda, chips, chicken tenders, etc.), you don’t necessarily need to pack a lunch for your next visit to Terry Trueblood.
Group rates are available for 10+ people, and there is little to no better way to spend the afternoon with friends than out on a boat. Contact Fin & Feather directly to set up your next group at H20.

Group Outing

Trout Fishing in Eastern Iowa

Thanks to the good work of the people over at the Iowa DNR, as well as the responsible anglers who use them, the state of Iowa has plentiful trout fishing options all over the eastern part of the state. These trout fishing options range from urban trout fisheries to natural-sustaining streams full of your favorite fish. With options abound, especially being located in Iowa City, it’s the right time of year to start considering where you’ll be catching some trout.

Iowa DNR Trout

Urban Fisheries

Generally all urban fisheries are stocked during the months of October – April when the cold water can support the cold-weather fish, and all restocking is subject to reschedule due to weather and other environmental factors. Check out the list of Urban Fisheries below (provided by the Iowa DNR), and follow each link for more information on stocking updates and amenities:

Ada Hayden, Ames
Bacon Creek, Sioux City
Banner Lake (South), Indianola at
Big Lake, Council Bluffs
Blue Pit, Mason City
Discovery Park, Muscatine
Heritage Pond, Dubuque
Lake of the Hills, Davenport
Moorland Pond, Fort Dodge
North Prairie, Cedar Falls
Ottumwa Park Pond
Petocka, Bondurant
Prairie Park (Cedar Bend), Cedar Rapids
Sand Lake, Marshalltown
Terry Trueblood Lake, Iowa City
Scharnberg Pond,

Wilson Lake, Fort Madison

Self-Sustaining Trout Streams

Up in the northeast corner of Iowa are some of the best (and only) naturally-reproducing trout streams in the state. Home to Rainbow, brown and brook trout, you can test your angling prowess in the streams, much of which are accessible through state and county parks. If you’re looking for a real wild good time, a handful of the streams are more remote, creating an adventure just to get there, but ensuring a satisfying feeling once you land the big one. For a complete Trout Streams List and Trout Streams Map, follow the links provided.

Other Hatcheries

The list is not limited to urban and self-sustaining trout fisheries, and there are a handful of other locations to get your fish on. Because these fishing locales rely on restocking each year, don’t plan on going to these locations out of season and seeing some trout, instead log onto the Iowa DNR Trout Fishing page and check out the Master Calendar for when your favorite streams are getting stocked (see example below).

DNR Calendar.png

Rules and Regulations

If you are planning on using your anging abilities this year to catch some trout, be sure that you not only have your Iowa DNR Fishing License, but that you also procure a Trout Stamp for an additional $12.50 (both available at Fin & Feather). Unfortunately it isn’t free to stock these streams each year with trout, so your contributions are a needed way to keep the trout around (until you pull them out of the water).    

For any questions you might have about obtaining a Trout Stamp, where to go when, and what supplies you need to land the big one, be sure to stop into Fin & Feather before you next trout fishing adventure in Iowa.

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