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Kayaking in the Pacific NW


About 5 years ago, my wife and I were moving to the East Coast for  work.  It was while on I-90 East going through the panhandle of Idaho that we realized how much we were going to miss the Pacific Northwest and how much we had yet to explore and experience this great region.  

Fast forward one year and we were moving back to the great Pacific Northwest.  It was during the 3,000+ mile trip back across the country that we decided that we would correct some of our wrongs and explore more of this amazing region.  


We prepped and packed our gear and headed north to Anacortes where we took the ferry from the mainland to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.   If you’ve never been to Friday Harbor, it’s a kind of  like being to a smaller version of Victoria, B.C.  It has quite the hustle and bustle to it, while still maintaining a small town feel.  Unfortunately, once off the ferry, we weren’t able to stop and look around much.  We headed to the Northwest corner of San Juan Island to Roche Harbor to meet our guide Rylie with San Juan Outfitters.  After a quick meet and greet with everyone with San Juan Outfitters, we packed our boats, went over the game plan for the weekend, ate an amazing lunch prepared by Rylie and  set off for  Stuart Island.  

The day was completely bluebird with light winds and a cooperating tide.  As we crossed Spieden Channel heading towards Spieden Island we kept a keep eye out for marine life.  As we skirted the southern shore of Spieden Island we were able to get our first sighting of Harbor Seals soaking up the warm sun on the rocks.  Most of them seemed as if they could care less that we were passing while a few of them plopped, wiggled and squirmed into the frigid water.  After passing through John’s Pass between John’s Island and Stuart  Island, we paddled into the calm and protected waters of Prevost Harbor on the North side of Stuart Island.  The entrance to the harbor is very shallow as we were only in a few feet of water the majority of the time.  Massive rocks lined the bottom of the Northeastern entrance of the harbor.  It wasn’t until we entered the Western end of the harbor when the water deepened and moored sailboats filled up the tranquil waters.  Rylie was able to work his magic with some of the other guides, who were already setting up camp, to score us some amazing waterfront campsite real estate.  Since we arrived a little later than everyone else, we had just enough time to set up camp, get into some warm clothes, watch Rylie transform from kayak guide to 4-star chef, eat an amazing meal and head off to bed.  It was so nice sleeping  so close to the shore listening to the water lap against the boats moored in the harbor.  I slept like a bump on a log.  

We enjoyed a beautiful (and very bright) sunrise the next morning followed by a mouthwatering, belly filling breakfast by Chef Boy-R-Rylie.  Over breakfast, Rylie explained that we would be leaving shortly after breakfast as we would be circumnavigating Stuart Island that day.  With a couple of bathroom breaks, amazing views of the several hundred foot tall cliffs, several boat side visits from Harbor Seals and yet another amazing meal prepared by Rylie, we made it around the island in half a day.  This allowed us to get settled in, grab some warm clothes, eat yet another phenomenal dinner and finish the day with a 4-mile, roundtrip hike to the several hundred foot high bluffs at Turn Point Light Station to watch the sunset.  And what an amazing sunset it was.  

Turn Point is the most Northwestern point in the continental United States and is less than a mile from the U.S./Canadian border in the Haro Strait.  The group sat on the grassy slope watching birds oar, seagoing freighters steam by as the sun slowly fell behind the island filled horizon.  Once back at the campsite, a few  of the members of the group set out for a night paddle to enjoy the night sky and check out the bioluminescent organisms in the water.  

The next morning came early and it didn’t seem like any of us were ready to leave the island.  Our incentive was a bit of a turn in the weather and what would be a fairly challenging tide.  After making our way through John’s Pass and past Spieden Bluff, Rylie informed the group that one of the whale watching boats has reported a special sighting.  Rylie advised that we would raft together and wait to see if we see anything.  

Within a few minutes we observed a small pod of transient Orcas making their way right at us!!  Unfortunately, within a span of 15-20 seconds, the entire area was filled with literally dozens of commercial and private boats attempting to catch a glimpse of the pod.  Our guide told us, “you never see dorsal fins alone; they are always accompanied by at least a dozen motor boats.”  How true it is.  

Finally across Spieden Channel, we pulled up to Posey Island for one last quick  meal before arriving back in Roche Harbor.  As all the others before it, this meal was amazing, yet bitter sweet.  We ate, told stories, laughed and toasted drinks.  As the rain clouds continued to threaten us, we decided to pack it up and head back to the harbor.  As if we had scheduled it with a Swiss clock, the moment we finished pulling the boats onto the dock and loading the van, the clouds unleashed their heavy cargo on us in a refreshing, yet cold bath of rain.  

The drive south to Friday Harbor was filled with the flip-flop sound of windshield wipers, drooping eyelids and even a couple snorts and snores.  The only problem with an amazing weekend with amazing people with amazing scenery, is that it leaves you wanting and yearning for more.  #DIELIVING

Zach Carbo is a former member of the 75th Ranger Regiment and a sponsored SOFLETE athlete, living life to the beat of his own drummer in the PNW. 


Why Your Detox Is Bullshit

Cleanses and detoxes seem to have taken hold as a trend in the diet industry. A cleanse or detox diet usually restricts specific types of foods or entire food groups. Sometimes food itself is even restricted for a few days, and miracle juices full of empty promises replace it. This idea that you need to purchase an overpriced system sold by some pyramid scheme to flush out toxins is straight nonsense.

What’s a toxin anyway?

I imagine Dr. Oz and friends love this word because it sounds intimidating, sparking action among soccer moms and gym rats alike. There are two main types of toxins, endotoxins and exotoxins, which are a part of everyday life. Endotoxins are byproducts of the body’s normal functions. An example of an endotoxin is human waste. Exotoxins come from the environment. We can introduce exotoxins into our body through food and drinks, but they are also in the air we breathe and even absorbed through our skin.

This Just In: Your Body Detoxes Itself

Detoxification refers to the metabolism and excretion of toxins. Your liver, kidneys, intestines and colon are all organs that play a role in your body’s natural detoxification process. Toxins leave the body through breathing exhalation, feces, sweat and urine. Your liver cleanses your blood. Your kidneys filter waste in the body and excrete it through urine. Your intestines and colon absorb nutrients and water, letting waste bypass and leave the body as feces. Your body is constantly going through its natural detoxification process, every single day.

How to Help Your Body

Before you take the BeachBody “Which Cleanse is Right for You?” quiz, take a step back and examine the eating patterns you engage in on a daily basis. Making realistic healthy changes can help support your body’s natural detox process. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the day. Make sure to eat your fruits and vegetables, about 5 to 9 servings per day. Include fiber in your diet from nuts, seeds, vegetables and whole grains. Eat fermented foods with naturally occurring probiotics like kefir, sauerkraut and yogurt. If you aren’t a fermented foods fan, high-quality probiotic supplements might be a good option for you. These healthy eating habits promote bowel regularity, which is good indicator of the body’s ability to detoxify itself.

Wait, so this isn’t a 10 day cleanse?

If you want a truly healthy and sustainable lifestyle, you need to throw this idea of fad diets, cleanses and detoxes out the window and never look back. If there was a “21 day fix” to eternal health, the billion dollar diet industry wouldn’t exist. Your body isn’t designed to drop five pounds in five days. The secret to fueling your body to achieve your goals is to commit to a healthy lifestyle. If it’s overwhelming to suddenly adapt these healthy eating patterns mentioned, just work on tackling them one at a time. The key is to be patient, and be consistent. I know this concept doesn’t sound as glamorous as the Fit Tea promise, but I can tell you- it actually works.


SOFLETE Jiu-Jitsu Detachment

With the growing popularity of UFC, and consequently Mixed Martial Arts, and the U.S. Military’s focus on ground combatives as a hand to hand fighting solution, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has become one of the most popular combat sport systems in the United States today.

Finding a training home can be a challenge, but armed with the right mindset for training you will be able to find a facility and professor that can aid you in your journey.

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