China challenges U.S. solar tariffs at WTO FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:China says it is challenging a U.S. tariff hike on solar panels before the World Trade Organization, adding to its sprawling conflicts with President Donald Trump over trade and technology.The 30 percent tariffs announced in January improperly help U.S. producers in violation of WTO rules, the Commerce Ministry said. It said a formal complaint was filed Tuesday with the WTO in Geneva.The solar duties are separate from tariff hikes imposed by the Trump administration starting in July on Chinese imports in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. The duties also apply to imports of solar cells and modules from Europe, Canada, Mexico and South Korea. That strained relations with U.S. allies.The Trump administration has defended the solar tariffs as necessary to protect American producers, saying import prices were unfairly low due to subsidies and other improper support.Washington took action under a 1974 U.S. law instead of through the WTO. That led to complaints it was undermining the global trade body. U.S. officials say such action is necessary because the WTO lacks the ability to address Chinese trade tactics.WTO complaints begin with negotiations between parties to the dispute. If those fail, the case moves to a panel of experts who can decide whether the trade controls are improper.More: China files WTO challenge to US tariffs on solar panels
Largest U.S. co-op taps Aggreko for Texas storage project FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy Storage News:A large-scale battery storage system will be built in Texas for the U.S.’s biggest electric utility cooperative, to time-shift solar-generated loads and provide grid services to transmission operator ERCOT.Mobile energy solutions provider Aggreko, which recently took over German-U.S. energy storage pioneers Younicos and incorporated it as a division of the parent company, announced to Energy-Storage.news yesterday that it has signed an agreement for a 2.25MW / 4.5MWh battery storage project with Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC).According to Karim Wazni, managing director of Aggreko Microgrid and Storage Solutions (essentially formerly Younicos), the cooperative picked his company out for the project due to its existing track record of “active and successful participation in the ERCOT market.” Aggreko has already executed five battery projects in Texas, including the ongoing updates and upgrades of the large-scale battery system at Notrees Wind Farm.The project is notable for two reasons: firstly, that in addition to providing power services to ERCOT markets, the battery storage system, which should be capable of storing and discharging 2.25MW of power for two hours, will also provide energy capacity to the local network. As a general trend, customers for large-scale energy storage systems are now seeking this longer duration energy storage as well as the ability to use batteries for high powered, short duration applications, Saft’s Michael Lippert pointed out in a recent interview.The second notable aspect for Aggreko Microgrid and Storage Solutions is that unlike other recent projects, and the projects it is currently working on going forwards, this project for PEC is an asset sale, as opposed to the mobile power ‘as-a-service’ or energy storage ‘as-a-service’ business model the company is rapidly becoming known for. “In this case, the storage project is an asset sale, which is what the cooperative was looking for, not an as-a-service offer,” an Aggreko spokesperson told Energy-Storage.news yesterday.Going forwards, Aggreko is expected to unveil a large project in New York State soon which will provide National Grid with solutions to defer spending large sums expanding transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure in the next few days. “We will be inaugurating a plant in New York State in two weeks, it’s a National Grid project where we’re providing 2MW of power for two hours, and that will be able to deliver peak shaving services to a substation,” Wazni said, adding that even these sorts of larger infrastructure projects could be done ‘as-a-service’.More: Power and capacity will be provided by Aggreko’s 4.5MWh Texas ‘legacy’ project
NextEra tops ExxonMobil market capitalization as clean energy transition continues FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:In yet another sign of the pace of the global energy transition – and the massive switch taking place in the investment community – the market value of [a] company that describes itself as the world’s biggest producer of wind and solar power, US utility NextEra, has overtaken that of what used to be the world’s most valuable company, oil major ExxonMobil.The flip occurred last week, when NextEra overtook ExxonMobil to become the largest energy company in the US by market value. As Forbes reported, an investment in NextEra a decade ago would have delivered to return of 600 per cent, while an investment in ExxonMobil would have returned minus 25 per cent.The shift is as significant as the one the world has seen in the auto industry, with electric vehicle maker Tesla overtaking the biggest car companies in the world in the last year, to the point where it is now valued at more than the next five biggest global car makers combined, despite producing just a fraction of the number of cars.“Epochal,” noted energy commentator Assaad Razzouk. “World’s largest solar and wind power generator has just surpassed ExxonMobil – a byword for Big Oil that was once the world’s biggest public company – in stock market value.”The Financial Times also took a look at the situation. It noted that NextEra reported net profit of $US1.7 billion in the first half of this year and that its wholesale customers had signed up for 14.4 gigawatts worth of renewable capacity, almost triple the amount of two years ago. Over the same period, ExxonMobil reported a loss of $US1.7 billion and found itself kicked off the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the blue-chip stock barometer which attracts institutional investors.[Giles Parkinson]More: World’s biggest wind and solar producer now worth more than ExxonMobil
Harrisonburg may currently be the heart of Virginia’s mountain biking scene, and Washington D.C. might have the street cred when it comes to bicycle commuting, but Richmond, Virginia is poised to become Virginia’s hub of all things two-wheeled. The city landed the gig to host the 2015 UCI Road World Championships, which gives the best international professional cyclists the chance to compete for their country in front of 450,000 spectators. While the race is sure to shine a light on Richmond’s already hip bike culture, local cyclists are using the event as a catalyst to improve cycling in the region for generations to come, with a series of “legacy projects” designed to turn Richmond into a world-class cycling destination. First up, turning the River City into the South’s greatest IMBA Ride Center.In July, Governor Bob McDonnell announced the creation of the Richmond Regional Ride Center, a massive project that will improve the 20 miles of existing trail at Pocahontas State Park and create 30 more miles of trail at the park, which is 20 miles from Richmond. Plans are also in the works to improve the already stellar trail system at the James River Park, which sits within the city limits.IMBA recognizes a dozen Ride Centers across the United States as large-scale mountain bike facilities that include a well-rounded suite of trails, from backcountry to family friendly options. Ride Centers also have a tourism infrastructure geared towards cyclists that includes a welcoming mountain bike community, lodging that caters to cyclists, and bars and restaurants where bikers gather.“We look at riding facilities within 30 minutes of a town, and the town itself. How does it all tie together?” says Frank Maguire, IMBA’s regional director for the Mid-Atlantic. “The Ride Center concept is based loosely on what you find in Scotland, where trail systems are built around pubs and hotels.”IMBA rates its Ride Centers with gold, silver, and bronze standards. IMBA gives Harrisonburg a bronze. The town doesn’t have a lot of singletrack within its city limits, but it has excellent backcountry opportunities and an active bike community. Park City, Utah, on the other hand, is the gold standard, largely because of the comprehensive trail system that begins in town and extends into the backcountry.Richmond already has some of the best in-town singletrack in the country with the James River Park system, and IMBA hopes the improvements to Pocahontas State Park, which include flow trails, a skills course and gateway trails, will elevate Richmond into the top tier of Ride Centers. The goal is to have the first 10 miles of new singletrack built at the park by April 2015, before the world shows up for the Championship races in September. And the Ride Center is only one example of how Richmond is re-branding itself as Virginia’s bike town.“We’re hoping that the Championship will be a catalyst for other things,” says Lee Kallman, director of communications for Richmond 2015, the mastermind organization behind the World Championships in Richmond. “The idea is that after the race, other bike programs live on. The Ride Center is the first legacy project, and it has nothing to do with road cycling or racing, which I love. It’s about creating trails that are accessible to everyone. We’re also putting a lot of focus on the town’s bike infrastructure. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it can happen quickly.”While Richmond has an active and hip cycling culture, it doesn’t have a lot of bike lanes or designated paths. Kallman and other local cyclists recently spent a day in Washington D.C., which is renowned for its progressive bike infrastructure that includes miles of car-free trail, bike-friendly rail, and a bike share program.“Talking to the bike organizations and representatives in D.C. was an eye-opening experience,” Kallman says. “We’re hoping the energy of the 2015 Championships will help spur developments similar to what D.C. has in Richmond. Right now, there are plans to build a bike boulevard that connects parts of the city. Hopefully, if that’s successful, it’ll spur more projects in the future.”Kallman would also like to see an annual race that uses the same yet-to-be-announced course as the World Championship Road Race. Landing the World Championships has already prompted other races to consider Richmond. The Collegiate National Championships will be held in the city in 2014.“The World Championships is just the beginning for Richmond,” says Kallman. “It’s about developing bicycling as an economic engine and bringing bikes to the forefront for the city and region.”
This week’s Trauma Tuesday features a mountain biker attempting a BASE jump off Bolivia’s infamous Death Road. Let’s just say, it doesn’t go quite as planned.
THE DIRT is a weekly look at some of the most pressing outdoor news issues from around the Blue Ridge and Beyond.This week: Blue Ridge Parkway to be minted on U.S. quarter, popular Brevard, North Carolina bike shop looks to expand location near the entrance of Pisgah National Forest, Virginia streams gain federal protection, and more.Blue Ridge Parkway Is MoneyThe iconic Blue Ridge Ridge Parkway will appear on a newly minted U.S. quarter. The design will feature one of the many tunnels found along the parkway and “depicts the grace and curvature of the road hugging the side of a mountain, with the North Carolina state flower in the foreground,” according to the U.S. Mint website. In celebration of the BRP quarter, the Mint plans to host a commemoration ceremony at Pack Square in downtown Asheville, North Carolina at 10 a.m. on June 25.Pisgah Forest Entrance ExpandsThe Hub, a popular bike shop near the entrance of Pisgah National Forest in Brevard, North Carolina has announced plans for a substantial expansion and relocation. The new location will be situated on a 9-acre lot across the street from the original hub.“We’re super excited to have property of our own so we can grow,” owner Sam Salman told Park Baker of the Transylvania Times. “We have almost been losing business because people pull in and the parking lot is full, so they go elsewhere.” Learn more here.New Clean Water Rule Strengthens River ProtectionsA new EPA rule ensures that drinking water for 117 million Americans is safeguarded. One in three Americans gets drinking water from previously unprotected waterways. The new EPA rule clarifies and bolsters protection for these and other rivers, streams, and bodies of water across the country.The rule is especially important for the water-rich Appalachians. More than 28,000 miles of Virginia streams will be afforded federal protection, some of which feed the James and Potomac Rivers. According to Environment Virginia, the newly protected streams account for 57 percent of the states waterways.“From the Potomac and James Rivers to the Chesapeake Bay, the waters we swim and fish in can only be clean if the streams that flow into them are protected,” said Sarah Bucci, campaign director with Environment Virginia. “That’s why this action is the biggest victory for clean water in a decade.” Learn more here.Beyond the Blue Ridge: 22-year-old climber dies on nose of El CapitanAccording to Outside Online, a 22-year-old climber has died from injuries related to a 200-foot fall from the nose of Yosemite’s iconic El Capitan rock face. The climber, whose name has not been released, was only five pitches from the summit when the fall occurred. Search and rescue teams recovered his body on Wednesday.
Scenery, charity, camaraderie, rewards, celebration and music: these words best describe the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon, which takes place on June 4th in Loudoun County at bucolic Doukenie Winery.There’s no better way to get to know wine country than running through its very roots and then learning about the wines first-hand at a post-race celebration shared by other runners and guests. From the very start you’ll feel the energy and passion from the runners, volunteers, and your many hosts who always strive to put their best foot forward. The focus here is on quality, not quantity. The Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon all has a limited field, ensuring our participants and their guests encounter a stress-free environment while enjoying wine country ambience and a thrilling race day experience. You’ll make new friends and hopefully feel like you’re part of the Destination Races family. Its not an experience you can put into words, you need to take the journey, and all great experiences are best shared with friends and family.Destination Races partners with tourism related businesses of the host region to showcase the local bounty, creating a wine, culinary and fitness themed “runcation”. The race is the focal point of the weekend, while other complimentary activities and events allow runners and their guests a chance to explore the area and experience wine country hospitality at its finest.The Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon is not just a running race, it’s a destination lifestyle experience. Destination Races, in partnership with Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports, produce the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon. Loudoun County plays host to this popular event located in and around historic Leesburg, VA, one hour west of Washington DC.The race starts and finishes at Doukenie Winery, the perfect venue for hosting the post-race Wine & Music Festival, Presented by Visit Loudoun. This scenic, tree-laden course runs north of the winery on historic byways, passing vineyards, farms, ranches and estates along the way. The experience includes a unique Wine and Music Festival and wine tasting, all in a one-of-a-kind setting. To register or more information click here.[divider]More From BlueRidgeoutdoors.com[/divider]
Once again, we’re paying homage to your furry four-legged adventure companions with our 6th Annual Dog Photo Contest! Have a sweet shot of Fido leaping over a log on your morning ride or soaking in the view from one of your favorite overlooks? Share it with us here on our contest page and you could win an amazing doggie swag bag provided by Ruffwear!Browse through our list of rules and regulations here before entering the contest, then share your photo and start rallying the troops! Votes are limited to one person per day, and the contest ends April 30th.SUBMIT YOUR PHOTO HERE!Good luck!
The Hard Truths of HomelessnessI came to Asheville for the mountain biking. I had a communications degree and worked in advertising as a commercial photographer. It paid well, but the work was seasonal and intermittent. So when I was asked by a sales manager to join an aerial photography start-up for high-end clients’ real estate, I jumped at the offer.I sold just about everything I owned to finance the training, equipment, and logistics. I would be staying in the sales manager’s condo beside a beautiful mountain lake outside of Asheville.As I sat in my SUV above the lake, I was in a wonderful mood. My cat and all of my belongings were in the truck with me. A check and a new apartment were waiting for me, and along with the excitement of a new job I liked, I felt extremely lucky.But then my phone rang. “The deal is off,” my sales manager said. He had secretly gone to work for another company. “You need to find something else.”I was out of a job and out of options—and also without a check. I had 38 cents in my pocket and about a quarter tank of gas.I scrambled on the internet and found someone on Craigslist advertising a free couch surf. I drove on fumes to the next town to meet him. He told me to meet at a fast food restaurant near their place in a few hours and he would take me to his place. As I pulled into the parking lot, I ran out of gas and coasted into a parking space. I waited for hours and never heard from him.My year on the streets had begun.I was 61 years old. My parents were both dead, and I had no family or close friends to turn to. I’d always told myself that if I ever ended up in this situation, I’d just kill myself. I even found the box cutter that I kept in the car and considered it. But I had my cat with me, and I loved him more than anything. I needed to make sure that he was okay first. So I put the blade away.The ShelterYou probably won’t be welcomed when you try to get into a shelter. They’re often run by resident homeless volunteers who aren’t usually very friendly. No one hates the homeless like other homeless people. It’s a major reason why the homeless often choose to camp outside or live in their car. I lived in my truck with my cat for a few weeks, but I soon realized that I couldn’t take good care of my cat, so I found a no-kill animal shelter who was willing to take him. It was a hard goodbye. He was all I had left.Once I was in the shelter, I very quickly volunteered to work the front desk. Volunteers were allowed to stay in the shelter during the day, and we had other privileges like eating first before the crowds come. The non-volunteers who stayed at the shelter had to leave right after breakfast and stay out until evening. You have to basically wander the streets all day with all your belongings. I only had to do it for the first couple of weeks before I became a volunteer, and it’s not fun. Everywhere you go, people watch you with wary eyes, expecting you to steal or vandalize something or they assume you’re making a drug deal. There’s usually nowhere to go to the bathroom or sit down. It’s exhausting. You’re not really a person anymore. You’re homeless. People put you safely into a narrative involving faults you must have that they don’t—to protect them from thinking that it could happen to them. Once you are homeless, that’s all that defines you. Your real past is gone, and everyone assumes that you must be a junkie, seriously mentally ill, or a criminal. It follows you for years after. I recommend moving and not telling anyone. Start over.Shelters aren’t much better than the streets. I was sick all of the time, often stuck in a small dirty space with several other sick, coughing residents. Many homeless are virulent anti-vaxxers and refuse the vaccination that would help reduce the infection rate. I didn’t sleep much, either. In a shelter it’s noisy with coughing and snoring and fighting.You aren’t safe, in a shelter or on the street. It can get violent, and you’re absolutely going to be robbed at some point. Most likely more than once.Whenever an attractive woman came through, it was almost always the same story. She would hook up with a homeless man for “protection,” and he would then proceed to beat and rob her. Black eyes, missing front teeth, and casts on arms were the usual look within a short time.I tried to show kindness to the people who came through, but eventually I developed the same compassion fatigue that sets in with everyone. Whether they are homeless because of mental illness, addiction, rejection by their family, or bad luck, they often tend to be assholes in their behavior towards others. It’s a prime reason no one wants them in their homes. Lying, stealing, vandalism and violence are common. I was threatened several times while working the front desk, and I often had to stop violent altercations or otherwise put myself in danger.The HomelessThe reasons people were in the shelter or on the street varied. A large percentage of the population were prisoners recently released from long sentences. They were so damaged and institutionalized that I didn’t have much hope that they would ever do very well. Another group were LGBTQ kids and even some adults who had been thrown out of their homes and had nowhere to go.For middle aged and older men, alcoholism was the main cause. Multiple DUIs and losing their drivers’ licenses generally sent them over the edge financially, and their personal relationships were damaged to the point where they had nowhere to go. Of course, hard drugs had a part to play, but the majority of the heavy druggies stayed on the street in cars or camping out.“You’re not really a person anymore. You’re homeless. It’s all that defines you. Your real past is gone, and everyone assumes that you must be a junkie, seriously mentally ill, or a criminal. It follows you for years after.”It seemed that almost everyone was getting a disability check, but instead of using it for shelter or food, they just spent it all on a big week-long meth party at the beginning of the month as soon as they were paid. Most would split cheap motel rooms for a few days, and the shelters were largely empty for the first week of the month. One of the workers at the nearby hospitality house wrote a poem about the “Five-Day Check Motel” phenomenon. Then, when the check was spent, they would panhandle or fly signs. Food, shelter, and clothing are usually freely available at the shelters, so they spent that money on cigarettes, alcohol, lottery tickets, and drugs. I never saw anyone panhandle or fly a sign that wasn’t going to buy alcohol or drugs with it. I don’t ever give money to panhandlers because of that. I know it’s just going to hurt them. I wasn’t aware of anyone who was trying to get their life back together ever panhandling or flying signs. I suppose it’s possible, but I just never saw it. Don’t give money to panhandlers would be my advice. Donate to shelters or other aid organizations instead.One guy at the shelter—a fellow who had been in prison for 25 years and was really a nice guy—was waiting on his disability back pay to get a place and a new start in life. We had great hopes for him. But then he just disappeared one Thursday. While I was on duty at the front desk the following week, he called from jail in South Carolina, begging to be allowed back. He had received his check, and then he’d immediately been robbed by his daughter and her friends who had lured him to a crack party in South Carolina. They disappeared with his money, and he was arrested in the aftermath. There were lots of stories like that.Another guy at the shelter had lost his guitar shop business and his home after he was busted for a couple of small pot plants on his back porch and sentenced to 1 1/2 years in jail. But unlike most people at the shelter, he was getting up at 4:30 every morning to ride his bicycle several miles in the dark to get to his new job at Subway. He eventually found a roommate situation with an old friend and was the first to escape back to a semblance of normal life.Problems and SolutionsThe modern homelessness epidemic is caused by lack of adequate mental health care. It started back in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan closed the mental hospitals to the nonviolent mentally ill and put tens of thousands of at-risk people on the street. They literally put them on a bus, drove them to a big city, and kicked them out on a backstreet to fend for themselves. Basically all the guys from One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest were on the street. The problem has grown substantially since that time to include all sorts of folks who have fallen through the ever-widening cracks in our society.I doubt even a guaranteed income would actually keep everyone off the street since a surprising percentage of the hard core people already receive disability payments but don’t use it for housing or food. Quite a few folks are essentially professional homeless who’ve been on the street for decades and will probably die there. They winter in Florida and come to the mountains for summer. Many get apartments only to get kicked out because they simply can’t live with other people without fighting or robbing their neighbors.The hospitality houses you can visit during the day are a valuable resource. There are counselors to help navigate the various programs for housing or healthcare, and you can often use them as an address for food stamps or job applications and to receive mail. There were also showers and toiletries available, and safe storage bins to store your belongings, which is a huge issue on the street. They have coffee and pastries, and it gives people a place to go after leaving the shelter after breakfast or waking in your car or tent.The most financially advantageous approach to homelessness that communities have tried has been to just give them a home. It’s extremely expensive keeping people on the street. I’ve watched people blow thousands of dollars in ambulance and emergency room fees faking an illness just to get out of an extremely easy three-hour, once-a-week work requirement to stay in the shelter. We also had to make several calls for ambulances to take care of overdoses of so-called synthetic marijuana like Bizarro. They’d smoke the whole package in the bathroom and end up out front clinging to a light pole, screaming that demons were trying to drag them to hell. The demons were actually the EMTs trying to get them to the emergency room.Telling addicts to clean up before they get housing doesn’t really work. It’s incredibly difficult to quit drugs or alcohol while homeless. Also, a good percentage of the homeless population aren’t ever going to be able to hold a job and are just so broken as people that the best thing we can do is just take care of them. Compassion for the unlikable is hard but necessary. It’s easy to feel empathy for a child immigrant separated from their family. It’s a different thing when it’s the scary guy yelling and dancing on the corner.“The ‘code purple’ homeless are the most narcissistic, entitled, and angry people I’ve ever encountered. I don’t think a guaranteed income and free housing for all will help them at all, really. ”In the winter, the shelters would have a system called “code purple” whenever the temperature dropped below freezing. During code purple, everyone was allowed in, giving a place out of the cold to people who couldn’t normally stay for a variety of reasons. They were the felons and the hardcore drinkers and drug users, the folks who couldn’t or wouldn’t stay sober and pass a breathalyzer test. They seemed to move from the street to the jail and back again like a three-month tide. It’s a very different group from the regular residents who were vetted and basically just glad to have a place to stay while trying to get housing or disability or social security going.For the code purple folks, the street is more of a permanent thing. This mixing of a largely criminal element with the general population is a constant source of problems for the shelters. There was constant trouble with them, and robberies, vandalism, violence, and general mayhem were the norm. They often ripped everything off the walls and tried to destroy anything they could. The shelters where I stayed no longer take part in code purple because of the cost and pointlessness of trying to help them. It’s the most narcissistic, entitled, and angry group I’ve ever encountered. I don’t think a guaranteed income and free housing for all will help this demographic at all, really.I suppose it depends on the individuals involved at the time you’re there, but there was also quite a bit of corruption in the management of shelters, from stealing donations to outright embezzlement of millions of dollars. I think it’s gotten better in the ensuing years. But the director of the last place I stayed was the most fervent Evangelical I knew, constantly and loudly proclaiming his love for Jesus. He disappeared with over $2 million of the shelters funds. It’s my understanding that they still don’t know where he is.However, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of the various area churches’ involvement in taking care of the homeless. I’ve never been a churchgoer, and I sometimes resented being forced to attend church services at shelters, but really it was a small price to pay for their incredible generosity and compassion. Whether working in association with other churches or just running the shelter as a mission to help spread their message, the shelters I dealt with were all operated by religious organizations. Secular charities also contributed a great deal to the homeless.HomeA little less than a year after it began, I was able to get my early social security started and move into an apartment. The shelter where I was staying at the end helped me with housewares, food, and some furniture, as well as covering my deposit on the place. They even helped me move. When you’ve lost everything, kindnesses like that are priceless.
I’ve always used this classic phrase to describe my participation in sports. I’ve dabbled in so many different activities, gleaning skills from one and transferring them to the next. Fly fishing has always been on my mind, but never something I thought I could try. The buy-in seemed too great — waders, fancy side packs, a knowledge of fly hatching schedules, patience. Fly fishing also had this mysterious allure, complete with slow-motion casting and pulling a fresh catch, water cascading from its speckled belly, above the water and examining the prize. But that was for someone far more skilled and with far more knowledge than me. Maybe. “Jane of all trades, master of none.” Ben and I had gone fly fishing ONE time before with a guide and used their equipment. After that single introduction, we fell in love and knew we needed to dive in. We started with the Hane and Iwana, two rods that are great for beginners and Colorado streams. We also used the Tenkara USA kit which provided everything we needed for our first trip out. We grabbed two friends with prior fly fishing knowledge (but not Tenkara knowledge) and made our way to the river. Our friends had a net (which isn’t necessary if you handle the fish carefully), we wore river sandals, shorts to wade into the cold water, and stuffed supplies into our pockets. We had big plans to watch a ton of the informational videos Tenkara USA has on their website to help us set up the rods (we watched them after the fact, they are super helpful, but not a necessity). After years of working outdoors, you would think we are used to losing service and needing offline plans. We are not. With just the instruction booklet tucked into the Tenkara USA kit, we dove into our newest hobby. We learned the knots on-site, figured out how to set up the rods next to the rapids, and …wait for it… we BOTH CAUGHT FISH. Take that ‘slow-motion casting in pristine remote locations with a copious amount of line pulled out.’ These two guppies were able to learn the knots, attach the tapered line and tippet, tie on the fly, and trick a fish into thinking its food. With the help of our friends, we were able to learn the correct procedure for keeping the fish safe and letting it go. A great success for a morning on the water. I’d run into Tenkara rods a few times in the past and was familiar with claims that they were simple, great for backpacking, and easy to use. After three years of living in a van and camping near streams more often than not, it was time to swallow my pride, push down my fears, and try out some fly fishing. Tenkara USA is the original tenkara brand in the US. Tenkara is a simple type of fishing that originated in Japan. It focuses on the art of catching the fish, instead of complicated equipment, using just a rod, tenkara line, and fly, to enjoy the sport. There is one way for this tour to be a reality– our sponsors! Sending a thank you shout out to all of our awesome sponsors that make this tour happen: Sea to Summit, Mountain House, Lowe Alpine, Leki, Big Agnes, Stio, Roofnest, and Franklin County, VA. For more info on our sponsors, check out the post, “Live Outside and Play is Back!” This sport is far more accessible than I previously thought. We have so much more to learn about the sport, but it IS possible to dive in and be successful on your first go. The simplicity of the Tenkara USA rods and equipment made the process of starting a new sport so much easier. Don’t forget to grab a fishing license, always use caution around water, respect the environment, plants, and animals, and leave no trace. ***We want to be totally transparent. We sought out Tenkara USA to write this article. We were interested in the sport and had no idea where to begin. When we learned about the simplicity of the rods and how helpful Tenkara USA was with beginners, we contacted them. They supplied us with two rods and a starter kit.