Talkin’ Trash in HB

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Photo Courtesy: Coastal Playground

After more than 10,000 pounds of trash picked up through 67 total beach cleanups so far, Coastal Playground Owner and Founder Andrew Sneddon is far from calling it quits.

“So far in Huntington [Beach], we’ve been able to achieve some amazing results with our consistent monthly cleanups,” said Sneddon. “With three additional cleanups in Seal Beach, South Orange County and Oahu, Hawaii, we will be able to amplify our message considerably.”

Coastal Playground is an ocean-enthusiast clothing and lifestyle company who works alongside non-profit organizations such as Orange County Coastkeeper. Focused on educating the public about the importance of clean beaches and environmental sustainability, Coastal Playground donates 50 percent of their proceeds towards keeping our beaches trash-free and they want to continue the push for three more cleanups in one month.

During the team’s latest event on Saturday May 14th at Huntington Beach’s Brookhurst street, over 500 volunteers of all ages picked up about 475 pounds of trash within 1 hour and 45 minutes. The windy morning weather didn’t put a damper on anyone’s spirit as people collected trash of all shapes and sizes. Plastic debris smaller than a pencil eraser to large metal structures burrowed in the sand were dug out and added to the growing pile of trash. Between all of the volunteers, collecting litter became much like an Easter egg hunt–a good problem to have!

And let’s not forget saving a few of those Tuna Crabs in between trash-hunting at the shoreline! :)

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Photo Courtesy: Coastal Playground

“With three additional monthly beach cleanups, we will not only be able to pick up three times the amount of trash, but we will also reach thousands more people with our project,” said Sneddon. “This creates an army of ocean protectors!”

As surfers, we often notice our fair share of trash on the beach or even floating out beyond the breaks. However, most of the litter seen burrowed in the sand or found by a creek bed does not come from beachgoers.

“60-80 percent of the pollution that we find on our coastal waters and beaches actually originates 40-60 miles away, so that can come from places all the way as far as Riverside all across Orange County,” said Director of Clean Up OC Julia Williams.

In addition to keeping the coast clean, Williams also holds creek cleanups, as well.

Remember that high school chem class? Pollution basically comes in all forms-from solids to liquids as well as gas. Although it is not impossible for a regular Joe or Jane to actively reduce pollutants in gas and liquid form (see ‘hybrid vehicle’), it is entirely possible that while walking to the shoreline, Joe or Jane might pick up a few items and toss them in a nearby trashcan.

Not only are solid wastes like plastic, styrofoam and aluminum foil hurting our marine life, these items also like to wear out their welcome in our natural environment. Common things like a plastic bottle take 450 years to decompose, according to the Department of Economic Security.

Give back to your local beaches and help keep them clean! For more information about how to get involved in your local Orange County Coastkeeper cleanup, click here.

Help fund Coastal Playground’s campaign to add three more monthly beach cleanups! Donate to their Indiegogo campaign.

A Journey on the Pacific Crest Trail with Sean Jansen

Sean Jansen is a rare human being who delights in the most amazing and intimidating of experiences. From driving solo to the further outreaches of desolate Baja coastlines to braving Northern California’s frigid large surf, to taking off for years on end to travel the world, he’s always got an adventure up his sleeve–which is why I didn’t flinch when he told me about trekking the ENTIRE  Pacific Crest Trail.

Born and raised in San Clemente, Calif., Jansen grew up surfing San Clemente’s wide variety of waves and absorbing the beach culture lifestyle. He currently enjoys chilly surf breaks, incredible nature preserves and a solid Eel River IPA about 950 miles north of his hometown in Humboldt county. Since a Lower Trestles session in 2010, he’s been a good friend of mine and has continually motivated me to surf harder, go outside of the proverbial orange bubble and enjoy nature.

According to the Pacific Crest Trail Association, this infamous PCT stretches 2,650.10 miles from Mexico to Canada. PCT spans across mountain ranges, valleys, deeps forests and deserts–a photog’s dream for pictures a-la National Geographic.

To no surprise, Jansen hiked 131.06 miles beyond the calculated amount: 2,781.16 miles

I recently caught up with Jansen about his hiking journey of epic proportions:

1.) What made you want to hike the entire PCT?

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Photo Courtesy: Sean Jansen

 

It was kind of like a culmination of a bunch of things.

I was living with my parents in Montana and was working construction saving every single penny. Within three months, I had saved several thousand dollars saved and had the option to go travel again, but I was kind of bored of traveling, as weird as that sounds. I wanted to do something different. A friend posted on Facebook that he was going to hike the PCT and that kind of re-invigorated my desire to want to hike.

I think it was just going to be an awesome thing that would further push my career to a higher level as a photographer and journalist. I can only imagine the images I would be able to capture if I were to be in nature every single day while experiencing the beauty the Lord has blessed us with on this planet. I think that’s the number one reason—just to get away from everything and go experience nature out there beyond highways, beyond jet planes–beauty that your own two feet can show you.

It’s your own will power to see the beauty that I’ve seen and that’s probably the number one reason.

2.) How did you mentally and physically prepare for this journey?

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Photo Courtesy: Sean Jansen

Mental preparation was really bad, I didn’t mentally prepare at all. My cousin decided to give us a ride to the southern terminus, which was only a 2 hour drive from San Clemente. My friend was getting all giddy in the car saying “Can you believe we’re about to do this?” and I’m just like “No, not really.”

It’s not that I wasn’t excited, I just wasn’t overwhelmed by the emotions of 90 percent of the people. It wasn’t until I woke up one morning on the trail and was like “Holy crap, this is actually happening.” And after I hiked the first 10-100 miles, that’s when it was really setting in. I  was realizing that I’m really out there and really doing this to see what I can really do.

The whole purpose of the trail was for me to learn every ounce I could learn about myself and the trail.  The mental and physical preparation was all a giant learning process. I would never change it to this day.

3.) What were some challenges you faced? Biggest challenge?

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Photo Courtesy: Sean Jansen

 

 

Every day was a challenge, mentally and physically. The trail was a challenge, because it changes every single day. You go from the desert, to the mountains, back to the desert, through snow, rain and wind.

You have to face challenges with other hikers–whether you accidentally fall in love with someone within the first week and you broke up with them and you have to keep seeing them. There were challenges dealing with friends that you got to know really well, but they decided they wanted to hike faster and took off and you never saw them again.

In every way you can think, there was a challenge. I kept saying the number one word of the trail was “change.” Everything about the trail and you changes with every step you take. You change personally, physically and the trail changes–so I can’t really pinpoint a challenge.

As photographer, I had to take off my backpack, pull out my camera (which weighed a couple of extra pounds), and put the camera back in the bag while everyone walks on. The photography aspect was my biggest challenge because:

1.) You’re carrying more weight and

2.) You have to get really creative.

It’s exhausting, but it was worth it.

4.) Any close encounters with wildlife?

Yes absolutely—but I was never nervous or uncomfortable. You would hear stories about people who would have terrible encounters with wildlife—where they got charged at by a bear, for example.

In Oregon, well past dark, we always sleep with food inside of our tent. I literally had a bear scratching at my tent where my friend would’ve been. The next morning, there was fresh bear scat around my entire tent.

In Oregon and Washington, we would always hear Elk bugles ferociously close. That was probably the scariest of what we came across on the whole trail because once we got to Oregon and Washington, it was during their mating season and they’re notoriously territorial and aggressive.

5.) What supplies were you carrying along the way?

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Photo Courtesy: Sean Jansen

Beyond the fact that I’m a photographer and a fly-fisherman—I had a 65 liter backpack, which was overkill. It was way too big, which was a little surprising for what people think. One of my biggest concerns, before I started the trail, was where I was going to get water every day. So what you find out on the trail, was at least once a week, sometimes a little longer, you would get a re-supply of food because you would come across a highway or town.

In a typical backpack, you would carry food, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothing, a lighter, cooking gear among other stuff.  The average pack weighed without food or water was about 20 pounds. Some of us even carried solar panels on our backpacks to charge our gear. I had my camera gear and two batteries, one lens, a couple of filters and a tripod, which was an additional 7 pounds.

At my heaviest point, which was in the desert section where I carried 8 liters of water, my pack weight about 70 pounds. But as I drank water and ate food, my pack became lighter each day. Everyone else was in the 45-50 pound range.

6.) Any special secret spots you can talk about?

In the big bear area, there was this section of trail called the Deep Creek and a lot of us liked this because there was a hot spring. I followed a day hiker to a cliff jump spot, which was 200 yards off trail and I just ended up spending a day and a half there doing nothing but cliff jumping in 90 degree heat.

There was also lake with a waterfall along the John Muir trail section of the PCT that looked it was in either Tahiti or New Zealand—like it didn’t belong in California.

7.) What was your most memorable moment?

Of course, when you walk towards that northern terminus, seeing the border of Canada after hiking for 180 days straight—that is something I will never ever forget along with the people I did it with. I will never forget that.

It’s really just the small moments that create a giant memory. It changes your life, I get emotional thinking about it. There are so many small memories that create this giant pandemonium moment.

8.) How did your feet feel at the end of the journey?

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Photo Courtesy and feet sacrifice: Sean Jansen

 

As far as feet goes, the beginning section was rough because of the blisters and the new stage your feet are going to get into, then towards the latter section of the trail is where injuries occurred. I probably took a week off total.

The first month, every single day, I was popping blisters and covering them up with some sort of bandage. Towards the middle stage of the trail, I was fine, but towards the latter session of the trail, I started getting plantar fasciitis in Oregon—where the muscles in your feet just don’t want to work and you can’t bend your toes. It was very painful, but with a couple of days rest, ice and Ibuprofen, I was fine…and whiskey helps.

9.) Any epic life lessons you want to share?

Photo Courtesy: Sean Jansen

Photo Courtesy: Sean Jansen

In retrospect, it’s really funny. I’m a total weirdo and I connected with every single human on that trail and all of us were weirdos, which worked out. We just didn’t care what people thought of us or about how bad we smelled in public. It was a huge life-changing opportunity, especially being from San Clemente, where in high school, image was everything. The whole trail was a life lesson, appreciation of everything—nature, yourself, other people around you.

10.) Do you foresee more long-distance hiking in the near future?

Photo Courtesy: Sean Jansen

Photo Courtesy: Sean Jansen

A lot more. In 2017, I’m going to do the Appalachian trail, which goes from Georgia to Maine.

In 2018 I’m hoping to hike the Continental Divide trail, which goes from Mexico to Canada. There’s a trail in Europe that goes from France to the Czech Republic. There’s definitely one in New Zealand that goes the entire span of the country.

Hiking is 100% part of my life now. Slow and steady is the best way to see the Earth.

Click here to check out more of Jansen's PCT photos as well as tons of amazing surf, nature and travel pictures.