Author Archive for: joe
The company that brought commercial canyoneering and waterfall rappelling to the eastern United States is unveiling a new canyon beginning on May 1st and we believe you are going to find it to be “PARADISE”. Below are details and photos of our newest canyoneering trip:
This is a full canyoneering experience. Participants should be in good physical shape and consistently maintain a high level of fitness ie comfortable hiking on rocks at a leisurely pace, hiking up hills with rooty trails at a leisurely pace, capable of easily climbing leaning adjustable ladders and long stairs (5 flights) is a good indicator you are capable of doing this trip. This trip is 5-7 hours of climbing, rappeling, bouldering, swimming and “full on adventure.” Paradise Canyon is given its namesake for a reason. The trip begins with a steep descent along a trail into the canyon which is littered with beautiful pot holes. After receiving rappelling instruction and a technical review the fun really begins. Participants will rappel 125 feet next to an incredible waterfall after completing the rappel the fun continues with a technical descent of the area we call “the throat”. After getting through the throat participants have an eight foot jump into a pool of water followed by a 50 meter swim to Paradise beach. At paradise beach participants will have lunch and have opportunities to swim and take photos before beginning the long steep trail climb out of the canyon and back to the vehicle. Limit of ten participants unless you contact us with a larger group and special arrangements are made. Canyoneering occurs in remote areas and climbing on small wet boulders is part of the experience.
moderate to difficult
Full day program (5 – 7 hours) trip length varies based on number of participants
$225 per person minnimum of 2ppl, maximum of 10ppl
Limit of 10 participants. Participation age is 15 and up.
See you all in Paradise!
Pura Vida Adventures is excited to have a new partnership with Natural Retreats located in Lake Toxaway, NC. Pura Vida Adventures will be offering guests of Natural Retreats (North Carolina) the opportunity to visit the waterfalls, mountain vistas, and historical sites by mountain bike. Programs will meet the needs of groups of all ability levels. Joe Moerschbaecher, owner of Pura Vida Adventures said, ” We are excited to start a new partnership with Natural Retreats. Natural Retreats is a world wide operation and having the opportunity to show their guests the mountains of North Carolina by bicycle is an exciting opportunity for us at Pura Vida. Whether the guests are beginner bikers looking to pedal the gravel roads and visit the waterfalls of Dupont State Forest , or they are experienced riders ready to shred the Pisgah National Forest’s world class single track; Pura Vida is excited to assist in making each Natural Retreats’ guest’s experience memorable.”
Natural Retreats offers extraordinary vacation rentals in some of the USA’s most stunning wilderness locations, paired with personal concierge service and world class outfitters. From the cabins and cottages at Virginia Hot Springs and Meadow Lane, the amazing ski resort that is Taos New Mexico, and lakeside luxury of the Greystone Inn in North Carolina, to the adventure of Tsaina Lodge Alaska and The Lodge at South Fork Idaho, all offer a truly exceptional vacation experience. To find out more about Natural Retreats visit www.naturalretreats.com .
For the past 7 years the mission of Pura Vida Adventures has been to offer safe personal trips to families and small groups which focus on exploration,discovery, and adventure. Pure Vida Adventures offers guided services in Brevard North Carolina. We offer rock climbing guides, mountain adventures, Art Loeb Shuttles, guided waterfall tours, mountain biking, guided paddling, kayaking, whitewater rafting, adventure racing camps, family mountain adventures near brevard and asheville north carolina, camping, hiking, canyoneering. If you love being outdoors come have an adventure with us, North Carolina has amazing landscapes such as Dupont State Forest, Panthertown Valley, Pisgah National forest, Nantahala National Forest, Gorges State Park. Regardless of age or ability level we have a trip that will quench your thirst for adventure and provide you an opportunity to “experience the good life.” To find out more about Pura Vida Adventures visit www.pvadventures.com .
There are lots of Top 10 lists out there and Pura Vida Adventures has decided to compile one of their own. This list will consist of our top 10 adventures in Brevard, North Carolina. Just like any top 10 list, this one is subjective; however, we believe that we have a good pulse on the adventure scene with over 15 years experience studying, living, playing, and working as adventure guides in Brevard.
10) Brewery Tours: This is a new addition to the area. Over the past ten years the micro brewing industry has become big business. It came to Brevard about 2 years ago, first with Brevard Brewing Company, who focuses on German style lagers, and followed by Oskar Blues Brewery, whose high gravity beers will have you waking up in the morning asking the question, “How did my night end?”. To add to the excitement of our local brewery scene Sierra Nevada is now located down the road in Mills River. If you want to learn more about the micro brewing industry in Brevard, Brevard Brewery Tours offers guided tours of the Brevard Brewing scene.
9) (Paddling) Playing in the Davidson River: First of all we should not call this “Paddling the Davidson River”, we should call it “Playing in the Davidson River”. My first thought was to include this as just a paddling piece talking about the diversity of Paddling opportunity along the Davidson River. Discussing the Class III-V rapids along the Daniel Ridge tributary of the upper Davidson down to the fish hatchery, and the class II whitewater opportunities on the lower Davidson. Then I thought the Davidson is not always at adequate paddling levels, but it is still a hot bed for fly fishing, tubing, cliff jumping, and swimming. Of course, no piece on the top 10 adventures in Brevard would be complete without discussing Sliding Rock, so we say insert Sliding Rock here.
8) Road Biking/Cycle cross riding in Pisgah: These two forms of cycling were lumped together because whether grinding the gravel or pounding the pavement you are going to have a good time in the place the locals call “The Pisgah”. On the road bike try the classic Hwy 215 – Blue Ridge Parkway- Hwy 276 loop. If you prefer to stick primarily to the gravel and some cycle cross friendly single track try FSR 477- FSR 475B- FSR 475-Fish hatchery Rd- Bracken Mountain Trail, then complete the loop with an easy paved pedal through downtown Brevard to the bike path and back to your car. No matter which bike (even motorbike) you choose riding “The Pisgah” will allow you to understand why this place has been called the “Land of the Sky”!
7) Tombstone Blues Canyon (Waterfall Hunting): Transylvania County, North Carolina is known as the Land of Waterfalls with over 200 waterfalls in this county alone. There are few other places that offer a better opportunity to hike to waterfalls, photograph waterfalls, or rappel waterfalls! One of our favorite adventures in the waterfall genre is Tombstone Blues Canyon. Check out this video:
6)Hiking Up John Rock: This is it if you have 3-4 hours to spend in Pisgah National Forest and none of the technical equipment, experience, or energy needed for the other activities in the list. The hike up to John’s Rock includes history, scenic waterfalls, and incredible vistas. John Rock got its name because during the New Deal era a Civilian Conservation Corp. camp sat where the fish hatchery sits today. This hike starts and finishes at the fish hatchery it goes along the Cat Gap Trail to the John Rock Trail and eventually to the top of John Rock where you will get an incredible view of Looking Glass Rock and beyond.
5)Climbing at Looking Glass Rock: Looking Glass Rock is a centerpiece to the Brevard area as well as Pisgah National Forest. Ever since Steve Longnecker and the early climbers at Looking Glass started putting up first ascents on the rock, climbers from throughout the eastern United States have made the pilgrimage to climb here. From top roping to aid climbing Looking Glass Rock has it all. The Nose route at Looking Glass is the rock’s most popular multi pitch climb. The four pitch climb ascends over 600 ft and allows one to have a bird’s eye view (or more uniquely a peregrine falcon’s eye view) of the Pisgah National Forest.
4)Art Loeb to North Slope Trail Run: This trail run gives you the perfect feel of what it is like to trail run in Pisgah National Forest. You are either climbing, descending, or crawling on this trail run. Located right near the forest gates you can access this trail run via the Estatoe trail. After warming up on the Estatoe trail prepare your body to climb and climb some more along the Art Loeb Trail until you hit North Slope Connector. Once on the connector trail descend down to North Slope Trail taking a right at the trail junction. From their enjoy the rolling rocky terrain and pleasant wooden bridges that the North Slope Trail offers before dumping you out near the Davidson River Campground entrance.
3)Mountain Biking Black Mountain: Black Mountain Trail maybe the most popular mountain biking trail in the entire Pisgah Ranger District. Besides being easily accessible from the forest gates, it also provides riding opportunities for riders of varying ability levels. The lower section of Black Mountain trail connects with Thrift Cove and Sycamore Cove providing a great ride for those Pisgah mountain bike virgins. The next section known as “Maxwell to Black” maybe one of the most popular mountain bike rides in all of Pisgah. A long climb from the horse stables rode then a right on Maxwell Road eventually brings you to the intersection with Black Mountain. From there take a right, ride and hike your bike to Hickory Knob then begin your descent of pure delight. Another option is to explore Upper and Upper Upper Black Mountain Trail for more remote, single track trails, an incredible view of Looking Glass Rock, and a corridor to even more Pisgah single track.
2)Paddling the North Fork: The North Fork is an incredible whitewater kayaking experience for any competent Class III-IV creek boater. The traditional run starts with a series of class II-III boogie water before entering into the gorge proper at Boxcar Rapid. As you take the 15 ft. entrance slide at boxcar into the 8 ft. drop at the falls you are in another world until your boat boofs upon landing. The fun continues on with a series of class III-IV rapids including The Clog, Razor Rock, and Vortex Rapid. The gorge proper culminates with the 8 ft. waterfall called Submarine Rapid. Run this rapid too far to river left and find oneself in a cave created by an undercut rock. Good news is it typically will flush you, but the bad news is you probably will spend a bit of time fishing out your boat from the undercut. From there hike out and continue running laps in the gorge proper, or continue downstream paddling some fun class II boogie water for a few more miles.
1) Backpacking the Art Loeb Trail: The Art Loeb Trail takes the top spot on our list for the simple reason that at the essence of all outdoor activity is the knowledge gained from backpacking. Backpacking teaches one to live deliberately for accidents occur when mistakes accumulate. The Art Loeb Trail provides a challenge for the beginner backpacker looking to complete their first weekend backpacking trip to the fast packer attempting to complete the trail in one day. The Art Loeb will provide you with opportunities to hike balds up to over 6,000 ft in height( including Black Balsam), 360 degree views at Pilot Mountain, views of Graveyard Fields and much more. The majority of backpackers d0 the approximately 32 mile point to point trail, which includes over 11,000 ft of elevation gain, in 3 days and 2 nights. More information on the Art Loeb trail is available here.
This top ten list is simply the humble opinion of one Brevard mountain guide. You may agree with some or all the choices, or you may simply agree to disagree, but I hope you enjoyed the read, as much as you “Enjoy the Ride” whether by foot, bike, boat, or rope!
This article was written by Joe Moerschbaecher with input from other Pura Vida Adventures guides, friends who live in the Brevard area, and past clients’ experiences.
It is 8am on a cold Thursday morning in January. I am currently having a mental debate with myself. The questions are SERIOUS! What am I going to do today? The temperature reads 16 degrees but the wind chill makes it feel like 5 degrees. I could sit here and continue to write throughout the entire day; but honestly, first off I am not that good of a writer, and secondly I know I can not sit still that long. Wait a second I digressed back to the mental debate I was having. Should I ride my mountain bike or trail run? This is where the debate begins I was planning on mountain biking: enjoying some sweet Pisgah single track, but it is colder than a witch’s tit outside and the ground resembles the frozen tundra of Lambeau field. Speaking of Lambeau that rhymes with Flambeaux, Is it Mardi Gras yet? The Flambeaux carriers are the one’s that carry the flames to light the mardi gras parades. I bet it is warm in New Orleans. Wait a minute, why am I here?
Am I not usually elsewhere on some grand adventure on the other side of the world this time of year, preferably where it is warm? Get back focused. Back to that debate, normally I run in temperatures this cold, but it has been this cold for quite a few days now and I miss the mountain bike. The dopamine received from rolling down some Pisgah single track, or creek boating (can’t kayak today we have not had enough rain, plus it is dam cold) is different then the dopamine received on a long Pisgah trail run. Trail running is typically so warm though you are cold for about the first 10 minutes and then you are warm the rest of the run. Mountain biking in Pisgah has as many temperature ebbs and flows this time a year as a Grateful Dead show has tempo changes. Your climbing, your warm; your descending, your cold; your by the creek, your cold; your in the sun, your warm; etc, etc, etc. If I just go trail run I will be warm have a great run and get my daily Endorphin Fix.
I did that race before, that race was based out of Fayetville, West Virginia. Boy, I bet it is cold there right now. Maybe I should start adventure racing again? Again back to the debate. If I just wait for this phone call, maybe it will warm up enough to bike. Then I will get some seriously sweet Pisgah single track: almost nobody out there, full option of seasonal trails. The sun is shining bright through the window as I write maybe it is already warming up. Maybe I will bike.
Or maybe, I should run I just walked outside and they were not lying about the wind chill factor. Also I am suppose to be pre running the Pisgah Running Adventure Race for Eric Weaver in the next couple weeks. The extra running miles today would help with that endeavor. Well at least I got that Five Ten shoe review done this morning, while trying to write this blog. That way when people ask me at the bar today what I did beyond replying, “lived the dream” (went for a trail run in Pisgah? or biked some sweet Pisgah single track? this is the question of the mental debate so I yet to have an answer). I can say I wrote a Five Ten Canyoneer shoe review. At least I am amusing myself as I write this blog.
Oh look Native is throwing a thank you party for the locals only project. Brevard won best small outdoor town. That is the same weekend I need to recert my WFR, that will be a busy winter weekend, maybe that is why I have not taken my yearly adventure to a far away land, preferably somewhere warm. Okay back to the real question sweet Pisgah Trail Run or shredding Pisgah single track?
Alright not getting much higher it is now 10:15 and 22 degrees out, todays high is 27 degrees and flurries are expected this afternoon. I could bike in this and it would be fun and cold, but I believe I will have enough cold, fun on the bike this weekend at the Icycle . I believe today will be a trail run even though I was planning on biking. Now that I have found the answer to the mental debate I can continue on with my day.
See this is the life of this mountain guide in Brevard in the deep dark winter months. It is a good life, it is a great life. Winter is time for me to reinvigorate myself, revitalize myself, and “experience the good life”. It is a time when the forest is quieter there are few people, naked trees, icicles (that reminds me the icycle mountin bike race is Sat., I look forward to that party), frozen ground, and moments of silence.
Oh shit now what am I going to do tomorrow? more running, or some mountain biking, maybe it will be warm enough to cyclecross ride, or we will get enough precipitation to go creek boating.
Spring Season with Pura Vida Adventures kicks off with Banff Mountain Film Festival March 14th- 16th
Pura Vida Adventures is once again excited to be a sponsor for Brevard College’s Banff Mountain Film Festival showing on the evenings of March 14th and 15th.
In addition to being present at the Banff Mountain Film Festival, Pura Vida Adventures will also be hosting various courses and adventures during that weekend. Here is a list of some the adventures we have on tap for the weekend of March 14th-16th.
Pura Vida Adventures is offering new bike tours in winter/spring 2014.
3 DAY COURSE MARCH 14TH-16TH, 2 DAY COURSE MARCH 15TH-16TH
Bike in the Pisgah National Forest, the place Bike Magazine called, “AMERICA’S BEST KEPT SECRET.”
Riding also will include Dupont State Forest, filled with fast, flowy, hard pack trails this forest will get your adrenaline running. As you explore the forest singletrack as well as its monstrous waterfalls.
Finally, take some time to learn Brevard’s newest trail system Bracken Mountain, which will start and end in downtown Brevard .
Trips includes transportation to trail heads, a professional guide, background information on the area, as well as details on the areas flora and fauna. Also trips are adjusted to meet user’s ability levels.
2 day rock climbing instruction program and single day courses March 15-16th and one day program on March 15th
This course is designed to provide you with competence and confidence on rope basics and rock climbing skills. It covers all skills beginning climbers shoul learn including proper gear and how it should be rigged, belaying and rappelling techniques, knots, prussic knots, and climbing techniques. The second day goes into natural and artificial anchor building for top rope set up. This program also allows for a sufficient amount of climbing time to gain additional climbing experience. Accomodations not provided
March 15th Beginner Cougar Canyon Trip
This is our full day beginner canyoneering experience. Participants should be in good physical shape and be comfortable hiking on rocks at a leisurely pace, hiking up hills with rooty trails at a leisurely pace, capable of easily climbing leaning adjustable ladders and long stairs (5 flights) is a good indicator you are capable of doing this trip. Participants of this program need no prior climbing or rappelling experience. This program includes a 75 ft waterfall rappel vigorous hiking and rock scrambling. Some of the travel takes place in the waterways negotiating boulders, while other parts of it take place on trails that parrallel the waterway. This trip also includes travel through water that is knee deep.
Check out the Banff promo video to getcha a little further excited.
For more info or to book one of these trips with Pura Vida Adventures call 772-579-0005 or call 772-579-0005
The Astral Brewer is a canvas shoe not made specifically for canyoneering but with some of the features one looks for in a canyoneering shoe. The Brewer is made primarily for paddling and its low profile is ideal for any kayaker who struggles to fit into their kayak with regular paddling shoes. Over the last couple months Pura Vida Adventures has tested the Brewer in the canyons of Arizona, and North Carolina. Below is our review of the Astral Brewer for Canyoneering purposes.
Reviews are based out of 5 stars:
Comfort 3 stars
The Brewer is an incredibly comfortable shoe to wear, in fact it feels more like a comfortable sandal then a shoe. The Brewer fits like a low cut Converse Chuck Taylor basketball shoe. Unfortunately, like a Chuck Taylor it lacks any sort of ankle support. This is one of the major drawbacks to using the shoe for canyoneering purposes. The lacing system is simple and it ties just like any pair of shoes (I would however warn the user to take the extra time to tuck the shoelaces in to avoid the possibility of tripping on the laces as they are long. The other major concern in this shoe is its lack of warmth when used for canyoneering. The lacing system does however allow the Brewer’s width to adjust if the user decides to wear neoprene booties underneath the shoes. It is this reviewers experience that even with the neoprene booties under the shoes the Brewer lacks warmth in comparison to the more commonly used canyoneering shoes.
Durability 3 stars
The Astral Brewer does have some durability issues if used continuously for canyoneering purposes. Although the stitching is well put together, the canvas on the shoe wears and tears quicker than other canyoneering shoes when friction is continually applied to the canvas outer.
Performance 3 stars
The biggest question about this shoe was its performance. Would the rubber stick well to wet surfaces? The resounding answer is yes on both wet and dry sandstone and granite this shoe performed as any shoe with Five Ten rubber would be expected to. This is no surprise as the Brewer’s rubber for the year 2013 was Five -Ten rubber. However, overall performance rating was lowered due to the lack of ankle and arch support.
Overall 3 stars
The Brewer is an incredibly comfortable shoe with a sandal fit. Its sticky rubber bottom performs incredibly well. The Brewer’s letdowns, as a canyoneering shoe, in this humble reviewer’s opinion are no ankle support, lack of warmth, and less than ideal durability. This should come as no surprise the Brewer was made with boaters in mind not necessarily canyoneers, that being said the Brewer hits the make for use as a secondary canyoneering shoe for warmer weather and lower grade canyons.
Pura Vida Adventures was the first company to run commercial canyoneering courses in the eastern US, in addition canyoneering courses and trips are run by Joe Moerschbaecher who is certified through the American Canyon Guides Assocition. Pura Vida Adventures is the oncly American Canyoneering Academy accredited guide service in the eastern US. www.pvadventures.com
Pura Vida worked with me to accomplish my canyoneering goals for my senior project. This fantastic opportunity opened up a new way to enjoy North Carolina’s wild places. Joe Moerschbacher graciously dedicated his time to help me grasp the basics of safe and efficient canyoneering, and provided me with opportunities to lead and teach what I learned.
I assisted Joe in teaching Brevard College WLEE students during their basic canyoneering course. Helping groups with what I previously learned proved to be a challenging but excellent way to solidify the basics. I helped groups build anchors as well as assist in repelling fundamentals.
My second opportunity to help lead and teach was co-guiding on a canyoneering day trip in Tombstone Blues Canyon. During this trip I worked with Joe in leading clients down the water way. This trip incorporated everything I had learned and put it to the test.
Joe is a great teacher and is easy to work with. His passion for the outdoors and teaching is apparent when working with him. He went above and beyond in helping me with my project and the skills I learned will certainly be used in the future. Thanks, Joe, for all your help!
Cost, Dates, Location
Prior Experience and knowledge is highly recommended, it is beneficial to have experience and knowledge with rappelling, as well as knowledge of climbing knots.
What to bring
Participants are highly encouraged to bring carabiners, harness, and helmets, as well as other basic rope gear. This equipment can be provided for use for the course if you do not have it.
This program includes proper rope techniques, various knots and hitches used in canyoneering, haul systems, canyoneering movement, anchor building, pot hole escapes and swift water applications which apply to canyoneering. The curriculum this course covers is based upon the skills that must be mastered and applied during the American Canyoneering Guide Association Exam. A complete course curriculum will be provided to students upon registering for the course.
The goal of this course is to provide the students with the canyoneering skills and knowledge to study and apply the skills and move them further along the track to becoming a certified canyon guide. More information about the American Canyon Guide Association certification process can be found here.
Joe Moerschbaecher owner PVA first commercial company to offer canyoneering in the southeast, certified American Canyon Guide Association.
Pura Vida Adventures is accredited through the American Canyoneering Academy.
More info and booking info
to find out more about this course or to book a spot contact us or call 772-579-0005.
Here is a list of some local accomodations. http://pvadventures.com/accomodations/
No prior knowledge is necessary for this course. This course is for beginners interested in learning more about canyoneering and the basic techniques involved.
What to bring
You will want to wear comfortable clothes that you typically wear to hike in and shoes to hike in that protect your feet and drain easily when wet. Basic running or nongortex hiking shoes are fine. We do not recommend any kind of boot. A shoe such as Keen sandals or water type running shoes work best. We will supply you with all the canyoneering gear you need.
This program includes proper rappelling technique, basic knots and their application for canyoneering, ascending techniques, basic haul systems, canyoneering movement and an adventure canyoneering trip. Includes both Big Bradley and Cougar Canyon Canyoneering Trips. In addition the course will also provide you with knowledge of other regional canyons where you can go to practice your skills.
Joe Moerschbaecher owner PVA first commercial company to offer canyoneering in the southeast, certified American Cayoneering Guide Association.
More in or reserve a spot by calling 772-579-0005 or email email@example.com .