Nova Scotia Mission Part Two

Finishing up on the South Coast with a shipwreck discovery in Lunenburg Bay, I made my way north to the Kejimkujik National Park to have a look around, hike a couple of their well maintained trails and scope future camping opportunities. Canada is promoting their one hundred and fifty year anniversary with complimentary entrance to all national parks so things were popping, lots of enthused patrons setting up camp, hiking, biking, loving it.

Back in the whip I made my way northeast in the direction of Prince Edward Island, the smallest of the Canadian provinces, which sits east of New Brunswick, north of Nova Scotia.

PEI commonly referred to as ‘The Garden of the Gulf’ boasts a max elevation of 152 meters (498 feet), averaging around 35 meters (114 feet) above sea level surrounded by the relatively shallow water depths in the Maritime Carboniferous Basin. How does this translate? It’s a small landmass sitting in the Gulf of St. Lawrence that has a reputation of outstanding natural beauty mixed with farmland covering the rolling hills from shore to shore.

Wanting to see a good chunk of this wonderful province in two day’s time, I drove in over the Confederation Bridge, took an immediate left and began the journey up PE-14 along the coast with intermittent photo stops to walk the western red sands and take in the atmosphere of this foreign land. Arriving on the North Cape amongst the giant wind fans just in time for sunset, it was perfect timing to be on the very tippity top of PEI to enjoy the pleasantry of day’s end.

The next morning I continued around the top side of the North Cape Coastal Drive stopping into a couple of small provincial parks, then moving along into the Central Coast Drive and up to Cavendish National Park. Cavendish is a spectacular park that spans a good chunk of coast line, making for endless adventure opportunities on foot or on bicycle (the bike path system: two thumbs up!), so I chose both methods of transportation to see as much as possible in this area.

After completing a nice sweep of Cavendish, I continued onto the Points East Coastal Drive, which takes you around the eastern most third of PEI. My area of focus would be the Greenwich National Park, which boasts well-maintained bicycle paths and white sand beaches (oddly enough), an area high on the priority list. Spending time in this area chipped away at complete tour around this section of PEI, but I was OK with that, the water, the wind and the sand was just perfect!

With a ferry schedule to keep in mind, I packed up the goods and headed to the rural community of Woods Islands to drive the car up the ramp into the boat and take a float back over to Nova Scotia, and start my journey to Cape Breton. PEI was nice, straight up. Really chill residents, beautiful beaches, warm water, pedaling opportunities galore, a place I’ll visit again for sure, thank you Prince Edward Island! Blotto

All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2017

Nova Scotia Mission Part One

I just returned from a great driving mission around the Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island provinces, mixing in camping, hiking, biking, skateboarding and chilling with old and new friends in the pleasant country of Canada.

Packing up the car in Burlington, Vermont and heading directly east, I soon ran into the Maine coast just below Bangor to continue up US-1, reaching day’s end destination at Cobscook State Park. The overall drive time from Burlington to Halifax is approximately thirteen hours, so I was happy to break it up and grab a quality night’s rest on the coast of Maine. Waking up to a pleasant sunrise, I busted out The Ship and The Whale coffee beans, got my grind on, poured over the hot water and enjoyed some time on the rocks while tide was out.

Packing up the Durable Goods camping gear, I began the journey east past the border, through New Brunswick, crossing into Nova Scotia over the Missaguash River. At this point in the mission, my final destination on the south coast is now within three hours reach, juggling the anticipation in seeing a new and uncharted zone for this traveling fool, while still sitting in the driver’s seat.

Upon arrival, I was greeted with perfect summer weather and open arms from the crew at The Ovens Natural Park, the perfect way to end a lengthy drive! The Chapin Family are the proud owners of The Ovens, a one hundred and ninety acre pristine reserve of coastal forest, where you’re more than welcome to set up a tent, grab a cabin or pull in your trailer and call the Atlantic Coast your spot for a few days or weeks. It’s a marvelous home away from home as you start your Nova Scotia journey of sightseeing, exploration and discovery around this part of the world.

The Ovens garners it’s name from the sea caves that line the property, an unreal collection of caves jutting under the landscape where you hike above, in and alongside, it’s really unique! The walk takes anywhere from forty minutes to an hour, depending on your photo gathering rate (hehe), but don’t sleep on a kayak tour of the caves, which can be set up at reception. I walked the Sea Cave Trail in the afternoon, but also made it a point to catch the sunrise as the caves face directly east; it was certainly a beautiful way to start the day! Moving on into the park, I set up on Tenting Site 138, which sits on the water facing west, boasting a perfect sunset and a nice compliment to the sunrise possibilities you’re presented out front.

Not only does The Ovens offer up all the comforts nature has to offer sleeping next to the ocean, you’re also treated to a daily dose of live music while dining. I can’t explain to you how enjoyable it is having dinner alongside some incredibly talented (and award winning I might add) musicians doing their thing for your pleasure, completing your day bedding down under the stars! What a place, you should certainly plan a stay when visiting Nova Scotia. Blotto

All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2017

Endless Goodness

The latest camping mission with TheGoodLife! posse was out to one of our favorites we refer to as Endless Goodness, featuring two lakes, multiple waterfalls, an impressive rock laden river and adventurous hiking routes. It’s quite splendid how much natural beauty is packed into a relatively small area, so we do our best ‘to make the best of it’ over a few days of sleeping under the stars.

The swimming, hiking, relaxing, adventuring and food preparation moves were nothing short of amazing as the weather played perfectly into these outdoor plans with a mix of mild temps, zero humidity and plenty of that precious sunshine to sooth the soul, along with the epic vibes from all in attendance.

Summer is made for camping, get your gear together and take that trip asap, whether it’s a quick one-nighter or a multi-day adventure, you won’t be disappointed! Holler…Blotto

All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2017

Go Skate Day June 21

What a magnificent afternoon enjoying Go Skateboarding Day at the Andy A-Dog Williams Skatepark in Burlington, Vermont with a healthy dose of the East’s best humans! Skateboarders from all around the region converged on this newly built park to celebrate a great day for skateboarding while raising awareness of the A-Dog Foundation’s continued drive in pushing the art, music and skateboard culture, and campaigning for the critical need of bone marrow donorship.

Trina and Brendan from Maven Skateboard Shop were on hand to wrangle in the skaters for a three-feature best trick contest while Big Dog, KermiTT and Crusty Cuts kept the crowd moving with a solid selection of beats on the 1’s and 2’s.

These are the days of seeing the community come together that put a smile on your face knowing the youth is in good hands through skateboarding and positive mentorship. Enjoy the flicks, Blotto

All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto 2017

Skating Around the Woo

Skateboarding around Winooski on a Saturday afternoon with Quade, LJ, Danny and Ben looking for spots, filming and hanging out was a great way to start the weekend. The weather was absolutely perfect for an activity meter based around creativity on structures not intended for urethane, metal and wood below two human feet, ala skating cement curbs, angled metal and concrete.

I often catch Quade and LJ around the Burlington streets while they’re out with Danny stacking clips for various edits; these fine folks are a comedic group always down for a good time. It goes without saying their skateboarding talents are on another level, it’s a total treat to witness the trickery, while enjoying the byproduct of capturing still images of the madness.

We hit up a tall ledge to drop where Quade was locking in front 5-0 to big spin out, while LJ was in a battle with a backside tail slide. In between attempts we were greeted by many a passersby walking their dog, heading out to late lunch and long time locals sharing their tales of the early days of skateboarding around Burlington. After some makes and misses we headed into an area between a parking garage and building that offered up an interesting drop ledge arrangement, wrapped in metal, that oddly enough was still skateable. This area was ‘more of a photo spot’ than a ‘filming location’ so the boys consistently threw down tricks one after the other while I rattled off a few different angles within the tall walls.

Dusty, dirty and spent, the boys called it a day and asked if I wanted to hit up the local ramen spot, which I happily agreed to! Blotto

All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2017

Go Camping

The first camping mission of the 2017 season is completed, taking place out a local spot in the Champlain Islands (Vermont), featuring perfect weather and good vibes. The initial step into camping mode after taking the winter off from tent life is a bit of scramble, given you haven’t dug into the kit for a few months, maybe you acquired some new items that need tinkering with and the ‘ol “…shoot, forgot to bring that!

Not to panic people, a quick over-nighter will help all of us dial in the tent, the food and beverage, the board games and whatever else you find as a camping comfort while spending the night under the stars. I know I left the house without some critical items on this initial camping trip, but any good soul knows that camping is truly a ‘constant state of modification‘ so you’ll always work it out, and you have your pals to lean on as well to get the job done.

A few tips for camping in Vermont is bring a bicycle as many of the state parks have miles and miles of pedaling pavement in and around the park on top of the endless hiking opportunities (bring a flat kit!). Take a look at the Vermont State Parks website HERE for a well-organized peak into every camping location including exact descriptions of each site along with a photo of said location. Their website is super easy to navigate after a couple minutes learning your way around, you can also reserve and pay for your adventure at that time. Another great item to pack in or tow behind the car is a boat. There are boat launches at every park, in addition to many of the camp sites having their own waterfront accessibility, increase your fun factor that much more!

I’m over and out for now, off to the next mission, will update asap…Blotto

All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2017


Jet Surf Lake Life

As the summer temperatures rise so does the stoke to get in the lake and enjoy all things water craft related, including a morning mission out in the desert to session the Jet Surf.

Bobby Hurtado invited me for one of his sunrise missions and I gladly excepted the invitation as this would be a good opportunity to whip up a coffee lakeside with the Jet Boil while taking in the sunrise, pull out the camera to snap a few photos of Bobby whipping around the shoreline and give this unique motorized board a go.

Think of the Jet Surf as a wakeboard meets surfboard meets Jet Ski; it’s quite the engineering feat as they’ve managed to fit an inboard 90cc motor into a four-inch tall space while keeping the overall mass down to a one person carry weight. The learning curve is such that you can lie on your stomach, hold onto the handles and become accustomed to the throttle pitch. After passing first base out you then graduate to standing up and prepare for your launch procedure which translates to placing your rear foot in the back binding, giving it some gas while simultaneously placing your leading foot in the front binding and away you go.

All who’ve ridden the Jet Surf absolutely love it, especially those of us who prefer standing sideways via the snowboard, skateboard, surfboard; it becomes a warm weather option for those days when you’re headed out to the lake. Blotto

All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2017


2017 Blotto X Burton Family Tree

As summer kicks in and we shed those winter layers for shorts and t-shirts, I wanted to look back and thank all of those involved with the making the 2017 Blotto X Burton Family Tree a complete success.

First and foremost thanks to all of you who went out and purchased one of the nine available models ranging from splitboards to snow surfers to powder slashers. Secondly the talented minds at Burton for creating this collaboration including all those who developed these ground breaking shapes. Last but not least our main man Marin Horikawa for taking my images from location to camera to layout to production.

This line was a total treat to be involved with, watching hundreds of images narrow down to a collection gracing the bottom sheet of each and every model. It made me smile every time the boards were hash tagged, mentioned or featured on your social media pages and websites, and I hope you were smiling ear to ear making those fine powder turns down the mountain popping in and out of the white room.

Is there a Blotto collaboration for the 2018 Family Tree line? You bet there is! Burton and I teamed up once again with Marin to create the next evolution in this collection, along with a couple new shapes being introduced sure to please. Stay tuned! Thanks again, Blotto

For the story behind the Landlord Splitboard image, click HERE

For the story behind the Gate Keeper powder king, click HERE.

For the story behind the Skipjack Surf, click HERE.

For information on the Backyard Project’s Skeleton Key, click HERE.

All images on snowboards by Blotto | Graphic Design and Layout by Burton

Gucci Ghost Documentary

The Gucci Ghost story is a fascinating tale of Trevor Andrew’s journey that began in Nova Scotia, Canada as a young tike, which lead to the discovery of skateboarding, onto a marvelous globe trotting shred career through his teens to mid-twenties followed by a successful music endeavor, all while raising a family and eventually calling New York home. My latest mission to Trouble’s home base was centered around an upcoming GG documentary with director Seb Zanella, which details how all of this played into Trevor’s spectacular product of imagination and creativity, while continually spanning the realms of skateboarding, music and art.

Tucked deep in the city across the bridge from Manhattan lies an art studio with no windows or clocks, a space reminiscent of a Las Vegas casino in the fact you can stay in there for hours, not knowing time of day or whether it’s raining or sunny outside. Commonly referred by Trevor as ‘the trap,’ this space serves as a fitting locale for music production, creation of original art, hang outs, meet ups and anything else visiting family and friends would like to partake in. It’s a positive environment meant to serve those who stop by a few hours or a few weeks.

Seb and Trevor spent the better part of four days mapping out the course of the movie while interviewing individuals involved in all aspects of Trevor’s life, with plenty of painting in between the sit-downs. We also enjoyed some really fun skateboarding missions around the neighborhood searching for found materials, hitting up the art store for supplies and of course enjoying the plentiful food options this area offers.

The documentary is off to a great start with many months of filming to go, not to mention rifling through years of footage that Trevor has collected from the entire posse. You could imagine there’s plenty to witness and drop into the time line! Stay tuned, Blotto

The accompanying images were captured using a medium format Hasselblad camera, shot to Fuji 100 Polaroid film. After capture I took digital images of the Polaroid prints, short cutting the scanning process for time’s sake.

All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2017

Sunday Bike Mish

On Saturday I took the drive down from Vermont into Brooklyn to link up with TheGoodLife! crew and take part in their Sunday pedal tour around the various boroughs of New York City. These are the bike missions you live for, as it’s an incredible way to see the vast amount of NYC neighborhoods, streets and shorelines while sitting in the saddle alongside good people.

Teaming up with the Bridge Runners for this mission, we had a solid posse in effect with a loose plan of a thirty-mile ride that starting in Williamsburg, with the end goal of hanging in Rockaway and getting back into Brooklyn by nightfall.

Gathering up at Broadway and Kent, we rolled out along the water to the Bush Terminal Ferry zone, taking the first group photo of the day with the Manhattan skyline in the background after this opening push. Back in the saddle we continued along the Shore Parkway, stopping for our next group image under the Verrazano Bridge, taking a minute to psych up for the serious headwind in effect while thinking about the upcoming food appointment at L & B Spumoni Gardens. Our Sicilian square pizza and Italian ice cream treats were absolutely delicious and devoured quick like, before setting off to Coney Island to take in the sights and sounds of this legendary east coast theme park. Five hours in and the sun slowly setting, we decided to scrap the Rockaway portion of the plan and instead point it down McDonald Ave into Prospect Park, ending our tour under the beautiful Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch.

Our comrades went their separate while Craig Wetherby and I headed into Bed Stuy to grab a few games of dominoes with Cole Barash and Trouble Andrew, snap some portraits and catch up, topping off a perfectly fine day.

TheGoodLife! X Bridge Runners rides are a combination of great humans, an approximate route in mind while going with the flow and letting the vibe direct us around the sprawling metropolis, all in the name of smiling for miles. Thanks for following and reading my friends! Blotto

All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2017