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Trip Report – Packrafting Lake Powell, Utah

Filming for episode 2 of Epic Trails, Season 5 is underway, and recently host Eric Hanson and crew returned from a packrafting trip in Lake Powell, Utah.

Below is an excerpt from Eric’s blog post about his experience:

The Grand Staircase Escalante region is one of the most beautiful areas in the country. It’s so rugged and remote that was the last area in the lower 48 to be mapped. It also happens to be a stone’s throw from my home.

Lake Powell, a man-made lake, is a strange place. It is undeniably beautiful and is amazing for recreation. But it also submerged one of the nation’s most beautiful canyon networks, not to mention a vast amount of cultural history (cliff dwellings, petroglyphs, kivas, and more). Many people in the Southwest have a strained relationship with the place.

Newsworthy for more than just conservationists, Lake Powell is now at its lowest point since the dam that flooded the cherished Glen Canyon was constructed in the 60’s. Severe drought, along with some poor planning in the first place, has left Lake Powell’s future in limbo, as water seeps into the sandstone bed, and its massive surface area combined with the hot environment make it a poor water retention area.

With lake levels dropping massively over the last year, it has meant there is a new opportunity for exploring the canyons as they emerge out of the muddy bottom of the lake. In January, I organized an expedition with three of my friends to explore two canyons that lead in and out of Lake Powell. What we experienced was truly incredible! I was so enthralled, I decided to return a month later with Epic Trails in order to film an episode.

Joined by my friend Jesse Weber and Max Stussi, the Director of Photography for this episode of Epic Trails, we set off for the Escalante area of Utah to film these canyons that, up until a year ago, were under water.

We planned our trip with packrafts in mind, in order to fully explore these canyons. Packrafts are small boats that pack down into a backpack and weigh just a few pounds. They’re incredible tools for adventurers to explore some of the most challenging and inaccessible areas.

The three of us loaded up with four days’ worth of gear, food, and packrafting kit. It doesn’t make for a small pack, and our entry point was a notoriously narrow canyon. These two factors do not play well together.

On day one, we slogged and scraped and crawled our way through a long slot canyon. It was painfully slow, and a delightful adventure. At many points the canyon was far too narrow to walk through with our packs on our backs. Sometimes we’d hoist them over our heads, or carry them sideways. Once, we even had to break down our packs entirely to get them to fit through the narrowest of spaces.

It was slow and arduous work. But we were happy. It was a proper adventure.

After a full day in the canyon, we had managed to hike only two miles! As night was descending, we finally emerged from the narrowness of the canyon and into the wider box canyon that allowed us to hike, more naturally, through the deep sand.

Quickly into day two, we learned the canyon would throw another challenge our way; a network of overgrown tamarisk and willow that were nearly impossible to hike through. The canyon was choked out and, yet again, we made impossibly slow progress. We hiked all day, encountering massive canyon walls with the biggest alcoves I’ve ever seen. At no point did the canyon allow for easy passage.

That night we camped under the roof of one of these alcoves, where a bend in the canyon gave us a stunning view. – Eric Hanson

Click here to read the full article!

About Epic Trails: Epic Trails is an exciting and inspiring adventure travel media series that follows host, Eric Hanson, as he explores the people, places, and adventures surrounding the world’s top hiking destinations. Each 30-minute TV episode airs on Outside TV, 27 regional networks, and internationally through National Geographic Channel—Asia and Extreme Sports Channel across Europe. Episodes of Epic Trails aired over 2,200 times in 2020. Learn more about the series at www.heliconia.ca. Networks interested in carrying Epic Trails are encouraged to reach out to Heliconia’s Vice-President, Brendan Mark, at brendan@helipress.com.

Adventure Cities set to Premiere on Discovery Channel, March 26th

Heliconia, the video production and marketing company behind the adventure travel series Epic Trails and Facing Waves, is pleased to announce that their newest series, Adventure Cities, is set to premiere nationwide on Discovery Channel on Saturday, March 26th at 8am EST. The first episode showcases the adventurous sides of Geneva, Switzerland and Québec City, Canada.

Adventure Cities is a timely and inspiring adventure travel show hosted by award-winning travel journalist, Jonathan Thompson. “In a post-pandemic world where everyone is desperate to plan proper vacations again, adventure travel and city breaks don’t have to be mutually exclusive,” explains Thompson. “Our goal [with Adventure Cities] is to dive into the heart of that vigorous Venn diagram: reintroducing some of the world’s best cities through the thrilling adventures and extreme sports you can experience while staying in each of them.”

Beginning with Geneva and Québec City, Season 1 of Adventure Cities will feature one exciting and adrenaline-pumping city after another, including: Amman (Jordan), Ottawa (Canada), St. Pete / Clearwater (USA), Zürich (Switzerland), Banff (Canada), Juneau (USA), Charleston (USA), and Poznan (Poland). The adventures range from flyboarding in Florida to urban surfing in the heart of Zurich’s Financial District, dogsledding through the Rocky Mountains to tackling North America’s highest bungee jump, and more. 

In case you miss the series premiere on March 26th, you will be able to catch all the action the following week as the episode will be made available for streaming on Discovery GO. Between airings, adventure travel enthusiasts may access inspiring content on Jonathan’s Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts.

ABOUT ADVENTURE CITIESAdventure Cities follows award-winning travel journalist Jonathan Thompson as he searches for outdoor adventure and reveals the wonderful cultures, allures, and attractions of the world’s most fascinating urban centers. Each 30-minute episode is comprised of two, 10+minute Features and is broadcast into more than 90 million US TV households through Discovery Channel. Planning is currently underway for Season 2 of Adventure Cities, and tourism destinations and brands interested in being featured on the show are encouraged to reach out to Lauren at info@heliconia.ca. Learn more about the series at www.heliconia.ca.

ABOUT HELICONIA: Heliconia is an award-winning video production company that helps destinations and brands reach the US adventure travel audience. The company produces eight unique media projects, providing authentic storytelling opportunities for every adventure and every destination. These series includeEpic TrailsEpic Trails: Mountain BikingFacing WavesAdventure CitiesGreat Family AdventureChad Hoover Fishing, and Road Trip Angler. Heliconia has a proven formula that marries inspiring video production with guaranteed television and digital distribution, ensuring that your message is heard by the adventure travel community in a unique and impactful way. For more information, visit www.heliconia.ca.

Adventure Cities – Trip Report: Banff & Lake Louise, Canada

Snowy mountains, dogsledding, and flannel – oh my!

Jonathan and the Adventure Cities team had an incredible time in the iconic cities of Banff & Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada.

It was truly a ‘jam-packed’ film shoot with bucket-list after bucket-list of adventures to experience. With the support of Banff & Lake Louise Tourism, Jonathan, with film crew in tow, braved the cold (-37 Celsius) weather and went fat biking, snowshoeing, skiing, ice climbing and caving. The team also took in some iconic indoor experiences, like cheese fondue at The Grizzly House, visiting Rocky Mountain Flannel, and recharging at the world famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

While difficult to choose a favorite experience, one highlight for sure was skating on frozen Lake Louise with Canadian figure skater Carlotta Edwards.

Banff & Lake Louise is an outstanding destination and the definition of what make memorable, and must-visit, Adventure Cities.  

ABOUT ADVENTURE CITIES: Adventure Cities follows award-winning travel journalist Jonathan Thompson as he searches for outdoor adventure and reveals the wonderful cultures, allures, and attractions of the world’s most fascinating urban centers. Each 30-minute episode is comprised of two, 10+minute Features and is broadcast into more than 130 million US TV households through Discovery Channel and Outside TV. Tourism destinations interested in being featured on Adventure Cities are encouraged to reach out to Stefanie Manton-Ward at stefanie@helipress.com. Learn more about the series at www.heliconia.ca.

ABOUT HELICONIA: Heliconia is an award-winning video production company that helps destinations and brands reach the US adventure travel audience. The company produces eight unique media projects, providing authentic storytelling opportunities for every adventure and every destination. These series include: Epic TrailsEpic Trails: Mountain BikingFacing WavesAdventure CitiesGreat Family AdventureChad Hoover Fishing and Road Trip Angler. Heliconia has a proven formula that marries inspiring video production with guaranteed television and digital distribution, ensuring that your message is heard by the adventure travel community in a unique and impactful way. For more information, visit www.heliconia.ca.

Chad Hoover Fishing – Trip Reports: Polk County, Florida & Kissimmee, Florida

The Chad Hoover Fishing team has two more Season 11 film shoots under their belt! This time, the crew headed to the Sunshine State.

Polk County, Florida:

In this episode, Chad explores Polk County, Florida for winter bass on some of the various lakes around Polk County, Florida. For the duration of the trip, Chad was based out of Camp Mack – a Guy Harvey Lodge, Marina & RV Resort with many amenities and great fishing just a few steps away. Chad was joined by Gene “The Flukemaster” Jensen for some friendly competition, as well as Florida local, Kris Muszynski, who showed-off some of his favorite hot spots. It was not hard to convince the crew that Polk County has many beautiful lakes and monster bass waiting to be caught.

Kissimmee, Florida:

The second episode captured during this film shoot in took place in Kissimmee, Florida. Chad returned to Kissimmee for Kayak Bass Fishing’s most prestigious event – The TEN! During the filming, Gene “The Flukemaster” Jensen shared some insight on pre-fishing in the area while accidentally hooking up to an alligator, and Chad tested his skill looking for bigger bass to bring to his kayak. The real excitement, however, was with the tournament anglers who provided non-stop kayak bass fishing action.

ABOUT CHAD HOOVER FISHING: Starring funny-man Chad Hoover, Chad Hoover Fishing is an engaging and entertaining fishing show jam packed with thrilling kayak fishing action and valuable fishing tips. The Telly Award winning TV series is designed to excite and educate viewers—whether or not they have ever considered fishing from a kayak. Each 30-minute TV episode airs nationwide on Bally Sports Network. Brands interested in partnering with Chad are encouraged to reach out to Malvin Young at malvin@helipress.com. Learn more about the series at www.heliconia.ca.

Great Family Adventure – Trip Report: Fort Myers – Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods

Fort Myers – Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods in sunny Florida is well known for their family-friendly vacation and recreation opportunities.

The Jackson-Troutman family recently spent some time in Fort Myers – Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods while filming an episode of Great Family Adventure. They experienced the region’s pristine beaches, cycling trails, mangroves, accessible wildlife, and varied paddling opportunities.

It’s safe to say that after a week of exploration and unique experiences, the family ranks Fort Myers – Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods a hard-to-beat family vacation destination.

Catch all of the action in Season 2 of Great Family Adventure, premiering this summer on Outside TV and Bally Sports Network.

About Great Family Adventure: Great Family Adventure is an exciting and inspiring TV series that follows World Champion kayakers, Nick Troutman and Emily Jackson, and their family on a new-age family road trip. Join the family as they learn about new cultures, paddle wild rivers, exploring rad bike trails, swim in the ocean, and camp out under the stars. Each 30-minute TV episode airs on Outside TV and Bally Sports Network. Networks interested in carrying Great Family Adventure are encouraged to reach out to Heliconia’s Vice-President, Brendan Mark, at brendan@helipress.com.

Best Family Trips

SUP Florida

It’s officially winter here in my home base of Beachburg, Ontario, Canada. Last week our temperatures dipped down to minus 34 Celsius (29 F), and yesterday we got over a foot of snow in one big dump! During these winter months, I often find myself daydreaming about warm water destinations where the paddling doesn’t involve ice and snow. Sea kayaking or stand-up paddling in warm water is such a treat during Canadian winters, and one of my favourite Facing Waves episodes that comes to mind for warm water paddling is Fort Myers and Sanibel Island.

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