Welcome to Explor8ion!

Welcome to my website. The intent of this site is to combine the best of my photography  (verndewit.com) and my trip reports (explor8ion.com). Over the years, I’ve built myself a bit of a monster – or rather a pair of monsters – on both the Zenfolio and the Explor8ion sites. With almost 900 peaks, hundreds of hikes, dozens of canoe trips and tens of thousands of images on both sites, the sheer amount of data is overwhelming and increasingly difficult to manage and present in an effective and modern manner. The goal of this site is to allow me to efficiently store and manage my vast collection of photos in one location (verndewit.com), while storing my numerous trip reports in a modernized blog at explor8ion, also with photos double or more the size of my old ones. 

Walter and Christian Peaks rising over the Lyell Icefield.

The way I’m planning to organize my trip reports here is by using a small subset of representative images (10-20) along with text for the main trip report with a linked album to all my photos from the trip (20-100 or more depending on the trip length and size) embedded at the end of the report and linked to my Zenfolio site. Another reason to have photos stored both within the blog and without, is that if I lose the Zenfolio site for whatever reason, at least I’ll still have some key photos displaying inline with the text. I have organized trips by their date in descending order and by the areas that they are located in. Due to the number of photos loading from the Zenfolio site at the end of the reports, you might see a slight delay in bringing up some of my trip reports. Where there’s a ridiculous amount of photos (i.e. 10 day canoe trips with over 300 photos), I will only show a few photos in the blog but will link to the Zenfolio albums where you can browse through them all. The new site is optimized for Retina, or high definition displays and will look better the bigger you view it, so don’t hold back! Go big screen, high definition and share in some of the spectacular sights that I’ve had the privilege of enjoying over the past 20 years or so, while reading about the adventures behind them.

The exciting summit ridge of South Twin Peak.

I am going to be experimenting with different ideas, themes and photos over the next few months on this site, so please excuse any churn. I am also experimenting with different ways to monetize some of my work, either just on my Zenfolio site or possibly on both Zenfolio and Explor8ion, only to cover some of the operating costs of these sites which cost me hundreds of dollars per year. I will attempt to make the ads and buying options as unobtrusive as possible to allow you to enjoy the content of both sites without too many distractions. I remain fundamentally opposed to the idea of turning what I love doing in my spare time into a full-time career so have no fears about that happening any time soon. I can think of no better way to ruin my love of adventuring and the outdoors than turning it into a daily grind that has to feed my family and put my kids through college.


18 thoughts on Welcome to Explor8ion!

  1. I stumbled across explor8ion.com looking for some climbing and hiking info. I absolutely wasted an entire day reading some of your exploits, and was fascinated by all the peaks you’ve “bagged” as you call it. I myself am a early 40’s man with two daughters in their very early teens and would love to do some of these easier peaks with them. We went to Waterton in 2016, before it was ravaged by wild fire, and climbed Bears Hump which is a short hike. But I absolutely loved it, as did my daughters, and we scrambled up aways after we got to the top of that part of the hike. My wife not so much…maybe I can turn her though. Are there any 5-6 hour summits that doesn’t have too much bush-wacking to get too that would be a fairly moderate climb? Looking for some adventure and love the Kananaskis area.
    Thanks for the awesome documentation of your adventures.

    • Hey John, I’ve wasted many days compiling explor8ion – as you can imagine! 🙂 There are many 5-6 hour summits that are fairly easy with no bushwhacking. The easiest way to find them would be to use the Trip Log page on my site at http://www.explor8ion.com/filter-trips and filter by technical difficulty 1-6 (select 1-6) and category of “Off-Trail Hiking” and “Scrambling” (select both). This should give a good sample of trips to suit your needs. Let me know if you need assistance.

  2. Hey Vern,
    I’m a Kananaskis local, and I love your explor8ion blog. They are my go-to trip reports for sure! I had a question about your photography- what camera do you currently use? I am going to be investing in a camera this year to take better photos, and I was looking for one that I can take hiking, scrambling, and into the backcountry. Any recommendations? Cheers 🙂

    • Hi Kate, thx for the kind words – I’m glad my blog assists you in your adventures! As for cameras / photos, that’s a great question LOL. I use many types of cameras (I’m a bit of a gearhead) but my goto is still either Olympus or Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras / lenses. The nice thing about m43 is that you can use Olympus lenses on Panasonic bodies and same with Panasonic lenses.

      The reason I love these cameras so much is that they are the perfect compromise between size and quality of pictures. I would highly recommend either the Olympus E-M10 II with the kit lens + cheap zoom like the Olympus 40-150mm, or a Panasonic DMC-G85 with kit lens + same cheap Olympus zoom lens (40-150mm). Both of these cameras are great and produce great results.

      If you have money to burn get the Olympus Pen-F. This is what I shoot with. I put a 14-150mm lens on it and this covers all the focal lengths I need, which is very handy. I carry macro and specialty lenses as desired.

      Of course, any of the other so-called “mirrorless” cameras are good too, any modern camera is great to be honest. Fuji is very nice (X-E3) and so is the Sony (A6000). I would stick with “mirrorless” as opposed to a full DSLR just for the sake of size, weight and costs. Remember – it’s the lenses that can really weigh you down if you’re not careful.

      Hopefully this helps a bit!


    • Hey Derek! Yeah, I’m still trying to decide how best to have both sites available until the transition is completed.

  3. Great site Vern, but i’m missing the canoe planning reports from your old site.
    Is there a link to them somewhere.

    • Hey Scott, thanks! I honestly didn’t think anyone read those! 🙂 I will dig around but I’m not sure they’re still available. I am doing another 16 day canoe trip this year so I’ll make sure I put a planning section in.

  4. Amazing site Vern! I used your info to hike all over Banff and Jasper last Summer (planning another trip this Summer). Your trip details and maps are amazing…and obviously your images are superlative. I’m a photographer also and for me it’s nice to see the grand view at the end (so I can capture it too). Thanks for all the hard work!

  5. This is the best site for resources for canadian rockies and beyond. I always come here when making plans for the weekend. thank you!!!!

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