Momentum Adventure is a luxury travel operator specialising in handpicked adventures in some of the most remote places in the world. We craft unique adventure travel experiences for those looking to 'do something different'.
I’m staring into this vast landscape, with nervous anticipation as I await a local legend, a man among men, ‘Duke Philips’ or Big Duke, as he’s called, is a third-generation rancher.
Duke Philips | One of the Last True Cowboys - YouTube
I’m on a remote ranch in Colorado located proudly in one of the most magnificent landscapes on Earth. High desert grasslands, alpine forests, wetlands, sand dunes, creeks and lush meadows, this area of Colorado is regarded as one of the most ecologically diverse landscapes in the United States.
As Duke comes through the door, I wasn’t really sure what to expect…
The first thing that struck me was, from head to toe, he was the archetypal cowboy, adorning a thick moustache that I’m convinced a bird could nest in, along with the swagger and demeanour of a gentle giant. I was instantly put at ease, greeted by a warm contented smile, a firm handshake and a sense of calm confidence.
As we head out into the wilderness, everyone we meet greets Duke with a big smile and huge hug. People just seem different out here, it’s very clear to me everyone works incredibly hard, but are also passionate about what they do. Choosing to dump the complexities of the modern world for a simpler way of life. The area and the locals all seem to possess a genuine sense of calm and peace and as a result, they really respect and look after each other and it’s infectious to be around.
Big Duke oversees all livestock and operations here at ‘Ranchlands’ and to give you a sense of scale, opposed to a trusty steed as his transportation he flies a small plane to keep an eye on his vast prairies. Coming from the old school brotherhood, carved from granite and moulded from the outdoors. This is a family business found by Duke Snr, now managed by Big Duke with Duke Jr and daughter now also working for the business.
His vision for Ranchlands is to preserve ecosystems and the ranching heritage, as well as managing a conservation herd of 2,000 bison. Education, they say is the key to preserving this way of life for future generations. Offering an internship that provides a hands-on experience in all operations, from fencing, digging pipelines, moving cattle and participating in grazing planning. This educational element has attracted a young team of staff (and women) which is refreshing and unique in this field.
If you’ve ever dreamt of seeing the real wild west, escaping to a genuine working ranch, savouring incredible food and a night under the stars…then this is it!
At Momentum, we absolutely love adventure equipment, gear and anything in-between that will support our adventures. You can never be too prepared… It’s always a good idea to take the equipment and gear you need to ensure you’re comfortable and safe in any climate you are in.
Here are 4 pieces of adventure kit that have got us excited this Summer…
1. Breitling Emergency
I have worn the Breitling Emergency watch for over 10 years and thankfully never had to use it. To me, it’s my safety blanket I add to any adventure. The newest version is a monster, it has the latest tech and a built-in dual frequency Personal Locator Beacon. If you love your kit and love to take the path less travelled as we do, the Emergency is a trusted companion.
2. ICON 4×4
Icon’s are built by a dedicated team of master craftsmen. The Founder, Jonathan Ward watches over each build, magically turning vintage 4×4’s into, not just a work of art but a powerhouse, that’s as capable on the road as it is off. If you’re feeling flush and desire the ultimate 4×4 that’s authentic, stunning and genuinely unique, then you’ve found your nirvana.
3. Outland Equipment Axe
This axe is firmly placed in our kit bag. Tough as nails and more capable than Bear Grylls. The Multi-Mission Axe is a rescue and survival tool built for the unforgiving environments encountered by special forces and first responders. It also looks fantastic and beautifully balanced, this axe is as good as it gets!
4. UVU Racing Technical Jacket
UVU arguably design the most technically proficient kit on the planet working at the pinnacle of fabrication. Their attention to detail and their punishing testing is beyond reproach. Designed for adventure athletes who race in the Arctic to the Sahara at -40ºC to +40ºC. We love the look, the feel and unrelenting performance.
The Arctic is a place for the intrepid and the curious, the sense of scale combined with the silence is simply overwhelming.
An environment that humbles and mistifies in equal measure.
I have had the privilege of experiencing this frozen tundra many times throughout my carer in adventure. It was, in fact, the birthplace of Momentum Adventure and where we ran our first trip nearly 12 years ago.
Since that time the Arctic has become one of the most popular trips we offer. With advances in the kit and transportation, the polar regions are drawing in the curious and fascinated wanting to explore Arctic’s dwindling landscape and stunning wildlife.
I’ve recently been drawn to a new destination within the Arctic circle.
Somerset Island, Nunavut, where you’ll find the most northerly fly-in lodge on earth.
This is a rare and extraordinary place, reserved for people searching to explore the last frontier. The wildlife unique to the area ranges from polar bears, muskoxen, arctic fox and a wide array of birds.
You can even watch beluga whales frolic a few metres from shore. Activities range from rafting, paddle boarding or kayaking on the Cunningham River. Hike through the Badlands, try world-class fishing, kayak with beluga whales or ski the northernmost heli-skiing in the world under the Northern lights. Mountain bike on the tundra; visit 1,000 year-old archaeological sites; check out spectacular waterfalls and canyons; ATV the Muskox Ridge trail or fish for Arctic char.
Somerset Island offers the experience of a lifetime to an unspoiled and stunning Arctic paradise.
There are very few moments in life when you experience something profound; something that makes you rethink everything. I’ve found over the years that those who choose the outdoors as their passion possess a genuine sense of calm and contentment.
A recent encounter with a gentleman who opted for the Colorado wilderness as his home left me spellbound. Last year, I had the privilege of meeting a legend very few had the chance to encounter – ‘Billy Jo Moffat’. His story is truly remarkable, and for me to try and explain would never do it justice. I will, however, give a brief synopsis of that meeting.
Picture, if you will, perfection: A collection of rustic, yet beautiful cabins nestling harmoniously in the valley of two proud mountains, and wildflowers covering the surrounding countryside in a kaleidoscope of subtle colours. The scent and simple beauty can’t help but bring a warm, contented smile and a real feeling of peace.
I’m truly thankful, as this wilderness and Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado are my home for the next few days; a paradise lost, found and reborn by an incredible and passionate team who make this unique place the perfect hideaway to disconnect and disappear, nestled in the heartland of the Colorado Rockies.
This is where I meet Billy Jo, a man in his 80s, dressed in shorts and a warm fleece as he heads towards me. I’m immediately struck by a magical glint in his eye, and his demeanour possesses a sincere aura of serenity. Before I know it, he’s masterfully telling stories of times gone by; I’m captivated, in particular about when he first came to Dunton in the ‘60s, and how, when he walked across the bridge to the cabins, he had felt all his problems just melt away.
“I knew immediately that I wanted to spend the rest of my life here,” he says.
Dunton became the home of many weird and wonderful characters over the decades, from Hells Angels and hippies, to those who just stumbled in – and Billy had seen it all. The city never stole his heart, and I guess he was a bit of a hippy at heart himself. Dunton is now the epitome of a boutique wild paradise, and one of my favourite places in the world to visit.
Shortly after I left Dunton, Billy sadly passed away peacefully in the wilderness he called home. I feel honoured to have met a great man with a warm heart, and experienced the wisdom and kindness of a true gentleman – rest in peace, my friend.
To view our video we took during our time with Billy, HIT THE LINK >>HERE<<
At Momentum, we’re great believers in adventure travel having the power to provide clarity, change perspectives, and inspire a new, courageous way of living – a sentiment that British author, speaker, entrepreneur and adventurer Caspar Craven wholeheartedly agrees with.
Indeed, Caspar can pinpoint the moment he and his wife decided to uproot their young family and sail around the world – a conversation at his sister’s 40th birthday back in 2009. At the time, life was 18-hour days at the office, a struggling marriage and minimal contact with the children.
To most, this may seem an extreme solution to a common problem in a world where everything runs at a hundred miles per hour, but for Caspar, it was natural. After all, he grew up on the water.
Hailing from the small fishing village of Hallsands in south Devon – famed for collapsing into the sea early in the last century – he seemed destined to spend his life on the ocean. You could say that his story really begins at the age of 14, when he uncovered and repaired an abandoned fishing boat.
“My mum wouldn’t let me go out on my own,” he recalls. “She would row out with me and fish for crabs, and from then on, the coastline became my backyard. You could blindfold me, and I would’ve still known where I was. I knew the tides, I knew the fish, and I understood the weather. That’s where I spent my teenage years – on the coast.”
An entrepreneurial spirit was in his blood – his father was one – and he would spend his early years dreaming of becoming one himself, selling crabs and lobsters he’d caught along the familiar coastline. Perhaps his two-year voyage across the globe was always destined to happen.
“I’m far happier on the water than I am on land,” he says. “There’s a certain type of peacefulness to be found among the waves: a connection between yourself and the world. Water is the most natural thing to me.”
By his own admission, Caspar has a disruptive side – an unyielding desire to do exactly what he’s told not to do, and it draws him to fellow entrepreneurs, adventurers and sailors; the ‘yay-sayers’.
“Saying something isn’t possible is a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he tells me. “There are always a million reasons not to do something, but you just need one good reason to go for it.”
Caspar and his wife decided to sail around the world with their young family in 2009
When he and his wife made the decision to sail the world, it prompted an experiment in lifestyle design – inspired by Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-hour Work Week – and they set about evolving their business to accommodate an adventure with financial freedom. A date was fixed for departure five years down the line.
“That decision changed everything,” remembers Caspar. “And I mean everything: finances, health, relationships and our lust for life. Once that date was set, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that it had to happen. We wanted a different life, and we wanted to discover it as a family.
“The hardest part is always making the choice to jump. Once you’ve made it, jumping is easy.”
He wasn’t starting from scratch: Caspar signed up for the BT Global Challenge in 2000, sailed around the Greek Islands annually, and completed the sailing race around Britain and Ireland. His wife, on the other hand, had been on a boat twice, and had been seasick both times.
“I’m not entirely sure why she decided to do it,” he laughs. “But her mind was made up and there was no plan B. Once you’re committed to a course, people and opportunity just present themselves to you. I think many people wait for circumstances to be perfect, but herein lies the problem: Nothing will ever be perfect – you’ll be waiting your whole life.
“Many people would say we were irresponsible – especially taking young children on a journey with such challenging conditions. When we were deep in the South Pacific, we were 500 miles from land and suffered a power outage. On a boat, you’ve got what you’ve got. It’s not like you can just nip to the yacht yard and pick up supplies – you have to be resourceful. Resourcefulness is a skill; it’s a muscle that has to be exercised. I believe it’s an amazing skill to have taught my kids – whatever challenges you face in life, there’s always a way to deal with it.
“The world is changing faster than it ever has before, and you can’t underestimate harnessing the power to overcome the obstacles that arise.”
For Caspar, however, the main lesson taken away from the journey was appreciation, something he believed he’d lost in both life and business – learning how to become a leader again. Being appreciative of all the contributions that a team member could make steered him away from what he considered to be an egocentric approach to his world.
“It’s teamwork – both in family and work,” he concludes. “Engaging everybody around you, appreciating their brilliance and building upon that. That’s the key to success in life and business, and it took sailing around the world with my family to fully grasp it.”
Our focus is on Iceland this month, as its a Mecca for a winter adventure and right now is the perfect season for seeing the elusive Northern Lights and Iceland is famed for being one of the best places to see them.
Inside you’ll find;
The hidden gems in Iceland’s interior
An interview with Momentum’s Iceland lead adventure curator, Thor
Our new partnership with Bowler Motor Sport, for the release of their incredible new off road, on road 4×4
We hope you enjoy this month’s MomentumLife as much as we enjoyed putting it together.
We look forward to creating your on your next adventure.
The latest edition of MomentumLife Magazine is now available. You can access it by signing up below!
This is a Colorado exclusive!
In this edition, we cover;
– The wild west rediscovered – watch our latest video from Colorado
– Meet Duke, one of the last true cowboys
– Learn about our exclusive private camp in the Colorado wilderness
– Our latest Momentum Spotify adventure playlist
Sign up below to receive your copy of MomentumLife Magazine.
Named after the magical boat of a local Indonesian legend, the unique and stunning Silolona was the brainchild of Patti Seery, a friend of Momentum.
Patti is a fascinating American lady who has lived in Indonesia for over 20 years. With determination, she designed and managed Silolona’s entire build! No mean feat, with almost no experience and driven by an absolute passion for perfection. The build makes for an incredible tale, complete with sacri cial slaughter and ritual, an engine room plan sketched out in chalk on the bulkheads, and plenty of just-in-time narrow scrapes. She was built according to local ancient traditions with each plank aligned as near as possible to how it had been in nature and with intricate ceremonies before launch.
You sent us on the most memorable adventure of our lives
I genuinely feel the harmony of the local culture and courage and determination of pattie run through every piece of wood, which went to make this incredible vessel. The boat was born with a happy soul and everyone who has the pleasure of travelling on her feels the boat is part of the incredible environment you’re travelling through. A dedicated crew of 17 are genuinely only happy when you are; everything comes accompanied by a warm and unrelenting smile. Local dishes are simply extraordinary, all served as you journey through some of the most beautiful and beguiling islands on earth.
Silolona is quite simply the perfect way to explore, snorkel and dive the remote islands of Indonesia and beyond. She will allow you to explore the many magical and remote corners of this special part of the world.