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My plan for the summer once I got to Stanley, Idaho was to hike to as many of the alpine lakes in the Sawtooths. You could hike a new set of lakes each week and not even get close to seeing them all!
First up, Sawtooth Lake. I did this same hike almost exactly two years ago. Knowing what to expect, Rio and I pack for an overnight and left for the trailhead at Iron Creek by 6am (being first on the trail in hopes of seeing more wildlife).
Now Rio is no young pup anymore but the two of us have been backpacking together for almost 9 years. Knowing the trail really helped to anticipate where he might have trouble but first then second set of switchbacks finished and we were at the lake a little after 9:30. No problem.
Once above 8,000' the trail was mostly covered in snow but easy enough to follow. There are two things that magically turn Rio into a bounding puppy again, sand and snow. He absolutely loves running around and playing in the snow! *Make sure you check out the video at the end*
Standing at what would have been the water's edge, Mount Regan stares you down as you look out over an icy snow covered Sawtooth Lake. It was July. It was 90 degrees that week in Stanley. I love it.
Clear skies, 360 degree views, sledding in shorts. I made a short video of our hike, enjoy.
Here are some of my favorite wildlife encounters. I’ll be adding to this gallery as the year unfolds. You can check out the full collection here. I seem to be gathering my fair share of blurry bear tails. Hoping to find one in focus before summer ends! Keeping my ears and eyes open for wolves, they are definitely in the area. Enjoy.
Well…I think I underestimated how difficult it would be to manage a blog while traveling, but so far that’s been a good problem to have. What’s the rush? This month I’ve moved around a lot, made new friends, and worked out the kinks with the camper. Rio is living a dog's life and we're enjoying every minute of it!
Now a lot happens in a month so here are a few of the highlights but first a map.
Hot and Windy in Badlands National Park. Lots of wildlife, scenic views, and ripple roads. Shook the trailer hitch loose here, quick fix. Laid the Motoped down on a patch of gravel and bent a pedal, another quick fix. Seriously impressed with the Element! Pulled us over the Rockies 3 times, bucked the winds of Wyoming, and got us out of some dicey backcountry roads.
One of the biggest challenges has been figuring out where to stay. Everywhere is unfamiliar and there's no guarantee you'll have cell service once you get there. There are websites with good information and I've done plenty of scanning on google maps but without a doubt the most reliable source of information is word of mouth. The most memorable places I've stayed at have come by way of recommendation from people traveling just like me. They know where to find good water and public facilities but most of all they know what works.
Sometimes you have to overnight in parking lot because a spot you scoped out from 400 miles away doesn't pan out or in my case the camp area near the Rockies doesn't open until the 15th and you're there on the 14th. And then there are places like this:
Curtis Canyon wasn't exactly on my radar but life is full of happy coincidences. You see, I met Emily and Alfred about a week earlier at a climber's camp area just behind Mount Rushmore. We only met for a moment but you know good people when you meet them. The kind of people that took an idea and are doing something about it. I have so much respect for all the different reasons people choose this lifestyle. Each person's journey is exciting and scary in their own way and yet those challenges are what connect us.
I learned that and many other things sitting around the campfire in the company of new and friendly faces. We did some climbing and set up my first pop-up shop at a farmer's market in Jackson but mostly we just laughed and shared stories. Here's a little video of the area:
On the road again, stopped by Crater's of the Moon on the way to Stanley.
It's funny how a place can just feel right. The moment I drove into Stanley, Idaho two years ago I knew I'd be back. So here I am, ready to call this place home.
Loaded the camera bag and took the bike out for a test run. Still getting a feel for what I want to share on camera without taking away from enjoying the experience in the moment (it feels sort of awkward talking on camera). So here’s my first video testing the bike/gopro/drone (many improvements to be made!), uploaded from a Cracker Barrel parking lot in Boulder, CO.
General update, I’ve been covering a lot of miles this week and shooting/filming a lot but not editing much. Looking forward to slowing down once we get to Idaho. Rio is well. Only crashed the bike once this week, more on that later!
First trip of many in 2017! So much has happened since my last post, it was a mad dash to have everything ready in time for our trip home to Ohio. Of course I’m excited to share some pictures but more than anything I just wanted to say thank you. Here’s to an exciting new year!
Creating something from nothing is no small feat! Which is exactly what Garrett Finney has done over at Taxa Outdoors (www.taxaoutdoors.com) creating an incredible line of campers. Seriously, they have some really unique campers that are towable with just about any vehicle. Much of the inspiration for this build borrows from the Tiger Moth design which is just the right size for a guy, girl, and a dog. The slightly larger model, The Cricket, flexes into the family camper role and they even have an overlanding towable with The Woolly Bear.
A special thanks to Tyrone for giving me a place to build (remember when I rolled in with that rust-bucket off craigslist?) and engineering assistance. To my friends and family who have been reading along, thank you for your encouragement and positive words. From here, this is only the beginning!
Time for metal to meet wood! When this build is completed I will be towing the camper with a Honda Element, and for all its adventure aesthetic they really aren’t designed for towing. A lot of the build dimensions and decisions are being made to keep the final build under 1500 lbs and 150 lbs tongue weight. With that said, foam and plywood make a surprisingly lightweight and strong wall when laminated together!
Last weekend I picked up a few ¼” sheets of Okoume plywood and ¾” rigid foam insulation and a bunch of glue to tackle to floor. Here’s how it went:
First step was to build a wooden frame outline of the trailer. This adds support and gives me something to fasten the sheets of plywood sandwich together.
Pocket hole jig was a must have here, made putting the frames together quick and easy. When using the jig, make sure to drill the holes cross grain to avoid splitting (see photo to see what NOT to do haha!)
Using titebond III woodglue and 1” screws the Okoume goes onto the frame. Left the plywood bigger than the frame to get a flush fit later when I come back with the router (a genius idea by Tyrone).
Foam goes in next, just add your favorite adhesive. I spent a lot of time wavering here about what was the right type of adhesive to glue wood to foam. The foam I’m using is FOAMULAR by Owens-Corning, an XPS. I went with Locktite PL Premium over the PL 300 stuff specially designed for foam. If you’re following along an end up doing something similar just shoot me an email, I can tell you what worked and why I went this route. Repeated this process on both sides.
All said, the floor came out looking sharp! The floor ended up crowning from the weights ever so slightly, but got lucky and it worked in my favor. For being only 1.25” thick, the floor is incredibly rigid (weighs about 100#). The next walls will go much quick now, one side down 5 more to go!
I started with a 5’x8’ kit trailer from Northern Tool, but knew that I would be making some modifications to the frame to suit my needs on day one. Well technically, I first bought a rusty junker of a trailer from a guy on craigslist before I knew what I was getting myself into… Luckily I was able to flip the trailer, and get some learning out of the way early while I was at it.
Going with the kit trailer gave me a blank slate that was affordable and could be changed to suit my needs. Here’s a breakdown of some of the modifications I made to the trailer assembly:
Welded frame and tongue extension (35% more sqft!)
Painted with Truckbed liner
Added jack stand and stabilizers
Replaced axle with a Dexter Torsion axle
Full size 16" rims and tires
Things are happening fast around here. New website, new store, parts for the camper are arriving in the mail, and teaching is back in full swing! Trying to get what I can checked off of my to-do list where/when I can to keep things moving forward. Here's our new logo, I think it fits our message well; life is a journey. Despite our best intentions we rarely end up where we expected, and that's okay! Live unbounded and explore paths less traveled.