One thing we have come to embrace on this trip is our ever-changing itinerary. Each day dawns new adventures and the promise of the unexpected. In the past few months we have traveled well over 6,000 miles through 9 states, 3 provinces and 30 climbing crags. Nights are spent scanning maps for National Forest land and bumping down gravel roads, which present the occasional “I think I’ll get out for this one” moments.
We have watched reindeer cross frozen lakes in the Yukon, embraced the first leaves of spring in the Canadian Rockies, and fought rattlesnakes in the scablands of Central Oregon only hours before crossing snowy passes through the Cascades. We hiked sections of the Pacific Crest Trail in California, crossed vast sagebrush plateaus and climbed thousands of feet of mountain passes. We have stared in wonder at several of our nations most unique parks, climbed alpine domes in Yosemite and desert sandstone in Utah. We’ve crossed the most barren of deserts complete with mirages, dust devils and brush fires, all the while dreaming of our next mountain salvation.
Most recently our path crossed once again with Jerrod down in Victor, ID home to the WYDAHO bike festival. In its fourth year, WYDAHO was an impressive event. Each day was packed with group mountain bike rides and competitions while the bike shops in Victor and Driggs provided the night venue for live music, beer, food, bike demonstrations and raffles.
A highlight of the weekend was getting to catch up with my good friend Emily from high school, who I haven’t seen in years. By the wonders of facebook I learned she lived just down the road from where I sat at the Victor library. We got to hangout Friday night and again on Sunday when we met her adorable daughter Avery. Catching up with friends has been a highlight of the trip. Something about living on the East Coast for three years directly followed by Alaska for the next two seems to have made it hard to keep in touch, but recently we have been making up for lost time.
Smith Rocks brought us Cora (our first house guest) and her delicious Northwest micros and homegrowns. This visit was followed shortly by a visit from Shaina our friend from Penn State (now living in Seattle) and her awesome crew of friends. On to Bend and we had a ROCKIN good time hanging with Angie, seeing her new house, and getting the insider scoop on Bend that I am convinced only Angie could provide.
Lake Tahoe saw us running into Phu AND Heidi (Univ. of Idaho friends) at the same crag on the same day! Boy, were we glad for this meet-up because it led to one of the best days and nights of the trip spent climbing at Lover’s Leap and barbequing the night away at Heidi’s new house.
Along with the reunion of old friends came the unexpected bonding with strangers along the way. We had an incredible time climbing with a small group of climbers at the Trinity Aretes in Northern California and then experienced selfless hospitality from our new friends Nick and Hanne in Mt. Shasta.
Of course Falco wouldn’t be denied, and even as the southern heat held us from meeting him in his town of Ridgecrest. He made the trip to Bishop to meet us for an awesome weekend of backpacking in Bishop Pass and rock climbing at the Owen’s River Gorge. As always we had a great time catching up and adventuring. Can’t wait to see where we end up, hopefully within striking distance of more weekend trips!
On to Salt Lake and we made a slew of plans to meet up with all of our friends who call Utah home. In two weeks, we would climb at Maple Canyon, Big Cottonwood, American Fork and Echo Canyon with appearances from professional badass Adrienne and our new climbing buddies Jeremy and Dana. During the week we got to have dinner at Pudd and Gemma’s which marked the first time Puddy, Doug, Benny and I had hung out on our own since 2010 – long overdue. Following dinner we got to explore Liberty Park on a fleet of Puddy’s sweet bikes. Zigging and zagging all around the park there were drum circles, bums, runners, zoos, ponds and the world’s quota of rollerbladers. Hopefully if all goes well the Puddy’s will be moved in and off to Spain and England for an extended trip by the time this post gets out!
Jerrod joined the SLC party and made the trip down from Pocatello to meet us at Doug’s for a foray into the Uinta’s in Doug’s jacked up Land Cruiser. The last time I saw Doug’s truck it smelled of dead animals and looked like any other SUV. This time I barely recognized it! He has it jacked up with huge ass tires and other badassery that transformed it into an off-roading machine! We were able to go back, WAY-back into the Uinta’s on 4X4 trails and had a beautiful lake all to ourselves.
With time to kill as everyone headed back to work during the week, our marathon trip to Moab may have been the best stretch of the trip. The weather was not in our favor and the heat took its toll, but Heidi and her friends down there showed us a great time. Moab is certainly a place we could call home.
After an all too short visit with Steve at Wild Iris, my finger injury stunted our Wyoming climbing plans and sent us off on yet another unexpected journey to Big Sky. Ahead of schedule, we had plenty of time to make it to Yellowstone and found out that Mary had the next 48 hours off WOOHOO!! Mary of course showed us the most epic multi-sporting of the trip with horseback riding, climbing, hiking, disc golf, knife throwing and softball, all in two days!
Aiming for Idaho we called ahead to Jerrod and our good luck continued as we again enjoyed his company along with an awesome bike fest that planted the seed for mountain biking…
Now in Rupert for a few days we are planning to head to Ketchum this weekend to meet with prospective employers. Robyn could hear back about her application with the Blaine County Drug Coalition any day now, and my position closes on August 6th. All told I am guessing we will have to make a definitive decision on where we plan to spend the winter come the end of the month. One month. Looking forward it seems so close, but the amount of living we’ve done in the last 3 months makes it seem like a year has passed since packing Trixie in Valdez. We are certainly at an exciting crossroads, but it’s reassuring to know that great friends and a supportive family always seem to wait just around the bend.