Alaska 2018

Last July, I went to Alaska with Keya and my family. We had a family reunion on an Alaskan Cruise. While the cruise was certainly nice, I much preferred being off ship. The majority of photos are taken when Keya and I did some exploring, camping, and hiking during the stops.

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Ghost towns, mountain passes, a wildfire, and a Corgi

Obviously, I have to lead with the picture of Pueblo the Corgi. I mean look at this little buddy!

Last weekend, right after the Fjallraven Classic USA, Keya and I met our friends, Veronica and Evan, near Jefferson. Then we headed up some mountain passes to find ghost towns! We started on Boreas Pass on Saturday and veered off onto some high clearance “roads” to find some old cabins and other buildings. On Sunday, we headed all the way up and across Mosquito Pass. Pretty stellar views (and wind from up there).


Here’s a video of Evan getting buffeted by the wind at the top of Mosquito Pass:

 
On the way back, we had to go around the Weston Pass fire. This thing:

Fjallraven Classic USA 2018

Well, we did it. Thirty miles in three days on the Colorado trail.┬áBeau already did a great writeup of last year’s Fjallraven Classic USA. Definitely give it a read if you are interested.
Some notes from my experience:

  • I packed light opting for the (not super comfy) bivy sack instead of a tent. Because we didn’t have to carry much water (thank you again, Grayl) I wish I had just brought my tent.
  • I won’t start with as much water next time. The Grayl is a beautiful device. I never needed to carry more than a liter at a time.
  • The Therm-a-rest Z Seat was a wonderful last minute purchase. I strapped it to the outside of my bag and used it every time we stopped. It also doubled as a place to stand when I was at camp and changing.
  • The altitude is no joke. 80+ people came rolling in suuuuper late on day two where we did the 3000+ feet altitude gain. Some were extremely sick or shaky. Please keep altitude in mind before heading on a trip like this.
  • We were advised by some pros to hike 50 minutes and then take a 10 minute break. On the break, drop the pack, have a seat, and just chill. This was a great was to set a pace and stay strong. We also got to just enjoy some nice views and hang with some people from all over the world. Definitely adding to my hiking arsenal.


We started out as a group of three. Here’s our crew as we finished the trek:

It was so great to hike with all of you. See you next year!
Here’s a video I made out of the Live Photos that helps capture the experience a bit more than the pictures alone do:

An attempt at shorter posts

My posts tend to either be super long, filled with tons of pictures, or both. I’m going to try something new. For the next few weeks, I’m going to try exclusively posting from my phone which should help break up content a bit as well as keep it on the shorter side. The first series I do will cover the Fjallraven Classic USA, a 30 mile backpacking trip along the Colorado Trail that starts tomorrow. If you’re curious, Beau Lebens did a pretty thorough writeup of it last year.

Under the ledge

Last weekend we headed down into the Canyonlands in Utah. It is one of my very favorite places to be and one of the most pristine environments I have experienced. Where we went is definitely the road less traveled. In fact, it’s impossible to get to for most vehicles. Usually, it’s super photogenic, but it was cloudy the majority of the time. I still took a ton of photos, but I thought I’d try making them black and white. I did save some good color photos for the end, though (and a couple crazy videos).


And here are some of the color photos that were just too good to desaturate.

Here’s a video of our last camp sight. It was quite a doozy. (And we had to be super cautious at night.)

The last video is me riding on the bumper of the Jeep while Keya tried to give me a few mud showers.

This trip was intense, but equally fun. We had to bring our own food, water, and poop bags. We were roughly 40 (very slow very hard) miles from the ranger station and around 100 to the nearest gas station.
I would be happy to answer any questions you have about doing a trip like this (except the location). I also could be convinced to join expedition trips like this. Let me know what you think about the trip or the photos!

Heading to BC

Last year Stephane and I took our Jeeps from Montreal to Whistler. This year we met up in Calgary and have about a week to get there. This means we’re taking the scenic route. We also have additional adventurers. Keya and my dog, Zag, are making the trek with us!
Follow our progress here.

Cactus Consequences: Ojo Caliente, Sante Fe, and Albuquerque

Ojo Caliente


During our stop in Ojo Caliente, we headed up the road behind the hot springs and found some nice gnarly roads to bike on with Zag. We ended up by a neat mica mine. I had never seen mica grow that thick before. Zag also got a couple minor lessons about what cactus are and what he shouldn’t scratch his back with (he’s okay).

Santa Fe


In Santa Fe, I did a quick route up the Dale Ball loop to see if it would be something we would want to do the next day. It was a bit too gnarly so we moved on.

Albuquerque


Keya had the bright idea to head down to the river and do a bit of longboarding on the path in the evening light.

We then hit up the Elena Gallegos central loop the next morning. There were plenty of “cactus consequences” along this trail.
Photos by Keya and myself.

Highlights: Colorado Springs, Buena Vista, UFO Watchtower

Colorado Springs


Keya, Zag, and I headed down to Colorado Springs to visit my sister, Kristen. She took us on a hike in the Red Rock Canyon Open space. It’s a beautiful meandering set of loops that can be extended if your group is up for it. It looks like the open space would be a pretty fun place for beginner mountain bikers or climbers as well.

After the hike, we saw some flyers in the dirt near the Jeep for a place called Pub Dog that supposedly lets dogs hang out “inside” while you eat. Of course we had to go there! That kind of thing is rare. I think they got around the city rules stating dogs can’t be inside restaurants. Basically, they have the “main” restaurant area with no dogs allowed and the “indoor patio” area technically outside of the main restaurant where dogs are allowed. Both are indoors with full AC. Outside, there was more patio seating and a dog play area. They also had pretty dang good food for dogs and people as well as good beer! A+

Buena Vista

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After the hikes, we headed south toward Ojo Caliente. We stopped for dinner at House Rock Kitchen on the way. I have no pictures of the burger or place, but I assure you the burgers were spot on.

The UFO Watchtower


We ran out of light so we made the call to stop at the UFO Watchtower and camp. If you missed my previous post on it, the UFO Watchtower is one of my favorite places in Colorado and also has a camping area. We were there with a few other believers, but unfortunately we arrived past their bedtime. After some brief stargazing we crashed.
We couldn’t see much from the tower in the morning due to the low hanging smoke from various nearby forest fires so we packed up and headed out. Ojo Caliente, here we come!