If you haven’t heard, wildfires have been taking over eastern Washington, with some half dozen different fires including the incredibly massive Carlton Complex which has torched over 215,000 acres to date. Coupled with a couple weeks of 100+ degree heat, and as my friend Scott put it best, it’s felt like a smoky oven. Needless to say, we’ve been laying low and doing our best to adapt to the situation at hand, things seem to be improving but I’m still skeptical for the future. For now, we’re enjoying a reprieve and I’m reflecting as well as looking forward to how and best balance this reality as it unfolds. Below you’ll find a few pictures from our weekend of clarity, and a few words regarding what it’s like living in a pressure cooker. If you’re into pictures or like your dose of crazy diluted as possible, remember to check us out on the Facebook and Instagram, where angry rhetoric is in short supply.
Living in Little Cottonwood Canyon during the winter, I’m lucky to be able to enjoy backcountry skiing in both wilderness and watershed areas, zones that are free (read – prohibited) of snow-machine travel. If you’re reading this, most likely you’re a skier or snowboarder, and even if you use an old beat-up sled to get deep into the mountains, once you’re there you probably trade it for skins and slog your way up the mountainside to earn your face shots. Backcountry skiing is about solitude and isolation, a dance with the wilderness. When not used correctly, snow-machines can create a noisy, hectic, and often dangerous atmosphere. If you value you value the solitude and serenity of a quiet mountain range dressed in white, then you should know this: on June 18th, the Forest Service issued a long-awaited rule for public comment on designating areas as open or closed to winter motorized vehicles, this is a good first step, but comments from our backcountry community can make it stronger! Your help is both needed and essential to capitalize on this opportunity to bring balance to the backcountry. By designating specific trails and areas where over-snow vehicle use may occur, winter travel planning is an opportunity to bring balance to the backcountry. The community of backcountry skiers needs to be heard! Please consider adding your comment to the voices of support for human-powered winter recreation. To get a better grasp of the issues at hand, and help you draft a comment worthy of consideration, the Winter Wildlands Alliance has put together a very helpful page to aid you in navigating this beurocratic issue. Keep reading to see a few links that can help you along, as well as my annotated comment if you’re interested. LET’S DO THIS!!!
If you read our last post, or are friends with us on the Facebook – Instagram, you already know I managed to put together a short video for submission into the Adventure CyclingAssociation’s Bicycle Touring Video contest. If not, then, well, I did. While I have a pretty extensive history with some aspects of photography and relatively none with videography, this was my first real attempt at putting together a project that, while I might not consider it professional, it was intended for public consumption, and while the equipment I used was largely amateur, it is hands down the most advanced and highest quality I’ve used to date, and I’d like to think the film’s content and quality reflects that, at least a little. If you haven’t yet seen the video, or would like to hear a little more about my experience in putting it all together, then read on.
A lot of times I find myself unmotivated to share or write about our lives when I don’t feel like we’re doing anything noteworthy or significant. This happens to me often in the winter, when work dominates my day to day and I’m lucky to find time to get out on small ski tours and climbs. I think it’s basically a function of how much I feel like I’m challenging myself. When I’m out working towards larger goals or attempting them, I’m psyched to share my progress and experiences, but when my life takes a mellower routine, I’m content to go to the crag without a camera, and spend some time in the mountains without writing about it here. We all need our version of silent reflection, whether it be from our jobs, our partners, ourselves or the whole scene, this time can give us the perspective and inspiration to return invigorated and focused.
In light of all this, I wanted to share a little bit about our lives for the last few weeks, because while I might not feel like I’ve been challenging myself enough, our days have been full and there’s been a lot going on, in fact, we’ve got pretty big news, but you’ll have to read to the end for that. After all, if my goal is to advocate for a simpler, quieter lifestyle, one that might not always be as glamorous but continues to deliver satisfaction and adventure, well then what better place to start than here. With that in mind, here’s a brief look into the last month of our lives through some words and pictures.