Lake Tahoe
Apply here payday loans

All good things come to an end and the Oregon Coast was one of those things.  We started to make our way inland into California. However, on the way out we couldn’t resist one more stop for a couple of more pics of the coast.

Fog covering the Ocean in the morning
Apply here payday loans

Fog covering the Ocean in the morning

Fog clearing
Apply here payday loans

Fog clearing

Our next stop was a few hours inland at a place called Trinity Aretes. This is a small crag I wanted to get some laps on. It sits near the top of a long drive up this mountain. We spent the afternoon getting some laps on some of the classics before getting back in the car for the long push to Lake Tahoe. Here are couple of pics from the afternoon.

Looking down from the top of the classic climb Goldrush
Apply here payday loans

Looking down from the top of the classic climb Goldrush

View looking out from the top of the cliff
Apply here payday loans

View looking out from the top of the cliff

We ended up arriving into Lake Tahoe late…….the latest we had ever arrived to a campsite, so we didn’t see much on the way in, and just crashed for the one night at Camp Shelly, which we had previously booked. Since we had only booked one night we needed to find a place to stay for the next few nights, so the next morning we woke early, and came up with a plan of trying to secure a campsite right away for the next few nights…….not an easy task being prime season! Luck was on our side and we drove into Bayview campground, which is one of the few first come first serve campgrounds and got a site…….our home the past few days!

Bayview Campground...pretty sweet!
Apply here payday loans

Bayview Campground…pretty sweet!

Cooking up some grub!
Apply here payday loans

Cooking up some grub…….with bear locker in background!

Since it did not take us long to get a site, we decided to do a little exploring and maybe get a hike in. Here are a couple of pics from around Lake Tahoe……just beautiful!

Checking out Lake Tahoe
Apply here payday loans

Checking out Lake Tahoe

Emerald bay
Apply here payday loans

Emerald Bay

We ended up going on a hike to Mt Judah and Donner Peak. It was a pretty cruisy hike with some great pics of the surrounding mountains and lakes.

On the hike up Mount Judah with Donner Lake in the background with
Apply here payday loans

On the hike up Mt Judah with Donner Lake in the background

Cathy near the summit of Mount Judah
Apply here payday loans

Cathy near the summit of Mt Judah

Heavenly Ski resort in the background
Apply here payday loans

Heavenly Ski resort in the background

More of the beautiful scenery on the way up
Apply here payday loans

More of the beautiful scenery on the way up

The next morning we woke early to tackle one of the classic climbs in the area. The climb is called Bears Reach, and it is located on the crag called Lover’s Leap. This is one of the premier granite climbing areas in the Tahoe area. The climb Bears Reach became super famous from a youtube video of a famous climber called Dan Osmond he attempted the speed record for free soloing this route and got it, in a record time of………4 minutes!!!! For anyone who wants to check it out here is a link to to video….. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy3SuhEQHVg

Apply here payday loans
  Now……what took him 4 minutes, took us just under two hours, but we did it with a rope and gear!! Here are couple shots from the climb.

A look at the East Wall of Lover's Leap
Apply here payday loans

A look at the East Wall of Lover’s Leap

Looking up at the start of Bears Reach
Apply here payday loans

Looking up at the start of Bears Reach

Cathy all smiles after pulling the Bears Reach crux
Apply here payday loans

Cathy all smiles after pulling the Bears Reach crux

Top of pitch two
Apply here payday loans

Top of pitch two

Cathy topping out on Bears Reach
Apply here payday loans

Cathy topping out on Bears Reach

All smiles after a great climb!
Apply here payday loans

All smiles after a great climb!

We also got in one more pitch on a harder mix route. A really cool route……a bit spicy, but cool!

Looking down from out last climb on Lover's Leap
Apply here payday loans

Looking down from our last climb on Lover’s Leap

It was good we got up early because the cliff face comes into the sun around 1pm. We finished up and got out of there before the heat settled in. The best part of climbing in the area when the heat does come……

You just go to the lake! ;-)
Apply here payday loans

You just go to the lake! ;-)

The next morning we woke early so I could get another endurance day in. We hit up a cliff called Mayhem Cove which was right down the road form our campsite. The cliff has some cool granite features and I got in a great workout on the climbs. Though the sun started to bake us at 10am!

Mayhem Cove
Apply here payday loans

Mayhem Cove

Cathy trying to escape the sun while belaying my endurance laps........best fiancé ever!!!!!!
Apply here payday loans

Cathy trying to escape the sun while belaying my endurance laps……..best fiancé ever!!!!!!

UGH!!!! How many laps was that!!!
Apply here payday loans

UGH!!!! How many laps was that!!!

We spent the rest of the day checking out the rest of the lake. We drove into the Nevada side…….a little too busy for us around all those casinos! Then came back into the California side. Lake Tahoe is a gorgeous place, but unfortunately, being prime season, it gets a little too busy sometimes and too crowded to get around. We ended up heading to Squaw Valley to check it out. Really cool ski village, and in the near future could be a winter stop for us!

Cathy at Squaw Valley
Apply here payday loans

Cathy at Squaw Valley

This morning we slept in, and then decided to get a hike in before breakfast. It turns out at the back of our campsite there is a trail that heads to Cascade Falls, so we decided to check it out. The falls weren’t gushing, but there was still some beautiful scenery back there…….and it was only 30 min from our campsite!

One the way to Cascade Falls with Cscade Lake in the background, and Lake Tahoe covered in morning fog
Apply here payday loans

One the way to Cascade Falls with Cscade Lake in the background, and Lake Tahoe covered in morning fog

Almost to the falls
Apply here payday loans

Almost to the falls

They weren’t flowing the way we had hoped, but still a awesome view!

Cathy at the falls
Apply here payday loans

Cathy at the “baby” falls!

Looking out Cascade Lake from near the falls
Apply here payday loans

Looking out onto Cascade Lake from near the falls

The rest of our day is going to be spent doing the basics of road life……laundry, shopping, errands….blah!  But, the reward is……we are off to Yosemite tomorrow! ;-)

- Jamie

Oregon Coast
Apply here payday loans

Picking my chin up off the floor became common procedure while cruising south on the Oregon Coast. The scenic Pacific Highway between Astoria in the north and Brookings in the south lived up to our expectations and then some. Many parts of it reminded us of Australia’s south east coast as well as New Zealand’s South Island, imagine that. The Oregon Coast is a hidden gem and the drive on 101 needs to be added to those Bucket List’s you may have or simply for anyone wishing to drive one of the coolest routes in America!  We took 2 full days to drive the Coast resting our heads for just one night at Seal Rocks. We started in Astoria, a small port town famous for one cool house overlooking the Columbia River…..

Goonie House
Apply here payday loans

Goonie House

None other than the Goonie House, the most classic movie of 1984!

"The Goondocks"
Apply here payday loans

“The Goondocks”

Also, a must visit in Astoria is the Astoria Column. The column was built to emulate the Eiffel Tower and the purpose of it was to offer locals and visitors a vista point to enjoy the views of the Pacific North West where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean.

Astoria Column
Apply here payday loans

Astoria Column

Views from the top of the Column
Apply here payday loans

Views from the top of the Column

Further south from Astoria at Cannon Beach is Haystack Rock, another must see. As it turns out, this rock formation was also from Goonie’s. During the opening scene when the Fratelli’s are fleeing from the police and again at the end of the movie when Mikey is pointing out rocks in the distance. God, we love that movie!

Haystack Rock
Apply here payday loans

Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock
Apply here payday loans

Haystack Rock

We continued on south making stops at the road side viewpoints and of course in Tillamook and the cheese factory to sample some very good ice cream. These shots are from the rest of the drive on day one.

DCIM100GOPRO

Apply here payday loans

 

DCIM100GOPRO

Apply here payday loans

We stayed the night at Seal Rock at a campground overlooking the ocean, it was a great spot. We got up early the next morning to get a workout in on the beach.

Seal Rock Beach
Apply here payday loans

Seal Rock Beach

The tide was so low that we came across some marine life exposed on large rocks.

Marine life on Seal Rock beach
Apply here payday loans

Marine life on Seal Rock beach

DCIM100GOPRO

Apply here payday loans

DCIM100GOPRO

Apply here payday loans

On day two of our coastal drive we made many stops between Seal Rock and Brookings but took a little extra time at a couple of tourist attractions. First stop was Heceta Heads Lighthouse, said to be the most photographed lighthouse in the United States. The beautiful Inn Keeper’s house, not photographed, is now a bed & breakfast managed by the US Forest Service, looks like an awesome place to crash for the night and from what I’ve read, breakfast is awesome! We of course are on a budget and did not stay there so can’t speak for it personally. Maybe next time.

Heceta Head Lighthouse
Apply here payday loans

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Views from Heceta Head Lighthouse
Apply here payday loans

Views from Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse
Apply here payday loans

Near the Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse
Apply here payday loans

The view looking out from the Heceta Head Lighthouse

Our last visit on the coast would be Sea Lion Cave, and this is said to be the world’s largest Sea Cave. We took an elevator down to the cave which has a 2 acre floor, a vaulted rock dome and is 125 feet high. Unfortunately, the sea lions were not hanging in the cave at this time of year but we did spot about 40 of them out on the rocky shoreline and in the water.

Entrance to Sea Lion Caves
Apply here payday loans

Entrance to Sea Lion Caves

Seals sunbathing
Apply here payday loans

Seals sunbathing

These are some more shots from the remainder of our coastal drive….

Coastal Views
Apply here payday loans

Coastal Views

DCIM100GOPRO

Apply here payday loans

DCIM100GOPRO

Apply here payday loans

It was a true adventure and an unexpected surprise to drive this astonishing coast. We highly recommend it to everyone. We’ve also added Oregon to our list of the many places we would love to live!!

~Cathy

Washington
Apply here payday loans

Our first impression of the State of Washington……flat and hot!! You wouldn’t think it would be that hot, but I think the first few days we were in the state we just caught it at the worst time. That said, as we moved through the state things started to cool off and we did see some pretty cool stuff. First off, for those who don’t know, as you come in from Idaho, Washington did not have the scenery we expect……the Eastern part is very flat, almost like being in Kansas!

After crossing in from Idaho, this was a first view of the state of Washington....not what we expected!
Apply here payday loans

After crossing in from Idaho, this was a first view of the state of Washington….not what we expected!

As you move across the state it does get better….a hell of lot better! We made our way to the town of Leavenworth. This little town is known for it’s touristy Bavarian buildings and it’s beautiful canyon. It also has some really good climbing. Unfortunately, as I mentioned it was hot….really hot! We ended up staying at the awesome campground call Tumwater up in the canyon, which is right on the river. The next morning the plan was to wake early to beat the heat and get some climbing in. Well, mother nature had a hell of a night and dumped rain all night long with some severe thunderstorms. By the time we let the rock dry and found the climbs we wanted to do, you felt like you were just melting off the rock! We climbed for a little bit, but we had to just bag it and head down. At least it was not too long of a walk to get in a cool dip/bath! ;-)

Cooling off in the river after feeling like we were going to melt on the rock!
Apply here payday loans

Cooling off in the Wenetche River after feeling like we were going to melt on the rock!

We decided to skip trying to climb anymore and start pushing more West and South. Our next stop was Mt. Rainier. What an awesome and gorgeous place. A lot of people train to climb some of the big peaks in the world here and once you visit you can see why. It is not some peak you just stroll up in a day. We got some great pics around the peak and did a small hike up to get some closer pics of the peak at Panorama Point.

Waterfall as we were driving up Mt. Rainier
Apply here payday loans

Waterfall as we were driving up Mt. Rainier

Some of the pretty fields around the base of the mountain
Apply here payday loans

Some of the pretty fields around the base of the mountain

Cathy on the hike up with the Mt. Rainier looming in the background
Apply here payday loans

Cathy on the hike up with Mt. Rainier looming in the background

Crossing a snowfield on the way up
Apply here payday loans

Crossing a snowfield on the way up

This is as far as we went, and it was impressive!
Apply here payday loans

This is as far as we went, and it was impressive!

Mt. Rainer!
Apply here payday loans

A lenticular cloud over Mt. Rainer!

Oh yeah…when we stopped to take these pictures, we also had a bite to eat. Just an FYI for anyone visiting the mountain….keep an eye out for these guys!

Marmot.....they will take your food!
Apply here payday loans

Marmot…..they will take your food!

and they are not people shy!
Apply here payday loans

and they are not people shy!

A couple of hours further down the road you come to another mountain that has significance in the state of Washington….Mt. St Helens! What an interesting place to see. The mountain erupted back in 1980 with the force of 24 megatons! After 33 years, you can still see the devastation it left behind…..it is impressive to see how powerful mother nature can be!

The eruption
Apply here payday loans

The eruption

Some of the old trees still remain like ghosts, with the newer smaller trees popping up
Apply here payday loans

Some of the old dead trees still remain like ghosts, with the newer smaller trees popping up

More of the old......and new
Apply here payday loans

More of the old……and new

You can still see trees that were flattened by the blast
Apply here payday loans

You can still see trees that were flattened by the blast

This is Spirit Lake which still has the remains of some of the dead trees
Apply here payday loans

This is Spirit Lake which still has the remains of some of the dead trees to the right

This is Spirit Lake which still has the remains of some of the dead trees
Apply here payday loans

Close up of the dead trees in the lake

Unfortunately, we were not able to get a photo of the mountain….it was covered in clouds the whole afternoon we were driving around. Bit a of bummer, but still a very cool place to see and experience!

- Jamie

 

 

 

 

 

Glacier National Park
Apply here payday loans

It took us a day and a half to get to Glacier National Park. We would have been there sooner, but by the time we reached the city of Missoula the truck was in need of service. Since we got there late, we decided to spend the night and get the service done first thing in the morning. Being one of the bigger places we have gone through lately we opted for the highest class of accommodations! ;-)

Walmart parking lot......high class living...and it is free!
Apply here payday loans

Walmart parking lot……high class living…and it is free!

We woke the next morning early to be the first ones at the dealership…got to love the West. We arrive at the dealership at 7:25am, turned the keys over to them at 7:40am, and we were out of there by 8:20am!! We were off to Glacier, and after a day and half in the park Cathy and I both agree that the park comes the closest to some of the stuff we experienced on the south island of New Zealand. Here are some of the pictures from our drive through the park on the Road-To-The-Sun road.

One of the first lakes we encountered as we entered the park
Apply here payday loans

One of the first lakes we encountered as we entered the park

Just a a couple of the many waterfalls in the park
Apply here payday loans

Just a a couple of the many waterfalls 

Cathy enjoying the view!
Apply here payday loans

Cathy enjoying the view!

More waterfalls!
Apply here payday loans

More waterfalls!

More of the gorgeous scenery!
Apply here payday loans

More of the gorgeous scenery!

and of course....more waterfalls....but hey! with views like this who can complain!
Apply here payday loans

and of course….more waterfalls….but hey! with views like this who can complain!

As we drove through the park we discovered that all the campground were full….shocker! ;-) BUT! As they say…all good things come to those who wait, we did a little venturing and ended up staying on an indian reservation on Duck Lake just outside the park…..check it out.

About to set up for dinner
Apply here payday loans

About to set up for dinner

Sunset view over Duck Lake
Apply here payday loans

Sunset view over Duck Lake

Morning view with Glacier National Park in the distance
Apply here payday loans

Morning view with Glacier National Park in the distance

The next morning we woke early to head back into the park to do some hiking. Through some recommendations we ventured off to hike the Iceburg Lake Trail, a 10 mile roundtrip hike through a really gorgeous part of the park……and what a reward at the end!

View from the early part of the hike
Apply here payday loans

View from the early part of the hike

Enjoying the day!
Apply here payday loans

Enjoying the day!

Our goal in the distance
Apply here payday loans

Our goal in the distance

Cathy approaching Iceburg Lake
Apply here payday loans

Cathy approaching Iceburg Lake

Iceburg Lake
Apply here payday loans

Iceburg Lake

Awesome place to eat lunch!
Apply here payday loans

Awesome place to eat lunch!

On the way back we had a close encounter with one of the parks many man eating animals…….these guys are trained killers!

Careful....he will take your head right off!!
Apply here payday loans

Careful….he will take your head right off!! ;-)

This one snuck up on Cathy
Apply here payday loans

This one snuck up on Cathy

After the hike we started to make our way out of the park, and got one more surprise…..a grizzly cub…luckily from a distance.

Grizzly Cub
Apply here payday loans

Grizzly Cub

You almost wantt to go pet him.......almost!
Apply here payday loans

You almost want to go pet him…….almost!

We ended up driving to Eureka for the night, and the next morning got up to get some climbing laps in at Stone Hill right on Lake Koocanusa. (The start of my training for 24HHH….fingers are already sore! ;-)

Hanging next to the lake
Apply here payday loans

Hanging next to the lake

We ended the day with driving just West of Spokane…..so after Montana, we have very quickly gone through Idaho, and are now in the state of Washington!

- Jamie

Big Sky, Montana
Apply here payday loans

Big Sky. Montana is the coolest little ski town and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to visit. Our friends Don and Caroline call this beautiful place home during summer and winter. Big Sky is located in southwest Montana and mid way between West yellowstone and Bozeman. We do have plans to move to Denver but after visiting Big Sky we may reconsider!! Or it may just became a new retirement place to dream about and add to the list of places we would love to live, next to Wanaka, New Zealand of course.  Upon our arrival about mid day we had a nice lunch and just hung out and caught up with each other.

Chillin' on the back deck with Don and Caroline
Apply here payday loans

Chillin’ on the back deck with Don and Caroline

The next morning Don and Jamie made a plan to get out and climb a 3 pitch trad route not too far from the house at Gallatin Tower.

Don working his way up!
Apply here payday loans

Don working his way up the second pitch!

 

Summit of Gallatin Tower
Apply here payday loans

Summit of Gallatin Tower

Gallatin Tower
Apply here payday loans

Don on Gallatin Tower

They returned for lunch and then all 4 of us headed out to a different crag just up the road for some cruisy sport climbing. It wasn’t long before we were baking in the sun and had to head out but not before I ticked off a couple more lead climbs.

Got my gear sorted, ready to lead!
Apply here payday loans

Got my gear sorted, ready to lead!

Working my lead route, The Hunter, 5.6
Apply here payday loans

Working my route, The Hunter, 5.6

Afternoon at Red Cliff, Don working Fat F*&% Five, 5.8
Apply here payday loans

Afternoon at Red Cliff, Don making his way up Fat F*&% Five, 5.8

I shall follow
Apply here payday loans

I shall follow

Taking a break with Caroline
Apply here payday loans

Taking a break with Caroline

That evening we decided to eat out at a local joint called the Corral Bar and Grill on highway 191. I think they’re famous for their burgers and beer and they did not disappoint.  Our server attempted to snap a shot of us, not the best pic but worth posting.

Dinner at the Corral
Apply here payday loans

Dinner at the Corral

Before taking off the next day we made a plan to drive up to the resort and check things out. Jamie was actually here skiing in 2005 with a bunch of friends but a lot has changed and been developed since then.

Don, Caroline and Jamie, Resort Base at Big Sky
Apply here payday loans

Don, Caroline and Jamie, Resort Base at Big Sky

We rode the chairlift up to the mid peak and got some nice shots.

On our way up the chair lift
Apply here payday loans

On our way up the chair lift

Top of mid station
Apply here payday loans

Top of mid station

Lone Peak in the background
Apply here payday loans

Lone Peak in the background

Jamie and his photo skills
Apply here payday loans

Jamie and his photo skills

Back down the chair lift!
Apply here payday loans

Back down the chair lift!

Thank you Don and Caroline for your warm hospitality and great company, it gave us a nice break from the road for a couple days. The sleep number bed and the fancy shower also made it hard to say goodbye!

DCIM100GOPRO

Apply here payday loans

Next stop….Glacier National Park.

~Cathy

Beer Tooth Pass and Yellowstone
Apply here payday loans

We took off from Devils Tower and started making our way further West and North. On the way we made a quick detour to check out the Medicine Wheel, an 80′ diameter wheel like pattern made of stones. This is an ancient Native American construction on top of a mountain in the Big Horns of Wyoming. It was a beautiful 1.5 mile hike to check it out.

On the Hike up to Medicine Mountain
Apply here payday loans

On the Hike up to Medicine Wheel

The Medicine Wheel
Apply here payday loans

The Medicine Wheel

From there we ended up spending the night in Red Lodge, MT. Great little town with good breakfast at the Cafe Regis! After breakfast we immediately set out for the scenic drive through Bear Tooth Pass. For those who have never heard of Bear Tooth Pass, it is a must do if you are ever driving out in this neck of the woods. It took us about 3 hours to get through the pass which is about 70 miles from Red Lodge to the North East entrance of Yellowstone, the drive is easily one of the best scenic by-ways in America for the gorgeous scenery…..the pictures just don’t do it justice, but we tried! ;-)

Heading into the Pass
Apply here payday loans

Heading into the Pass

Part way up the Pass
Apply here payday loans

Part way up the Pass

About 3/4 up the Pass
Apply here payday loans

About 3/4 up the Pass, getting colder

Almost at the top, and yes that is snow in the background!
Apply here payday loans

Almost at the top, and yes that is snow in the background!

 

One of the big views
Apply here payday loans

One of the big views

On the backside of the pass we came across this beautiful view
Apply here payday loans

On the backside of the pass we came across this beautiful view

Awesome lake at the end of the pass
Apply here payday loans

Awesome lake at the end of the pass

The highest peak you reach by car is about 10,300 and the temps dropped from 70 to 42F! The best part after the pass is it dumps right into Yellowstone National Park. We spent the day driving over a 100 miles through the park trying to take in as much as we could. It is such a great place to visit, and there is so much to see…..and once again, our pictures don’t do the place justice, check it out!

Off course they have plenty of Bison....and we got pretty close!
Apply here payday loans

Of course they have plenty of Bison….and we got pretty close!

Cathy looking for more wildlife in the park
Apply here payday loans

Cathy looking for more wildlife in the park

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Apply here payday loans

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Enjoying the day!
Apply here payday loans

Enjoying the day!

Yellowstone River
Apply here payday loans

Yellowstone River

Some of the thermal activity in the park
Apply here payday loans

Some of the thermal activity in the park

Cathy enjoying one of the waterfalls in the park
Apply here payday loans

Cathy enjoying one of the waterfalls in the park

And the day wouldn’t have been complete without seeing one of the major attractions, and it went off just like clockwork!

Old Faithful doing it's thing!
Apply here payday loans

Old Faithful doing it’s thing!

The great thing about our trip is….you just don’t know where you are going to end up sometimes. By 7pm we were looking for a campground in Yellowstone but we came to one full campground after another, at 7pm on a Friday night it was not a real shocker! We exited the park in Gardiner, MT, and set out to find a place to camp for the night. Everything was full, so we decided to get on down the road a little to try and find another campground, and just as we rounded this corner we came across a National Forest spot right on the Yellowstone River…….and the best part…it was free!! ;-)

In a van....down by the river!! ;-)
Apply here payday loans

In a van….down by the river!! ;-)

We are now off to Big Sky, MT to visit with friends!

- Jamie

Wyoming, Ten Sleep to Devils Tower
Apply here payday loans

On Friday, July 26th we arrived in Ten Sleep, WY where we met up with Chris and Jodi, our friends from Denver. Chuck and Ed would be arriving the next day and the 6 of us would spend a long weekend climbing in the Canyon at Ten Sleep.

Ten Sleep Canyon
Apply here payday loans

Ten Sleep Canyon

So Much Rock! Jamie is in heaven!!
Apply here payday loans

So Much Rock! Jamie is in heaven!!

All of us at Leah Creek crag
Apply here payday loans

The Gang at Ten Sleep, WY 

DCIM100GOPRO

Apply here payday loans

We spent all day Saturday at Ice Plant crag and Mando Bondo crag, the canyon is steep and the rock is sharp but it was fun checking out a new area. This area in particular has so much potential for new routes to be set and it’s in a sleepy little town with an awesome coffee shop!

Chris, Jodi and Cathy at Ice Plant Crag
Apply here payday loans

Chris, Jodi and Cathy at Ice Plant Crag

Ice Plant Crag
Apply here payday loans

Ice Plant Crag

We all camped together at Leah Creek, part of the NFS, so it was cheap and right next to Ten Sleep Creek.

Our camp spot at Ten Sleep
Apply here payday loans

Our camp spot at Ten Sleep

This was our camp spot at Ten Sleep, fell asleep each night to the babbling brook!!
Apply here payday loans

This was our camp spot at Ten Sleep, fell asleep each night to the babbling brook!!

We find our own firewood around here
Apply here payday loans

We find our own firewood around here

And then we split our own firewood! Even if it takes all night!
Apply here payday loans

And then we split our own firewood! Even if it takes all night!

Sunday we chose Leah Creek crag for the shorter approach and mixed routes of moderate for me and hard for everyone else.

Everyone is busy working the routes!
Apply here payday loans

Everyone is busy working the routes!

Jamie on Psychoactive Wall
Apply here payday loans

Jamie on Psychoactive Wall

Ed working it on Psychoactive Wall
Apply here payday loans

Ed working it on Psychoactive Wall

Chuck considers his next move on Psychoactive Wall
Apply here payday loans

Chuck considers his next move on Psychoactive Wall

Jamie and I decided our bodies needed a rest day so we took Monday to relax, do laundry and drive into Cody, WY for the famous Buffalo Bill Heritage Center. Chris and Jodi had already been there and raved about it. Now we can say the same. It is a museum worth visiting and you could easily spend half the day walking through it.

Buffalo Bill Monument
Apply here payday loans

Buffalo Bill Monument

Buffalo Bill Museum, the largest polar bear ever hunted, 1940's
Apply here payday loans

Buffalo Bill Museum, the largest polar bear ever hunted, 1940′s

Chris and Jodi headed back to Denver and the next morning Chuck, Ed, Jamie and I made our way to Devils Tower, WY. Our plan was to summit the Tower 2 days later. We spent the first day at the tower doing some reconnaissance, scoping out the area and making a plan for the summit climb on Thursday.

IMG_2245

Apply here payday loans

With Chuck and Ed at the Devils Tower Entrance
Apply here payday loans

With Chuck and Ed at the Devils Tower Entrance

We got a few routes in on Wednesday at the Assembly Line area to just mess around, feel the rock and prepare for the next day. While at Devils Tower we camped at the Devils Tower Lodge, owned and operated by Frank Sanders, a legend of the area. He’s been climbing for over 40 years and has made over 2000 summits of the Tower, now he is a Guide and offers up his awesome property to climbers and friends. Chuck met him a couple years ago at the Tower and he’s been camping there ever since when he visits.

Jamie cruising up the Tower at Assembly Line area
Apply here payday loans

Jamie cruising up the Tower at Assembly Line area

Jamie resting at Assembly Line
Apply here payday loans

Taking a rest at Assembly Line

Chillin' at Frank's
Apply here payday loans

Chillin’ at Frank’s

A rainy night camping at Frank's, as long as it rains at night and not while we climb!
Apply here payday loans

A rainy night camping at Frank’s, as long as it rains at night and not while we climb!

We made a plan to summit the Tower in the afternoon based on when the shade would hit the routes we chose. We headed up in 2 parties. Chuck and Ed on Soler and Jamie and I on El Cracko. The climb was a battle, especially since I’m not a crack climber. Even though I had my special gloves on it still kicked my ass!

Watch out El Cracko!
Apply here payday loans

Watch out El Cracko!

Waiting for the shade to kick in to begin El Cracko, Ed has already started up Soler
Apply here payday loans

Waiting for the shade to kick in to begin El Cracko, Ed has already started up Soler

Jamie (right) and Ed (left) beginning pitch 1 of our Devils Tower ascent
Apply here payday loans

Jamie (right) and Ed (left) beginning pitch 1 of our Devils Tower ascent

Chuck and I waiting our turns to head up
Apply here payday loans

Chuck and I waiting our turns to head up

Here are some shots of the 4 of us making our way up Devils Tower.

Ed working his way up Pitch 2 of Soler
Apply here payday loans

Ed working his way up Pitch 2 of Soler

HAND JAM!
Apply here payday loans

HAND JAM!

Chuck and Ed topping out on Soler
Apply here payday loans

Chuck and Ed topping out on Soler

El Cracko, top of Pitch 2
Apply here payday loans

El Cracko, top of Pitch 2

After about 4 hours we made it to the summit. Took in the view, shot some photos, refueled on food and began the process to rappel down.

Enjoying the summit finish of Devils Tower
Apply here payday loans

Enjoying the summit finish of Devils Tower

Chuck and Ed arriving at the summit
Apply here payday loans

Chuck and Ed arriving at the summit

Victory!
Apply here payday loans

Victory!

With Chuck and Ed at Rappel station 3
Apply here payday loans

With Chuck and Ed at Rappel station 3

The Tower casting a shadow out yonder
Apply here payday loans

The Tower casting a shadow out yonder

After another 2 hours we were at the base and all very proud of our day so it was time for some victory beers back at Frank’s.

After completing the summit climb, we are back down at the base
Apply here payday loans

After completing the summit climb, we are back down at the base

Devils Tower at Dusk
Apply here payday loans

Devils Tower at Dusk

We woke up on Friday to some heavy storms and were so glad we chose Thursday to climb and were not shut out by weather. After a huge breakfast we made our separate ways. Chuck and Ed off the the Needles in Mt Rushmore for more climbing and Jamie and I to Yellowstone. We had an awesome week with our friends and look forward to meeting up with them again in September for the 24HHH comp in Arkansas!

~Cathy

South Dakota
Apply here payday loans

We left Chuck’s place, in Colorado Springs, last Friday. Our First stop……South Dakota! We checked in late our first night into the Horsethief Campground, a nice campground, but not too level of a sight ;-) Our first full day in South Dakota we spent exploring the areas and getting the lay of the land. We first stopped in at Custer State Park which has some beautiful rock towers and contains the Needles Highway. Along the drive we also came across a few of these……

Bison in Custer State Park
Apply here payday loans

Bison in Custer State Park

This is a good distance!
Apply here payday loans

This is a good distance!

Here are some more shots of driving through the park.

Cathy checking out Cathedral Spires
Apply here payday loans

Cathy checking out Cathedral Spires

Another pic of Cathedral Spires
Apply here payday loans

Another pic of Cathedral Spires

 

One of the few tunnels you have to drive through in the park
Apply here payday loans

One of the few tunnels you have to drive through in the park

The Needles Eye....you can climb this but it is really runout and has an X rating.....pass!!!
Apply here payday loans

The Needles Eye….you can climb this but it is really runout and has an X rating…..pass!!!

At one end of the Needles Highway is Sylvan Lake.

Sylvan Lake
Apply here payday loans

Sylvan Lake

A great place to check out and you can climb there as well. We did some scouting and started to get a plan for the next few days, but I am getting ahead of myself! We left Sylvan Lake and drove down the road to see one of the biggest attractions in the area….Mt. Rushmore. We ended up seeing the presidents a few times, twice during the day…..and once at night trying to escape a hail storm….just an FYI for other campers out there, the Rushmore parking garage clearance is 7’10”…..luckily our groovy mobile comes in at 7’4”! Here are some pics of the sculptures.

Cathy with Mt. Rushmore in the bckground
Apply here payday loans

Cathy with Mt. Rushmore in the background

The four big guys!
Apply here payday loans

The four big guys!

At Night
Apply here payday loans

At night

The next few days we decided to get in some climbing in the Needles and near Mt. Rushmore. The rock is really different here, and you climb a lot on these little crystal features. The other thing you notice is the spacing on your protection…….it is very sporty here, so a sound lead head is a must! Here are some pics from our days climbing.

Cathy and I at the top of Classic Crack....awesome route!
Apply here payday loans

Cathy and I at the top of Classic Crack….awesome route!

Hanging out in the South Seas area behind Mt. Rushmore
Apply here payday loans

Hanging out in the South Seas area behind Mt. Rushmore

On Tuesday we decided to take a day off from climbing and tackled Harney Peak. At 7,200ft this is the tallest peak East of the Rockies and West of the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain. It’s about a 6 mile return and a very beautiful hike. Here are some pics from the hike.

Beautiful scenery on the way up!
Apply here payday loans

Beautiful scenery on the way up!

Cathy at the summit with the fire watch tower in the background
Apply here payday loans

Cathy at the summit with the fire watch tower in the background

Another view from the summit
Apply here payday loans

Another view from the summit

Enjoying the view while having some lunch!
Apply here payday loans

Enjoying the view while having some lunch!

To finish off the day we headed over to Crazy Horse Mountain. This was really interesting, since it is privately owned and publicly funded. One guy started sculpting the mountain in 1948, and after he passed away in 1982, his family has carried on the project. A lot of determination and they still have a ways to go!

As you can see the face is finished, but still a lot of work to do!
Apply here payday loans

As you can see the face is finished, but still a lot of work to do!

This is what it will look like when it is done
Apply here payday loans

This is what it will look like when it is done

Our Final morning in the Mt. Rushmore area we decided to tick off a few more of the classic climbs in the area. Cathy did awesome on the climbs and here are a couple of shots from her cleaning up the routes.

Cathy on the classic route, The Gossmer
Apply here payday loans

Cathy on the classic route,  Gossumer

At the top of Little Pointy Devil
Apply here payday loans

At the top of Little Pointy Devils

We then headed off to the Badlands National Park. We both agreed, that as we were driving through we felt like we weren’t in the USA, but more like back in Australia. The environment is very harsh and has a real rugged beauty to it.  They say the soil in the Badlands is like no other soil on Earth.  The whole area grew out of an ancient sea 65 million years ago and has formed into the now Pierre Shale rock formations which looks and feels like clay.  Unclimbable!  We drove the Badlands Loop Road and captured some of these pics.

Our first view of the Badlands
Apply here payday loans

Our first view of the Badlands

More of the Badlands
Apply here payday loans

More of the Badlands

Enjoying a day in the Badlands!
Apply here payday loans

Enjoying a day in the Badlands!

Another beautiful view
Apply here payday loans

Another beautiful view

The groovy mobile in the Badlands
Apply here payday loans

The groovy mobile cruising through the Badlands

We ended up free camping in the park at Sage Creek. This was our campsite….

Roughing it!
Apply here payday loans

Roughing it!

This morning we made our way further West and have ended up in Spearfish, South Dakota, our last stop in the state. We got in a little climbing at Spearfish Canyon. The amount of potential climbing here is mind blowing!

All smiles after an awesome route!
Apply here payday loans

All smiles after an awesome route!

View of only a small portion of the canyon
Apply here payday loans

View of only a small portion of the Canyon

We are off to Wyoming to meet friends tomorrow. Looking forward to catching up with everyone……life on the road is awesome!

- Jamie

Colorado Springs
Apply here payday loans

We arrived in Colorado Springs on July 15th and spent a few days with Chuck to prepare ourselves for the rest of the journey. Chuck took great care of us at his pad and cooked us up some awesome kabobs on the grill.

DCIM100GOPRO

Apply here payday loans

Our first priority though would be to clean up some odds and ends with the truck. A couple adjustments with the “screen door” and the platform. After all the tweeks we think she’s ready to go, our first night sleeping in it will be Friday night when we arrive in South Dakota so we will see how it feels!

Our screen door!
Apply here payday loans

Our screen door!

The finished product
Apply here payday loans

The finished product

Chuck had to work every day so Jamie and I ventured around Denver exploring the different areas and taking in what will be our future home. One day we enjoyed a very good lunch at the Ivywild School. The school shut down a few years ago and it was recently taken over by 2 guys who each own a brewery and a restaurant. They partnered up and bought the building. It’s now in the process of being converted to what is called “Ivywild”, hosting a brewery, deli, charcuterie, coffee shop, bakery, food market, meeting and event space and terrace seating. A great concept and awesome food!

Chuck and Jamie at Ivywild School
Apply here payday loans

Chuck and Jamie at Ivywild School

The converted space in one of the hallways of the school
Apply here payday loans

The converted space in one of the hallways of the school

We spent another day climbing at Clear Creek Canyon at the Cat Slab which was a cool area but the crag was baking in the sun so we did a few routes and then headed out. I’m starting to lead climb so Jamie started teaching me to lead on a 5.4 sport route which went very well!

Hiking into Cat Slab crag at Clear Creek Canyon
Apply here payday loans

Hiking into Cat Slab crag at Clear Creek Canyon

Setting up for our first climb of the day
Apply here payday loans

Setting up for our first climb of the day

Nice view looking down at Clear Creek
Apply here payday loans

Nice view looking down at Clear Creek

On rock!
Apply here payday loans

On the rock!

We couldn’t leave the Springs without attempting The Incline. It’s a converted cable car that once took tourists up the side of the Rocky Mountain but closed in 1990.  It is now a 1 mile uphill workout with a change in elevation of 2000′. It would be like going up the stairs of the Empire State Building……TWICE! It’s a perfectly straight line up the hill at an average grade of 40% with maybe a thousand steps. Not a hike for the weary! It’s definitely a must do when visiting the Springs though. Chuck’s hiked the Incline over 20 times and recommended we do it. Jamie and I tackled it the morning before we planned to leave. It was a ball buster but we got to the top. Jamie pretty effortlessly and for myself, a bit more effort was needed to accomplish it. It was a great challenge and loads of people were there attempting it. Some made it all the way, others had to quit at the bail out point mid way up which joins with the Barr Trail to get you down, about 3 miles to hike down. Now we can highly recommend it to anyone visiting the area.

Base of the incline, this sign warns of the dangers ahead!
Apply here payday loans

Base of the incline, this sign warns of the dangers ahead!

Looking down toward Manitou Springs from the top of the Incline
Apply here payday loans

Looking down toward Colorado Springs from the top of the Incline

Jamie makes it up in less than 40 minutes, he's a beast!
Apply here payday loans

Jamie makes it up in 39 minutes, he’s a beast!

A lot more effort required from Cathy!
Apply here payday loans

A lot more effort required from Cathy!

In the afternoon Chuck took us target shooting up on the Rampart Range for our last evening together, we shot targets and clay pigeons and maybe an occasional bottle filled with water ; )  We spent a couple hours shooting then cleaned up all our scraps and headed to the Colorado Mountain Brewery. Great food!! This won’t be our last meal with Chuck as he’s meeting up with us next week in Wyoming!

Shooting clay pigeon targets with Chuck
Apply here payday loans

Shooting clay pigeon targets with Chuck

We spent the bulk of Friday driving north through Wyoming to South Dakota.

IMG_2665

Apply here payday loans

We’ll spend the next few days at Mt Rushmore and Custer National Park.

 

- Cathy

 

Start of Phase III
Apply here payday loans

We finally made it, as of July 14 we are officially back on the road and heading West. Our few months back on the East coast have been a blast catching up with family and friends, but it is time to move on and finish our trip! We spent a good part of the past few months trying to figure out how we were going to travel around out West and what type of camping we were going to do. We shot for the moon and tried to get into having a truck camper on our small Tacoma. Well….that only lasted 5 days, as we discovered it was a little too heavy for our truck, and we took a major hit in gas mileage. After only 5 days we officially became truck camper flippers!

We ended up going with a truck cap, and after a few hiccups from the dealership the cap was installed last Friday.

Truck Cap Installed
Apply here payday loans

Truck Cap Finally Installed……Looking good!

Prior to the cap installation my step-dad, Captain K, and I built out the bed of the Tacoma. We built a really nice platform to put a mattress on as well as compartments for clothes, water, spare battery, and a big drawer to keep our cooking stuff in. Now, when it comes to carpentry I know a little……I would say not enough to make something look good….but enough to make it functional (and hopefully not cut my fingers off!) Thanks to Captain K we were able to make something that is very functional and looks good! Here are a couple of pics of the birth of our platform bed.

The start of the bed and trying to figure out how it will all go together
Apply here payday loans

The start of the bed and trying to figure out how it will all go together

This looks like a good place for this
Apply here payday loans

This looks like a good place for this

Building the drawer
Apply here payday loans

Building the drawer

Access underneath
Apply here payday loans

Access underneath

New shelf inside
Apply here payday loans

New shelf inside

Over the past couple of weeks, the truck has also grown a few additional parts. The battery in the back is now powering a new portable fridge, and we have fans to keep us cool at night. I also mounted a solar panel to the roof bars to help keep our battery fully charged. All in all it has been a great project with a big learning curve!

Figuring out the wiring of the solar panel and battery
Apply here payday loans

Figuring out the wiring of the solar panel and battery

Installing more parts
Apply here payday loans

Installing more parts

New Dometic fridge....purring like a kitten!
Apply here payday loans

New Dometic fridge….purring like a kitten!

Our expedition vehicle loaded up and ready to go
Apply here payday loans

Our expedition vehicle loaded up and ready to go

As I am writing this we are half way through Kentucky. Our hope is to be in Colorado in a day or two. We are going to drop a few things off with our friend Chuck. From their we are going to make our way to the Badlands of South Dakota and then off to Wyoming. We are both excited to get back on the road, but I think I would be lying if I said we didn’t feel a little rushed now. Only a few more months remain on this journey, so we are trying to get as much in as we can before heading back to reality…….simple statements are the best…….life is short, make the most of it!!

We are out of here!
Apply here payday loans

We are out of here!

More to come!

- Jamie