Archive for the ‘The Desert’ Category

Hot Springs

Good Evening

From Badwater to Bristlecone

La vida

La vida

Fight the morning chill with tea & Mosh

Challenge the body with a climb

Stimulate the mind with a mate

Warm the soul with fond memories

Feed the intellect with a good book

Heighten the senses with solitude

Cleanse it all with beachside meditation

Relax into comfort with a loving chat.

Sweet Solitude

My headlights finally revealed a pullout on a dark dirt road for me to call it a night.  I hadn’t spent a night alone in the wilderness in nearly four months.  It was nice to scare myself a bit again, to let my mind wonder about what might be lurking nearby.

A broken Whisperlite meant numb-fingered stove maintenance.   Full of tea and sweet couscous, I hopped on my bike and headed north on Coxey Rd.  I easily pulled my bike around the gate, “Closed for winter.”  Soon I realized that the road was blocked for good reason as I endured miles of the iciest mountain bike ride ever.  Before I knew what I was doing, I set down my bike and wandered through the pines out to a ridge in the middle of a canyon.  I was humbled.  It had been far too long since I’d been so overwhelmingly alone.

“This is where I belong,” I told myself.  “I’m out in the wilderness, all by myself.  I can’t see or hear anyone, and nobody knows where I am.”

Base Camp

Our Town

Hitch #1 was full excitement.  Months of anticipation revealed a world of stimulation.  Everything was new.  As we became more accustomed to routine and settled into Hitch #2, it became more of a challenge to keep things fresh and exciting.  The cliché rang true that variety, after all, really is the spice of life.

When you work and live in the field without electricity you appreciate the importance of getting the most out of your daylight.  The great grey beast of November challenged our internal clocks to realize the full potential of the nearest star.  During our first hitch, a 6:00 a.m. breakfast allowed up to start the work day as dawn gave way to morning.  For some absurd reason, the civilized world demanded that we change our clocks between the end of our first hitch and the start of Hitch #2.

“Does that mean breakfast at five?” Marty questioned.  “There’s no way I’m waking up at 4:30 to cook!”

Four-thirty.  Even I had to admit, it sounded brutal.

But, we all agreed on the necessity of enjoying that last sliver of daylight after the work day.  It’s hard not to cherish that golden hour when the sun surrenders its ferocious intensity.  The entire desert relaxes with the deep breath, relishing in the brief lapse between solar acquiescence and the onset of nighttime chills.

“What if we just all agree to change our watches?” Jimmy proposed.  “We could have a normal schedule.”

“Yeah, like a nine to five,” joked Ross, his sudden surprise showing as he began to seriously consider his words.

“Remember how pretty it was to watch sunrise during morning stretches?” “We should do that,” retorted Becca.

“Perfect!” exclaimed Jimmy, “Whenever the sun comes up, we can all set our watches to exactly 8:15! That way, sunrise is always during warm-ups.  It’s brilliant!”

Jimmy was right.  Waking up to the stars is no problem as long as your watch tells you that it’s already 6:30.  And so we began Hitch #2.  Sun salutations became sunrise salutations.  Each passing day brought new innovations to our field routine.  We found simple ways to spice up the monotony of ten straight days of camping and manual labor.  The wire scraps from our fencing project became the canvas of wire art.  The work day featured endless sing-a-longs and tests of lyrical knowledge.  Whoever wasn’t assigned a daily task assumed the role of Toastmaster, interrupting labor to toast to such things as “Ross’s new hat,” or “fences completed and fences yet begun!”

The Toastmaster at his finest

We continued our culinary adventures provided by our subscription to a local community supported agriculture box with that theory that “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  Bequeathed with more Persimmons than all seven of us had seen in our entire lives, we doctored up the most delectable Persimmon cookies ever.  And they were vegan to boot.  Persimmon cookies will join the likes of the turnip greens in our beloved Scavenger Chili, as new patented staples of the Owens Crew.

When you work and live in the field, little things can provide immeasurable pleasure.  Waking up at 4:17 a.m. (Civilized Time, or CT) is no fun.  However, what’s not to love about a breakfast call from Jimmy’s harmonica at 7:00 a.m. (Magical Desert Time, or MDT, for short).  Even the long desert work day is a little easier when you know there’s a Persimmon cookie at the end of the tunnel.

 

Restoration Part I

Vehicle incursion before restoration

Four days and 213 plants later

Curious how we do it? Check out the Owens Peak crew site.

Nomadic Base Camp

There comes a time in every outdoor badass’s life that he lives out of a car/van/truck and does awesome things.  Admittedly, my Rad-O-Meter has a long way to go before I get there.  Nevertheless, I figured I might as well start preparing myself for future explorations of Gnar.  Ever since I saw my first dirtbags on a climbing trip to Squamish, B.C., I’ve dreamed of getting a truck and converting it into a mobile base camp.

Ticket to adventure

Notes:

This is definitely version 1.0.  I got easily inspired by the rigs at BajaTaco and some fellow Yota drivers but decided to keep it as cheap and as simple as possible.  I put the sleeping platform above the bed shackles for a nice fit, but I could probably get by with less storage and be able to enjoy more headroom.  The beam running down the middle  not only provides support, but will help separate and organize gear. I plan to test different mattress set-ups to find the balance between headroom and comfort.

Luckily, I have a real home for a while, so I can experiment all winter long before actually moving in.  Future plans include trap-door style storage, power supplies, lighting and maybe even refrigeration.  Stay tuned for further developments.