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July 2016

Tucannon Trail

The girl is out of town and I’m restless. The Tucannon River Trail, which is in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Washington seemed like a good place to spend the morning so I filled a mug with coffee and hit the road. After getting lost and finding myself in the middle of a windmill farm, my travel time to the trailheaded ended up being close to three hours; I shouldn’t expect anything less when I don’t look at a map beforehand.

What I had read about the trail itself wasn’t super descriptive and varied from website to website. One reported 9 miles round trip, one 8 miles, varying elevation gains and no real endpoint. Whatever. I started out and the old wood sign at the beginning read 9 miles to the peak. Things started off easy enough but soon the vegetation overgrew the path and there were a ton of downed trees that required some hopping and getting low. Being alone and coming across several piles of bear scat wasn’t the most assuring thing in the world but besides some critters didn’t see much.

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That’s the trail. No shit.

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Speaking of shit… that’s bear scat.

Fourth of July weekend, a time for friends, beers, bbq, and of course, blowing shit up. A few months ago while killing time at work, I saw that Widespread Panic had a pair of shows scheduled for that weekend in Bend, Oregon. Knowing I’d be able to talk someone into tagging along, I snagged a couple of tickets of booked an Airbnb.

Along with a friend and former co-worker, Keith, we met up with another friend for a night IPA consumption at the Viento Park campground near Hood River. Fully paved and complete with showers, the campground was predictably packed. It’s all good, the purpose of this weekend was simply to get out of town. Note, though, that if you ever plan on staying there don’t plan on getting a restful night of sleep; every 45 minutes or so a train rolls by on tracks no more than a few hundred yards away and the engineer seems to purposefully blast the horn as if to remind sleeping campers of his presence.

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Camping, American style.

The next morning we drove a rather sketchy road up into Mt. Hood where we hiked up to get a better look at the receding Eliott Glacier. Pressing on into Bend, hitting several breweries and enjoying a steady diet of tacos, the remainder of the weekend carried out as-planned. The Panic shows were great, the people we met were all awesome, and the most notable IPA of the weekend was from Boneyard Brewing. Happy birthday, America!

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Clyde, the resident roommate at our Airbnb.

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If I’m ever to start my own business, this would be it.

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Drool.

Man, life can sure slip through your fingers if you’re not careful. Nearly seven years ago I quick my job as a zookeeper and followed a girl from Arizona up to Pullman, Washington where she was to start a PhD program. By my own account, I’d seen pretty much all there was for me to see in Arizona. Between camping and backpacking trips as a kid, to climbing, biking and exploring every canyon, cave, wall, and general expanse I could find in my 20’s, I was ready for a new part of North America and the pacific northwest was at the top of my list.

Fast forward seven years later and things have taken a downturn. Getting stuck in job that required more hours than should be expected of anyone (for the pay) didn’t help. It occurred to me a few weeks ago when I was visiting my girlfriends’ (new girlfriend, mind you) sister and her fiance; we were planning a backpacking trip and verbally check-listing gear needs when before mentally processing the statement I said out loud that I hadn’t been backpacking in seven years.

Something spasmed in my head. What the hell happened to me? I used to take pride in the fact that I commonly spent more time sleeping in a tent than I did my bed. Now here I am with fifty more pounds on my body than I had when I left the desert and the most use my camping gear saw was the occasional weekend car-camp or music festival.

Priorities shift from time to time. It happens to all of us and usually it’s a good thing. But this, this was not good. I spent the majority of the five hour drive home in my own head thinking up new goals for my life. Nothing too specific, but the paradigm needed to be shifted back closer to where it once was.

So, welcome. Welcome to where it is the gnarly moments in life, that Type II fun we seek out, will be laid down digitally. There really is no point to this site other than a tool of self motivation. Here’s to getting out there into some gnarly weather, remote locations, and into the occasional sketchy situation.

Basically toe-ing the line.

I think I’m ready?

T-Minus 10 Weeks

Ouch.

This will be like last year but more and better.

INWCXS 2017

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