#VanLife: Additions, Family, Friends, Helpx Work Exchange…..short version style with LOTS of pics 😉
One of the beauties in discovering remote off-grid locations to post up for the night is the lack of communication with the outside world. This also results in our lack of blog updates, only allowing a quick Instagram or Facebook post here and there. Below are some of our #vanlife highlights from the past 3 months:
- Hiked our second 14er together! Mt. Harvard, the third tallest peak in Colorado, was challenging, but provided us with beautiful summit views and perfect weather at the top (not so common).
- After visiting and enjoying the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park the summer before, we felt a return visit was necessary since we were in the area. We stayed up late inside the “Dark Sky Sanctuary” park to try out our astrophotography skills. Lots to learn, but got a couple of decent shots! I didn’t stay outside long with lots of creature noises in the brush and a few mouse tails scurrying by. Eeekkkkk!!!!
- Biked & hiked in Telluride, Gunnison, Crested Butte, Salida, Buena Vista, and Breckenridge. Visited a few used bookstores (Monica’s favorite), yoga classes, and breweries. Cheers!
- Visited and stayed with some of our dear friends in Denver, Drew & Jeanine, which led to our new addition, Frankie, an adorable (and ornery) Australian Shepherd puppy. We can’t wait until Frankie can see Oakley, their cute mini-Aussie, again when she’s a little bigger and ready to play!
- Rocky Mountain National Park – our 11th park during our #vanlife journey. Backcountry camped overnight at Lake Verna.
- Monica’s family visited from Nebraska!!!! Had a great time exploring the Fraser area including Rocky Mountain National Park, Columbine Lake Trail and Monarch Lake Trail. The girls (Monica, Donna & Amanda) continually beat the boys (Andy, Donald & Brian) in games of pitch! Food, drinks, and laughs were plentiful.
- Mirror Lake Scenic Highway in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. So many lake hikes!!!! Took Frankie for her first hike on the Lofty Lake Loop. Passed a total of four lakes on the loop. Was beautiful! Our arms were tired from carrying the pup most of the way.
- Downhill mountain biked at Park City. Gondola rides up the mountain are SOOOO worth it. Andy likes to pedal uphill and earn his downs, but I don’t mind the easy way up 😉
- Begun our Idaho journey by exploring the Twin Falls area. Celebrated Andy’s 36th birthday biking the Auger Falls trail system along the Snake River and happy hour drinks following.
- Rode Idaho’s #1 bike ride: Around the Mountain Trail #98 just north of Boise near Bogus Ski Resort. So many pretty wildflowers and mountain views.
- McCall, ID: Cute little resort style town with a lake. Found an awesome camping spot on Goose Lake. Hiked up to Serene Lake. Was Frankie’s first time in her backpack and she barfed in it on the way back down. Oops! Thankfully the only time that’s happened! Biked the Fayette Rim Trail – great views of Fayette Lake below. Hiked up to Boulder Lake Loop Trail. Was 7 miles roundtrip. Decided that Frankie was only allowed to come on shorter hikes after this one.
- Stanley, ID: We LOVED this area. Adorable little town with the friendliest of people. Met some nice people while enjoying a cold beer & pizza on the deck. One gentleman, Scott, gave us his Idaho hiking book to use while in the area. Iron Creek to Sawtooth Lake hike was BEAUTIFUL and one of my favorite hikes thus far!!!! Dark blue turquoise water with snow-capped peaks and wildflowers. Saw a couple of bald eagles, antelope, and weird crane-like birds too!
- Rode Idaho’s #2 bike ride: Fisher Creek Loop. Andy rode this trail twice while we were here. Long downhill descents and pretty views.
- Grand Targhee Ski Resort – had fun biking the cross-country trails. Storm rolled in, and barely made it back to the van in time! Experienced a hail storm and had to throw blankets on top of the solar panels quickly to protect them from cracking!
- Jackson Hole – Our good friend, Lynnze, transferred to JH in January and we were so excited to be able to visit her during our #vanlife journey. She was very hospitable with a guest suite ready for us! We had so much fun hiking to Ski Lake, Phelps Lake, and Delta Lake. Andy and I also biked Teton Pass while Lynnze worked. Kicked my ass!!!!! We also did a Friday night special at Jackson Hole Ski Resort where it was only $10/person to ride the lifts up and downhill bike. Was a lot of fun. Andy liked all the jumps/ramps! Pretty short runs down with a LOT of people. The girls quit early to find patio drinks 😉
- Applied for a work exchange in Bigfork on Flathead Lake and was accepted!!!! Spent a week gardening, weeding, clearing pathways in the forest, collecting down trees for firewood, picking cherries, and unclogging roots from water piping. Loved our time on the lake and getting to know the owners, other volunteers, and AirBnb guests. BIG NEWS: We will be returning after Thanksgiving to spend the winter in Montana! Andy has always wanted to live in northwest Montana, so this will be the perfect opportunity for us to experience a Montana winter!
- Drove through Glacier National Park on our way north of the border. It’s unfortunate most of the US National Parks are not dog-friendly. We love Glacier and are excited to be able to do more exploring when we’ll be living so close!
Andy – Excited for the Canadian Rockies & looking forward to a winter in Montana!
Monica – Worried MoZee will be getting a full body search at the border.