18 days, 4,000 miles, 8 states, 4 national parks, and more memories than I can count. I’m already ready for another road trip through the Northwest.
The International Climbers' Festival has been going on every year in Lander, Wyoming for the last 25 years. I’ve been wanting to do a road trip through the Northwest all year. It worked out perfectly that The Gluten Free Bar needed somebody at the festival to serve up breakfast on the last morning!
I had two weeks to prepare before I left for the trip. I was figuring out budget, routes, campsites, food, gear, and photo ideas/locations and everything was going super well, until my Jeep literally went up in a cloud of smoke. Luckily, my buddy Luke is probably the most generous person in the world, and he lent me his Toyota Tacoma for the trip, complete with a Tepui rooftop tent.
The route I planned out would take my girlfriend, Nikki, and I up to Mt. Shasta, Crater Lake National Park, and then a pit stop in Bend for supplies, coffee, and beer. After that, it would be on to Silver Falls State Park, and then Portland for the Fourth of July. After Portland, we'd make the 10-hour trek out to Glacier National Park. After a few days in Glacier, Nikki would fly home so she could get back to work and I would continue on to Yellowstone, the Tetons, and finally end up in Lander for the festival!
My good friends over at The Float Life happened to be hitting the road to Oregon about the same time we were, so we met up and made our way up to Bend together.We met Jeff and Raequel on the eastern side of Mt. Shasta. Nikki and I found a super nice campsite off of a logging road in the National Forest out there. Nice secluded camp area, with a huge meadow across the road with unobstructed views of Mt. Shasta for sunset.
The Rovr Rollr's rugged wheels get it from the car to the campsite with ease.
Silver Falls is awesome! So lush and green and we came across 7 waterfalls on one 5-mile hike. Can’t complain about that at all!
We hit it at just the right time, as we got back to the parking lot, the place was PACKED. If you’re going to go to Silver Falls, go early!
We checked into our hotel in Portland before meeting Derek and his wife, Jen, at Heart Coffee for an afternoon pick me up. Before saying goodbye to Jen and Derek they showed us to Salt & Straw Ice Cream. Best. Ice Cream. Ever. If you’re in Portland you have to check it out.
Anyway, we ended up having a mellow night for The Fourth. Sometimes it’s nice to recuperate and sleep in a real bed and have a shower, or three. We woke up before the sun. As usual. We had a ten hour drive ahead of us. What can I say?
The drive was long and boring. Definitely took us more than ten hours. But it was worth it once we got there.
We found a beautiful campsite along the river. We made the short drive into the park every morning and had the best hiking and views I think I’ve ever seen. We had three days in Glacier and it was nowhere near enough. Breakfast along the Going to the Sun Road. Saw a grizzly from way far away. Almost hit a moose. Got to watch her and her mate cruise along the river. Hiked with a family of goats. I love it out there and I already can’t wait until I can go back!
The last day in Glacier was nice and mellow. Breakfast in East Glacier before our drive to the airport so Nikki could get home for work. After I dropped her off, I drove to Yellowstone. Six hours later, in the dark, I made it to camp. Late night reorganizing the truck again before my adventures in Yellowstone. At this point I’m by myself driving around Yellowstone. I stopped and did the tourist thing. Saw a bunch of geysers. Took a nap in the shade under a tree. Oh and saw a ton of wildlife!
Bison were everywhere around the park. I think they might be my new favorite animal. They didn’t have a care in the world and just strolled along the road holding up traffic, totally aloof. It was hilarious.
I wanted to be able to spend time at the Tetons before I ended up in Lander, so I left Yellowstone a bit early. It had been a pretty quiet and mellow trip since Nikki left, but when I came around the corner and saw the Tetons blasting up into the sky, I couldn’t help myself and let out a “WOOOO!”
I went in to Jackson, found a Starbucks, got coffee, and worked on the computer for a few hours. I decided to drag myself away from the screen so I could find a good spot for sunset. I tried taking the main road into the park, but decided that was too close to the mountains. So I left the park and found a nice spot by a river. I went down away from any other people, plopped down in the grass, and sat. For hours. It was the most peaceful evening. Sitting in the quiet, the only sound was the water running by.
All too soon, it got dark and I had to go find a place to camp. After a restless night, I got up for sunrise, dying for the alpenglow on the Tetons. As soon as the light started to touch the tip of the mountains, the sun went behind a thick layer of clouds. Just my luck. So, I continued on to Lander to enjoy the Climbing Festival for the next few days!
The first couple days were quiet. I made some friends at the film festival - it was awesome getting to meet so many rad people and great climbers. I spent the next day at the coffee shop working on the computer, but after that I was free to go climbing for a couple of days, check out the vendor booths, and just relax. The last morning I got to serve up the Power Breakfast to everybody there. Everybody was stoked on it! Not even a pack left for myself!