Team name: Natalie and Brian
An adventure duo with a passion for mountain biking and fly fishing, Brian and Natalie road tripped a stellar route from their home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado into the deserts of Utah, up the Lost Coast of California, into the redwoods, stopping at Banff and Jasper national parks, and experiencing Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, and Jackson Hole before looping back home.
2018 Road trip details:
We are going to begin our trip in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We will stop in the deserts through Utah and Nevada on our way to the Lost Coast trailhead. Natalie used to live in northern California and hasn't been back in 10 years, Brian has never been to the Pacific Northwest or seen a redwood tree and we are happy to finally see those amazing giants together. After the redwoods we plan to head north and stop in some iconic destinations such as Crater Lake, Mt Hood, and Olympic National Park on our way to Banff and Jasper National Park in Canada. After spending some time in Canada we will head back down to the states stopping in Glacier National Park, Big Sky, Montana, Yellowstone and Jackson Hole before ending back home in Steamboat Springs.
We both love the water and will be swimming in all destinations that allow for a dip. Fly fishing is a big part of our spring/summer activities, the rod will be packed and used at all water stops. Brian is a mountain bike guide and we both love to ride. We will be bringing our bikes on the trip and plan to hit some trails and bike parks along this route. Of course we will see many spots by foot and will be hiking and backpacking on our month long adventure.
Can't leave home without:
Natalie - Water bottle
Brian - Outdoor slippers
Favorite tune to listen to on the open road:
Natalie - Any Kings of Leon song from Youth and Youth Manhood
Brian - Long Cool Woman - The Hollies
Signature/go-to camp food:
Natalie - Instant mashed potatoes, cinnamon rolls in tin foil
Brian - Hobo foil packs(potato, carrot, green pepper, onion, butter, S&P, butter) , tuna packs
"Best known for"/"claim to fame"/"trip role":
Natalie - Packing the snacks, always having morning coffee, making sure the car / tent is organized and ready to just fall into bed
Brian - Pushing the intense adventure/making and sustaining fire/ finding ideal campsite
A perfect trip would include these three items:
Natalie - A hot spring, Being so tired from the days activities you fall right asleep at camp, the perfect silence looking at a landscape
Brian - Outdoor activity (hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, rock climbing), late-night fire, solitude
Recreate their trip
The great American road trip, everyone should do it, more than once. In our case we through in Canada and it did not disappoint!
We started our month long road trip on Google Maps. We wanted to try and fit as much as we could in 30 days without feeling like we were skimming over areas. We knew we wanted to check out the Lost Coast Trail, Olympic National Park and Jasper/Banff. Our initial planning session consisted of us in front of the laptop, pointing out places on a map we heard were cool and making a rough “loop” starting and ending in Colorado. Once we had our big picture stops we selected our other areas of interest based on suggestions and things we had read or heard. We also took care to choose places that would allow for drive times under 7 hours from stop to stop. There were a few sections where that was unavoidable but it helped us to still want to be active when we arrived at our destination and not get sick of the car.
- Steamboat Springs, CO
- Dinosaur, CO
- Great Salt Lake, UT
- Lake Tahoe, CA
- Black Sands Beach Trailhead (Lost coast)
- Stout Grove, CA
- Crater Lake National Park
- Umpqua National Forest
- Mount Hood
- Olympic National Park
- Hoh Rain Forest
- Sol Duc Trailhead
- Port Townsend (ferry to CAN)
- Whistler, BC
- Jasper National Park
- Banff National Park
- Glacier National Park
- Yellowstone National Park
- Grand Teton National Park
- Steamboat Springs
Know before you go:
Choose your travel month carefully. Our month long journey was from May 12 to June 12. Spring in the mountains means you can experience all four seasons in one day. There was snow on the ground and unpredictable weather in most of the places we visited. This also meant that wildlife was very active in all of these locations too. Being prepared by having bear spray and critter safe containers was important. The month of May fit our schedules the best and we were able to avoid a lot of crowds and busy season traffic by hitting it a little bit early.
Pack for all kinds of weather. Spring in the mountains means you can experience all four seasons in one day.
We had ski pants, beanies, shorts, sandals, swim suits, gloves, rain jackets, tank tops and base layers – and we used all of it. When you are traveling to places that vary in climate so drastically, it’s important to over prepare (especially because we had the luxury of car camping). Socks, lots of socks.
Prepare your gear.
Not only were we prepared with our clothing, we took time to make sure we had every bit of gear we would need. We brought a bag for clothing, a day pack and a backpacking pack each. We had a 6 gallon water jug that became one of our most essential items. Camping off the beaten path in remote locations often means no water source, so the jug saved us. When in a clean water location we took time to refill the jug often. We used that jug water for dishes, hand washing and hydration. The hatchet was another tool that proved to be very useful. It allowed us to get several nights of warmth with one wood collection by splitting into smaller pieces. On our month long trip, we only bought wood once, for $8 and made it last three days. Many sites don’t allow you to gather wood from their sites, make sure to pay attention to signs. However most areas are usually abiding with any wood “dead and down”. Our biggest source of wood was driftwood. If we were camping along water or the beach, which was most nights, we would gather up driftwood for the next several days. Many states don’t allow you to move wood across boarders for forest safety, also be cautious of that if you plan to collect wood.
Our Tepui tent exceeded expectations. We had slept in a Tepui tent before, but never for 30 days straight. We have done quite a bit of camping, you know that feeling around 6:30am when the sun is beating onto your tent and you start sweating and it’s so hot inside you have to wake up and exit the tent even though you are still tired? Not in a Tepui. Some mornings at 9:30am I would have to beg Brian to get out of bed because I was ready to get the day started but he was sleeping so comfortably he wasn’t waking up. We also checked the weather each night, if there was a slight chance of rain we would leave the rain fly up. We never once had an issue with rain getting in the tent and we got dumped on several times (remember it was spring.)
We woke up early one morning to the sound of thunder, I was grumpy and Brian told me I should rest for a while but that he thought the storm was coming our way. Fast forward 3 minutes, the rain has arrived and it was pouring, that big ole fat rain Forest Gump talks about. Without any more hesitation we sprang up, zipped all the inner windows and took down the fly as fast as we could. With nearby lightning cracks fueling our speed we were able to disassemble and store the tent in less than two minutes, a personal best. I don’t know of staked tent that can pack up that fast. Once we would make it to a dryer location, we would pop the tent open a few hours before we went to sleep and let the canvas dry.
Our last night camping, we took the rain fly off and stargazed from the comfort of our Tepui. I’ve never seen so many shooting stars. We pointed out constellations until we fell asleep and forgot to zip the windows closed. The high up vantage point allows for a unique camping experience unlike what you’re used to sleeping on the ground.
Sleeping on top of the car also gave us a sense of security. We felt safer away from other humans and predators, you can rest easy in the Explorer Series Ayer 2.
Points of Interest.
- Skiing in Tahoe
- Umpqua Hot Springs – Oregon
- Fly Fishing in Hood River
- Walking on the Hoh River Trail in Olympic
- Ice fields Parkway – Between Jasper to Banff
- Driving the Going to the Sun road in Glacier
- Go see old faithful Geyser explode in Yellowstone