All posts tagged: simple living

Tumbleweed in the Wind

A great deal can change over the course of 365 days. In 2016, the biggest change of all was moving out of my van and into a house. For the past four and a half years I had lived full-time on the road. I had happily given up indoor plumbing and eight foot ceilings for the flexibility of climbing wherever I wanted. Seasonal jobs filled my pockets with enough money to satisfy my gas tank and my belly. I chased sunny weather from the mountains of Wyoming to the deserts of Nevada. I climbed in California’s golden sunshine and on the blushed sandstone walls of Utah. For so long, my life was in this crazy orbit, revolving around rock climbing; climb-eat-sleep-repeat felt so embedded in the marrow of my bones. I defined myself by this lifestyle, so, with the transition from van to house, it was hard to ignore the subtle fog of self-doubt and uncertainty that settled over me. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that a small piece of my identity had been …

A Road Warrior’s Guide to Joshua Tree, CA

From the Dr. Seuss trees to the piles of rocks that scatter the landscape – Joshua Tree National Park is truly a unique and other worldly destination. For climbers, it’s the perfect escape when winter blankets most of the country. Here’s some beta to get you through a weekend, month, or season in JTree: Camping Campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park *Camping Limit: There is a 30 day camping limit each year. (Only 14 of these nights may take place from October – May.) Black Rock Campground Cost: $20/night Amenities: water, flush toilets, dump station, reservations available October – May Indian Cove Campground Cost: $20/night Amenities: water at the Indian Cove Ranger Station, pit toilets, reservations available October – May Group Sites: $35-50/night (depending on site capacity, reservations required) Hidden Valley Campground Cost: $15/night Amenities: pit toilets  Ryan Campground Cost: $15/night Amenities: pit toilets Sheep Pass Group Campground Cost: $35-50/night (depending on site capacity, reservations required) Amenities: pit toilets Jumbo Rocks Campground Cost: $15/night Amenities: pit toilets Belle Campground Cost: $15/night Amenities: pit toilets White Tank Campground Cost: $15/night Amenities: pit toilets Cottonwood Campground Cost: $20/night Amenities: flush toilets, water, dump station Group …

Goodbye Old Man Winter

Adam and I are celebrating – celebrating the beginning of February, which means that the worst of winter is behind us (hopefully). This winter in the van has been particularly challenging. From enduring the biting cold of 10 degree nights in Bishop, to a week straight of snow and rain in Red Rock, to a weekend of 50 mph winds and flooding in Joshua Tree, we just couldn’t seem to escape the frosty clutch of winter. Ice covered windshields and snow covered landscapes followed us from one desert to the next. Every day tasks -cooking, getting dressed, going to the bathroom – were a struggle. I wore the same pair of long johns under all my layers for over a week because it was solely too cold to even consider exposing my bare skin to the raw air. The constant cold numbed us. My motivation to climb dwindled. My motivation to run disappeared. I found no pleasure being outside. I simply wanted to feel warm again. And then, the other morning, Adam and I woke up to …

A Road Warrior’s Guide to Red Rock

About Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Fees/Park Passes Daily Car Fee: $7.00 Daily Motorcycle, Bicycle, Pedestrian Fee: $3.00 Scenic Drive Annual Pass: $30.00  American the Beautiful Pass (an inter-agency pass honored by the National Park Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management & Fish and Wildlife Service): $80.00 Scenic Drive Hours  The scenic drive loop is the main driving road that circles through Red Rock. It is a one way road, meaning, once you pass the Visitor’s Center you must drive the entire 13 mile loop to exit. In an effort to prevent vandalizing and other issues (as a result of its close proximity to Vegas) driving access closes each night. The road is open every day with times changing slightly according to the season. October: 6:00 AM – 7:00 PM  November – February: 6:00 AM – 5:00 PM March: 6:00 AM – 7:00 PM April – September: 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM Late Exit/Overnight Permits If you’re climbing a long route (or if there’s any chance at all you might not make it back to your car by closing time) you can request a late exit permit. They are free of charge and …

A Road Warrior’s Guide to Bishop, CA

Every time Adam and I visit a new climbing area it means figuring out the lay of the land – where to sleep, fill up water, shower, and everything else that you need to accommodate van life. While some information can be found online, many times it takes trial and error to figure out the best or cheapest options. In my new “Road Warrior’s Guide” series I will be compiling some of the beta we’ve collected from a variety of climbing areas and towns to serve as a resource for other climbers, travelers, and van dwellers. I’m kicking off the series with Bishop, California… Camping One of the best parts of spending an extended period of time climbing in Bishop is the easy to access and affordable camping options. Pleasant Valley Pit Campground This campground is managed by the BLM and has roughly 75 sites, accommodating both tent and car campers. Cost: $2.00/night per vehicle Camping Limit: 60 days Season: Open November through early May Amenities: toilets, garbage cans, recycling cans Nearby Climbing Areas: Birdie Cracks, Happy Boulders, Sad …