Tag: fitness

Ruby Crest Trail Day 3

It didn’t take long for Brandi to fall asleep.  As tired as I was, my mind just could not shutdown. My mind was racing thinking about everything from the day that we had, the day that was to come, to work, family, and projects that I needed to get done. It always seems to be that way. The mountains haveFullSizeRender (4) always tended to recharge my soul and clear my mind. I knew that we would have to be up early to make the 13+ miles we were hiking and do it at a decent time while still taking in the trek.  As I started to drift off to sleep, I could hear hooves moving up the trail.  As the sound drew closer, I thought I must be dreaming.  The voice in the distance sounded like an old friend and college roommate. I opened my eyes trying to decide if it was a dream. I realized it wasn’t when I heard him talking about the tent.  My wife had apparently moved the tent from where I had set it up while I was fishing.  Now we were closer to the trail than I would have placed us, but it was a more level spot. I started to laugh, deciding to let Mitch ride by knowing that he must be camped at the far end of the lake and just going up to check the pass. The next morning came fast.  We started to break camp and pack up.  Unlike yesterday, there was no Mountain House breakfast.  As my wife went on to explain it later, her body typically goes into “survival mode” as she puts it.  She does not feel hungry or a need to eat. I started to see this the previous day with trail mix for lunch. Picture a small economical Prius travelling with a big old pickup truck that watched the gas gauge drop every time the gas pedal gets pushed.  On this trip, that would accurately describe Brandi and I.  The down side for the old pick up was that the Prius was planning the fuel stops.  In my thought process, I decided to make sure we had all of the gear on my pack and I left her in charge of the food so she would have what she wanted to eat; making the trip more enjoyable for her. Luckily I had thrown in some meal replacement shake mix in my pack.

We made our way down the trail and around the small alpine lake.  As we came to the old cabin at Overland Lake, we met a group of ladies packing up their camp to proceed down the trail on their adventure. We exchanged pleasantries and moved on to the horse camp at the end of the lake.  Sleeping bags filled with bodies were scattered around the camp as three men were setting to the task of making breakfast and coffee.  As the trail turned away I walked into their camp as I was greeted with a polite hello from Mitch. I laughed and greeted him by name to his surprise. We laughed and visited foIMG_2417r a bit.  I was as surprised at seeing him as he was seeing me.  Typically this time of year would find him in the hay field working, but this large group had booked him for a pack trip. He had packed them in with 22 horses and mules complete with all the fixings!  He offered us coffee, bacon and eggs.  The smell was absolutely enticing, but we had to move on.  Sitting down for such a meal would probably kill my motivation to go the rest of the way, especially travelling with the Prius (although she says more of a fiat)! The smell of eggs, bacon, and coffee filled the air. Brandi and I joked that next time we might need to book with High Desert Outfitters because his mules looked stouter than I am.

Dropping down out of the basin that held overland lake was some beautiful country to say the least.  The rugged mountains with sheer cliffs give way to the lush green growth still fed by the snowy runoff and eventually down to the valley below. The down side to this is we were once again losing much of the elevation that we had gained.  That is the theme of this hike, that and the amazing views that surround you.  Since we had stopped and visited with Mitch and stopped to take in the views, it wasn’t long before the group of ladies caught up with us.  We spent a good portion of the day passing each other on little breaks and visiting as we did. This was the long day, without water for a big portion of the trail.  Knowing that I usually use a lot of water, we did not pass up any water source. Luckily there were still patches of snow along the trail in July, so worst case scenario we could just melt snow on our stove.  Making our way down the trail, we would stop to glass the area and watch wildlife. Every time we would crest a ridge, we would watch the trail drop back down across a vast expanse only to rise and cut back on the far ridge.  As the sun continued to beat down on us, we were thankful to be at such an elevation that the temperature didn’t hit the highs that the valleys below were getting. My wife remarked a little rain would be a nice thing. We continued on throughout the day hiking, glassing, and taking small breaks. As we moved into the afternoon I could see storm clouds out in the distance.  We kept on.  The smell of bacon and eggs still running through my mind mixed with the story Matt had about his steak from the Star that they packed with them for dinner the first night. I told Brandi that we were going to the Star for steak sandwiches.  This became a joke and driving factor.  IMG_2425Each time we stopped for a break, I would tell her that we were that much closer to the boys and a steak sandwich! Being the first time we had ventured out without the boys, it was in both of our minds.  We were excited to get home again to them.  Thankfully I was carrying a SPOT satellite phone so we could call the boys each day.

 In late afternoon we were met by a runner.  He was in training for a race and was running from the Lamoille canyon trail head in.  He was making great time. Even without the small apartment I was carrying on my back, I would not have been anywhere near that pace. As he ran passed us in the opposite direction, he told us he wasn’t going much further as he was starting to cramp up.  Soon he was flying by us again.  We kept on the trail towards camp and ultimately our family and steak sandwiches.  The runner disappeared in the distance.  The storm clouds were moving closer and closer.  We discussed setting it to wait it out or try to make the next ridge. Although Brandi had asked for a little rain earlier, I knew this rugged country doesn’t know the meaning of a little anything.  We pressed on up the ridge.  The storm caught us with wind and rain. The strong wind added to the climb for sure.  We pushed on to crest the ridge.  I decided that we would drop over the ridge and wait out the storm.  We pushed on as the rain whipped against us in the wind.  Dropping over the ridge I grabbed the tent and told Brandi to dive inside.  She held the tent down as I set it up around her.  Once the tent was secured, I climbed in and we waited out the storm.  The warm tent provided a perfect place for a little nap during the storm.  After the storm passed, it took a little coaxing back out and down the trail.  Knowing that we were close to North Furlong Lake, we packed up and headed back down the trail.  It was only a short hike and our trail friends could be viewed through the trees.  As we made our way into the clearing we were greeted by cheers and waving.  As we got to their camp, we talked about that day’s journey.  We moved down the trail a bit to set up our camp.  As I was setting up the tent for the second time in the same day, they came to visit with their friend Jack.  As they handed us what they saved for us in tIMG_0262he small bottle, we laughed and talked some more. We talked about the gear that we had and what seemed to make the biggest impact.  I lent them the satellite phone to check in with family and friends. As the evening gave way to night, we sat back and enjoyed the picturesque backdrop.  We talked about the beauty of the country, the trail itself, and the fact that we were able to do this together.  The double serving of Mountain House dinners made for a great night sleep.  The realization set in that we were just hours from being done.  The adventure was almost over.

Ruby Crest Trail Day 2

After half a day hike followed by a moonlit night, Wednesday would be our first full day on the mountain.  As the sun started to hit the valley in the distance, we arose and started the day.  The beauty of the full moon and the slow morning sunrise reaffirmed that this saddle was the perfect place for our first night’s camp. A Mountain House breakfast was followed by breaking camp, packing up and heading down the mountain.  One thing that is imperative to realize if you take on this trip is you will not seem to do a whole lot of contouring. The second day we dropped down into the bottom, which ended up leading us into the south fork of Smith Creek, then back up.  This is followed by a trek down to another fork of Smith Creek. You gain elevation and continue to lose it again only to climb once more.  This seemed to be a recurring theme on several posts that I had read.  As I came to realize when I was putting all of my gear together, my backpacking has been fairly focused around one particular activity. As a hunter, following the trail is not really something that I focus on.  When there is one that will help me accomplish the goal of where I am going, I take it, otherwise I use the landscape and contour around when I

Looking down toward Smith Creek

Looking down toward Smith Creek

can and go straight on if I need to. Not that this trail is bad in anyway (it is actually a great trail); I just kept hearing the advice of my dad and grandfather in my head telling me to contour.  Every side hill trail lead us back down into the bottom and back out and up. It felt more like the Ruby up and down trail than the crest trail at this point. I am sure my wife was wondering how her vacations went from drinking a Miami Vice on the beach in Cabo to dehydrated lasagna and water.  In hindsight, I probably should have brought her an umbrella for her Mango Bango Hydrate and Recover.  While this part of the trip has some beautiful scenery, I chose to start on this end for a reason. The rugged beauty of the Ruby Mountains is more picturesque as you head towards Lamoille Canyon.  The heat of the day in those lush green creek bottoms followed by the open, sun baked climbs back out can definitely take some pep out of your step.  At one of the forks of Smith Creek, I was loading up on water near one of the many potential campsites in the area, when I somehow tweaked my back.  I once read that when you are caught between a rock and a hard place, the only way out is through it.  The only way we would be able to complete this hike in the time we had was to just keep going.  Any time that I am in the mountains, I like to marvel at the landscape and its creation. As we took a few minutes to rest before trudging on, I looked around the country side. This is some big country. We started back on the trail taking small breaks as we needed, stretching my back as I could. Choosing to go with a heavier pack load as conditioning and training for the upcoming hunting season did not make that final pull out of the bottom toward Overland Lake on that sun baked slope feel like a vacation. The heat kept beating down on us as we topped out.  The rugged beauty of the Ruby Valley side of the mountains seemed like a fitting back

Heading down into Overland Lake

Heading down into Overland Lake

drop to sit back and enjoy some lunch.  I started to learn something about my wife at this point.  She handed me a small bag of trail mix.  As I sat there pondering whether I had asked for lunch or a snack, part of another group topped out behind us.  We sat and visited for a bit with Matt and his son as they waited on his wife and other child making their way up. They were the camp at McCutcheon Creek the night before.  As we talked, Matt mentioned that they brought the left over steak from the star up for their first night’s meal. Little did I know that steak would haunt my mind for the remainder of the trip.  We


said our goodbyes and off we went around the mountain.  The snowball fight my wife and I had was fairly lackluster but it felt great on a hot July hike. As we followed the trail, we hit the pass that dropped us down into overland.  The snow drift forced us off the trail and around, but greeted us with a beautiful sight below.  We made our way down to Overland Lake where we set up camp once more. Watching the water look like it was starting to boil as fish came to the surface to feed was all of the motivation I needed to set camp in record time. It didn’t take very long before we added some fresh trout to the dehydrated menu. We shared the lake with several other camps including Matt and his family. As we enjoyed our evening camping on the lake, you couldn’t help but notice the stark contrast in where we had hiked that day and where we had camped.  As we settled in for the night, my mind started wandering.  The longest day awaited us in the morning.

Some days you need a little mojo. Had to represent my friend Jimmy Herman with the Mojo shirt on the Ruby Crest Trail.

Some days you need a little mojo. Had to represent my friend Jimmy Herman with the Mojo shirt on the Ruby Crest Trail.

The Journey Begins

Growing up in northeastern Nevada helped fuel my passion for the outdoors. Most of my favorite memories growing up involved excursions into the great outdoors.  Whether it was loading up to go hunting with my Dad and Grandpa, fishing, gathering pine nuts, swimming in lakes, or just exploring the outdoors; I loved it.  Not only have those memories stuck with me, they have molded me and the lifestyle that I live.

About 9 years ago I changed careers to join an industry that mirrored my passion.  Through this change I have had the opportunity to meet some truly amazing people that share similar passion for the outdoors.  This career change is what lead me to meet my wife, which in turn placed me in the delivery room to welcome a bouncing baby boy…twice.  The trade off to this career switch was going from creating my own schedule to working rotating shifts. Don’t get me wrong, I would not change it for the world. Not only did the career bring me into and industry that I truly enjoy, it brought me the amazing gift of my family.  It also seemed to bring with me an eating lunch or dinner on the run lifestyle. I got away from the routine I had and working out. I was making gains in my life, and many of them were on the scale.

As an outdoorsman, my mind is always wondering about what is over the next ridge. I would find myself pushing further and further on my hunts, only to realize that my mind was writing checks that my body was struggling to cash. I started to think of the dream hunts, dream trips, and goals I had for myself.  I thought about my son. How would I teach him about the back country if I couldn’t get there?  I was done. I started hiking more.  I came up with reasons to push myself beyond what I knew I could do.  I learned from some amazing back country athletes. Yes, they are athletes.  They push themselves hard in every element Mother Nature throws at them, while taming rugged terrain.  These friends offered support and encouragement.

As it seems to happen, it started to pick up steam.  I had become friends with the founder of Wilderness Athlete. Mark started checking in on me and what I was doing. I had been using some of their products and was very happy with the results. I started the 28 day challenge before telling Coach Paulsen that I was doing it.  My weight started coming off and my energy level started to increase dramatically.  It was noticeable.  I was doing more with my family, which now include 2 little boys.

Soon it was very obvious that my lifestyle change was yielding results.  I had lost nearly 50 pounds and was spending a lot more time in the outdoors, which had a profound impact on my outlook and demeanor. In today’s society it seems that people are suspect of change. This apparently was also the case with my lifestyle switch and healthier living.  I was approached by an acquaintance who asked me if I was having a midlife crisis.  I laughed at first, as they went on to ask if I was slimming down to become more marketable.  It took a few moments for the intent of the conversation to sink in.  This person thought I was looking for someone new! I was in shock.  My reply was fairly curt.  I was doing this for my family.  I wanted to be able to share more time and energy with my beautiful wife and amazing boys.  That was it.  The reason I changed my lifestyle was to get more out of the outdoors.  I wanted to share these adventures with my wife, sons, family and friends. While I have not hit the elite physical Adonis type of stature, I really have not had a desire to.  My goal is the adventures with my family. It is about passing along the love and knowledge that I have about the outdoors.   It is about creating memories for my family.  It is about the adventure. It is about the WildernessDadlete lifestyle.

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