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Tag: fire lookout

Winona to Cameron - Volcanoes, Pueblos, and a Grand Canyon | AZBDR Stage 5

Having "wrapped up" (and by that I mean, essentially, skipped) Stage 4 of the AZBDR in a little under six hours, it was just after 3:30pm when we set out from Winona in search of open roads. The elevations here were nearly as high as those on the Mogollon Rim, so I was a little worried that we'd soon find ourselves blocked by snow, but @mrs.turbodb was reasonably confident that we'd be just fine. As usual, she was right. The snowy San Fransisco Mountains would provide a familiar - and beautiful - backdrop for much of this stage. For the…

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Into the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and Back Again | Siskiyou Crest 3

Having gone to bed with smoke so thick that we could barely see the mountains a few hundred feet away, and wondering if the smart move would be to head home rather than push through the remainder of the Siskiyou Crest Adventure Trail, I let out an audible whoop as I unzipped the tent door to greet the morning light. Wilderness! We can see the wilderness! At some point during the night - I couldn't tell you when since I'd zipped up all the doors of the tent to keep as much of the smoke outside as possible - the…

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Smoke in the Siskiyous | Siskiyou Crest 1

With much of our summer taken up with a kitchen remodel - perhaps a non-adventure story that I'll share some details of once we've completed it - and the Tacoma in Washington after we abandoned our non-refundable plane tickets after running the Utah Backcountry Discovery Route (UTBDR) in July, we were looking for somewhere a little closer to home as we started feel the antsy urge to escape to the outdoors. Not having had the time to plan a route - a process I enjoy, but that can consume nearly as much time as a trip itself - it dawned…

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Run for the Border | M&M #1

Ever since my very first trip - The De-Tour - with the guys from TacomaWorld, we've tried to get together every year for a week or two in order to explore some amazing place and enjoy time around the campfire together. I was lucky back then that Monte @Blackdawg organized the trip in a public thread, and invited anyone who could, to join. This year, after privately planning trips for five years, we tried it again - organizing a trip to the Kootenays in southeast British Columbia, Canada - with the hopes that we could meet some cool new folks…

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Fearless Fred | Lassen 2

It was just after 5:00pm as we pulled out of Mineral, opting to get started on the third leg of the Lassen National Forest (NF) Backcountry Discovery Trail (BDT), rather than simply finding somewhere nearby to camp. We hoped that somewhere - preferably early in the section - we'd find a nice ridgeline, or spur-road-to-a-ridgeline, where we could set up the tent and deploy the kitchen for the evening. I suppose we did eventually, but now I'm getting a few hours ahead of myself. Section 3: The Crossroads - Land of Transformation It is here where the granitic Sierra Nevada…

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Lookout to Lookout | Lassen 1

Growing up in Northern California, I always thought of "the mountains" as The Sierra. I had no idea at the time that there was another range - one that I'd become familiar with in Washington - The Cascades. With their southern end in the Lassen National Forest, they stretch all the way into Canada. Conveniently - having recently completed the Plumas National Forest Discovery Trail - we found ourselves at the border between the Plumas NF to the south and the Lassen NF to the north. And so, with a couple days to explore, we made the decision to climb…

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Grants to Cuba - Finally Out of the Woods | NMBDR 6

Stage 6 of the New Mexico Backcountry Discovery Route - Grants to Cuba. It wasn't even 4:00pm when we headed out of Grants to kick off the sixth stage of our route. With only two stages remaining, it was looking like we'd complete the entire route in just under a week - hopefully giving us a day or two of leisurely making our way home, exploring along the way. The reasons we were watching our time was that the sunny days we'd enjoyed so far - even if they'd be hot - were about to change; a storm system was…

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Fence Lake to Grants - Don't Miss El Morro | NMBDR 5

Stage 5 of the New Mexico Backcountry Discovery Route - Fence Lake to Grants. Within 5 minutes of arriving at Fence Lake, we were once again on our way. The highlight of our morning - and perhaps of the entire BDR - was just a couple hours ahead of us; lollygagging around here wasn't going to get us there any faster. We nearly passed by the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, my sights so set on what I'd been looking forward to for days. It was only @mrs.turbodb's quick turn in her seat to read the - inexplicably one sided -…

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Reserve to Fence Lake - Out of Fuel | NMBDR 4

Stage 4 of the New Mexico Backcountry Discovery Route - Reserve to Fence Lake. I don't know if it was entirely due to our disappointment at lunch, but at least partially due to our disappointment in how our visit to Reserve turned out, we decided to forego purchasing fuel in town since we still had half a tank plus 11 gallons in the Military Scepter Jerry Cans. That was plenty to get us the 132 miles too Fence Lake - the end of the next stage - and really, it didn't matter since there was fuel some 75 miles away…

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Truth or Consequences to Reserve - Over the Continental Divide | NMBDR 3

Stage 3 of the New Mexico Backcountry Discovery Route - Truth or Consequences to Reserve. As we made our way through T-or-C, a huge mural of Geronimo caught our attention. Given that we were - essentially - travelling through Apache lands for much of this adventure, it seemed only appropriate to wait a few minutes for the rain to stop in order to capture the moment. Geronimo, of the Bedonkohe Apache tribe, and the last to surrender to the US Army in 1886. Whereas the first stage of the BDR had taken us a little over a day, the second…

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Ruidoso to Truth or Consequences - Bears, Lookouts, and Bombs | NMBDR 2

Stage 2 of the New Mexico Backcountry Discovery Route - Ruidoso to Truth or Consequences. We pulled out of Ruidoso a little after 6:30pm. This time of year, we weren't at any risk of not having enough light to find camp - the sun didn't set until 8:15pm - but we'd already had a long day and were looking forward to a good night rest. One of the things I do before going on any BDR is research the route a bit to find side trips that might offer a spectacular view, or an interesting attraction. One of our favorite…

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Where Are the Nice Canadians? | IDBDR #10

July 26, 2019. Positioned well above the horizon, sunrise would have been one of the best if just a few clouds had made an appearance in the sky. Without them, an orange glow an hour or so before the sun peaked out was all we got. Shucks, right? 😉 The mosquitoes were out in full force again, buzzing and gathering around the windows of the tent - our scent like sweet sweet nectar to them. Not that our scent - after 10 days on the road - was anything but a sweet sweet nectar, mind you. 😉 Not wanting to…

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Move Over, Moose! | IDBDR #9

July 25, 2019. I wasn't sure how sunrise would be given that we were in a bit of a bowl around Dworshak Reservoir - with no line of sight to the horizon - and no clouds in the sky - it could be a complete dud. And for the most part, that's what it was. Unimpressed, I went back to sleep. Having made good time yesterday, we still had a lot of making up to do - given our little brake caliper issue on the Lolo Motorway, and the fact that we'd spent two days completing the second stage of the…

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Driving the Lolo Motorway | IDBDR #8

July 24, 2019. Rocky Point proved once again to be one of the best camp sites of our trip and we slept well through the night. Wanting to capture sunrise, I was up early with a new idea - video - which also allowed me to catch another 90 minutes of sleep and yet still not miss anything!  Let me tell you, it was quite pleasant to wake up with the sun streaming in through the door at our feet, it's orange morning light illuminating the lookout visible through opposite side of the tent. Even with the extra sleep,…

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The Curse of the Lolo Motorway | IDBDR #7

July 23, 2019. We couldn't have chosen a better spot to setup camp when we pulled up to Rocky Point lookout. Our view east was spectacular, and the clouds and lightning storms from the night before had cleared out, leaving just enough moisture in the air for an amazing sunrise - the orange on the horizon slowly emanating out to a pink before transitioning once again to the deep blue of the clear sky. Unlike most mornings where a few shots of the glow™ are enough for me and I climb back into bed, this morning was something special. I…

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Macgruder Corridor and Hell's Half-Acre | IDBDR #6

July 22, 2019. Wanting to get an early start to the day so we could try to get ourselves through all of the Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route's Stage 4 from Elk City to Darby along the Macgruder Corridor, we were both up and out of the tent right around 7:00am - the plan to show up at the awesome Elk City General Store right as they opened at 8:00am. Or so we thought. But now I'm getting ahead of myself. So let's back up for just a minute... As usual, I set my alarm for o-dark-thirty to see if I…

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Stymied By Gates | IDBDR #3

July 19, 2019. The night passed uneventfully - a cool breeze blowing off the lake, a refreshing relief from the heat of the day. Now technically in Mountain time, I'd set my alarm for the absurd hour of 5:30am to catch sunrise - hoping that I'd be able to catch a bit of light despite our position relative to the horizon. It wasn't long, I was a bit too late even at 5:30am, and we've surely seen more dramatic sunrises, but it was still an enjoyable few minutes of color to see splashed across the sky. Plus, it was still…

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Getting High in Idaho

July 6, 2019. I went to bed hoping that our position on the ridge would result in some stupendous sunrise photos, but as morning rolled around, it was clear that ridges around us had been inappropriately placed by the Earth, and that all I was going to get was a little bit of orange on the horizon and a view of Croesus Peak out the window. Thanks a lot, Earth. Like the previous morning, our plan was to meet another truck before setting out on our next adventure, but this morning we were set to meet much earlier in Stanley…

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Zumwalt Prairie to Hat Point | Hells Canyon #2

It was a chilly night at 5300', but our strategic position behind the ridge line meant that we were unaffected by the bulk of the wind - a knit cap enough to keep me cozy, and @mrs.turbodb wanting only for her earplugs in the morning when the birds started singing. And it was early when they did - sunrise was at 5:07am, and the first light on the horizon started well before 4:30am, spreading across the sky in its glorious trek. Eventually, there was enough light to illuminate Imnaha Canyon below us - the hills and valleys unfolding into the…

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Cold Day in Hell('s Canyon) Part 1 (May 2019)

Summer in the Pacific Northwest is hard to beat. So, I wouldn't blame you for wondering why - with a week of sun and 75°F in store before Memorial Day - we were headed for the inclement weather of the Oregon-Idaho border and Hells Canyon. So let's start there. In what I believe to be a tradition that I've stumbled into, Monte @Blackdawg and Mike @Digiratus generally get together for a trip every Memorial Day, and this year the plan was go meet up in Lewiston, ID for a few days of puttering around and enjoying ourselves in the outdoors.…

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