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Monday, August 14, 2017

The Great American Eclipse of 2017 - preparing for Wyoming

There's more information on this event than I ever would have guessed. I particularly like this website: 

Our car-camp gear list is at the bottom of this post. Temperatures are expected to be mid-80s during most days and in the low 50s at night - lovely camping conditions overall (but windy).

A short list of cool things to look for/at during an eclipse:
- Racing shadow of the moon, Solar corona and prominences, mini-eclipses on the ground under trees (it's a very good overall article):

-See Mercury, Mars, Venus and Jupiter:

-Shadow bands:

-Freakish sharpness of scenery: no reference found, I remember that Ansel Adams remarked on it but forget where (probably one of his photography books)

-Animals' and birds' reactions:

Drivesheds, drive times, crowd sizes, oh my!
watershed - driveshed, get it?
love the way the the visitor density gets so low in Wyoming - that's where we're going
Wyo-ming, over 100,000 visitors expected near Glendo (shudder)

Add caption

Nebraska anyone?

The BLM map of Wyoming. Dispersered camping is allowed on almost all BLM land (just can't invade a leased farm or something like that). 

go to to make a detailed version for the spot you've picked out for yourself
Here's our packing list for the trip. it applies to any not-too-hot-not-too-cold camping trip:
I've included some food items that are often forgotten and end up being needed.

Sunshade and lots of stakes and guylines to hold it down (Wyoming is windy)
sleeping pads
sleeping bags
pillows (if you want ‘em)
small tarp / rug for tent entranceway—this really helps keep down kid mess
repair kit if you have it (Tear-Aid!)

We are also bringing a Helinox Nonadome for sheltering the cooking area

Camp chairs (HELINOX, of course!)
Picnic blanket (for kids to eat on)

table (for food prep)
Pots, pans, cooking utensils
plates, bowls, eating utensils (pack a few extra ), wine glasses, mugs
Salt & Pepper
Hand sanitizer —lots of it!
Paper Towels
Garbage bags—we always leave camp cleaner than we found it
extra ziplock bags—you will thank me
Extra lighter
Soap & Sponge 

Bug spray
Sun hats
Sunshade if you have one
1st aid kit (bandaids, neosporin, tweezers, etc.)
Solar shower

Did I say water? 1 gallon per person a day
Water Bottles
Things to make water tasty (lemon, EmergenC, whatever)
Backpack for day hikes

Painkiller/fever reducer for kids
Toilet Paper
Latrine hole shovel/pick

Hair brush (if you need one)
Hair ties, extra hair ties

Whatever entertainment you need 

CLOTHES WE PACK FOR THE KIDS—works for adults too
Please adapt to your kids habits and needs
This is for staying 4 nights

3 warm PJs
2 long pants
3 shorts
3 long shirts
4 T-Shirts
2 warm socks
4 socks
sun hats
warm hat
2 fleece / sweater
wind/rain jacket (pants if you have ‘em)
warm jacket
sunglasses AND eclipse glasses
long underwear
5 underwear

Drawing / craft stuff

There's a state-wide fire ban so no wood fires are allowed. But conferring with the BLM Ranger revealed that our CanFire IS ALLOWED - YAY!

We have a spot scoped out that's incredibly exposed:
easy to see why we're bringing a big Nonadome for the cook area

Monday, August 7, 2017

How to use a Helinox chair according to N (5) and O (2)

There's nothing like a fresh set of eyes on a subject...

latest masterpiece
are you allowed in the tent with that, youngster?
seems straightforward enough - carry on

double duty: chair/table √
rayguns? laser spaceships! things little boys do

lounging like a pro

they did this rather a lot
it's all in the grip...

Saturday, July 22, 2017

July ski - bagged!

People sometimes ask me if our monthly ski has to be any particular length or vertical drop or time...


The Lefthand Reservoir snow patch was smaller than we hoped this year. Life's rough.

The kids wanted to wear capes. Uh, OK. Wouldn't want to be 'cape-ists' now would we?
N blasts off
O sends it

T shuts it down
I know this looks preposterously aggressive for this little patch of snow but I got FOUR turns in. those turns don't happen by themselves. you've got to BE the turn.

the view above from the dam. a nice day

Rocky Mountain National Park Backpack trip with the Boys

What a difference a year makes. O can (almost entirely) walk the 1.9 miles to our reserved campsite so we both get to use real backpacks – no big kid carrier needed!

this year's backpack - 54 lbs with camera gear - what luxury!
last year's backpack - 75-80ish pounds with O - woof!
completely fearless
This trip was lower elevation and warmer than last year's, so we ditched the kids bulky sleeping bags and all slept under two rectangular bags zipped together as a big quilt.

Clothing needs were also minimal: a set of long underwear, rainwear (top and bottom), warm weather shirts and shorts, a fleece jacket each - simple.
as always, we took it slow (about 1 mile per hour)
great trail. occasionally we would get a hit of that extra-wonderful fir forest smell

very hungry elk do this
with the right tent stake, camp had an unusual convenience built right in (don't pound it in very far or it'll never come out)
got stick? wacka-wacka. things little boys do

see-saw. things little boys do

next day's hike in a light rain

O didn't hike the entire way (2.6mi, one way)

watch the stick buster!
lovely forest

Sand Beach Lake. this place confuses me: only young trees within 10 vertical feet of the lake level. lack of nutrients in the sand? old lake level was higher? questions questions...
got hole?
get in hole

a tasty snack back at camp
they stood facing each other and took turns waving their arms and roaring at each other. things little boys do

love these tiny clips 1
love these tiny clips 2
love these tiny clips 3

next day's hike out

Friday, June 30, 2017

June 2017 monthly ski - RMNP Trailridge Road snow patch

Trailridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is a much appreciated go-to ski for June. It didn't disappoint us: almost warm, breezy, easy hike to corn snow patch - we even got a close-in parking spot.

the tundra rolls right to the sky 
reminds me of old gunslinger pictures

we get great clouds in the Rockies

N bags his June ski
go N, go!
I did not photoshop out my poles. really. why would anyone do that?

O say can you see
just a dollop of corn snow

O nabs June
T gets the dramatic backdrop

hero shot