America’s National Parks: Yellowstone

America’s National Parks: Yellowstone

So.. One very important thing to know about Yellowstone and all its surroundings: even though it seems close- it’s not. The sign says 20 miles, you think “awesome, we’ll get there in 20 minutes!”, no, you won’t. Because you’ll pass traffic, animals, people, more animals, more people and a whole 20-miles trip will become a one hour trip.

Also remember, when traveling by car in Yellowstone, or other parts of Wyoming: have enough gas. What is enough, you ask? Well, try to not go below half of the tank. On our trip, we got to an empty road, straight from King’s horror books, and have been driving for 2 hours,  without seeing any gas station, with our gas control getting awfully close to “empty”. That’s the moment when you really know what fear is. And I was told that wasn’t even half as long as it can be in Wyoming.

 

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We had a nice sunset on the road though

 

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America’s National Parks part 2: Grand Tetons

Hello friends!

After a long break it’s me again! This time very ambitious and encouraged.

Grand Tetons are known, I think, to every climber for its incredible rock formation, and what it brings, climbing. But the truth is, other than that, it’s not a very popular park. But pretty popular destination. Okay, that’s weird, how?

Well, let me tell you! Grand Tetons National Park lies about 30 miles south from Yellowstone National Park and buying a pass to Yellowstone you also get a pass to the Grand Tetons (and vice versa) so people end up going to both of them. Usually.

But, not popular doesn’t mean not interesting.

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Rainier experience lvl 1

Rainier experience lvl 1

That already showed up on my Facebook page, Instagram account, so I think my WordPress blog is the last place where I can post it.

Had an amazing, little mountaineering experience during our camping at Camp Muir on Mount Rainier. It was magical to spend a night in those big winds, among people with the same passions and a great goal to climb that beautiful mountain. And even though we decided to not climb the mountain, whole adventure was a great step closer to real mountaineering, and also a big eye opener- mountains are not there to be trusted and everything changes so quickly. But also, it was so much fun!

The decision to not summit the mountain was made already couple weeks before, based on lack of, mostly, a Glacier Travel class, which is essential when you want to travel on crevasse in a party of two.

The truth is, being up there, seeing all the people who were going to summit, and thinking that I’m in so much better shape than at least half of those people; answering “no” to every “are you summiting?” question was really hurting, but we couldn’t underestimate the mountain and we cannot let our pride and ambition speak for us.

I saw a crevasse cracking up there. Rainier showed me the power of mountains and again proofed that we are their guests and it’s only up to their mood if we summit or not; if we live or not. 

But even if not summiting, climbing up to Camp Muir is a hell of an experience.

It’s a beginning. That’s where it all starts. There, on the side of the mountain, during the night, in your little tent, where you can’t sleep because of the wind banging on its walls from every site. This is a place where you start feeling how it is to really LIVE.

I didn’t summit the mountain, so I am not going to give you any mountaineering tips or advice, but I can give you couple tips about camping on the side of the mountain.

  1. Have a way to melt snow. And filter it (you don’t want to use your entire fuel to boil it for 10 minutes). Probably the best way is a camping stove. REMEMBER about the lighter/matches (yes, that was our little mistake). You always want to have a tiny bit of water at the bottom of the container for the snow to not burn. Yes, snow can burn.
  2. Take a trash bags.  One of the common rules of wilderness- whatever you brought with you, you need to take back. That applies also for the mountain. And believe me, you don’t want to carry loose trash in the pocket of your backpack, blah.
  3. Bring enough clothes. Especially sacks. You’ll get wet climbing up there, and I bet you don’t spend whole day freezing your feet off.
  4. Have a waterproof bag for your clothes. Especially if you don’t have four season tent- the floor of the tent will eventually get wet from the snow, as well as everything that’s lying directly on it.
  5. See the sunset.  A little photographer’s tip. Long shadows make the area even more magical.
  6. Entertainment. Yeah, I know that may sound stupid. “I’m on the side of the mountain, looking at that beautiful landscape, with my best friends, what other entertainment would I need?”. But if the weather sucks, you may end up locked up in your tent for hours and that’s when you start understanding what REAL BOREDOM actually means.

Decided to keep it short this time, but I think I said everything I had to say. I hope you guys enjoyed it!

Couple pictures for the end.

Moab: Utah’s capital of adventure

I gotta say, our Memorial Day trip to Moab was already my third voyage to that amazing place. And finally I can say I tried out all the main attractions Moab has to offer, so I think it’s a very good time to finally write that post.

So first of all, what Moab?

If you just thought that’s a ridiculous question, I’m really sorry, but I did meet people who I had to explain what is Moab.

So, Moab is a city on the East side of the state, about an hour from Colorado border and 6 hours from Denver. It’s a typical tourist city, with lodging and tourist attractions ads on every corner. Sometimes driving through there I ask myself a question- “Are there any people actually living here?”, because honestly, it’s really hard to find here a normal house.

I did mention tourist attractions, so now another question pops up.  Why do tourists come to Moab? Hot, small and not very famous. But still, thousands of people come to visit every month. The reason for that is simple- wide variety of outdoor activities. Starting with famous Arches National Park, through plenty of wonderful mountain biking and ATV trails, amazing rock climbing and canyoneering places and finishing on beautiful rafting areas.

 

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California National Parks: What you should know when visiting during the winter?

Cold. Wet. Oh cold. Oh, my shoes are wet. Oh, I’m cold.

For all of those who (like my family) when they hear California think about hot sun and beach:

Well, that’s not like that. California is huge. It’s bigger than my home country. And has at least 3 types of climate.

January in the mountains? It does snow, it’s not always sunny and the temperature there is around 30°F (°C).

 

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One of the cute roads in Yosemite

 

[Just wanna say at the beginning, everything that I’ll write is for  greenhorns/ tourists who during the trip to the coast will decide to see fe.: one of the most famous National Parks which is Yosemite.
Those of you badasses who go there to do some winter hiking, prepared and geared with gaiters, mountaineering boots, poles and everything else- I’d love to hear some of your stories, but you probably won’t find out anything new from that post.]

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“We’re crazy” The story how I camped on frozen lake for NYE 2016

“We’re crazy” The story how I camped on frozen lake for NYE 2016

-Okay, now take off your shoes and put them inside your sleeping bag. 
-What?! Can’t I just leave them here?
-Sweetie, they’ll freeze… 

The thing you need to know about winter camping? Better have a sleeping bag big enough to fit all your stuff inside, if you want to use them again the next day.

The only thing we decided to keep warm were our new mountaineering boots. Well, hell yeah, they were bought the same day, we had to take care of those babies. Who cares about snow pants, jackets, fuel or hmm.. water. That even freeze?

Yes, it does.

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Colorado State: Heaven for outdoor enthusiasts

Colorado State: Heaven for outdoor enthusiasts

“The adrenaline and stress of an adventure are better than a thousand peaceful days” ~Paulo Coelho

Colorado, well… Who’ve been here knows. That’s heaven for outdoor and adventure enthusiasts. You can do here everything- starting with little hikes, mountain biking, going through kayaking and white water rafting, ending with more “extreme” like for example backpacking or rock climbing.

And of course, thing that I will focus on today: 14ERS(for those who don’t know, Rockies- Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America, peaks reach 14 000 ft, those mountains are called colloquialy “14ers”)

In that post I want to share my little experience with 14ers, say something about trials I did and give you a little guide, after what I’ve heard, read and experienced.

As I wrote, “little experience”, I’ve done three 14ers so far, but that was enough for me to fall in love with high mountains and go deeper into whole mountaineering staff.

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