The weekend we raised our yurt this past summer was one of the most wild experiences of my life. Post-weekend, my knuckles were swollen, I would wake up nightly to unconsciously scratching of mosquito bites on my legs, and I had a handful of cuts and bruises that lasted a few weeks. But at the end of the day, we had a yurt!
The whole experience was, for the most part, smooth. It was challenging — yes. It was time consuming. But it was fun! And it was rad that we had friends come out and help with various parts of the raising. From hands-on help from the start, to homemade mojitos and jalapeño poppers mid-day, borrowed tools and a trailer, responses to frantic text messages… all the kindness from our support network here in Montana was slightly overwhelming.
For one, I learned that yurts are totally beginner friendly. With a little common sense and planning ahead, I really think anyone can do it. Our advantage came from first disassembling the yurt from the woman we purchased it from, and then building it back up again.
Initially, we called Hayes, the owner of Shelter Designs in Missoula, and asked him if we could hire him for the yurt raising, as the yurt we purchased was a Shelter Designs yurt. There are a lot of moving parts, and Hayes is a great crowd organizer… he knows what needs to get done. Obviously, he does this for a living. When Sean asked him, Hayes basically said (paraphrasing here), “I’m pretty busy this summer, but I think you guys can handle it. I’ll send you a DVD.”
I thought… A DVD. Really? What are we doing here, baking cookies or building a house?
But when we actually watched the DVD, we knew Hayes was right. It explained everything from start to finish, with super detailed instructions—exactly the things he would have been telling us had he been here. So we would do a few tasks on the yurt, and then watch some DVD on a laptop… go back to yurt stuff, have lunch, and watch a little more DVD. That got us through it. That DVD was the key to building our yurt.
Here are a few shots from the big day. Arranging the windows, doorways and lattice walls:
Our buddy Mikey, placing the tension cable through the tops of the lattice walls:
The cable is made to fit our 30-foot yurt EXACTLY. Thus, it takes a bit of time to wiggle it through the lattice walls perfectly enough for this hook to actually lock.
Brandon, Sean and Mikey, prepping to lift that ring (at their feet) above their heads and start placing the beams, which connect to the outer lattice walls. This is the most dangerous part of a yurt raising… those beams are heavy!
A nervous smile from me on the ground. My job was to run around the yurt like a crazy woman, handing the guys one end of a beam, and placing the other end of the beam on the cable in the precise spot. Luckily, we only had a few tense moments, one of which involved a beam nailing me in the arm. I had a massive bruise to show for that one.
Until the first five (maybe six) beams are up, it’s super tense because someone always has to be holding that ring up (which weighs a ton). It was a lot of arms-over-the-head action for those guys.
Once the beams are in, it’s fun to put on the white lining (1st layer) and the insulation (2nd layer). Although, we were pretty lucky the sun was behind a cloud during this part… that insulation is like one big sun screen!
Here was the HARDEST part of the day. Even harder than putting in the beams. That crescent roll up there is the outer canvas of the yurt and it weighs a million pounds. Maybe not a million, but it sure seemed like it. It took 4 of us to hoist it up to the scaffolding, and then a lot of grunting and groaning to get it out of the center ring and onto the roof. I won’t even go into the madness involved with trying to spread that thing out around the yurt. Again, if you’re building a NEW yurt, your canvas comes nice and folded — like, the size of a sleeping bag — and you roll it down easily over a designated opening. With ours? It was a bit of a jumble to get it looking good. It took us about three hours on just on this part.
And after getting the top on, we had to then put on the side insulation panels and the side canvas panels. They were heavy, but nowhere near as heavy as the top. This part was also difficult because our yurt is so high off the ground, and we had to use lean-to ladders (as opposed to the A-frame ladders) to get as high as the top. Eventually, we splurged and bought a 12-foot ladder — which is KEY for 30-foot yurt maintenance.
Then there was the dome, being pulled up the outside to the top:
And then, behold the yurt in all her glory after the final pieces of the structure were on! All in all, these steps took us 1.5 days to complete. Yes, it’s THAT easy!
Sean & Mollie Busby are Osprey Packs Ambassadors. Sean is a professional backcountry snowboarder. In 2004, while training for the 2010 Olympics, Sean endured a complicated diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Considering leaving snowboarding all together, Sean was inspired by reading stories of kids living with T1D that inspired him to keep living his dreams. He founded Riding On Insulin, a nonprofit, to honor all the kids who inspired him to keep living. In February 2014, Sean became the first person with T1D to backcountry snowboard all seven continents at the age of 29 in 2014. Mollie Busby graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in Journalism and Retail. A series of life-changing events brought Mollie and Sean together in February 2010, and after five months, Mollie moved west. The pair was married in September, 2011 and now resides in a 30-foot yurt with their dogs, Daisy and Glacier, in Whitefish, Montana. For more, visit Two Sticks and a Board online, or follow Sean and Mollie on Instagram.
I’ve been shooting photos ever since I can remember, but after watching a video a few years ago where the Milky Way sprawled out above a mirror-like lake, I knew I had to try my hand at astrophotography.
It’s not everyday that you get to see the stars clearly when living in New England. I learned this the hard way when I moved out East after living in Colorado for 15 years. It was a whole new world, one that was rainy, cloudy and whose inhabitants were not nearly as friendly. Luckily for me I chose to attend the University of Connecticut, which at certain times of the year has a decent enough view of stars for me to get the shots that I want.
The past few months I have been venturing out into UConn’s woods armed with a 120-lumen flashlight, my Osprey Packs Kode 32 packed with all my camera gear and the ever-important thermal underwear. I try to venture out each week when the conditions are ideal; I’m talking no clouds and little moonlight to get the clearest possible shot. This winter has offered a good amount of chances to get out and shoot. It is an amazing feeling to venture out in the dead of night to gaze up into the sky — especially when everything is silent, muffled by the recent snow. (more…)
“By connecting communities and cultures we believe that change only happens with a change of perception and the power of voice. Giving women and children a voice creates a much more powerful ripple than a handout, and empowering them to use their voice can change their lives, their communities, and their countries from within. Organically and sustainability creating change with the individual which acts as a catalytic spark through the entire global community at large.”
Strength in Numbers Global Solidarity Ride
August 30th, 2014
Bikers around the world join to pedal a revolution on two wheels for women’s rights!
This Saturday, August 30th, we will pedal a revolution! Bikers, cyclists, commuters, and striders will take to their wheels in solidarity with the Afghan women who dare to ride, and in remembrance of the women that dared to ride before and in doing so, paved the way for independent mobility and freedom for women around the world. Create your own ride and join us.
Inspired? Get involved this Saturday, August 30th as part of the Global Solidarity Ride. Over 60 bike rides in 13 countries creates a global movement on two wheels in support of the Afghan women who dare to ride. You can join one of the existing rides listed here, create your own, or simply dedicate your bike ride on Saturday to the Afghan girls. Send us photos, tell us where you rode, and instagram or tweet with #solidarityride2014. You can join the conversation on Facebook here. You can support this work and donate at www.mountain2mountain.org/donate
Thanks to our incredible partners at Liv/giant we have been continuing to support the Afghan Women’s National Cycling Team with bikes, gear, clothing, and I have been working to help with training and coaching over the past few trips to Afghanistan. In a country that has never allowed its women to ride bikes, a group of Afghan women have been quietly making history. The women have been steadily improving, and they have an invitation to race at the Asian Games in South Korea this September. This ride will directly support their efforts in its inaugural year to show the world what Afghan women are capable of.
The Global Solidarity Ride is based off our original Panjshir Tour which we started in 2010 as a way to engage cycling communities in support of our projects in Afghanistan that benefited women and girls. I was the first woman to mountain bike in Afghanistan, and those first rides took place in the Panjshir Valley. I asked men all over the country in rural and urban areas, can women ride bikes? Would you allow your wife, daughter, sister to ride a bike? The answer was always no. So I created the Panjshir Tour as a way to use the bike as a vehicle to raise awareness and funding for our projects in Afghanistan. Now that we have seen Afghan women riding bikes, making history, and pedaling a revolution, the Solidarity Ride seemed like an incredible way to unite communities around the world on two wheels and show the Afghan women that they are not alone, the world sees what they are doing and supports them.
The Afghan women will be riding too, so that on August 30th no matter where you are the in world, men and women will be spinning their wheels on concrete and in dirt, united in the freedom of a bike!
Our friend Ace Kvale is one of the world’s top adventure photographers. For over 30 years his action photos, striking portraits and stunning landscapes have captured the essence of wild places and diverse cultures in the far corners of the globe. Recently, Ace has used photography as an opportunity to raise consciousness. Through his latest work with vanishing cultures and international philanthropic organizations, he’s discovered new inspiration and purpose by using his skills to help people at risk. He specializes in cultural, documentary, travel and outdoor adventure photography.
The Desert Dawg Trail
In the first place you can’t see anything from a car; you’ve got to get out of the goddamned contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail you’ll begin to see something, maybe. Probably not.
–Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
The first time I read those words I was living in a small cabin in the woods in the San Juan mountains of Colorado. I’ve never forgotten them. Ed Abbey left a huge impression on me. Since then I’ve been lucky to travel, ski, climb and photograph on six continents. From mountains in Tibet to rivers in Alaska I’ve been one lucky dude.
But the words of Ed Abbey have always held a grip on me. Hundreds of desert climbing trips have in no way extinguished my insatiable curiosity for the beauty of the canyon wilderness. That’s the thing right there. Wilderness. That’s the word. So simple.
Glamping. Wtf? Seriously? Yet it exists. The other day I saw a piece on the best iPhone apps for camping. No shit. But, to be totally honest I have an iPhone. I have the topo maps app with all the maps I need downloaded in it. I can press a few buttons and have my position pinpointed with incredible accuracy. It tells me right where I am on the map I’m holding in my sweaty hand. You are here. Awesome.
Osprey Packs Ambassador and guest blogger Cari Ann Siemens is an architect by trade, currently working outside of the box. Although she still does freelance design work, the majority of her time is spent as a Producer/Editor for Jordan Siemens Photography. She and her husband are currently traveling the western US in their Cricket Trailer. They hike, bike, backpack, climb, surf, ski our way from one destination to the next. As Cari puts it, “At this point in our lives, our main objective is exploration.”
After leaving the comfort of our home and steady jobs in Portland, Oregon, we hit the road, seeking new adventures that didn’t require raincoats and waterproof everything. We didn’t know exactly where we were going. We just knew that we wouldn’t be back anytime soon. (more…)
Osprey Ambassador Chris Gallaway is seeking support through Kickstarter to make his a film, “The Long Start to the Journey” a reality. January 31st is the campaign deadline to support this compelling documentary about the Appalachian Trail and if the campaign does not meet its goal no funding will be collected and given to the movie.
In support of Chris’s Kickstarter campaign, we’re giving away an Exos 48 Superlight Backpack to the next donor to pledge $220. The Exos 48, our newest ultra-light technical backpack, is a masterful combination of ounce-shaving, durable materials and a feather-weight internal frame to keep you fast and comfortable on your next journey. Your pack will have a “The Long Start to the Journey” patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making this film possible. Note: We’ll need to get your unique sizing before fulfilling this reward and you must be a resident of the US to be eligible.
To follow Chris’s journey on the trail last year, visit www.theATmovie.com.
A question I have often heard since completing my 7-month thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail is how the experience changed me. That’s a difficult one for me to answer, and it’s probably better addressed by people who know me well and have observed me from the outside. The images above were taken at the beginning and end of my hike (the third, cold morning in February on Blood Mountain Georgia and the last day in September as I walked down from Katahdin). While I know that these two self-portraits encompass a host of experiences and some of the most significant changes of my life, it’s difficult for me to articulate what’s different between them. (more…)
adventure, Appalachian, appalachian trail, AT Trail, causes, Chris Gallaway, Documentary, Exos, Exos 48, Experiences, film, filmmaking, hiking, Horizonline Pictures, inspiration, journey, kickstarter, mountains, Osprey Packs Ambassador, The Long Start to the Journey, thru-hike, trail, video
Ben White grew up in Massachusetts and spent his free time adventuring in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where he fell in love with backcountry skiing and mountain biking. After moving to Salt Lake City, he has taken up both rock and ice climbing in addition to attending the University of Utah to study geology.
The weather looked good, the avalanche conditions looked good, the snow looked good — all in all it was a recipe for a good day in the mountains, so we decided that skiing Superior was going to be a great call. There were a few sets of tracks down Mt. Superior from the previous days, which was inspiring because we hadn’t been sure if there was enough snow to cover up all the rocks. The turns made in the days prior to our trip looked fluid enough to suggest that there was plenty of the white stuff.
Its a new season at Valhalla Mountain Touring — with a new ACL, a new snowpack and problems that are new to me. (more…)
Ben White is a New England native who moved to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah. He loves skiing in the backcountry, climbing, mountain biking and generally messing about in the mountains.
Playing in the mountains is an incredible thing. Be it skiing, climbing, biking, hiking, paddling or any other fantastic activity, it’s all fun. However, when the trees change color from green to fire or from grey to green, the fun stops, or at the very least, changes. From when I was twelve until about fourteen or fifteen, the loss of snow in the mountains brought about foul moods and boredom. Once I started mountain biking, it was still a bummer to lose ski season, but riding a bike became just so darn fun. With the addition of climbing on the list of fun things to do, there’s a whole new dimension to be added in both the warm and cold seasons. While some people might get jittery at their favorite crag melting out or trails being dry enough to ride, I have always been captivated by the first snow of the year
It’s December now, so there has been snow on the ground and all the resorts are open, and while the feeling of returning to the familiar is slipping away, there is still more to be had. In November, feeling the snap of bindings and hearing the sound of skis sliding on snow went from being pleasurably nostalgic about the last season to the way things should be. Watching the mountains fill in and returning to areas that need more snow is just happening now.
As much fun as Utah is, New Hampshire still feels like home after skiing the 48, and watching Tuckerman Ravine fill in via webcam is almost as fulfilling as watching Snowbird fill in. Checking the snowpack for places like the La Sals, Idaho and the Pacific Northwest by word of mouth and looking at trip reports has me excited for what is to come.
Seeing clean tracks in an area for the first time that season is like a notice saying “hey everybody, it’s good in here again!” It’s like seeing people at a roadside crag or with smiles on their faces and mud on their backs from riding for the first time in the spring.
We all love playing outside, and often times it’s hard to choose a favorite activity. The feeling of the familiar returning after a few months of missing it is something exciting, comforting and all-together pleasurable. For me, the snap of carabiners and the whir of a hub are always enjoyable, but just don’t do it for me the same way that the zip-zop of skins followed by muffled sliding on snow does.
• Bike-in movie nights at the Warming Hut: Kick off the festivities with an outdoor screening ofBreaking Away. Strap the camp chair to the cargo bike and head to the Warming Hut for freepopcorn, plus appetizer and drink specials. Thursday, Aug. 15, plus other nights throughoutAugust• Trails 101: Raise the shovel and trail awareness with the Friends of Breckenridge Trails crew.Riders will learn what it takes to make a sustainable trail and put in a little elbow grease. There’snothing more rewarding than lapping a section of trail you’ve helped to build. Friday, Aug. 16• Super D Race and IMBA Fundraiser Party: Think of it as a community block party. With a superd race ripping through the backyard. As riders chow down and kick back (for live music and anoutdoor movie), they’ll get the good feeling that comes along with supporting Summit Fat TireSociety, a local chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association. Saturday, Aug. 17• Guided Rides: Not familiar with Breckenridge trails? No worries. Non-profits Summit Velo andSummit Fat Tire Society will lead Sunday’s guided groups rides, both road and mountain. Thelocal experts are in charge, and they’ll be showing off some of the best cycling routes in thearea. Sunday, Aug. 18
A dedicated fan of fun, Rachel Zerowin loves exploring and writing about the outdoors, especially when it relates to cycling. As the public relations manager for GoBreck, she gets to do a bit of both during work hours in Breckenridge, Colorado. Check out more of Rachel’s work on BreckConnection.com or say hello on Twitter @ColoradoSummit.