It's been a crazy summer. I feel like I haven't had a moment to rest with my move from AB to BC, multiple weddings, the crazy hot temperatures, my new job at Toyota, and so many projects on the go with Tamarack. Busy is a good thing but running away for a couple days is sometimes a requirement. Not to mention, part of the reason I made the move back to BC in the first place! With my fathers memorial/celebration of life last weekend, we had a ton of company from Calgary make the trek to Nelson to attend. It was great to say goodbye to Dad officially and also to visit some of our good friends from back in Calgary.
My good buddy Craig has been riding shotgun with me for about 2 years when my wife wasn't able or willing to attend our offroading trips. Craig has been bit by the mod and exploration bug but wasn't in a position to get into his own 4x4. However this year that all changed and I helped him scoop up a minty 08' GX470. He immediately baselined the truck with the help of me and Ian and began his build of the truck. Last week tires and wheels were installed and he was stoked to take "Jerry the GX" out on it's maiden voyage into the mountains. Ian, Craig, Dallas (his wife), and myself loaded up the trucks and headed for a region on the Kootenays that I'm kind of obsessed with. Guaranteed epic views, crystal clear mountain lakes to escape the 35 degree (C) heat, and also some mild offroading. The provincial-wide fire ban is a bummer for camping season but a definite necessity considering how dry the terrain is and the high risk of wildfires. Luckily propane fire-pits are still prohibited and something that was essential in the night ahead. We stopped by a nearby lake and cooled off before airing down to a modest 20psi for a good mix of gravel roads and offroad trails. Not sure why I didn't pull the camera out and grab a couple photos of the lake - cursing myself now for it.
Start of the trail, with the lake in the background.
Jerry the GX:
Loving these new Element aluminum skids for RickRunner:
Up we climbed on the never ending switchbacks. This trail is so cool because you ascend through all the layers of the forest - low altitude vegetation then into the high terrain, and eventually above the treeline altogether. Eventually we gained the ridgeline and entered my favorite section of the trail. You drive the ridge at approx. 8500ft with visibility down both sides of the mountain.
One of the 4 glaciers visible from the ridge:
The final approach shows the destination for the night - an old fire tower built in 1972.
Finally, a couple very tight switchbacks to gain the peak. Once at the top of this ~6500ft climb in elevation, you are treated to 360 degree views of the surrounding backcountry with little evidence of civilization to be seen. The smoke from one of the Okanagan forest fires making the view a little more ominous.
After walking around and enjoying the views, we set up camp for the night. Golden hour was approaching and we ate just in time to enjoy the sun setting behind the western peaks. A side note - first night spent using the ARB awning room. This thing is so cool! Especially considering the costs over an RTT there are many pro's: full stand up room with access to your vehicle, full canvas walls which can be rolled up to reveal full mesh walls when the weather permits, and the ability to keep the roofline clean for other gear storage. It's also quite easy to setup and tear down (although that edge still goes to the RTT slightly). It's going to be a well used addition until I acquire a hardshell.
The boys: Ian & Craig.
Golden Hour gave me an excellent opportunity to grab some stills with our (Tamarack's) new camera - a Canon 1DX MKii. I am blown away by the combined capabilities of this camera (video and photos) and especially the dynamic range. Proof is in the pudding though - sundown in a spectacular fashion:
After the sun went down, we simply relaxed and enjoyed the views until darkness set in. The propane fire pit was a life saver as temperatures approached freezing that night on the top of the mountain - crazy considering it was 25 deg C at the top before the sun set. A quick one-nighter but much needed considering all that's been going on. Excited for a few more minor mods to the truck to get it "done" ... for this year ;). Lots more trips planned so stay tuned.
Colossal 2017 planning now in full swing and definitely stepping up our game on the video production end. There may or may not be several 4k-8k cameras on deck for this year ;)