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Thread: Photographer & Olympian Chase Adventure From Baja to the Arctic

  1. #1
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    Jun 2015
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    Default Photographer & Olympian Chase Adventure From Baja to the Arctic

    Hi everyone! We are Kat and Craig traveling in our 2002 4x4 Z71 Suburban, named Hooper. It's a poor man's Sportsmobile! Build thread HERE! The build thread says his name is Aberdeen, but after only a few weeks of owning him, we changed the name to Hooper. Craig just retired from his professional track & field career, so we thought he could use a year long road trip. I'm a photographer so the idea of living and playing outside for a year and capturing it all along the way sounded like a dream. We set off in late June from San Diego. Our course from from Baja to the Arctic isn't exactly linear or the most efficient route. It's all about chasing the best weather for our outdoor activities in each region, and meeting up with friends whenever possible. Check us out on Instagram at @katcarney & @craigasaurus.

    LEG 1: Late June to Late July, 2016


    The trip began with a beeline to Mt. Shasta on the way to Eugene, OR for the Olympic Trials where Craig was coaching his training partner in the javelin. After making the Olympic team in 2012 and being the top placing American javelin thrower at the London Olympics, Craig moved to the Olympic Training Center in San Diego, CA. In early 2016 he injured his elbow and was unable to vie for a spot this year, however, he stuck around to coach his training partner, Sean Furey, who made his 2nd Olympic team.

    NOTE: Captions are written above the corresponding photos. Don't forget to go to page 2 after reading page 1 (it's not that obvious)

    Craig and a hitchhiker we picked up in the Shasta area.


    Our first night in the Suburban we had a killer view of Mt. Shasta.


    This was Craig's first time in the Cascades and he is loving all the bodies of water he can jump into. Here he is jumping into Castle Lake.


    If you haven't been to the Umpqua National Forest in Oregon add it to your list. This is a premiere United States destination. Epic waterfalls are a dime a dozen. I asked Craig to go nap on this log and he lay face down. Who naps face down? I told him he knew what was good for him he'd flip over. Now you know who wears the pants.


    As a photographer I find it hard to be in front of the lens. Plus Craig is just a baby photographer. But sometimes (if I set up the shot, and I'm patient enough to stand still) he gets the shot.


    Craig is a true canyon nerd, so when he sees a waterfall he usually is wondering, "What does the watercourse look like above? Are there more falls? Is it safe to rappel in the watercourse with this much flow?" Many canyon descents to come in Leg 2 of the trip.


    Time to get naked in the outdoors! More Umpqua National forest spendor.
    Tasteful nude #1




    Crater Lake has some of the clearest water in the world. We threw a pebble in and watched it fall for what seemed like over a minute. Craig belly flopped on the landing. Just kidding.








    Our live-in hippos from left to right, Hedgehog and Rufus. The cabinet down the side allowed us to make a low sleeping platform while still having enough room for our gear. The bed is 6'6" long and 49" wide and 56" wide at the top.




    Quick stop in Medicine Lake via the backroads of Lava Beds National Monument. When the dirt turned to pavement we got the skateboards out for the downhills. Craig bit off more than he could chew and had an impressive wipeout. He seems to be doing a lot more of that since his retirement from track & field.


    There is something wrong with Craig, whenever he sees cold water he feels the need to plunge. This may have been a personal record as he jumped through a hole in one of the icebergs floating around the lake. Helen Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park.


    We prefer National Forests and BLM land to National Parks because of the plentiful free campsites. When you are in most National Parks you have to drive out or get a permit and hike into the backcountry. We opted to hike in this night. We still need to get mosquito netting for the tarp. Bugs suck.


    We headed south to Tahoe and ended up at Secret Beach. It was the best nude beach atmosphere we have experienced. 50/50 nude to clothed ratio and people of all ages, not just the creepy people. Sorry no tasteful nudes here though!


    Craig's training partner Sean made his second Olympic Team, so we headed back down to San Diego for Craig to finalize logistics for his trip to Rio and to coach Sean for the last couple weeks before heading the the Games.

    The trip picked back up when Craig returned from Rio.

    Leg 2: August 26-Sept 11 San Diego to Moab via the Yosemite, Mammoth, and Escalante coming soon!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by kins18q; 10-07-2016 at 09:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Colorado
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    Amazing pics! Can't wait to see more.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Orlando,Fl
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    Smile shelf life

    Cool set up! Can you show more details of the shelving, a friend has a 'Burb and this would be perfect for him to build!

  4. #4
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    West Michigan
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    Subscribed, love the photos

  5. #5
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenaero View Post
    Cool set up! Can you show more details of the shelving, a friend has a 'Burb and this would be perfect for him to build!
    Thanks! It has been working well for us. Check out the build thread for a little bit more on the shelves. We also are working on a short video tour of the truck where there will be a closer look at the storage.

  7. #7
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    Default Leg 2: San Diego to Moab via Yosemite, Mammoth, Escalante and more

    Craig and Kat here (Craig writing this time). We're back! After a quick detour to Rio, I returned to San Diego to put a few last touches on the burb before heading North again.

    Leg 2: Late August to Mid September, 2016


    First stop was a Upper Jump Canyon in the Kings Canyon area with some of our best adventure companions, Mikey and Jason. Mikey is an ultra-marathon runner who was on the track team with me in college. Her husband can't keep up with her, but he tries. Really, it's nothing to be ashamed of, we don't know anyone who can keep up with her. They are both PhDs, so we typically feel dumb and unaccomplished in their presence. Warning: Shaky Video
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BJszoOyg...n-by=katcarney

    We had planned on spending more time in the Sequoia/Kings Canyon area, but wildfires, warm temps and an invitation to stay at a friend's in Mammoth pushed us north to Yosemite. Our first time in Yosemite we hiked from the Valley up to Glacier Point. We hit the trail before sunrise and had the trail to ourselves, only to arrive at the top amongst flip-flop clad photographers and tourists. We missed the memo about the road to the top. On our way down we cursed the park service for defiling such an iconic viewpoint, cursed the weak who dared to drive, and generally felt self righteous about our victorious trek amongst the throng of hunched, pale, fresh smelling drivers. So naturally our second time back to the Valley, we drove, and felt sorry for those tired sorry hikers.


    A couple hours later, from the same spot but looking in the other direction. Kat also hit some buttons on her camera I think.




    There is no doubt that Yosemite Valley is a spectacular place, but when you look down from the rim and see so many roads, buildings, and swimming pools, you can't help but think that this is one of the great failures of the Park Service. And then when you accidentally turn down the one way valley loop for the second time in a row, you KNOW this is one of the Park Service's great failures. You can see where you need to go, but damnit it's hard to get there. And when you do, you better hope it isn't a weekend or else you're going to find yourself getting ruthlessly cut off by a perfectly nice person who has now gone mad because this Valley traffic is more LA-like than NPS-like. This is why we like Tuolumne better. And because we didn't get enough of Half-Dome from Glacier Point, or the Valley floor, we hiked out to a pass where we could once again glimpse this ruggedly handsome spit of granite.


    It's hard to convey the relaxation and serenity I experienced at this lake after the hike. After forgetting the toilet paper and hurrying back to the trailhead while holding in what turned out to be massive explosive diarrhea, I relaxed by the lake for a while in complete calm before the next wave hit.


    Welcome to Mammoth. With a commanding view of the high Sierra from the east, and more outdoor activities than you can shake a stick at, its a pretty neat mountain town. Kat's climbing partner and all around mountain badass friend (also a PhD...what's with all our smart friends making us look bad?) invited us to crash at her A-Frame. When Rachel and mountains are around, there is a good time to be found. Here she is at Crystal Crag.


    I don't climb much, but now in track & field retirement Kat has forced me to get into it. This might look like a glory shot for me, but remember, Kat climbed this before me hauling her camera gear up and is hanging off the wall above me taking photos. She is woman, hear her roar.


    View from Minaret Vista, the best of the Sierra that I've seen.


    What's better than hitting the trails in one of the coolest mountain towns around? Hitting the trails when there is a free shuttle up the mountain from town! Whaaaat? We bought Kat a bike from the outgoing rental fleet, named it Scott, rode the shuttle a couple thousand feet up and hit the trail. It was Kat's second time on a mountain bike, and she nearly freaked when we got to this tiny bridge over a tiny stream. We are talking tiny. 2 feet up at the most. With 10 miles of intermediate trail ahead, I'm starting to think its going to be a long day. After she crossed that raging river though, she was golden. Whooping and hollering for 10 miles. I think she's hooked. Later I would find out that she may be spoiled beyond repair by this never riding uphill thing...


    More mountain biking...


    This trail has the most vertical feet of descent of any in the US. Or something like that.


    This little dude might pee on you if he gets scared, or happy, but man can he run. Border collie/husky mix, he was right by our side on this 18 mile descent. Rachel says he can actually tow a biker up a trail. We didn't see any of that because who wants to go uphill anyway? But forget about the dog, check out that outfit I've got on back there.


    How do you fit three bikes, three people and a dog into a hatchback? Lube.


    To me Bryce is a viewpoint park. Take a view and beeline to Escalante, Zion or something else more interesting. Kat hadn't seen it so we stopped in. The trails are like sidewalks, and the terrain lacks diversity. As I write this, Kat is literally mocking me, "Are you really going to keep complaining about how much you hate Bryce?" I don't hate it, it just isn't worth much more time than it takes to look at it from the rim.


    When we say Escalante, what we really mean is The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. There is a town called Escalante, but the real magic happens in the backcountry. The monument encompasses much of the area to the north of Glen Canyon (Lake Powell). Countless beautiful, sculpted sandstone canyons drain into the Escalante River and into Lake Powell. It's not crowded, it has almost no facilities whatsoever... It's heaven. The Hole-In-the-Rock road runs south east from the town of Escalante through the monument and down to Lake Powell following the old wagon trail built by the Mormons. It's insane to think about how they got 80 wagons safely down this ridiculous road. This is the Golden Cathedral, the last rappel in Neon Canyon. We enjoyed 6 days of canyon glory without leaving the backcountry. Time is limited by water capacity in the truck.




    Early start for Neon.


    A remake of a photo Kat took in 2008, our first time to the Glen Canyon/Lake Powell area. I have never seen transparent leaves anywhere else.


    Until the purchase of the burb in December 2015, we always cooked exclusively on a Pocket Rocket, a tiny little lightweight backpacking stove. A buddy of ours named Moose would be making bison burgers with grilled onions, while we'd scarf down dehydrated potatoes. His backcountry butler ways inspired us to eat like we do at home when we are in the backcountry. The fridge and the double burner have allowed us to blossom into our best backcountry butler selves.


    This tree is only 2 feet tall, but man it looks big in this photo!


    Non-technical canyon fun. Spooky Gulch. That's my, "How did Kat get up this so easily" face.


    Peak-a-boo Gulch




    Last edited by kins18q; 10-07-2016 at 08:21 PM.
    In Progress Adventure: Photographer on the road from Baja to the Arctic
    Build Thread: '02 Suburban Z71 4x4, G80, custom sleeping platform+storage cabinets+lockbox drawer, 200w solar, 12v fridge, 1.5" rear coil spacer, 2.5" torsion key lift, Bilstein 5100s, 255/75r17 Cooper AT/3
    Instagram @katcarney

  8. #8
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    Default Leg 2 Continued...

    After we ran out of water in Escalante, we headed back out the Hole in the Rock road to Escalante. Our water coffers filled, we headed to Boulder Utah and back into the Monument on the Burr Trail. Awesome switchbacks down out of the monument and into Capitol Reef National Park.

    As a geology undergraduate student, Capitol Reef was a pretty cool thing to witness. Almost the whole park is a massive fold (monocline) in the sedimentary layers, called Waterpocket Fold. The layers to the west which were once deposited and resided at the same elevation as those to the east, have been uplifted 7000 feet by a major fault zone deep beneath the surface. The resultant fold is called a monocline. Much of the fold has since been eroded, and where the fold is steepest, the layers are nearly vertical. If you were to hike across it you would travel backward or forward in geologic history depending on your direction of travel. The escarpment below the mountains to the far east, is pointing upward (west) in the direction of the fold. If not for the erosion that created the valley below, those layers would stretch up and over, connecting to their corresponding formations in the west.




    Not exactly what you think of when you think Capitol Reef, but this picture really gives some perspective to the scale of the landscape.


    From Capitol reef we headed south to Bullfrog Marina to see Lake Powell from another perspective, and to wash off a weeks worth of desert grime. Lake Powell in September is THE place to be. Summer crowds are gone, the desert heat is wearing off but the water is still warm. I'm evil eyeing Kat because she's complaining about the water being cold...The water is over 70 degrees. Get a grip.


    Kat tends to hyperventilate when she sees sunsets, rainbows, or lightning. Often times shouting "RAINBOW!" or "SUNSET!" loud enough to make me swerve. She shot this out the window of the burb heading to Moab, while my heart was still racing.


    Moab is a pretty rad town, with a very high concentration of badass vehicles. But the town and trucks don't compare to the landscape. I am consistently shocked by how few hardtails we see on the trail. Everybody and their mothers have full suspension. A wise man once told me, "It's 95% rider, 5% bike" but it doesn't seem like anyone else has heard that. There are people all over the trails struggling with 6 inch ledges on 3000 dollar bikes. I don't get it. Kat again had some choice words for the uphill sections of this trail. Maybe we should have started out with uphill only biking? If that exists.


    You may notice a few changes to Hooper. We finally found the time to install the craigslist cargo box, the bike mounts, the 12v fridge and the solar array. Expo user evldave says that calling the solar panels a solar array makes you sound like an madman hellbent on world domination, so solar array it is. Living is easy now that we have the solar array to charge out laptops so we can stay up to date with our inspiration, Dora the Explorer, and the fridge to keep our cookie dough from getting cooler-soggy.


    To be continued...
    Last edited by kins18q; 10-07-2016 at 08:55 PM.
    In Progress Adventure: Photographer on the road from Baja to the Arctic
    Build Thread: '02 Suburban Z71 4x4, G80, custom sleeping platform+storage cabinets+lockbox drawer, 200w solar, 12v fridge, 1.5" rear coil spacer, 2.5" torsion key lift, Bilstein 5100s, 255/75r17 Cooper AT/3
    Instagram @katcarney

  9. #9
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    Awesome photos and trip commentary

    Subscribed!

  10. #10
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    yea...keep it coming.

    super jealous.
    85 4Runner 3rz
    77 FJ55
    03 Z71
    1967 M109 Deuce

    Just say NO to Bushwhacker Flares

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