The Bumble Beast Rumbles East

Each year I make my annual pilgrimage back home to the Boston area over the Thanksgiving holiday. This time I would arrive in style in the Bumble Beast. The restaurant I work for closes each year for two months during the fall which gave me plenty of time to vacation across the country and back. Court would be able to tag along as far as Denver so we tried to jam pack as much climbing, mountain biking, and skiing in as we could up until then.
Our first stop would be just a few hours out of town to ski a big pumice field. I’d never skied on rocks before so I was very excited. Unfortunately, as most trips begin, we were running late and got there barely before sunset.

Court and Stoke on the up

We opted to only go halfway up because of the failing daylight but we were at least able to enjoy a pretty sunset

Busted! Skiing in jeans! I’m also looking a little gaperish with the way my skis are mounted on my pack. This shot does a good job at showing the size of the rocks though.

Since it was so dark we were unable to take any pictures or video of the actual skiing but it sure was fun and I look forward to going back someday. We continued driving that night to Bishop where we would sleep in a Von’s parking lot. “Stealth camping” would be the mission for almost the entire trip. This meant a lot of rest areas and parking lots. It may not be the prettiest place to call home for the night but it was free. But come to think of it most of the parking lots were pretty scenic

We spent the next day climbing in Owens River Gorge

After a full day of climbing we hopped in the van and drove 5 hours to Las Vegas where we would call Red Rocks Casino home for the following 3 nights. Can you tell which one is us??

Red Rocks is home to a few thousand climbing routes so choosing what to do in our 2 days there was no easy task. We settled for some short sport routes in an easy area for day 1. The colors of the rock here are fascinating

The second day Stoke went to doggie day care and we did an awesome 4 pitch 5.7 called Johnny Vegas.

Bolted belays make me happy. I spy Court

The descent was just as much, if not more, fun than the climb itself. 6 rappels would take us all the way back to the bottom.

One of the bummers about traveling this time of year is how short the days are. The daylight failed us again but it did so with style. I snapped this pic while Court was lowering himself down the 5th rappel while screaming of tarantulas darting across the rocks below him. I was less than psyched to join him at the next rap station…

That night we hit the town! I had never been to Vegas before so I figured a walk down the strip was a must.

Which left Stoke alone in the van…
Don’t let his size fool you, he is still a puppy and still gets himself into trouble. You try to chew my helmet, you wear my helmet as punishment!

And he killed his poor Bumble Bee. He seemed pretty proud of that though

The next day we were off to Sedona, AZ, one of the most beautiful and unique places I have ever been. That being said its weird I don’t have more photos of it. Must have been too busy enjoying the short time we had there. We were able to sneak in a little bike ride around Courthouse Butte before that nagging sunset crept in.

Next up on the itinerary was Zion National Park and the surrounding areas. Adding a couple hours to the drive allowed us to visit the Grand Canyon. National Parks aren’t too keen on dogs (they are only allowed on paved surfaces, which is like nowhere) so we put our best tourist faces on and braved the crowds at the paved pullouts. Lucky for us though high winds kept the crowds thin but the winds and cliff edges also scared the crap out of Stoke (why did I name him Stoke??) so we left him in the van and had ourselves a little photo shoot

Lunch with a view

Stoke is thinking, can I go back to the van yet??

One of the hardest part about planning this road trip was deciding when to do all the driving. I didn’t want to waste daytime on the road but I also didn’t want to do it all at night because we would miss out on the amazing views. The struggle is real people…

Later that night we landed in the Walmart parking lot of Hurricane, UT where the rain was coming down hard. We had hopes to do a popular bike ride (Gooseberry Mesa) and climb while here but the rains made that impossible. The clay on the Gooseberry trail takes a few days to dry out and the same goes for the sandstone. We stopped by The Edge bike shop and they recommended Hurricane Rim as a rideable trail in wet conditions.
Here’s a screen shot from my GoPro of the aptly named Hurricane Rim

The weather cleared just enough to give us confidence to ride far away from the van and then BOOM the torrential downpours came back. Luckily we happened upon a lovely outhouse that we could seek refuge in. We enjoyed lunch here at the “Vault Cafe”

The next day we headed over to St George, UT and hit the Bearclaw Poppy Trail. We had a blast messing around on the fun features this trail had to offer. Starting out small on the Acid Drops

Court and Stoke riding off the left Finger of Death

It was a long and tiring day so we thought we would treat ourselves to a pizza night. Yes, we got pizza delivered to the van in a Walmart parking lot. I should probably be feeling more ashamed than proud of this…

The real reason for incorporating Zion NP into this trip was so we could do The Narrows, an amazing hike up the Virgin River in the narrowest part of the Zion Canyon with walls towering up to 1,000ft feet above you on either side. This was another one of those things where Stoke wasn’t allowed so he got to go to the Doggy Dude Ranch, where he got to play outside all day with all sorts of new puppy friends.

It was much colder than we would have hoped but it was still an incredible experience. The short days continued to haunt us, but it gave us some incredible lighting

For our last night in Zion we decided to splurge and get a campsite. The views did not disappoint.

The next day we hit Coral Pink Sand Dune State Park for some sand skiing.

Stoke really liked it here

The skiing itself wasn’t as exciting as we would have hoped. Speed was required to actually make a turn but by the time we got going fast enough we were already at the bottom.

But we still had fun playing around and soaking up the sun after a cold couple of days. After a couple of runs we drank beer and had a goofy photo shoot

Then it was back to the open road again where the views continued to impress. This was in the Escalante area which has made its way to the top of the list for future travels.

This was just outside of Bryce NP, another newly discovered must visit park

Moab was the next destination. Moab is home to world class mountain biking and stellar climbing. We decided to climb our first day at the Ice Cream Parlor wall which features a mix of sport and trad.

The next day we hit the world famous Slickrock trail. The weather was perfect and the views were fantastic

Stoke found himself a bath. The sad truth is Stoke probably bathed more than I did this trip

But, technical difficulties forced us to retreat after just 2 miles

We got his bike fixed up at a local bike shop but unfortunately the Slickrock trail is an all day loop so we were unable to go back. The guys at the bike shop pointed us in the direction of the Bar M trail system for some afternoon riding which also offered lots of fun and amazing views.

Arches National Park in the distance

Turns out this trail system is in an open range. Stoke, who will run away in fear of his life if a chihuahua looks at him funny, is not shy when it comes to cows. He was great to have along to keep the trails ahead clear.

Next stop was Fruita, CO for the last of the mountain biking. The biking here was lots of fun, very flowy compared to what we are used to back home in Tahoe.

The sections going through the washes were a tad technical but my main problem was route finding. I wound up riding this wash longer than I should have which caused Stoke to panic and run a mile back up the trail looking for me. Shortly after, though, we were all able to regroup.

That night we headed towards the Rockies to start the cold portion of the trip. I took advantage of my Epic ski pass and hit A-Basin to ride their white ribbon of death. Three crowded runs later and it was back to tailgating in the parking lot. Which really meant giving strangers tours of the van. I thought I blended in???
A long lost friend Ashley was able to stop by to say hi and have a quick climbing sesh

Our goal for the next day was to climb in Boulder canyon, but a 30 degree temperature drop has us quickly changing plans. We decided to check out El Dorado Canyon on the way to Denver instead. Just before the entrance gate we spotted this. I pulled an Austin Powers and did a 17 point turn to get into position to snap this picture.

Our hike became snowier than expected

Once back at the van we enjoyed making goofy faces (probably due to whatever was in those cans), lunch, and movie

From this day forward I didn’t see temperatures higher than the teens until I got all the way to Boston. We were meant to stay in the Boulder area another night but decided to go visit a friend of mine, Emily, who lives in Denver a day early instead. Court flew out of the Denver Airport the following day and I was on my own for the duration of the trip.
Snowfall and near subzero temperatures forced me to overstay my welcome with Emily but we had a ton of fun catching up and torturing our doggies with endless photo shoots

Stoke made himself at home right away by taking over Emily’s lap

And Harry’s little bed

A few days later the snow stopped falling and temperatures rose (slightly) so Stoke and I hit the open road. Unfortunately this portion of the trip wouldn’t be as fun as the last. It looked like this for many, many miles

And our nights looked like this

Finally it got warm enough to venture out for a bike ride.

It got cold and dreary again in the following few days so we just beelined it straight to Danvers, MA to stay with my parents for 2 weeks to see family and friends. This was by far the best road trip I have ever been on and I look forward to many more in the Beast in the future!

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Mama Hutch comes to Tahoe

When I called to tell my mom about my new buddy Stoke she had a flight to Tahoe booked within the week. She swears it was because she missed me but I know she just wanted to meet her grandpup. But hey, who can blame her?
Grandma and grandpup

One of the most awesome things about my mom is she is always up for trying new things. She was dying to get back up on the rock after a fear of heights stopped her on last summers trip. She joined a rock gym back East and her hard work payed off. Here are a couple of shots from Berkeley Camp

For our “rest day” we enjoyed a 5 mile walk around Carson Pass. No such thing as a day off in the Hutchinson family!
Group shot at Winnemucca Lake

We were hoping to see more wildflowers but the Mule’s Ears were the only ones in bloom. Still a pretty sight though

Big Face!

Stoke huntin’ marmots

Next up was Mt Tallac, a 10ish mile round trip hike with a 3300′ elevation gain and stunning views the entire time.

Then mom had to go home and it was back to working on the van in preparation for our road trip to Glacier National Park at the end of the month! Last up, electricity… wish me luck!

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Stoke’s first powder day

Gotta love May in Tahoe! Unpredictable weather makes for fun surprise ski days. They say you should wait until your pup is 1 year old before they go skiing but we said screw it one day cant hurt, right? Kirkwood got about 0-8″ of wet, packed snow from the storm which made for a great introduction to powder skiing for the little guy.

An eager Stoke is ready to go!

Here Nacho is teaching Stoke the art of attacking skiers

Our mission took us to the top of chair 10 where we enjoyed a nice break from the weather in the lift shack

Followed by some exploring on the lift towers

Then we skied!

Go Stoke, go! He already knows how to tomahawk!

“Really mom? That’s all you got for me??”

But then the adrenaline wore off and the exhaustion set it

If Stoke can make the hike up to chair 10 followed by an all out sprint to the bottom at the age of 3 and half months I think I’m in trouble! Fully grown Stoke is going to wear me out!

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First vanventure in the Bumble Beast

As most of you already know I purchased a giant yellow van a couple months back and I now live in it full time. One week ago I found a new best friend and vanmate. Introducing the two (and Nacho),
The Bumble Beast and Stoke: welcome to your new adventurous life!
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The ideas behind living in a van were simple- to save money and to be outside as much as possible.
I have created this blog to keep track of my adventures and to share my life with my family and friends, most of which live very far away. Since writing has never been a strong point for me I will stick to mostly pictures, enjoy!

The first out of town adventure took us to Sonora Pass. A beautiful area with a shocking abundance of climbing and good ski lines galore.
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This was one of Tuesday’s climb spots with the next days ski spot in the background. Same shot this time with Court
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For those of you who don’t know, this is Nacho the wonderpup. He likes to shred pow, catch air, spaz out, and climb. Ok, ok he just watches the humans climb but he sure does look good while he does it!
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Some of the approaches were a bit burley for a young 3 month old pup. Good thing nacho was kind enough to let Stoke use his most favorite ruffwear pack.
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But there were also easy approaches. My main man/ankle biter :-)
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A couple more climbing shots
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Court on Hexcentric, a relatively easy climb on one of the coolest rock formations I’ve ever seen.
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Stoke enjoys a sunset nap as we finish up on the rock
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Followed by cuddle time in the van
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A rejuvenated Stoke is ready to go after a great nights sleep.
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Today Stoke learns about snow. Ahhhh! How do the brakes work on this white cold stuff??
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It didn’t take him long to get the hang of it
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Stoke and I on the up
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A perfect spot for a celebratory beer
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Followed by yet another nap time of course
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Stokes first ski!
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Vanventuring is hard mom! Here he is hiding from the next adventure which lucky for him was just the drive back home to Tahoe.
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Where he learned to swim! It was a weekend of firsts for Stoke and I think he likes his new life :-)
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Hello world!

Coming Soon

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