Dawn Light

Warm, early morning light turns the dramatic sawtooth mountains yellow near Stanley, Idaho.

|| Twenty-percent rain was what the forecast read. Really, this translated into about twenty, full minutes of rain–at two AM. I’ll take that.

We took Friday off from work with the hope of bagging a ride or two on the trails around Stanley before it rained. Luckily, we beat the rain. And after the clouds rolled in and rolled out at night, we were left with this incredible sunrise.

An incredible view awaited us at this campsite off the Nip Tuck road. Hunters rolled up and down the dirt road all morning, checking for deer and signs of a chance to earn an early tag. We left during the day, rode Fischer Creek, hit the hot springs near town, and then made dinner as a blast of frigid air rolled through camp. Clear nights bring cold temperatures, but that might be the only problem with being able to see the stars so clearly.

Without a blanket of clouds to warm the land, your toes turn cold in a hurry. ||

Starry Night

A camping tent glows under the starry sky at a campsite in Stanley, Idaho.

|| Light spills up and onto the branches of a tree at a campsite in Stanley, Idaho. This particular campsite is located at a hard-to-reach location on top of a hill. The hill overlooks the town of Stanley at night, and provides an incredible view of the Sawtooth mountains in the morning.

At night it’s easy to see the stars and pick out constellations. Salt Lake suffers from a massive amount of light pollution, and traveling to a place like Stanley drives that point home in spades. During the fall it can be downright frigid at night. Take a zero degree sleeping bag, a warm hat, and a down jacket. You’ll need all three.

High fire danger had skunked our campfire dreams all summer, until the ban was lifted the previous week. We built a toasty fire, heated some soup, and swapped stories until it was too late to think about anything other than bed. Although it might be different for some, I sleep like a rock when I’m camping. Back home there’s just too many distractions, but in a tent it’s just you and your heavy eyes. ||

Creeping Green

Moss growing on a tree in Oregon

|| The green moss that grows over the trees in the Pacific Northwest is amazing. I shot this photo while photographer Re Wikstrom and I were traveling through Oregon on a bike trip. The texture of the moss attracted me first, but the pale color of the bark was what really drew me into the contrast.

Oregon has some incredible mountain biking. We were just outside Hood River at this point during our travels. I had no idea, but apparently Hood River is a mecca for windsurfing. Years ago I saw the windsurfing movie that Poor Boyz Productions released in between ski season. PBP is usually known a production house for winter flicks, but they also have the beach scene dialed. ||

McKenzie River Trail

Austin Holt riding a bike on the McKenzie River Trail in Oregon

|| Although I picked the spot and did the riding, I have to give the shutter props to photographer Re Wikstrom. Re snagged this photograph while we were ripping along the McKenzie River Trail in Oregon. Although the trail starts in a mass of volcano rock, it slowly snakes its way down to the river.

Despite the fact that you shuttle this trail (drive to the top, leave a car at the bottom), there’s lots of pedal time. A downhill bike would be fun for a few sections, but a mid-travel trail bike is definitely the way to go. My Santa Cruz Heckler held its own* through twisty forest sections, slick roots, and the technical bits of rock at the beginning.

No one mentions the bridges you have to cross during this ride. Some are wide enough to ride across, some have railings on both sides, and some are so skinny your bars barely creep through from start to finish. The rhythm goes: ride, ride, ride, pedal, pedal, pedal, StairMaster, and repeat.

Ride this trail, it’s one for the bucket list.||