The next year

I did not much miss travel this past year.  Or, to be more precise, I was more than content with staying in Montana (two trips excepted), and ran out of both energy and creativity before I ran out of options.  As I think about 2021, my eye keeps coming back to the home state, and the many places I would still like to go, and the ways I might fit those trips into the next 12 months.  My resolution from the beginning of the pandemic has only grown stronger, after a summer of a few intensely memorable trips within a couple hundred miles of home.

So why not do more of those?

There is a mountain range near to town, which tends to hide in plain sight, and has some truly exceptional canyons and trails that very few human eyes ever see.  I’ve done a few trips there, each one having been exceptional, and while I’ve yet to settle on the exact route, something a little more extensive in early summer will be a priority.  I’ve made a reservation to spur me along towards that end.  I’ll share impressions when it happens, but never details, there being enough knows out in the world as is.

There are also a lot of rivers in Montana, with many hiding in plain sight once they put the mountains below the horizon.  Again I have no definitive plans, but with the smaller child getting big enough that backpacking will become ever more difficult, the boating phase of family development should be in full force this year.  We bought a canoe this past year, and have another packraft on the way in a few weeks, so we should use them a bunch.  On that note, a full Escalante float really ought to happen this year.

And on the subject of packrafting, there are still two major creeks in Glacier I have yet to float.  And I’m pretty certain that both of them will be very worthwhile.  Restrictions in the park this past year took both off the table, so there is a special urgency and poignancy to being able to get into those pieces of backcountry, one of whom is amongst the handful of named drainages in the park into which I have never set foot.  And on the subject of packrafting, a year with minimal socialization has me contemplating the privilege of being around likeminded folks.  Spending the summer solstice in the center of the universe with the relevant folks and as much beer as we dare to carry is an idea that won’t quite leave my head.

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I am also hopeful of, finally, having some more packs go out the door.  Tamarisk 0.2, above, is headed out the door tomorrow.  While I did not intend to put a full year of testing into version 0.1, having the confidence that it both works so well across applications and that the individual components hold up so well is an unexpected luxury.  Mark 0.2 is a wee bit bigger (as requested) than 0.1, and than the production model will be.  It scales nicely, looks good, and carries (with the final alterations to the hipbelt) even better.

On that commercial note, I should mention that stock of gold packraft straps has grown quite thin after the holiday surge. 3 pairs, to be exact. Anyone who has been wedded to that color but not moved to act ought to do so now. Anyone with thoughts about what color should appear next, to compliment the rainbow (which will be stocked perpetually), do comment.

11 Comments

  1. There are defiantly a lifetime of possibilities locally. Keep a small block of time open for our round deux traverse.

    1. I’ve learned a few good things about my sewing process this past year, which amount to my having both the time and focus to do things properly being a pretty unpredictable thing. My intention is to start batch sewing things and move towards having ~15 packs ready to sell at once. When? I’d be irresponsible if I hazarded a guess.

  2. I’ll agree that is a gorgeous pack Dave. I was about to order materials to sew a bag up for my SO frame… is that coyote and ranger green? Is it cordura or that cordura xpac combo? (x50?) I could try to copy the lines but would still end up ugly in comparison!

    1. Coyote and OD green. The Cordura is standard stuff. The coyote fabric is a custom 330D Cordura/PET laminate. I consulted for them on developing it, but they never took it to market. I bought all the remaining prototype run a while back. It is comparable to X33 from D-P, but without the X grid and with a thicker PET film.

      1. ah, the lack of the “X” made me wonder if it was all plain cordura vs D-P… sweet to have an exclusive run in solid! I’ve considered V15 from RSBTR to avoid the “X”; but that would probably just be a lightweight solo backpacking bag vs hunting and off trail usage… Looks sweet. I’ll consider OD green to go w coyote but mine would be soft hand VX21 because that seems the only config I can find coyote in… I just want a lighter earth tone than the olive SO uses…

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