Chaco

r0021952We saw it many times, from miles and miles away, but I always dismissed it.  Canyon country has plenty of odd lumps in the rimrock, and the trail was just sandy enough to be slow, the day just sunny enough to be fatiguing, and the cliff face along which we walked for a while was spangled occasionally with petroglyphs and pictographs.  Discerning the 800 year old ones from the decade old ones took some time, as did puzzling out just what had happened during those centuries to isolate the spirals and sheep figures 35 feet above the valley floor.

We were awed when we got there, and on the way back awed that we had missed it so thoroughly.  Ruins, standing in places 12 feet tall, spread over pieces of an ellipse 300 feet in diameter, set into sandy bedrock on a promontory.  The wind howled at us whenever we crawled out from the walls, looking into it revealed a broad wash headed west, abundant water glinting gaudy in the sun, stark and shocking in a world of tan and sage and grey and buff red.  Some archeologists think that in the heyday those walls were painted white.  Now that we knew what to see, that which the ages had left could be seen from over an hours walk away.  At full height and painted it would have been a citadel visible from Arizona, on a clear day.

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r0021890Anyone who’s interested in the Colorado Plateau and hasn’t read Craig Childs’ House of Rain should do so, as soon as possible.  If the highest end of hiking and backpacking is to give you enough time out there to see properly, and to take you to places where you can turn that ability into knowledge, House of Rain is the best explicatory guide I’ve seen for how to do it well.  It starts at Chaco, a low and otherwise innocuous canyon whose only distinguishing characteristic, other than being among the most potent archeological sites in the southwest, is that it’s the largest in the series of low washes which stripe New Mexico in the hundred miles south of the San Juan River.

It’s difficult to understand Chaco, why it was so big, why it happened where it did, and why it declined and then disappeared with relative suddenness.  Being there, and thinking about those questions, are good for the outdoor intellect.  In the aftermath you might find yourself better considering why roads, cities, dams, and farms are where they are.r0022091

r0022037The added privilege for us was Little Bear, running through low doors and falling over on loose stones, squealing and staring into the wind and pushing his bike around the campground.  The sites close to the road are of necessity sterile and inaccessible enough.  The backcountry ones, without ropes and trail signs and other people, and with wind-blown dirt fill around the walls, make it a little less difficult to imagine yourself living there, those many years ago.  But a toddler, with unfiltered interest, made the dust come alive. As it ought to be.

You should go there and see it.

Little Bear, brand ambassador

I’m very excited to announce that, in partnership with the evil genius’ over at Backbone Media in Carbondale, Little Bear will shortly become the very first in Yeti’s new line of toddler product ambassadors.  As the following video, shot on location this past weekend while we were waiting for the slow hiking Talweg Creative team to catch up after their drone crashed, shows he puts the hurt on my Rambler bottle on a regular basis.  The burly plastic and stainless has thus far shrugged it all off and only asked for more.

 

Not only does this put us on the cutting edge of marketing, it surely heralds a new life where our fiscal affluence will catch up with our spiritual and recreational wealth. In the future I look forward to owning an Xterra whose recommended fix list fits on only one page.

That lesson learned again

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Car camping still isn’t, but there we were in the old orchards when the turkey attack happened.
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I still don’t like paying for camping, but that’s a big change from a decade ago, when I almost always went to absurd lengths to avoid it.  But that other Fruita, along the Fremont, has the most gorgeous groves of apple, almond, cherry and cottonwood trees I could ever imagine.  And lots and lots of open space for toddlers to run.

The first evening we walked LB around and around, hoping for a tired kid as soon after the 630 sunset as possible.  Members of the mule deer herd filtered through an hour before dusk, and turkey tracks were abundant in the mud between the reeds along the river.  There were no signs of the birds, as the upper branches of the taller trees became cloaked in darkness, and we went to bed.  The next morning I was carrying one frozen pissy diaper, and one warm shitty diaper, to the trash can in the restroom while trying to coax LB along in my wake when there they were again.  Three big gobblers, circulating through the campground, had sneaked up.  LB being about their height and weight, and at 18 months only dreaming he was half as fast, was naturally both intrigued and scared.  As he should have been.  So he observed turkeys off and on for the next hour, often while seated atop my shoulders, and we finally knew who had been crapping on the picnic table in the night.
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That day we did a canyon hike, a popular one, one that would normally be considered rather easy.  And we almost got lost.  It was an even more egregious example of what I should have gotten out of my system back in December; rather than follow the known route up the actual wash to an old road we stuck to an ever more sparsely cairned short cut, got cliffed out, and after much hemming and futzing took the safe option and back tracked all the way back to the car.  Which was a necessity with the kid along.  Had we had a map along, especially an appropriately detailed one, what on the ground looked like a decent route option would have been a non-starter.

At least it was a nice canyon to walk through twice in four hours.
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M and I have been hiking together for a long time now, since back in 2003 when she had never before slept in a tent.  In almost all things she is a bold and confident woman of a sort that even in the liberal arts college where we met was rare enough, to say nothing of society at large.  It’s what attracted me to her in the first place, and a big part of why being married has been so easy for so long.  In a few areas we do less well honoring each others expertise, and with me hearing alternate opinions about wilderness navigation is still today embarrassingly difficult.  I have a lot of work to do on that one, and the multiple “I told you so’s” M earned this weekend will hopefully help me be less stuck, next time.
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2016; 10 photos

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The first thing I can remember about 2016 was not sleeping, at least not for more than 90 minutes at a stretch, in early January during Little Bear’s rather spectacular six month sleep regression, which coincidentally or not happened on a trip to Iowa.  That has been the first story of the year, the extent to which our life is no longer in our hands.  LB is maleable, and generally fairly simple (if not easy) to manage, but some times his development runs counter to what we might like.  And if I’m not sleeping well optional things like playing outside get cut.

The second thing I remember about 2016 was our Alpacka Double Duck, the trips we took in it, and especially our first big backpack/packraft outing with Little Bear in April.  It was the most intimidating trip I’d done in a number of years, and ended up being the most rewarding ever.  After spending the winter largely just trying to get by, those four days were evidence that we could do the things we wanted again, at least most of the time.

The rest of the year was an ongoing struggle between those two things.  Our backpack in August, for instance, which was hard and humbling, but which we managed anyway.  Or packing and then moving down to Colorado, which with a lot of very strategic family assistance we accomplished at the last minute, but with less stress and drama than I had anticipated.  It’s a theme which should continue this year, stronger than ever.  I now have what will probably be the best job I’ll ever have, one which both allows and requires me to spend lots of time away.  We’re in a position where I can easily ask M to be the full time parent, but that comes with the mind-altering nature of spending many hours alone with a toddler.  A very active toddler.  It’s a somewhat damning form of higher enlightenment to get what you want and realize that you’ll only want to partake of it partially.

But still, I can’t wait.

Going Up

At some point in life we are told, or find out through mysterious processes, that hiking in hard and thus flatter and plainer trails where walking doesn’t require thought become preferred.  This transition must come around the time our brains become complex enough, and our well of memories deep enough, to make daydreaming an option for real entertainment.  What’s been made clear to me, over the past six years of watching elementary-aged kids, and now a toddler, learn to hike is that in the beginning flat trails are the enemy, that steep and rugged are synonymous with entertainment.

I had a most vivid lesson in this a few days ago, on a very short hike with Little Bear.  First first half wandered down a broad sandy trail across a wash, and the second half climbed a few hundred vertical in 1/3 of a mile up mixed slickrock ledges.  For months I’ve been taking LB on packless hikes, where the goal is for him to walk as far and long as he cares, and me with no mechanical assistant for carrying him in the name of efficiency or impatience.  Most of these were flat hikes in Glacier, and while LB would put in solid miles (or mile) every time, this was usually spent going back and forth between interesting signposts, leaves, and tree trunks.  Investigating things was the goal, with priority given to any water, anything red, or anything loud.  Walking was an incidental means to an end.

The slickrock hike was different.  He charges full tilt up the fall line, for the entire distance.  Through spotting, and hand holding to repeatedly get him back on line, I got tired before we reached the top, but reach it we did, with plenty of energy to run around the rock bowl at the summit.  I’ve never seen him so interested in getting one place for so long, and see no other explanation but that the process was more than interesting enough.  Seeing his problem solving procedures is fascinating.  His toddler’s big head, long torso, and high center of gravity make things like getting friction on rock more complicated than it would be for an adult, resulting in solutions like the sideways crabwalk shown above.  It’s another reason we’re glad to be in canyon country, land of funny walks.

Luck doesn’t exist

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M and I have lived in some damn nice places over the past 13 years, but in the six days since we and our massive accompaniment of boxes rolled into Colorado I’ve had many more than the usual number of pinch me, I can’t believe we’re here moments.  There was walking the border of Colorado National Monument, following rabbit tracks through fluffy, two-day old snow, before setting Little Bear down for a walk break and watching in bemusement as he discovered (got stuck in) melting clay soil.  There was the top of Joe’s Ridge, a day later and with the other painted view of the Grand Valley, contemplating lungs roasted by a chest cold and poor fitness, and the incalculable options for riding within view.  If only I’ll eventually learn enough to see them all.  And there was this afternoon, on a short stroll up slickrock ledges, with LB turned loose from the backpack and crawling, walking, and crabwalking sideways with abandon as he tested new limits for his evolving balance and of legs stronger seemingly by the hour.

It’s a satisfying feeling, knowing that we’ll all put many more miles into this corner of the planet, that Little Bear will really learn to hike and bike and paddle and ski here.  It’s the landscape I fell in adult love with, when I was just old enough to begin to understand how my own limits shaped what I saw through my eyes, and the place in which M and I began in earnest our journey as a couple.  The satisfaction is, in short, from looking back and seeing all the choices that have led us to be back where we wanted to be, and in circumstances that involve no real compromise at all.

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These things do not happen by chance.  For over a decade we’ve willfully and without complaint limited our effective incomes by only living in place which are, from an outdoor recreation and aesthetic perspective, truly desirable.  We’ve lived in smaller, sometimes outright dingy apartments and bought or built cheap furniture while spending serious money on bikes and packs and boats and guns, and most importantly, gas and food to go places to use them.  We’ve turned down invitations to parties and weddings and family events because we had planned ___, or because ____ would be in good condition.  All of which is to say that the richness of our memories, skills, and gear closets has been purchased by corresponding deficits elsewhere.  Nothing is free, and no one these days ends up living in an A list outdoor location because of luck.  They do so via deliberation, sacrifice, and most likely a background suffused with enough privilege to allow such frivolous choices in the first place.

In a few weeks this blog will be a decade old.  The first 3 or so years of posts are exceedingly uninteresting, even to me, save in moments of historical curiosity or indulgent introspection.  In 2010 I started to take writing, and the blog, more seriously.  I migrated it to wordpress for more creative control, and the result is what you’re looking at now; six years of staying the course, or doing mostly the same thing and letting content evolve in tune with my life.  I’ve thought about, and rejected, changes in content and approach which would make Bedrock & Paradox a source of direct income.  As I told Andrew this summer, I’ve never made a cent (in cash) here.  I’ve gotten some cool free stuff, met a bunch of great people, gone places I likely never would have otherwise been, and built a resume which led to several fantastic jobs, including the one I start next week.  Any one of those would have been sufficient return, spiritually or economically, on my investment of ~200 dollars in fees to WordPress and however many hours thinking and typing.  Let alone all of them.

None of that is ever likely to change.  I can’t see myself ever doing affiliate links, ads, sponsored content, or more consistent posting of more consistently amenable content to increase traffic.

Currently, in the post-LB world, I have in time and inspiration two co-equal limits on posting here.  And even amongst the chaos of the last two weeks, and the posting draught which has been the direct result, I do not think waking hours has been the more significant of the two.  When my days are as full as they’ve been this month, I don’t have enough downtime to think, and the direct result of that is not having things well-formed enough to be worth writing.  During even the most banal stretches of the past six years I’ve had lots to say here, provided the conditions existed so that I could get to where they were worth saying.  Doing redundant how-to essays, or discussions of products which are of only marginal interest, would worsen, not improve, the conditions for contemplation or creativity.  I’ve seen it elsewhere, quite directly, over the past six years: an outdoor blog comes into existence, becomes popular, becomes more professional, and becomes less interesting to read.  Thankfully I’m finally in a position where I can be my own patron; keep food in the fridge, keep new(ish) shoes in the mail, keep paying wordpress for space, as well as give myself conditions which should foster writing better than ever.  Given the current landscape, I see no reason to do otherwise, or why the next decade won’t be as rewarding as the last.

Thanks, everyone, for being here for it.

Next

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It’s 930 miles from Whitefish, Montana to Fruita, Colorado.  We left, as has become habit, around 800pm.  730 is close enough to Little Bear’s bedtime to ensure a tranquil transition to sleep, but M forgot her snowboots and he had to go back.  All night drives south may be a habit, but even with this being the fourth such in a year the departure seems un-natural.  I drove two hours to Missoula, where M took over and I slept until the lights of Dillon, and took over for her a little north of Lima.  I made it through the heart of the night and Idaho all the way to Tremonton before cratering spectacularly.  M resumed driving and I patted LB back to sleep, getting there first myself, and we both woke up in haze, the sun still hidden, conveniently next to the McDonalds in Lehi, Utah.  The playplace got LB back in a good mood, coffee did the same for me, and it took two breaks for walking and much backseat toy action before he succumbed to naptime not far from I-70.  Him staying asleep as we gassed up in Green River confirmed that fortune shone upon us, as by noon we were in our future home, walking in the park and having lunch.

Little Bear acquitted himself well over the next six days, house hunting, filing rental paperwork, meeting soon-to-be not-strangers at my new job, living in a hotel and then camping along the scenic trip home.  We’ve built a good life for him here in Montana, but every thing points to our promised new life in Colorado being more relaxed, more fulfilling, and happier.  Returning the a dark October of record rainfall only enhances the promise of desert sun.

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M and I met and fell in love in Iowa, but our early years in Utah and Arizona built the strength we’ve put to such good use over the last 15 months of parenting.  Returning to a land of harsh blue skies, pinons and junipers, soft canyons, and ugly badlands feels correct.  It’s the right place for us, and the right place for the rapidly growing kiddo.  Hopefully he’ll quickly learn about cactus, his initial (repeated) meeting with goatheads along the banks of the Green River doesn’t give too much cause for optimism.

Needless to say I never intended to become part of “the industry” but given that my parents met in an outdoor store, and how much time I’ve put into this hobby over the past half decade, this change in careers is pretty damn rewarding.  Nothing but two weeks, some delicate case transfers at my old job, and a whole lot of packing (and a sheep hunt) between us and saying a long-term, maybe permanent hello to the Corolla of western states.  It almost cannot happen soon enough.  We have big plans.

Don’t lie for happiness

Adventure Journal is a website that on most days I love to hate, for its click baitness and lifestyleish vacuity, but fairly often it publishes an essay of real profundity, which most of you simply must read.  This is one of those.

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Social media is dangerous.  Not so much because on the internet money and editing can buy representations of places which are so fake they build expectations which will likely never be met, but because too much time looking at the curated (i.e. fake) pictures other folks present of their lives can reset ones internal compass so thoroughly that a life of infinite resignation becomes almost inevitable.  So do not, like the courageous Ms. Purington, pretend that your life is something that it is not.  This tells you, almost without exception, that you want things to do other than what they are.  Do not waste time trying to embrace things that you do not actually like; one of the higher forms on enlightenment (and thus, happiness) is not being able to identify those pursuits which will give your life meaning, it is being able to cast off without regret those which will not.

For the last six months Saturdays have been mine and Little Bears alone, while M works.  I’ve learned the hard way that mountain biking on even remotely challenging trails is out, and I’ve mostly succeeded in giving up any regret and loving the fire road rides with plenty of walking breaks along the way (top photo).  The warm weather and low water of late summer has allowed a few one-parent packraft journeys, though keeping him from wandering off while I rig things is complicated (bottom photo) and prudence restricts us to very mellow water and short routes.

Even so, I catch myself not just only portraying and capturing (in pixels and in memories) the most palatable moments, but easily forgetting the moments of stress, lost sleep, and general existential despair which seems to go hand and hand with the first few years of parenting.  I get angry at myself for this, as it’s the first step down becoming part of a world whose portrayal of parenting is criminally rosy and optimistic.

At the same time, there is little point in excessive self-abnegation, or indeed navel gazing of any kind, positive or negative.  Which is why I’m inclined to let videos like the above stand, largely hate-free.  On the one hand it’s a cheap, short, reductive portrayal of what was surely a profound backpacking trip.  (They seem to have gone through a week or two after Skurka and I, and in the opposite direction.)  On the other it captures the profundity of that remarkable traverse very well, and the presentation is as direct and precious as it is inherently incomplete.

So be careful out there, the world of representation is a hazardous one.

Infant outdoor clothing

LB shown below in Patagonia Baggies jacket and pants, and Patagonia Micro D crew.dsc00854

If you’re going to do a bunch of outdoor stuff with your infant or toddler, it’s worth getting them some primo or near-premium outdoor clothing.  Given how fast they grow it can seem absurd to spend serious money on something which is grown out of in months, but a few key pieces make the backcountry a lot easier for the parents, and safer and more comfortable for the kid.  Not too many companies make such clothing, with Patagonia having by far the largest selection.  Therefore, Little Bear has been Patagucci’d since an early age.  We live in a posh mountain town with several used gear stores, but baby clothing doesn’t pop up too often.  I think most people horde it, either out of nostalgia or for the inevitable next kid.

There seems to be nearly as much variability with kids as with adults, but since he was 4 months I’ve been impressed with how easily Little Bear keeps himself warm.  Bundling him up in massive layers has rarely been necessary.  That said most of the time he’s along for the ride in either the backpack or the trailer, and needs more insulation than the more active adult, though riding in the pack does take some effort and generate some body heat.

Fleece and quick dry base layers have been his foundation, and well worth the investment.  Babies drool a lot, snot a lot, spill food all over, and occasionally overwhelm their diapers.  Poly garments dry fast, which makes drool less chilling and backcountry laundry more expedient.  LB always has a complete change of primary and secondary layers along on multi-day trips.

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Capilene has served LB well.  The daily capilene long and short sleeve shirts (equivalent to Capilene 1 or silkweight Capilene) are nice for sun protection in hot weather, while the Capilene onesie and pants set (equivalent to Capilene 3) is warm and versatile.  None of the stuff in Patagonia’s winter 16/17 line up is what we’ve used; it’s all listed as 88/12 poly/spandex which is too much lycra for good dry times.  They do sell the Capilene pants separately now, which is good.  These pants are bug proof, but the pajama style stays put better than normal pants on the non-waist of infants.

Microfleece has been LB’s bread and butter, and the Micro D crew (still sold) is a must-have item.  We’ve had three different ones as he’s grown, and all have been used heavily.  Full zip, hooded fleece jackets are also good, in a variety of weights and ideally sized big enough to fit over the Micro D.  Hoods defeat, most of the time, LB’s hatred and intolerance of all hats.  The North Face makes a good one we’ve used a bunch, as does Patagonia, though we found a perfectly serviceable microfleece hoody in 12-18 month at Old Navy.  Fleece pants are, naturally, a good idea as well.

TNF Glacier fleece hoody, and Patagonia Capilene pants and onesie.R0013370

The most crucial piece of infant clothing has been Patagonia’s Baggies jacket and pants.  Made of supplex nylon, they’re tough windbreaker-type garments, and in addition to repelling wind and light rain, are mosquito proof.  The pants especially were the only ones of their type we could find, and even then they had sold so fast we got stuck with what turned out to be very charming pink/salmon numbers.  The double knees provide a little padding while crawling, and the hood helps keep sun off. We haven’t invested in proper rain gear just yet, because with a rain cover on either the backpack or chariot it just didn’t seem necessary, and Baggies works enough during fair weather packrafting.  I would not have wanted to have gone through this past summer, especially a few buggy trips in August, without these.

The last piece of the tech clothing puzzle is insulation.  We splurged early and bought LB a Hi-Loft down coat from Patagonia, and auntie Kate got him another for his birthday.  At retail this is a silly expensive and not very utilitarian item, but the style and packed size is very nice.  Infants are a lot harder to hold in a slippery down coat, and the added warmth only seems to rarely be necessary.  When they’re little a far more practical item is the Patagonia fleece bunting with dual access zips, and leg zips which combine both legs into one (sleeping bag or seal mode).  Sadly these amazing items seem to have been discontinued; we bought aggressively from the use market this spring.  Buntings are less pragmatic for older kids, as the integrated booties don’t walk well, and from 9 months on LB found them too confining.

Capilene pants, Micro D crew, Baggies jacket, fleece bomber hat, Smartwool socks, leather shoes.img_0878

The last mandatory item is socks, specifically wool socks from Smartwool. You cannot have too many of these, as they are both dead useful and tiny (and forever getting lost).  They stay put better than any proper shoes we’ve found, are warm when wet, and make fantastic gloves.  I’ve taken to stuffing a spare pair in each of the two hand pockets of his down jacket, better to keep track of them on dayhikes and backpacks.

Last, and certainly not least, it should be noted that we only purchased a modest amount of all this stuff.  Most of it has been provided to LB by grandparents, aunts, and friends, who have done a fantastic job of making sure he is well outfitted.  If you have an outdoors-inclined family member or friend who has an infant or is expecting one soon, get them some infant outdoor essentials.  They’re the sort of thing which gets used constantly and is the best way to hope to the top of the list of best relative/friend/etc.

Thule Chariot review

As I’ve stated before, Eric said it best:

A multi-sport kid carrier is the quintessential must-have for active young families…They are expensive with all the add-ons but they become a way of life and open up a multitude of early life adventures that would be difficult otherwise.

We purchased/were gifted (at an industry discount) the two kid Cheetah, which is the unsuspended (lighter) model, with all the attachments (bike, ski, stroller, and single front wheel).  We’ve used them all, though some modes have been handier and are better thought out than others.  Overall it is useful to think of a Chariot system as your new kids very first bike; the cost, as well as the utility of the system, is comparable to a decent teen/adult bike.

Ski mode has been my favorite over the past year, mostly due to circumstance.  Little Bear was 4.5 months when the snow started accumulating, a little too young for the backpack, but just right for the Chariot.  It’s easy to dress infants warm enough for the car ride, then tuck them into the trailer and add blankets around them as needed.  The rigid poles which connect the trailer to the waistbelt work well, I rolled the trailer on to it’s side once while skiing, but that was on a trail which was seriously too skinny.  With burlier nordic boots and skis with a bit of shape (and the skill to drive them) you can absolutely haul on descents with total control.  As seen above the kid harness system is very secure, and the Chariot roll bars protect against the inevitable lack of parental discretion.

The Thule belt is one-size “fits” all, and clearly gauged towards fit, small framed women.  The padding wraps around just enough if I use it as a waist, rather than hip, belt but any smaller and I would have looked at building a replacement.  To my surprise, the water bottle holder centered in the back works well for a bike type bottle.  The pins which hold the pole sections together don’t stay put too well, especially in cold weather.  After one adventure where we made it back to the car with one pole held together with cordage I replaced these with bolts.  The water and air proof plastic flap which seals the compartment cover is held at the bottom end by a 3/4″ strip of velcro, which is not enough in strong winds.  Adding some buckles to the corners is a must-do project, soon, before weather starts up.

I ended this winter in the best shape I’ve had outside full summer, and that was 100% due to hauling 30 pounds of extra weight while nordic skiing 10 hours a week.  The Chariot in ski mode does have limits, mainly on narrower stuff and in deep snow where the skinny skis just bog down, but on fire roads and wider trails the sky is the limit.

Bike mode is probably better engineered than ski mode, and while we use it more I like it less, mainly because the width and not wanting to rattle the snot out of LB restrict it to pavement and mellower dirt, which has never been my thing especially with traffic.  As an around town deal bike mode is awesome, and the two kid trailer creates room for groceries and cargo (though the kid can paw through it all in transit).  Overall bike mode leaves little to be desired, other than the likely impossible rig that would somehow be kid safe and stable on singletrack.

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There are actually two stroller modes for the Chariot; tank mode with the huge front wheel (shown above) and town mode with two smaller, pivoting wheels which snap into each front corner.  I don’t have photos of the former, but its a great way to get two kiddos around, with the Chariot being just big enough to fit through doors and down store hallways.  Once kids get to be 9 months or so they’re elbow to elbow and extended outings in this configuration is basically begging for hair pulling and slap fights.  Tank mode I used to great effect hunting with LB last fall, but not since, as he can now be in the backpack.  Both stroller modes are good options for infants, but probably not super useable for toddlers.

Overall the Chariot is well made, very well thought out, and has been essential for our life with LB.  There are a few things which function in a less than ideal manner, especially in more severe weather, but overall it’s a great investment.  Pretty much everyone will want the bike rig, and probably the stroller wheels for town mode.  Ski mode is great if you have regular access to abundant snow and enjoy nordic skiing or snowbiking.  Just like a nice bike, Chariots have good resale value, so if you see a good used deal, don’t delay.