A summer in the Scamp, without a plan

What can one say about a summer spent in a Scamp? A summer lived without a plan?

Was it a worthwhile summer? Was time spent outside? With friends and family? Adventures had?

Without a plan it could go either way. Nothing might happen, a summer wasted.

climbing steep trail with my dad in SLC

Even with a plan, that might happen too.

I’m not convinced that planning makes much a difference. As I look over a summer of photos I can’t resist making a frequent Scamp-life jest, “we never do anything fun.” The photos prove it. We didn’t go anywhere, see anything, spend any time adventuring with friends.

The summer was wasted, clearly.

I’m struck by how much we were able to pack in, without destroying ourselves, and by simply making ‘greedy’ decisions at every turn. In computer dork-o-nerd terms, a greedy algorithm makes the best decision available at the time — without solving sub-problems or looking very far into the future. One benefit of greedy algorithms is they are usually the quickest to code, meaning less (human) time wasted thinking about it, especially when good enough is good enough.

Often good enough is very good, and things just come together.

Variables that come into play when making Scamp decisions: weather, whereabouts of friends, availability of new terrain, cell coverage / work schedule, and up-to-the minute personal evaluations such as, “how sick of people are we?”

We are lucky to be both be pretty tolerant to ‘crowds’, and people are a fact of life when you hang out in desirable places. Though the Scamp brings us closer to those places, it also takes us away, since even the busiest national park has nearby public lands where no tour bus dares to venture. And even jammed viewpoints have nothing on freeways and urban centers as far as ‘crowding.’

But, we do reach tolerance points, depending on how it’s going.

sparkles! hurry up, she says

How it’s going is difficult to predict (in life, generally), so being able to adjust short term plans sure has its benefits.

I’m not pretending this always works out. Like when we head to the highest snow-free woods we can think of, the Kaibab Plateau, and discover that while it’s cool in the shade, our laptops are getting awfully thirsty, and our trailer battery is looking drier than the ‘lake’ of Jacob Lake (pretty damn dry, if you haven’t seen it). Oh, and Tour Divide starts tomorrow. Turns out roof-top solar power doesn’t work well in tall ponderosa pines. Didn’t plan for that.

Adapt, a night charging batteries and trying not to feel inadequate, dwarfed by giants.

One downside to living in a trailer is it can be a bit of a deterrent to multi-day trips. Houses can be difficult to leave too, but at least someone can’t drive off with your home, and a house is generally sitting in a place with other people around. Finding a ‘safe’ place to leave the trailer takes some effort.

So we’ve transitioned towards shorter but more frequent adventures. There has to be a good reason to ride more than 4-5 hours. I’d rather do three days of three hour rides than one nine hour adventure followed by two resting. I guess that’s a side effect of living in a small trailer. You really, really, can’t sit in it all day long. It’s cramped, sure, but you’re (usually) surrounded by beauty, the outside is so close. It pushes you to spend more time outside, and that’s a good thing.

I was happy to see a number of bikepacks in the summer, always with friends.

They were the closest to actual planning all summer.

And they were brilliant trips.

There is something to actual camping, and I do not considering Scamping to be camping. It’s a close relative, but isn’t the same as reaching places you can’t drive, relying only on what you can carry with your own power.

Not having actual plans lets you take advantage of crazy opportunities that may arise, like the time I accidentally got Eszter signed up to a 50 mile ultra race in Ouray, that Trackleaders was tracking.

And we spent some days exploring the place, even riding bikes at times.

The good Mr. Schillingsworth!

Then impromptu meetings with friends.

Who knows what would have happened had we ‘had other plans’? Surely we would have missed this rainbow, predicted by rainbow seer Rachel.

Craig Stappler, crushing it in the alpine

I am pretty sure something awesome would have happened, if not for this awesomeness. But I am grateful for all the particular awesomeness that does happen in my life, nonetheless.

A summer without a plan. Not bad for a couple of dirtbags living in a cheap little trailer, making it up as they go.

from the semi-rideable 14ers tour, wrapping up the summer

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