3 .. 2 .. 1 .. .. Liftoff!

Well, hello there. If you've landed on this page, chances are you're a family member or friend of one of the 3 folks behind this little project.  This day has been a long time coming. We secured our domain name forever ago, & have been slowly chipping away at this site &, more importantly, refining our actual products ever since.  So it's with much excitement that we flipped the switch & are officially an online entity!   I imagine we'll be passing the mic back 'n forth between us when it comes to posting to this blog, as that's how we've handled the Social responsibilities thus far (Instagram, mainly), & because we have 3 different & hopefully interesting perspectives to share. In any case, this is Todd, & on behalf of Hil & Chris, I thank you for cheering us on as we merge Pack Northwest onto the Information Superhighway. We'll be hanging in the slow lane for the foreseeable future, as we're each managing full-time jobs "on the side", but we intend to keep our eyes on the horizon & our foot on the accelerator to see where this road can take us.

Speaking of roadtrips, I recently did a giant one wherein i spent at least a little time in EVERY Western state in the Lower 48, even if briefly passing through (ID, AZ, NM).  It was part work & it was part vacation. I brought with me my dog Henry, my camping gear, my mountain bike, my road bike, my climbing gear, my surfing gear, a bunch of beer, 3 cameras & a dozen rolls of film (yes, people still use that stuff).  I made it a point to visit lots of old friends along the way, to ride bikes as much as possible, to camp as much as possible, and to document the whole thing in photos. On top of being a great way to use our products & show them off to lots of people along the way, it provided plenty of opportunities to make my friends pose awkwardly for product shots to be used on the site.  And beyond that, the trip as a whole sort of embodies the spirit of Pack Northwest lifestyle, what we're all about, what motivates us, what we live for. Below are some of my favorite moments from the first half of my trip. 

I always try to take the backroads when i can. The less time spent on an Interstate or freeway, the better. That way when you or the dog requires a P-break, it's as easy as pulling off the road. This is Hwy 287 near Ennis, MT, en route to Jackson, Wyo. This route takes you through the Madison River Valley & into West Yellowstone .. world-renown trout streams & giant lifted pickup trucks everywhere.  

Made it to my good friend's house in JH in one big push from Seattle. Stayed awake long enough to catch up over one beer, & in the morning I made him pose with the Hobo Tote in the Park.

After an all too brief (approx 12-hr) visit in JH, the next stop would be Steamboat, CO,  to meet up with a couple old pals for a weekend of camping & mountain biking. In spite of all the radio warnings of severe thunderstorms & heavy rains in the area, i was welcomed to the colorful state with nothing but fair skies & smooth sailin'

In the morning we headed up Rabbit Ears & rode many miles of scenic, buttery singletrack on the Wyoming Trail.. I'd been in CO for all of 12 hrs so this 30-mi trail ride at 10K feet was hell of a way to get acclimated. 

Lots of amazing scenery on the Wyoming Trail including rolling alpine meadows, lakes, & several overlooks with sweeping panoramas of the Yampa Valley. Here, my amigos are content to wait for me as I drag myself up & up into the increasingly thin air. I could've sat on that outcropping for the rest of the weekend .. & nearly did.

I left Steamboat on Sunday evening & headed down to the Front Range for a week of work. I'll spare you photos of that!. End of the week, I rallied  out to Crested Butte, racing to beat nightfall because i was following sketchy directions to a very specific camp spot way out the Schofield Pass FS road. The directions said the camp may or may not be occupied already, & had even sketchier directions to backup options. The responsibility was mine to establish a rad camp spot for the rest of the crew who'd be showing up late night & staying through Monday.  Predictably, I rolled into town late (I stop to take a lot of pics),  & so was headed out of CB up toward the old silver boom town (now quasi ghost town) of Gothic at well after dark. To everyone's surprise, I homed in on the exact right cluster of old-growth evergreens on the exact right bend in the road, & found not a sole around. Success.. In the morning I'd get  to discover for myself CB's classic trail riding that I've heard about for so long.  Look carefully at the pic above & you'll see  the crew climbing past Emerald Lake, up to Schofield Pass between CB & Marble, CO. At the top of the pass is the trailhead for the uber classic 401 Trail. So nice we did it twice. 

401 Trail. Everything's glorious, all of it. 

Our lovely base of operations, upstream of Gothic, CO

Doc's Park Trail had one of the longest & most fun descents I've ridden anywhere. Throughout the duration of my trip the Aspens inched ever closer to the full-on autumn gold splendor that they're known for. Toward the end of my journey I was able to catch just one day where giant stands of aspens were fully in their prime. 

High on Doc's Park, rolling through beautiful meadows with Henry Dog in tow. We tired him out pretty good on this day.

We wrapped up in Crested Butte after a long weekend of great times around the camp & many, many miles of amazing singletrack.  Might have to make CB an annual destination.  The crew went separate ways but my trip was far from over. I'll post pics from the second half of the trip in a couple days.