Oh boy, we’ve officially hit my very last week in the van! Since it was my only week completely alone [no co-pilots!] the agenda ebbed and flowed A LOT throughout the week. The #yourlead van became the enabler of the Heidi Show…filled with not so many driving miles but lots + lots + lots of trail time!
Dates: August 15-23
Miles Driven: 622 [20,861 – 21, 483]
States Explored: 3 [OR, WA, ID]
Wildfires Experienced: 1 [very smokey hikes in WA]
Nights of Van Life’ing: 9 [except one night was legit sleepless because of ultra race volunteering!]
Showers Taken: 3 [holla, RV parks!]
People are Awesome: trail people just rock, period — from the volunteers + runners at trail races to backpackers roaming the wilderness…people on the trail make my world go round!
The week started out with three days of volunteering at the Bigfoot 200 mile trail race…wow. The people out on that course are insane. First for signing up for such a crazy race + second for actually making it look somewhat enjoyable while putting their all into covering 205 mile on foot, through some serious mountains. The #yourlead van got parked at the White Pass High School in Randle, WA while I worked an aid station way out in the wilderness then “swept” an 18 mile stretch of the course, picking up course markings + making sure all the runners made it to the next aid station.
After a few days of catering to stinky, sweaty runners it was time to return to reality + point Betsy, the #yourlead van, east. We had a few more Sportsman’s Warehouse stores to visit before my time was up. We stopped by Kennewick, WA then headed right on over to Lewiston, ID. Not to discredit the value of southeastern Washington but…hello wheat fields! Seriously, I spent two days driving through endless wheat fields where “towns” were essentially grain mills. I grew up a farm girl…but this little soiree with the wheat fields had me missing the mountains!
Fortunately, the Central Cascades were just waiting to get me a solid mountain fix. To finish up my time with the #yourlead van I decided to stay put for a few days. I randomly chose Leavenworth, WA because I’ve heard so many people rave about the mountains nearby. The town is a little German-eske town built up by tourism. Not exactly my jam on most days but it did have a handful of coffee shops that gave me the WiFi I needed to keep myself above water with my remote customer service gig. Plus, the mountains…!
The van + I hung out in Leavenworth for almost a full 5 days, the longest we’ve stayed in one place [with the exception of the OR Show, I think that was a 5 day tie]. We’ve hit up new trailheads every day + explored approximately 40 miles of dirty, rocky trails. On the weekend we headed deeper into the mountains to avoid the crowds then hit up the more popular trailheads during the week…a solid plan.
My days were oddly “normal” by any employed individuals standards — Betsy would hang out at the free parking lot in Leavenworth while I’d put a solid 7-9 hours of remote in at a local coffee shop. As soon as my shift was up I’d pick up Betsy + we’d head for the hills. I had some high hopes for my trail miles this past weekend + while I did fall a little short on the numbers I squeezed every single ounce of trail therapy out of Washington’s trails. Betsy was usually tucked into a trailhead parking lot by 6pm + I was scrambling up a trail, returning well after dark.
It turns out my time actually living in the van is slightly less glamorous when I’m flying solo — I put the bunk beds back into the wall + use up all the floor space with a cushy sleeping pad + camp chair. It’s like a living room…with a kitchenette + wheels! But don’t let the lax setup get you thinking I didn’t chef my way into a food coma every night! Even when it’s just me…I still cook! I think that’s my favorite part of the van, the awesome kitchen set up! Every night the Camp Chef stove or cooker get put to use + fresh veggies grace my plate. I am going to miss the kitchen!
Trail Tip: If you are even in Washington hit up the Washington Trail Association website – wta.org. They have a crazy awesome collection of trails + they let recent hikers/backpackers/runners leave trip reports so you get a pretty good idea of what you’re getting into. The trailhead signs don’t give you much information about the trail you’re hitting so it’s extremely helpful to check out the website first.
Also, I would like to apologize for everyone I was overly excited to chat with on the trails the last few days…I think I was getting lonely + seriously craving face-to-face human interaction! Hopefully you saw past my crazy + at least got a smile out of our random conversations. Thank you for being another kind, kindred soul on the trails…! <3
And here we are…literally typing this up on a Travel Tuesday + mentally packing up the van because my time road tripping with Betsy will officially be over by 11am tomorrow morning. I’ll be handing the keys over to Michael + he’ll be checking out the west coast for the next week or so. I won’t lie, I’ll miss my time in the van but it really is time to move onto something new…like a 4-wheeled home of my own. We’ll see…
You can check out my own stories + adventures on Instagram — @heidikumm — or on my personal blog — heidikumm.com. The next few days/weeks/months of my life are seriously in limbo but I can promise mountain trails + random adventures with a few trail races thrown in for good measure!