Definition of Breathtaking: Grand Teton

We love mountains – and nothing satisfies like the jutting, raw, sudden majesty of the Grand Tetons. Like Glacier, all campsites for us are first-come, first-served and we once again arrived early (before 8am) in the morning to snag a 4 night spot at Colter Bay. We loved our private, treed spot, with just the right space for our hammock, too.

Colter Bay is a huge campground with a village as well, including a laundromat (with WiFi), a store, a restaurant and a swimming beach on Jackson lake. Even with these amenities though, our site felt private and woodsy – not crowded or urban. We’re to hike, right?!

One great hike is Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls – one of the most popular hikes in the park. Starting at Jenny Lake, we took a boat shuttle across the lake to begin the steep, scenic trail.

The boat shuttle across Jenny Lake to the trailhead. Start early to avoid crowds.

The trail offers great views of the lake, Jackson Hole, and the Gros Ventre range. A side trail to Hidden Falls and a connection to the Jenny Lake loop trail provide plenty of options for beauty and customizing the length of your hike.

A kayaker on Jenny Lake along the Loop trail

Next up : a catered picnic in the wild

Packing for full-time Nest living

The Adventure Nest is both an attitude and a physical place. Instead of having an “empty nest”, we are a couple living the adventure nest life – exploring and meeting wonderful people and places along the way.

Our life in the back of a Mazda CX-9, includes tennis rackets and a wine carrier. What are the weird things on your must-have list?

Living in our roofnest tent, rather than weekend camping, requires a lot of thought about what to pack in our itty bitty space. The obvious camping supplies of course, but if this setting is months long, I didn’t want to be constantly digging to find what I wanted, nor did I want to do without luxury – at least some luxury. For Mike the drive experience of the Mazda was essential, and so is a wine carrier and tennis rackets.

For me, the organization of the packing, comfort of my camp chair, and fun items in my kitchen box make me feel more like I’m living my life, and not on an extended camp out. So the matching plates and stemless wine glasses with pink flamingoes go a long way to make my day! Our good friends surprised us with a terrific camp kitchen tub holding these items and many others, so while I ogled the pricey slide-out chuck boxes online, we get love from our friends every time we reach into our kitchen tub!

Feeling right at home.

My best move is using a large trunk organizer instead of a suitcase or large backpack or duffle. The trunk organizer paired with packing cubes gives me quick access to clothes and toiletries I need without the digging.

And you know how you wish someone would just tell you the BEST cooler and camp chair so you don’t have to do the research? Well it’s your lucky day because Mike is a researcher, remember?

Best large cooler = igloo max with ice for FIVE days!

Best camp chair for the money is the super comfy sportsman warehouse “sportsman high back chair” at $60.00.

The perfect dessert

Lastly, we didn’t forget our roasting sticks – for the best dessert of our nest life.

Can’t get enough of Glacier NP

The Adventure Nest is both an attitude and a physical place. Instead of having an “empty nest”, we are a couple living the adventure nest life – exploring and meeting wonderful people and places along the way.

We didn’t see a moose this trip, but we did see beautiful deer and a mama grizzly with cubs.

Several hikes in Glacier cover territory burned in an earlier forest fire, that is now recovering. Don’t shy away from a burn site hike, though, as the landscape has its own interesting beauty. The wildflowers blooming among the dead trees can’t help turning your mind to the future.

Literally hundreds of miles of hiking trails are available in Glacier and the beauty of them all makes it hard to choose your daily adventure. Review the ranger notes each morning, as some trails will be noted with significant bear activity, while there may be others closed due to smoke or even overuse. At Glacier, the park takes its bear protection seriously. Bear spray is an important hiking accessory, especially in a group of four or fewer, or while backpacking.

Rangers also patrol the campgrounds to enforce the bear-safe rules of zero tolerance for items being left unattended in a campsite: food, water, containers for food and water, cooking equipment, coolers, or scented products. Even your water bottle needs to be attended, in your car, or in the bear safe.

Next stop – Grand Teton – one of my favorite places on earth.

Glacier National Park

The Adventure Nest is both an attitude and a physical place. Instead of having an “empty nest”, we are a couple living the adventure nest life – exploring and meeting wonderful people and places along the way.

Arriving at Glacier National Park as the sun goes down.

Our first big stop, as we settled into our roofnest home, was Glacier NP for four days of beautiful views and hiking. Here we found out that the nest is dry even in a pretty good rain, and there are too many wonderful hikes to name.

Secrets of seeing Glacier

Snagging a campsite at Glacier requires a bit of planning, since all of the sites are first come / first served. We arrived by 9:30am and our first two choices of campgrounds were full. We stayed at Avalanche campground, farther afield from the entry crowds, but with hiking trails right from the campground and a park shuttle stop. Using the park shuttle is a great way to save time and frustration, as well as helping to decrease the traffic congestion. Catching the shuttle early in the morning means a short wait, but don’t rely on the last shuttle of the day, as those are the most crowded and you could be without a seat.

Avalanche Lake

Two great hikes under 6 miles you shouldn’t miss are Avalanche Lake, and St Mary’s Falls. Avalanche lake trail has cooling shade, which you need as there is also significant elevation gain. St Mary’s trail connects with Baring Falls and Virginia Falls to make a longer, gorgeous, but shade-free hike.

Beautiful falls along the St Mary’s trail, with many falls to see.

Don’t forget your backpack of what if’s! What if we can swim? What if it rains? What if we get stuck and need food ? What if …..

What are the what if’s in your backpack?

Walla Walla – Wine + Food = Great Flavor

The Adventure Nest is both an attitude and a physical place. Instead of having an “empty nest”, we are a couple living the adventure nest life – exploring and meeting wonderful people and places along the way.

Saviah winery – such great people and wine that we joined their club!

Walla Walla, Washington, four hours past wheat fields from Portland, Oregon – is our first stop on this road trip life. The home of over a hundred wineries now, the area has changed from farm in the middle of nowhere, to winery tourist destination with wonderful restaurants to enjoy as well.

Our two favorite wineries in town are Saviah and Rotie. Both offer tastings with terrific staff to help you appreciate each wine and find your favorites. Our Saviah fave is The Stones Speak – a Syrah from the rocks district. If you try it, let us know what you think!

A great tasting at Saviah – thanks Tony!

Rotie cellars’ tasting room is downtown in Walla Walla (it’s tiny and cute downtown) and works best if you call ahead. They also have a tasting room in Seattle, if you’re a big city lover. They create Rhône varieties and blends and I’ve never had one that’s not delicious.

Our campsite meal with Rotie Northern Blend

Our go-to camp meal: pasta with sautéed sausage, squash, tomatoes and red onion in pesto sauce. Made even more delish with great wine! What’s your signature camp meal?

The Adventure Nest alive

The Adventure Nest is both an attitude and a physical place. Instead of having an “empty nest”, we are a couple living the adventure nest life – exploring and meeting wonderful people and places along the way.

Have you ever wanted to go exploring?

Most of us have fantasized about selling our years of accumulated stuff and taking off – no bills, no schedule, just the freedom of seeing new places and making discoveries together.  

We had this fantasy, too – so we are living it! We are traveling the US in our only home – our adventure nest – and we call it the luscious feeling of owning little and exploring much. We invite you along!

The roof  top tent that started it all 

Our adventure nest is also a comfy roof top tent we call home. Deciding to live full time on the road was exciting, but the two of us had very different ideas of what “home” would look like. There’s a shocker! While I fantasized about gorgeous diy camper vans with wooden floors and hand made tiles, Mike’s bottom line was a car that ‘s fun to drive – which meant not pulling a trailer or driving a van. Damn.

Enter the roof top tent. It stays on top of your car, and therefore almost any medium size car will do the job. Mike settled on a Mazda CX-9 for the “zoom” factor and Rene settled on the Roof Nest brand of roof top tent.

Why Roof Nest

Roof Nest is the brand of our roof top tent home.

There are lots of roof top tents and they’re getting more popular all the time, especially in the northwest. Some are canvas and quite like a ground tent, but are based on the car top. Others are hardshell and have less space, but are set up and taken down in a snap. These things are expensive though, if you’re comparing to your REI family camping tent. This is either the most expensive tent ever, or the cheapest camper ever – whichever thinking makes you happy!

The Roof Nest brand is almost exactly like a couple of other brands (ahem, Tepui) but a bit less expensive, plus we got a bargain on last year’s model. Here are the pros and cons we thought we knew before we actually lived in the tent:

PRO:

Ease of set-up and take-down / ease of mounting on “almost any car” with a standard roof rack / dry sleeping in the rain / no worries about taking down when wet outdoors / little impact on driving fun

CON:

Small interior might feel squished / going up and down a ladder at night is inconvenient / not able to stand up or change clothes in the tent / no storage

As it turned out, the mounting and the ads of “will fit on any car” are a bit over simplified and this was definitely NOT a pro, while all the other positives we expected, have turned out to be true.  

On the con side, the tent isn’t small at all. It feels surprisingly huge inside and is very roomy for sleeping, as well as having quite a bit of storage. We have four hanging pockets for items as well as a cargo net that came with the tent – so not as many cons as we imagined.

BUT – The ladder! THAT will be a deal breaker for many. We placed extra strips of rubber on each rung to create grip and soften the climb, but if you need to exit the tent at night or bare foot, it is definitely the biggest negative.

Our best addition? Twinkle lights around the ceiling inside. Gotta have the twinkle!