Mud season is well understood by locals but often misinterpreted by non-locals. It is the time of year when there is just enough snow to keep us off the mountain bike trails, but not enough snow to go skiing. Due to this changing of the seasons, tourism is at an all time low, and many businesses even shut down to save costs.
This is when the ski bum migration takes place. A twice-annual trip (usually spring and/or fall) to far flung places, spectacular Moab or even a trip back east; to escape the drab, muddy conditions of Park City.
This year Shaun Raskin and I, decided to take a road trip to the California coast to soak up some sunshine, catch some waves and mostly get a change of scenery from Park City. As with most road trips we take we have too much gear (read: crap) that we want to take with us and not enough room. This is where being organized and having a system down makes all the difference in the world. For example, I traveled light and packed an Osprey Comet Backpack with all my clothes for the trip. Because it’s soft I can stuff it between a seat or make it fit into another small space all while being able to access the gear I need. Then, when you pull up to a campsite that has a small hike, you can throw it on your back while still being able to use both your hands to carry other gear.
To keep costs low, we car camped our way thru Big Sur all the way down to Los Angeles. We stopped at the famed Hearst Castle and were absolutely blown away by the grandeur that we witnessed. As we surfed our way down the coast we also explored many a small town along the way and sampled the local culinary tastes.
One of the biggest things we have learned over the years is that even with car camping, less is more. Making sure you have enough warmth and protection from the elements, yet at the same time knowing your clothes are stylie enough for a night on the town. It sounds simple but boiling down your wardrobe to the essential pieces means less packing and unpacking at each campsite and more time playing. One of my all time favorite pieces is the Patagonia Down Sweater, warm when you get out of the water and as an extra layer under a rain coat, but still sharp when you are out walking the boardwalk.
As I mentioned organization is key because you are forever unpacking, and trying to find things in a disorganized car takes away from playtime. One trick we use is a dry storage box which has all our non-perishable food as well as plates, cutlery, cutting board, knives and cups. Then we also have a small cooler topped up with ice to keep things cold. That way when you pull over on that scenic pullout you can grab two containers and make your lunch in no time flat and pack it back up.
While the sunshine was plentiful and the waves fun, we are always both so excited to get back to beautiful Park City. Its funny how a few weeks away can continually give you such newfound love for little old Park City, UT.
By Weston Deutschlander White Pine Touring Guide & Jans Athlete Team Member