“Oh my gosh! You live in a camper year-round? And just travel from one place to the next? That is literally my dream!” says everyone I’ve ever told about us living in a camper. And let me tell you what, it is a dream come true; from seeing new places, to having all of our belongings travel with us no matter what, to meeting amazing people. My life is what some people only dream about and I am truly blessed.
We (Dalton, our two dogs, and myself) started on this journey a year ago, leaving behind family, friends, and Montana. We started in Wyoming, then moved to Utah, Reno, Nevada followed and now we are currently living in Idaho. I am lucky enough to not work, which means that I explore the towns and nearby hiking areas. We spend anywhere from three months to nine months in a town, which really gives me a chance to immerse myself in the community. I get to know people, find all the best restaurants, and enjoy the town on a personal level.
Living in a camper full time is not a lifestyle for everyone, but for anyone questioning if they should or not, I say YES! It makes you realize how little you can live off of; we don’t have more than what we need. What I mean by that is, there is only so much storage in a camper. For instance, we keep a full set of pots and pans, but only two baking sheets. We have four plates, and four glasses, and since I LOVE coffee so much, we have about ten coffee cups. Anyways, we have really learned how to simplify our lives. This experience has taught us to value what we have and to buy only what we really need.
Being confined to a small area with two dogs and another person might seem crowded and at times it gets that way! But for the most part, it has brought Dalton and I closer as a couple. We can’t go close ourselves in a different room, or sit by ourselves and watch television. We are always together in the camper and that makes our relationship so much stronger! We are away from family and friends, so we have to rely on each other and be each other’s best friends. We cook together, watch television, clean, and enjoy sitting outside with our dogs. We always joke that when we do finally settle in a house, way in the future, we aren’t going to know what to fill it with! The idea of living in something bigger is just unfathomable to us right now! How could we possibly need anything more than what we have right now?
Traveling around is such an amazing thing to experience, to anyone traveling in a camper, make sure you get out and see as much as possible! Don’t be afraid to try new things, find out what is special about the town, and do it! I have learned many tips and tricks since living in a camper, some I learned the easy way, but most the hard way! Not that that is a bad thing. At least I know now and can share my knowledge with others!
Learn how to take quick showers. Otherwise you will end up freezing cold after every shower! (Unless of course the R.V. Park has showers on their property, then use those!)
Buy a 75-100 gallon propane tank, a lot of places will sell propane in bulk so you will save some money! And in the winter you won’t be worried about changing out propane bottles all the time.
Check your propane bottles in the winter! Your camper will get really cold when you run out of propane in the middle of the night.
Always keep a small space heater in the storage area.
In the summer, leave all your tanks open EXCEPT the sewer. Always keep that closed until you have to empty it.
In the winter, keep all your tanks closed until they need drained, otherwise you end up with frozen pipes!
Keep the storage underneath organized, it will make your life easier!
Get your camper skirted, you will freeze up a lot less if you do.
Keep your camper clean, it takes 15 min every day to clean the WHOLE thing! A small mess in a normal sized house might seem like nothing, but in a camper it is noticeable.
Enjoy living a simple life, take advantage of the traveling and enjoy your small space.
Living in a camper can be hard at times, but 99% of the time it is truly wonderful. We take advantage of the simple way of life, and it has changed both Dalton and myself for the better. It has helped us save money, give up unnecessary items, and enjoy life more. The camper is OURS, we don’t rent so the space is ours to do with as we please! Our journey is just beginning and we plan on camper living for the next ten years or more. We can’t wait to see more places and continue learning all the quirks about our camper!
Today the dogs and I decided to take a quick hike not too
far from home. We drove to Fallon, Nevada, and found some cool places to hike
around. The dogs are having a harder time hiking as much as the days slowly
become warmer. Even early in the mornings, the sun is almost always shining and
they get hot fast! So to keep them safe and from having a heat stroke, we have
been cutting our hikes short! In this case it was a good idea because we were
told that there are a lot of rattle snakes in the area and that we need to be
We started at the Hidden Cave Trail parking area and hiked
to the Grimes Point parking area. The weather for me was great! The wind was
blowing a little so I didn’t think it was too hot! Along the trail are all
these cool markers that have information on them about the surrounding area, I
really enjoyed being able to learn a little bit more about where I was hiking.
The first marker was at a cool petroglyph of what looked like a lizard. There
are many more petroglyphs at the top of the mountain to look at! Unfortunately
we didn’t go to that side because of the snakes. We were actually stopped by a
runner who told us that at the next cave was a rattle snake and that he ran
around there all the time! He said that he stays away from that side of the
basin this time of year because of all the snakes, but that if we stayed on
this side we should be fine! It was nice to have someone tell us this because I
would have hiked all over that basin if he hadn’t! Honestly I am always a
little leery of running into people on the trail, but sometimes you can meet
really neat people!
If I remember correctly there are four or five caves in the
area but we only visited two. The information at those two caves told me that
they were likely formed from waves from the lake that used to be in the valley.
Once the lake receded, cave dwellers used them as shelters. (I am getting all
this information just from what I read on the trail.) Now from where we
started, the petroglyph came first, then not far up the trail was the first
cave and just a little further was the second one! I think we started at the
best spot because of all the things we saw right away. If we would have stayed
left at the Y in the trail it would have taken us to the rest of the caves and
to the other petroglyphs. Instead we went right and it took us to the top of
From here we could see the whole valley! The trail followed the ridge across until we came to one last area to stop and read some more history! On our descent to the other parking area, Case found a little lizard hiding in the rocks! He was so funny to watch jump around and try to figure out what the lizard was. I decided not to go back the way we came because the dogs were getting way too hot! So we just walked the road back to the truck. Our trip was about 4 miles and honestly very fun! I eventually want to go back and maybe not bring the dogs, so that I can go check out the other side of the basin and not worry about them getting bitten by a snake. The hike itself was easy, the only hard thing might have been the loose rocks on it, but the hill incline and length were easy! Make sure you bring lots of water because there is no water anywhere out there! Wear sturdy shoes and watch out for snakes!
So this past week, has
been CRAZY busy! The Monday after Easter Dalton and I were headed back to Fort
Bridger from Montana when we got the call to head to Reno, Nevada. YAY! I have
been waiting for this to happen for about a month now, I was just so tired of
the snow and ready for a change of scenery. The drive from Montana to Fort
Bridger is about 8 hours, we got to the camper around 7 p.m. and started
packing things up. Tuesday morning, April 23, we left for Nevada, which took us
about 10 hours. All last week was 80 degrees or warmer here in Nevada, it was
amazing! I was so busy all week that I didn’t have time to blog and I found so
many cool places I didn’t want to pick just one to write about this week. Since
Wednesday I have found four new places to hike and explore around, and each day
I just keep going to new ones. We are not directly in Reno, we live in an R.V.
Park in Fernley, Nevada, which is about 30 miles from Reno. Close enough to
visit whenever but far enough away to avoid the large crowds.
Wednesday April 24:
On the first day down
here, I finished setting up the camper while Dalton worked and then since it
was Peyton’s 2nd birthday, I wanted to take her swimming. Peyton
absolutely loves the water, she would swim all day if she could! One of the
most famous lakes around here is Pyramid Lake, just north of our camper about
30 miles. If you use your phone for directions to the lake, it will try to take
you all the way around to the far end of it, I didn’t want to do that so once I
got to the lake I just followed the road to the left side until I found a spot.
The first camp ground we
came to seemed like a good spot to stop. There was no one else around, picnic
tables were shaded with a canopy and the sun was shining! Luckily before I let
the dogs out I happened to notice a sign in the water that said, “Hazardous
waste. Area Closed.” This was a little concerning to me, what is in the water?
And why don’t they have it taped off or something to make sure people stay out?
Anyways, I drove further down the road and found another area to pull off. We
were in my car, it has decent clearance but nothing like a truck, and the road
we turned off on, I would recommend a vehicle with high clearance. Obviously I
didn’t drive all the way down to the water because of my low clearance, so we
parked at the top and walked instead!
I was a little nervous
walking out through the desert that led to the water, because I am scared of
snakes and spiders and I was told that both are abundant in this area.
Fortunately all we saw were little geckos running around and the dogs were
going crazy trying to catch them. The water was still too cold for me to swim
in, but the dogs loved it! This was the first time that Case has ever actually
swam and it was hilarious. He is not the strongest swimmer and was always just
trying to play with Peyton while she fetched sticks. Both dogs, swam, played
and ran in the sand for hours! Peyton had a blast, chasing after ducks,
fetching sticks and just swimming like crazy.
Personally, I just sat in
the sun, enjoying being in warm weather and watching my goofy dogs run around
and burn off some energy! The water was still pretty muddy so any fly fishing
would be kind of hard to do at this time. I would wait until a little later in
the spring, like middle of May possibly! If you are planning on fishing this
lake, you should know that it is on a reservation so you have to have a permit
and there is a limit to the number of fish you can keep! I plan on going back
and fishing it so I will be able to let everyone know how it goes!
For those of you
wondering, Peyton did get some new toys for her birthday and I made her special
frozen doggy treats to eat too!
Thursday April 25:
On Thursday I found a
small lake about 15 miles east of us in Fallon called Soda Lake. I decided to
get up early and head out there to hike around the lake before it became too
hot for the dogs. The directions out to the lake are not great! I use the app
“All Trails” to find all of my hiking areas and the directions on that were better
than just googling directions but still not great. Again I was in my car and
made it to the lake fine, but I would recommend taking a truck. I drove through
the desert on dirt roads for about a mile before I could see the lake. It was a
little scary to be honest! We did make it though and it was beautiful!
The entire hike was just
over 3 miles around the lake. For the majority of the walk, the trail is right
on the water, so the dogs swam and ran along in the water next to me. The last
mile or so is up on a huge sand dune almost and it is a straight shot to the
water from the top. I am glad we didn’t get there any later because it was hot
even at 8 A.M. We only saw one other person out there though and that is always
nice! Although she did have 7 poodles and 2 smaller dogs with her! Yes, 9 dogs!
I couldn’t even believe it, I thought two dogs was a lot to take care of!
I didn’t need hiking
boots, I just wore my every day tennis shoes and that worked fine. If you don’t
want sand in your shoes though I would wear more of a boot then! Also I would
NEVER swim in this lake, it was fine for the dogs but it smelled so bad! It had
a kind of swampy smell to it and I had to bathe the dogs at the end of the day
because it made them stink. If you had a kayak or a paddle board it would be
perfect but I wouldn’t swim!
The dogs and I actually
ended up going back out to Soda Lake later that day to let the dogs swim again.
It was just such a hot day and the lake is close enough that I figured they
could use another swim. And for those of you who ride dirt bikes, ATV’s or
side-by-sides, this area has tracks all over the place for that! The only
wildlife we saw were rabbits and those same geckos we saw at Pyramid Lake.
Friday April 26
On Friday, I found the Hunter Creek Trail in the Toiyabe National Forest in Reno. The drive to get there took about an hour from our camper, which honestly isn’t too bad! I was really surprised at the terrain because I thought that everywhere around here was just desert! However this area had a stream, big pine trees and was pretty green! Directions to the trail head were easy to follow and spot on. From there though it became a little confusing! There are trails all over from the parking lot and there are two that can take you up the Hunter Creek Trail.
When you come to the
creek, which is about 100 yards down the trail, you can cross right there, if
you have waterproof shoes. I did have my hiking boots on, but the water was
deep enough to go over the tops and I didn’t feel like hiking the rest of the
trail with wet feet. So instead of crossing, if you turn left and follow the
small dirt trail up the mountain, after about a half mile it will bring you
back to the creek but there is a metal bridge for you to cross. This is going
to be the last spot for dogs to get water until you get to the top. Make sure
you bring enough water for you and your dogs!
From crossing the creek,
the trail side hills up the mountain, following the canyon back to the start of
the creek. There are a couple of spots with shade, but for the most part we
hiked in the sun all day! This is a very trafficked area, I honestly don’t know
if I have ever hiked somewhere with so many people! I should probably get used
to that around here though! Anyways, dogs should be on a leash for the most
part, I let mine off every now and then when I couldn’t see anyone coming. We
met more people on our way out than on our way in. We started around 9:30 A.M.
and to me that was late because it gets hot so fast, but around here people
must not think so! On our way out there were way more people just starting than
there were walking out with us! We stopped a couple of times on the way up so I
could give the dogs some water. The trail itself is a well beaten trail, it is
a steep incline for most of the way in though!
At the top of the
mountain we started walking into the big pine trees, which provided much needed
shade and there were a couple little creeks running that the dogs ran straight
to and laid down in! I let them enjoy that for a while before we kept going. We
had to walk over a big log across one of the creeks again before we got to the
end. At the end were some water falls! They definitely were not the biggest
falls I have seen but still very pretty! The dogs of course jumped right in
those to cool off again! The area around the falls was very shaded and had big
logs for people to sit on! I gave the dogs some treats and we just relaxed
listening to the water for a while before we headed back down!
This trip has been my
favorite so far, I love hiking to waterfalls, and I want to go back later in
the summer when I can actually get in the falls myself! My watch tracked the
hike as 7 miles total, so 3.5 in and 3.5 out! Again make sure you bring enough
water for yourself and your dogs! I always pack a small blue back pack. In it I
bring 4 water bottles for the dogs and 2 for myself, along with some treats for
the dogs and couple of power bars! If you are hiking alone I strongly recommend
packing some sort of protection. Personally I pack a pistol on my hip but even
pepper spray is better than nothing! You can never be too careful on a trail.
Saturday April 27:
On Saturday I was just
wanting to take a quick hike to kind of wear the dogs out. I found Ballardini
Ranch Trail near Reno. My app said it was a 2.2 mile loop and dogs were allowed
if on a leash. This was perfect, I had my two dogs and our friend’s dog, Segar,
with us and I didn’t want to wear him out too much because he is just a puppy.
Directions to the trail head were easy to follow and the parking area was
really nice. The loop I wanted to take was not marked though and there were
trails all over the mountain!
I just picked one and
started hiking, after I got to the top of the first hill I noticed that there
was no one else around so I ended up letting all the dogs off their leashes to
run around! Which was needed because it is honestly so hard to walk three dogs
on leashes! I kept walking and ended up crossing a small road that had a trail
on the other side of it. There was a stream that the dogs played in for a while
and we followed that up until the trail started climbing up a large mountain. I
decided to try that out and just kept hiking!
Once we got to the top
there was a beautiful meadow with lots of green grass and wildflowers. We
stopped here and I gave the dogs some water and then we kept going. The trail
started to side hill around the mountain through a burn area. I met a couple of
runners, a couple hiking and two mountain bikers while I was there. The sites
were beautiful and the trail went for a long ways! After 3 miles of following
the trail I decided to head back down to the stream and let the dogs cool off
for a little bit. We then followed a different trail back to the truck.
All in all it is a great
place to take the dogs, after you get past the first hill, you can take the
dogs off their leashes and let them get some exercise. Although I wanted to do
the loop, I am so glad I couldn’t find the trail to do it, I ended up finding a
beautiful area to hike and the views were amazing! Sometimes taking a different
route when hiking can lead to better things!
Make sure you take water
on this hike! There is a stream at the bottom of the canyon but after that
there is no where else for dogs to get water and the hike is always in the sun!
If you want to go on this hike, park in the parking area and start on the trail
that heads up the mountain, it switch backs twice before it comes to a Y, take
the left and just follow that trail all the way up the mountain until you want
This past week has been
so busy and so fun! I am trying to find somewhere new to go every day or every
other day! I am enjoying the sunshine down here and the dogs love all the
hiking! Between taking them for walks around the R.V. Park, and hiking in the
mountains, we have averaged 7 to 8 miles every day that we have been here!
Nevada is a beautiful area and I can’t wait to keep exploring! Just always
remember to bring enough water because this is the desert!
The High Uinta Wilderness is full of beautiful lakes to hike to. Hoover Lake is just one of many that I have had the pleasure of seeing. The trail is about an hour to an hour and a half drive from Fort Bridger, WY, which is where we are currently living. The scenery to the lake is absolutely stunning! Huge mountain peaks, dense forests, rivers and lakes all around you as you drive. I had actually been by this lake in the fall and WOW! I think that fall would be the best time to visit Hoover Lake and all the other lakes in the Uinta Wilderness. There are Aspen and Birch trees all over. You drive along a winding road through a mess of color. Yellow, orange and red light up the mountain sides making the trees look like they are on fire. I drove through areas where leaves were falling from the trees like snowflakes from the sky. It really was a surreal drive.
Now I didn’t actually hike to Hoover Lake in the fall, like I said I had gone around the area but I actually hiked to the lake in November after there was snow on the ground. Dalton was with me on this trip and we had our two dogs, Peyton and Case. We decided one Saturday morning that we had wanted to go explore and maybe find a lake to hike to. I had gone to the Uinta Wilderness a couple times before so I knew where to go and off we went! We packed a lunch, winter jackets, water and the adventure began.
As we drove to the top of the pass, which is in Utah because we are right on the Wyoming, Utah boarder, the snow kept getting deeper and deeper. We thought that maybe we shouldn’t go since we couldn’t really see the trail when we parked, but decided that a hike anywhere would be fine. The sun was shining, there was no wind and the snow was hard packed. The walk was fairly easy, a small hill to go up and a kind of rock slide to get down into the lake, but the hike in was only about 1.5 miles!
Case was three months old and having a hard time in the snow. He was so cute trying to follow Peyton who just ran right along, happy to be out and about. The lake itself was beautiful! There were flat meadows for people to camp at, the water was clean and crystal clear. There was snow all around us, and it made for a quiet escape. We stayed for a little while, ate lunch on a log and watched as the dogs ran around the water. Eventually Peyton decided it was time to go for a swim and jumped in the lake! Crazy dog! She loves the water so much!
Dalton and I walked slowly around the lake, looking
for fish and just visiting. There was no one else around because we are kind of
crazy and the only ones that would hike to a lake with no trail! That’s how you
find the best spots and the most beautiful pictures in my opinion! (Also it was
not a far hike and we could just follow our tracks out!) However we didn’t
follow our tracks out because we wanted to see more of the landscape. Our trail
out was close to 2 miles long instead of the 1.5 miles on the way in. We
followed the inlet of the lake, a small creek winding through the snow. Our
dogs ran ahead of us, chasing each other and rolling in the snow. Dalton and I
had to pack Case a couple of times because that is a long ways for a puppy! The
hike out was a little harder because the snow wasn’t hard like before. We sank
and stumbled along, but the exercise and fresh air was worth every second.
I would love to go back to Hoover Lake in the summer and camp out, I bet there are fish in that water and the views are amazing! I wouldn’t recommend to just anyone to go out and hike the trail when there is snow, but in the summer there is a sign at the trail head and I’m sure the trail is well beaten in! We enjoyed this little adventure and I know my dogs loved every second of it!