Sleep In The Dirt

Unplugged: a road trip reset

Essays From the Field

Over a year ago, my girlfriend Sarah and I had planned a little getaway to Key West for the start of spring. I had big plans for fly-fishing all day and drinking Mai-Tais all night; a great way to reset and refresh before the busy camping season ahead and my work in the outdoor industry at Big Agnes.

In the blink of an eye, not only did our plans change, everything changed and we began the shift to life during a global pandemic. Spring came and went and soon enough summer went blazing by, but we were still determined to unplug in the outdoors.  Soon after pouring over Google Maps, we had a new plan. Instead of warm beaches, sand in every crevice, and world-class saltwater fishing, we decided to drive in the opposite direction – almost all the way to Canada, to the town of Whitefish, Montana.

We both requested an entire week off at the start of fall and drove up to Montana, camping, hiking, fishing, and exploring along the way. We packed the cooler full of beer and snacks, equipped the rod rack and fly rods to the Subaru, and stuffed the Thule with gear. I brought plenty of layers from apparel to our Dotsero down blanket, so we were prepared for any type of weather. Then we drove out of town and eventually out of cell service until we were officially unplugged from it all.

Besides our destination, we didn’t really have any set plans. We slept in until the sun was high in the sky, and put a shot of whisky in our morning coffee. We took whatever dirt roads looked cool, and we sat around the campfire and drank as much huckleberry vodka as we wanted. Our goal was simple; spend as much time outside and as little time on our phones as possible.

We arrived in Whitefish and stopped at the first trailhead that piqued our interest. We grabbed our jackets, lunch, and a few beers and made our way up. At this point, taking in our surroundings, it really set in that we were completely unplugged and free, and it felt amazing.

No emails, no social media, not a single thought about work at all. When we got to the top, we stayed there for a while and just stared out into the wilderness. Being completely out of cell service, and hundreds miles away from home, I felt rejuvenated. Still with no plans, we left it to fate to decide where to go next which happened to be a pretty sweet brewery.

Before we knew it, we were headed back to Colorado. Soon we would be home and it wouldn’t be too long until we were plugged back in to our normal lives. Without realizing it I started thinking about work again, and how busy the upcoming season would be.

Then it hit me.

As much as this was a vacation physically and mentally, spending time outside is where I get a lot of my creativity and passion for my work. I enjoy planning trips to places I’ve never been, and taking unmarked dirt roads just to see where they end up. The inspiration we get from the outdoors is exactly the feeling we want to share with others at Big Agnes. At the end of the day, my job is pretty rewarding; inspire others to get outside and unplug, even if it’s just a quick reset.

About the Author: Matt Schultz is like the glue in our marketing department, our marketing coordinator. While he was away resetting and rediscovering inspiration in the outdoors, we held it together, but man it wasn’t as fun.

Comments (4)

4 responses

  1. Frank O'Grady

    The next time you are this close come up to Kimberley in Canada and say hello. Maybe we could all take a drive through Grey Creek Pass. Love your gear, I have one of your tents.

  2. Sharon Peterson Shields

    THIS is what life is about! Taking in the moments… unplanned, unexplored and completely off the beaten path. This inspires me to do the same. It’s been far too long … like many, MANY years too long. I can smell the pine trees, the morning coffee perking and the freshness of the earth itself. Taking your furred pal along… the best!

    1. admin

      Agreed! Thanks Sharon, it’s not too late for this year. Hope you can get back on the road soon!

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