An Adventure-filled Home Tour

Our house tour is a bit different today.  It’ll take you across the world and up a few mountains!  You get to travel there via the memories of our adventure loving Sunday guests.  I can’t wait to introduce them!

We met Mike first.  He came to the camp where we live and work  {I blog about it here} many years ago. He came back year after year (11 in all) and eventually became part of our program staff team {for 3 years}.

His energetic personality has always loved adventure, and his enthusiasm and persuasive spirit inspires others to strike out with him, too.  We were privileged to watch him grow from an uncertain teenager into a confident young man, photographer, and now  graphic designer.

We also were thrilled when he found the perfect girl for him ~ Katie ~  Sweet, petite, kind, cheerful, and yes, adventurous, too.  They were married and just celebrated their 2nd anniversary.

mike & katie wedding

This past Spring, they packed  their first home into a storage unit and set off on a 4 1/2 month adventure.

This time, “home” was purged down to be only what they could carry on their backs.

Mike and Katie now live 7 hours away from us, but they agreed to an interview via e-mail.  I fired them a whole bunch of questions intending to use only a few.  But, once I read their wonderful answers, I decided to include them all!  So, grab a cup of coffee and stay a while.  I just know you’re gonna’ love Mike and Katie…


self portrait

Mike, how would you describe Katie?:  Well, obviously, I think she’s pretty much the coolest… So that’s why I married her. Katie is probably the most likeable girl of all time. She’s super tiny too, but even so, she is an incredibly capable adventurer and has a ton of grit. She makes me laugh and is super hot… So I can’t ask for much more in life than that.

Katie,how would you describe Mike?: Mike is a lot of fun and is a very positive, upbeat person. He is creative, loves adventure (especially ones that have some sort of risk involved and an element of the unknown).

How long were you planning your trip before you left?

After we got married (2 years ago) we decided that we wanted to go backpacking together and that we were going to start saving up for that goal. So we knew we would be going, but we didn’t actually start doing any concrete planning until we had booked our flights last September. We flew out in February.

on mountain

Where exactly did you go?

We started our trip in Lima, Peru and traveled for a month or so visiting different towns and hiking to many ancient Inca ruins like Machu Picchu. (Pretty standard tourist stuff for the 1st month) We then spent a month traveling by bus all the way to the bottom of Chile (Over 5300 Kilometers!) to an area called Patagonia (sort of a Hiking heaven and the reason we both originally wanted to travel) and spent 6 days hiking in
the national park of “Torres del Paine”. We then bussed all the way back up to the top of Chile and crossed the boarder into Bolivia where we spent another month and then finished off our last 4 weeks back in Peru visiting the northern mountain ranges.

What were some of the resources you found helpful when doing research for the trip?

This sounds terribly irresponsible, but to be honest the only “pre-planning” we really did for our trip was buying a couple guide books for South America and surfing the internet a bit here and there. We watched a TON of YouTube videos to see what sort of hikes were out there and where other people were hiking and having adventures.


How did you know what to take along/ pack?

We hiked BC’s West Coast Trail  in 2009, and from that we quickly learned that every extra item you pack is that much more
weight you will have to carry! So I [Katie] have learned to pack extremely light (I actually pack less stuff then Mike does!) and you learn that you just  have to make some sacrifices. Having to wear the same clothes over and over is just part of the adventure. We knew that it was going to be the rainy season when we arrived in South America and that we would spending most of our time at high altitudes and in snow and rain. We definitely made sure we had all of our lightest and best rain gear and warm, compressible clothing with us. Our packs looked pretty monstrous, but considering we fit EVERYTHING in them for 4 months, (Camping equipment, sleeping bags, a tent, cooking gear, clothing, books, cameras, chargers, batteries, etc.) we are pretty happy with the packing job we made.

walking stick

Katie…now these are for you:):
Have you always loved hiking and adventure?

Yah, I have always loved the outdoors and when I was a kid would way rather spend my time outside catching bugs and turning over rocks to find creepy crawlies then be inside. And yes, hiking and exploring places that are new to me is very enjoyable!

Was his adventurous spirit one of the attributes that attracted you to Mike?

Definitely. I loved that Mike loved adventure and that he loved to get others involved as well. Working at camp, I got to see that side of him for sure.


Although I’m sure your marriage is ONLY EVER kind words, smiles, agreements, and fuzzy slippers…was there ever a moment during this trip that you wanted to look Mike in the eye and say, “I quit!”? (or did he ever look you in the eye and say the same??)

Yes, When we did our big 6 day hike in Patagonia, we ran into the most incredibly harsh weather we have ever experienced. It was like being in a rainy tornado for days on end. I wanted to quit but I knew that wasn’t even an option:

1. because the boat that dropped us off at the trailhead was long gone and

2. Because we had just spent 63 long hours on a bus to get across Chile and that was not going to be for nothing.

Mike doesn’t quit. And he will go out of his way to help make things get better and become more comfortable for me when I am struggling. He gave me his walking pole when we were walking against the 120km per hour winds so that I didn’t fly away! He also willingly took some portions  of my food to carry when I had hurt my knees so that my pack wasn’t as heavy.

What was the most challenging part of the trip?

Getting used to carrying a roll of toilet paper with us at all times since there were never bathrooms equipped with toilet paper! Also not having bathrooms on long bus rides was less than thrilling.

What was your favorite memory of the trip?

glowing mountain

There are so many extraordinary memories, but the one that stands out most was on the last morning of the hike in Patagonia. After 5 very gruelling days of hiking through crazy wind, rain, and snow we got up at 6am and climbed up to a viewpoint through a foot and a half of fresh snow to where we witnessed the most amazing sunrise on the massive granite towers. It was truly unbelievable and made every minute from the  previous 5 days worth it.

What was the one thing about “home” that you missed most when you were perched on a cold mountain top in a tent?

We had a lot of tent hang out time on the cold trekking nights and our conversations usually led to wondering what our friends and families were up to at home or to all the meals that we couldn’t wait to partake in once we got back!

green field



How has this trip influenced the way your home is now?

I plan to print several large format pictures from our trip and have them framed for our little place. Choosing which ones is the hard part!  We also bought some beautiful colorful weaved tablecloths, paintings and some decorative pillow cases to add some South American flare to our home.

Did going away and living out of backpacks for months affect how you feel about “stuff” now? (ie you were living with so few resources and “do-dads”…Did you miss them?)

Its funny, because I would have thought there would have been so many things that I would have missed being away for 4 and a half months but I honestly didn’t really miss much. Other than our big comfortable bed, we had everything that we needed with us for that time and that was good enough for me. Mike really missed his mountain bike and his computer.


For both of you: What impact did this trip have on each of you personally?

{Katie}-I think I realized the value of thoroughly learning another language. I have a new goal in life and that is to learn to speak Spanish fluently. I would love to go back one day and to be able to actually have good conversations with the local people. That would make the traveling experience so
much more interesting and rewarding.

{Mike}-I really love to document what’s going on in my life with film and photography. I tried to capture as much as I could every day so that I could assemble some sort of memory that I could share eventually. I think a trip like this was so vitally important for me because I want to be able to say that I have lived an exciting life and have a few good stories to share when I am old. Being able to share with people even just a tiny bit of what we saw satisfies me very, very much.

What impact did this trip have on your relationship and marriage?

When you have to spend 63 hours on a bus with someone, driving through a desert and with a barely functioning bathroom directly behind you, you learn pretty quickly what sort of stress your relationship can handle. We were able to spend virtually every hour of every day together for the entire time, and I think that is a pretty awesome thing for us so early on in our marriage. We didn’t have to worry about bills or work or chores… we just got to spend a ton of time together and really get to know each other.

walking stick

Do you have any adventures planned for the near future?

{Katie} -This trip made me realize how amazing and beautiful our own country is. We traveled and saw so many different beautiful and fantastic places and loved every minute of it, but it made us feel like there is now so much of my own country that I need to explore.

{Mike}-We’re so spoiled by living in BC. We so often take for granted the ease of traveling to super awesome spots in our own backyard. The places we saw and the adventures we had in South America were One-of-a-Kind, and I will never forget them but still one of my biggest life goals is to see Mt. Everest with my own eyes. I think a little Nepal trekking trip might just happen in the future. I know Katie would be up for it.


What is “Yeti Adventure Films”?

Yeti is a video based project we have had going for a year and a half now. It’s a collection of short adventure videos featuring the two of us and a ton of our closest friends and family. The videos range from our own world travels to local mountain climbs, bike rides and river riding mis-adventures. We like to keep them short and exciting and re-watchable. It started off as a few videos online, but now we make a deliberate effort to maintain the content online and upload new adventures as they happen. It’s been really fun and we have some big plans for future episodes. (along with a few more South America episodes) Our goal is to have a Million YouTube Views one day. (That’s likely a LONG way away)


Thanks, Mike and Katie, for your willingness to give us all a glimpse into your adventure-loving life & home.  I loved to read all your answers, but one particularly stuck out to me.  I noticed that Katie’s very favourite memory took place at the exact place where she initially wanted to give up!  Hmmm…that’s a huge lesson for me!

Although I’ve begged and pleaded suggested that they start a blog, so far they don’t have one.  However, you can find a whole bunch of videos of their adventures on their YouTube channel here.

Be warned, though.  Their love of adventure is quite contagious.  It makes even non-adventurers (like me!) want to strap on some hiking boots, scale every mountain, and ford every stream…Smile

{This is my favorite video of their journey.  It means even more now that I’ve heard a little more “behind the scenes” about it.  I’m so glad you didn’t quit, Katie.  That glowing mountain is one spectacular site! }

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