Monday, March 08, 2010

Maiden Yurt Voyage: Have Yurt, Will Camp

Warm Springs Rd
Yurt on the roof of the baja, heading into the mountains!

The day had finally come when all of the months of work on my yurt came to a finish (not exactly) and we were able to pack it up and take it to the mountains on its maiden yurt voyage. I know, I could of taken it somewhere easy and simple, like the local campground or something, but as with most of the things Romy and I seem to do, we go big or go home! So there we were, driving the baja over to the Eastern Sierra.

Driving off-road in the Inyo National Forest to find a perfect spot to set up the yurt.

We picked a spot east of the Owen's Valley, in the Inyo National Forest, just outside of Death Valley National Park. We found an off shoot road from CA 168 out of Big Pine which headed into Death Valley, called Death Valley Rd, and it was off another off shoot road where we drove the baja off road into a canyon and found a nice place to set up on the top of a ridge. We were situated at about 5,500 ft with an awesome view of the Sierra Nevada mountains across the Owen's Valley. Before we left on the trip, I had visions in my head of setting up the yurt in the valley near Mammoth Lakes, CA, but it had too much snow. That's why we headed farther south instead.

Maiden Yurt Voyage
Setting up the yurt near Death Valley National Park.

Nicole and Romy found a section of a ridge that happened to have large flat spots in between desert scrub plants (I don't know what they are called). We needed to find a place that had at least a 12 foot diameter circular area clear of vegetation. We ended up having to pull a few plants out of the rocky and dry soil to clear one of the largest spots we found, but made an attempt at replanting them elsewhere. So hopefully we didn't kill any plants! The baja couldn't drive up the ridge, so we had to carry the pieces of the yurt up a steep hill. It was worth doing that in order to have the awesome view that we were able to have being on top of a ridge.

Maiden Yurt Voyage
Marcel holding the yurt wall as it is attached to the roof.

There was a steady wind blowing from the east as we worked to get the yurt put together. It took us about 2 hours to put it up, which was slow compared to how fast we were able to assemble it in the park. It was hard to get the yurt completely flat and level of the ground and perfectly round. I don't think we were ever able to achieve the round-ness and I also think we constructed it slightly less than a 12 ft diameter. But it was close! Consequently, I felt like the walls of the yurt were slightly sagging or bunched up in areas. However that didn't effect much except the aesthetics, so as the sun went down, we crawled inside and started up the lantern for light, and propane heater for warmth.

Maiden Yurt Voyage
The yurt, finally all built!

Maiden Yurt Voyage
Romy, Marcel, and Nicole relaxing in the yurt.

The yurt retained a lot of heat from the propane heater, which we nicknamed "the sunflower" due to its shape. We left the door flap cracked open for ventilation. We had it running the whole evening, but turned it off when we went to sleep, and turned it back on in the morning. Nicole and Marcel brought a bunch of 1 liter bottles of home brewed beer, which we drank merrily each and every night of camping in the yurt. Mmmmm. My favorite was the blonde ale.

Yurt Party!
Cheers! Enjoying a home brewed beer in the yurt.

When the sun went down behind the mountains, we were able to see a lot of stars in the sky. We hung a Coleman lantern from the crown by a short rope, so we had a soft light source inside the yurt, and it looked really cool from outside. I wasn't able to sew window covers yet, however I will have to finish them this week! The wind steadily blew all night, but inside the yurt it was quiet and peaceful. When we finally went to sleep, I liked laying and staring at the roof. There was enough light outside from the moon that you could see the roof poles and the star shaped crown rain cover through the roof making a cool pattern.

Maiden Yurt Voyage
The yurt at night, lit up by our Coleman lantern inside.

After having the yurt up for only two short nights, we had to break it down and go home. Putting it up for the first time and camping inside of it was really exciting and made me feel great after all of the hard work building it. I feel like I'm done, but there are still a few things here and there that I have to finish off, like the floor, and the window covers. But nevertheless, its ready for another camping trip soon!

Maiden Yurt Voyage
Inside the yurt, with an open crown.


Campdawg said...

Great idea-do you have a website that shows directions to build the yurt? I built a dome from PVC-this looks much easier to set up. Enjoying your blog

Jenn said...

Yes I do -

Thanks for your comment! Do you have any pictures of the PVC dome that you've posted?


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