In an initial armchair approach to preparing for some longer and tougher hiking trails (I’m starting to train for Mount Whitney), I’ve been reading some great books on people tackling the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail. The popular book “Wild” was fun, but I am really enjoying “Awol on the Appalachian Trail” by David Miller.
David’s 2003 hike is documented in this beautifully written story that really brings the trail to life. He also goes into details about his “homes” along the trail since he rarely used a tent: the AT shelters that dot the 2,172 mile long passage across the mountain range. There are around 250 backcountry shelters along the trail where both section and thru-hikers can stay for free. Most of them are basic and open to the elements, but some are actually beautifully constructed and take advantage of views, light and airflow. Most of the shelters are near a creek or a stream and some have a privy or basic toilet nearby. They are kept clean and in shape by hikers and trail volunteers.
Most of the shelters have basic sleeping platforms, but no cots or beds. Food is either kept away from bears and other critters in boxes or hung from strings on the ceilings. Some shelters have picnic tables and food prep areas and most of them do not allow open campfires.
Top photo: William Penn Shelter. Photo by White Blaze.net.
The Columbia Missourian recently ran a story about university student Alicia Harris and the tiny house she built with her father, Paul. The 180-square foot house was built for only $22,000 over the course of two months and Alicia lived in it while interning in Amarillo, Texas last summer.
Her tiny home was built on a 7 1/2 foot-by-18-foot flatbed trailer and contains a small kitchen, bathroom with a shower, a loft bedroom and living space with a full closet. The minimalist interior is full of wood accents. The trailer is currently parked in an RV park in Columbia, Missouri while she finishes school. Alicia shares the tiny space with her large Great Dane, Roscoe.
Alicia’s house was based on a blueprint from the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and her desire to be mobile and not tied down to high housing costs was the catalyst for this type of home. She also appreciates the low utility costs.
“A perfect example: My first month’s electricity bill was $4, and the second one was $10,” she told the Missourian, “and that was living in Texas in the middle of summer.”
Photos by the Columbia Missourian
My name is Maxime Chénier and I am from Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. I am 26 years old and I work as a forest firefighter for the province.
I fell in love with Jay Shafer’s houses about 5 years ago and since then I have been planning mine. I move a lot with my job, and I hate paying for rent. So a tiny house was a perfect fit.
It all started about a year ago, in October 2012, when I bought a used flatbed trailer. I wanted to put the structure up before the first snow storm, so I went out to buy everything.
The floor is 3 different section of 2 x 6′s, and a section of treated ones for my deck, insulated and covered with a 3/4 inch plywood.
Walls and roof are sections of 2 x 4′s, all insulated. On the exterior, there is 1/2 prestwood, and tar paper. I had a good deal on a door and windows so I put them in right away with the loft roof skylight. Put a big tarp on in and that was it for the winter.
Then my fire season started so the project was put on hold until September 2013. As soon as I was back, I put the half log outside finish, the black metal roof and made the roof over the deck.
Then, I jumped inside to finish the insulation, which next time I will do after the wiring and not before.
Running the wires was fast, but still a big planning. I went big with a 100 amps electrical panel, 12x15A breakers. A 30A wire goes from my panel to outside with a 30A-15A adapter. I have 6 halogen lamps, a bathroom fan, small fridge, microwave, TV, computer, cell phone, toaster/oven.
Then this week, I finished the insulation, put a plastic membrane and the beautiful pine V-joint finish. I ordered my kitchen counter, my kitchen table is on the way, the framing for my cabinets is done, my couch is done, except the cushions.
The 30×32 shower, toilet and sink are in place just not installed. I will run everything with 1/2” pex. I will have a tankless propane water heater. But no water until the spring because it is already between -5 and-12 here so I’ll wait.
We are a team from Vancouver Island, BC, and we have just launched our new tiny home business, with our first tiny home! We are looking to share our vision with as many tiny home groups as possible.
Gnomadik Homes is located in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, BC. We build onsite mobile, custom houses, studios and shops. We work closely with our clients from design through to completion to meet their specific needs.
We are a group of artists, engineers, craftsmen and women with a desire to create the imagined real; Spaces laden with functionality interwoven with an aesthetic sensuality; Places to inspire creativity in daily life.
The Gnomadik Team
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