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.
Sunset magazine, a home and lifestyle magazine about the American West, has embraced the tiny and small house movement with several features on tiny houses and trailers. Tiny house dwellers who enter their Small Space, Big Dreams Home Awards could win a $250 Container Store shopping spree and could also be featured in a future issue of the magazine.
Until January 31, 2014, Sunset is accepting photos and descriptions of small and tiny homes and how you use the space. They are looking for space-savvy ideas as well as alternative ways of living including floating homes and homes on wheels. The award categories are:
- Whole House: If your entire home is space-savvy, show it off. There’s no square-footage limit—it’s how you use the space that matters.
- One-Room Wonder: A single space filled with ideas for maxing out the available room. Kitchen, bath, kid’s room, or multiuse? You decide.
- Outdoors: Show us photos of how you make your compact yard, tree- house, patio, deck, or shed seem roomier than it is.
- On Wheels or On Water: If your home floats or rolls, we want to see how you’ve kitted out the unconventional space.
- Satellite Space: Guest cottages, writing sheds, the party barn—we’re looking for outbuildings that live large.
To enter, upload 2-6 photos and descriptions (100 words or less) on the use of your space. Entries will be judged on quality of photographs; creativity in the use of space; use of language to describe the small space functionality; and appropriateness to award category. The magazine will not accept photos depicting people. Winners in each category will be notified by April 15, 2014.
Photos by Sunset magazine
The Tiny House Blog has featured the dynamo Misty Tosh and her travel trailer before, but now the intrepid TV producer and traveler has a new home and project — a three-story houseboat in Marina del Rey named Flo. While the boat is not necessarily tiny (for tiny, check out her other boat, Enola) Misty has remodeled the derelict houseboat into a work of art.
All the renovations for her houseboat had to be done on the water and she documented the process and houseboat living on her blog, Big Sweet Tooth. The renovation was recently featured in the L.A. Times. When Misty bought the boat, it was a dark mass of junk and tiny rooms connected by ladders. Misty worked with Refinding Design, a local design firm that scours junk yards, flea markets and roadsides for building materials. Salvaged items like a hatch door from a WWII supply ship covers a wine rack under the floor with a peekaboo view of the water, the metal ring of a wine barrel was turned into a chandelier, and the breakfast counter is a slab of wood with a base of plumbing pipes.
The bottom floor is a living and dining area, the second floor is a master bedroom, bathroom and guest area. Nautical rope is a reccurring theme throughout the boat and also acts as a banister railing for the staircase up to the bedroom. The top deck has a small office, a “garden” with artificial turf and a bar.
Misty does have to pump out the sewage holding tank twice a week, but she told the L.A. Times, “We wanted to come home to something like a vacation spa, where we can hide away all our gear and feel like we’re on vacation,” she said. “And when the windows are open and the wind and sun plow through here, we can say: What the heck kind of holy paradise is this?”
Photos by Misty Tosh and the L.A. Times
For anyone who enjoys winter outdoor sports like ice fishing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing or ice skating, the tiny warming hut is a blessing in cold and snowy weather. Used all over the world, warming huts are small structures that can be both temporary or permanent and usually contain a place to hang up wet gear, seating and sometimes a wonderful wood stove or fireplace where you can warm your freezing fingers. Warming huts are also a great place to break out a small stove to heat up some food or a cup of hot chocolate.
Over the past few years, warming huts have bloomed into an interesting architecture. Innovative designs have popped up near frozen lakes, near cross-country trails and in the middle of mountainous forests for use by snowbound travelers on their way to a cabin or campsite. Many of these huts utilize passive solar design, raised platforms, creative heating elements and unusual materials. Continue Reading »