Author:
Ellie Price

Ellie is from Bellingham, Washington where she lives with her husband and two leash-trained cats. Ellie recently ended a year of #vanlife, where she discovered the joy of crochet pattern design and, once home again, began a blog to share her new passion. When Ellie is not crocheting, she is mountain biking, rock climbing, mountaineering, skiing, backpacking, paddling, and generally spending time outside in her local community.

#WildYarning

Maker
5/25/2019

The truck doors slam as everyone jumps out to grab their packs from the back. We gather around the truck bed to stuff last minute snacks, hats, goggles, and sunscreen into our already bulging backpacks. I double check my yarn stash and see that my trusty J hook is nestled in the ziplock baggie with two skeins of variegated pastel yarn - you never can be too careful keeping your crochet goodies dry on a ski trip! The yarn smashes right into the corner of my pack, an advantage of choosing the light and packable hobby of crochet for alpine excursions.

With a small hook plus light and compressible yarn, crocheting makes the perfect alpine past time.

The sun is shining and there are smiles all around as we set off on skis across the frozen lake. Bow Hut, tonight’s destination, is not yet in view. Sweaty and laughing, we skin uphill over snow bridges and through canyons, our heavy packs swinging on our backs. We pause halfway through our trek to take a ski lap on an enticing hill, always checking the horizon for a glimpse of the alpine hut. When we finally see it, it is much closer and larger than I expect. And oh-so inviting. We ski through the afternoon and slide up to the hut as the sun slips behind a tall ridge.

Skiing is my favorite mode of getting around in the backcountry. I love the versatility of skinning uphill and the elation at peeling the skins off of the skis and skiing back down hill.

Once inside, we claim bunks and unpack our gear. I grab my ball of yarn and hook and find a cozy seat next to a snow streaked window. Just in time to get some rows done on my work-in-progress as the sun sets behind the mountains. I am creating a cozy wide-brimmed hat, with a large pom pom, as a memento to remember the trip by. That night, I shove the skeins of yarn and my half-made hat into my sleeping bag stuff sack for a pillow. I quickly fall asleep on the shared sleeping platform among my friends and our newly made acquaintances. Another reason crocheting and backpacking work so well together - extra-fluffy pillows!

The mountainous scenery around the hut we stayed in our first night; with big windows and cozy benches to sit and crochet at.

We get up early the next day to set off for Guy Hut. I carefully repack my gear and we all tie onto a rope for the glacier we’ll be crossing. It snowed all night and continues to snow as we toil over mountain passes and down glaciated valleys for the out-of-the-way, but cozy hut that is our next lodging. That night, we have the hut to ourselves. No other parties come by as the wind increases and the weather worsens. I pick up where I left off with my hat and crochet overlooking a windswept and snowy expanse. We have glimpses through the low clouds of the pass that leads out to the third and final hut of the trip. I finish my hat that evening and picture wearing it out in the storm that’s sweeping through; glad that my own hands can create such a beautiful and useful thing in such an inspiring and stark landscape. We finish the trip with increasingly clear and sunny weather; all are satisfied from the efforts and rewards of a back-country trip. As we ski out to our truck, I tuck my newly made beanie into the top of my pack - safe and sound for the next adventure that awaits.

I get a chance to model my newly crocheted hat in the sun at our third and final hut.

I love designing and crocheting projects while on back-country trips. The makes become unique and heartfelt reminders of my adventures. My second crochet design ever, the Sunset Wall Hanging, I designed and crocheted on rest days while on a six day backpacking and climbing trip in Idaho’s Sawtooth Wilderness. Every time I see it hanging on the wall I am transported to peaceful days by an alpine lake where we camped, interspersed with incredible rock climbs high on the granite walls above.

Crocheting overlooking the San Juan Islands on Oyster Dome, one of my favorite hikes near our home in Bellingham, Washington.

Don’t drop the yarn! Crocheting on the beach of Larrabee State Park, Washington.

The dark green of our local forests is always magical, especially while crocheting at Chuckanut Creek in Arroyo Park, Washington.

Trips like this ski traverse are what inspired me to begin my blog. They encompass what #WildYarning means to me. This does not mean that #WildYarning is only about carrying five days of food and gear on my back (plus yarn!) to a remote location, though. It is also about sitting on a park bench and crocheting while looking out across Bellingham Bay, or incorporating local mountains and features in my designs. There is no single way to experience it.

Photo 8: Taking a pause on a long solo hike to get started on a crocheted beanie in Squamish, BC Canada.

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Crocheting on an overnight backpacking trip exploring the canyons of Escalante, Utah.

Soaking up the sun and working on a crochet project in the Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada.

#WildYarning is, simply, however you choose to combine nature with your craft. I derive such peace, motivation, and joy in the outdoors. These feelings are especially enhanced when I can mix my creative passions with being outside and breathing fresh mountain air. I created my blog Hook Yarn Carabiner and the hashtag #WildYarning to bring together my love of crafting and the great outdoors.

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