Kent State University
$1,500 Scholarship and Hearst Medallion
In the age of #vanlife, living on the road has been romanticized endlessly. The freedom life in a vehicle offers is enticing, especially in a time when many are stuck at home in quarantine. Here in Montana, daily life is nearly back to normal. For me, that means spending most of the day outside, trail running, camping and exploring. Opportunities for adventure are endless, yet there are still challenges. Loneliness. Showers. Public land disputes. Yet the chance to wake up outdoors and find a new place to stay each day, in my opinion, is far better than spending quarantine stuck in a city. These images are a short exploration of my life in my truck. Each image was made no further than 50 feet from the vehicle. (Photo) Nathaniel Bailey (the photographer) shaves using the driver's side mirror of his truck. I do this every day before showering with my homemade truck shower or bathing in a river.
Rain is seen on the windshield of my (Nathaniel Bailey, the photographer) truck. With the increased freedom of spending quarantine in a truck comes the threat of rain and storms. Unlike in a house or van, it isn't very comfortable to shelter in the truck for an entire day as I wait out a rain storm.
Nathaniel Bailey (the photographer) checks his transfer case after parking his truck for the night in Custer-Gallatin National Forest. The night before oil was dripping from the transfer case. Upon further inspection, I found that a rock had struck the drain plug and loosened it. This type of damage is one of the risks of heavy off-road use, making it important to be able to repair the truck many miles into the backcountry.
A moose is seen from Nathaniel Bailey's (the photographer's) campsite. I see wildlife often, especially early in the morning. While always thrilling, it also is a reminder to be cautious. Animals like moose can be extremely dangerous when they are startled or angry, and an attack could prove fatal, especially far from the nearest hospital.
Nathaniel Bailey (the photographer), carries his axe while collecting firewood. I cut my hand on a rough piece of pine that I was cutting for tinder. I rarely make a fire, though I camp every night. I've found that making a fire often means smelling like smoke, which can be frustrating without a real shower.
The headlights of Nathaniel Bailey's (the photographer's) truck are seen against a morning sky following a night filled with thunderstorms. Living outside means that most days I wake with the sun, and go to sleep not long after it sets. In the summer that means 5 A.M. and 10:30-11 P.M. I often will head to a trailhead to run within two hours of waking up.
Maryellen Heebner, Nathaniel Bailey's (the photographer) girlfriend, reads in the back of his truck at a campsite. Heebner works as a guide in Big Sky, Montana, and typically will join me to camp once a week on her off days, alleviating some of the lonliness that can set in spending so much time alone. This evening we spent the night at an alpine lake in Beeverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.