The Adirondacks Gravitational Pull

As photographers we solely shoot 35mm film because of its unique outcome. It has distinct character much like the Adirondacks, it is not easily replicated. We count the days until our return to the Adirondacks when we are kayaking on a lake away from solid ground and side by side on the High Peak trails again. It's truly a lifetime of unpredictability and ruggedness to endure.

Tyler Annalora & Frank Fina

Our journey to and fro

Introductions are sort of our thing; most travelers, hikers, and campers will likely agree. What started as a hobby, a true thrill of the hunt type pastime, quickly became the means to mobility and adventure for us. To give our introduction, Two Guys Good Buys started as just that. A couple of friends recycling steadfast clothing at a fair price. Doing such has provided us with the means to travel and explore the places we dream about.

Two Guys Good Buys vintage clothing. Photo by Tyler Annalora
Two Guys Good Buys vintage clothing. Photo by Tyler Annalora

As weekend warriors in the Adirondacks High Peaks Region we had a seemingly endless thirst for adventure. In developing Two Guys Good Buys we realized our business could be run anywhere, converting a Chevy express van to serve as both home and storefront seemed the way to go.

Our adventures started in Upstate New York and now spans 40,000 miles of exploration East to West and back, we've been traveling the US in our Chevy van for 18 months. With a back to basics approach, the road has reiterated to us the importance of staying true to ourselves and where we are from. Year after year, we find ourselves back in the Adirondacks rejuvenated by its untapped wilderness.

Two Guys Good Buys founders Frank and Tyler. Photo by Jake Stein
Two Guys Good Buys founders Frank and Tyler. Photo by Jake Stein

Where you headed? Where you been? Have you ever heard of the Adirondacks?

Let's take it back to an ideal summer evening in Wyoming. We follow our good friend Genevieve in her '85 Toyota Bandit a few miles up a rutted forest road as the sun sets behind the Teton Mountains in the distance. She told us about this beautiful camp spot and its lively group of fellow van dwellers residing on the mountain.

Van camping under the stars. Photo by Michael Weybret
Van camping under the stars. Photo by Michael Weybret

We spent the evening star gazing atop Shadow Mountain, sitting in an '84 Westfalia sharing the details of our journeys. Some more cringe-worthy than others, like losing a wedding ring on a river float through Montana, or catching fire in the middle of literally nowhere. Good news is, the ring fiasco was all caught on gopro, and the fire, well the fire wasn't that big. Two packs of Polaroid Instax, too many dad jokes, a few cheers later and it was clear this night was one to remember. That night we added four new members to the van family, among them were Michael, Colbey, and dog Corter, homesteading in their '86 Volkswagen Westfalia from Los Angeles.

The Adirondacks are always part of the conversation, and so with pride, we bragged about its vast beauty, the thousands of lakes, and our favorite, the High Peaks region. Sure enough, it didn't take much convincing to spark interest in the six million acres of wilderness the Adirondacks has to offer. Before we knew it, Michael and Colbey would be high tailing it East to our beloved Adirondacks. Scheduled to arrive at the peak of fall foliage, this was shaping up to be the perfect ADK introduction.fall foliage, this was shaping up to be the perfect ADK introduction.

Corter enjoying the scenic Adirondack drive. Photo by Tyler Annalora
Corter enjoying the scenic Adirondack drive. Photo by Tyler Annalora

Intro to the ADK, what better than the Trap Dyke

Arriving in Upstate NY in mid-October, sharing the vibrant colors of fall foliage in the Adirondacks was a no brainer. Luck was on our side that evening, rolling into camp late, there was just enough room at Chapel Pond for the Westfalia and our Chevy to fit in comfortably. It would be an early start the following morning with little time to spare to ensure daylight on the way out. Not going to lie, waking up before 5 am isn't all smiles, but we did what we had to, brewed camp coffee and made for an early ascent.

Our adventure for the weekend would be the Trap Dyke up Mt. Colden. A more technical, rigorous, and highly rewarding hike to show off the unique landscape of the region. It was the perfect fall day, passing through Avalanche pass on the way up proved to be a worthy stop. It was all good until we arrived at the base of the trap dyke to find it covered in running water. Forced to make more than one judgment call that day, Michael's climbing experience came in handy. The decision was made; we would complete the climb working together as a team. One by one we moved up and over every obstacle in our way, it was a highly satisfying summit when we reached the top.

Climbing gear for the Trap Dyke. Photo by Tyler Annalora
Climbing gear for the Trap Dyke. Photo by Tyler Annalora

Climbers from California, Michael and Colbey had plenty of experience on sport climbs across the west coast; we could not have predicted their reaction when we reached the top of Mt. Colden. Much like our own reaction, Michael and Colbey were speechless. Surely they have seen Mt. Whitney, and witnessed the Sierra Nevadas back West, and yet, it was avalanche pass, the trap dyke, and Mt. Colden that had them wide eyed that day. Having the ability to share this joy and appreciation for a mountain range so near and dear to us was quite special.

Scrambling the Trap Dyke. Photo by Tyler Annalora
Scrambling the Trap Dyke. Photo by Tyler Annalora

Take these guys out of ADK but can't take the ADK out of them

Connecting with people on the road, our aspirations of travel and adventure are easily relatable. The desire to explore new things is common ground when it comes to meeting new people. It starts with a recommended water hole, or a fun hike mentioned in passing. These interactions serve as the best way to find what we are looking for when we ourselves don't know what that is.

No matter where we find ourselves, or what we find in our latest adventure, the Adirondacks remain at the top of our list of recommendations. We may be some 3,000 miles way, sitting around a campfire in Wyoming's Grand Tetons or California's Sierra Nevada's, time after time we revert back to the Adirondack wilderness. Our home town playground.

Joyful walk back after conquering the Trap Dyke. Photo by Tyler Annalora
Joyful walk back after conquering the Trap Dyke. Photo by Tyler Annalora

Reconnecting with the van fam

Last winter, after spending 4 months home in Buffalo, New York, retreating to ADK at every chance we got, it was time to get back on the road. Our second leg of the Two Guys Good Buys journey showed us many new places, but more importantly, it reconnected us with our westerly van family. We spent nearly 4 months in Southern California getting to know Joshua Tree National Park and venturing into Baja, Mexico for the first time. It was surreal living in Yosemite Valley for a few weeks, and venturing into Sequoia National Park with its humbling trees. Eventually moving out of California we migrated up into Oregon's ruggedly wild coast, and pushed further North East into Missoula, Montana and Glacier National Park.

Sunset in the Adirondacks. Photo by Frank Fina
Sunset in the Adirondacks. Photo by Frank Fina

It's now been 8 months on the opposite coast and we are happy to admit that we are yearning to get back to the Adirondacks. We look forward to sharing the wonder that is the ADK with more friends and our new road pups. Did we forget to mention? These two guys added two new additions to the crew, sibling Australian Shepherd puppies, Dutch & Aspen we call them. They're shaping up to be reliable hiking buddies.

Newest addition to the crew, Austrailian Shepards Dutch & Aspen
Newest addition to the crew, Austrailian Shepards Dutch & Aspen

As photographers we solely shoot 35mm film because of its unique outcome. It has distinct character much like the Adirondacks, it is not easily replicated. We count the days until our return to the Adirondacks when we are kayaking on a lake away from solid ground and side by side on the High Peaks trails again. It's truly a lifetime of unpredictability and ruggedness to endure.

Adirondack map plotting. Photo by Frank Fina
Adirondack map plotting. Photo by Frank Fina
About the Author …
Tyler Annalora & Frank Fina
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