MEET BIG CRAIG
If you sit down with Filson’s Tommy Monette, you’re going to hear about his bike. And if you sit for a while, he’ll show pictures of his bike. And if you’re lucky, he’ll tell you stories of his adventures, like his recent trip to the Rockies with a few friends, some fishing rods, and—of course—his bike.
Tommy’s a sales rep for Filson’s Rocky Mountain division, and as often as he can, he runs away to the mountains, on moto-camping trips...usually for a few days at a time, and we try to hit a different spot each night.
His last trip had a few plans, to: fish, drink whiskey, have loud motorcycles, and act like 12-year-olds. They posted up at Avalanche Campground, just outside of Carbondale in the White River National Forest.
Tommy reflects: This is a great spot. It’s only 4 miles off of the highway, yet utilizes a pretty rugged road (including a river crossing) to get to the campsite. There isn’t much weekday traffic as a result of this. We pulled in, had the congratulatory “great, we made it safely” flask retrieval, and set up camp.
After a while, they heard a rumble. It was the growl of a truck engine, and in pulled a guy—right next to their campsite. It was Big Craig.
He showed up with a full cord of wood, a literal ton of provisions, a full bar’s supply of alcohol, a gas powered blender, tools upon tools, camp furniture (the really nice kind), and out of a heated/cooled diamond plate box in the back of the truck appeared two fully trained German Shorthaired Pointers.
We were needless to say, in awe.
They got to talking, and Big Craig quickly became the best campsite asset: He made the most delicious margaritas with his gas powered blender. Sounds like our kind of camper.
They got to talking, drinking, and in the morning, when I woke up with a ‘bit’ of a headache there was a brand new Powerade outside my tent. Big Craig stole the show.
When one bike wouldn’t start, Tommy and crew needed a toothbrush to clean the bike’s plugs.
“I’ve got a new one in the trailer,” [Craig] said. And, in the spirit of outdoor friendship, he offered one to use. Tommy was floored, but it’s a story we’ve heard over and over—the generosity of good people, more than willing to help while exploring the wild.
Which gave us a great reminder—that the hardest step usually isn’t making it through an adventure (especially with Big Craig nearby); it’s setting out on one.
Big Craig is Craig Heydenberk, an environmental consultant with his own company, Environmental Services Inc. He and his wife are based in the Aspen Valley. He’s an avid outdoorsman, and a huge Filson fan.