October 7, 2022
A Haunting Landscape
Reluctantly, I left my cozy hotel in Martinborough, speeding off down country roads toward the coast. I drove through rolling, lush farmland, dotted with trees and fluffy white sheep. New Zealand’s North Island had reached full-blown spring. The route grew windy (as in winding), as I dropped towards the coast. It also grew windy (as in blustery).
Continue reading “Pūtangirua Pinnacles (The Paths of the Dead)”
October 3, 2022
Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
I woke up bright and early for a sunrise (ish) hike in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. By now, I had spent the better part of a week soaking in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. I flew into Queenstown and worked my way north, including a sunset hike near Mount Cook the evening prior. But these tall, rugged, glacier-clad peaks continued to feel nothing short of stunning.
Continue reading “Sealy Tarns Track”
October 2, 2022
I drove towards Mount Cook Village on a breathtaking, sunny day in early October. For nearly 20 miles, Aoraki/Mt Cook loomed over the landscape as I continued along the shores of Lake Pukaki. At one point I stopped to soak in the views. Not a trace of snow remained along the lakeshore and in the valleys. But permanent glaciers covered Mt Cook.
Continue reading “Hooker Valley Track (Aoraki/Mt Cook NP)”
October 2, 2022
I was a long way from home. 7,879 miles, to be exact. Strange stars covered the sky as I drove along the darkened lake shores. Before too long, I arrived at a small dirt parking area for the Isthmus Peak Track.
Continue reading “Isthmus Peak Track”
September 24, 2022
Nothing about Olomana Ridge seems smart, straightforward, or comfortable. This even starts with parking. After arriving at the alleged “trailhead” I drove back out towards a nearby bus stop where I found some parked cars along the side of the road. I decided this looked legal enough and headed back towards the “trail”.
Continue reading “Olomana Ridge”
September 18, 2022
Around 5 am I drove up past the Elbert Creek campground towards the trailhead. Across the street, I saw a veritable rave of flashing headlamps and brake lights at one of several Mt Elbert trailheads. But I pulled into the massive lot to find only a couple of other cars and no bustle.
Continue reading “Mount Massive via the East Slopes”
September 10, 2022
Around 3:15 am I drove through Minturn, past empty streets and darkened windows. Then, I began the long winding dirt road up towards the Halfmoon Campground. The sun wouldn’t make an appearance for another three hours at least. But even still, I arrived at a bustling trailhead filled with headlamp beams and dimly lit truckbeds.
Continue reading “Mount of the Holy Cross via Halo Ridge”
September 4, 2022
I left Lake City around 4 am, keen to get an early start on the day’s fourteener double-header. Lake City provides a comfortable base camp for no less than five fourteeners. And in fact, I had just hiked another, Wetterhorn Peak, the day before.
Continue reading “Redcloud and Sunshine Peaks”
September 3, 2022
Lake City and the San Jauns
The late afternoon sun poked in and out of view as I sped along Colorado 149 into the heart of the San Juan Mountains. It occasionally ducked behind increasingly rugged mountain peaks and silhouetted stands of aspens. Suddenly, the road dipped into a canyon directly beside the Lake Fork of the Gunnison. It was the Friday of Labor Day Weekend, and I saw maybe two other cars.
Continue reading “Wetterhorn Peak (Colorado)”
August 28, 2022
South Colony Lakes
Our truck ambled slowly up the rough road to the South Colony Lakes Trailhead. It was mid-morning on a gorgeous, sunny Saturday in late August. Puffy white clouds had begun to coagulate as we donned our packs and divvied up the climbing gear.
Continue reading “Crestone Needle via the Ellingwood Arete”