December 18, 2022
A cold start
We gathered just beyond the parking lot below Fremont Pass for day two of our AIARE 1 Avalanche Awareness course. I felt nervous and excited. But mostly I felt cold. The sun had yet to climb above the nearby ridgelines and the thermometer read ~0F. In light of this, our instructor had us start up the old logging road immediately. We’d stop a few minutes later, after warming up a bit, to begin the day’s informational components.
Continue reading “Taking an AIARE 1 Avalanche Awareness Class in Colorado”
October 8, 2022
Departure from Ketatahi
I arrived around sunrise at an empty Ketatahi Park and Ride. Several other hikers pulled in as I waited for our 7 am shuttle to Mangatepopo trailhead. But the massive car park would remain largely empty throughout the day. Early October was hardly “high season” for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. And shuttle service was still fairly limited.
Continue reading “Tongariro Alpine Crossing”
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”