Kīlauea Iki Trail (Hawaii Volcanoes NP)

November 28, 2021

Kīlauea Erupting

The United States has no shortage of amazing, beautiful volcanoes. And some of them, while dormant, are very much not extinct. Some have erupted within the past century.

All that said, you shouldn’t visit most of these places expecting to see a molten lake of lava. Unless of course, you are visiting Kīlauea! Kīlauea has been erupting, nearly continuously, for the past 40 years. As luck would have it, I found myself on the Big Island of Hawaii at an opportune moment to witness its fresh, spewing lava first-hand. (The name Kīlauea in fact means “spewing”).

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Long House (Mesa Verde NP)

August 27, 2021

Wetherill Mesa

Mesa Verde National Park features elaborate cliff dwellings and myriad archeological sites. The structures, excavations, and artifacts span over a thousand years of ancestral Puebloan history. The park divides into two large sub-mesas. Chapin Mesa hosts crowd favorites like Cliff Palace and Square Tower House. But the quieter Wetherill Mesa features its own set of large cliff dwellings, like Mug House, Step House, and Long House.

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Square Tower House (Mesa Verde NP)

August 27, 2021

Seven Centuries Later

During my recent visit to Mesa Verde National Park, I took a ranger-guided tour of Square Tower House. The “house” consists of a set of stone dwellings built into a cliffside by the ancestral Puebloans. The park contains roughly half a dozen major dwelling sites periodically open to the public in some fashion. Square Tower in particular features the tallest ancient structure in the park.

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Mesa Verde National Park

August 26, 2021

Views for Days

Colorado boasts an impressive roster of four national parks. Everyone knows Rocky Mountain National Park. It ranks among the most popular in the country, with roughly 4.4 million visitors in 2021 alone. But way over in the southwest corner of the state lies Mesa Verde National Park. Mesa Verde ranks as Colorado’s least-visited, but arguably one of the nation’s most unique.

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Devil’s Garden Trail (Arches NP)

June 2, 2021

Arrival at the Devil’s Garden Trail

After entering the park at the crack of dawn, we drove in towards the very back of the main, paved roadway. The Devil’s Garden Trail is easily the biggest “main attraction” in the park. Its many spurs lead to 8 marquee arches, some more accessible than others. You can make this an easy two-mile out-and-back to Landscape Arch and call it a day. Or you can do a full 8-mile journey along the full loop + spurs, making this Arches one true “hiker’s hike”.

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Cinder Cone Nature Trail (Lassen NP)

October 24, 2020

Arrival at Butte Lake

California lays claim to nine national parks, as of 2021—more than any other state. Some parks attract millions of annual visitors: Yosemite and Joshua Tree clocked 4.4mn and 3.0mn visitors, as of 2019. Luckily for NorCal adventurers, Lassen Volcanic flies comparatively under the radar. The park has seen just over half a million visitors, annually, over the past few years.

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