November 24, 2021
The Nā Pali Coast of Kauai
You may not know it, but you’re probably quite familiar with Kauai’s Nā Pali Coast. Jurassic Park ostensibly takes place on an island near Costa Rica. But the original film sourced its lush, tropical landscapes from Kauai. And the iconic helicopter shots bookending the movie’s main events prominently feature this stunning, rugged coastline.
Continue reading “Hanakapi’ai Falls via the Kalalau Trail”
May 2, 2021
Arrival at Pollock Bench
I found myself back in Grand Junction on a Sunday in May for round two of my COVID-19 vaccination. The next morning I’d receive a jab at a local pharmacy before driving back to Denver and the Front Range. Four weeks prior, vaccine appointments were impossible to book in the Front Range and high country, but Mesa County had plenty of free slots. Sadly, as of this writing (August 2021), Mesa County remains largely unvaccinated, with rapidly rising case counts.
But on this Sunday my goals involved something entirely different: a long hike through desert canyons to see the remote and beautiful Rattlesnake Arches.
Continue reading “Rattlesnake Arches (McInnis Canyons)”
September 18, 2020
A Jaunt to Santa Cruz
A few weeks before this hike, I dinged my bumper on a log while attempting a three-point turn on an old dirt road through the mountains around 5 am. With my car in the shop, the sponsored rental company had just two choices: a giant white pickup truck or a tiny Mustang convertible. I chose the convertible.
Continue reading “Ohlone Bluff Trail at Wilder Ranch”
August 31, 2020
Arrival at Smith Rock
I met my guide in the parking lot at Smith Rock State Park for a day of introductory sport climbing. After introductions, and a quick gear check, we set off on a short hike towards the day’s climbing targets.
Continue reading “Sport Climbing in the Marsupials at Smith Rock”
August 22, 2020, Lava Beds National Monument
Lava Beds: Off the Beaten Path
Imagine the state of California in your head. Picture its shape on a map. Now try to think about the corner of the state you’ve likely spent the least time even considering the existence of. Congratulations: You now know where to find Lava Beds National Monument.
Continue reading “Spelunking in Lava Beds National Monument”
August 6, 2020, Lone Pine
Alabama Hills amidst California Mountains
The morning after successfully summiting Mount Whitney, I joined a friend for some rock climbing in the nearby Alabama Hills. We had spent the night in Lone Pine, roughly 4000′ below the trailhead for Whitney.
Continue reading “Rock climbing in the Alabama Hills”
July 18, 2020, Rhus Ridge Trailhead
Having lived in the Bay Area for just a few months now, I’ve already hiked Black Mountain quite a few times. The first of these hikes took place, in fact, during a job interview that brought me out to California for only a couple of days.
Continue reading “A gorgeous inversion from Black Mountain”
June 13, 2020, Big Basin SP
When I arrived in California to start a new career in Spring 2020, I immediately asked my co-workers for hiking tips. The Berry Creek Falls loop came up numerous times as a top recommendation for hiking in the area. The trail sits in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California’s oldest such park.
Continue reading “Berry Creek Falls (Big Basin)”
May 6, 2020, Grand Junction
I spent a day at Colorado National Monument while moving across the country in May, 2020. There are three basic ways to get from New York to San Francisco, with I-80 being the fastest. But I chose I-70 because crossing through the heart of the Rockies and Southern Utah seemed like a way cooler experience.
No surprise: the continental divide and Utah’s red rock vistas did not disappoint! But Western Colorado was the real sleeper hit of this road trip. Glenwood Canyon was perhaps the coolest part of the entire drive coast-to-coast. Grand Junction was a surprisingly cute town with some great eats. And Colorado National Monument was just plain stunning.
Continue reading “Rim Rock Drive and the Coke Ovens (Colorado Nat’l Monument)”
May 6, 2020, Colorado National Monument
The Devil’s Kitchen trail takes you on a short out-and-back to some super cool rock formations. It lies at the Eastern extreme on Colorado National Monument, near the park entrance. The same car park services the Serpent’s Trail and No Thoroughfare Canyon hikes. I highly recommend the former if it’s not too hot. Devil’s Kitchen proves short and easy and it packs a scenic punch—not to be missed!
Continue reading “Devil’s Kitchen (Colorado Nat’l Monument)”