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”
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”