Pūtangirua Pinnacles (The Paths of the Dead)

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).

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Hooker Valley Track (Aoraki/Mt Cook NP)

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.

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Hanakapi’ai Falls via the Kalalau Trail

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.

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Rattlesnake Arches (McInnis Canyons)

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.

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