March 19, 2023
I left my hotel around sunrise for a quick hike up Ventana Canyon. Conveniently enough, the trailhead to the Maiden Pools was in the employee parking lot of the hotel. The trailhead still hosts a good number of spots reserved for hikers. But this awkward setup provides one reason why this trail does not see heavy foot traffic.
Continue reading “Ventana Canyon and the Maiden Pools”
March 18, 2023
The morning sun poked its head above the hills as I zipped along the winding roadway over Gates Pass. The desert grew brighter, revealing an undulating, dusty landscape of endless saguaros. I was definitely in Tucson.
Continue reading “Wasson Peak via King Canyon Trail (Saguaro NP)”
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 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”.
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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”