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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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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Maroon Lake to Crater Lake (Maroon Bells)

May 31, 2021

Arrival at Maroon Lake

Maroon Lake sits tucked away in the Elk Mountains, just southwest of Aspen, Colorado. A paved roadway winds its way up the narrow valley from town to the trailhead, just above 9,500′ above sea level. The trailhead serves as a portal to the vast Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness—a favorite among backpackers and alpinists alike.

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Garfield Peak (Crater Lake NP)

Aug 23, 2020, Rim Village

Arrival

I arrived just before sunset to Rim Village, having driven that day north from the Bay Area. The summer and Fall of 2020 will forever be known for two things on the West Coast: COVID and fires. Evidence of the latter hung in the air over Crater Lake, which seemed visibly thick with smoke. I felt as though I were standing on the edge of a massive cauldron.

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Mt Rainier (PNW)

August 14, 2018, Paradise WA

“The Mountain”

In summer 2018 I signed up for a guided mountaineering seminar on Mt Rainier, in the gorgeous Cascade Range in Washington.  My first trip to Washington, four years earlier, was to visit a friend getting her Ph.D. from U Washington in nearby Seattle.  While roaming around town, I caught my first glance of Rainier, towering over the landscape.  It was unlike any mountain I had seen before, clearly taller and more isolated than anything in the Rockies, let alone the Northeast.  I asked my friend if we could hike it.  She looked at me like I had three heads and said “What?! No!  You need to like, train for that.  And acclimate.  It’s like a real mountain.”  I decided then and there that the next time I was in Washington, I was climbing Mt Rainier.

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