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”
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.
Continue reading “Mesa Verde National Park”
July 10, 2021
Loss of Traction
They say getting there is half the fun. Well, for many high trailheads in Colorado, getting there is half the struggle. Approaching the “summer trailhead” for Grays and Torreys proved no exception.
Continue reading “Grays and Torreys: the Great Divide”
June 3, 2021
They say the early bird catches the worm. But in Moab, Utah, the early bird catches brisk hikes to incredible sunrises—and way fewer crowds. And so I found myself breezing past a shuttered entrance booth at Arches National Park around 4:30 in the morning.
Continue reading “Delicate Arch at Sunrise (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”.
Continue reading “Devil’s Garden Trail (Arches NP)”
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.
Continue reading “Maroon Lake to Crater Lake (Maroon Bells)”
May 15, 2021
Mount Elbert’s East Ridge Trail
Mount Elbert sits in the Northern Sawatch Range, just southwest of Leadville, Colorado. At 14,433′ its summit forms the highest point in Colorado and all of the Rocky Mountains. In fact, only one summit in the lower 48 stands taller (Mount Whitney).
Continue reading “Mount Elbert via the East Ridge Trail”
Aug 23, 2020, Rim Village
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.
Continue reading “Garfield Peak (Crater Lake NP)”
August 5, 2020, Whitney Portal
A month before this ascent, I had zero intention of summiting Mt Whitney in 2020. Hiking Whitney requires a permit, drawn from a lottery back in March, that I did not possess as of Mid-July. I hadn’t entered said lottery because in March I didn’t even know I’d be living in California, let alone hiking the Sierras.
Continue reading “Mount Whitney in a day”
August 14, 2018, Paradise WA
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.
Continue reading “Mt Rainier (PNW)”