April 12, 2022
Arrival at South Mesa Trailhead
My day began with a morning rush hour drive along US-36 from Denver towards Boulder. Traffic moved thick but fast. I pulled off onto CO-170 and suddenly found myself deposited onto rolling ranch land, dotted with deciduous tree stands and farmhouses. Just beyond this bucolic scene, the Flat Irons and foothills loomed large, aglow in the morning light.
Continue reading “South Boulder Peak and Bear Peak Loop”
February 8, 2021
No Man’s Land
My day began around 4:30 am in La Junta, Colorado. The next two hours involved driving down increasingly spare roadways through the far southeastern plains of the Centennial State. Just 20 miles shy of the border with Oklahoma, I pulled off onto a dirt county road. It started straight but grew winding. It crossed drainage ditches and creeks. I had no cell service. I pleaded with the Universe not to give me a flat tire.
Continue reading “Black Mesa, Oklahoma”
November 28, 2021
The United States has no shortage of amazing, beautiful volcanoes. And some of them, while dormant, are very much not extinct. Some have erupted within the past century.
All that said, you shouldn’t visit most of these places expecting to see a molten lake of lava. Unless of course, you are visiting Kīlauea! Kīlauea has been erupting, nearly continuously, for the past 40 years. As luck would have it, I found myself on the Big Island of Hawaii at an opportune moment to witness its fresh, spewing lava first-hand. (The name Kīlauea in fact means “spewing”).
Continue reading “Kīlauea Iki Trail (Hawaii Volcanoes NP)”
November 27, 2021
I arrived well before dawn at the Mauna Kea visitor’s center, roughly 9200′ above sea level. The complex sits six miles off the “saddle road” between the island’s two main population centers: Hilo and Kona. I parked in the empty lot, donned my backpack, and headed off for the Humu’ula Trail.
Continue reading “Mauna Kea via the Humu’ula 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.
Continue reading “Hanakapi’ai Falls via the Kalalau Trail”
October 10, 2021
Sunrise on Loveland Pass
With temperatures dropping and snowguns firing, my 2021 hiking season would soon draw to a close. Unfortunately, I did not have the luxury of letting my legs and lungs atrophy into ‘winter mode’. On the horizon was a family trip to Hawaii where I hoped to summit Mauna Kea. And so, on an ephemeral October Sunday, I found myself driving up to Loveland Pass.
Continue reading “Cupid Peak (and almost Grizzly) from Loveland Pass”
September 4, 2021
By early September my 2021 Colorado fourteener season was drawing to a close. That said, I needed a low-drama, high-vertical summit to keep me in shape for an upcoming technical ascent. Luckily the Sawatch Range contains peaks like this in abundance. After scouting some maps and websites I settled in on Mount Antero.
Continue reading “Mount Antero (via West Slopes)”
August 27, 2021
The Sahara amidst the Rockies
The great state of Colorado spans 10,000′ in elevation and over 450 miles in extent. Its geography and climate span an equally impressive range. A single day’s drive can take you from the high eastern plains to red rock desert, with the spine of the Rockies in between.
Continue reading “High Dune (Great Sand Dunes NP)”
August 27, 2021
Mesa Verde National Park features elaborate cliff dwellings and myriad archeological sites. The structures, excavations, and artifacts span over a thousand years of ancestral Puebloan history. The park divides into two large sub-mesas. Chapin Mesa hosts crowd favorites like Cliff Palace and Square Tower House. But the quieter Wetherill Mesa features its own set of large cliff dwellings, like Mug House, Step House, and Long House.
Continue reading “Long House (Mesa Verde NP)”
August 27, 2021
Thousands of years of history
Mesa Verde National Park features a unique blend of stunning scenery and over a thousand years of archeological treasures. Ancestral Puebloan people built elaborate cliff dwellings on this high cuesta just beyond the Rocky Mountains.
Continue reading “Petroglyph Point Trail (Mesa Verde NP)”