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”
May 18, 2022
Arrival and ascent
I drove into the Lake Myvatn area of northeast Iceland on a moody, mid-May morning. After touring some belching, sulfurous thermal vents, I headed over to Hverfjall Crater for the day’s only ‘proper hike‘.
Continue reading “Hverfjall Crater Rim Hike”
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”
August 23, 2020, Sun Notch Trailhead
A stroll along the Sun Notch Trail
I spent a day last August exploring Crater Lake National Park en route to Bend Oregon. After a sunrise hike to Garfield Peak, I began a drive along East Rim Drive. A recent spate of wildfires had left the lake quite smokey, and sightlines would continue to deteriorate into midday. Beyond this COVID-19 had dashed any plans of taking a boat tour around the lake. But some other short hikes were still on the docket, including this little gem!
Continue reading “Sun Notch Trail towards Phantom Ship (Crater Lake NP)”
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 22, 2020, Lava Beds National Monument
Lava Beds: Off the Beaten Path
Imagine the state of California in your head. Picture its shape on a map. Now try to think about the corner of the state you’ve likely spent the least time even considering the existence of. Congratulations: You now know where to find Lava Beds National Monument.
Continue reading “Spelunking in Lava Beds National Monument”
July 12, 2020, Devil’s Postpile National Monument
I drove the winding roadway towards the Devil’s Postpile National Monument around the crack of dawn. I had spent Saturday mountain biking at Mammoth ski area, staying overnight right near the main base. As luck would have it, the roadway to Devil’s Postpile runs right past the base lodge, underneath the gondola. The road promptly narrows from a standard 2-way state highway to a winding, unstriped mountain adventure. And the views from this drive are nothing short of stunning. Jagged stone peaks rose up from the rolling hills of conifers, snowfields, and rushing waters—the Eastern Sierras in mid-summer!
Continue reading “Devil’s Postpile and Rainbow Falls (Mammoth Lakes)”
June 30, 2020, Pinnacles National Park
The day began long before sunrise, with a 2-hour drive to Pinnacles National Park. This outing would mark my second national park visit in California in only a few weeks. I aimed to arrive at Pinnacles around sunrise, so I could enjoy a multi-hour hike before the temperatures in central California inevitably climbed into the high 90s.
Continue reading “High peaks trail (Pinnacles National Park)”
June 20, 2020, Lassen Peak Trailhead
Lassen National Park
I began the day an hour southeast of Lassen National Park, in the town of Red Bluff. The road to the park undulated through the rolling foothills of the northernmost expanse of California’s Central Valley. Through the haze, I could see the Cascades rising to the north and east ahead of me. First, Shasta came into view, still covered in snow along its uppermost flanks. Then Brokeoff and Lassen Peaks rose over the landscape, dead-ahead, both silhouettes against the morning sun.
Continue reading “Lassen Peak: an entry-level Cascade volcano”