Southwestern US, US National Parks

Big River of the North – Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, New Mexico

With one day remaining of our Labor Day weekend getaway to Taos, we headed out of town to the west. Today, instead of climbing to the highest point, we would be descending to the lowest elevation area in the Taos Valley region: the gorge cut by the Rio Grande. Actually, we’d be descending and then… Continue reading Big River of the North – Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, New Mexico

Colorado, Colorado Hikes, Rocky Mountain National Park, US National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: North Inlet Trail to Lakes Nokoni and Nanita

August 20, 2021. Three days before the start of fall semester. For the first time in 16 months, I would be back in the classroom. I would be teaching one class I’ve taught before… and two new ones. Suffice it to say there were some nerves and anxiety. Fortunately, we had a Rocky backcountry permit… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: North Inlet Trail to Lakes Nokoni and Nanita

Colorado, Colorado Hikes, Rocky Mountain National Park, US National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: East Inlet Trail to Lake Verna and Spirit Lake

Back in June 2019, my mom and I were signed up for a summer solstice Women Who Hike group backpacking trip on East Inlet Trail, with Lake Verna and Spirit Lake as our ultimate destination. Unfortunately, the first day of summer was marked by a massive snowstorm that forced a last-minute change of plans. Fast… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: East Inlet Trail to Lake Verna and Spirit Lake

Colorado, Colorado Hikes, Colorado Summits, Rocky Mountain National Park, US National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak

It was a long time coming, but 2021 was the year Chelsea and I finally stood atop Hallett Peak! I don’t remember when we originally decided we wanted to do this hike, but it was a while ago. The first time we made plans for it, Chelsea had to cancel. The second time, I was… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak

Montana, US National Parks

Montana road trip, part IV: cowboys, old cars, & the prison museum

Next up on our Montana history tour: Deer Lodge, a small town with a surprising amount of history! We arrived mid-morning and our first stop was Grant-Kohrs National Historic Site. This is an old cattle ranch that’s still semi-active. They have horses and cattle on site and park workers give tours, talks, and demonstrations of… Continue reading Montana road trip, part IV: cowboys, old cars, & the prison museum

Montana, US National Parks

Montana road trip, part II: Fort Benton & the Missouri River Breaks

If you know me – or you’ve been following this blog for a while – you know I’m a planner. Some might say I’m an overplanner. I usually have a lengthy and well-researched list of things to do at each destination. Such was not the case for these first couple days of my mom’s and… Continue reading Montana road trip, part II: Fort Benton & the Missouri River Breaks

Colorado, Colorado Hikes, Rocky Mountain National Park, US National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Sandbeach Lake

In Colorado, one can find sand in the most unexpected and/or unusual locations. Much like the aftermath of a day at the beach. Case in point: Great Sand Dunes National Park. Case in point #2: Sandbeach Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. The trail to Sandbeach Lake departs from the parking area immediately to the… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Sandbeach Lake

Southwestern US, US National Parks

Riding the rapids in Split Mountain Canyon – Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

After spending the other days of our long weekend exploring Dinosaur National Monument from above, a guided whitewater rafting expedition now afforded us the chance to see the Utah side of the monument from below. Our one-day trip took us along 9 miles (14.5 km) of the Green River through Split Mountain Canyon. The geology… Continue reading Riding the rapids in Split Mountain Canyon – Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

Colorado, Colorado Destinations, Colorado Hikes, Southwestern US, US National Parks

Canyon Country – Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado

By far, most people who visit Dinosaur go to the Utah half of the monument. It’s the side with the dinosaur bones for which the monument is most famous. It’s also the more accessible part of the monument, with developed campgrounds and easy river access. However… what the Colorado half lacks in dinosaur fossils, it… Continue reading Canyon Country – Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado

Colorado, US National Parks

The Land of Prehistoric History – Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

(Gold star to anyone who can figure out the random inspiration for the title of this post. Hint: it came from the TV show I was bingeing at the time I sat down to write this.) If you’ve ever heard of Dinosaur National Monument, you probably specifically heard about the dinosaur quarry… a building that… Continue reading The Land of Prehistoric History – Dinosaur National Monument, Utah