Travels, Southwestern US, US National Parks

Exploring the Needles – Canyonlands National Park, Utah (part I)

Eleven years ago I set foot in Canyonlands for the first time, a stop on our annual family summer national parks road trip. We spent a full day in the park, seeing as much as we could. But we knew we’d barely scratched the surface. This time around, I was determined to see more of… Continue reading Exploring the Needles – Canyonlands National Park, Utah (part I)

Southwestern US, Travels, US National Parks

Iconic Utah – Hiking to Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch is inarguably the most iconic sight in all of Utah. It’s on the license plate, the state quarter, signs all over the state, and numerous other things. But none of these can prepare you for the majesty of the arch itself. The first time I saw it 11 years ago, I was completely… Continue reading Iconic Utah – Hiking to Delicate Arch

Colorado, Travels, US National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Twin Sisters Peak

2020 was a rough year for all of us, Rocky included. First, the park was closed for weeks in the spring due to the pandemic. Then it closed again for 15 days in October and November due to forest fires. In all, nearly 30,000 acres of the park burned. It was absolutely devastating to watch… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Twin Sisters Peak

Colorado, Travels, US National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Lion and Snowbank Lakes

Pat and I could stay in Colorado for the rest of our lives (personally, I have few objections to this!) and probably never run out of places to backpack in Rocky. There are so many options. I haven’t actually counted, but I’m fairly certain that at least ¾ of the trails in the park extend… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Lion and Snowbank Lakes

Colorado, Travels, US National Parks

Colorado Summits: Lily Mountain

Due to the pandemic, entrance into Rocky Mountain National Park was a little more complicated in 2020. In addition to a fee or pass, one needed to reserve a timed entry permit. This allowed the park to reduce the number of visitors and spread them evenly throughout the day to better facilitate social distancing. Plenty… Continue reading Colorado Summits: Lily Mountain

Colorado, Travels, US National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Mount Ida

Summiting Mount Ida turned out to be a ‘third time is the charm’ type situation for us. We wanted to climb it our first summer in Denver, but forest fire smoke severely limited visibility for much of the summer and we weren’t about to walk along the Continental Divide and not be able to see… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Mount Ida

Colorado, Travels, US National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Bierstadt Lake

The first time we did this hike, I hated it. In retrospect, I may have overreacted. It’s not my favorite hike in Rocky, but it’s still pretty nice. I’m sure the fact that I was asking my tired legs – which had hiked 10 miles (16 km) the day before – to climb a bunch… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Bierstadt Lake

Colorado, Travels, US National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Thunder Lake

Obtaining a backcountry permit for Rocky requires similar levels of intensity as many Colorado hiking feats, including summiting a 14er or finding parking at a trailhead or snagging a front country campsite anywhere during the summer. Permits become available each year on March 1 at 8:00am. So on March 1, 2019 at 7:59am, I was… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Thunder Lake

Colorado, Travels, US National Parks

Touring the Gunnison River by Boat – Curecanti National Recreation Area, Colorado

Curecanti National Recreation Area is largely a boating destination and remains, it seems, relatively unknown outside of boating circles. We don’t own a boat, but if you're anything like us then you might be excited to learn that Curecanti just so happens to have one that you can ride. For a fee, of course. The… Continue reading Touring the Gunnison River by Boat – Curecanti National Recreation Area, Colorado

Colorado, Travels, US National Parks

Holy Schist! – Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

After a stunningly beautiful 24 hours at the Maroon Bells, we packed up camp and headed south to Black Canyon of the Gunnison. I’m not sure what I was expecting Black Canyon to be, but it was wildly different from my expectations... in a good way. In my mind, I guess it was a mini… Continue reading Holy Schist! – Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado