Travels, US National Parks, Midwestern US

Landmark on the Oregon Trail – Scott’s Bluff National Monument, Nebraska

Back in May, Chelsea and I headed to the Dakotas for a long weekend to do some highpointing. Since we were driving all the way up there, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity to detour through Nebraska along the way and visit some national monuments in the western part of the state. Our… Continue reading Landmark on the Oregon Trail – Scott’s Bluff National Monument, Nebraska

Colorado, Travels, US National Parks

Castle on the plains – Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site

Bent’s Old Fort was in fact not a fort in the traditional sense. It may have resembled military fortifications, but it was actually a trading post. Brothers Charles and William Bent and their business partner Ceran St. Vrain built the fort a few miles outside La Junta in 1833, choosing this particular place because it was fairly centrally-located between the fur trappers of the Rocky Mountains, the native lands of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, and Comanche tribes, and people traveling between the US and Mexico on the Santa Fe Trail. It quickly became a key location for trading and the main stop on the Santa Fe trail for travelers in need of rest, repairs, and replenishment.

Colorado, Travels, US National Parks

Heartbreaking history on the Colorado plains – Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

The Eastern Colorado plains are the original homeland of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, Osage, Kiowa, Sioux, Jicarilla Apache, and Ute tribes (source). But by the mid-1800s they were being systemically dispossessed from their homelands. The 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie established that the Cheyenne and Arapaho would retain some of their native lands in exchange… Continue reading Heartbreaking history on the Colorado plains – Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

Colorado, US National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Sky Pond (the winter version)

Frozen alpine lakes have become one of my favorite things since moving to Colorado. I just love the icy winter scenery so much. It’s already become an annual thing for us to hike to some of the more easily accessible lakes in Rocky every winter. But this winter, my friend Savannah and I had a… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Sky Pond (the winter version)

Colorado, US National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Deer Mountain

It’s not every day that you hike a trail and find yourself nearly face-to-face with its namesake animal. But such was the case on Deer Mountain. (Better than coming face-to-face with a bear on Bear Peak, I suppose…) There were four of them, and they couldn’t have been more than 15 feet (4.5 m) away.… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Deer Mountain

Southwestern US, Travels, US National Parks

Island in the Sky – Canyonlands National Park, Utah (part II)

For our final day in eastern Utah, Pat and I headed into the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands. This is the one you’ve probably all seen pictures of, as it’s the easiest to access and therefore the most popular. It’s only about a 40 minute drive from Moab, down a very scenic stretch… Continue reading Island in the Sky – Canyonlands National Park, Utah (part II)

Southwestern US, Travels, 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: 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