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

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

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

Midwestern US, US National Parks

Landmark on the Oregon Trail – Scotts 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 – Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska

Colorado, Colorado Destinations, 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, Colorado Hikes, Rocky Mountain National Park, 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, Colorado Hikes, Colorado Summits, Rocky Mountain National Park, 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, 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, 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, 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