100 Days of National Parks: Day 36 – Mist Falls, King’s Canyon National Park

My first taste of hiking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains came in August of 2012, when I took a three day weekend and traveled up to King’s Canyon National Park in California, not knowing what to expect. It was my first solo camping trip in ages, and I’d just heard the Park existed. I knew about Sequoia, naturally, which extends to the south of King’s Canyon and forms one massive National Park area covering the majority of the southern end of the High Sierras, but King’s Canyon was a mystery.

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Mist Falls

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My first taste of hiking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains came in August of 2012, when I took a three day weekend and traveled up to King’s Canyon National Park in California, not knowing what to expect.  It was my first solo camping trip in ages, and I’d just heard the Park existed.  I knew about Sequoia, naturally, which extends to the south of King’s Canyon and forms one massive National Park area covering the majority of the southern end of the High Sierras, but King’s Canyon was a mystery.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 36 – Mist Falls, King’s Canyon National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 9 – Downstream Subway, Zion National Park

Downstream Subway

The Subway in Zion National Park is one of the most alien, spectacular places I’ve ever been. Tucked back along the Left Fork of North Creek as it cuts through the Kolob Plateau, this short section of slot canyon creeps up on you gradually. As you trudge upstream through the creek, up increasingly more epic cascades and waterfalls, along sandstone slick with algae and dead leaves, the canyon walls narrow, until you turn around a bend to the mouth of this amazing place.
I’ve only been up from the downstream trailhead, and it’s one of my goals in life to become proficient enough in repelling that I can tackle the descent from the upstream access point, as I’ve heard the technical section of the canyon is one of the most epic sights you can see in the U.S.

Adding to the specialness of this place is the fact that it is only accessible with a permit from the Visitor Center Backcountry desk, either through lottery or a day in advance. While they only allow 12 groups to enter the canyon each day, I’ve found it easy enough to get a first-come-first-served permit by camping out in front of the Visitor Center entrance and getting in right as they open the doors. Sadly, this is likely not an option in summer months, but it’s absolutely worth a shot, as the experience of being in this section of Zion National Park is a highlight of the park and the southwest in general.

Downstream Subway

Downstream Subway
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The Subway in Zion National Park is one of the most alien, spectacular places I’ve ever been.  Tucked back along the Left Fork of North Creek as it cuts through the Kolob Plateau, this short section of slot canyon creeps up on you gradually.  As you trudge upstream through the creek, up increasingly more epic cascades and waterfalls, along sandstone slick with algae and dead leaves, the canyon walls narrow, until you turn around a bend to the mouth of this amazing place.

I’ve only been up from the downstream trailhead, and it’s one of my goals in life to become proficient enough in repelling that I can tackle the descent from the upstream access point, as I’ve heard the technical section of the canyon is one of the most epic sights you can see in the U.S.

Adding to the specialness of this place is the fact that it is only accessible with a permit from the Visitor Center Backcountry desk, either through lottery or a day in advance.  While they only allow 12 groups to enter the canyon each day, I’ve found it easy enough to get a first-come-first-served permit by camping out in front of the Visitor Center entrance and getting in right as they open the doors.  Sadly, this is likely not an option in summer months, but it’s absolutely worth a shot, as the experience of being in this section of Zion National Park is a highlight of the park and the southwest in general.

100/100/100: Day 2 – Murhut Falls, Olympic National Park

Murhut Falls

One of my favorite aspects of Olympic National Park in western Washington is the mystery of it, the inaccessibility of its treasures when compared to many National Parks. There are only a few short access roads into the park, and most of the area is only visible via overnight backpacking trip. It calls for exploration and encourages wandering more than any other park I know.

I came across Murhut Falls while wandering along old fire roads, picking up trails as I come across them. It’s a highlight of the Eastern Olympics, a towering 200′ waterfall hidden away in the old growth forest, and is just one of many examples of the secrets this enchanting wilderness has to offer.

Murhut Falls

Murhut Falls
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One of my favorite aspects of Olympic National Park in western Washington is the mystery of it, the inaccessibility of its treasures when compared to many National Parks.  There are only a few short access roads into the park, and most of the area is only visible via overnight backpacking trip.  It calls for exploration and encourages wandering more than any other park I know.

I came across Murhut Falls while wandering along old fire roads, picking up trails as I come across them.  It’s a highlight of the Eastern Olympics, a towering 200′ waterfall hidden away in the old growth forest, and is just one of many examples of the secrets this enchanting wilderness has to offer.

Bordeaux Ghost Town

I find that it’s often the greatest explorations that happen on the spur of the moment, without preplanning or research. Simply getting into the car or stepping out onto the trail without knowing what you’re going to find can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. Often, I forget the simple joy of these unplanned wanderings, the emotional high that I can get just from setting out and driving through the woods, looking for something interesting.


I find that it’s often the greatest explorations that happen on the spur of the moment, without preplanning or research.  Simply getting into the car or stepping out onto the trail without knowing what you’re going to find can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.  Often, I forget the simple joy of these unplanned wanderings, the emotional high that I can get just from setting out and driving through the woods, looking for something interesting.

Continue reading “Bordeaux Ghost Town”