100 Days of National Parks: Day 62 – On Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park

On Moro Rock

Sitting on top of Moro Rock, in Sequoia National Park, it’s impossible not to let your mind drift as you enjoy one of the best views in the park, and one of the best overlooks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains that I’ve ever come across. Unimpeded by trees or ground cover, the view from Moro Rock offers an expansive clear view of the peaks of the High Sierra to the east, crowned by Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the continental U.S., all the way to to the rolling foothills and expansive farmlands of the central valley. It’s rare that you can find such a pristine overlook, such a clear view of some of the most amazing landscapes the country has to offer. It’s even rarer to have the experience to yourself.

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On Moro Rock

On Moro Rock
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Sitting on top of Moro Rock, in Sequoia National Park, it’s impossible not to let your mind drift as you enjoy one of the best views in the park, and one of the best overlooks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains that I’ve ever come across.  Unimpeded by trees or ground cover, the view from Moro Rock offers an expansive clear view of the peaks of the High Sierra to the east, crowned by Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the continental U.S., all the way to to the rolling foothills and expansive farmlands of the central valley.  It’s rare that you can find such a pristine overlook, such a clear view of some of the most amazing landscapes the country has to offer.  It’s even rarer to have the experience to yourself.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 62 – On Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 61 – Morning Beneath the Patriarchs, Zion National Park

Morning beneath the Patriarchs

One of the benefits in becoming as familiar with Zion National Park as I have become over the past half decade is the fact that I can go to the park and not feel the need to constantly chase new sights or places I haven’t seen. On my last real trip to the park in November of 2014, I spent two weeks hiking familiar and unfamiliar trails and generally wandering the park freely, as the winter chill had emptied the park of most of its crowds, allowing me the peace of exploring at my own pace in my own manner.

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Morning Beneath the Patriarchs

 

Morning beneath the Patriarchs
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One of the benefits in becoming as familiar with Zion National Park as I have become over the past half decade is the fact that I can go to the park and not feel the need to constantly chase new sights or places I haven’t seen.  On my last real trip to the park in November of 2014, I spent two weeks hiking familiar and unfamiliar trails and generally wandering the park freely, as the winter chill had emptied the park of most of its crowds, allowing me the peace of exploring at my own pace in my own manner.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 61 – Morning Beneath the Patriarchs, Zion National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 60 – Upper Royal Basin, Olympic National Park

Upper Royal Lake Basin

One of the things I love the most about Olympic National Park is the remoteness of its most stunning attractions. With the vast majority of the park designated as a wilderness area, with no roads or easy access routes into the interior, the park courts exploration and wandering, and doesn’t make it easy on intrepid hikers to get back and find the amazing places hidden in the depths of its forests and mountains.

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Upper Royal Basin

Upper Royal Lake Basin
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One of the things I love the most about Olympic National Park is the remoteness of its most stunning attractions.  With the vast majority of the park designated as a wilderness area, with no roads or easy access routes into the interior, the park courts exploration and wandering, and doesn’t make it easy on intrepid hikers to get back and find the amazing places hidden in the depths of its forests and mountains.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 60 – Upper Royal Basin, Olympic National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 55 – One Does Not Simply Walk into Chinook Pass, Mt. Rainier National Park

Located on the easter edge of Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington, where State Highway 410 crosses the Cascades before dropping down toward the town of Yakima, Chinook Pass is one of the major road crossings for the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington. I passed through the area in the summer of 2015 while section hiking portions of the trail through the state, amid the smoke from fires throughout the Cascade mountains that summer. As massive wildfires engulfed areas around Mt. Adams and elsewhere, thick smoke blanketed the sky throughout Washington, lending itself to amazingly apocalyptic light displays like the one above.

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One Does Not Simply Walk into Chinook Pass

Located on the easter edge of Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington, where State Highway 410 crosses the Cascades before dropping down toward the town of Yakima, Chinook Pass is one of the major road crossings for the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington.  I passed through the area in the summer of 2015 while section hiking portions of the trail through the state, amid the smoke from fires throughout the Cascade mountains that summer.  As massive wildfires engulfed areas around Mt. Adams and elsewhere, thick smoke blanketed the sky throughout Washington, lending itself to amazingly apocalyptic light displays like the one above.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 55 – One Does Not Simply Walk into Chinook Pass, Mt. Rainier National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 54 – Hickman Bridge, Capitol Reef National Park

As one of the easier hikes in Capitol Reef National Park, the short 2 mile trail to Hickman Bridge is definitely worth the stop, just for the chance to pass under the impressive natural span of sandstone. Other than Natural Bridges National Monument, I’ve never found a place with a more accessible, and stunning display of a natural bridge. Whether combined with a longer hike out to the Rim Overlook, which looks down upon the orchards of Fruita Valley, or as a short diversion when passing through the park, it’s definitely worth the stop.

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Hickman Bridge

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As one of the easier hikes in Capitol Reef National Park, the short 2 mile trail to Hickman Bridge is definitely worth the stop, just for the chance to pass under the impressive natural span of sandstone.  Other than Natural Bridges National Monument, I’ve never found a place with a more accessible, and stunning display of a natural bridge.  Whether combined with a longer hike out to the Rim Overlook, which looks down upon the orchards of Fruita Valley, or as a short diversion when passing through the park, it’s definitely worth the stop.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 54 – Hickman Bridge, Capitol Reef National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 48 – One of Us, Canyonlands National Park

One of Us

One of the coolest parts of the Joint Trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park isn’t the narrow slot canyon itself, but rather the hundreds of stone cairns that litter the canyon walls and floor. Like a village of small rock piles, you walk through the narrow canyon and feel compelled to add to the pile, so to speak. Soon, you’re on your hands and knees, stacking progressively smaller stones atop one another, trying to get as many as possible to balance before stepping away with the satisfaction of a job well done.

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One of Us

 

One of Us
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One of the coolest parts of the Joint Trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park isn’t the narrow slot canyon itself, but rather the hundreds of stone cairns that litter the canyon walls and floor.  Like a village of small rock piles, you walk through the narrow canyon and feel compelled to add to the pile, so to speak.  Soon, you’re on your hands and knees, stacking progressively smaller stones atop one another, trying to get as many as possible to balance before stepping away with the satisfaction of a job well done.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 48 – One of Us, Canyonlands National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 47 – Double Falls, Zion National Park

A few weeks back, someone asked me what my favorite place in Zion National Park was, and I froze, not sure how I should answer. How could I pick just one place in my favorite National Park, one example of the boundless examples of natural beauty around every corner, in every tucked-away canyon, up every seemingly unremarkable streambed. When I finally answered, I offered up the Right Fork of North Creek, which seemed to catch them off guard.

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Double Falls

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A few weeks back, someone asked me what my favorite place in Zion National Park was, and I froze, not sure how I should answer.  How could I pick just one place in my favorite National Park, one example of the boundless examples of natural beauty around every corner, in every tucked-away canyon, up every seemingly unremarkable streambed.  When I finally answered, I offered up the Right Fork of North Creek, which seemed to catch them off guard.   Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 47 – Double Falls, Zion National Park”