A good walk amongst tall trees: Redwood National Park

A good walk amongst tall trees: Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park has been on my bucket list for quite some time. I used to see photos of the tall, majestic redwoods and something in my soul would stir. I’ve always wanted to travel out west to see them and I finally had the chance this August.

Redwood National Park is home to some of the tallest trees on earth, but it is also one of the most diverse national parks I have visited. In addition to the redwoods, there are prairies, oak woodlands, rivers, and nearly 40 miles of beautiful coastline.

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The Beauty of Big Trees: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

The Beauty of Big Trees: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

I was really pushing it by heading toward Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in late July. Not only was it a busy time of year for the parks, but it was hot. Too hot. So hot that I only stayed for a few days and eventually headed toward the California coast.

But what I saw in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks were mesmerizing, large trees and a park administration working very hard to re-preserve (I’ll explain that later) a region that was nearly destroyed by its own popularity. I was impressed and so glad I went.

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Peak Season in Yosemite National Park

Peak Season in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is certainly one of the crown jewels of the National Park system. It was also my first experience with the high-season rush of crowds at a national park, which has me thinking about how people interact with our protected spaces.

Yosemite is in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, on the eastern side of the state. Within the 1,200 square miles, you’ll find the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Hetch Hetchy, Glacier Point, Half Dome, the Tunnel View, and many beautiful waterfalls.

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Cherry Pie in Capitol Reef National Park

Cherry Pie in Capitol Reef National Park

The most memorable part of Capitol Reef National Park was the pies. Yes, baked pies: apple, strawberry-rhubarb, cherry, peach, and mixed berry pies. All fresh, all warm if you get there early enough, and the perfect (luxurious) serving size for two.

The pies were for sale at the Gifford Homestead, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a small farmhouse and cultural demonstration site, situated amongst the 200 acre Fruita Rural Historical District and just a short walk from the Fruita Campground where we stayed for several nights in June.

We made it a daily ritual to go for a sunrise hike and, upon returning, grab a cup of coffee and pie from the Gifford Homestead. If I had to imagine heaven, the Fruita District of Capitol Reef might be in my top three scenarios. Still, there was much more to the national park…

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Hoodoos and Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park

Hoodoos and Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is known for its hoodoos, those orange spires reaching up from the desert floor like spikes in an ancient god’s torture bed. Despite the well-recognized landforms, Bryce Canyon receives far fewer visitors than nearby Zion and Grand Canyon National Parks, so it’s worth visiting to avoid the crowds of summer.

Bryce Canyon is in southwestern Utah, an hour and 20 minutes northeast of Zion National Park, four hours and twenty minutes north of the Grand Canyon, and two hours and ten minutes southwest of Capitol Reef National Park, all worth the visit if you can spare the time. The nearest cities are Las Vegas, NV, nearly four hours to the southeast of BCNP, or Salt Lake City, UT, which is the same distance, to the north.

While visiting Bryce Canyon for five days this month, I was amazed at the formations our earth can take. Keep reading →

Zion National Park: A Mystical, Challenging Environment

Zion National Park: A Mystical, Challenging Environment

Zion National Park is a place that inspires religion, with its cathedral-like mountains and the restrained garden-like feel in its valleys. I wasn’t necessarily inspired to the local religions of Utah, but I could feel how this unique national park made me want to strive for something bigger, loftier, higher. For five days, I chose the park as my idol, worthy as it is.

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