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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Getting the most out of Wanderlust Festivals

Getting the most out of Wanderlust Festivals

I recently attended two Wanderlust Festivals – in Aspen-Snowmass, Colorado and Squaw Valley (Lake Tahoe), California. They were wonderful experiences, full of yoga, music, food, fun, and new friends.

After my first Wanderlust in Aspen-Snowmass, though, I didn’t feel like I’d taken advantage of the whole experience so I changed my strategy a little bit at Lake Tahoe. If you only have the time or money to attend one Wanderlust, I offer these tips to help you get the most out of the experience.

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Finding a Coffee Oasis off the Loneliest Road in America

Finding a Coffee Oasis off the Loneliest Road in America

Five long miles off The Loneliest Road in America, US Route 50, in Baker, Nevada, population 68, stands a tiny little coffee cart open six days a week from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm. As I sit down to talk with the owner, Rachel Gale, she waves to every local car that drives by and greets her customers by name. It’s clear that The Magic Bean Coffee Cart is filling more than one need in this small community.

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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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The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum: A Sterling Silver Surprise

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum: A Sterling Silver Surprise

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico is a small, concise, sterling silver beauty. Of course, I’ve known of O’Keeffe’s art work for most of my life, but this museum really pulled together the various threads and stages of her career, giving a broad and deep view that I was delightfully surprised with. Keep reading →