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Posts Tagged ‘National Parks’

New Mexico/Guadalupe Mtns Recap

I had an awesome time in New Mexico, “The land of enchantment”. I liked how open it was, and how pretty the desert could be. I think I also just had a good time hanging out, but yeah, good times and here are a few pics from it!

Hiking in the Guadalupe Mountains… “Top of Texas”

McKittrick Canyon

My friend I almost sat on….

Shotgun Shootin’

Carlsbad Cavern Spooking

Caverns Handstanding

HUGE Carlsbad Caverns

Offroading in the Guadalupes to Williams Ranch


Guadalupe Mountains National Park

I’m on my way, leaving Carlsbad, NM right now after updating my site :-)

Today: Guadalupe Peak which is the HIGHEST point in the State of Texas. Go big when in Texas I am told.

Tomorrow: McKittric Canyon and then off to Wade’s in Hobbs, NM.


Colorado Wrap-up

Colorado was great, although I don’t think I could fall in love with it until I could hit the slopes and ride some powder. It was cool, but it seemed like other places I have been on my trip and after over 2 months, and without much of a plan now, it had started to take a toll on my psyche. I mean, being on the trip is awesome, but I wasn’t doing much, and just felt I was wasting my time just sitting around. On a good note I did learn more about current college and professional football (in HD), touch up on my Beer Pong skills, and a little guitar hero.

I stayed with Mr. Cheato and got to recharge after exploring California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. I bought a childs fishing poll and tied a mouse on the end for endless fun with his two cats. After a while they were more interested in the fishing line though.

After 9 days of chilling (including my one day in Rocky Mountain National Park), I departed Lafayette, Colorado and headed down to Colorado Springs. I had a rough plan, but was really ready to head home. I had had enough. I was being very “cranky” to say the least because I just didn’t see the point to all this anymore. The reason I had been streching it out was so I could see my friend Wade in Hobbs, NM on the 18th of October when he was off of work.

Turning Point…

This the the picture that cost me nearly 100 dollars. Read here.

From that moment on, when I got my wallet back… Everything was good. I mean seriously, that would have been SUCKY if it had happened. No ID, no Money, no Credit Cards… duude…

So, I enjoyed that night hanging out with Mr. French and then hit the road bright and early with a smile.


Rocky Mountain National Park

I got outside, and I felt sane again!!!

I was told to check out the “Bear Lake” area of Rocky Mountain National Park. I did, and I went approximately 8 miles in this direction…


View Larger Map

I saw Mills Lake…

Awesome Views of Rocky Mountain National Park

And Elk on the way out.

After my hike I went and got a handstand at _____ hotel.

Booyah!

The Stanley Hotel is where The Shining was written and where the series was filmed, not the movie however.


Back on track

Oil changed, car cleaned, sick of CNN and debates. I’m ready to smell some mountain air again :-) Will post some pictures of Rocky Mountain National Park!


On an AWESOME note, I am proud to celebrate the 1.5 years Kristen and I have “officially” been dating! Woo hoo, go us! :-)


Bryce Canyon National Park

“Boo-yah-ka-sha! Check it.” We’z be alls up in Bryce Canyon. I be taken da pictures and postin them fresh.

I’z be handstanding.

I’ze be panoramaing up in da canyon.


Angels Landing at Zion National Park

I woke up yesterday and spoiled myself to a Bacon, Egg and Cheddar on Sesame sandwitch, along with a nice ice white chocolate mocha.

On the Zion shuttle, I had two elderly women talk to me. One was overexcited that I was going hiking and the other was enchanted in the smell of my sunscreen…

Angels Landing is nearly all paved… until you get to the top. So out of the 2.5 miles, 2 of it is paved, but uphill. The last .5 miles takes you along a rockface that can get narrow at times, and there are metal chains there for your confidence in hiking. I got to the top and met a “tour”. They were nice enough to take my picture. I don’t know why someone would pay for a day hike? Who knows. I did pay for my Yosemite and Grand Canyon hikes but they were in the backcountry and food and permits were provided :-)

The view was spectacular. Definitely the best I saw in the park. I think I’m definitely a mountain man, because “The Narrows” are supposed to be the greatest, but I am always more impressed by summiting something.

Anyways, on the way down met another older guy, think he said he was 63, and we talked about how he had hiked down into the Grand Canyon before. He did it when he was 19 and did it all in one day which is one hell of a hike. He, along with tons of other people I met were very happy for me to get out and do these things while I can still enjoy them physically. Now hopefully I’ll still be hiking when I am 63 like him, but maybe in better shape too?

Maybe this is just an elderly person day, but I talked to 2 more from a different tour bus group when i was down getting ice cream at the Zion Lodge after my hike. They tried to tell me some joke about real estate and buying a “lot” (get it?). I just didn’t get the pun, and it wasn’t funny at first. haha.

Anyways, great hike, and made it onto Bryce Canyon National Park where I peeked around a little last night. I am going to go look at it a bit more this morning and then head onto Capitol Reef, and depending, maybe onto Arches? I just don’t know. Cheers!


Yosemite Backpacking Trip (Sept 18-21st)

Yosemite National Park is like a “Grand Central Station” as my friend Paul put it. That is because of its close proximity to San Francisco, and it’s amazingness. In any case, this backpacking trip was in “The High Country” which meant we stayed around 9,000 ft elevation most of the trip, and we started it in the Tuolumne Meadows Backpackers site on the eastern side of the park, away from the zoo of people.

Our guides made sure we weren’t hiking with War and Peace, and made sure we had warm enough gear. The next morning we headed out on the Cathedral Lakes trailhead and had an easy hike to Lower Cathedral Lake.

Lower Cathedral Lake

I had to hike up to the highest point around of course, and got this panoramic

We laid out and watched the stars until we were nearly frozen and they were ABSOULTELY incredible. I was thinking about how much I wish I could share that experience because I’ve never seen stars so bright and clear. Saw tons of shooting stars, satellites, and this REALLY bright thing which we could only guess that it was the international space station because it flew the speed of a satellite, but was 20x as bright.

The next day we headed over to the Upper Sunrise Lake and did a decent amount of off trail hiking which was pretty neat. Our guides Karen and Mike wanted us to become more familiar with Map and Compass, so it was a good exercise.

Going “off trail”

This night at Sunrise lake seemed like it would be warmer but it wasn’t. It was so cold, that we had frost in our tent, and my swimsuit froze.

The good thing was though that we had a fire that night.

You gotta love my support of Hokie Nation with all my Orange/Maroon gear

Our final day we hiked out past Tenaya lake and got the shuttle back to the Cathedral Lakes Trailhead. That was that and I definitely like the Yosemite backcountry. My guide Karen convinced me to do Half Dome the next day which I have posted about.


"The Narrows" – Zion National Park

As recommened by Tom, my Grand Canyon Guide, I checked out Zion Adventure Company and got the gear I needed to do “The Narrows”. It is basically a river going through a REALLY tall canyon. I got:
-Booties/Socks
-Shoes
-Walking Stick
-Dry Bag (For Camera and wallet)

Here is what I saw. Enjoy.


Before getting back on the shuttle down to the visitors center…

It was definitely a unique hike. I enjoyed it, and it wore me out. Hiking up a stream is more work than you’d think. I was able to recharge with a delicious Burrito and then put together these pics for you. Angel’s Landing tomorrow morning, and then off to Bryce Canyon National Park!


I call Zion my home (for 2.5 days)

I finished the Grand Canyon Backpacking trip yesterday, and celebrated with two 8 minute showers. I was all lathered up when the shower cut off during the first one, and had to go get more quarters, was quite funny.

After being clean, I then proceeded to “We Cook Pizza and Pasta”, and bought a personal Hawaiian Pizza. It was sooo good. I was able then to relax and use the internet for a bit and put together my 20some panoramas from the Grand Canyon.

This morning I left the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and headed towards Zion National Park. On the way I went past Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam.

I then proceeded to go a little out of my way to hit up “Tuba City”. My brother is a AWESOME tuba player and I thought it might be cool. Well… it was a Navajo town, and it was small…. That’s about it. Then continued on and hit a Subway at somepoint with Wi-Fi where I was able to get up to date on all my handstands

Zion had an awesome tunnel, and so did Yosemite. I am so impressed with the National Park roads. They are really great.

I am staying at the Comfort Inn/RV Park-ish thing here just outside of the park for two nights. I rented some “canyoning” gear from the Zion Adventure Company across the street and tomorrow I will be doing “The Narrows”. Wednesday I will do Angel’s Landing before heading onto Bryce National Park.


Grand Canyon, Panoramic Style

So I went on another REI Adventures trip this week which was a blast. We hiked down the New Hanse Trail and hit the Colorado River, Tonto Plateau and finished up using Grandview Trail. 3 days down in a beautiful place. Check it out.


Half Dome Hike in Yosemite

Well… ~16 miles round trip, and 4700 feet up, then 4700 feet down. Brutal? Awesome.

Parking Lot


Oregon Coast, Redwood National Park (Day 48-49)


Crater Lake Fakeout

Soo… detour. I saw the sign along the highway, 138 was closed east of such and such due to brush fires. This sign was right next to where I was going to turn off, but was too busy on the phone to realize that 138 was still a ways away. Anyways, I felt smart when I thought I was beating the system, and took a 17 mile (oh my god, we might die by falling off, or hitting one of the deer I saw) road. Then after managing to make the “quickest” way over to 138… I realized, IT was the one with the brush fire… sooo, I scoured my maps, and there really was no way except backtracking at least 1.5 hours, and still having a ways after that, or just going way out of the way.

I decided to pick up a red bull, and head for the coast. Only had one deer in the incoming lane. The 3 others I saw along this “midnight” voyage were off the road to the right. I took 42 west, and took the 42S off to the coast where I pulled into a parking lot for the night. I was going to sleep in the front seat, but couldn’t get comfortable, and the streetlights kinda shined in, so somehow I squeezed into the back of the car, and slept “comfortably” crammed next to my mountain bike. I had a “red bull hangover” quality sleep for about 6 hours. Anyways, I’ll have to make it back to Crater Lake at somepoint.

For now… I’ll be “Driving down the 101, California here I come”… :-)


Mount Rainier National Park (Day 42)

Went up to the “Sunrise” section of Mount Rainier National Park…

I didn’t caption a lot of these, but they are all in the “Sunrise” portion of the park.

Handstand at sunrise point

Mount Freemont Lookout, awesome trail, and there is the lookout!

2 days after labor day, they were using a helicopter to take stuff to/from the lookout and I got a close view!

IFR conditions


Back in the U. S. A.

Back in the U.S.A. !!! That means I have a cellphone!

Seattle bound in just a day or two, outside of Olympic National Park in Port Angeles, WA at a Jack in the Box for dinner after getting off the ferry from Victoria :-)

Pictures!

Rain Forest at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Victoria HDR

Hard to top those past 2… but here are the rest :-p Here is my campsite at Green Point

Some moss in the rain forest…

Ahh, rain forest in CANADA???

There is a big tree I was promising you

Elevated trail

Love the rocky outcrops and islands

Crazy FRENCH PEOPLE!!! I didn’t go to the right because I thought I might get the PLAGUE

Trail down to the beach…

Looking up at it

One view of the big building…

A “figurehead”

The Empress

Its top lights change colors a bunch

Perspective

More Perspective

Late night fountains and Victoria

Victoria at Night

Have to get my license so I can fly a float plane

Cool Parking lot

Totem Pole!


Vancouver Island, so far

I like it. Once the sun came out, I feel like i’m the northeast coast, except not as busy, mountains, and just plain cooler. I took a nap during the rain early yesterday and enjoyed playing around on the beach and walking around Tofino last night around late sunset. Just FYI, Tofino is like Marijuana city. I saw probably 10 people in dreads in the hour I was there, and this morning at 1030am while packing up the campsite, could smell a little wafting through the air. British Columbia, aka joint country :-p

Random note:
Tim Hortons -> Everywhere (almost as bad as Starbucks and McDonalds)

Here are some of my pics from the beach as I enjoyed it yesterday

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Jump for Joy

Go Crazy!

“ahhh!!!!”

What the hell is that?

Ahhhh… Pacific Rim National Park Reserve for the next few pics…

I got a Karma Special for Dinner, Yum!


Jasper to Whistler (Today completes month #1 on the road!)

Pacific Standard Time! Woo Hoo!

Last night I slept about 30k in on 99 heading south towards Whistler, at a Provincial Park Campground. I started reading through my books on Olympic National Park and some others, and just got excited. I love this. This trip was a great idea, and totally cool. So glad I get to keep exploring!

I’m in the library in Whistler right now. The sunrise drive down from the campground was quite pretty. I’ve got reservations to get over to Vancouver Island, head over to Pacific Rim National Park, and then down to Victoria, so 2 full days over there :-)

Then it’s off to Olympic National Park on Tuesday, and then Seattle for Labor Day weekend!

Hope you enjoy the pics, I’ve driven approximately 500 miles on smaller roads in the past day, phew! Only a little over 100km to Vancouver!

P.S.- Stick to snowboarding in Whistler. The mountain biking was a letdown, almost killed myself on the rocks, and then gave up because it wasn’t worth it.

Do you know this creature?

Pyramid Mountain… Glorious

Kamloops, British Columbia

Just outside of Kamloops heading west

Cache Creek, British Columbia

Along the roadside of 99 in B.C.

What about this guy, he your friend?

Ahhh…

Oooo…

Pretty flowers with a mountain Bokeh

Handstanded!

Most AWESOME jump EVER, it goes OVER the mountain!

2010 Olympic Bobsled and Luge Track!


Icefields to Mountain Biking in Jasper (Day 29)

Woke up at the Columbia Icefield campground, and headed up through Jasper to town. Set up camp at Whistlers Campground, and then jumped on the bike… and rode for 5? hours. Then showered, woo hoo! Headed into town, called Kristen and Home with Skype (it’s awesome!), went into a pub, got 1.5 beers, a chicken Caesar salad, and talked to some guys from Edmonton. All in all, a long, good day.

Columbia Icefield

Close up of the Icefield

Wow

Athabasca Falls, Are you “Fall”-ing for someone?

wow again

Looking downstream

Winding River in Jasper

Ahh, nice view on the bikeride

Goose, Goose, Goose, Goose, Duck?

One word… “blue”

Me like this one. Shot from the makeshift biking bridge on “overland” trail.

I was there… at least my (John’s old) bike was there.

As far as I went, before I decided I should turn back…

Wind up… (the music box) (from below) (stream)

Sun breaks through…

Green, blue, white

I like this one too…

After I was “lost”, hiked up what seemed like millions of steps with my bike, and trudging back towards the campground, I found the bridge I wanted to take a picture of originally. I was soaked, and it was still lightly raining, but this made it all worthwhile!

What’s at the END of the rainbow? A POT OF GOLD… and it’s UNDERWATER!

Have you seen something more vivid? Awesome.

Handstanded the Rainbow, for the 2nd time! (see first one in Cozumel, Mexico)

So I biked a long ways, for about 5 hours or so. The red is where I THINK I went :-P


Banff (Day 28)

I haven’t written any words except captions lately, so I figured this might be a good time. I rolled into Canada through the port of Roosville this past Friday, and made it up to Invermere, British Columbia to spend the weekend with friends. It was a fantastic weekend because it was so relaxing, and just nice to feel “at home”. They took me up to the peak of Swansea Mountain on their 4Wheel Drive Truck, out on the lake for swimming, for a boatride, barbecue, golf (thanks Reid for treating!). And on monday I did laundry, went gliding, and hung out for the day.

Thanks soooo much to Cassy and Forrest for giving me the opportunity to “recharge”. I really needed it and had a lovely time :-) Hopefully will see you again soon!

After I left, I headed up 93 through Kootenay National Park, over to Banff. Banff was quite touristy. More like new york city. There were people from ALL over Asia and Europe, it was kinda ridiculous.

After touring around some, I got some pizza from Aardvarks pizza and Subs just off Banff Ave. Then camped out at The “Two Jack Main” campground for the night.

Last night I slept in the “columbia icefields” campground and camped next to a group of people from switzerland. I introduced myself when I came out of my warm car, and they were sawing off a tree limb in my site. A guy climbed a tree with a saw, and got a limb. “need wood, fire”. Thought that was pretty cool. Last night I heard stuff around the car, but eventually just put earplugs in and got some good sleep.

Well, in Jasper now, don’t know if I’ll stay here tonight or not… Then will be making my way down through Kamloops to Whistler, then West Vancover where I’m taking a Ferry to Vancover Island, then Ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, then Olympic National Park, then Seattle! As you can see, lots of places, so keeping the timeline pretty open, just wanna make it to seattle by next friday!

Enjoy the pics from Banff!

Peyto Lake

Hairy Man at Peyto Lake

Moraine Lake

More…

I don’t think you can take a bad picture of Moraine Lake…

I’m not kidding…

Yeah, awesome lake…

Clear water

Mountains

Rainbows

Rolls Royce at Lake Louise Fairmont Hotel

Lake Louise

Fairmont Hotel at Lake Louise

Wow, this almost looks black and white, and it is a straight picture.

Glacier anyone?

Proof I was there…

Now that is what I call a skyscraper

Oh, and i’ll leave you with a “hi” from my begging friend. This was taken with a wide angle lens, so he was about 6in from the lens.


Kootenay and Banff (Today is Day 28!)

Another point of the Continental Divide, soo cool.

I poured Water on both sides… Atlantic and Pacific!

Entering Alberta…

View from the roadside in Kootenay National

Another View from that Roadside… See the smoke?

Awesome

Hilly?

Paint Pots are pretty neat I’d say. Orange…

Orange Stream… They’re located in Kootenay National Park, right near the border of B.C. and Alberta

More Orange…

A little green and orange.

Orange River for the win

Awesome

The Kootenay River, right by the road

Looking upstream towards the footbridge

Marble Canyon, Kootenay National Park

More Marble Canyon

Video of the “Marble Canyon”

Awesome roadside view

Canada, eh?

View down the main street into banff, headed right at the mountain!

The infamous Banff hotel… Mortgage, or one night here?

Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

More Lake (Thanks Cecil for telling me to stop by!)

Minnewanka has been handstanded!

Dreary Afternoon, today is supposed to be worse

Ahhh, animals!

Mountains!

Cloud? or Mountain?

One of my favorites of Lake Minnewanka. The boatride (not on that boat) is 40 dollars, and too much for me this time… maybe i’ll catch one at Lake Louise?

Looking down the Pier


Soo… the US is awesome, and so is Canada!

The US… Glacier National Park

Lake McDonald

Doesn’t it look like a face of someone lying on their back?

Great colors!

Lake McDonald, so pretty, got handstanded!

View from the Glacier Park Boat on Lake McDonald

The boat when on the dock.

My “artsy” shot

Morning light coming through the trees in Glacier National Park, on my way up to Avalanche Lake

Avalanche Lake, check out those falls!

Trail up the mountain…

Close up of the waterfalls at Avalanche Lake

And a cool reflecting of the mountains/sky shot at avalanche lake

A different perspective from the shores of lake McDonald

A view from the “Going-to-the-sun-road”

And another view… what a beautiful place.

Bald Eagle

About to leave the U.S.


Made it to Canada!

Welcome to B.C.

They are a little full of themselves though?

Handstanding in the backyard with Cass and Logan the Dog in the picture

View from Swansea Mountain this past friday night. Had to take a forestry road up there and we sure needed Forrest’s 4-wheel drive

Invermere, B.C., Canada and that “ramp” is for hang gliders. Pretty cool, eh?

Cropped night shot of Invermere

From the back of the boat! It’s the same lake as in the picture above on the left

I went for a quick glider ride. Wish it was longer, but too much money in the first place… Definitely worth it though! That’s my pilot Brian, who had us do a “wingover”, basically a flip which was outta this world.

The lake from the Glider

The towplane

A different view of Swansea Mountain… See the glider ramp from the shot above?

This club sounded great, would totally do it if i lived here!

UPDATE:
Captions added and… I will report more on Canada as I see it. Off to Banff today! Cheers.


HDR to the Maximum

I got played around with HDRs last night and made 3 of them… (High Dynamic Range images which are created by combining 3 pictures with different exposure levels)

Ptarmigan Tunnel (Say that 5 times real fast :-P )

The other side of the Ptarmigan Tunnel, WOW.

The Badlands make you feel good inside.

P.S. – If anyone hasn’t noticed… I had coffee this morning :-)


Day 21 – In Glacier until Friday, then CANADA!

Why Hello!

I’m lazy, I know. I’ve been sitting around doing laundry and checking for cheap flights so Kristen can make it out to San Francisco to meet me (and not finding much cheaper than 500 bucks, yikes!)

Anyways, My first day in Glacier (Monday), I headed up to the “Many Glacier” entrance of the National Park and hiked the Iceberg Lake and then the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail. That was a 15 miles day, and didn’t really wear me out until the next day. I did enjoy the Pancake, Sausage and Coffee breakfast. Warm food does hit the spot!

Yesterday I went drove up the “Going-to-the-sun-road” and headed up to logans pass. I did a portion of the “Garden Wall” and then hiked up Logan’s pass to hidden lake. It wasn’t much of a hiking day, maybe 6 miles, but good enough! I came back to my site (already set up because I actually stayed in the same place for 2 nights!) and enjoyed a smoked sausage on my manly fire I made.

Today I’m going to head over to the western side of the park and am going to check it out!

Pics… In absolutely no order, but with captions!

“Hidden” lake… I SEE IT!

On the way to Iceberg Lake

Logan’s Pass

Your friend?

Iceberg Lake

On the Iceberg Lake Trail

Divide THIS!

Something is Wrong? with this picture.

Goat goat!

Lions and Tigers and Grizzly ____’s O-MY!