Category Archives: National Park Adventures
An unforgettable campsite can define a backcountry trip. Sometimes that perfect spot where you spent a night forges the memory that remains the most vivid long after you’ve gone home. A photo of that camp can send recollections of the entire adventure rushing back to you.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have enjoyed many, many great backcountry campsites over the past couple decades of backpacking and trekking all over the U.S. and the world. I’ve boiled the list of my favorite spots down to 25. Continue reading →
My husband and I live in Missoula with our two boys, ages three and five. We are spending three nights in Yellowstone over Mother’s Day weekend, and it will be our kids’ first visit. Two questions: Any particular Y’stone books you recommend for kids? Also, this is a bit of a silly question, but are there any sites or activities that were unexpectedly or just especially fun? Continue reading →
Hearing the thunderous roar and walking through the rain of mist coming from some of North America’s biggest and most iconic waterfalls in Yosemite Valley. Seeing mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and one (fortunately unaggressive) sow grizzly bear with cubs in Glacier National Park—as well as incredible mountain scenery almost every step of the way. Backpacking through a landscape of multi-colored canyon walls and wildly sculpted sandstone monoliths in Zion National Park. Paddling a sea kayak past seals in Alaska’s Glacier Bay, while watching a mile-wide glacier with a snout 200 feet tall explosively calve bus-size chunks of itself into the sea. And backpacking through vast fields of wildflowers below jagged peaks on one of the country’s premier multi-day hikes, the Teton Crest Trail. Continue reading →
Below a deep gash in a 50-foot-tall cliff of golden sandstone, shaded from the low, late-afternoon sun of early spring, I scramble up a steep slab using in-cut holds carved into the soft rock. Ten or 12 feet off the ground, I pull myself over the lip of a ledge to peer into a narrow cut in the earth, a hidden geologic oddity that lures in a certain type of hiker for one reason: because it’s barely wide enough for humans to squeeze through. And I have to smile.
I’m grinning first of all because I’ve found just what we had hoped to see. Water sometimes pools in a couple of potholes near the mouth of this slot canyon, and the air temperature today feels a little too cool to soak ourselves in cold water. Today, though, the sandy-bottomed, giant stone teacups are dry. But secondly, touching me on a more personal level, this canyon’s entrance looks much as I remember it from the first time I hiked through here, 16 years ago this month.
In less than two hours, my impression of this place will be almost completely remade. Continue reading →
From Mineral Bottom to its confluence with the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park, the Green River meanders through 52 miles of Stillwater Canyon, slowly unfurling beneath a constant backdrop of giant redrock cliffs and spires. Off the water, you can take side hikes to centuries-old Puebloan rock art and cliff dwellings, camp on sandy beaches and slickrock benches, and maybe even spot bighorn sheep scrambling around on precipitous rock faces. View this gallery of photos from that trip for inspiration, and then read my story (with a video) to learn more about pulling it off.