Mia tried to show us some short cuts, and then decided we should head way east into the desert.
2 humans, no stock, two dogs; head into the wild to find wonders.
Japhy has no idea what peril flows below him. A small river to me, a massive roaring river to a 7 month old puppy.
The first day set the pace for the whole trip. There was no backing out or slowing down. No way out without going up.
Watching the sun paint the mountain the first night made the shoulder pain and already blistered toes seem insignificant.
Each river was an exciting challenge; freezing waters, sharp stones, and light, hard, fast rapids.
The cool damp air dancing off of the falls were a perfect pick me up before a massive climb along sunset ridge.
On the edge of a massive cliff in a martian landscape, we slept through a sandstorm.
The landscapes, colours, and scenery changes at almost every corner making each mile magical. Over and over, step after step.
The dogs ran wild through the forests chasing any hints of squirrels and gophers, but they still needed a bit of help hopping the rapids.
The morning of the third day we decided to go for it. 15.1 miles and over 3,100 ft. up to go. We went for it and got it.
I have seen this sign in all 3 states, many times before, many miles apart.
The smoke on our final day was so thick you could rarely see the mountain’s peak. It seemed like a scene from an apocalyptic flick. Unused ski lifts swallowed up by ever growing meadows.
A small stone to represent a big personal accomplishment.
34% of glacial ice on the Olympic Mountains has disappeared in the last 30 years, and that number is steadily increasing. Climate change is destroying the North American “Alps.”
Since June 29, 1938.
14,411 ft. above America.
The PCT runs along the edge of Mt. Rainier NP where travelers catch glimpses toward finish line.
Japhy at Cougar Rock Campground.
Day 1 - Belfast, ME -> New York, NY
Day 2 - New York, NY -> Basking Ridge, PA
Day 3 - Pittsburg, PA -> Buckeye Lake, OH
Day 4 - Columbus, OH -> Cloverdale, IN
Day 5 - Indianapolis, IN -> Richard Lieber State Park, IN
Day 6 - Indiana -> St. Louis, MS -> Troy, MS
Day 7 - St. Louis -> Kansas City, KS
Day 8 - Lawrence, KS -> Bolder, CO
Day 9 - Rocky Mountain National Park
Day 10 - Snow Glacier Gorge -> Rifle, CO
Day 11 - Colorado -> Moab, UT
Day 12, 13 - Arches National Park (Parade of Elephants)
Day 14 - Canyonlands National Park -> Capital Reef Nation Park
Day 15 - Capital Reef -> Zion National Park
Day 16, 17 - Zion National Park (The Watchman)
Day 18 - Zion N.P. ->Tonopah, NV
Day 19 - Benton Hot Springs, CA (Yosemite Eastern Gate)
Day 20 - Mono Lake, CA
Day 21 - Mojave River Forks Regional Park, CA
Day 22 - Hesperia, CA
Day 23 - Hesperia, CA -> Joshua Tree, CA
Day 24, 25 - Joshua Tree National Park, CA
Day 26 - Joshua Tree, CA -> Palm Springs, CA
I took a wrong turn on the highway as I was leaving St. Louis. I ended up in this salvage yard outside of Brighton, Il. It was a good reminder that while my main goal was to camp and explore the national parks, there is also man-made beauty along the way across heartland America.
can calm itself,
so can you.
- Nayyirah Waheed
...I turned the next corner and again aghast, I was met by The Courthouse; a series of rock formations that stare you down as you stand beneath the tan giants. It feels like you are being evaluated and judged, are you mentally fit and worthy of all that these lands offer. You will be tested. People begin to whisper their "hellos" as they pass, so as not to disturb the singing stones.
"Most people are on the world, not in it"
My fourth and final visit to Acadia. The park as grand and beautiful as before. The previous night's rain has left the forests perfumed and the rivers running wild into the Atlantic. We tip-toe together along the cliffs and watch the waves crash along the silver coast. Marveled by the beauty all around.
(photo by Kara Mosesso)
Always keep your eyes open to the world around you.
(photo by Markku Lahdesmaki)
"You can't study the darkness by flooding it with light."
- Edward Abbey
I stood under the Turret Arch marveled by what nature's fury can create. I sat in the North and South Windows, knowing that I may be the last to see them before their inevitable collapse. I watched the sun set into the ether of tomorrow, it's final glances dancing along each rock of the Arches valley, a ballet along the red road; and then leaving it all black.
A beautiful sleepy seaside town with one street light, four bookstores, a fierce police department and incredible people, full of life and stories of it. This was my third home in 2016. I fell in love with the town immediately. Life moved a little slower, rain fell slightly softer and the sun rose straight out of the ocean each morning.
I arrived in the evening under the cover of darkness. After a night spent awake listening to the sounds of what I couldn't help but think was a bear crawling around my tent, I woke up to a cold surprise. SNOW! covering my entire campsite and car. I was not at all prepared for this. I had packed for an Indian Summer road trip. But when life gives you snow, make snowballs.
Standing on the cliffs at the edge of America. The chaotic waters littered with Lobster Buoys. New England's forests line the rocks, streams, beaches, and swamps. This is where my adventure began. From one corner of the continent to the other.
"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity."
"what it is...is a place where I can return to myself. It's enough of a scramble to get to...that the energy expended is significant, and it translates into a change in my body chemistry and my psychological chemistry and my heart chemistry..."
- Jay Salter
25 days, 17 states, over 2,800 miles, 8 National Parks, 4 wheels, and 1 man. I woke up under a bright, star-lit sky, sometime in the middle of the night, somewhere in the middle of the Mojave desert. My trip was coming to a close. I had been tested physically, mentally, and spiritually. I had hiked along the crests of the West, swam in the Atlantic, shared grand campfires with wonderful wanderers, written songs and poetry, read tales of those that had come across this land before me. I had discovered small town America and the gigantic outdoors. I knew from the beginning that it would not be easy, but I had hopes that it would be well worth it. Martha and I against the elements, one with nature.
Fluent waters sing million year old choruses through the narrows, calling the brave into their depths. As you hike deeper, the holy walls form a sort of church for the those who wish to worship the grandeur of land. Further in, others paying homage seem to disappear and you are left with the holy rock and you.
You sit at the foot of white capped mammoths, eyes stretched around the magnitude beauty of Mount Elbert, Massive, Harvard and Bianca Peak. You are looking at the wall along the west. You stand where minors once stood, some with sacks of gold, where pioneers took a deep breath before taking the next step forward. Once within montane and subalpine zones, you find yourself among grazing elk, deer, and bighorn sheep. An ecosystem which thrives off of snow banked rivers that run along Ponderosa and Lodgepole Pines and full Douglas Firs. The great divide between the prairies and the wild west where Jurassic tectonic shifts shove rocky peaks toward the heavens.
A luminous wall towers above all who enter Arches through the Moab gate. The sun shapes stories of ancient oceans and falling stars along the billion year old red rock's grandeur. I entered Arches on October 22, 2016. A beautiful sun stroked afternoon turned the canyons of sculptured stone a magnificent orange. A picturesque horizon in every direction blurs the small man-made roads, and family filled vans disappear against the spires and balanced rocks. Man just a guest, a short term visitor in ancient nature.
No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength.
(photo by Kara Mosesso)
I left Zion National Park wide eyed and hopeful, happy and my heart filled. Headed toward the grand gates of Yosemite, I sped into California to find the towering Sierras sheer white. Not a peak left uncapped...and the park gates CLOSED! I slept under three blankets fighting the cold, sad as I came to terms with the reality that I will not see Yosemite National Park and was unlikely to make it into Kings Canyon as well. Not on this trip. Into Death Valley in the morning.
The Eastern Gate is CLOSED! at Tioga Road
The adventure continues in 2017...