“Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.” That’s sound advice from a wise mariner. But what about when smoke from California wildfires plunges The Coastside into darkness and the blood-orange sky persists at midday? We went for a drive to immerse ourselves in the weirdness.Continue reading “Cruising The Coast Beneath Apocalyptic Skies on the San Francisco Peninsula”
Every hike begins with great expectations. And while the redwoods at Russian Gulch State Park proved less grand and the fern canyon less lush than expected, we still found plenty to enjoy. Continue reading “Great Expectations on the Trail at Russian Gulch State Park in Mendocino”
Weekly hikes in the Santa Cruz Mountains have been a highlight of our socially distant summer. Sadly, our recent tromp at Wilder Ranch State Park will be our last for a while as the CZU August Lightning Complex fires rip through this coastal range. Continue reading “A Fiery End to a Summer of Hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains”
The last blast from the IXL quarry north of Santa Cruz echoed up Fall Creek a century ago. Today, the gurgle of the creek prevails beneath the descendants of the old growth redwoods that fed the quarry’s lime kilns. Continue reading “A Forest Reborn Amid Lime Industry Relics on Fall Creek at Henry Cowell Redwoods”
Pandemic hiking rules can have unintended consequences. For example, when the one-way trails at Big Basin Redwoods added 4.5 miles, a degree of difficulty and four waterfalls to our day hike. Continue reading “Magical Falls & Pandemic Protocols on the Trail at Big Basin Redwoods”
There’s more to the Santa Cruz Mountains than redwoods, fence lizards and banana slugs. We hiked the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve for views that stretch from the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco Bay. Continue reading “Astride the Crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains at Russian Ridge”
The Santa Cruz Mountains are awash in microclimates. Too warm? Too damp? Too cloudy? An alternative is nearby. If hiking a sun-baked hillside and a shady live oak woodland sounds nice, visit Monte Bello Preserve. But beware of angry squirrels! Continue reading “Crispy Grass, Live Oaks and Chuntering Squirrels at Monte Bello Preserve”
Shut down for months by the pandemic, we thrilled at stepping back onto the trail last week deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Ticks lurked. Covid-19 loomed. Poison oak loitered in the underbrush. It was glorious! Continue reading “A Walk in the Santa Cruz Mountains at Pescadero Creek Park Eases COVID-19 Blues”
If visiting an uplifted riverbed choked with 150-million-year-old dinosaur bones isn’t enough of a thrill at Dinosaur National Monument, be sure to hike the gouged and twisted landscapes of the Sound of Silence Trail. Continue reading “A ‘Wall of Bones’ and Tortured Landscapes at Dinosaur National Monument”
Chill air, an icy trail and high wind beneath blue skies greeted us at 10,400 feet as we stepped off to take on the Lookout Lakes Trail in Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. No problem. But an earworm of the classic “Smokey Bear” song nearly drove us nuts. Continue reading “A Rather Blustery Lakeside Hike High in Wyoming’s Medicine Bow Mountains”
Scotts Bluff National Monument is named for Hiram Scott, a fur trade clerk who died nearby in 1828 after taking ill on the trail home to Missouri. We visited this fall on the road home to California with considerably less drama. We hiked to the top. Nobody died.
Roadside attractions were plentiful on our drive across the American West this fall. Most were quirky, some historic, a few disappointing. But our favorite was Carhenge in Alliance, NE. We visited at sunrise.
Last in a series: “It’s just a hike. It’s just a hike,” our guide Rob insisted as he prepped us for our trek up the Ascencio Valley to the namesake towers of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. Then why did he have to say it twice?
Context can make a hike. While the trek to Scott Lookout Tower in the Nebraska National Forest is rather ordinary, the concept of walking through a 20,000-acre forest engineered in the middle of the Great Plains makes it special. Continue reading “Hiking the Sandhills of Nebraska in America’s Largest ‘Man-Made’ Forest”
Prairie Creek Redwoods doesn’t need a gimmick. But if the idea of Bigfoot prowling a towering old-growth forest or of tiny flesh-eating dinosaurs scrambling through a fern-laden canyon stimulates your imagination, then head to California’s Humboldt County. Continue reading “Hiking ‘Jurassic Park’ in Bigfoot Country at Prairie Creek Redwoods”
Neither of us are poets. Yet our hike on a blustery fall day through trembling Aspen groves in the Gunnison National Forest at Crested Butte, CO, inspired us to give poetry a try. And so, with a nod to junior high English teachers everywhere, we present: “Ode to Autumn at Crested Butte.”
The sheer walls and stone towers of the narrow, half-mile deep gorge at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado are breath-taking. But once you catch your breath, then what?
Considered one of the best hikes at Arches National Park, the Devil’s Garden trail draws a crowd. Be patient. The pack will thin when the scramble begins.
Trek in. Walk out. Drive by. We found no shortage of opportunities to enjoy magnificent vistas at Canyonlands National Park. So, we mixed in a scramble to the park’s only meteor crater.
Capitol Reef isn’t very big, as national parks go. But you can view magnificent desert vistas and ancient petroglyphs. You can hike up a narrow wash or beneath a stunning stone arch. You can lose the trail on a ledge 300 feet above a canyon floor. Yikes!