Big Bear, Big Fail


Standing there with tears streaming down my wife’s face while horseflies and mosquitoes mercilessly attacked us I had a decision to make: do we press on towards the campsite or do we hit the metaphorical abort button?  The only problem was turning back meant a five mile climb, with most of that being hike a bike.  Where was this chapter in the Bikepacking guidebook?  When do you decide to call it quits and throw in the towel?   (more…)

National Parks

Joshua Tree National Park: The Story of Benjamin


Joshua Tree National Park is a curious place.   Ryan and I pass signs for it all the time driving to Southern California from our house in Arizona.  From the highway the landscape isn’t very exciting, arid desert as far as the eye can see and hazy mountain ranges looming in the distance.  But just a short drive from the I-10 is a majestic land of towering boulders, extraordinary trees and interesting people. (more…)

National Parks

Yosemite National Park Part 2: Yosemite Valley and Glacier Point

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Yosemite Valley

Finally, I am getting around to finishing up my recap of our trip to Yosemite in August 2013.  I’ve been putting it off for a while now, not because there is nothing to share, but because it’s so hard to put into words how I feel about Yosemite.  Both Ryan and I agree that Yosemite is our favorite park that we have visited so far.  There is something so special about it.  Obviously we aren’t the only ones that feel this way.  Last year Yosemite was the third most visited park with almost 4 million visitors. (more…)

National Parks

Yosemite National Park Part 1: In the footsteps of Ansel Adams

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Reviewers frequently characterize [Ansel] Adams as a photographer of an idealized wilderness that no longer exists. On the contrary, the places that Adams photographed are, with few exceptions, precisely those wilderness and park areas that have been preserved for all time. There is a vast amount of true and truly protected wilderness in America, much of it saved because of the efforts of Adams and his colleagues. – Ansel Adams Biography by William Turnage, Oxford University Press

A few years ago Ryan and I went to an Ansel Adams exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum.  At the time, Ryan didn’t even know who Ansel Adams was, and was not familiar with his photography.  I had taken photography in high school so I remembered learning about Adams and knew he was well known for his black and white portraits.  Walking around the museum admiring the photographs, it never occurred to me that I could actually travel to and see the locations that Adams immortalized. (more…)

National Parks

Kings Canyon National Park

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Another short visit, similar to Sequoia, makes me want to come back…

That was how Ryan’s journal entry about our time in Kings Canyon started. He went on to recall the sites we saw and what we did while we were there, but ended the short entry with the same sentiment.

Most of the park is wilderness so I hope to come back and do some backpacking to really enjoy what this park has to offer.


National Parks

Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon Trip Summary

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After our trip to Petrified Forest in August 2013, Ryan and I headed to California for a week of camping and exploring.  We were able to visit Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite.  Two years later, these parks are still some of our favorites, you can see our rankings here.   I’m working on a few posts about the trip, but it’s taking me a while to go through all the pictures, journal entries and GPS files.  In the meantime, I put together this fun infographic to share some of the highlights!  More to come! (more…)