Cascade Mountain Tech News
While many thru-hikers see trails like the Pacific Crest, Appalachian and Continental Divide Trails as the ultimate in thru-hiking adventures, there are dozens of lesser-known routes that lead through the spectacular wilderness all around North America. Whether you are looking for a hike that lasts a few days or a trail that you’ll explore for months, I have gathered eight of my favorite lesser-known thru-hiking routes that are sure to stoke your wanderlust.
Havasupai was always on my bucket list of places to visit. All the photos and videos that I have seen made it seem too good to be true, but in reality, no photos or videos can really do Havasupai justice. Imagine my excitement when a friend called and told me she had won the permit lottery for four camping permits!
For outdoor lovers, quarantine can feel extra quarantine-y. Social distancing sounds like a codeword for camping to us. But in looking for information about the status of national parks and state parks, we found the answers to be scattered and hard to track. To help you adventure responsibly during the coronavirus pandemic, we put together this comprehensive guide to park closures, updates, and resources.
Rocky Mountain National Park, a breathtaking 415-square mile National Park located just west of Colorado’s Front Range, is an American icon. Jagged peaks soar above alpine lakes, elk herds graze in mountain meadows, and wildflowers takeover the grasslands in summer. I recently caught up with Barbara Scott, a 20-year National Park Service veteran and Supervisory Park Ranger of Interpretation & Education at Rocky Mountain National Park, to talk about her career in the Park Service, her passion for Rocky Mountain, and what makes this Colorado National Park so special.
In my past life, I was a professional football player in the NFL, but today, my sights are set on climbing the Seven Summits, with only Mt Everest left unchecked on my list. This past August, I was invited to co-guide a bunch of guys up the slopes of Mt Rainier, a recognizable and majestic peak towering at 14,411’ and located a few hours outside of Seattle. My good buddy, former NFL & college head coach Jim Mora, trained an insane amount of hours alongside me in the month of July to prepare for this endeavor. Unfortunately, this was not the case for our entire group.
Mesa Verde National Park, a breathtaking expanse of both archaeological and wild landscapes, became Colorado’s first National Park in 1906, and it was also the first in the country established to preserve archaeological history. There are nearly 5,000 archaeological sites—600 of which are cliff dwellings—within the boundaries of the park. I spoke with Jill Blumenthal, Education Coordinator and Volunteer Program Manager for Mesa Verde National Park and Yucca House National Monument, to learn more about the park, her career in the Park Service, and some suggestions about how visitors can enjoy the park today.
There’s a thrill that comes from seeing the edge of something – a cliff, a horizon, a coastline. That’s it. That’s where it all ends. What’s over the edge? You can google it, sure, or you can let your imagination run for a while. If you’re looking for an all-time edge – a place that really whips the imagination into a frenzy – head to Shi Shi Beach on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Sitting in the upper left corner of the continental United States (yes you can see Canada from the beach), Shi Shi is an accessible backpacking destination ideal for families, novice backpackers and veterans looking to warm up to or unwind from a gnarly season in the backcountry.
If you’re going to take a road trip, I believe that you should try to get as much as you possibly can from every single mile. That is exactly how my road trip to Burning Man turned into a week-long venture with daily mini-adventures. I was determined to breathe in as much as I could along the way. That said, my journey really began long before I started mapping out the route.
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, a 150,000-acre National Park located in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, is flanked by the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range to its east and the San Juan Mountains to its west. There are six types of dunes in the park—Reversing, Star, Parabolic, Barchan, Transverse, Nebkha—and the tallest reaches 755 feet above the valley floor.
Known as Colorado’s Grand Canyon, the 30,950 acres that make up Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park do no less than wow visitors who venture to its edges or into its depths. 2,700-foot sheer-walled cliffs tower over the Gunnison River below – two million years of rushing waters carved out the formidable canyon, exposing metamorphic rock from Earth’s Precambrian era (more than 540 million years ago). Today, the more than 300,000 visitors per year can hike along the rim and in the canyon, raft and fish the Gunnison River, and enjoy scenic drives along both the North and South Rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Mondays are for the mountains…
As my wife and I make the transition back to life in the Pacific Northwest after a handful of years in Nashville, we made the decision to dedicate our Mondays to the mountains. After all, the Cascade Mountain Range was the leading reason for us to move back to Washington State. It only took a few years away from these great mountains to realize exactly how much they really meant to us, so this time around we are committed to spending even more time in and around these majestic peaks.
In my latest quest to explore more national parks, I recently had a weekend adventure in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. I frequently visit Joshua Tree, and I had visited Zion National Park a few weeks prior, so I was looking forward to heading somewhere that was a little more mountainous and that offered some bouldering and steep hikes with a good amount of elevation gain. These parks delivered.