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Category: Trip Reports: Hiking

Utah Part II: Bryce and Arches

Utah Part II: Bryce and Arches

This is the second post in a series about spectacular places in Utah based on my recent trip in March, 2019. In the first post, I talked about Zion National Park. This post will focus on two other highlights of the trip: Bryce Canyon and Arches National Parks. After leaving Zion, we drove north toward Bryce on highway 89, covering a distance of about 75 miles. Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce Canyon is known for its large concentration of hoodoos,…

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Utah Part I: Zion

Utah Part I: Zion

I visited Southern Utah recently. My route started in Las Vegas and took me through Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches National Parks. This is my first post in a series about some very beautiful places in Utah. This post will focus on Zion National Park and surrounding areas. I’ve seen Utah three times before, but I am always wanting to go back. When I hear the word “vacation,” I immediately picture myself scrambling on the slickrock and…

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Trip Report: Grayson Highlands

Trip Report: Grayson Highlands

I had to wait for Memorial Day weekend to make this trip happen, seeing as it’s a good six-plus hours from Baltimore, at nearly the most southwestern point of Virginia. I had been wanting to go here for quite a while, after hearing about the wild ponies and seeing photographs of the high-elevation mountain balds. I did this hike with DC UL Backpacking, a Meetup group I first went out with in 2013. I wanted to do more backpacking, but…

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Trip Report: Ricketts Glen

Trip Report: Ricketts Glen

When I first heard about Ricketts Glen State Park, I was incredulous. “22 waterfalls in one place?,” I said. I could hardly believe it. Ricketts Glen sits in north central Pennsylvania, about two hours north of Harrisburg. The entire park boasts nearly 26 miles of hiking trails, but its crown jewel is the 7.2 mile Falls Trail System. In a Y-shaped formation, hikers can see 22 named waterfalls. Hikers can forego the lower part of the Y (an out-and-back segment) for a…

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Grand Canyon, Day 4: Bright Angel Trail to the South Rim

Grand Canyon, Day 4: Bright Angel Trail to the South Rim

On the day we were to leave the bottom of the Grand Canyon, we awoke early in the morning to rain. It never stopped from about 6 p.m the previous evening. We stayed in the tent for a while, hoping for a respite. Around 7 a.m. we decided we’d have to hike up, rain or not. So we got out of the tent and broke camp quickly. I was a little nervous. Even though I had done the Bright Angel…

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Grand Canyon, Days 2 and 3: North Kaibab to Ribbon Falls and Cottonwood Campground and Back Again

Grand Canyon, Days 2 and 3: North Kaibab to Ribbon Falls and Cottonwood Campground and Back Again

One of the things I like about backpacking is that I go to bed with the sun and I awake with the sun. Sometimes I go to bed with the sun and I awake long after the sun, if I have nowhere in particular to be. My first morning in the canyon was restful and quiet. I stayed in bed long after the early morning hikers, the ones who had to make it to the top before sundown. We had…

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Grand Canyon, Day 1: South Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel Campground

Grand Canyon, Day 1: South Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel Campground

“I cannot tell the hundredth part of the wonders of its features – the side canyons, gorges, alcoves, cloisters, and amphitheaters of vast sweep and depth, carved in its magnificent walls; the throng of great architectural rocks it contains resembling castles, cathedrals, temples, and palaces, towered and spired and painted, some of them nearly a mile high, yet beneath one’s feet. All this, however, is less difficult than to give any idea of the impression of wild, primeval beauty and…

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Zion National Park: Observation Point After a Snowstorm

Zion National Park: Observation Point After a Snowstorm

Although my trip to Angel’s Landing was cloudy without too much of a view, the skies cleared on the next day for a hike to Observation Point. The trail starts from the Weeping Rock Trailhead in Zion Valley. Observation Point is an 8-mile round-trip hike with steep switchbacks, stream-seamed canyons, seasonal stream crossings, soaring cliffs, and some flatter areas. It is absolutely my favorite hike in the park. Figure on at least five hours or more to do this in…

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Zion National Park in the Winter: Angel’s Landing and What I Wore

Zion National Park in the Winter: Angel’s Landing and What I Wore

I had the good fortune to ascend to Scout Lookout on the Angel’s Landing trail in Zion National Park on Christmas Day. A snowstorm had arrived the night before and was continuing on and off throughout the morning and afternoon, making for a very beautiful and surreal landscape. Locals said this much snow was unusual, although Zion has experienced four white Christmases in a row as of this year. From the Grotto Trailhead in the valley, the Angel’s Landing trail is…

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