Trip Report: Dry Tortugas

Trip Report: Dry Tortugas

I started out writing about my experience in the Dry Tortugas and then when I re-read it, it was boring. The Dry Tortugas are anything but boring, so I’m trying again. What you need to know: the Dry Tortugas are a small set of islands, or keys, 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, which is the last key connected by the Florida Overseas Highway. The Dry Tortugas are a national park. Inside the park is Fort Jefferson. To get…

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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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Review: Bikes and Beers Frederick

Review: Bikes and Beers Frederick

My site name does say “pedals,” doesn’t it? I suppose I should write about some of the pedalling activity I do. Believe it or not, I do like to pedal. I’ve always considered myself a hard-core rail trail rider. I would like to ride a rail trail, or at least a multi-use bike trail, in every state. Is it possible? I’ve always felt that rail trail riding is safer, meditative, easier, and sometimes, depending on the location, more beautiful. My…

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Readers’ Advisory: The Grand Canyon

Readers’ Advisory: The Grand Canyon

I’m a librarian in real life. While that does not necessarily mean that I like to shush people and read a lot of books, it does mean that I might like to recommend some books to you. My favorites change by the day, with a few unchanging authors in the top slots. I tend to really like books that relate to some aspect of the human experience. I also like to read about places I’m interested in, am going to, or have been. Travel…

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Trip Report: A Few Days in Oahu, Hawaii

Trip Report: A Few Days in Oahu, Hawaii

When I had the opportunity to spend a few days in Oahu, Hawaii, for professional reasons, I could hardly say no. Who else, I kept saying out loud, has ever been forced to take a vacation to Hawaii? Me. That’s who. Time and money were a concern. I didn’t want to take too many days off work and I didn’t want to spend too much money. Still, who goes to Hawaii from the East Coast and only stays two days?…

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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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The Big Three: Pack, Sleep System, and Shelter

The Big Three: Pack, Sleep System, and Shelter

I started backpacking in my early 30s. Seeing as I grew up in a town really close to the Appalachian Trail, I’ll never understand why I waited so long. When I first started investing in gear, I typically went by what was both cheap and well-rated on Amazon. I started out with a 6-lb. backpack, sturdy as a horse, and some no-name brand sleeping bag and foam roll. It was all just fine. Eventually, I made the move to ultralight…

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Wonder Where to Wander? Fall Colors in West Virginia

Wonder Where to Wander? Fall Colors in West Virginia

Since starting Pedals and Pathways, I’ve had two friends suggest that they might benefit from a post from me on a specific subject. Well, I’m honored, for two reasons. One — that anyone is reading, and two — that you’d like my advice. I’ll start with the first query, which had to do with seeing fall colors in West Virginia with a family, using Blackwater Falls as a base. I had the great pleasure of living in West Virginia, on…

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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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