Category: United States

Backpacking the Trans-Zion Traverse Day 5: Echo Canyon to East Entrance

Backpacking the TZT_Day 5

Day 5: Echo Canyon to East Entrance Trailhead, 7 miles

After our long, hard day yesterday, we both sleep soundly through the night and don’t wake up until the alarm goes off. It is 5:00 am. Again. We are tired, but we are determined to get moving early. Today is supposed to be the hottest day on the trail yet, and, after being cooked crisp yesterday, we are eager to get as much distance on the trail as possible before the temperatures begin to rise. (more…)

Backpacking the Trans-Zion Traverse Day 4: West Rim to Echo Canyon

Backpacking the TZT_Day 4

Today is our biggest hiking day of the TZT, so we were hoping for a good night’s sleep, but, with yesterday’s long nap and a really cold night (45°F), it seems that sleep is hard to come by. I am wide awake when the alarm goes off at 5 am. We decide to break camp as quickly as possible while it’s still dark and have breakfast farther down the trail as a break. The sky is just starting to lighten when we set off at 6 am. It is our coldest morning yet so we have on our down jackets, gloves and warm hats.  (more…)

Backpacking the Trans-Zion Traverse Day 3: Wildcat Canyon to West Rim Trail

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Day 3: Wildcat Canyon to West Rim Site #8, 6 miles

It is windy all night along, and, between the roar of the wind through the trees and the sound of the pine needles dropping on our tent throughout the night, I don’t get as good a night of sleep as I had hoped for. Since we have a relatively easy day today, we all sleep in, and nobody is up and moving around camp until nearly 7 am. Team Texas treats us to some tunes as we break camp, and we are sorry we won’t be able to share a camp again with them tonight when we will be back in an individual reserved site. (more…)

Backpacking the Trans-Zion Traverse Day 2: La Verkin to Wildcat Canyon

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Day 2: La Verkin Creek, Site #11 to Wildcat Canyon, 14 miles

The alarm goes off at 5 am to wake us up for a big day on the trail. We still aren’t sure how fast we will be hiking with our full backpacks over the Zion terrain, and we have a 14+ mile day ahead of us, so we want to get an early start. We stored most of our food in a bear vault overnight, but we hung a few excess items in a nylon bag from a low branch of a tree. We discover that a mischievous mouse has chewed his way through the bag and into two plastic bags to get at our crackers. Lesson learned. We enjoy our breakfast on a large boulder overlooking the river. Life is good! (more…)

Backpacking the Trans-Zion Traverse Day 1: Lee Pass to La Verkin Creek

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Day 1: Lee Pass Trailside to La Verkin Creek, Campsite #11, 7 miles

The sound of the 5 am alarm waking us up in our tent at Ponderosa Ranch comes way too early. We try to snooze, but the excitement and anticipation for what is ahead won’t allow us to sleep, and our game of possum is over. It’s cold, so we try to pack up all we can while still staying warm and cozy in our sleeping bags. First, we let the air out of our mattresses, then put on a warm top layer. Next, we deflate and pack the pillow, and then there’s nothing left to do. We have to come out of our sweet sleeping bags. Brrr! (more…)

Shaking It Down on the Trans-Zion Traverse

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As many of you may already know, we are on a quest to hike the classic treks of the world. In recent years we have trekked Patagonia’s ‘W’ and Mt. Fitzroy, Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit, Iceland’s Laugavegur Trail, Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier, Himalayan treks in India and both Machu Picchu and the Cordilleras of Peru. This amazing hiking adventure has allowed us the opportunity to see and experience some of the most beautiful natural places in the world and has been mind-blowing to say the very least. The more we do, the more we want to see! (more…)

Wonderland Trail News You Can Use!

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Hello all! We know it has been a while since our last post, and we apologize for the long period of silence. It’s been a very busy school year for us, and we’ve had to put this here blog on the back burner for a while. We know that’s a totally lame excuse, but we have been diligently working on some posts from our trip to Peru last summer. We promise to start publishing those posts soon, but, before we do, we have some very exciting news to share with anyone who is still out there. So here goes… (more…)

Chicago Is for the Bird(er)s!

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As nature photographers and hiking enthusiasts, we are often bemoaning the fact that we live in Chicago. Now, don’t get us wrong. Chicago is an amazing city with tons of fantastic cultural offerings at our fingertips. But as far as hiking and wildlife opportunities go, we’ve always found it to be lacking. With skyscrapers providing the only change of elevation and pigeons being the predominant fauna, this urban setting is a little less than ideal in the nature department.

Or so we thought…

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Big Fun in Big Bend

Big Bend National Park in far west Texas is an amazing place. Snuggled into a big bend of the Rio Grande on the US-Mexico border, this park is known for striking sun-kissed scenery where its three distinct habitats of mountains, desert and river meet.

Mountains, Desert, River

Even though this park is undeniably gorgeous, it seems to be a well-kept secret. At over 800,00 acres, like all things Texas, Big Bend is huge, yet it only sees an average of 300,000 visitors per year. Compare this to the 8-10 million people who visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and you’ll feel like you have this desert paradise all to yourself.

Why such a difference, you ask? In a word: Isolation. (more…)

Exploring the Natural Wonders of the Evergreen State

Iron Creek Falls, Mount St. Helens

For those of you needing a quick brush up on your state trivia, the nickname of Washington is the Evergreen State. While I am fairly confident that the moniker was intended to honor the abundant amounts of evergreen trees found in the state’s natural areas, sometimes I’m not so sure. Could it be that the forefathers of that great state had me in mind when the epithet was chosen?

You see, although I love spending time in Washington state, I have to admit that deep inside I am crazy jealous whenever I am there. Washington is a dream come true for any nature-loving, photograph-taking, outdoor-seeking person, and being there makes me “ever-green with envy.” Do Washingtonians realize how fortunate they are to live in such a beautiful place? Is it really fair for one state to have so much?

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