Half Way There and Back Again (and again)

Half Way There and Back Again (and again)

The Grand Canyon is a mammoth optical illusion. It looks nothing like the typical photographs I’ve seen. A walk along the rim does little more than make you realize you don’t know what you are seeing. Looking at it is like looking at an inverted mountain range. It is so vast, deep and diverse that observing it from the rim alone is comparable to looking​ at the night sky to find out what the Moon is like. Several months back…

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Legends, Logistics and Vagabonds

Legends, Logistics and Vagabonds

Sedona – where it all began for me. I visited the town about 5 years back. It was an expensive ten day vacation: plane tickets, rental car, hotels. But it was also the first time I hiked outside a city park, at least as an adult. Definitely first time I hiked such challenging trails through the beautiful red rock. Having not even seen a mountain in person before, I was doing trails with 2000 feet of elevation gain during the…

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Sleeping with the Ancients

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My time seems to be split evenly between days of relative inactivity and bursts of action. The day I hiked Mt. Taylor was the latter. Off the mountain by noon and at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona by early evening, I was walking out into the wilderness with a backpack full of camping gear. It is a fairly undeveloped place that hides a rare treat – easily accessible and simple to navigate beautiful backcountry areas. There are maybe five…

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Mount Taylor Musings

Mount Taylor Musings

Mount Taylor’s prominent snow creased peak dominates the skyline near Grants, NM. It is not very tall, only 11,301 feet, but it is the only major mountain in the area. After the Manzanos I spent a few days eating and relaxing. Doing some nice short hikes around El Malpais National Monument in the morning and reading in the afternoon. The routine became almost a necessity. Relentless winds picked up by the late morning and wore down the psyche until sunset….

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Manzano Mountain High

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As much as I enjoy the desert, the sun was becoming a little too intense. While the locals enjoyed beautiful sunny 75° days I was getting burnt to a crisp. It was time to head north for some altitude and hopefully some shade from vegetation taller than five feet. Manzano Mountains are a small chain located about 50 miles SSE from Albuquerque. Manzano Peak, the highest mountain in the range was apparently named after an apple tree Spanish colonists spotted…

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The Spice Must Flow

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The White Sand Dunes National Monument protects over half of the world’s largest gypsum dune field, that stretches for some 275 square miles. Interestingly, it exists in uneasy proximity to the guided missile range as well as the site of the first atomic bomb test. I visited White Dunes for the first time the next day after my hike up the Dog Canyon, and had my sights set on the five-mile loop trail in the back of the park in…

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Dog Canyon “Mountaineering”

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In my search for a place to stay near the White Sand Dunes National Monument, Oliver Lee SP seemed like the best bet. It was conveniently located and it was far enough removed from major cities to have vacant spots on Saturday afternoon. The campground turned out to be a hidden Chihuahuan Desert gem. Nested against the cliffs of the Dog Canyon, right on the edge of Lincoln National Forest, it overlooks far-flung open desert landscape, while San Andres mountains…

639-913-8617

One key on the key chain

One key on the key chain

I am about a week into the trip now, and there is only one key on my key chain. One that fits the ignition of my Subaru Forester – the mobile home and the vehicle to broaden literal and figurative horizons. Life on the road ended up being not as big an adaptation as I imagined. In fact, it’s starting to feel more natural not to have a home than being tied to one. I miss being around my friends,…

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Embracing uncertainty

Embracing uncertainty

When I first decided to do a road trip around the Western United States it was going to be meticulously planned. It made sense; the budget was tight. I allocated about ten dollars a day for food and enough money to cover camp ground fees for about half the nights. That ruled out dining at restaurants and would require a lot of dispersed camping if I didn’t want to spend my nights on Walmart parking lots, a situation that calls…

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