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Kayaking through the West Arm of Glacier Bay National Park

“We’re ahead of schedule, get your stuff ready to go. Now!” One of the deckhands barked as she appeared out of nowhere and startled us. Alex and I hadn’t finished eating our lunch yet so we scarfed down the last few bites of our sandwiches and quickly headed to the deck below to gather our 13 dry bags and 3 stuffed-to-the-brim bear canisters. Standing at the bow of the boat, with a pile of gear at our feet Alex started up his camera and pointed it at me, “how are you feeling?”

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Backpacking Coyote Gulch

The main goal of Alex's and my trip to Escalante was to tackle a backpacking route we’ve been wanting to do for awhile: Coyote Gulch. The gulch is 25 miles long and drains into the Escalante River which in turn drains into the Colorado River. Coyote Gulch is located in central, southern Utah so it had some similarities to the Paria Canyon hike but it was also different enough that it didn't feel repetitive. 

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Squeezing Through the Slot Canyons of Escalante

“Where are we supposed to go? Do we go over or under these rocks?” Alex asked. I looked around at our surroundings, to either of our sides towering sandstone walls shot up from the ground and surrounded us, enclosing us into a space no more than a couple feet across, ahead of us was a pile of fallen boulders that looked impenetrable, it seemed we hit a dead end. I fished my phone out of my pocket and consulted my AllTrails route. A flashing blue dot that indicated our location was nearly on top of the waypoint marked “tight squeeze”. 

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Backpacking 101: 10 Blunders to Avoid on Your First Backpacking Trip

Since I get many questions from readers asking how they can begin backpacking I've decided to put together a "Backpacking 101" series where I will share posts that will hopefully make the overwhelming process of getting into backpacking just a bit more manageable. Last week I shared all of the gear I use backpacking and this week I will share all of the mistakes that are easy for beginning backpackers to make so you can avoid them! 

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Backpacking 101: My Backpacking Gear

One of the more frequently asked questions I receive is "What gear do you take backpacking?" My gear closet is a constant evolution, I'm always trying new pieces (I still am not sure I have found a water filtering system I love) and upgrading old, heavy gear I bought when I first started backpacking. However, I know how overwhelming it can be when you walk into REI to buy backpacking gear for the first time only to discover the store feels like a bottomless pit and wait, there are how many different tents?!

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Crater Lake Circumnavigation Attempt

In May of 2016 Alex and I visited Crater Lake for the first time. We hadn't done much research so we were surprised to find most of the park still buried in snow and the entire length of the rim road was not yet open so we were confined to the Rim Village and a few miles of road along the West Rim. We visited over Memorial Day weekend and it seemed thousands of others had the same idea as us as the park was filled to the brim with visitors.

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Photo Diary: Mt. Baker Winter Camping

Last Friday Alex, a few friends, and I ventured to the Mt. Baker wilderness to do some winter camping. The forecast called for overcast conditions with possible overnight snow flurries but instead we were treated to the most perfect bluebird day. Since we were heading out on a Friday afternoon there were very few people out on the trail and we were able to get our pick of campsites.

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What's in My Camera Bag?

The question I am asked the most, without a doubt, is "what camera do you use?" so I decided it was time to create a blog post to answer that question. Keep in mind that I tried to keep this post informative yet succinct, so I won't be getting into the nitty gritty technical details about this gear. There are many websites who dedicate themselves to just that and do a much more thorough job than I could ever hope to do. This post is simply going to answer that ever-so-popular question and explain why I personally like and chose the gear I did.

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Thanksgiving Weekend in Havasupai

Havasupai has been on my "must-visit" list for a couple of years now. In 2016 I missed out on the very short window of reserving permits so the hike was, unfortunately, out of the running for that year. However, I was determined to make it to Havasupai in 2017 so on February 1, when permits are available for reservation, I was on the phone and dialing the office.

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Backpacking in the Painted Desert of Petrified Forest National Park

In late November Alex and I took a road trip from Tucson to Las Vegas, stopping at all of Arizona's national parks on the way. Our second stop was at Petrified Forest National Park where we planned to spend a night in the backcountry. The park doesn't have any trails in its backcountry nor does it have designated campsites so we knew we were in for quite the adventure! 

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Photo Diary: Day Hiking The Enchantments

In early October Alex and I decided to go larch hunting. Every fall I have seen posts about "larch madness" on social media but I had never had the pleasure of seeing these vividly yellow trees myself. With the weather forecast to be absolutely perfect, we set off to hike the 18 mile trail that connects the Colchuck/Stuart Lake Trailhead to the Snowy Lake Trailhead and traverses the Core zone of The Enchantments.

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A Day in the Desert: Death Valley National Park

Death Valley is a place of extremes: It holds the title for hottest recorded temperature on the planet (134 F), it’s home to the lowest point in North America (282’ below sea level), and it’s the driest place in the US (getting only an average of 2” of annual rainfall). It’s inhospitable and unforgiving, but if you look past its harsh first impressions you’ll find the park is undeniably beautiful.

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Labor Day Weekend in the Snowy Lakes Basin

Over Labor Day weekend Alex and I had planned on going on a 35+ mile hike through the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Unfortunately, the road to the trailhead was too much for our 2WD sedan to handle so we had to turn around and find a plan B. A number of other unforeseen circumstances got in the way of plans B, C, D, and E and finally we ended up hiking plan F: Snowy Lakes in Wenatchee National Forest.

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