Travel Gallery Southern Oregon and Northern California Flew to Portland, rented a car, and drove 1500 miles over the course of 9 days, making stops in Crater Lake NP, Redwood NP, Lassen Volcanic NP, and Sonoma along the way. Of the 3 parks we visited, my favorite was Lassen: some truly amazing geological formations, including a young Cinder Cone volcano that you could hike to the top of for spectacular views of Lassen Peak and the ‘Fantastic Lava Beds’. It was also a treat to catch up with friends from College in Sonoma for some delicious meals and wine tasting. Favorite spots were ‘Oso’ and ‘Harvest Moon Cafe’ for dinner, Dry Creek General Store for lunch, and Hartford Family Winery for some of the best Pino Noirs I’ve ever tasted. Backpacking in California Backpacking trip through the Ansel Adams Wilderness, with nights at Ediza Lake and Thousand Island Lake. See my previous post for more details about the trip. Park #3: Glacier Glacier was a spectacular place, but unfortunately the effects of global warming are apparent. Once full glaciers are now nothing but glacial pools, having receded hundreds of feet from their peak. The park was still mighty and impressive: from Avalanche lake with its multi-waterfall cascade to kayaking on lake McDonald, Glacier was a great cap on a fantastic multi-park trip. Park #2: Yellowstone Yellowstone is America’s oldest national park, established in 1872 by Ulysses S. Grant. It is situated on a massive caldera, with features to see along the rim. Home to Old Faithful, Hot Springs, and more Bison that we could count, Yellowstone is bustling with activity. It is one of the most accessible parks I have ever been to - more of a ‘sightseeing and strolling’ park than a hiking park. We did find one strenuous hike: ‘Uncle Tom’s Trail’ on the south rim of the Yellowstone River Canyon offered amazing views of the lower falls… after descending a narrow metal staircase drilled in to the side of the canyon. Park #1: Grand Tetons Grand Tetons was the first stop on our multi-park vacation. We flew in to Salt Lake City, rented a car, and drove to Jackson Hole, WY which is at the southern tip of the park. The crags of the Teton range are unlike any mountains I had ever seen. Apparently, the park is known for its backcountry, but we weren’t equipped for anything more than day hikes. We stayed in a lodge inside the park for a night, and were treated to an unbelievable sunset over dinner. Chicago Life Life in Chicago Banff National Park Vacation to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada Trip to Germany Trip to Germany Trip to Switzerland Trip to Switzerland California Vacation Vacay up Highway 1 - Started in LA, rented a car, and drove north along PCH stopping in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterrey, Napa and San Francisco along the way. Utah Life Utah surprised me in many ways. I didn’t know a soul when I moved out, but I found the city and the people I met incredibly welcoming. After 5 years in the Midwest I had almost forgotten what a mountain was, and it was unreal being a 40-minute drive away from world class skiing / snowboarding. My season pass to Brighton saw some good use! Southern Utah was like being on a different planet, with some of the craziest and most impressive geological formations I’d ever seen. I knocked Zion, Arches and Canyonlands off my National Parks list, and I still plan on visiting Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef someday.