Adventure Photography: Blog en-us (C) Scott Sigmund [email protected] (Adventure Photography) Fri, 06 Jan 2023 03:52:00 GMT Fri, 06 Jan 2023 03:52:00 GMT Adventure Photography: Blog 90 120 Adventuring in the White Mountains... Again! Ahhh...  Summer in the White Mountains of Arizona!  I can't think of a much better place to spend a week.  In early August, I headed up to stay a few days at a cabin at Lake of the Woods in Pinetop-Lakeside Arizona with my brother and parents.  It's a pretty peaceful and quiet area, although the towns of Pinetop, Lakeside, and Show Low Arizona are overcrowded during the summer months, so I added on a few more days in Alpine and did some remote hiking and photography near Alpine, Hannagan Meadow, and the tiny community of Blue Arizona.

During my stay in Pinetop, I spent some time walking along Walnut Creek where you could spot plenty of wildlife.  I ended up running into a group of 4 baby raccoons, spotting what I think was an Osprey, and also a Great Horned Owl which I've seen in the area during past trips up here.  They are having quite a monsoon season up in the mountains and it pretty much rains each day.  I was thankful we had the shelter of a cabin as there were a few really close lightning strikes including one that was no more than 200 yards away.  Hear are a few pictures from Pinetop-Lakeside...

Lake of the Woods in PinetopLake of the Woods in Pinetop Lake of the Woods at SunsetLake of the Woods at Sunset Great Horned OwlGreat Horned Owl

This shot of an Osprey was taken with my 600mm wildlife lens from 100 yards or so away.  That lens is so amazing when you capture the right moment.  Actually the owl photo was also taken with that same lens.  Really cool opportunity and I didn't disturb either of them.


After Pinetop, it was time to go off on my own and really head out into the wilderness.  It is especially remote and peaceful along the roads from Alpine to Blue Vista Lookout, so that is where I spent most of my days.  I also ended up taking a scenic dirt road from Alpine down to and through the tiny community of Blue Arizona (the population of Blue is just 36, although they actually have a school, a library, and a post office).  Alpine sits at about 8000 feet in elevation and the road plummets down to Blue which is at about 5800 feet in elevation, crosses the Blue River several times, and even crosses the New Mexico border for a brief period.  Then the road climbs back up to 8200 feet before returning to Alpine.  It was an amazing and very scenic drive of about 49 miles.  The crazy thing is that it took me about 3 hours and I never saw another car or person the entire time!  You can read a little more about the scenic drive here.  Here are a few pics of the drive and the area...

Along Blue Range Loop Scenic DriveAlong Blue Range Loop Scenic Drive

Notice the thunderstorm rolling in in the distance.  I really like this shot... Blue Range Primitive AreaBlue Range Primitive Area

Over the next couple of days, I hiked a few trails, had a nice picnic lunch under a shade tree next to a babbling brook called Corduroy Creek, had plenty of wildlife sightings, and many photo ops.  It it so incredibly scenic up in this part of Arizona and it's really amazing to me that there are so few people.  Just to give you an idea, I ended up hiking 4 different trails about a total of 7 miles.  That entire time, there was only one trailhead with another car parked at it and I never saw another person.  It is so isolated and remote that it's spooky.

One morning I woke up before dawn and drove south from Alpine past Hannagan Meadow and out to the Blue Vista Overlook.  It poured down rain and was pretty foggy.  When I got to the overlook, the clouds started to break and I snapped what I think is one of my better photos.  The sunrise was breaking through the clouds and the fog was spilling up and over the Mogollon Rim.  Really a special opportunity!

Morning Fog at Blue Vista OverlookMorning Fog at Blue Vista Overlook The trails I hiked were Reno Lookout, KP Creek, Aker Lake, and Foote Creek.  I also did quite a bit of off-roading which included a drive over to Buffalo Crossing and Wildcat Bridge, both of which cross the Black River, which was running at a pretty healthy pace (great to see in these times of record drought)!  I ended up with another gorgeous shot near Three Forks, which is a concentration of meadows near where several creeks converge to form the East Fork of the Black River.  Here are a few of the wildlife and meadow pictures...

Meadow Near Three ForksMeadow Near Three Forks Along Three Forks RoadAlong Three Forks Road Wildflowers Near Hannagan MeadowWildflowers Near Hannagan Meadow Meadow Along Beaver CreekMeadow Along Beaver Creek Along Three Forks RoadAlong Three Forks Road Deer Near Hannagan MeadowDeer Near Hannagan Meadow Young bucks near Reno LookoutYoung bucks near Reno Lookout

My last stop before heading back home was north of Alpine to a beautiful high-elevation lake and the base of Escudilla Mountain, called Hulsey Lake.  I hiked around the perimeter in the early morning and again had the place to myself.

Hulsey Lake near Alpine, AZHulsey Lake near Alpine, AZ

Sadly, that marked the end of my trip to the White Mountains and I headed back to the 100 degree days in Phoenix.  I'll bet between camping and hiking/photo trips, I've been up to this area near Hannagan Meadow at least a dozen times.  And you know what?  It NEVER gets old!!  I always have great opportunities to experience nature at its best in the form of wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, cool temperatures, high elevations, and the peace and quiet that only remote wilderness can offer.

I hope you have enjoyed reading and even more than that, I hope you take the opportunity to go exploring in the White Mountains.  Shoot me a note if you'd like any recommendations for areas to explore or capture a magical photo.  Happy Adventuring!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) 4-wheeling adventure Alpine Arizona beautiful Black River Blue Range Loop Blue Range Primitive Area East fork elk gorgeous Hannagan Meadow hiking Hulsey Lake meadows mule deer osprey outside owl peaceful Photography raccoon remote sunset vista West fork wildflowers wildlife Sun, 07 Aug 2022 04:20:00 GMT
Idyllwild California So I'm not sure I'd call this an adventure in the sense that it was not some crazy hike off into the wilderness or a week-long trip to one of the National Parks, but it was truly worth an entry into the blog because it was a new and beautiful place.

My Main Squeeze and I were dying for a trip out of town.  We had considered Oceanside or Cardiff-by-the-Sea in California but couldn't find a place to stay on 4th of July weekend, so we ended up looking inland a bit.  We decided to check out Idyllwild and found a wonderful bed and breakfast called The Grand Idyllwild Lodge.  We stayed a few nights and it was just a beautiful setting that I would highly recommend.  It was the middle of summer and the temps up in the San Jacinto mountains didn't get out of the 70s.  The lodge appeared to be a large home that had been converted into a B-n-B.  It only had 8 or so rooms and the views were outstanding.  It was very romantic, peaceful, quiet, and just what we were looking for!

Idyllwild is a tiny community in the mountains west of Palm Springs and WOW, what an idyllic setting.  The mayor of Idyllwild is a dog by the way and has been the mayor since 2013!  We did quite a bit of hiking and exploring the area, and really fell in love with the town.  The restaurants were also converted homes and just the perfect setting for a nice quiet dinner.  Cafe Aroma was our favorite and we practically had the place to ourselves, and on a holiday weekend!

Anyway, here are a few photos of our little mid-summer getaway.  Love this place!!

Lake FulmorLake Fulmor Manzanita BarkManzanita Bark Meadow near Lake HemetMeadow near Lake Hemet

Cafe Aroma...  just a perfect setting!

Cafe Aroma Idyllwild CaliforniaCafe Aroma Idyllwild California

We will be back.

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Bed and Breakfast Cafe Aroma California dog Grand Idyllwild Lodge hike Idyllwild Idyllwild Nature Center Lake Fulmor Lake Hemet manzanita mayor mountains San Jacinto Mon, 04 Jul 2022 05:36:00 GMT
Arches and Canyonlands National Parks Just like any of the National Parks, I just don't get tired of visiting them.  On Christmas Eve 2021, I made plans to go visit one of my favorite places...  Moab, Utah.  So I booked a nice room at Scenic View Inn and Suites and motored on up there on the day after Christmas.  Moab is right smack in the middle of Canyon Country and home base for excursions to Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park.

The Green River, which originates 750 miles to the north in western Wyoming, and the Colorado River which originates in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado are responsible for carving out Canyonlands while Arches was created primarily by water and wind erosion.  Although only separated by a few miles, they are vastly different looking areas and spectacular for hiking, biking, four wheeling, and of course Adventure Photography!

While in Arches NP the first day, I woke up before sunrise, drove to Arches and hiked to Delicate Arch which is a 3 mile out and back hike that gains 500 feet in elevation.  Most of the hike is ascending over solid sandstone.  It is quite a slog, and it was pretty cold and extremely windy once I got up top, but the wind is what created all these beautiful rock formations in Arches National Park.

The "trail" to Delicate Arch (mostly this is a scramble up this massive sandstone slab following others and rock cairns). Open up the pic to see the little specks which are other hikers.

Delicate Arch TrailDelicate Arch Trail

The last hundreds yards or so was up a narrow ledge...
Delicate Arch Trail (final push)Delicate Arch Trail (final push)

Then the big payoff...
Delicate ArchDelicate Arch

On the way down from Delicate Arch, I took a small side trail to some petroglyphs.

Petroglyphs near Delicate ArchPetroglyphs near Delicate Arch
After that hike, I continued on to the end of the park road and ended up hiking to Sand Dune Arch, Broken Arch, Tapestry Arch, and then through the campground and between gigantic sandstone rock fins for a nice little 3 mile loop.  Here are a few pictures from that hike:
Sand Dune ArchSand Dune Arch Broken ArchBroken Arch
Rock Fins at Arches National ParkRock Fins at Arches National Park
Rock Formations new Sand Dune ArchRock Formations new Sand Dune Arch
I checked out Landscape Arch as well as a couple of short hikes to the Fiery Furnace, Double Arch, Turret Arch, The Windows, and Garden of Eden for about 4 more miles.  In the afternoon, I tried to take a scenic drive up into the mountains called the La Sal Mountain Loop Road.  Unfortunately, at about 10 miles in to this 60 mile road trip, I ran into too much snow on the road and was forced to turn around.  I guess I need to go back in the Spring and check it out!

The next day was dedicated to exploring the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park and also a short side trip to Dead Horse Point State Park.  While in Canyonlands NP, I hiked to Mesa Arch twice (about 1.2 miles), Grand View Point (2 miles), Upheaval Dome and part of the Syncline Loop (4 miles), as well as Aztec Butte (2 miles).  I took a few short walks at the Green River Overlook and near the visitors center totaling a couple of miles.

Here's a photo from Mesa Arch in the early morning.  For most of my trip the skies were angry and overcast with occasional raindrops and snow flurries, so it was pretty amazing that the sun peaked out for a few minutes during this hike because the morning sun really lights up the arch and makes for some great pictures!

Mesa Arch at SunriseMesa Arch at Sunrise Mesa ArchMesa Arch Here's a few pics from the hike to Grand View Point...

Grand View Point in Canyonlands NPGrand View Point in Canyonlands NP Grand View Point TrailGrand View Point Trail

And a few more from the hike to Upheaval Dome.  It turns out, it is pretty much a mystery to geologists how this feature formed.  Some say it was the result of a salt dome that pushed its way up through the sandstone.  Others believe it was an impact crater left from a meteor.  Either way, it is a pretty striking feature in Canyonlands and one that was well worth the hike to.

Upheaval DomeUpheaval Dome Violent Meteor Impact or Salt Dome?Violent Meteor Impact or Salt Dome?

And finally a view from the Green River Overlook...

Green River OverlookGreen River Overlook

After that, I checked out the Shafer Trail and Canyon overlook.  The last time I came up to Canyonlands (in 2017) I wrote about the Shafer Trail being closed due to a record snowfall.  Well the same thing happened during this trip.  The dirt road was open on Monday, but closed on Tuesday.  This is now the third time this has happened to me!!  Again, yet another reason to return in the spring or fall.  I also stopped at Dead Horse Point State Park which is adjacent to Canyonlands, and snapped some photos of the Colorado River and the amazing canyon that it cut over millions of years.  Here's a great photo...

Colorado River Overlook at Dead Horse PointColorado River Overlook at Dead Horse Point  

After all that hiking (22 miles in two days!) I was hungry!  And I am a fiend for pizza, especially after a long day of hiking.  I went back into Moab and found a place called Antica Forma.  Their pizza was insane good and I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Moab!

At last, it was time to return to the Valley of the Sun, but that did not mean the photo opportunities were over.  Actually the trip up and back takes you through some pretty scenic areas including Monticello Utah, Bluff Utah, Monument Valley, The Painted Desert, and even Flagstaff.  Early into the drive I took a short side drive to another district of Canyonlands National Park called the Needles, and captured a photo of a place called Newspaper Rock which is an amazing collection of Native American petroglyphs.  Unfortunately, vandals also decide to make their own petroglyphs (that really pisses me off, so please don't do it!).

Newspaper RockNewspaper Rock Twin Peaks East near Monticello UtahTwin Peaks East near Monticello Utah I hit Monument Valley on the way up and back too and got some great shots both with and without snow...

Agathla Peak in Monument ValleyAgathla Peak in Monument Valley Monument ValleyMonument Valley Monument ValleyMonument Valley

What a great way to end 2021.  I am hoping that 2022 will be filled with even more adventure.  Happy New Year to all my visitors and I hope you all have a wonderful year too.  Happy adventuring!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Antica Forma Arches National Park Broken Arch Canyonlands National Park Colorado River crater Dead Horse Point Delicate Arch erosion fins Grand View Point Green River hiking impact Mesa Arch meteorite Moab Monument Valley petroglyphs pizza rock formations Sand Dune Arch scenic trail Upheaval Dome Utah Wed, 29 Dec 2021 21:37:00 GMT
Camping at the Black River Hello Readers!  It has been a little while since I've posted a blog and so thought I would add some new content and a new adventure story.  Thank you for being patient.

Just got back from a 3-day camping and hiking trip up to my favorite place in Arizona... the White Mountains.  My Brother and I decided to head up to a favorite primitive campsite near the confluence of the east fork and the west fork of the Black River.  This is up near Alpine and Hannagan Meadow in eastern Arizona near the New Mexico border.  Despite it being a repeat trip and a repeat blog entry, it was an absolute new experience.  Arizona has had a record monsoon season and tons of rain had fallen in the month of August.  We knew it would be nice and lush up here at 8,000+ feet in elevation, but nothing prepared us for what we saw.  For a nature lover, it was pure eye candy!

As soon as I got out of Phoenix on this 5-hour drive, the mountains greened up and I ran into rain.  You could just tell it was going to be something special.  I met my Brother in Pinetop and we took the road to Big Lake and then beyond.  Shortly after passing the turnoff to Big Lake, we hung a right and got on a dirt road that we'd never been on before... unimpressively named FR-24E.  After driving for 6 or 7 miles, we came upon a glorious vista of forest, meadows, slopes and wildflowers as far as the eye could see.  Here's a great picture, but I should have taken a panoramic shot.

Beautiful VistaBeautiful Vista

Next we arrived at our campsite.  There are several primitive campsites right near the dirt road, but nobody was around.  The spot we wanted was a half mile down a rutted, rugged, muddy "road" if it could be called that.  The last two tenths of a mile required low range 4-wheel drive and a locked rear differential just to be safe, inching along and over moderately-sized boulders so as not to bash a vital part of the engine or frame, or crunch a body panel!  Thankfully, we arrived without incident and got our site set up.  Once we got settled, we looked around and here's what we saw...

Campsite in the eveningCampsite in the evening Sunset at the campsiteSunset at the campsite

Throughout the course of the three days, I hiked each morning and evening.  This spot was amazing...  it was so green from the recent rains.  There were wildflowers everywhere.  The river was swollen and moving at a pace that I had never seen before.  On previous trips up here, we would plop our chairs in the river...  NO WAY would we dare do that this time!  It would result in getting swept down the river and probably certain death.

There was also a very special place called Horse Creek that we hiked to.  On previous trips up here, Horse Creek was bone dry.  This time it was running strong.  I found an idyllic spot to take a picture of Horse Creek... truly calendar-worthy.  There were wildflowers of every color and the greenest green I had ever seen.  So amazing that this is in Arizona, which most people think of as a desert.

Horse CreekHorse Creek Horse CreekHorse Creek
North a little ways from the above spot, the forest opened up into a meadow, where I saw a doe and a fawn getting drink of water out of the creek.  My Brother saw a red fox.  Here's a photo of the meadow...

Meadow near Horse CreekMeadow near Horse Creek

All the hiking and stunning scenery of course made us hungry.  We ate some wonderful meals including chilidogs, steaks, smoked salmon pasta salad, bacon and eggs, bratwursts, asparagus, veggies, and cheeseburgers.  All the food tastes so much better when you enjoy it out in the wilderness cooked over a fire or a propane grill.

All I can say is...  WOW!  What a great trip and I can't wait to go back.  If I do, I will definitely share it with you, my loyal readers.  Thanks for being a fan and for reading about my latest adventure.  Get outside!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) 4-wheeling Alpine Arizona beautiful Black River camping confluence East fork gorgeous Hannagan Meadow hiking Horse Creek meadows outside sunset vista West fork wildflowers wildlife Fri, 03 Sep 2021 01:47:00 GMT
Camping at Promontory Butte and Reynolds Creek In August 2020, my Brother and I planned a camping trip up to Promontory Butte near the highest elevation along the Mogollon Rim just north of Christopher Creek Arizona.

There's a bit of a cool backstory here.  Earlier in the week, I was on the phone with my Brother and at the computer at the same time.  We were planning on where to go when we thought about Promontory Butte.  We wanted to find out if we could build a fire and also if the area was open to camping.  So I hopped on the web and used Bing to search for "Promontory Butte".  the first page that came up in the search results was the Forest Service page, exactly what we were looking for!  However, what was so cool was the result that Bing's image search showed on the very next entry...  it was my own photo from this webpage!!  Try it...  Bing search results

Two nights and three days of camping and pretty much isolated.  I think we saw two other cars the whole time we were up there, and this was at peak camping season in Arizona.

Here are a few pictures...

Sunset at Promontory ButteSunset at Promontory Butte
Promontory ButtePromontory Butte Promontory ButtePromontory Butte

But wait, there's more!  In October, we made last minute plans to head up to Reynolds Creek near Young, AZ.  We had gone earlier in the year and had a blast, so decided to check it out again in the fall.  It ended up being a short trip (just one night), but jammed packed full of fun.  We hiked up the Reynold Creek trail for a short distance, went on a 4x4 run up some pretty gnarly and narrow trails, found a spring, and also found a very isolated vista point.  We also took a drive up to Aztec Peak, which is the highest mountain top in the area at 7,694 feet for some outstanding 360 degree views of the Salt River Canyon, the Rim, and Devil's Chasm.  We even found a few pieces of Indian pottery!

The weather was perfect... highs in the 70s and lows in the upper 40s.  Fall color too!

Here are a few pics of that outstanding adventure.

Fall color along Reynolds CreekFall color along Reynolds Creek Fall color along Reynolds CreekFall color along Reynolds Creek Random Vista Point in the Sierra AnchasRandom Vista Point in the Sierra Anchas
The mountains are calling...  Answer and enjoy!


[email protected] (Adventure Photography) 4x4 Arizona Aztec Peak camping fall color hiking Mogollon Rim Promontory Butte Reynolds Creek Sierra Ancha Wilderness trail vista Tue, 20 Oct 2020 03:24:00 GMT
Isolation in the White Mountains You probably know this by now, but I tend to visit the White Mountains of eastern Arizona at least twice a year.  There is something special about the stretch of Route 191 between Alpine and Hannagan Meadow and also the Three Forks Road from Big Lake to Alpine.  In my opinion, it is one of the best kept secrets in the state.  People who flock to the mountains during hot Phoenix weekends tend to go about as far east as Pinetop-Lakeside, or maybe even Big Lake.  Any further east of there and there are no crowds.

In the sleepy little town of Alpine, where I stayed for two nights, life goes on as if nothing was going on in the world.  Actually, one of the appealing things about going up there this year was the fact that they haven't had a single case of COVID-19!

The drive up to the mountains took me past the remnants of the Bush Fire which burned in the Four Peaks wilderness area and grew into the 5th largest wildfire in Arizona history.  It was a real shame to see the beautiful desert landscape charred by fire, especially knowing it was human caused.  I must have driven 60 miles of the western border of the fire (the Beeline Highway, or State Route 89) and most of the time the landscape to my right was burned.  To date, this fire has burned over 300 square miles of desert scrub and the pine forests of Four Peaks.  What a shame.

At any rate, a couple of hours after that, I was up in the area that pulls me in every year.  Ahhh the mountains!!  And I had them to myself.  Over the course of 2 days, I ended up hiking about 15 miles.  I took the hike to Aker Lake, part of the KP Creek trail, part of the Foote Creek trail, and another unnamed trail/road off into the wilderness.  As is always the case, I was the only one parked at the trailhead and I never saw another human the whole time.  I did most of my hiking in the early morning and while many Phoenicians were baking in 110+ temperatures, I was enjoying lows in the 40s and highs in the 70s!  I saw loads of wildlife and came across countless meadows.  Here are a few pictures...

Meadow near KP CreekMeadow near KP Creek Meadow near KP Cienega CampgroundMeadow near KP Cienega Campground Elk near Reno LookoutElk near Reno Lookout Deer in Hannagan MeadowDeer in Hannagan Meadow Deer near Big LakeDeer near Big Lake Elk near KP Cienaga CampgroundElk near KP Cienaga Campground

I saved the best part of this trip for last.  Out on one of my hikes, I spotted a pair of Mexican Gray Wolves!  I was able to get a pretty decent shot of one of them.  Mexican Grey Wolves are an endangered species and there are rumored to be only between 131 and 183 left in the world!  These wolves were hunted to near extinction by the mid-1900s.  In 1989, there was an effort to reintroduce the wolves to this area of the state.  Their numbers have very slowly risen since then.  On several occasions, I have read about their story, and I have even heard their howls and describe that experience in previous blogs, but never in a million years thought I would see these elusive mammals, let alone have the right gear to capture a photo!  I used my Sigma 600mm wildlife lens to capture these shots.  I was probably 150 feet away from them...

Mexican Gray WolfMexican Gray Wolf

What an amazing encounter!  You can read more about the Mexican Gray Wolves and their reintroduction into the wild here and here.

It is not unusual to have other interesting encounters and run into other adventurers in town.  One afternoon, while stocking up at the local Alpine grocery store, I ran into a couple that were riding their motorcycle up and down RT-191.  I talked to them both and the man was just a hoot.  He was essentially a big time conspiracy theorist and went on and on about how COVID-19 is nothing but political scam, how racism and bigotry don't exist, and then he asked me a question after he found out I work for a company whose main customer is NASA...  he said: "Scott - Do you think we actually landed on the moon??!"  We laughed for a few minutes and then I socially distanced!

I ended up taking a new route home, since just to the south of Hannagan Meadow, Route 191 was closed.  I was a little disappointed because that road is an amazingly desolate and insanely curvy route from Hannagan Meadow down to Clifton-Morenci.  It was closed due to yet another wildfire.  However, I ended up taking a detour through western New Mexico (RT-180 to RT-78) which was quite a scenic drive.  I over-nighted in Safford, Arizona and took the Swift Trail (AZ-366) up to the top of Mount Graham.  That in and of itself is another amazing drive that climbs from about 3,000 feet to over 9,000 in 16 miles!  Here's a photo from near the top of Mount Graham.  Surprisingly, one is looking down on other mountain ranges.

View from the top of Mt GrahamView from the top of Mt Graham I hope that you have enjoyed reading this and I hope that you get out and take advantage of all that Arizona has to offer even during a world-wide pandemic.  Until next time, happy adventuring!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Aker Lake Alpine Arizona deer elk Hannagan Meadow hiking meadows Mexican Gray Wolf Mt Graham RT-191 RT-366 Safford scenic Swift Trail trails White Mountains Tue, 30 Jun 2020 02:01:00 GMT
Social Distancing Wow...  So it is April/May of 2020.  These are months and days that everyone on Earth will never forget!  What an unprecedented period of time, where we are all faced with a global pandemic.  This is the stuff movies are made of!  And here are a couple of phrases and definitions that everyone on the globe is now familiar with...

Social Distancing = Putting physical distance between yourself and other people. This means avoiding groups of people and maintaining distance from others when possible.

Shelter-in-Place = A decree, usually from a government official, for people to stay in their homes with exceptions that include going out for essential needs, such as groceries, as well as outdoor activities like hiking, walking, and biking in public spaces.

So the way I see it, the governor of Arizona is begging me to go off into the wild.  And I am going to listen!  In addition, the company I work for was kind enough to give me a week off in April and another in May.  Woohoo!  Is there a better way to socially distance myself than to go camping?  Right you are... no there is not a better way.

So over the last two months, my Brother and I went on three camping excursions.  Two were to Tangle Creek, which is a spring-fed tributary that empties into the Verde River near Sheep's Crossing and Bloody Basin.  Tangle Creek is a gorgeous at certain times of the year, and at about 4,000 feet in elevation, is an ideal place to visit in the spring or fall.  Both times, there were very few people out and we got lucky and found our favorite campsite available!  Here are a few pictures from the 2 trips to Tangle Creek...

Tangle CreekTangle CreekTangle Creek

Then, in May, we got a bit of a heat wave in Phoenix.  It got above 100F for about 2 weeks straight.  So we camped in a new area called Reynolds Creek, which is on the way from Roosevelt Lake up to the tiny town of Young, AZ along AZ-288 (also known as the Desert to Tall Pines Highway).  Reynolds Creek sits at about 6,000 feet in elevation and was an absolutely gorgeous reprieve from the heat wave.  It maybe got to 80F during the day and dropped to about 50F overnight... perfect camping weather.

The town of Young Arizona has quite an interesting story in and of itself.  You can read about it here.  I would very much like to explore Young... maybe someday in the near future.

Anyway, we did a ton hiking and exploring in the area around Reynolds Creek.  There appeared to be signs of bear activity.  We saw a deer too.  The most interesting wildlife was the squirrels though.  Normally, I thought squirrels were solitary, but near the creek we saw a family of 8 or 10 of them that were chasing each other around like little kids during school recess.  There also appeared to be scout squirrels...  meaning they didn't partake in the antics, but kept watch while the others frolicked around and chased each other up and down trees and in and out of the tall grasses bordering Reynolds Creek.  It was pretty entertaining.

Reynolds CreekReynolds Creek

Here's a calendar-worthy photo of Reynolds Creek...  right next to our campsite!
Reynolds CreekReynolds Creek

And as I laid reclined in my camping chair sipping a Moscow Mule and listening to some music, this was my view straight up.  Nice shade provided by this maple tree.  So relaxing!  Like I said, there's no better way to social distance than this.

I hope that you take advantage of what Mother Nature has to offer during these unique times!  Go on an adventure.  Take a hike.  Go camping!  And stay healthy and safe.  Enjoy!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) antics Arizona hiking maple Reynolds Creek Sierra Ancha Mountains squirrels trees wilderness wildlife Young Arizona Tue, 05 May 2020 20:41:00 GMT
Wildflowers in the Superstition Mountains This is going to be a relatively short blog entry since it was a really quick road trip up the Apache Trail and into the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix.  I don't think I quite hit the peak of wildflower season, but boy did I get a few good shots.  Plus, I was itching to get out of COVID-19 Lockdown and out in to nature!

These were taken on March 28th, along the Apache Trail between Canyon Lake and Apache Lake, which by the way, is a sweet little curvy mountain road that is very close to town.  You could flip up there and back in half a day!

Anyway... enjoy!

I especially liked this one...
Hope that you have a great day!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Apache Trail Lupine Owl's Clover Superstition Mountains wildflowers Sun, 29 Mar 2020 03:59:00 GMT
Isabela Puerto Rico In late February of 2020, I had a "business trip" out to the island of Puerto Rico.  Wow!  Little did I know it would turn in to the best business trip ever, and even provide an opportunity for an adventure and some calendar-worthy photos!

I flew out on the red eye and arrived in San Juan at around 10:30AM on a Monday morning, then drove to the northwest part of the island to a town called Isabela.  The resort I stayed in was called the Villa Montana Beach Resort, and it was just incredible.  I basically had my own private condo on the beach for a week.  The first few days were a little rainy, but that was okay, since I was meeting with my work colleagues inside the plant anyway.

On Tuesday night, my Puerto Rican co-workers (who have all become friends over the years) went out to a little bar called Sonido del Mar, where I had mofongo for the first time, which is a popular Puerto Rican dish with plantains as its main ingredient. It was delicious! On Wednesday evening, my boss took us all out for dinner at an incredible private golf resort called Royal Isabela.  What a great time and beautiful setting.

Restaurant at Royal IsabelaRestaurant at Royal Isabela

On Thursday, we had an offsite activity which was an outstanding gesture... We were shuttled to San Juan in the morning, got on a tour boat, and were treated to a great tour of San Juan harbor, which included viewing a giant 16th century fortress.  Then we had lunch at a small restaurant called La Casita de Rones.  After lunch, we were treated to an outstanding guided walking tour of old town San Juan!  Here are a few pictures:

Castillo San Felipe del MorroCastillo San Felipe del Morro Home of the Pina ColadaHome of the Pina Colada Old San JuanOld San Juan Chapel in Old San JuanChapel in Old San Juan Streets of Old San JuanStreets of Old San Juan Beautiful GardensBeautiful Gardens

Friday was probably the best day on this trip.  No business.  An extra day to do whatever I wanted.  My friend Adan treated me to a road tour of the west coast of Puerto Rico.  We drove to the southernmost point and the westernmost point on the island.  We saw lighthouses, salt flats, surfers, and gorgeous coastlines.  We stopped at so many little bars and restaurants (and more mofongo!) along the way that I lost count.  Adan was gracious enough to introduce me to his girlfriend, his two children, and his parents who welcomed me with open arms and even offered me a place to stay the next time I was in town!  He picked me up at 8AM and dropped me off at 10PM that day.  Here's a few pictures from our little road trip adventure...

Southernmost Point of the IslandSouthernmost Point of the Island
Southernmost Point of the IslandSouthernmost Point of the Island

I even had a late afternoon flight out on Saturday, so got the chance to walk on the beach at the Villa Montana and check out the grounds.

Near Villa Montana ResortNear Villa Montana Resort Villa Montana ResortVilla Montana Resort
Eclipse at Villa MontanaEclipse at Villa Montana

Overall, this was an outstanding little business trip.  Puerto Rico is gorgeous island rich with history, and the people are gracious and friendly.  Thanks to Adan, Sergio, Luis, and Yazmin.  You are the best!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) 16th century beach Castillo San Felipe del Morro cliff Eclipse fortress Isabela Jota lighthouse mofongo Old San Juan Pina Colada Puerto Rico restaurant Royal Isabela Golf Villa Montana Beach Resort Sat, 29 Feb 2020 16:10:00 GMT
Winter in Southern Arizona Almost every year, I get a nice long break from work around the Christmas and New Year holidays.  I took advantage of the time off to check out a part of Arizona that I had never explored much.  Most people have the impression that Arizona is nothing but a hot dry desert, and also that the closer you get to the southern border, the hotter and drier it gets.  Well that is not at all the case.  Southern Arizona is home to grasslands, foothills and mountain ranges, called Sky Islands, that rise to over 9,000 feet in elevation!

So the day after Christmas, I got in the truck and headed south.  After about 3 hours of driving, I was close to the Mexico border at a very remote preserve called Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.  I took a short off road trail called Pronghorn Drive, and although the landscape was ripe for wildlife, I did not see any of the mammals the drive was named after.  Oh well...  when you go out looking and expecting to see wildlife, you're almost guaranteed to not see any!  I also checked out a wetland near the tiny town of Arivaca, which was quite impressive.  I hiked a few miles and most of it was on a built up boardwalk!  The amount of labor and lumber used to build the trail was what impressed me.  It was also very peaceful and quiet.  I saw quite a bit of wildlife...  I actually startled a squadron of very large javelina!  Also, at one point, a skunk with a large puffy white tail crossed the trail in front of me.  Both encounters happened so fast, I couldn't get any good shots.

I did, however, snap a photo of a huge tree, possibly a cottonwood, with Baboquivari Peak in the background and the wetlands in the foreground...

Buenos Aires National Wildlife RefugeBuenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge

Next, I drove through Tubac, Tumacacori, Nogales, Patagonia, Sonoita, and ended up staying a couple of nights in Sierra Vista.  Believe it or not, the Patagonia and Sonoita areas are known as wine country, and there were plenty of wineries and vineyards in the area.  Patagonia also has a nice small lake and campground that would be a great place to spend a few nights, during the spring or fall season.

After staying the night in Sierra Vista, I actually woke to a snow storm!  Judging from the locals all taking photos of the snow, I gathered that snow was unusual in this part of the state.  My plan was to let it warm up a bit and then head out to a place called Ramsey Canyon Preserve which is near Sierra Vista, but is in the foothills of the Huachuca Mountains (one of the Sky Islands I mentioned earlier).  The small change in elevation going up to Ramsey Canyon had a dramatic effect on the weather.  After using low range 4WD and following the only other set of tire tracks, I got to Ramsey Canyon and there was about 8 inches of snow on the ground.  The caretaker didn't even charge me admission and I had the place entirely to myself.  Very cool!!  My boot prints were the only ones around and I ended up capturing a few unexpected wintry scenes.  Here they are:

Ramsey Canyon PreserveRamsey Canyon Preserve Ramsey CanyonRamsey Canyon

I thought the following picture was really unique.  The color of the bark on the tree really pops!

Ramsey Canyon PreserveRamsey Canyon Preserve

After visiting and hiking 3-4 miles in Ramsey Canyon, I headed back to the Sonoita and Patagonia area and explored a bit.  The weather prevented me from getting any spectacular shots and doing any major hikes, but I made the most of it by taking some scenic drives and just enjoying the day.  Here are a couple of pics...

Somewhere near Canelo, ArizonaSomewhere near Canelo, Arizona The Road Less TravelledThe Road Less Travelled

After staying another night in Sierra Vista, I headed home.  I couldn't resist taking Scenic Highway 83 up through the Santa Rita Foothills on my way back.  I also stopped at the Spanish Catholic Mission San Xavier del Bac, which was built in the late 1600s.  Pretty intricate architecture.  Here are a couple of pictures.

Santa Rita Foothills and Apache PeakSanta Rita Foothills and Apache Peak Mission San Xavier del BacMission San Xavier del Bac

Overall, I put 870 miles on the truck over three days and about ten more miles on my hiking boots.  It wasn't perfect for taking pictures or hiking, but I made the best of it and was very glad to get away from the busy holidays and the crowds of the big city.  I hope you have enjoyed this blog and if you ever want an idea or two about visiting unique places in Arizona, please send me a note!

Happy New Year and may 2020 be fruitful and prosperous for you!  Thank you for reading.

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Arivaca Arizona Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge foothills hike Huachuca Mission San Xavier del Bac Patagonia Ramsey Canyon Sierra Vista sky islands snow Sonoita Southern trail Tucson vineyards winery winter Thu, 02 Jan 2020 00:15:00 GMT
Fall Color in Flagstaff Arizona So on October 19th, I planned a trip up to Flagstaff with my Mom and Dad to check out some fall colors.  Mom wasn't feeling so hot, so it ended up being just Dad and I.  I had a wonderful breakfast at their place and then headed up the road for a couple of hours.  Our first destination was Lockett Meadow, but that ended up being a bust...  turns out Lockett Meadow was so packed with cars that the Forest Service closed the dirt road up to it.  But Dad and I had a great backup plan, and we headed across town to the road to Snowbowl, which is one of Arizona's popular ski resorts!  Yes, there are places to go snow skiing in Arizona (it's not all desert).

Anyway, the road up to Snowbowl ended up being a gorgeous place to check out the Aspens turning into gold.  We also went up Hart Prairie Road, which was another gorgeous place to do some leaf peeping.  We caught the color right near its peak.  Check out some of the great shots!

Along the road to SnowbowlAlong the road to Snowbowl Snowbowl RoadSnowbowl Road Hart Prairie RoadHart Prairie Road

I love this next shot.  The road was so inviting!! Hart Prairie RoadHart Prairie Road

My Dad and I had a great time hanging out.  After all the driving around, we had lunch at a BBQ place in Flagstaff and then headed down the hill back to home.  Fall is such a wonderful time of year, especially when when you can come back to the comfortable temperatures of a place like Phoenix.  Too bad Mom wasn't feeling up to joining us.


[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Arizona aspen fall color Flagstaff golden Hart Prairie Lockett Meadow Snowbowl Road Sun, 20 Oct 2019 04:29:00 GMT
White Mountains of Arizona So I flipped on up to the cool mountains and high elevations of Alpine Arizona this past weekend and did a bit of hiking and picture taking.  I spent two days along AZ-191 between Alpine and Hannagan Meadow.  It is such a gorgeous place and I've been up there at least ten times now.  I highly recommend it.  I got to test out a hiking staff as well as the latest addition to the family, my Sigma 150-600mm wildlife lens!  This time of year, in Phoenix, it is usually 110+ degrees.  Historically, it is the hottest week of the year.  On Sunday morning, it was a beautiful 42 degrees at the lodge at Hannagan Meadow, so I had a nice hot cup of coffee and hung out on the front porch of the lodge for an hour.  There are always loads of deer and elk to watch and some beautiful meadows and hiking opportunities.  Here are a few pictures...

Group of Deer in the White MountainsGroup of Deer in the White Mountains Elk Herd near Hannagan MeadowElk Herd near Hannagan Meadow Hannagan MeadowHannagan Meadow Wild Iris near Alpine ArizonaWild Iris near Alpine Arizona Western Tiger SwallowtailWestern Tiger Swallowtail Beautiful Forest near Hawley LakeBeautiful Forest near Hawley Lake

After hanging out near Hannagan, I drove over to Pinetop-Lakeside and spent three days with my parents and brother in a cabin at Lake of the Woods Resort.  Very cool place right on a private lake.  I went fishing for the first time in a decade, did some mild hiking, and had plenty of great food.  The temps were in the 70s and a perfect breeze made for a perfect few days.  I got to capture some awesome photos of a pair of great horned owls and a few other critters too!  Check it out:

BullfrogBullfrog Great Honrned OwlGreat Honrned Owl Great Horned OwlGreat Horned Owl

I hope you get the chance to head out to the mountains.  If you do, I highly recommend Alpine, AZ.  Great small town, good food, and nobody goes there, even on busy weekends.  Until next time, happy adventuring!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Alpine Arizona Big Lake bullfrog deer elk Hannagan Meadow Hawley Lake hiking iris meadows owl Pinetop-Lakeside Three Forks trail wildlife Tue, 25 Jun 2019 01:07:00 GMT
Hunting for Wildflowers The Phoenix area had quite an unusual amount of rainfall in January, February, and March of 2019, and so we were gearing up for one of the best wildflower blooms in decades.  The local news was even calling it the Super Bloom!  I didn't want to miss it, so I took a half day of vacation on a Wednesday in late March and wandered off into the mountains to hunt for wildflowers.  It wasn't much of a hunt or a wander...  they were all over the place just as soon as I got out of town, and there were even some in my own backyard on North Mountain.

My short day trip took me up the Beeline Highway to Saguaro Lake, up and over Usery Pass, and then out into the Superstition Mountains past Canyon Lake along the Apache Trail.  I came back the same way.  About 150 miles of driving and a few miles of hiking.

Here are a few of the pictures that I captured along the way.

Mexican Gold PoppiesMexican Gold Poppies Near Saguaro LakeNear Saguaro Lake Blue Lupine near Saguaro LakeBlue Lupine near Saguaro Lake Desert Globe Mallow at Usery PassDesert Globe Mallow at Usery Pass Lupine Along the Apache TrailLupine Along the Apache Trail Lupine Along the Apache TrailLupine Along the Apache Trail Along the Apache TrailAlong the Apache Trail

Thank you for reading and I hope you get out there and join the hunt!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Apache Trail Blue Dicks Canyon Lake Globe Mallow Lupine Mexican Gold Poppies North Mountain Phoenix Saguaro Lake Super Bloom Superstition Mountains Tortilla Flat Usery Pass wildflowers Thu, 21 Mar 2019 00:11:00 GMT
Thank You! Just want to give a special shout of thanks out to Marie and Daniel for your recent orders...  My first two!!

Aspens Along the Inner Basin Trail in Flagstaff Arizona Phelps Lake at Grand Teton National Park


[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Sat, 16 Feb 2019 03:10:47 GMT
Grand Teton National Park You will have to pardon the length of this blog, but it is worth the read, as this trip up to Grand Teton National Park was one of my best trips yet!!  I was not really anticipating an outstanding trip, but to my surprise, I got one.  Actually, I think the weather had a lot to do with it...  the forecast was for rain, snow, and cold temperatures for most days and I thought it might put a damper on plans.  Instead, there was more wildlife out and there was more drama in the skies, which made for some amazing photo ops.

I made the trip during the week of October 8th, 2018.  Even the first evening, when I checked it to my lodging for the week, was a pleasant surprise.  It was a place called Spring Creek Ranch and it was breathtaking!  The place is just a couple of minutes from the town of Jackson Wyoming, yet it was at the end of a steep winding road to the top of a bluff that rises almost 1,000 feet above the town.  I had a rustic inn-type room with a wood burning fireplace, a stack of seasoned firewood outside the front door, and an insanely incredible view of the Tetons from the balcony.

I got there about an hour before sunset, so of course, I dropped off all my stuff and headed out to the park in time to capture the color in the sky.  Here's a couple of photos...  Wow!

View from the balcony at Spring Creek Ranch in Jackson HoleView from the balcony at Spring Creek Ranch Beautiful sunset over the TetonsBeautiful sunset over the Tetons

I was charged up and ready for an adventure and couldn't wait until the next day.  I woke up around 4:30 and headed back out to capture the sunrise and look for wildlife.  I drove out to the quite famous Schwabacher Landing near the park headquarters.  You may recall during a previous blog from this park, that when I drove to the parking lot for this fisherman's trail it was packed with cars, and when I hiked to the spot at Schwabacher Landing where many calendar photos are taken, I was met with a throng of people, all lined up shoulder to shoulder.  This time around, I was thankful to have the place to myself.  What a treat!  I was able to capture an awesome sunrise picture with a mirror reflection of the Cathedral Group...

Sunrise at Schwabacher LandingSunrise at Schwabacher Landing

I did run into some pretty nasty weather, so when it was too foggy or overcast to take landscape shots, I went hiking or watched for wildlife.  I ended up hiking several trails, including the perimeter of Jenny Lake, along String and Leigh Lakes, a trail called the Moose Ponds, part of Signal Mountain, and the trail up to Phelps Lake.  I also attempted the Cascade Canyon Trail, but it was quite isolated, dead quiet, and I very quickly got to a point where the snow was too deep to manage with regular boots.  I ended up hiking about 20 miles worth of trails.

One of the more memorable hikes was up to Phelps Lake. It was a little remote, and I didn't want to hike it on my own, but luckily there was a large family hiking just in front of me.  I ended up catching them and when we got to Phelps Lake, we struck up a good conversation.  They were a wonderful crew from Memphis and we chatted for a good half hour.  They were as thrilled I was to be visiting and the view of the lake was stunning.  So a special shout of thanks to the Gilbert family for making a good hike great and for scaring all the bears away!  If it wasn't for their company, I would not have gone on the hike.  Here's a picture of Phelps Lake and dramatic fog and cloud cover in the mountains behind the lake...

Phelps LakePhelps Lake

Another amazing part about this trip was that I got to use the newest addition to my gear.  I purchased a Sigma super-zoom wildlife and sports lens a week prior to the trip in anticipation of capturing some of the great wildlife the park has to offer.  It is an outstanding lens and I was able to get good full shots of animals that were up to a quarter mile away, and without disturbing them too!  I was even able to capture two massive bull elk in the same frame.  October is peak time for the rut and I imagine seeing two males that close to each other is a rare sight.  Here are some of the shots...

Male antelope near Lupine MeadowsMale antelope near Lupine Meadows Bull Elk near Jenny LakeBull Elk near Jenny Lake Elk harem near the Snake RiverElk harem near the Snake River Near Phelps LakeNear Phelps Lake

This last one of a moose was actually taken at Spring Creek Ranch and it was sitting right outside the front door of one of the rooms.  The hostess at the restaurant had told me they had a couple of resident moose but that they don't do any harm, but she also told me use the peep hole before I left my room just in case they decided to rest at my place.  Ha!

Moose at Spring Creek RanchMoose at Spring Creek Ranch

I was also able to capture some outstanding landscapes including these from Oxbow Bend, Signal Mountain, Mormon Row, and near Cunningham Cabin.

Beautiful colors and dramatic clouds at Oxbow BendBeautiful colors and dramatic clouds at Oxbow Bend View from the top of Signal MountainView from the top of Signal Mountain Mormon Row BarnMormon Row Barn A glorious scene near Cunningham CabinA glorious scene near Cunningham Cabin

Here's an amazing shot from the Snake River Vista, which you might recognize from a famous Ansel Adams shot...

Snake River VistaSnake River Vista

And another on one of the snow days!

Sunrise and Snow near String LakeSunrise and Snow near String Lake

I won't bore you with all the rest of the details, but I'll close with some photos from the 2,515 mile drive from Phoenix to Grand Teton National Park and back.  I have almost always taken the road less traveled and this trip was no exception.  I drove through Logan Canyon, over the Salt River Pass, up the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, and through Brian Head Ski Resort near Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah.  I also took a short out and back drive to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.  Here are pictures from the drive...

Fall Color along the Logan River in UtahFall Color along the Logan River in Utah Salt River vista near Smoot WyomingSalt River vista near Smoot Wyoming Fall color near the Grand Canyon's north rimFall color near the Grand Canyon's north rim

Overall, I have to say that I could probably make a calendar out of the shots taken on this trip alone.  What I thought might be a lousy, cold, wet, rainy, overcast few days ended up being one of the best adventure photography trips ever.  So here's a few words of advice for you... never pass up the opportunity to travel to a beautiful place.  Don't put it off!  Live life to the fullest and enjoy all the scenes that Mother Nature and God have to offer.

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day.

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) adventure antelope Arizona elk fall color fog Grand Canyon Grand Teton National Park hiking Jackson Logan Canyon moose Mormon Row October Oxbow Bend Phelps Lake Salt River Pass Schwabacher Landing Signal Mountain Snake River snow Spring Creek Ranch sunrise sunset trail Utah Wyoming Thu, 11 Oct 2018 21:39:00 GMT
Not All Who Wander are Lost (Part 2) So I just had to create a part 2 to the "Not All Who Wander Are Lost" blog.  The reason being, this camping trip was truly EPIC in that it embraces adventure, wandering, and getting lost in nature!  Perhaps it was because I checked out Google Earth in the days prior and picked out the spot.  Perhaps it was the fact that the spot was close to the convfluence of the east and west forks of the Black River, which eventually converges with the White River to form the Salt River and form the eastern lakes in Arizona, including Roosevelt, Apache, Canyon, and Saguaro Lakes.  Maybe it was the rush of navigating to a set of GPS coordinates instead of an address.  Perhaps it was the fact that it took 5 hours to drive, including 12 miles of dirt road, and a half mile of NO road, idling in low range 4-wheel drive over small boulders with a locked rear differential to get to the spot.

Whatever the reason, it was an EPIC camping trip... the best one yet.

My brother and I set out on an early and hot Saturday morning in Phoenix.  We were seeking a cooler, wetter, and greener place to camp for a couple of nights.  Well, we found it at GPS coordinates 33°45'09.9"N 109°21'47.9"W by basically throwing a dart at the map.  When we arrived, we knew the place was special.  There were two rushing rivers, tall pines, a perfect spot to set up shelters and hammocks, signs of wildlife, and no sign of humans!!  Exactly what we were seeking.

We found the spot where the monsoon storms formed. It rained briefly every day.  We laid in our hammocks and watched a wispy cloud turn into a puffy cloud, then a big puffy cloud, then a huge puffy cloud with a dark flat bottom, and finally a super cell that unloaded on us with torrential rain, wind, thunder, and lightning.  We found signs of wildlife too.  Big game like elk and bears.  We heard strange noises at night and we'll never know whether it was bugling elk, cows, a black bear, or friggin' Sasquatch!!

Here are a few pictures...

Camping on the Black RiverCamping on the Black River Confluence of the East and West Forks of the Black RiverConfluence of the East and West Forks of the Black River Dramatic morningDramatic morning East Fork of the Black RiverEast Fork of the Black River Lake Sierra BlancaLake Sierra Blanca State Route 249 (Three Forks Road) in Eastern ArizonaState Route 249 (Three Forks Road) in Eastern Arizona

I truly hope that, wherever you are, you get out with nature.  Go camping!  Take a road trip!  Hike.  Get lost.  WANDER!!  Take a camera to capture the beauty of all of it.  Share it with others.  And best of all, enjoy it!

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day.

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) 4-wheeling Arizona Black River camping confluence dirt road east fork hiking monsoon Sierra Blanca Lake SR-249 Three Forks Road west White Mountains wildlife Mon, 30 Jul 2018 06:19:00 GMT
Not All Who Wander are Lost (Part 1) For the first half of 2018, I have not gone on any major excursions (what is wrong with me??!!), but that's not to say I haven't gotten away and enjoyed a hike or a beautiful scene.  Here are a handful of little road trips that collectively are worth posting...

In March, I headed north of Phoenix to a place called the Agua Fria National Monument and hiked a couple of trails for 5 miles or so.  It was on a Saturday morning and amazingly, I never ran into another person the whole time I was back there.  I wouldn't call this beautiful countryside, but it was definitely peaceful and was a nice break from the chaos of city life.  The Agua Fria River was mostly dry, but I was able to find the beauty of natural patterns even in a dry river bed.  Check it out!

Natural PatternsNatural Patterns Agua Fria River in ArizonaAgua Fria River in Arizona

Next, in April, I visited the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum, which I highly recommend to anyone visiting the Tucson area.  It is an outstanding showcase of flora and fauna of the desert and it is so amazing the diversity one finds in the hot dry areas of the world.  It is so cool to learn about how plants and animals not only adapt and survive, but thrive.  A special thanks goes out to Frank, Darla, Dianne, and Yesenia for joining in the fun.  Here are a couple of pictures... 

Red Fox at the Arizona Sonora Desert MuseumRed Fox at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum Prairie Dog at the Arizona Sonora Desert MuseumPrairie Dog at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum CactiCacti

In April, I also took a business trip down to Clearwater and got the chance to meet some people that I had only heard over phone calls.  Got the chance to dine right on the beach and captured this sunset photo...

Sunset on Clearwater Beach, FloridaSunset on Clearwater Beach, Florida

Next was a last minute buddies trip down to Puerto Penasco (or Rocky Point) in Mexico.  We stayed at the Mayan Palace and played 63 holes of golf over three days on the gorgeous Vidanta Golf Course. This is a golfers dream! Right on the ocean, white sand beaches, salty breeze. It was an extremely tough course too. In the end, I took some money from the guys, so a special thanks to Tim and Al for the invite, for driving, and for donating to Sigmund Golf Foundation.

Puerto Penasco in MexicoPuerto Penasco in Mexico Vidanta Golf Course in Puerto Penasco MexicoVidanta Golf Course in Puerto Penasco Mexico Vidanta Golf CourseVidanta Golf Course

In June, I took a drive down to Tucson and up the Santa Catalina highway which climbs over 7000 feet in elevation.  I did about 5 miles which included a hike to the very top of Mount Lemmon, which tops out at 9,157 feet above sea level.  Gorgeous views...

View from the Santa Catalina Mountains in TucsonView from the Santa Catalina Mountains in Tucson View from the top of Mount Lemmon in TucsonView from the top of Mount Lemmon in Tucson

Then, over the July 4th weekend, I went camping with my brother in the White Mountains, near Alpine Arizona.  On Thursday the 5th of July, the temperature in Phoenix reached 115 degrees, so I had enough of that.  A 4 hour drive later, we were sipping a beer along the Black River and it was 75 and cloudy.  We got some rain and even hail up there... perfect weather for a desert dweller!!  We stayed in the same camp site a year earlier, and in fact, I blogged about that here.  Here are a couple of pics, including one from the previous year and one new picture from a vista point along the Black River Canyon.

East Fork of the Black River near Alpine ArizonaEast Fork of the Black River near Alpine Arizona

Arizona has some very remote, peaceful, and special places and this is one of them. An amazing vista point from the rim of the Black River canyon. No signs of human presence for miles...

Black River Canyon near Alpine ArizonaBlack River Canyon near Alpine Arizona

Hope you enjoyed reading and have a wonderful day!!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Agua Fria National Monument Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum Black River camping canyon Clearwater Florida golf hiking Mexico Mount Lemmon Prairie Dog Puerto Penasco Red Fox Rocky Point sunset Tucson Vidanta vista Thu, 12 Jul 2018 05:25:12 GMT
Southeast Utah in Winter Okay, this was an awesome trip!!  On the week before Christmas in 2017, I made spontaneous plans to head up to Northeast Arizona and Southeast Utah for what would have been 4 nights.  Yeah, I caught some kind of sinus infection, and yeah, I got snowed-in in Moab (ended up staying 5 nights), but I've got to tell you, it was totally worth it!

So I flipped up to Monument Valley and spent two nights at The View Hotel, in which every room has an incredible view of the famous Mittens.  I drove along the 12 mile dirt loop that descends into the heart of Monument Valley, hiked the Wildcat trail, drove another 4x4 trail called Valley of the Gods, and conquered the Moki Dugway... all in the first two days!!  So, if you have been reading my other blogs, you will have noticed that almost exactly one year ago to the day, I was in the area, driving back home from Capitol Reef National Park...  I had planned on driving the infamous Moki Dugway, but ran into a freak snowstorm that left me with no choice but to avoid risking death and bypass the dirt track that descends 1,200 feet in 3 miles.  I had vowed to return and conquer it someday... and fulfilled that vow!

Here are some photos from Monument Valley, the Valley of the Gods, the Goosenecks, the Moki Dugway, and Natural Bridges National Monument.  Make sure you read on for the stunning visits to Arches and Canyonlands National Park, and a cool story along with it.

Dawn in Monument ValleyDawn in Monument Valley Dawn in Monument ValleyDawn in Monument Valley

Monument Valley ArizonaMonument Valley Arizona Valley of the Gods in UtahValley of the Gods in Utah View from the top of the Moki DugwayView from the top of the Moki Dugway

Love this sign, and this road!

Moki Dugway in UtahMoki Dugway in Utah

Here is a picture of the San Juan River at an area called The Goosenecks. 

The GoosenecksThe Goosenecks

And some photos from the remote Natural Bridges State Park in Utah.

Kachina Bridge in Natural Bridges State ParkKachina Bridge in Natural Bridges State Park Sipapu Bridge in Natural Bridges State Park, UtahSipapu Bridge in Natural Bridges State Park, Utah

So after this two day adventure in Arizona and Utah, I went on to Moab and planned to spend two nights there.  I went to Canyonlands National Park and took a few shots of Mesa Arch (which you might recognize as one of the default Windows 7 wallpapers), and contemplated driving the Shafer Trail which is a few miles of switchbacks that plummet about 1600 feet in elevation at an 11 degree grade in some spots!  It was a bit late in the afternoon and I decided against it, but thought "I'll come back in the morning and do this!".  Those plans were foiled because the next morning it had snowed 6 inches in Moab and was 12 degrees!!  No way was I going to attempt this trail in icy conditions.  Just like one year ago, I vowed to come back and conquer this amazing 4x4 trail.  Here's a few pictures...

Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park, UtahMesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park, Utah Shafer Canyon TrailShafer Canyon Trail

The snow that fell in Moab was near a record and caused the parks to close the next day.  So I ended up extending my stay another day.  I am so glad I did because I got to do about 6 miles of hiking in Arches National Park once they plowed the roads and opened the place up.  I visited Double Arch, Landscape Arch, Delicate Arch, Turret Arch, the Fiery Furnace, Balanced Rock, and few other sites.  Here are a few more pictures from this amazing place.  It was so peaceful, quiet, and undisturbed.  I can't wait to go back again!

La Sal Mountains covered in snowLa Sal Mountains covered in snow Double Arch in Arches National Park, UtahDouble Arch in Arches National Park, Utah Sunset at Turret Arch in Arches National ParkSunset at Turret Arch in Arches National Park Delicate Arch in Arches National ParkDelicate Arch in Arches National Park

Thank you so much for reading and I hope that you have a wonderful and adventurous Christmas and a Happy New Year!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) 4x4 arches national park arizona canyonlands national park delicate arch dirt double arch goosenecks hiking kachina bridge la sal mountains mesa arch mittens moab mokee dugway moki dugway monument valley natural bridges state park san jaun river shafer canyon shafer trail sipapu bridge snow switchbacks the view hotel trail of the ancients trails turret arch utah valley of the gods winter Sun, 24 Dec 2017 01:44:00 GMT
Camping at Promontory Butte on the Mogollon Rim Over Thanksgiving weekend, my Brother and I decided to go camping up on the Mogollon Rim near Christopher Creek.  Any other year, there would probably be 3 inches of snow on the ground and it would be quite cold, especially considering The Rim is around 7,900 feet in elevation.  However, we have had an unusually mild winter, and the temperature in the Valley was to be in the upper 80s.  So we decided to drive the 131 miles and try it out...  it turns out that the weather was perfect and we ended up with one cool camping spot up on Promontory Butte.  The road in was a pretty smooth 11 miles of dirt road followed by 4 miles on a rough and rutted snowmobile trail where only a high clearance vehicle could go.

Normally, when I go camping, I never take my good camera gear.  This time, I didn't even take my point-and-shoot.  All I had was my iPhone.  The first evening, the light was incredible and I hiked down below the level of the Rim and ended up capturing a gorgeous shot with, yes, the iPhone!!  I was stunned how these turned out.  It is a photo worthy of hanging on my wall.

The camping was superb and for the 3 days and 2 nights we spent up there, we saw one other car.  That peace, quiet, and solitude was welcomed, especially on Black Friday.  So was the mammoth bonfire, the great food, the cold beers, and the beautiful view...  check it out!

View from Promontory ButteView from Promontory Butte

View from Promontory ButteView from Promontory Butte

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) arizona camping mogollon rim promontory butte solitude Sat, 25 Nov 2017 05:24:00 GMT
Trip to Flagstaff Arizona In late October of 2017, I decided to flip on up to Flagstaff and do some day hiking.  I decided to hike at one of my all-time favorite places known as Lockett Meadow.  This is near the base of the San Francisco Peaks, which is a series of peaks that were left over from a massive eruption eons ago.  The caldera left over from the eruption is known as the Inner Basin and can be accessed by a 2.5 mile one way trail that starts at Lockett Meadow and ascends about 1800 feet.  This is a wonderful but strenuous trail with a constant climb that I recommend to anyone that can handle the grade and the altitude.  The ascent ends just shy of 10,000 feet in elevation with an option to hike on up to the top of Mt Humphreys, which is Arizona's tallest peak at 12,633 feet and where the oxygen level is half of what it is at sea level!

At any rate, in many places, the trail is thick with Aspens.  So thick that no matter where you look, all you see are the beautiful white barked trees, and you can't see the other side of them.  During this trip, I missed the golden leaves by about one week, but it was still quite a beautiful and rewarding hike.  Below are a few photos.  The morning lighting is hard to beat.  In one direction, the light is warm while in the opposite direction the trees are cast in a cool bluish light.  This is the payoff for waking up at 5:00AM to hike!!  See for yourself...

Along the Inner Basin TrailAlong the Inner Basin Trail Along the Inner Basin TrailAlong the Inner Basin Trail The Inner Basin of the San Francisco PeaksThe Inner Basin of the San Francisco Peaks

Aerial view... in the middle of the crescent-shaped San Francisco Peaks area, is the Inner Basin.

After hiking 5 miles in the Inner Basin and Lockett Meadow, I went to opposite side of the San Francisco Peaks to another favorite place called Hart Prairie and hiked a few more miles.  I was rewarded with what I think was the last of the fall color in the area, and managed to get off a decent shot of the golden aspens with Humphreys Peak (with a dusting of snow) in the background.

Mt Humphreys from Hart PrairieMt Humphreys from Hart Prairie Along Hart Prairie RoadAlong Hart Prairie Road Fall Color at Hart Prairie in FlagstaffFall Color at Hart Prairie in Flagstaff

Gorgeous place any time of year!  As always, thank you for reading.



[email protected] (Adventure Photography) arizona aspen fall color flagstaff hart prairie hike inner basin lockett meadow morning mt humphreys san francisco peaks trail Sun, 22 Oct 2017 01:51:00 GMT
White Mountain of Arizona (Part 2) As you probably know, the summers in Phoenix are pretty brutal, and as a result, nearly every weekend there is a mass exodus of a fair amount of the 4.57 million Phoenicians to the cooler parts of Arizona.  For four weekends in a row, I joined that exodus and explored some of the lesser known areas of the state, including Sycamore Canyon, the Mogollon Rim, the small town of Alpine, Hannagan Meadow, and the East Fork of the Black River.

This was an incredibly awesome journey with plenty of photo opportunities and successful way to beat the heat of the desert!  Please bear with me as I write one of my more wordy blogs.  In fact, I thought I'd break it up into 2 parts.

I spent two weekends deep in the White Mountains of Arizona, near the small town of Alpine and the tiny lodge known as Hannagan Meadow.  One weekend was spent in hotels, while the other was over the 4th of July holiday, in a secluded camping area known as Horse Springs.  Seriously though, finding a campground with open spots on 4th of July weekend (the most popular travel weekend of the year) is nearly impossible, so you can imagine how far off the beaten path we had to travel!  In this case, my Brother Dave and I went about 260 miles east of Phoenix, 65 miles southeast of Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ and about 20 miles southeast of Big Lake in order to find an open spot, but we were rewarded with seclusion and nice cool temperatures.  Actually, I woke on July 4th to 47 degrees while the folks down in the Valley faced a 110 degree day!!

Hear are few pictures from the two weekends in the White Mountains... The Road Less Traveled along the Devil's Highway near Hannagan MeadowThe Road Less Traveled along the Devil's Highway near Hannagan Meadow

Including one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever witnessed... Sunset at Sierra Blanca LakeSunset at Sierra Blanca Lake

Near the East Fork of the Black RiverNear the East Fork of the Black River Apache Railroad Trail near Big Lake in ArizonaApache Railroad Trail near Big Lake in Arizona

These next 2 pictures have a story behind them.  I was hiking (alone) on a trail called the Clell Lee Ski Trail.  I was the only car parked at the trailhead and I never saw another person along the 4 mile journey.  I came upon the gorgeous meadow below, which was about a mile long and a quarter mile wide.  I found a near perfect shady spot to lie down a take a little siesta.  As I closed my eyes, I heard from right across the meadow, a pack of wolves howl!  Needless to say I no longer felt the desire to nap and hiked my butt right outta there.

Near Hannagan MeadowNear Hannagan Meadow Unnamed Trail in the Blue Range Primitive AreaUnnamed Trail in the Blue Range Primitive Area

The wildlife up in the area is incredible.  I love watching and photographing the Elk.  Amazingly enough, the original species of Elk in Arizona (Mirriam's Elk) were hunted to extinction back when the US Army was attempting to gain the upper hand on the American Indians by eliminating their food source.  Very sad.  Later, in 1913, Yellowstone Park was giving away Rocky Mountain Elk to anyone that would come get them.  Some wonderful individuals from Arizona took up the offer and transplanted 30-some Elk back into Arizona.  Today the number of Rocky Mountain Elk in Arizona number over 35,000.  Here are a few of them.

Elk Herd near AlpineElk Herd near Alpine Sunrise along the Devil's HighwaySunrise along the Devil's Highway The East Fork of the Black RiverThe East Fork of the Black River Three Forks near the Black RiverThree Forks near the Black River Camping at Horse Springs along the Black RiverCamping at Horse Springs along the Black River

This was only about 50 yards from our campsite!  Gorgeous.

East Fork of the Black River at Horse Springs CampgroundEast Fork of the Black River at Horse Springs Campground

Here is the very peaceful, beautiful, and picturesque Hannagan Meadow.

Hannagan MeadowHannagan Meadow Hannagan MeadowHannagan Meadow

On the way home, on both weekends, the drive included the Devil's Highway, which is a stretch of road that drops over 5,000 feet in elevation over 70 miles and, get this, 460 turns without hardly a single guardrail!!  It is an absolute thrill ride.  The Devil's Highway got it's name because it used to be called State Route 666.  It is now known as Route 191 or the Coronado Trail, named after the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado who explored the area in 1540 on a quest to find the Seven Cities of Cíbola.

Can't wait to go back for more adventures!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) alpine black river camping devil's highway east fork black river elk hannagan meadow hiking horse springs campground meadows mogollon rim sierra blanca lake sunrize sunset Thu, 06 Jul 2017 02:25:00 GMT
White Mountains of Arizona (Part 1) As you probably know, the summers in Phoenix are pretty brutal, and as a result, nearly every weekend there is a mass exodus of a fair amount of the 4.57 million Phoenicians to the cooler parts of Arizona.  For four weekends in a row, I joined that exodus and explored some of the lesser known areas of the state, including Sycamore Canyon, the Mogollon Rim, the small town of Alpine, Hannagan Meadow, and the East Fork of the Black River.

The first weekend of the marathon was spent near Flagstaff in a special place called Garland Prairie.  This prairie is on the northern edge of the second largest canyon (2nd only to one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon) called Sycamore Canyon.  While I only stood on the edge, I vowed to return and explore the canyon's depths.  While technically not in the White Mountains, this was part of a multi-weekend escape from the heat of summer and well worth it.  Here are a few pics...

Sycamore Canyon near Garland PrairieSycamore Canyon near Garland Prairie Along Garland Prairie RoadAlong Garland Prairie Road

The next weekend was spent camping up on the Mogollon Rim at nearly 9,000 feet in elevation at a place called Promontory Butte.  The spot was several miles down a graded dirt road and then another couple miles down a very rough 4x4 trail.  It was quite remote and incredibly windy as the air rose up the face of the escarpment known as The Rim, which is actually the southern boundary of the Colorado Plateau.  It was nice and cool and my Brother and I were able build a small fire and have a ton of fun despite the wind.  Here are a few pictures of our awesome campsite and the view looking down on the Christopher Creek and Kohls Ranch areas. 

Camping at Promontory ButteCamping at Promontory Butte The View from Promontory ButteThe View from Promontory Butte

Thanks for reading and make sure you check out Part 2 of this adventure!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) alpine black river camping devil's highway east fork black river elk hannagan meadow hiking meadows mogollon rim sierra blanca lake sunrize sunset Mon, 19 Jun 2017 02:25:00 GMT
Capitol Reef National Park My second stop during the December 2016 trip to southern Utah was to Capitol Reef National Park.  This was an absolutely amazing journey into a very remote part of the United States.  In fact, Capitol Reef, and the surrounding areas such as Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument were the last areas in the US to be explored and charted on a map!  No doubt that was due to the rugged landscape and the remote location.

I spent a day driving Utah Route 12 which is supposedly the second most scenic drive in the US.  It did not disappoint.  I took a couple of side trips... one to hike down to Upper Calf Creek Falls and another to drive the Burr Trail Road.  The hike to the falls itself was a bit unsettling because I was alone, out of cell phone range, and I never ran into another person during the entire 3 hour hike.  That was a repeating theme during this trip.  The Burr Trail Road was amazing too and I spent about 3 hours driving 22 miles one way before it started to darken.  I think I saw only a couple of other cars!

Roadside stop along Utah Route 12Roadside stop along Utah Route 12 Upper Calf Creek Falls near Boulder, UTUpper Calf Creek Falls near Boulder, UT Along the Burr Trail Road near Capitol Reef National ParkAlong the Burr Trail Road near Capitol Reef National Park

Then it was on to Capitol Reef National Park itself.  I spent a day and a half exploring this park and saw a couple of dozen cars the whole time.  At one point, I drove 40 miles down the Notom Bullfrog Basin Road, hiked for a couple of hours partway into a slot canyon, and drove back another 40 miles to the main road and never saw another soul!  One can get quite paranoid in that situation... at one point I thought "what if there is a mountain lion on the other side of that boulder?"  The thought also crossed my mind that I might run into quicksand.  Quicksand!  In a desert!?  Once I got my sanity back, I laughed at myself.  Anyway, here are a few pictures.

Sunrise in Capitol Reef National ParkSunrise in Capitol Reef National Park Along the Notom Bullfrog Basin Road in Capitol Reef National ParkAlong the Notom Bullfrog Basin Road in Capitol Reef National Park Grand Wash in Capitol Reef National ParkGrand Wash in Capitol Reef National Park A dead-end in a side canyon of Grand WashA dead-end in a side canyon of Grand Wash

I then explored the Fruita Historical District and did another hike that ascended 1,100 feet in 2.4 miles.  Capitol Reef is famous for a geological feature known as the Waterpocket Fold.  It is an area where two tectonic plates met.  One pushed against the other and literally tilted (or folded) the entire surrounding landscape.  At the end of this hike called the Rim Overlook Trail, one can prominently see Waterpocket Fold and the tilted landscape.  What an interesting scene!  I ended up logging 14 miles on my boots during my stay in Capitol Reef.  Here are some photos.

Fruita Historical DistrictFruita Historical District Rim Overlook Trail and the Waterpocket FoldRim Overlook Trail and the Waterpocket Fold Patterns of rockPatterns of rock

Thanks for reading this far because I saved the wildest part of this Utah adventure for last!  During the whole time spent in Zion and Capitol Reef, the weather was supposed to be sunny and not too cold.  I had checked the forecast on Tuesday the 20th.  On the 21st, I called my parents back in Phoenix and they said it was supposed to rain all night and the next day (the day I was supposed to drive home).  In Utah, that meant snow.  Sure enough, as I ventured home, I ran into a freak snow storm that dumped 6 inches of snow on the road I was driving (UT-95).  At one point, I was going to take a drive down a set of switchbacks called the Mokee Dugway along UT-261.  When I turned onto UT-261 there was only a single set of tire tracks to follow and four miles in they stopped and turned around.  I did too.  To make long story short, I ended up driving about 80 miles in 4-wheel drive at 30 Mph in a 65 Mph zone.  It took 12.5 hours to get home instead of the planned 8.5.  I even tried to drive up the Mokee Dugway from the south end and got to the first switchback.  Here's a pic...

The Mokee Dugway near Mexican Hat, UtahThe Mokee Dugway near Mexican Hat, Utah

Notice the abundance of tire tracks on the low side and the absence of them on the high side.  Notice the fog as well.  Maybe next time I'll get to drive this very cool, steep, and winding road?!  I was so thankful that I decided to take my 4WD on this trip.  I was honestly going to take my rear-wheel drive 2,700 pound sports car when I saw the weather forecast earlier in the week.  Something told me to take the truck... lucky.

Thank you for reading.

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Burr Trail Road Capitol Reef National Park Fruita Historical District Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Hiking Mokee Dugway Rim Overlook Trail Upper Calf Creek Falls Waterpocket Fold Thu, 22 Dec 2016 02:30:00 GMT
Zion National Park I am so excited to be posting this blog entry that I skipped everything between 2011 and 2016.  I promise to get back to filling in the gap soon!

So over the Christmas holiday in 2016, I decided to take a trip up to southern Utah.  My plan was to spend a couple of days in Zion National Park and then drive the scenic UT-12 over to a park I had never been to (Capitol Reef) to spend another couple of days.  Zion was the first stop along the way.  I have been to Zion 11 times now and, seriously, it does not get old.  I ended up doing about 12 miles of hiking including Upper and Lower Emerald Pools, Kayenta, Canyon Overlook, River Walk, and Hidden Canyon trails.  Visiting Zion in the winter is a great experience because it is far less crowded and you can drive the entire park road.  Plus because it is so peaceful, the wildlife is abundant.

Here are a few of the amazing photos.  Keep scrolling to see the highlight of the trip...  The Hidden Canyon Trail.

The Virgin River in Zion near The NarrowsThe Virgin River in Zion near The Narrows West Temple in ZionWest Temple in Zion The Virgin River in Zion near Springdale, UTThe Virgin River in Zion near Springdale, UT Along the Emerald Pools TrailAlong the Emerald Pools Trail Along the Kayenta TrailAlong the Kayenta Trail Zion Canyon OverlookZion Canyon Overlook

The last hike of the day was a grueling, stomach-churning, vertigo-inducing, hold-those-chains-tight hike into a place called Hidden Canyon.  The trail starts out climbing what appears to be a near vertical 2,100 foot tall wall.  About 800 feet and 11 switchbacks up, the trail forks and you start the trek to Hidden Canyon.  That is where the fun really begins.  After a dozen more short switchbacks, the trail is literally carved (or perhaps blasted) out of a sandstone cliff face.  The narrowest part of the trail is about three feet wide and an 800+ foot vertical drop.  The trail weaves into pockets and out to points a couple of times and reaches the entrance to Hidden Canyon which signifies the end of the established trail.  There are very sturdy chains bolted into the sandstone along this last precarious stretch of the trail.  Below are two of the pics taken along the way.  At one point, I peered over the ledge and could see the parking lot (the cars looked like little dots) almost directly below me, over 800 feet down.

Narrow ledge along the trail to Hidden CanyonNarrow ledge along the trail to Hidden Canyon Looking down from the Hidden Canyon TrailLooking down from the Hidden Canyon Trail

Please visit this link for a very detailed description of this trail from a fellow adventurer.  He even posted a 3-1/2 minute video of this dizzying stretch of the trail.  Amazing!  One of my all-time favorite hikes.

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Hidden Canyon Trail Zion National Park chains ledge sandstone switchbacks Tue, 20 Dec 2016 00:56:00 GMT
Red Mountain Trail in Flagstaff It has basically been a decade between the time I hiked the Red Mountain trail and the time I'm writing this entry.  For whatever reason, I remember it like it was yesterday.  I think that is because of just how cool it is to say that I have hiked into a volcano!  An extinct one, sure, but a volcano nonetheless.

I did this hike in June of 2012 and I remember it was on whim.  I had read an article about it in Arizona Highways magazine and I am sure it was blazing hot in Phoenix, and I just had to get out.  What I also recall is that it was pretty darned hot in Flagstaff too!  In the mid 80s if I recall.  Still, it beat 115 degrees, so I did a day trip up to Flagstaff (and beyond) and hit the trail during the mid morning.

The hike was about 3 miles round trip and it was spectacular.  I was also the only one there so it was eerily quiet.  The trail starts off flat and gradually climbs up an over the rim of this small cinder cone.  You see, Red Mountain is the remnant of a volcano that erupted 740,000 years ago.  It is unique in that you can hike inside the the cone to the inner basin of the volcano.  Here you can see the violence and deformation that occurred three quarters of a million years ago!  That's why this hike stuck in my memory... I mean, how cool is that!?

By late afternoon I was back to the heat of the valley leaving only my footprints in the sand at Red Mountain and taking only photos and memories away from this beautiful and isolated place.  Check out a few photos...

The hike to Red MountainThe hike to Red Mountain Inner basin of Red MountainInner basin of Red Mountain Inner basin of Red MountainInner basin of Red Mountain

If you live in the Western US and ever feel stuck in the heat or the cold, just remember, there are warmer or cooler places nearby.  Just follow your whims and they may lead you to some awesome places and some memories that stay in your mind for decades.  Thanks for reading and as always, Happy Adventuring!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Arizona cinder cone exposed extinct Flagstaff hike inner basin Red Mountain summer Mon, 25 Jun 2012 01:15:00 GMT
Lake Marion South Carolina This trip was not exactly a stellar hiking and photography adventure, but it was a great time spent with my Family.  My Brother drove down from Ohio and my Niece came in from nearby Summerville and we ended up spending a week at a rental house right on Lake Marion in Santee South Carolina.  My Brother is a huge fisherman... maybe semi-pro in that he's won dozens and maybe a hundred bass fishing tournaments where the first place season prize is a brand new bass boat!  He's really good at it.

He and I spent most of the days out fishing in his boat.  We got to see my Niece graduate and also spend some time walking around a nearby wildlife refuge.  They have alligators in South Carolina you know?  Yeah, we saw plenty of those!  Here's a few pictures.

Santee National Wildlife RefugeSantee National Wildlife Refuge Baby AlligatorBaby Alligator Sunset on Lake MarionSunset on Lake Marion

It was a sweet family vacation and a nice change of scenery compared to out west.  Thank you for reading!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) alligator bass boating brother family fishing Lake Marion niece Santee Santee National Wildlife Refuge Sun, 27 May 2012 05:33:00 GMT
Arches and Canyonlands National Parks Well 2011 was a year for the record books as far as adventures and photo opportunities.  Is it even possible that 2012 would be better?  I suppose it is possible... but I will let you be the judge.  In 2012, I had the pleasure of visiting 9 unique and special places, and it started off with a trip to Moab Utah and visits to nearby Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.  Much like the previous year, I was out and about and travelling on the first day of 2012 and I couldn't have been happier getting out of town and enjoying the peace and quiet Mother Nature had to offer amidst the hustle and bustle of the Holidays and the craziness of living in Phoenix.

On the drive up to Moab, you go right through Monument Valley and you can't help but to stop at nearly every pull off to take shots.  One such was at Sentinel Mesa.  What was so cool about this shot was the fact that I captured a crescent moon, and the moon really popped when I converted the image to black and white.  So here it is...

Sentinel Mesa in Monument ValleySentinel Mesa in Monument Valley

Then it was on up to Moab.  Arches National Park was the first stop and we arrived well before sunrise in order to hike up to Delicate Arch.  This was a moderately strenuous 3.2 mile round trip hike with about a 500 foot elevation gain.  For much of the hike, you scramble up solid rock along a route marked with rock cairns.  There was also a bit of snow and ice on the trail.  The payoff was an amazing backlit photo at sunrise and endless views of the surrounding area.  Plus, we had the place to ourselves!  Here are a few pictures...

Delicate Arch at SunriseDelicate Arch at Sunrise Delicate ArchDelicate Arch

While in Arches, we hiked out and back through the trail at Park Avenue, hiked to Landscape Arch, and spend the evening and sunset at Turret Arch.  Those hikes yielded some great exercise and some fantastic photos.

Park AvenuePark Avenue Landscape ArchLandscape Arch La Sal Mountains in Arches NPLa Sal Mountains in Arches NP Turret Arch at SunsetTurret Arch at Sunset

The next couple of days were spent in Canyonlands National Park which is adjacent to Arches NP.  What was cool about Canyonlands was that it was practically vacant.  The crowds usually come in the spring, summer, and fall, not the middle of winter.  The park was so quiet it was spooky and I was grateful to have a friend with me to chat with and to enjoy the views.  While in Canyonlands, we hiked to several viewpoints and also hiked a couple of trails, like Mesa Arch and Upheaval Dome.  Both were outstanding hikes, but Upheaval Dome is probably better appreciated from an aerial view (which you can find at this Wikipedia site).  It is debated as to what caused this unusual rock formation, but the most widely accepted theory is that it is actually a crater left over by a meteorite about 1/3rd of a mile in diameter!  The lighter colored rock you see in the photo is actually salt from an ancient lakebed that once blanketed the area.  Pretty amazing stuff!

We also drove to the even lesser visited Needles District, where we spent 70 miles on the road in and out, and 4 miles in our boots and NEVER saw another car or human being the whole time!!  Again, spooky desolation.

Here are a few pictures from the Canyonlands leg of the trip...

  Shafer CanyonShafer Canyon Upheaval DomeUpheaval Dome Mesa ArchMesa Arch

Another View of Mesa ArchAnother View of Mesa Arch

The last picture (of Mesa Arch) may look familiar to you.  It is actually one of the default Windows 7 wallpapers.

That's all for now.  Hope you enjoyed reading about my adventures in Utah and more importantly, I hope you are inspired to get out and enjoy some of these beautiful places yourself.  The pictures really do not do the proper justice...  one has to see these sights in person and experience nature's ability to take your breath away!  Enjoy.

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Arches National Park Canyonlands National Park Delicate Arch hiking La Sal Mountains Landscape Arch Mesa Arch Moab Needles District Park Avenue Sentinel Mesa Shafer Canyon sunrise sunset trails Turret Arch Upheaval Dome Utah Tue, 03 Jan 2012 07:40:00 GMT
Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado Adventure - Part 2) Half the fun of a destination in getting there right?  RIGHT!  Part two of my adventure in the state of Colorado is about getting there and coming back home.  It took us two days to get to RMNP, and going up and coming back were two completely different routes, and they were both adventures in and of themselves.

On the way up, we drove through Gallup New Mexico, then on up to Shiprock (I actually called it Shitrock, LOL).  Then up through Farmington, and Durango, Colorado.  We overnighted at Purgatory Ski Resort.  That night, we were hangry for pizza and ate at a place called Olde Schoolhouse Café which claimed to have world-famous pizza.  Well...  seeing how I am re-creating this blog in 2018, and I still remember (after 7 years) that mouth-watering, tasty, culinary masterpiece, I think it is safe to say that the pizza at Olde Schoolhouse Café was indeed outstanding!!

What was even more outstanding was the next day's drive, which took us up The Million Dollar Highway, which runs from Durango to Silverton.  It is a high-elevation road that winds through the mountains.  In the morning, there was thick fog in the mountains and it settled in Silverton.  After coming out of Silverton, the road started climbing and the we came up out of the fog and found a turn off.  I looked back along the route we took and snapped what turned out to be one of my all-time best photos.  I mean...  mountains, snow, fog, forest, winding road?  You could not take a bad photo!  Here's a few pics from the Million Dollar Highway, including the award winner.

Wildflowers along the Million Dollar HighwayWildflowers along the Million Dollar Highway Kendall Peak and Fog in Silverton, ColoradoKendall Peak and Fog in Silverton, Colorado

Anyway, then it was on to the town of Ouray, which is a supercool hippie town with a bunch of 4-wheel drive and hot spring fanatics.  Then on to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, which was spectacular enough to shoot a few photos...

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National ParkBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National Park Gunnison River in ColoradoGunnison River in Colorado

Then, let's see, up Route 92, Route 193, Route 82, I-70, Route 131, Route 1, Route 9, Route 40, Route 125, and Route 34 up to RMNP, which you can read about in Part 1 of this blog.  After Rocky Mountain National Park, it was Route 7, Route 72, Route 119, and Route 46 through Golden Gate Canyon State Park.  We got sort of lost back in that park but finally found a winding one-lane road that got us back on I-70, but it was so worth getting lost because the aspen were in peak color!  Once back on the interstate, we passed by Dillon Reservoir (beautiful), down Route 91 to Leadville, then Routes 24 and 285.  We overnighted in Great Sand Dunes National Park, which was just mind-blowing!!  Then down to Santa Fe where we stayed at my friend, Jen's place.  Then back home to Phoenix 12 days after leaving.  Here are a few pictures from the trip back...

Dillon ReservoirDillon Reservoir Great Sand Dunes National ParkGreat Sand Dunes National Park Dusk in Great Sand Dunes National ParkDusk in Great Sand Dunes National Park Mule DeerMule Deer Great Sand Dunes National ParkGreat Sand Dunes National Park

Colorado is such a breathtaking state.  There are so many opportunities for adventure and photography.  I would highly encourage each of you to explore the sate and share your adventures with me!  Thank you for reading this 2-part blog, and I hope that you have a wonderful day! 

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Black Canyon of the Gunnison canyons Colorado Dillon Reservoir Durango fog Golden Gate Canyon State Park Great Sand Dunes National Park Gunnison Leadville Million Dollar Highway mountains New Mexico Ouray Santa Fe Silverton Sat, 24 Sep 2011 01:21:00 GMT
Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado Adventure - Part 1) In September of 2011, my friend Kristen and I decided to plan a trip up to Colorado over 12 days, which ended up being an epic adventure.  So much so that I had to split it up into a 2-part blog!  The ultimate destination of this tour of Colorado (and part 1 of the blog) was Rocky Mountain National Park.  We stayed in a sweet cabin in the charming town of Estes Park, just outside of the east entrance to the park.

Rocky Mountain National Park is an outstanding destination for those willing to take a little adventure, and September was a great time of year to explore this wonderful pocket of alpine tundra and the nature that calls this place home.  September is the peak of the fall color and the elk rut.  The elk as well as other mammals in the region, are mating and getting ready for hibernation.  We saw plenty of elk, marmots, pikas, and even a black bear.  During our adventure, we ended up doing about 28 miles of hiking in the park including trips to Sundance Mountain, Calypso Falls, Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, Emerald Lake, Tindall Glacier, Sprague Lake, part of the Longs Peak Trail, and a wonderful drive up the Old Fall River Road (which was the dirt road that preceded the modern and paved Trail Ridge Road) in time to catch the sunrise.  I took hundreds of photos and got to learn even more about how to capture unique images with the camera's eye.  Here are a few pictures, but honestly, I have so many more to share, so don't hesitate to ask me for more!

Rocky Mountain National ParkRocky Mountain National Park Rocky Mountain National ParkRocky Mountain National Park Dawn Along Old Fall River RoadDawn Along Old Fall River Road Yellow Bellied Marmot near Sundance MountainYellow Bellied Marmot near Sundance Mountain Hiking to Emerald LakeHiking to Emerald Lake Menecing Weather along Glacier CreekMenecing Weather along Glacier Creek Black BearBlack Bear Sprague LakeSprague Lake

Every turn on the path or curve of the road revealed something awe-inspiring.  Whether it was a beautiful view, a lake with a mirror surface, the peace and quiet only found in remote regions, or a couple of bull elks battling over the rights to a harem, it was glorious!!  Mother nature at it's absolute best.

I achieved a personal record by hiking to a higher elevation (12,306 feet) than I have ever done before.  It was literally breathtaking, especially for a sea-level desert dweller.  The amount of oxygen at 11,000 feet is half of that at sea level!

Highest Elevation So Far!  12,306 Feet Above Sea Level.Highest Elevation So Far! 12,306 Feet Above Sea Level.

Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park was a thrill and I can't wait to go back!  Thank you for reading.

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) cabin Calypso Falls Colorado Dream Lake elk Emerald Lake Estes Park fall color hike Longs Peak Marmot Old Fall River Road Pika Rocky Mountain National Park Sprague Lake Sundance Maountain Trail Ridge Road Tyndall Glacier Tue, 20 Sep 2011 05:23:00 GMT
Relaxation in Cancun Mexico So, I don't know if I would classify this as Adventure Photography, and it is out of the ordinary for this blog, but it was such a amazing trip that I just had to share.  Hey, even adventure photographers need a break from the ordinary once in awhile and this trip was exactly that in that it centered around relaxation, walks on the beach at sunrise and sunset, and good times with great company.

I had met an amazing, exotic, and beautiful woman from Krakow Poland in early 2011 and we decided to spend a week together in Cancun in May.  We selected a romantic resort called The Excellence Playa Mujeres. This was an amazing place! All inclusive, adults only, private white sand beach, 9 restuarants serving top dollar food from all over the world, activities going on every hour, entertainment, dancing, and all the drinks you could want (including fresh and delicious piña coladas at 9:00 in the morning!)  The room was lavish and included a walk in shower, hot tub, a huge balcony with an outdoor bed, and stellar view.  This was by far the best beach vacation that I had ever taken and we totally unplugged from the world.

Here are a few pictures...

Sunrise on Playa MujeresSunrise on Playa Mujeres PlumeriaPlumeria Sunrise in Cancun MexicoSunrise in Cancun Mexico

One of the days, we ended up taking a ferry over to Isle Mujeres, renting a golf cart, and riding around the island all day.  We visited a market, a hostel, and drove to the easternmost point in Mexico.  Pretty awesome day which ended with one of the best sunsets I have ever witnessed.

The Market at Isle MujeresThe Market at Isle Mujeres  

Sunset on Isle MujeresSunset on Isle Mujeres

I would recommend staying at The Excellence Playa Mujeres to anyone looking for a relaxing time in Mexico.  You know how the pictures of the rooms on most hotel websites are never what they really look like?!  Well, our room was better than the pictures.  So was the entire resort!

The Excellence ResortThe Excellence Resort Yeah!Yeah!

And one of the best parts about the trip was the company...  I love this picture!

Thank you for reading my not so adventurous blog entry and hope you have a wonderful day.

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) cancun excellence playa mujeres island of women isle mujeres mexico monika plumeria resort sunrise sunset white sand beach Tue, 10 May 2011 04:46:00 GMT
Chocolate Falls (Grand Falls) Arizona The fourth and final stop on the 2011 Northeast Arizona mancation was to Chocolate Falls (also known as Grand Falls).  It is called grand and chocolate for a reason...  grand because it is a 181 foot tall water fall (taller than Niagara!).  Chocolate because the waters are almost always muddy.  The Little Colorado runs through forest and desert for 336 miles before it meets up with the Colorado River in the remote eastern part of the Grand Canyon.  It is during it's desert voyage that it picks up grains of sandstone which turn the waters muddy.  This spot is a real surprise because in order to get to it, one has to drive about 10 miles down a lonely and desolate unpaved and primitive road.  The landscape along the road is rocky and very much devoid of vegetation.  To think there is something this beautiful and unique in such a barren volcanic wasteland is hard to imagine.  At any rate, here you go...

The Little Colorado River above Chocolate FallsThe Little Colorado River above Chocolate Falls

In the lower left of this photo are few black dots...  those are people wading in the muddy waters. Chocolate Falls in ArizonaChocolate Falls in Arizona This photo (as does the one above) gives some scale to the immensity of these falls.  Very impressive! Chocolate Falls in ArizonaChocolate Falls in Arizona

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) arizona chocolate falls grand falls little colorado river Tue, 15 Mar 2011 03:00:00 GMT
Petrified Forest National Park The third stop along the Northeastern Arizona marathon trip was to Petrified Forest National Park.  The best way to describe this place is desolate beauty.  The parks service calls it a "Tapestry of Time".  The archeological history at this place is just amazing!

What is now an arid desert nearly devoid of vegetation was once (over 225 million years ago) a wet tropical rainforest with dinosaurs, giant conifers, and huge lakes and rivers.  Over time, with continental drift and the climate change that came along with it, the area began to dry out.  When the trees fell some of them fell into the rivers and lakes and were covered with sediment containing silica from volcanic ash.  The silica crystalized and replaced the wood of the trees into solid rock, preserving the trees for eternity.  A delicate combination of environmental conditions allowed me to hike around the area and actually touch 225 million year old trees!  It also provides an other-worldly landscape that is ripe for photographs.  Check these out...

Blue Mesa in Petrified ForestBlue Mesa in Petrified Forest Petrified Forest National ParkPetrified Forest National Park Petrified Forest National ParkPetrified Forest National Park

Blue Mesa in Petrified ForestBlue Mesa in Petrified Forest

Native Americans called the Petrified Forest home in the 14th century.  Evidence of their existence is present at a special place called Newspaper Rock, where they communicated with one another and passed their moments on to us through rock carvings called petroglyphs.  Pretty cool stuff and some amazing history!

Newspaper Rock in Petrified ForestNewspaper Rock in Petrified Forest

Although many would label the Petrified Forest as desolate and somewhat boring, to me it is full of adventure stories and unique photo opportunities.  I had visited the park a couple of times and will go back many more times in the coming years.  Enjoy!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) arizona desolation fossils newspaper rock petrified forest national park petrified wood petroglyphs Tue, 15 Mar 2011 02:32:00 GMT
Canyon de Chelly National Monument The second stop during the 2011 mancation was to Chinle Arizona, home of Canyon de Chelly National Monument.  We did a great little hike down into the canyon to check out the White House Ruins.  The hike descended 600 feet along switchbacks and through tunnels along the very steep canyon wall, and ended at these spectacular Indian ruins built right in to the canyon wall.  The ingenuity of these people was amazing and I kept wondering how did they get up there to build it?  How did they travel in and out of their community perched part way up a solid rock vertical wall?  Incredible!

White House Ruins OverlookWhite House Ruins Overlook Along the White House Ruins TrailAlong the White House Ruins Trail

White House RuinsWhite House Ruins

Also at Canyon de Chelly (pronounced SHAY) is a famous rock formation called Spider Rock, an 800 foot tall spire of rock standing like a sentinel over the river that carved the canyon.  According to Navajo lore, Spider Woman made her home at the top of the rock formation.

"Spider Woman is considered an important deity in the Navajo culture. According to their creation story, when the Navajo people found their way here from the underworld, she gave power to those who destroyed the evil creatures that roamed this land. In addition, she's been responsible for protecting peaceful men who have found themselves in danger from others. In one story, a young Navajo was hunting in de Chelly when an enemy warrior began pursuing him. Chased deeper and deeper into the canyon, the hunter had run out of options until he saw a silk-like cord drop down the side of Spider Rock. He tied it around his waist, and with the help of Spider Woman, the young man escaped to the top, where he was allowed to stay until it was safe." -- Courtesy of Weird Arizona

Spider Rock in Canyon de ChellySpider Rock in Canyon de Chelly

Thank you for reading!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) arizona canyon de chelly chilne hiking rock spider woman spire trail white house ruins Mon, 14 Mar 2011 05:03:00 GMT
Monument Valley In March of 2011, my best buddy Steve and I went on a mancation to explore Northeastern Arizona.  Our itinerary included Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, Petrified Forest National Park, and a little known waterfall called Chocolate Falls over a period of 4 days.

Monument Valley was the first stop along the marathon tour.  While there, we drove the Monument Valley Road, also known at Indian Route 42, a 12-mile dirt road that led us through the most scenic and iconic parts of the valley, where massive monoliths rise from red soil and touch the blue sky.  When you ask people describe what the Southwest is, this is the place that most of them conjure up!  For someone like me, it is a feeling of pure joy to be able to witness what most are only able to dream of, and it is my pleasure to share them with you.

El Capitan near Monument ValleyEl Capitan near Monument Valley Totem Pole in Monument ValleyTotem Pole in Monument Valley Driving the Monument Valley RoadDriving the Monument Valley Road Along the Monument Valley RoadAlong the Monument Valley Road Along the Monument Valley RoadAlong the Monument Valley Road The MittensThe Mittens Sunrse at the iconic MittensSunrse at the iconic Mittens



Tragically, my buddy Steve has since passed away.  This was one of he last chances we had to explore together and take photos.  Steve - I will never forget you and I will never forget all the great times we've had together.  Thanks and take care my friend!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Arizona El Capitan Steve Mullis mittens monument valley sunset totem pole Sun, 13 Mar 2011 04:11:00 GMT
Grand Canyon National Park On the way home from Zion National Park in early January 2011, we made a stop at Grand Canyon National Park.  What I remember most about this little side trip was it being extremely cold.  Way below freezing.  It was a very short trip and hence a very short blog entry.  I think we ended up stopping at only a few lookout points at the South Rim.  There was a dusting of snow on the upper elevations of the canyon which made for some pretty cool photos, including one nice panorama.  Check it out!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Arizona cold Grand Canyon National Park panorama winter Tue, 04 Jan 2011 04:16:00 GMT
Winter in Zion National Park For me, 2010 was a monumental year from an adventuring standpoint.  I just never thought I would top all the uniqueness, variety, and sheer beauty that I witnessed in that year.  Never did I dream that I would top it in 2011, but I believe I did.  It started on the very first day of the new year and in what was becoming one of my favorite places...  Zion National Park in southern Utah.

My friend, Kristen, and I decided to spend a long weekend hiking in Zion.  The high point of this short but amazing trip was my first experience on the Hidden Canyon Trail which provided solitude from the normally bustling park.  There was a foot or so of freshly fallen snow which discouraged most from hiking the steep trail that ascends 850 feet in just over a mile.  In addition, crampons were a necessity.  The number of tracks in the snow gradually declined until there were no more, and at that point we turned back.  There was such a steep drop off to the right that we didn't want to take a chance of stepping too close to the ledge or slipping off on some hidden ice patch.  We were rewarded with a killer view of the bend in the Virgin River and a peace and quiet that only Mother Nature can provide.

The bend of the Virgin River near Angels Landing an The Narrows in ZionThe bend of the Virgin River near Angels Landing an The Narrows in Zion End of the road along the Hidden Canyon trailEnd of the road along the Hidden Canyon trail

While we were hiking in Hidden Canyon, we kept hearing what sounded like thunder coming from The Narrows.  So... what does an adventure photographer do when he hears thunder?  Get closer of course!  We hiked up into the narrows a bit and came upon a sight I will never forget, and the source of the "thunder".  There was an amazing (easily 1000 feet tall) frozen waterfall!!  To give some idea of scale here, the larger icicles were in the 10-12 foot range.  The sun was just touching some them and was enough to cause them to break off and drop to the ground in a thunderous crack that echoed off the sheer cliffs walls of the slot canyon.  Here's a picture...

  Frozen Waterfall in The NarrowsFrozen Waterfall in The Narrows

And here are a couple more of the park and the neighboring Pine Valley mountain range.

The Watchman at sunsetThe Watchman at sunset Pine Valley Mountains west of ZionPine Valley Mountains west of Zion

I hope these stories and photos inspire you to go on your own adventure to Zion!  If you ever want a tour guide, look me up, because I never get bored of places like this.  Enjoy!

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) hidden canyon hike january pine valley mountains the narrows the watchman utah virgin river winter zion national park Sun, 02 Jan 2011 02:48:00 GMT
The Beartooth Highway and Yellowstone After visiting Glacier National Park, we trekked on down to Yellowstone via the Beartooth Highway.  Before traveling the Beartooth - which is an All-American Scenic Byway that runs through southwestern Montana and northwestern Wyoming up to an elevation of near 11,000 feet - we stayed in a great little town of Red Lodge.  Near Red Lodge we pulled off at a roadside stop called Grey Cliff Prairie Dog Town to see these cute little guys and all their antics.  Here are a few photos of at the dog town, along the highway, and from a short and frigid hike in the frozen tundra!

Rock Creek near Red Lodge, MontanaRock Creek near Red Lodge, Montana Prairie DogPrairie Dog The tundra of the Beartooth MountainsThe tundra of the Beartooth Mountains The Bear's ToothThe Bear's Tooth Dead Indian Summit along the Beartooth HighwayDead Indian Summit along the Beartooth Highway

Then it was on the grand daddy of all parks, Yellowstone.  It was my second visit there and the scenery, wildlife, and hiking opportunities are amazing in late September.  I've written before about "bearanoia"...  that feeling of absolute silence that you don't encounter very often.  When you do, your sense of hearing is heightened and you start to think about bear encounters!  Well I felt it again several times during this trip along the many remote trail miles we logged.  One morning, we got up very early to head out to the Lamar Valley in hopes of seeing the wolves or other wildlife.  Instead we found cold and dense fog.  What was so cool is that the morning sun burned off some of the fog and I ended up catching a beautiful shot of the fog bank against the sunrise near Trout Lake.  I also captured the lake itself in the morning stillness.  I love the early morning!!  Here are a few of the magnificent shots the park granted my camera lens...

Morning fog on the Lamar ValleyMorning fog on the Lamar Valley Trout Lake in the Lamar ValleyTrout Lake in the Lamar Valley Antelope in Lamar ValleyAntelope in Lamar Valley One of the many geysers near Old FaithfulOne of the many geysers near Old Faithful Grand Canyon of the YellowstoneGrand Canyon of the Yellowstone One of the many geyser basins in YellowstoneOne of the many geyser basins in Yellowstone Mammoth Hot SpringsMammoth Hot Springs

I hope to get back to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks soon.  Along with all the parks, they are always memorable experiences and you can hardly take a bad picture.  Thank you for reading.

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Beartooth Highway Mammoth Hot Springs Montana Red Lodge Rock Creek Trout Lake Wyoming Yellowstone National Park antelope bearanoia fog geyser hiking prairie dog pronghorn tundra Sat, 18 Sep 2010 06:08:00 GMT
Glacier National Park In the fall of 2010, we traveled to Missoula Montana with the intent of looping through Glacier National Park, the Beartooth Highway, and Yellowstone over ten days.  Glacier was the first stop and it is an absolutely magnificent park.  The beautiful scenes beg you to wake before dawn and spend every minute of daylight exploring the more than 700 miles of trails.  The Going to the Sun Road splits the park in two and is the quintessential mountain road, with a breathtaking view, a crystal clear creek, or a roaring waterfall around every hairpin turn.

There are so many hiking trails to choose from.  We ended up hiking the Trail of the Cedars, Redrock Falls, Josephine Lake, St Mary Lake, Two-Medicine Lake, Eagle Falls, Hidden Lake, part of the Highline Trail, and part of the Grinnell Lake Trail (which incidentally was closed due to Grizzly Bear sightings).  Got in over 30 miles in the course of three days.  We saw all types of wildlife too, including bighorn sheep, mountain goats, marmots, deer, a grizzly bear, and even a black bear with cubs.  Last but not least, I witnessed some of the greenest green I had ever seen!

The camera caught most of the beauty...

Lake McDonald at DawnLake McDonald at Dawn McDonald Creek along the Going to the Sun RoadMcDonald Creek along the Going to the Sun Road Mt Oberlin along the Gong to the Sun RoadMt Oberlin along the Gong to the Sun Road

Hidden Lake at Logan PassHidden Lake at Logan Pass

Dawn at St Mary LakeDawn at St Mary Lake

East GlacierEast Glacier

Along the Highline Trail at Logan PassAlong the Highline Trail at Logan Pass St Mary Lake and Wild Goose IslandSt Mary Lake and Wild Goose Island Bighorn Sheep at Logan PassBighorn Sheep at Logan Pass Marmot near Hidden LakeMarmot near Hidden Lake Bighorn Sheep near Many Glacier HotelBighorn Sheep near Many Glacier Hotel Mountain Goat FamilyMountain Goat Family Along the trail to Grinnell LakeAlong the trail to Grinnell Lake Grinnell Lake TrailGrinnell Lake Trail

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Glacier National Park Going to the Sun Road bighorn sheep black bear grizzly bear hiking marmot mountain goat wildflowers Tue, 14 Sep 2010 05:46:00 GMT
Pacific Coast Highway After spending time in Yosemite, my friend Kristen and I traveled west to Santa Cruz to meet a friend.  We stayed up in the great little town of Ben Lomond and spent a day hiking quite a few miles in Big Basin Redwood State Park.

Big Basin Redwoods State ParkBig Basin Redwoods State Park Hidden waterfall at Big Basin Redwoods State ParkHidden waterfall at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Then we set out to drive the Pacific Coast Highway.  The PCH is a feast for the eyes!  Around every twist and turn is a gorgeous view of the violent and relentless ocean, a steep rock face, or wildflowers of every color.  And we're not just talking about a few miles...  this is over 650 miles of shoreline drive.  It is sensual overdrive and takes a couple of days to enjoy.  We stayed a night in Carmel-by-the-Sea, which is one of the most unique towns I've ever seen.  The best way to describe the homes there would be that they look like Hobbit homes.  The Monterey Peninsula, 17-mile drive, Carmel, Big Sur, San Luis Obispo...  Wow! What an adventure.

17 Mile Drive in Monterey Peninsula17 Mile Drive in Monterey Peninsula Along the Pacific Coast HighwayAlong the Pacific Coast Highway Along the Pacific Coast HighwayAlong the Pacific Coast Highway Bixby Creek Bridge near Big SurBixby Creek Bridge near Big Sur Gold Poppies along the Pacific Coast HighwayGold Poppies along the Pacific Coast Highway Near San Luis ObispoNear San Luis Obispo

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) 17 mile drive Ben Lomond Big Basin Redwoods Carmel Highway 1 Monterey Pacific Coast Highway San Luis Obisbo california pacific ocean wildflowers Wed, 02 Jun 2010 00:16:00 GMT
Yosemite National Park In may of 2010 I had my first visit to Yosemite National Park. On the way up there, we took a side trip to a place called Mammoth Pool Reservoir.  Upon seeing that view, I just knew there was something special nearby.

Along Mammoth Pool Road near YosemiteAlong Mammoth Pool Road near Yosemite

Then it was on to the main attraction.  The steep winding Wawona Road heads through a tunnel and then WHAW, the Yosemite Valley is right smack in front of you.   My gosh, it was like stepping into a dream!  It was a foggy morning and the clouds began to break just as we entered the park...


Morning fog in Yosemite ValleyMorning fog in Yosemite Valley El Capitan enshrouded in morning fogEl Capitan enshrouded in morning fog

There were so many awesome views.  Here are a few of many photo ops...

Upper Yosemite FallsUpper Yosemite Falls Cathedral Spires in YosemiteCathedral Spires in Yosemite Grassy meadow in Yosemite ValleyGrassy meadow in Yosemite Valley Merced River in Yosemite ValleyMerced River in Yosemite Valley

Merced River and Upper Yosemite FallsMerced River and Upper Yosemite Falls El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, and Half Dome in Yosemite ValleyEl Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, and Half Dome in Yosemite Valley View of Yosemite Valley from Galcier PointView of Yosemite Valley from Galcier Point

One of the many hikes during this trip was to Upper Yosemite Falls.  It was a grueling hike of several miles and countless switchbacks.  The payoff was an incredible view of the valley and of Half Dome.

Half Dome along the hike to Yosemite FallsHalf Dome along the hike to Yosemite Falls

Even saw a grizzly bear along the road to Hetch Hetchy Valley. 

Grizzly Bear near YosemiteGrizzly Bear near Yosemite

The Hetch Hetchy Valley has kind of a sad story to it.  Apparently, in the early 1900s, before the area was protected by the National Parks Service, the Hetch Hetchy Valley was renowned for its natural beauty which was often compared to that of Yosemite Valley itself.  However, it was also targeted for the development of water supply for irrigation and the growing city of San Francisco.  The demand for water eventually won and in 1923, O'Shaughnessy Dam was built and the Tuolumne River filled the valley into what it is today, the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.  Here is a 1923 photo compared to the one taken during this 2010 trip.

Hetch Hetchy Valley in the early 1900sHetch Hetchy Valley in the early 1900sPhoto courtesy of Isaiah West Taber Hetch Hetchy ReservoirHetch Hetchy Reservoir

Despite the story of the Hetch Hetchy Valley, I love this place and would be back again! 

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Cathedral Spires Hetch Hetchy Valley Merced River Tuolumne River Upper Yosemite Falls Yosemite fog grizzly bear hike Sat, 29 May 2010 05:02:00 GMT
Kern River Valley near Bakersfield California In May of 2010, I headed out to California.  California (like Colorado and Arizona) is such a diverse state.  It seems like no matter where you are, you're a half day's drive to someplace amazing.  My main stop on this adventure trip was Yosemite National Park, but during an overnight stay in Bakersfield, some mountains off to the east drew my attention.  On a whim, I decided to take a drive, and ended up in the Kern River Valley.  I'm so glad I took this little side trip because I don't think I had seen such a display of wildflowers so unique and prolific.  Check it out!

Wildflowers in Kern River ValleyWildflowers in Kern River Valley Wildflowers in Kern River ValleyWildflowers in Kern River Valley Wildflowers in Kern River ValleyWildflowers in Kern River Valley

I totally get why people are so into wildflowers.  It's almost like a hunt.  They are mysterious and alluring.  For example, in Arizona, the flowers that seem to do well in the 110+ degree heat are yellow ones.  In California's climate, obviously purple is a popular color.  But why??

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) California Kern River Valley purple wildflowers Thu, 27 May 2010 03:29:00 GMT
Road Trippin' in Arizona Arizona is just a wonderful state to explore.  In April and May of 2010, I went on several interesting Road Trips.

First on the list was not actually a road trip at all.  I was hiking in North Mountain Preserve, which was within walking distance of my home.  I came across a most prolific wildflower display along the hike.  Wildflowers are somewhat elusive in Arizona and people will actually hire a guide to take them to sites with abundant flowers.  This was nearly right in my backyard, so I hustled back home, grabbed the camera and hiked back to the spot to capture these images.

Mexican Gold Poppies in North Mountain Park in PhoenixMexican Gold Poppies in North Mountain Park in Phoenix Lupine at North Mountain Park in PhoenixLupine at North Mountain Park in Phoenix Mexican Gold Poppies at North Mountain Park in PhoenixMexican Gold Poppies at North Mountain Park in Phoenix

In April, I also took a drive up to Camp Verde.  Near Camp Verde, there is an off road trail that leads to Bullpen Ranch campground.  From the campground, a trail runs along West Clear Creek.  So... for those of you not familiar with Arizona, the state is not known for its water features.  Creeks are usually full of dry sand.  Rivers are usually not perennial meaning you have to time it perfectly in order to actually see water.  So you can imagine my surprise when West Clear Creek was a raging river!

West Clear Creek near Camp VerdeWest Clear Creek near Camp Verde

The next road trip was up a dirt road called "The Desert to Tall Pines Scenic Drive".  It begins out near Roosevelt Lake and climbs from about 2000 feet in elevation up to about 7000 feet over the span of 90 miles.  There are so many places along this road that I wanted to explore.  The one I chose was Workman Falls.  The dirt road up to the falls was incredible and included driving over a old wooden bridge that hugged a cliff face.  A signpost claimed the bridge was capable of carrying several tons, but it sure didn't appear that way!  Shortly after the bridge was the payoff...  a gorgeous 120 foot waterfall surrounded by rugged mountain country.  Check it out!

Workman Creek near Young ArizonaWorkman Creek near Young Arizona Workman Falls near Young ArizonaWorkman Falls near Young Arizona

Last but certainly not least was the road to the Sunflower Mine.  This is an abandoned mercury mine up near Rio Verde Arizona.  The road to it is quite rugged and a high clearance vehicle is needed to manage the route.  In "Jeep speak", that translates to good clean FUN!  Naturally, the camera eye seemed to wander away from the scenic beauty and toward my Jeep.  This was quite an adventure and we ultimately turned around before reaching the mine.  Mind you, this was due to the incapability of the truck I was with... Ha!

Along the road to Sunflower MineAlong the road to Sunflower Mine Along the road to Sunflower MineAlong the road to Sunflower Mine The road to Sunflower MineThe road to Sunflower Mine




[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Mexican Gold Poppies North Mountain Park Sunflower Mine West Clear Creek Workman Creek Workman Falls lupine Sun, 25 Apr 2010 04:22:00 GMT
Bryce Canyon National Park After spending a few days in Zion, we decided to drive up to Bryce Canyon National Park.  The parks are separated by only 70 miles, yet they are geographically worlds apart.  While Zion was formed by the Virgin River carving into rock for millions of years, Bryce has no rivers or streams.  Bryce was created from rain water running of cliffs.  The soft rock was eroded away and harder rock was left behind in the form of tall slender rock "hoodoos".  We hiked down into the canyon via the Queen's Garden trail, linked up with the Navajo Loop Trail and climbed up through an area known as Wall Street.  The orange color of the rocks is amazing by itself, but contrasted with blue sky and snow made this trip unforgettable.  Enjoy...

Hiking along the Queen's Garden TrailHiking along the Queen's Garden Trail This area is known as the AmphitheatreThis area is known as the Amphitheatre Along the Queen's Garden TrailAlong the Queen's Garden Trail Beautiful hoodoos against a deep blue skyBeautiful hoodoos against a deep blue sky Along the Navajo Loop TrailAlong the Navajo Loop Trail Along the Navajo Loop TrailAlong the Navajo Loop Trail Closeup of a Ponderosa PineCloseup of a Ponderosa Pine Hiking through "Wall Street"Hiking through "Wall Street" Hiking through "Wall Street"Hiking through "Wall Street"

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Bryce Canyon Navajo Loop Trail amphitheatre hike hoodoos queen's garden trail utah wall street Tue, 05 Jan 2010 22:18:00 GMT
Zion National Park in Utah I never thought I would top 2009 as far as the number of awesome trips and photo opportunities, let alone do it in the very next year.  If I had to choose a single word to describe this trip to Zion, it would be EPIC!!  One of my greatest hiking adventures came during this trip to Zion over the New Year holiday, and it is one I will never forget.

Zion gets pretty cold in the winter and they get some snow, which closes a lot of the trails. It is also gets quite peaceful as there are few visitors and there are some spectacular displays of ice and snow as you will see.  We were surprised to find that the Angels Landing trail was not closed, although there were several warnings about ice and slippery conditions, not something you want to encounter when there are 1,400 foot drop-offs a short distance from where your hiking boots are landing.

Warning signWarning sign Warning SignWarning Sign

A friend and I decided to be daring and hike Angels Landing anyway.  We ran into and hiked with a couple up to Scout Lookout.  He was a pro photographer and wanted to hang out there for a couple of hours to shoot.  We went on up ahead and tried to hike the last half mile along the narrow sandstone "fin" but immediately encountered an icy climb that we could not negotiate.  Bummed that we had reached our turnaround point, we reluctantly headed back.  We talked with that couple about it and they were happy to loan us their two sets of crampons...  we were back in business!  The last half mile up the rock fin was a harrowing, ice covered, stomach churning, white-knuckled thrill ride.  Crossing the narrowest part of the icy trail was the single most adventurous thing I think I have done.  I even paused (or was scared stiff) and had enough time to have a picture taken.  I don't think that is a smile on my face...

The narrowest part of the hike to Angels LandingThe narrowest part of the hike to Angels Landing  (Courtesy of K. Zollars)

We both made it to the top without incident knowing that we had accomplished something few have, especially with these challenging conditions.  In fact, Angels Landing supposedly got it's name from when Frederick Fisher, exploring Zion with friends in 1916, exclaimed, "Only an angel could land on it!" Ten years later, the trail's construction began.  Anyway, here are some photos from the top:

View from the top of Angels LandingView from the top of Angels Landing The drop from here is 1,488 feetThe drop from here is 1,488 feet Top of Angels Landing looking towards The NarrowsTop of Angels Landing looking towards The Narrows

The thrills were not over!  Shortly after we started back down, I was startled when a shadow passed OVER me.  Was it a plane?  I looked up to see the largest bird in North America, a California Condor with an 8 foot wingspan, buzz a few feet over me.  The condor made a couple more passes and then went on to its business.  I didn't think anything of it, but later while having some lunch and sharing the story, the waitress told us "Oh, you two are lucky.  Those condors have been known to push mountain goats off the ledges.  They plummet to their deaths and the condors have lunch!"  Yikes!!  I had nightmares for several days afterwards, but I'm glad we lived to tell about it and it will certainly be a memory that I will never forget.  Here are a few more photos on the way back down...

Part way up to the Angels Landing trailPart way up to the Angels Landing trail The lower part of the Angels Landing trailThe lower part of the Angels Landing trail Angels Landing from a distanceAngels Landing from a distance

Thanks for reading.


[email protected] (Adventure Photography) angels landing california condor chains hike scout lookout steep strenuous switchback trail utah walter's wiggles zion Sun, 03 Jan 2010 21:24:00 GMT
Four Peaks Road near Fountain Hills Arizona The road to Four Peaks is a real adventure if you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle.  While I had done the trail several times, this time was special because of the time of year.  Us Phoenicians never get to see snow and the lure of seeing a dusting of it on this iconic Phoenix landmark was just too strong.  So my brother and some friends of ours spontaneously took the drive up, which is 28 miles of dirt road leading up to one of the saddles.

Here's a couple of pictures along the trail.  I love the juxtaposition of the harsh dry desert against the snow on the peaks.  For a guy who doesn't see snow that often, it make you anxious to get up there and explore.

Four Peaks Trail near Fountain Hills, AZFour Peaks Trail near Fountain Hills, AZ Four Peak TrailFour Peak Trail

While I got a few photo opportunities, this was mainly a fun test of the capabilities of my Jeep.  My passengers loved some of the hairy spots we got into and even more importantly were able to get out of!  After a fun ride, we made it up to the saddle and played around in the snow a bit!

Jeepin!Jeepin! Aaaaahh!Aaaaahh! Snow up on Four PeaksSnow up on Four Peaks


[email protected] (Adventure Photography) four peaks road hiking jeep wrangler snow Sun, 27 Dec 2009 05:00:00 GMT
Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Arches National Parks The first, second, and fifth stop on the extraordinary National Parks tour in 2009 were fairly quick stops on the way to or from the Tetons and Yellowstone.  Since they were quick stops, there were not many photo opportunities or opportunities for adventure, but trust me, there will be many more visits to these places and thus, several newer blog entries.  I'll post a few pictures anyway.  Enjoy!

The Virgin River in Zion National ParkThe Virgin River in Zion National Park Bryce Point Lookout at Bryce Canyon National ParkBryce Point Lookout at Bryce Canyon National Park Arches National ParkArches National Park Arches National ParkArches National Park Near Arches national ParkNear Arches national Park Lockett Meadow (Inner Basin) near Flagstaff ArizonaLockett Meadow (Inner Basin) near Flagstaff Arizona Dragonfly in Lockett MeadowDragonfly in Lockett Meadow Aspen Trees in Lockett MeadowAspen Trees in Lockett Meadow


[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Bryce canyon arches arizona aspen dragonfly flagstaff lockett meadow utah virgin river zion Tue, 06 Oct 2009 00:21:00 GMT
Yellowstone National Park In September of 2009, I paid my first visit to Yellowstone National Park.  Yellowstone is such an incredible place and our timing was perfect.  It was late September and the park was gearing up for winter.  The visitor traffic was low and the weather unpredictable.  They had already had their first snow and as you'll see in the pictures, more was coming.  I have so many great stories to tell from this trip, but one in particular stands out...

When you go hiking in Yellowstone and get more than a half mile away from the roads, the silence become noticeable.  Knowing that there is wildlife in the area that can take you out and seeing evidence of it (such as trees with claw marks or scat) makes you what I would call "bearanoid".  My companion and I were hiking the trail to (and this is classic) Grizzly Lake and we were at a part of the trail where you had to straddle fallen trees.  I was in mid-straddle and heard a noise in one of the bushes off the side of the trail.  With my senses heightened, I though I was done for.  When the vicious man-eating animal darted out from the bushes, I screamed like little girl, lost my balance, and fell flat to the ground!  I was certain that the next thing that would happen would be my foot getting munched on by a grizzly bear at Grizzly Lake.  Instead, I heard the last thing I thought I would hear...  the sound of giggling.  When I finally managed to open my eyes, I saw my adversary.  It was a chipmunk.

There were several hiking excursions in Yellowstone where bearanoia set in, but we never saw a single one.  What a rush though, and what an experience to hear utter deafening silence.  I have grown to love that feeling and I would be back to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons many times.

I must also add that I think this was the real beginning of adventuring for me.  In the year that followed, you'll notice a ton of blog entries and if you were able to see the equipment used, you'll notice some upgrades.  I was hooked!

Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National ParkLamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park Morning Glory PoolMorning Glory Pool Lamar ValleyLamar Valley Grand Canyon of the YellowstoneGrand Canyon of the Yellowstone Tower FallsTower Falls Lower Falls of the Yellowstone RiverLower Falls of the Yellowstone River Grand Canyon of the YellowstoneGrand Canyon of the Yellowstone Mammoth Hot SpringsMammoth Hot Springs Mammoth Hot SpringsMammoth Hot Springs Lamar RiverLamar River

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) hiking Lamar Valley Mammoth Hot Springs wyoming Yellowstone Wed, 30 Sep 2009 17:14:00 GMT
Grand Teton National Park So starts the National Parks tour that I took in late September and early October of 2009.  A friend and I traveled over 11 days from Phoenix Arizona and visited Zion, Bryce, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Arches, and Canyonlands National Park.  Grand Teton National Park was the third stop along the 3,500 plus mile trek and my first visit to the Teton range.  It was awe-inspiring.  The opportunities for adventure and photography lie around every bend in the road and along every hike.

Although there were many stories behind this visit to the Tetons, one in particular stands out and was quite funny (to us anyway).  The morning after we arrived, we got up a couple of hours before dawn and drove out to String Lake.  As the first light of day graced the eastern sky, we knew it was prime time to see the wildlife the park had to offer.  Near the turnoff to String Lake, a herd of dozens of elk crossed the road in front of us.  In our excitement, I grabbed my camera gear and my friend leapt out the car, slamming the door and yelling and screaming in excitement.  She said something along the lines of "Oh my God!  Look at the size of that bull elk over there!", startling the herd into a dash to the nearby woods.  About fifty feet off the side of the road, a professional (and quite disgruntled) photographer all dressed in camouflage and equipped with a two foot long camouflaged zoom lens stood up, waved his hands in anger, and told us to shut the @$#% up.  It turns out he had been there for about an hour attempting to get the perfect shot.  Our excitement spoiled his moment and we were so ashamed of ourselves.  I was able to get off a shot of one of the massive beasts.  I'm willing to bet that its back stood 6 feet off the ground.  The biggest elk I had ever seen.

Bull Elk in Teton National ParkBull Elk in Teton National Park

We actually drove back through Grand Teton National Park again after visiting nearby Yellowstone and a substantial amount of additional snow covered the mountains.  You can tell in a few of the later pictures.  Below are just a few of the magical moment caught with the camera eye.

Snake River near Grand Teton National ParkSnake River near Grand Teton National Park First glimpse of the Teton RangeFirst glimpse of the Teton Range

Here's a photograph of String Lake in Grand Teton National Park shortly after dawn and also shortly after the shameful pro photographer incident.  The water was so calm and it was so peaceful and quite.  A beautiful moment to capture...

  String Lake in Grand Teton National ParkString Lake in Grand Teton National Park

The following photo was taken very close the spot where Ansel Adams took his famous black and white.  I noticed that years after my visit to the site.  There a lot less drama in the sky, but I think it is quite a photo anyway.  I would encourage you to do a search for the Ansel Adams photo.  I think you will get gain an appreciation for the patience it took him to find the perfect spot and light conditions.

Snake River and the Teton RangeSnake River and the Teton Range

Hiking along Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National ParkHiking along Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park MooseMoose Female Black BearFemale Black Bear Oxbow Bend in Grand Teton National ParkOxbow Bend in Grand Teton National Park

I love  the early morning fog in this shot...

Morning fog in the Teton RangeMorning fog in the Teton Range

Grand TetonsGrand Tetons

Grand Teton PanoramaGrand Teton Panorama

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Grand Teton National Park Jenny Lake black bear elk moose snake river wyoming Mon, 28 Sep 2009 23:51:00 GMT
Humphreys Peak near Flagstaff Arizona This is a trip that I will never forget.  It was the 4th of July in 2009 and the high in Phoenix that day was 116 degrees.  To heck with that!  We're going up to Flagstaff, which is only a short hour and a half drive away.  We ended up taking the chair lift up to the top of Humphreys Peak which is at an elevation of 12,635 feet making it the tallest mountain in Arizona.  At the top we encountered a freak storm which drove the temperature down to just above freezing.  What an amazing getaway from the heat of the Valley.  We ended up hiking part of the Arizona Trail which resulted in a few cool photos.

Aspens along the Arizona TrailAspens along the Arizona Trail Ladybugs along the Arizona TrailLadybugs along the Arizona Trail

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Arizona Trail Humphreys Peak arizona flagstaff Sat, 04 Jul 2009 22:05:00 GMT
Mogollon Rim Road near Strawberry Arizona Another day trip up to the Mogollon Rim near Strawberry, Arizona.  There is a nicely maintained dirt road that travels for about 26 miles along the edge of a rocky escarpment called the Mogollon Rim (or The Rim for short).  The Rim is the last "step" of what is known as the Grand Staircase of the Colorado Plateau which extends from central Utah down to central Arizona and includes such places as Zion National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, The Vermillion Cliffs, and Grand Canyon National Park.

The top of The Rim sits at about 8,000 feet in elevation, so April was a nice time to visit.  I have been up here many times, and nearly each time, a freak thunderstorm comes out of nowhere, which is apparently common where there are sudden elevation changes.  It is a peaceful quiet place with a lot of hiking opportunities and photo ops.  One interesting discovery on this trip was a Desert Horned Lizard (or Horny Toad as some call it).  The lizard has a unique defense in that it is able to shoot blood from its eye when threatened!  Thankfully that never happened, but I did get off a few close-ups.  Enjoy.

View from the top of The Mogollon RimView from the top of The Mogollon Rim A thunderstorm rolling along The RimA thunderstorm rolling along The Rim Desert Horned LizardDesert Horned Lizard Desert Horned LizardDesert Horned Lizard The edge of The RimThe edge of The Rim

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Desert Horned Lizard Horny Toad Rim Road 300 Strawberry Arizona cliff jeep mogollon rim thunderstorm Sun, 17 May 2009 07:48:00 GMT
Devil's Bridge Hike in Sedona Arizona In April 2009, a friend and I took a day trip up to Sedona Arizona to do some hiking.  We decided on the Devil's Bridge hike which was a couple of miles long ending in a strenuous climb to the top of the namesake arch.  A great workout with a payoff photo op at the end.  We also hiked the West Fork Trail up in Oak Creek Canyon.  A fun day!

Miniature Pine Tree near Devil's BridgeMiniature Pine Tree near Devil's Bridge Devil's BridgeDevil's Bridge Devil's BridgeDevil's Bridge West Fork TrailWest Fork Trail Desert Collared LizardDesert Collared Lizard

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Arizona Sedona devil's bridge hike red rock trail west fork trail Thu, 09 Apr 2009 07:05:00 GMT
San Diego In September 2008, my family and I visited Oceanside California where we went out the San Diego Zoo and spent the day.  The zoo is world renowned for its size and diversity of animals on display.  A very cool place. 

Birds of a featherBirds of a feather Hump Daaay!  Yeah!Hump Daaay! Yeah! Panda Bear at the San Diego ZooPanda Bear at the San Diego Zoo Sunset at Oceanside Harbor in CaliforniaSunset at Oceanside Harbor in California The beach in Oceanside CaliforniaThe beach in Oceanside California

Also got to play a round of golf at Torrey Pines and have dinner at the Chart House right on the ocean...  woohoo!

North Course at Torrey PinesNorth Course at Torrey Pines Hole #3 on the South Course at Torrey PinesHole #3 on the South Course at Torrey Pines

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) California Chart House Oceanside San Diego Zoo Torrey Pines golf Mon, 15 Sep 2008 04:42:00 GMT
Sequoia National Park in California I ended up traveling to Bakersfield, CA to attend a wedding for a wonderful friend.  The wedding was great by itself, but it was such a bonus treat to spend the next day exploring part of the state of California with the bride and groom!  We ended up driving out to Sequoia National Park and I was awestruck by the beauty of the place and humbled by the size of the giant Sequoia trees.  Giant Sequoia trees can grow more than 300 feet tall, more than 50 feet in diameter, and be nearly 3,500 years old!  Check out the photo of me standing next to a grove of Sequoia as it really provides some perspective of the size of these babies.  An unforgettable experience.

The Parker Group in Sequoia National ParkThe Parker Group in Sequoia National Park Meadow in Sequoia National ParkMeadow in Sequoia National Park The Parker Group in Sequoia National ParkThe Parker Group in Sequoia National Park

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) California Sequoia National Park giant tree Sun, 08 Jul 2007 03:12:00 GMT
Hassayampa River Preserve in Wickenburg Arizona The Hassayampa River Preserve is a very cool area of preserved land near Wickenburg, AZ.  It is run by the Nature Conservancy and is a place that I have been to on numerous occasions.  This one stands out because of the encounter with a very unique rattlesnake which was what I thought to be a Grand Canyon Pink Rattlesnake.  I was hiking with my friend Lisa and we heard this thing from 30 feet away and it was quite angry.  That sound is unmistakable! I was of course trembling, and zoomed in as far as I could, but got off a decent shot of the snake in its classic coiled and ready to strike position.

Grand Canyon Pink Rattlesnake at the Hassayampa River Preserve

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Grand Canyon Pink Rattlesnake Hassayampa River Preserve Wickenburg Sun, 17 Sep 2006 01:20:00 GMT
Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix Arizona This is yet another magical place right in the heart of Phoenix.  It is the Desert Botanical Gardens and showcases many of the unique desert plants and flowers.  May way a great time to visit because they had a special showcase of butterflies from around the world.  You walk into this enclosed area and there were hundreds of butterflies.  You might ask how they got from all around the world to Phoenix...  well it turns out that they were freeze dried and shipped in envelopes.  Then they were thawed out and released into the enclosure.  Amazing!


[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Desert Botanical Gardens Phoenix butterflies desert flowers freeze dried plants Mon, 29 May 2006 02:40:00 GMT
Out of Africa Wildlife Park near Camp Verde Arizona This is very cool wildlife park up in Camp Verde with a very unique photo op.  When I went in 2006, they had just moved from Fountain Hills up to Camp Verde, which was quite a feat given all the animals they had to transport.  One of the features of the park was a safari ride on a Mercedes Benz Unimog through an Africa-like habitat.  The giraffes were very curious and our guide dared me to put a carrot in my mouth so it was sticking out.  Well I got a big wet kiss from a giraffe with foot long tongue.  Luckily a friend was there to capture the moment!

   (Credit to N. Dinolfo)



[email protected] (Adventure Photography) camp verde giraffe out of africa park wildlife Sat, 25 Mar 2006 18:24:00 GMT
Washington State Traveled to Seattle for a business and got to spend a couple of days exploring the area.  Went out to Mt Rainier and made stops along the way at Snoqualmie Falls and the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River.  Drove up an incredibly steep and winding road to get to the town (?) of Paradise.  In June, Rainier was completely covered in snow still!

Along the Snoqualmie RiverAlong the Snoqualmie River Snoqualmie FallsSnoqualmie Falls Mount Rainier National Park near Seattle WashingtonMount Rainier National Park near Seattle Washington

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Mt Rainier east fork snoqualmie falls snoqualmie river Tue, 07 Jun 2005 03:16:00 GMT
Superstition Mountains Hike near Phoenix Arizona The Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix, are a rugged range of jagged peaks and home to the Legend of the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine.  According to the legend, a German immigrant discovered a mother lode of gold in the Superstition Wilderness and revealed its location on his deathbed in Phoenix in 1891 to a boarding-house owner who had taken care of him for many years. Several mines have been claimed to be the actual mine, but none of those claims have been verified.  Many have ventured out into the Superstitions in search of the claim.  Some have actually died looking for it.  None have found it, including me!  I hiked up into Siphon Draw and part of the Peralta Trail, but unfortunately, did not find the mine or the gold.  However, I did find a beautiful wildflower setting and some of the greenest grass in the desert.

Wildflowers along Siphon Draw in the Superstition Mountains near Phoenix ArizonaWildflowers along Siphon Draw in the Superstition Mountains near Phoenix Arizona Superstition Mountains near Phoenix ArizonaSuperstition Mountains near Phoenix Arizona

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Lost dutchman Siphon Draw Superstition Mountains gold hike peralta phoenix Sun, 24 Apr 2005 04:21:00 GMT
Mount Lemmon near Tucson Arizona The Santa Catalina Mountains are known as a "sky island" which is an island of mountain tops surrounded by low elevation areas.  Mount Lemmon is the highest peak in the Tucson area and there is a spectacular drive that climbs over 5000 feet from the valley to the ski lodge.  In April, it was likely in the 90s in the city and 40s of 50s at the top.  I recall a very windy pullout where my friend and I flew kites near dusk.  As night crept in, the city lights came on and provided quite a photo op.

Tucson city lights from near the top of the Santa Catalina MountainsTucson city lights from near the top of the Santa Catalina Mountains

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Mt Lemmon Santa Catalina city lights tucson Wed, 20 Apr 2005 00:05:00 GMT
Zion National Park in Utah In 2004, a group of friends and I traveled to southern Utah and I saw Zion National Park for the first time.  They all hiked The Narrows from top to bottom.  Someone had to drop them off, so I volunteered.  While they were hiking, I decided to give one of the other trails a try.  I chose Angels Landing.  At the last minute, I decided to take my point-and-shoot Olympus Camedia D580.  I think this was the first time I realized what a wonderful tool the camera is.  It's been a wild ride ever since!

Angels Landing Trail   View from the top of Angels Landing The last half mile of Angels Landing

After hiking Angels Landing, I went on over to the Narrows to meet my friends.  They were not there yet, so I hiked up the Narrows several miles and finally met them.  The Narrows is not really a trail, rather you hike through the Virgin River.  Had I been better prepared for this I would have had water shoes, but instead I had my boots which quickly became waterlogged and a burden.  I ended up doing most of the 10 mile round trip hike barefoot!

The following picture is a few miles up the river and is the narrowest part of the hike.  You could nearly reach out and touch both of the walls and I imagine those walls were 500-1000 feet tall on both sides.  Zion National Park is quite an amazing place!

The Narrows

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Angels Landing The Narrows Zion Wed, 08 Sep 2004 04:33:00 GMT
Boynton Canyon Hike in Sedona Arizona This is one of my favorite hikes in Arizona.  The hike starts out in the desert at a high end resort and ends up in Boynton Canyon, where the walls are at least 500 feet tall on both sides and maybe 100 feet apart.  I went on this hike in November when the air temperature was in the 60s. A few shorts miles into the canyon and there was 3 inches of snow on the ground and it was well below freezing.  Normally, one would attribute that kind of drop in temperature to altitude, but this trail only gains about 100 feet from start to finish.  An amazing experience!

The Enchantment Resort and Boynton Canyon Trail in Sedona ArizonaThe Enchantment Resort and Boynton Canyon Trail in Sedona Arizona Owl along the Boynton Canyon TrailOwl along the Boynton Canyon Trail

[email protected] (Adventure Photography) Boynton Canyon Hike Sedona Fri, 28 Nov 2003 23:51:00 GMT