Grand Teton National Park

We drove up to Jackson Hole for the last weekend before they close the park road. The weather did not disappoint. Daytime temperatures were in the high 50s and not a single cloud ventured over northwest Wyoming all weekend. Most of the trees had already lost their leaves, but the blanket of white covering the peaks provided a nice contrast to the still-dry valley floor.

The Cathedral Group
The Cathedral Group, including Teewinot (left), Grand Teton (middle), and Mount Owen (right).
String Lake
The Grand Teton from String Lake
The Teton Range
The Teton Range from Blacktail Ponds Overlook
The Grand Teton
The Grand Teton (left), Mount Owen (middle), and Teewinot Mountain (right) from Blacktail Ponds Overlook
The Teton Range
The Teton Range from Spring Creek Ranch
The Teton Range
The Teton Range from Spring Creek Ranch

Death Valley National Park

Furnace Creek Temperature
It was hot at Furnace Creek Visitor Center

Last weekend, I visited Death Valley National Park for the first time. We were in Las Vegas for the weekend, but we wanted to get out of the city, so we extemporaneously decided to go to Death Valley.

I wasn’t sure what to expect in Death Valley, except hot temperatures. What I found was an incredibly vast and varied landscape. The colors and textures of the terrain are striking.

The park is also replete with superlatives. The hottest temperature ever recorded on earth (134° Fahrenheit) was recorded in what is now Death Valley National Park. The lowest point in North America (Badwater Basin, at 282 feet below sea level) is also located in Death Valley National Park. The highest point in the contiguous United States (Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet) is also visible from the park (on clear days).

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Ragnar Trail North Shore Oahu

Ragnar Trail OahuLast weekend (April 21–22), I participated in a Ragnar Trail race on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu.

The setting on the North Shore near Turtle Bay was very nice. The weather, however, was not nice. It rained the whole time (off and on). Sections of the trails were covered with puddles and ankle-deep mud, especially the yellow trail. Although the conditions weren’t at all what I was expecting when I signed up, the event was awesome.

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Trip to the Big Island

Last October, I visited the Big Island of Hawaii. Some highlights from the trip included hiking in Waipio and Polulu Valleys, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and a round of golf at the Mauna Kea golf course. I compiled some of my photos and videos from the trip in the video below. I hope you enjoy it. (I’ll publish photos from the trip and, perhaps, a more in-depth article sometime later.)

Visited two more states today

States Visited (as of December 15, 2015)
States Visited (as of December 15, 2015)

Arkansas

Today, I visited Arkansas and Oklahoma for the first time. They were short visits, but they were official visits nonetheless. I had no plans whatsoever to visit those states otherwise, so when I found myself traveling between Shreveport, Louisiana and Dallas, Texas, I made sure to take a detour to visit them. I’ve now visited 39 states (plus Washington, D.C.), with 11 left to visit.

Interestingly, I have been within one mile of both Michigan (I-90 in Indiana nearly crosses the border) and West Virginia (I-70 in Maryland is just across the Potomac River from West Virginia), but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Washington State Trip

Our big trip this year was to Washington state in July. During our ten days there, we drove over 1,600 miles. We flew into Seattle and watched the Mariners play the Angels at Safeco Field. We visited Olympic, Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks, Vancouver, British Columbia, and we spent time exploring the area around Mount Baker.

I was most impressed by the incredible scale of the Cascade Range, especially Mount Rainier. Photos of Rainier’s somewhat rounded peak do not do it justice. Although Rainier’s profile isn’t as jagged as other peaks I’ve seen, nothing can compete with it on sheer vertical. While sitting on the porch of the National Park Inn inside Mount Rainier National Park, I was in awe that Rainier rises almost 12,000 feet above.