The Great Sand Dunes National Park is such an odd and intriguing place where sand covers some 30 square miles in the middle of southern Colorado. I visited the park about two months ago to check it out and attempted to sandboard, and it felt like I was on a different planet. The wind creates such perfectly crisp ridge lines that extend endless up towards the sand dunes, eventually merging with the sky and the snowcapped mountains in the background.
Never before have I crossed a frozen lake in 60-degree weather… until I hiked in the Rockies. The hike to Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park is an exciting hike, with micro spikes and frozen lake crossings, that takes you deep into the Rockies and passes by two other lakes on the way. The alpine lake is hidden deep within the mountains and tucked between snow-capped peaks, and the hike there offers rewarding views of Hallett Peak and the expansive Rocky Mountains range.
With most of the Seattle hikes already snowed in, I drove along the North Cascades Highway, also known as State Route 20, which traversed through northern Washington along the Skagit River. We saw incredible sceneries along the way as the road navigated past vibrantly blue glacier lakes and split through snow-covered mountains. It was one of the most beautiful drives I’ve done and felt like the epitome of the PNW landscape.
I visited the deepest lake in the United States and probably one of the bluest lakes I’ve ever seen. Crater Lake is in southern Oregon where it was created from a volcanic eruption several thousand years ago and has since turned into a lake due to snow and rainfall. I’ve been meaning to visit this National Park for quite some time but it’s just a tad too far from SF. Luckily for me, I was able to make a quick detour on my drive from SoCal to the Pacific Northwest.
Lassen is one of my favorite national parks, but it is often neglected when compared to other California parks like Yosemite and Joshua Tree. The park is about 4 hours north of San Francisco and the wide range of elevation made for a beautiful drive as we meandered through the hills and valleys of the volcanoes. With the main road reaching 8,500 ft and Lassen Peak at 10,457 ft, it was refreshing breathing in the cool mountain air.
A few months ago (when the world was normal) I spent a week exploring the Big Island of Hawaii. My first trip to Maui a few years ago was a blast and I was super excited to visit a new island. I drove 890 miles around the entire island filling my days with hiking, brewing Kona coffee, eating spam musubi, and splitting my nights between Airbnbs, hotels and a deflated air mattress in a tent. To say the least, every day was an adventure full of unexpected surprises.
Possibly THE most beautiful place for sunset in Yosemite. The sun illuminates the smooth granite on El Cap and casts a long shadow over Yosemite Valley. The contrast and colors created during golden hour and the fact that I’m perched on a cliff made me feel quite literally on top of the world. There are few places where I feel frozen in time, and Taft Point is definitely one of them.
I finally backpacked into Havasupai after hearing so much about it and finally reserving a permit last February. I spent 3 days this April in Havasupai swimming in turquoise-colored waterfalls and sleeping under the stars. It was so relieving to completely disconnect and take in the beauty of the Havasupai Waterfalls.
One of the best hikes, if not the best hike, I’ve done.
The Narrows refer to the narrow canyons the North Fork of the Virgin River. It is one of the most iconic hikes to do in Zion National Park and perhaps the most unique hike of all national parks. You’re hiking in river water as high as chest-deep snaking through the massive slot canyons, where the sun’s rays occasionally shine through to create dramatic curves and shadows. Besides your footsteps splashing and the echo of your voice, all you hear is the endless roaring river
Angels Landing is a classic hike and one of the most popular trails in Zion National Park. The trail begins at the canyon floor, traverses through 21 steep switchbacks, and ascends along the ridge to Angels Landing. For those brave enough to hike the last half-mile using chains with 1,000 ft cliffs on either side, they’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Zion Canyon. It is said that “Angels Landing is so high that only an angel could land on it.”