Red Rock Sprint to Yosemite

First hike after Art's was up San Jacinto, first by way of one of the world's longest tram rides and then by foot. We were shooting for the peak but ran out of time.

After Art’s in Palm Springs we climbed San Jacinto, first by way of one of the world’s longest tram rides and then by foot. We were shooting for the peak but even with long days we ran out of time.

What to do between visiting Art in Palm Springs and climbing Half Dome in Yosemite?
Why not sprint through a stretch of Red Rock Country? Book ends to the sprint could include epic hikes. And why not? This was trip with my road-ravaging, outdoor-trekking, college-bound super daughter Kelsey! Continue reading

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Yosemite’s Many Sites

Mary Lake

Some old roads can still be found especially if they serve a modern purpose. The ancient road to May Lake was built early last century. From its condition I’d guess that’s when it also saw its last repair.

Hetch Hetchy, Glacier Point, Tunnel View, Mirror Lake, and a myriad of ancient roads are side trips I took during this visit. Any one of the biggies I’ve written about already would be reason enough come to Yosemite but there’s so much more to see. Some of these are worth setting apart and mentioning.

The water supply for San Francisco comes largely from behind a dam built at one of Yosemite’s great canyons. After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, Hetch Hechy within Yosemite was the wildly controversial selection of location to create a huge reservoir. The city was growing rapidly; it needed a large and dependable supply of water. Not only was water important for daily life but also for fire control. Steps needed to be taken to preempt another out-of-control fire such as the one that destroyed the city.

Clouds Rest in Yosemite

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Twenty One Falls and Electric Light

Scranton Electric Light

Home of the TV show “The Office” Scranton was first famous as a railroad and steal town ... and for having the first electric trolly car system. A wonderful museum can be visited at Steamtown.

New places to hike and build strength, that’s what Kelsey and I were looking for when we decided to visit Rickets Glenn. I knew it wasn’t too much of a challenge from my previous visit but I love the idea of hiking a trail which took us past 22 named waterfalls. When last I visited there was little running water and hence small falls but this time water was aplenty.

It’s too far for a one-day round trip so we stayed in Scranton. There really isn’t a convenient town to Rickets Glenn and though we wanted to camp the weather wasn’t looking promising. Secretly I also wanted to show Kelsey the history of Scranton at Steamtown, a wonderful National Historic Site built in a converted train roundhouse. Between steal and coal and trains and trollies there’s much to see and do in this wonderful town.  Continue reading

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Climbing, Climbing Yosemite Falls and Point

Yosemite Falls

As I write this I realize that the top of Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Point are really, really far off and very high. As I write this I’m thinking to myself “Just exactly what was I thinking to hike up there?”

The park is Yosemite National Park. The river is Yosemite River. The falls are Yosemite Falls. Given the prominence of these fixtures in this park. Given I’d taken pictures of them during each visit. How was it that I still hadn’t climbed the trail leading to these sites called, appropriately enough, Yosemite Falls Trail? It was time to right this wrong!

To be fair, during some visits the river was hardly flowing making the walls barely wet. To be fair, during other visits, just visiting where the falls landed in the valley floor was a satisfying, bone-rattling excitation. Still, I couldn’t be in love with this park and not experience its namesake sites. Today I did.

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A Look Back: Ricketts Glen

Ricketts Glen

Two rivers run through glens (narrow valleys) and merge producing a variety of falls which are all visible during a short hike of less than three miles. They’re not just there to be seen. You can actually climb around in them!

Between two extensive road trips covering what will amount to more than 22,000 miles I decided it was appropriate to post a reminder. There are plenty of lovely sites near home in the mid-atlantic area. One such destination is Ricketts Glenn which is a four hour drive into Pennsylvania and in theory a one-day round trip. Here youll find a network of 21 waterfalls over a very short distance, making it both pleasant to visit and gratifying to photograph.

Check out the original blog post here: Ricketts Glen Falls

Ricketts Glen State Park Map

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Sequoia and Kings Canyon NPs

Catalina Casino

My turn-around point was off the coast of Los Angeles where I attended the JazzTrax festival, a perennial favorite, and home of the world famous Avalon Casino.

Great Hike: Zumwalt Meadows

Sequoia and Kings Canyon are two national parks which share a border. They’re both vast, their histories are intertwined and they are run out of the NPS as one unit. Given I had one day to take in both of them I made a plan to skim the surface. No time for extensive hikes but I’d make every effort to pass though each of their five regions and visit its primary sites, as recommended by Park Rangers. First stop was the Visitors Center for advice on how best to spend my time.

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Yosemite NP

Mono Lake

As you exit Yosemite in the east, you arrive at Mono Lake. While drab on the surface, its waters support migratory birds with brine shrimp and fly populations galore.

Great Hike: Four-Mile Up and Panorama+Mist Down

Twice in the past few years I’ve visited Yosemite Valley. Once it was a cold and slushy mess after a snow storm and once it was a flooded and rockslide-ridden jumble after a rain storm. Adding insult to injury, last time I even got a flat tire! Imagine how exited I was then to learn I would be in Yosemite for three days with crisp air, cool temps, and hardly a cloud in the sky! I was ready to enjoyed this park!

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Smoothly Trans-Atlantic


Bath is famous for many things and probably for these cascades on the River Avon too. However, I came back to this exact spot because the view is spectacular. Bath has so very much to offer.

If not an old shoe, it felt like a familiar shoe when I completed my trip to England by pulling out my Oyster prepaid card and swiping it to enter the Underground to board a Picadilly Line train to Padington. Everything had gone smoothly right down to sleeping which I forced myself to do for several hours in transit. When I strolled off the plane to Customs it felt like the start of a great day; I wasn’t dragging and cursing life. A good first stride in to a familiar and comfortable shoe.

Not wanting to schlep around my suitcase all day, I made my first stop my hostel in Bristol where I checked in and stored my bag in a locker. Then, back on the train for a 10 minute ride back to Bath, a town I’ve previously visited and been blown away by. It has strong Roman influences viewable even today. However, this visit would be different. My plan was to avoid the town’s key feature (the Roman baths) and take in the rest of what was in and around the once-walled city.

My first stop was the tourist information office where they provided me with a walking tour map. With that I set off on my way to explore. So what is there to be seen? A crazy number of interesting sites, among them:

– Jane Austin’s home Continue reading

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Ricketts Glen Falls

Ricketts Glen Falls

A “glen” I learned is a narrow valley, hence Ricketts Glen is Ricketts Narrow Valley. Makes sense that here is where you’d go and expect to see waterfalls and I saw lots waterfalls ... twice!

In northeast Pennsylvania on a hike of only three miles in length you can see 21, yes twenty one, waterfalls ranging in height from 11’ to 94’. It’s pretty awesome to have such a high density of falls. Special enough to have been declared a Registered Natural Landmark and later to become a State park: Ricketts Glen.

I’m not going to burden you with many more words. The pictures below speak to the majesty of the sight; they were taken over two days. I’ll simply close by saying the only thing that could have been better is if there had been more water flowing. It hadn’t rained in quite a while before my visit and the falls were a bit on the anemic side. How do I know? Ricketts Glen Trails has pictures which when contrasted to what I saw make it pretty obvious.

The falls are a delight. Continue reading

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World’s Fair Riverside Park

Worlds Fair Riverside Park

It was getting dark and I was still running around taking pictures of the Spokane River Cascades. Ascending some stairs I found myself staring at this not-too-happy beaver. Hissing at me, it was!

Arrived in Spokane in the late afternoon but before finding my hotel I visited two spectacular parks: Manito and Riverside. The former was designed by the firm that did NYC’s Central Park while the latter was done for the 1974 World’s Fair. Both are varied, beautiful, well-maintained and very appealing.  Continue reading

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