It was our first trip to the White Sands National Monument and though it is a large park - the largest gypsum dunefield in the world - there is only one eight-mile road and there are few designated trails. We were able to drive the road and hike all the trails in this unique natural area in a day.
While traveling west, we stopped in the Bankhead National Forest in Alabama. A little research determined that there are several waterfalls in the area, so we set out to do some hiking and see if we could get some photos of some of them.
While doing some research on hikes in Alabama, I came across the Walls of Jericho, a three-mile out and back, six-mile roundtrip hike with waterfalls at the end. It was listed as one of the better day hikes in the state, and it is located on the Alabama/Tennessee border somewhat near where we would be making our next stop with the RV.
Clingmans Dome Sunrise & Hike From Clingmans Dome to Newfound Gap - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Well, 2017 to this point had been a quite unusual year for us for many reasons. We hadn't hiked nearly as much as in years past, and I needed to get out. So the plan was an early morning start to watch the sunrise from the Great Smoky Mountains highest peak, and then an 8-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail.
On our 2016 summer tour of upstate New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire, one of my goals was to hike the Franconia Ridge Loop in the White Mountains. It was a little too strenuous and ambitious for Linda, so I went solo. The weather wasn't ideal for photos and I wasn't carrying my usual DSLR camera, opting instead for a lighter-weight point-and-shoot, but it was an amazing, challenging hike, and I hope to do it again someday as part of a longer multi-day trek.
We spent about a week and a half in the Adirondacks in New York doing some paddling and hiking. I took on three "high peak" hikes on my own, and this was the best and most rewarding of them all.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park wasn't on our "must see" list of National Parks, but we were in the area and we do want to visit as many of the National Parks as we can. So, we made this one-day trip and enjoyed three of the park's highlights.
Today was a relatively short hike to our last campsite on Isle Royale. Along the way, we had a beaver encounter, and we watched otters at our destination. I caught a couple of pike at a small lake, and we had a wonderful evening. I think I need to plan more of these backpacking adventures.
Today we hiked half-way across the island and set up camp at the Lake Richie campsites. We didn't see much in the way of wildlife, but it was a nice hike and a beautiful evening with a lake view.
Day 3 - The End of Our First Backpacking Trip - Cruiser Lake Trail - Voyageurs National Park - Minnesota
Well, today ended our three-day, two-night backpacking trip out in the wilderness of Voyageurs National Park. I call it a successful "experiment", and we'll do another trip later this summer.
Our first night out in the wilderness in Voyageurs National Park went well. Today, we hiked back to Agnes Lake for another night of camping. It was a beautiful, peaceful night as we had a campfire and listened to the calls of the loons.
Day 1 - Our First Ever Overnight Backpacking Experience - Cruiser Lake Trail - Voyageurs National Park - Minnesota
After all these years of day-hiking, I wanted to start getting out in the back-country more and stay overnight in peaceful natural areas. So, we bought a bunch of fancy, expensive, light-weight gear and scheduled this three-day, two-night trip in Voyageurs National Park to test ourselves and our equipment. This post is Day 1 and includes a lot of extra details about our gear and processes once we reached our destination.
We were working in northern Minnesota this summer (2015) about seven miles from Voyageurs National Park. There are two visitor centers: Kabetogama Lake & Ash River. Kabetogama Lake is closer, but today was our first trip to the Ash River area.
Abrams Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park isn't the tallest of waterfalls, but it's powerful and in a beautiful setting. But it's a popular hike, so we recommend going early.
On this four-mile round-trip hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the highlight was supposed to be Fern Branch Falls. But with the low water flow, the beautiful creek and the food chain in action were more interesting to us.