Friday, July 3, 2015


Tomorrow is July 4th.

Man, this summer has been flying by.  I realize I haven't posted in a while, but it feels like I've only been back at Rocky for a couple weeks.  It'll be September before I know it.

Yesterday I hiked up to Sandbeach Lake in Wild Basin for my backcountry patrol day.  Sandbeach will always have a special place in my heart.  It was the first trail I hiked in RMNP two years ago, and despite the lung crushing steady uphill to the lake, it remains one of my favorites.

As I was coming down from the lake (after dismantling FIVE illegal fire rings) I stopped in at the Hunter's Creek campsite to talk with the campers staying there.  They were four young guys from Louisiana on an epic National Park roadtrip to the west coast and back.  They were telling me about the bear tracks they spotted the day before and asking me what bear scat usually looks like.  I told them they'd be pretty lucky to see one of the park's few bears, and as long as they store their food properly, they shouldn't have anything to worry about.

"Alright, see you guys later!  Have a great trip."

30 seconds later I nearly walk into a black bear waiting just uphill from their campsite.

I managed to whip out my phone and snap a few shots and video before the curious bear sauntered off down the trail.


It's always so exciting to see a bear.  I immediately returned to the Louisiana campers and told them what I had just seen.

"Are you f***ing for real?!"  A mixture of excitement and worry in their voices.

I showed them the video and wished them well again, throwing in an extra reminder to secure their bear canisters. 

Sandbeach Lake will always have a special place in my heart.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Acworth - Estes Park

It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon here in Estes Park, Colorado.

I arrived Thursday afternoon after four days on the road, and it's been so nice reuniting with old friends and catching up.  In many ways it feels like I never left.  At the same time, I had almost forgotten how massive and majestic these mountains are.

I begin work tomorrow in the Back Country Office, and it's already looking like a great season to come.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A look around

A perfect day to relax on the back porch and test out a little timelapse rotation device I made.

I like it.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Big Frog

I'm thankful for father/son(s) camping trips.

We try to do at least one a year, but it's simply not enough, and this is the first time in a long time that I can remember all three of us being able to take off together.

I think we all needed it.

From my journal...

Big Frog Wilderness...
Ben, Dad, and I left the house around noon yesterday and made the two hour drive up across the GA/TN border to the Low Gap trailhead.  Steady uphill hike, steady rain.  Pitched our giant tent at the intersection of the Benton Mackaye Trail.  It is such a beautiful morning.  Rained all night with water pooling inside the tent.  Dad and I have had our coffee and breakfast – Ben is still wrapped up in his sleeping bag like the hungry, hungry caterpillar.  We're gonna try to get up Big Frog Mountain today.  Hopefully the weather stays like this!  We are on a ridge with fog in the valley below us, the sun is shining with the outlines of mountains surrounding us.  A light breeze.  It feels great to be back out here.

Our last morning in the Big Frog Wilderness. Overcast. Windy and cool. The ash from last night's fire swirls around us as we eat our breakfast. The sun is trying to peek through the clouds and shine through the tree tops. Dad reads out loud from Proverbs and relates it to working at Delta. We are just about out of water, which is perfect since we're heading back and the closest water is straight downhill. 

This has been a wonderful trip.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The birds and the breeze

"As long as I live, I'll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing.  I'll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche.  I'll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can." 
- John Muir

It's a beautiful Georgia day off my back porch.

A gentle breeze rustles through the branches above me, and a chorus of birds tries to be heard over a neighboring lawnmower.  My cats take turns drinking from their water bowl and sharpening their claws on whatever wooden surface they can find.  I'm sitting at the table with my laptop, a cup of tea, and my journal.

I just got the news that I will be Rocky Mountain National Park's newest backcountry ranger, and I couldn't be more excited.  The job is still seasonal, like my previous two summers, but I will be stationed in the park's backcountry office with time also spent hiking and monitoring the extensive trail network.  Dream job, much?

I hope to dive back into the wonders of the Rocky Mountains even more this summer, experiencing and learning everything I can about the wildness and majesty of the park, and in return, inspire and excite others to get out and do the same.

This year marks Rocky Mountain National Park's 100 year anniversary, and I consider it a great honor to be a part of that history.  The centennial will be an exciting time for anyone crossing within the park's boundaries.

In the meantime, I will be counting down the days to departure and enjoying this nice Georgian weather before it becomes too humid.  I am very excited about the months ahead of us.  Just wanted to give you all a little update!

The lawnmower has stopped, and the birds have center stage once again.

Lily Mountain, July 2013

Thursday, January 1, 2015


I'm thankful to see another year.

2014 was filled with many wonderful memories.  Adventures in snow, sand, rock, and water.  There were challenges, both physical and emotional.  Death, as well as celebration of life.  Always with the support and companionship of friends and family.  I truly am thankful to see another year, and I look forward to what 2015 has in store for us.

I snapped more than three thousand photos in 2014, and here are all of them.

Here's to another adventurous, meaningful, and cat-filled year.  Cheers, everyone.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Katahdin to the Kennebec

Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Here grow the wallflower and the violet. The squirrel will come and sit upon your knee, the logcock will wake you in the morning. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill. Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains. 
- John Muir

This recent journey to Maine was bittersweet and beautiful.  Breathtaking and brutal.

I hiked from Mount Katahdin to the Kennebec River, about 150 miles south.  The first few days were absolutely perfect hiking weather days.  Then it rained pretty consistently the rest of the time, creating some pretty hazardous water crossings.  Streams and brooks that would normally be ankle deep or passable by rock hopping were now waist deep or higher with body slamming currents.  The Trail itself was transformed into a meandering waterway with waterfalls in the steep sections and pools of standing water in the level areas.  Everything became wet.

The temperature never dipped below freezing while I was out there, but it never really warmed up once the rain came.  Cold hands and cold feet through and through.

I enjoy the challenges that come with backpacking, and the rewards of the natural world continue to be awe-inspiring.  It was rejuvenating to be back out there even for a short time. 

Come to the woods, for here is rest.