Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Over the Divide

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

- JRR Tolkien

Wow, this summer is flying by.  Already August 11?!  I can't believe it.

A few weeks ago my little brother came into town and stayed with me for a few days.  He's currently driving cross country on his way to Seattle to start a new phase of his life.  Gosh I love that guy.  We had some good times catching up and sharing stories over plenty of Chinese food and good beer.

The highlight for me was our two-day trip hiking over the Continental Divide from Bear Lake to Grand Lake, over Flattop Mountain and down the Tonahutu Trail.  Breathtaking views.  Grueling, rugged terrain.  Exciting wildlife and frigid alpine skinny dipping.  The entire time we were out there, I felt like we were trekking through Middle Earth.  Two hobbits bumbling along the beaten path, through forests with meandering brooks, over the misty mountains and into lush, green meadows.  The wildflowers were popping all over the place with bright bursts of color and variety.

Truly awe inspiring.  We live in a beautiful country.

It was pretty funny as we were trying to hitchhike back.  Ben tried showing some leg to no avail.  We also had an American flag (MURICA) with us and thought that might help.  As it happened, some of my park ranger friends just happened to be driving by at that moment, though they almost didn't stop because they thought we were waving a Confederate flag, haha.

It was an unforgettable adventure that will go down on my list of all time favorite hikes.

Next up will be the video I shot climbing Long's Peak.  I'm a little behind on my editing, so stay tuned!  Cheers.

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.