An ode to Washington’s better half

There was a time not too long ago when the very thought of ending up in Spokane – or anywhere in eastern Washington, for that matter – after I graduated from college was enough to incite a physical reaction of disgust. Sure, some of this was the result of the East-Side-Inferiority Complex that I’d picked up from…

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon and other games to torture the solitary mind

We used to play this game during downtime when I worked at a movie theater1 called Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The game goes like this: Player One chooses two actors that have not (to their knowledge) been in a movie together, like these two blond(e), handsome devils: Player Two must then connect the two actors in…

Praise for Parks less-traveled

There are a handful of National Parks that pop into everyone’s head when you tell them you’re doing a road trip to visit National Parks: Yellowstone; Yosemite; Grand Canyon; Arches; Zion – the list rarely ends there, but you get the idea. The problem with this is that everyone has the same list, and during…

Bryce Canyon NP: Yellow Creek

I didn’t think I’d be able to get a permit for any backcountry travel in a Utah National Park, but I was pleasantly surprised. While the parks draw an enormous amount of visitors, it seems that few of them are stupid enough to hike more than two miles when it’s 95 degrees out. The permits…

Utah’s Mighty Five

I completed my first overnight backpacking trip in a Utah National Park, a feat that, until yesterday, I did not think would be possible. “Because of the heat?” you might ask. No. Because of the crowds. The five roadtrippable National Parks in Southern Utah are less like a string of National Parks and more like a collection…

A spirited attempt at getting lost in Black Canyon National Park

This “not having a plan” thing is really working out. After spending an afternoon in Grand Junction and Fruita, I decided I was sort of over the part of Colorado with a lot of people in it. I bought a map for the San Juan National Forest and headed south in the direction of Durango….

You don’t need to buy a van to live down by the river.

Before I left for this trip, I was aggressively hunting for a van that I’d be able to trade straight-up for my Saturn. More vehicle = more space = more comfort. Plus, living in a van is the new American Dream. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one that would work out, so I loaded up the…

Talk to strangers, pick up hitch-hikers and quit your day job

Scarier than hiking alone in grizzly country or trusting a 15-year old sedan1 to make a 6,000+ mile road trip was making the decision to quit my job without having any real plan for what I’d do when the trip was over. You won’t find many Forbes articles touting the benefits of abandoning your career…

How I accidentally found the International Climbers’ Festival

After leaving the Tetons, I didn’t have any intention of sticking around in Wyoming for more than a day or two. When I was sketching out my itinerary, the state was a two-destination stop: Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Check and check. I had to stop for gas, though, so I stopped in this little town…

An unintentional drive-through tour of Yellowstone

I left Gallatin bright and early on Friday, with the intention of hitting Yellowstone National Park just as the permit office was opening. Yellowstone, as you may know, was the first ever National Park; it would seem nothing short of fraudulent to not spend at least a night in its backcountry. The drive through Paradise…