- Your Voice
Continuing to pursue a quest initiated in 2003, in 2014 it was time to summit another state highpoint. With deep snow and cold weather blanketing the mountains of most western states, Oklahoma was designated the most likely candidate. Plans got underway.
Should the reader regard Death Valley National Park a vast land of scorched earth with barren and bland vistas, visiting this southeastern California park along the Nevada border could result in a dramatic change in perception, as one did recently for me.
A short walk up a narrow canyon leads to Natural Bridge, crossing 50 feet above the sand and gravel wash.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes cover 14 square miles near Stovepipe Wells with beautifully shaped and colored deep, soft sand.
Excellent examples of the erosion in Death Valley National Park, alluvial fans wash out of Tucki Mountain.
Arizona’s Grand Canyon may possess its majestic size and overwhelming awe, but in Northeastern Arizona there is a canyon on the Navajo Indian Reservation that matches the beautiful color spectrum of sandstone cliff walls. From pale shades of pink through tans and browns and into deep red, Canyon de Chelly (d’SHAY) National Monument meets the Grand color for color. Plus it provides this with an intimacy not found in one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Leaving the driveway in Tucson at 8 a.m. on a recent July morning, the temperature registered 84 degrees. Backing into one of the limited number of parking spots 75 minutes and 40 miles later, the temperature at the end of Sabino Canyon Parkway below Summerhaven on Mt. Lemmon hovers just above 60 degrees.
Crystal clear waters flows into a small pool, the forest landscape reflected on the calm surface.
Throughout my life, friends and family have commented on my sometimes unique “to do” list. Setting goals and making a commitment to successfully achieve them has provided personal satisfaction and success in my life’s achievements.
Along the southern boundary of 57,000-acre Pusch Ridge Wilderness in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Sabino Canyon Recreation Area wedges its 2,900 acres almost four miles into the protected land.
Though another 50 miles of travel remain, glancing slightly left off laser straight US Highway 62/180 in west Texas, the dramatic vertical cliffs of the Guadalupe Mountains could easily be seen. Matching perfectly the cover photo on a Guadalupe Mountains National Park brochure picked up at a Texas Visitor Center outside El Paso, there was no doubt my destination would soon be reached. Within an hour I would be setting up a tent in Pine Springs Campground and settling in for a night under the stars, eagerly anticipating accomplishing tomorrow’s challenge.
Guadalupe Mountains with Texas highest point to the left and dramatic cliffs of El Capitan to the right.
Texas Madrone Tree, unique in that is sheds it’s bark annually to allow new growth, changing from creamy white to red during the year.
Bridge constructed to safely span dangerous gap along Guadalupe Peak Trail as the trail approaches Texas highest point.
Hikers Bill, Kathy, David S., David B., and Hank pose at the Texas high point marker at the summit of 8749 foot Guadalupe Peak.
Rick Metcalf strikes a high point pose atop the highest point in Texas, Guadalupe Peak, which is his 10th state high point.
There are a variety of views along Catalina State Parks from the rugged mountains to the beautiful California Poppies currently in bloom.
With warm, spring weather, there are plenty of bright colors to see throughout the hike at
The charm of a desert in bloom
Reminded recently by a friend about a canyon hike not yet experienced, my hiking boots were making tracks on Ventana Canyon Trail on a recent mid-January day, with temperatures in the 60s, and the sky cloudless and windless. Two-and-a-half miles ahead with 1,200 feet in elevation gain lies today’s destination, Maiden Pools.
With pleasant temperatures in Southern Arizona, Ventana Canyon is a great place for a hike. With views, wildlife and a superbly maintained trail.
Expanding rapidly northward from its human-caused point of origin near the international border with Mexico, the Monument Fire would eventually consume more than 30,000 acres and destroy more than 60 structures. Started on June 12, nearly a month would pass before full containment would be achieved.
A concrete water trough stands at a trail junction. It was constructed to collect spring water to nourish horses and wildlife, and reflects trees in the surrounding forest.
Longleaf False Golden Eye is just one of the many wildflowers blooming alongside Brown Canyon Trail.
Heavily damaged during June’s Monument Fire, Miller Canyon begins to show encouraging signs of recovery.
Several Coues White Tail Deer, the smallest in America, were seen during a four-hour, 5-mile hike on Brown Canyon Trail.
Twenty miles east of Holbrook, Ariz., travelers along Interstate 40 can leave the highway and delight in a truly remarkable wonder of nature.
Around 1050 to 1300 A.D., Puebloan People built and inhabited an eight-room pueblo using blocks of petrified wood and clay mortar as construction material.
Chunks of petrified wood sprinkle the landscape along Blue Mesa Trail in Petrified Forest National Park, with blue-grey hills of Bentonite clay standing in the background.
Turned to stone millions of years ago, huge multi-colored logs of petrified wood stand strong at Petrified Forest National Park, east of Holbrook, Ariz.
Along Giant Logs Trail behind Petrified Forest National Park’s south entrance visitor center, massive pieces of petrified wood lay trailside. Visited by more than 600,000 annually, Arizona offers some of the most colorful examples in the world.
Spectacular granite rock formations abound throughout the Dragoon Mountains east of Tucson.
Next to Cochise Stronghold Trailhead, a sign honors the memory of Cochise, arguably history’s greatest Apache Chief.
Close to 50 miles north of Tucson, I-10 traffic rumbles past Picacho Peak, an isolated mountain jutting into the sky west of exit 219. Can drivers and their passengers not wonder what’s involved in reaching the summit? Shouldering a pack at the trailhead for the peak’s Hunter Trail recently, I would soon answer the question.
Muriel Clarke of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, and Jim Jellenberg of Bottineau, North Dakota, descend a cable-aided section of Picacho Peak’s Hunter Trail.
The summit of Picacho Peak recently recorded visitors from across the United States plus Canada and France. David Clarke, center, of Kithener-Waterloo, Ontario digitally records his climb as other hikers relax.
Volcano-formed Picacho Peak reaches into the sky west of exit 219 along Interstate 10 north of Tucson.
William Wrightson, civil engineer and entrepreneur, was instrumental in Arizona gaining Territorial status in the mid-1800s.
Nearing the end of monsoons and being cautious to avoid reference to a "hike," I invited my wife Kris and her sister Lisa, visiting from Seattle, to join me on an "exploration" of the first couple of miles in Sabino Canyon.
Touching down on flight 1909 at 12:15 p.m., Denver to Minneapolis, the second annual tri-state high point adventure began. Greeted at the gate by nephew Todd, having arrived 15 minutes earlier from Seattle, we were quickly driving east along Interstate 94 into Wisconsin.
Within the vast Chiricahua Mountains of Southeastern Arizona lies the 11,985-acre Chiricahua National Monument, a truly remarkable physical and visual experience.
Following a heavy New Year's Day snowfall, as trails in Colorado's Rocky Mountains lay hidden beneath a mantle of fresh, unmarked powder, the time had come to dust off a pair of snowshoes.
Stepping out the front door of our home early Jan. 1, 2009, I embarked on a formidable task I had set for myself near the end of '08. I would walk to Denver, Colo.
On November 18, 1988, Congress created the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. Stretching nearly 40 miles from the Mexican border to St. David, Ariz., this region, controlled by the BLM, covers close to 58,000 acres. Located along north flowing San Pedro River, banks are dominated by massive Fremont cottonwood trees. Human occupation of the area dates to 13,000 years ago.
Midway between Phoenix and Flagstaff and 34 miles west of I-17 sits historic Prescott.
Ranging in level of difficulty from easy to strenuous / technical, all 50 of the United States have designated high points. The goal of a relatively small number of hikers, truly inspired individuals, is to stand at the highest elevation of every state.
Serious outdoor lovers maintain lists of special places to explore over a lifetime on the trail, checking them off as visited. Should Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, on the Utah / Arizona border, be missing from your list, add it immediately.
Cloudy skies with temperatures hovering near 60 bode well for a comfortable, though formidable, 7-mile hike to Douglas Springs Camp.