trip report: New Zealand – Rees-Dart Track, January 2020

Tramping (aka hiking) and New Zealand are synonymous when we think of traveling to the small island nation. However, there is much more to the hiking scene there than just the Great Walks (DOC). I have met locals that have exclaimed that the Great Walks, while very worth it, aren’t the best scenery that New Zealand has to offer. With our hike of the Rees-Dart track, I completely understand that sentiment. 

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This is the six entry of our Australia and New Zealand trip series covering our tramp of the Rees-Dart Track in Mt. Aspiring National Park. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.

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trip report: New Zealand – diving Milford Sound, January 2020

The experience at Milford Sound can sound like a big tourist trap with the many visitors all boarding the similar boat cruise. It was an experience we had to settle for during our first visit to the famed fjord when weather canceled our original plans. To my surprise, the natural aesthetics of the sheer rock faces and tall waterfalls among the moody clouds was more than enough to overcome the tourist crowds on these cruises and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience that day. 

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It only added to my desire to return and see the wonderland from below. Fortune would have it, a couple of diving spots opened up for Mark and I and I would get my wish the second time around.

This is the fifth entry of our Australia and New Zealand trip series covering our dives in Milford Sound and our subsequent stay in Queenstown. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.

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virginia hikes: Stiles Falls – March 29, 2020

If you are looking for an easy hike that provides for plenty of cascading stream views, the hike to Stiles Falls provides for a high views to work ratio. So it is a great hike for beginners or kid friendly hike. But it is a busy one for those same reasons.

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The hike was closed shortly after we hiked here back in March, so I delayed in writing it up until now.

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virginia hikes: Sherando Lake, Torry Ridge, & White Rock Falls loop, June 27 2020

Being opportunistic is a good way to avoid the crowds when it comes to popular trails. It may mean getting up before sunrise, starting out late in the day, or still heading out when it’s rainy. With many of the frontcountry campgrounds still closed, certain trails are a little less crowded than normal. This included the Sherando Lake area, which is known as the jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains and typically sees hundreds of campers a day.

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trip report: Yoho National Park – Iceline & Celeste Lake loop, August 2019

Sometimes a trail is about the summit or endpoint, but the ones I’ve always enjoyed the most are the trails that’s about the whole experience. The Iceline in Yoho National Park is one of those hikes. The Iceline took us onto a bench sitting under the Presidential Range and Emerald Glacier. For there, we could see the peaks and glaciers of the Waputik Range the Yoho Valley below. Once we were off the Iceline, we were then treated with green lake and roaring waterfalls. Sure there were stretches of forest, but they served more as breaks than the main course.

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This is the third entry of our Canadian Rockies trip series. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.

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trip video: Yoho National Park – Iceline & Celeste Lake loop, August 2019

This is the companion preview videos to our trip report detailing our day hike loop of the Iceline trail, Celeste Lake Connector, & Yoho Valley Trail. The highlights of the hike were the views from the alpine bench along the Emerald Glacier and the Presidential Range (the Canadian one of course).

You can find the detailed report of our hike linked in the index below.

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virginia hikes: Bottom Creek Gorge loop, November 3 2019

Foliage season is always a fleeting prospect. One day of bad weather and it’s all over. At least that’s how it seemed this year as a heavy wind storm with tornado advisory passed Southwest Virginia a few days after peak weekend. I headed out on the trails after the storm and found much of the foliage on the ground. At least Bottom Creek Gorge hike has some cascades and a waterfall to hold our attention.

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For weekly reports, you can also check out Virginia.org,  Virginia Department of Forestry reports, or Shenandoah National Park.

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virginia hikes: Cascades Trail & Barneys Wall, October 26 2019

My first hike when I first moved to Southwest Virginia was to the Cascades and it is part of the typical initiation for Virginia Tech students to the area. Through my years here, I’ve hike this multiple times and it is different in each season. With peak foliage upon us once again, I headed back for another hike.

In comparison to my report last week in the Northern Park of the Shenandoah and earlier this week in the George Washington National Forest, the Cascades are further west and predicted to reach peak foliage earlier. And indeed, I hit the peak right on for the first time on this hike.

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For weekly reports, you can also check out Virginia.org,  Virginia Department of Forestry reports, or Shenandoah National Park.

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virginia hikes: Grayson Highlands loop, July 27 2019

My friends, Chris and Tori, had long talked about heading out to Grayson Highlands State Park to camp out and doing some bouldering. While my lackluster climbing skills and commitment to get better at climbing would steer me away from their bouldering activities, I said I would join them camping. One of my favorite hikes in Virginia is located in Grayson Highlands and I looked forward returning since my last trip out there was five years ago. I would go for a hike while they climbed. A sunny, but abnormally cool summer weekend at the end July finally motivated them to do the trip, so I couldn’t say no.

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New lab member Natalie also joined us at the last minute, she had also been looking to hike in Grayson Highlands as well since arriving in Virginia.

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