brief report: Yellowstone National Park – Union Falls, Dunanda Falls, Bechler Canyon, Mr. Bubbles, & Shoshone Geyser Basin; August 2022

This last minute trip came together as my young brothers-in-law (Sean & Shane) wanted to go backpacking for the first time and they wanted to do it in Yellowstone. After zooming with them about how to prepare, it was clear they weren’t and I would be heading out to west to lead them. Also with us was their friend (Ozan) and my friend (Chris). I met Chris on the John Muir Trail a few years ago and hiked again with him last year in Glacier National Park. I was able to recruit him to help me out on leading the kids on their first backpacking trip by offering a free flight via my Southwest companion pass and free hotels. I was very happy having someone I knew the capabilities of and trusted in the backcountry. So we were a group of five for this trip, but with the flexibility of splitting the group up at times to accommodate the different goals and paces of the kids as they got use to backpacking.

Note from John (website editor & author): Motivation to work on my website this last year has hard to come by for me. The reasons are probably familiar to many out there as we learn to live and normalize the world of COVID. As such, I am backlogged more than a years worth of hikes and travel. So it will take me a while to write my typical detailed trip reports and produce the videos. In the meantime, these brief reports (as cross-posted on the Backcountry Post forums) will serve as a teaser and place holder for the full reports to come. Read More

trip report: Wyoming – decisions & planning, June 2021

With the shots in our arms and more than a year of being mostly at home, we were ready for the hot vax summer of 2021. Our possible destinations were still limited internationally, but there are plenty I wanted to see in the United States, specifically the state of Wyoming. For something new, it was about time that I visited Yellowstone National Park, the first national park established in the United States in 1872. And for something loved, I looked forward to returning to the Wind River Range where we had a grand adventure the first time around. Of course with any good trip, there would be something unplanned and surprising as well.

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This is the first entry of our Wyoming trip series covering our pre-trip planning (1). You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.

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trip report: Wind River Range – Ross Lakes, Bear Basin, Grasshopper Glacier, & Dinwoody Creek loop, September 2020

At one point on our eight day off trail backpacking trip into the Wind River Range, we set up our tent on a bluff overlooking a turquoise colored lake. No matter how often I’ve encountered them, they seem so surreal every time still. Across from us was the terminus of Connie Glacier spilling down into the lake. The funny thing was, we joked that probably the closest person from our five star camp this evening was at least 5 hour, 5 miles, or at least another valley away from us. We were roughly 1 to 2 days of tough and technical travel across talus & scree from the nearest trail, making those prospects not surprising at all. This was our experience in the northern portions of the Wind River Range, it beat us up and I still look forward to returning.

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This is part 1 of 2 of our trip out to Wyoming and Colorado. In this part, we cover our eight day off-trail backpacking trip in the Northern Wind River Range. Get ready folks, this is a long read or very much “magazine” style.

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trip report: New Zealand – Mueller Hut Route, January 2020

The steep but short hike up to Mueller Hut in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is typically hiked as an in & out day hike with plenty of time to make the long drive back to town for a good meal. Being someone that is more about the views than just camping, I usually prefer just a day hike. However, it pays to take it easy and smell the roses sometimes. Rather breaking the hike up, camping on the top of the world, and under the stars was a worthy experience. From our tent, we could hear the surrounding glaciers crack and had a perfect view of the tallest mountain in New Zealand, Aoraki/Mount Cook. 

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This is the seventh entry of our Australia and New Zealand trip series covering our tramp of to Mueller Hut in Aoraki/Mount Cook 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 – 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: Australia & New Zealand – decisions & planning, December 2019

In the travel enthusiast game, it is all about jumping on opportunities. This specific opportunity we took advantage of were a couple of one way flights from Auckland, New Zealand to the U.S. for 6000 American Airline Miles each, which is as close to free as you can get. The final result was my first visit to Australia to dive the Great Barrier Reefs and a return to the south island of New Zealand over the winter holidays. Reflecting now on that trip, which took place just before the 2020 pandemic and the travel restrictions, the notion of jumping on opportunities to travel when we can do so safely again in the future seems all the more important. For now, all I can do is to reflect on our adventures down under.

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This is the first entry of our Australia and New Zealand trip series covering our pre-trip planning (1). You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.

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trip video: Jasper National Park – Skyline, August 2019

This is the companion videos to our trip report detailing 2 day and 1 nights hike on the Skyline Trail in Jasper National Park. The highlight of the hike were the high alpine meadows and vistas of the Athabasca River drainage and Maligne River drainage.

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

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trip report: Jasper National Park – Skyline, August 2019

As foreshadowed by our hike the previous day up Bald Hill, we were in for more weather. Sometimes we get nice bluebird days, sometimes we get low clouds and gusting winds over the alpine ridge. It’s all part of the adventure on the Skyline trail.

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

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trip video: Mount Robson Provincial Park – Berg Lake & Snowbird Pass, August 2019

This is the companion videos to our trip report detailing a 3 day and 2 night backpacking trip in Mount Robson Provincial Park. This was an in and out hike with a basecamp at Berg Lake Campgrounds. Weather ended up shortening our hike by a day, but we saw powerful waterfalls, teal lake, rushing rivers, and gigantic glaciers that took up our entire field of view.

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

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