I passed through Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument four years ago after visiting some of the classic highlights of the US South West, like the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. Escalante has far fewer visitors but it’s no less impressive. This rugged landscape, filled with endless twisting canyons, was one of the last areas in the United States to be mapped and explored. I’ve been excited to get a closer look ever since.
Continue reading “Backpacking in Utah’s Coyote Gulch” →
I had the chance to visit Death Valley this spring. I loved exploring the desert, camping and backpacking throughout this vast park. The wildflowers were out-of-this world, adding a splash of colour to such a tranquil landscape. When I heard about the forgotten Panamint City ghost town I was really excited to make a backpacking trip to see it but I had no idea what sort of hike I was in for.
Continue reading “Panamint City Ghost Town Backpacking Trip” →
Last December I visited Ballarat, the historic Australian gold boom town. Unlike many mining towns, the gold continued to flow for decades and the town grew large enough to survive even after gold production declined. Nearly 50 years after the discovery of gold in the hills not far from Melbourne, another rich gold find popped up, this time half way around the world. Taking its name from the now famous Australian city, Ballarat California was born in 1897. I’ve just had the opportunity to visit and the contrast between the two towns couldn’t be more striking.
Continue reading “Ballarat – A Tale of Two Towns” →
Death Valley is exceptionally dry. To be considered a desert, an area must receive less than 10 inches of rain per year. Death Valley is fortunate to get even two inches. That means it’s really hard to find water. You have to carry a lot if you want to do a multi-day hike in the park. The Cottonwood-Marble Canyon loop is one of the few places where natural springs let you explore the wilderness for days without the need to carry gallons and gallons of water.
Continue reading “Backpacking Death Valley’s Cottonwood-Marble Canyon Loop” →
Last October a huge storm swept through Death Valley National Park. The driest desert in North America suddenly became one of the wettest places, receiving nearly its average annual rainfall in just a few hours. A flash flood erupted out of the mountains, ripping up roads and nearly destroying a heritage castle built back in the days when mining was the only reason most people visited this area. A few months later all that water has had a much more pleasant impact on the landscape: flowers. Lots and lots of them, more flowers than this arid valley has seen in the last decade. That’s why I finally decided to visit.
Continue reading “Death Valley Superbloom” →
I never thought I’d visit Las Vegas. It’s really not my kind of place. Everyone says you need to see it once in your life. Once. Last night as the plane touched down onto the tarmac through inky blackness and dazzling lights, I realized this is my third time. How did this happen? Continue reading “Viva Las Vegas” →