Steep switchbacks to Ward Mountain

Looking for a hike with some elevation and rocky terrain to prepare for an upcoming ultramarathon, I found myself atop 9,108-foot Ward Mountain last month, the ridges of the Bitterroot Range lining up into the distance to the north and south. About 4 hours earlier, Jen, the dogs and I started up the trail where Roaring …

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Cooling off in snow-ringed Glen Lake

In early June – on the first 90-degree day of the year – we decided to take the dogs on a short hike to cool off at Glen Lake, in the Bitterroot Mountains west of Victor. The last time I hiked there was before a wildfire burned the area in 2006, and I remember it being fairly …

‘Gem’ of a peak in the Sapphire Range

Searching for a new place to hike with our dogs on Memorial Day, we were led up Palisade Mountain east of Corvallis by an online guide. “A surprising gem in the Sapphires,” the description on the Montana Wilderness Association’s Hike Wild Montana website states. Indeed. I’ve always thought of the forested summits of the Sapphire Mountains …

Rain, snow and sun on South Rim of Grand Canyon

After two days of driving and a stop to hike a slot canyon, we arrived on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon last fall just as the sun was setting. We took in the expanse from the Desert View Visitor Center as the last light of day faded over the rim to the west and darkness …

Slot canyons on the way to the Grand Canyon

On our second trip to Arizona last fall – my first time to the Grand Canyon – we drove and took the opportunity to stop in southern Utah on the way. Zion National Park is about the halfway point between Missoula and the South Rim, so we stopped there to camp for the night. The …

Red rocks and hot hiking in Arizona

The first of two fall trips to Arizona allowed us to get out in the Sedona and Scottsdale areas – both of which offer easy access to trails. It’s been several years since we’ve met relatives in the Phoenix area, and in the past we’ve taken the opportunity to drive north to Sedona’s red rock …

Back to day hiking in Glacier National Park

After several years of point-to-point backpacking in Glacier National Park, we returned to day hiking last summer, largely due to the forecast. While a rainy day isn’t out of the ordinary for our late-July trips to the park, the forecast this year was for much more precipitation. And it delivered – a couple of our …

A walk to Wahclella Falls in the Columbia Gorge

Visiting relatives in Portland, Oregon, always means driving through the Columbia River Gorge, which offers the perfect opportunity to go for a hike before arriving in the city. Over the years, the national scenic area east of Portland has become our go-to spot for getting out, with its numerous creeks and waterfalls. I don’t think we’ve ever …

Spring sights on the way to Camas Lakes

A short May hike to Camas Lakes, southwest of Hamilton in the Bitterroot Mountains, highlighted the changing of the seasons: spring runoff and wildflowers, and the last of winter’s snow. For the first mile, the trail climbed steadily to the north, crossing Hayes Creek at about a quarter mile then turning northwest at 1 mile and entering …

Volcanic remnants in Iceland’s west

The last stop on our Icelandic itinerary was the Snæfellsness Peninsula, jutting west into the Atlantic Ocean and ending at a glacier-capped volcano. About three hours after leaving Akureyri, we turned off the Ring Road, following smaller, snow-covered highways most of the way out the north side of the peninsula. Over the next couple of …