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Backpacking Overall Run & Beecher Ridge Trails

Backpacking Overall Run & Beecher Ridge Trails

Shenandoah National Park

I had been wanting to check out Overall Run Falls in Shenandoah National Park for some time.  At 93 feet, Overall Run Falls is the highest waterfall in the park, but you don’t hear as much about it as other waterfalls like Dark Hollow Falls or White Oak Canyon.  So on a warm spring day, we went to see for ourselves.  We planned for a one-night backpacking trip to see the falls and make a lollipop loop with Overall Run and Heiskell Hollow Trail.  Our plans changed slightly during the hike, and we returned on Beecher Ridge Trail instead of Heiskell Hollow Trail, creating an 11.6 mi lollipop…

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Best Hikes and Planning Guide

Best Hikes and Planning Guide

Saguaro National Park

The desert was kind of a new experience for us.  It had been a long time since either of us had hiked in it.  Kristin went in with a bit of trepidation, and she ended up loving the park.  So you never know what you’ll find.  And Saguaro National Park definitely surprised us as we explored.  Not really knowing what to expect, and going in with no expectations.  Here were our favorite spots in the park, as well as some tips for visiting.  We hope they help you plan your trip…

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Backpacking to Manning Camp

Backpacking to Manning Camp

Saguaro National Park

On our second to last day in Saguaro, we went to a “Star Party” at the Rincon Visitor Center.  We like astronomy, planets, and stars, so we made sure to go.  Before going outside to stargaze, the ranger at the visitor center gave us a rundown on the history of the park.  He explained how the park was created by President Herbert Hoover as a National Monument.  The ranger then said, “The park has a lot of diversity, not just the desert environment, but also the Rincon Mountains at 8,000 feet.  Up there is Manning Camp, but nobody really goes there.”  We sat there feeling slightly miffed, but also smug, because we had been at Manning Camp just two days before…

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Gilbert Ray Campground

Gilbert Ray Campground

Saguaro National Park

There are no car campgrounds in Saguaro National Park.  It’s unfortunate, but thankfully there is one close by.  Gilbert Ray Campground is inside Tucson Mountain Park, which is run by Pima County.  It’s adjacent to the southern border of the similarly named Tucson Mountain District (that’s the west district) of Saguaro National Park.  The campground is only 3 miles away from Saguaro NP, so it’s practically part of the park.  We used it as our basecamp for the time we…

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Planning and Overview Spring 2017

Planning and Overview Spring 2017

Saguaro National Park

When you think about our national parks, Saguaro probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.  Unless you live in Tucson, Arizona, since the park straddles the city.  Established in 1933 as a National Monument, and upgraded in 1994 to a National Park, Saguaro was formed to protect its namesake – the Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea).  Pronounced Sa-WAH-ro, the cacti grow very slowly, but can get as tall as 40 feet and live for more than 150 years…

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Our Favorite Spots and Visiting Tips

Our Favorite Spots and Visiting Tips

Acadia National Park

Our trip to Acadia was wonderful, and we wished we had more time there.  This post serves as our reflections looking back on Acadia – our favorite spots, things that we wished we did, tips for traveling to the park, or things we didn’t like.  It can also be used as a guide to the park, with links to more detailed posts if you want to dive in.  We’ll definitely revisit Acadia someday.  But there are a lot of other…

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Seawall Campground

Seawall Campground

Acadia National Park

Our journey to Isle au Haut and Duck Harbor Campground finally came to a close.  We had used up our maximum 3 nights to stay in the campground.  So it was time to venture back to Mount Desert Island where we hadn’t yet visited the western half of the island and our next home, Seawall Campground.  The weather had been great each day on Isle au Haut, but on the day we left the skies were grey and foggy.  As we…

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Duck Harbor Campground

Duck Harbor Campground

Acadia National Park

Arriving at Duck Harbor is an experience – you see the dock as you come around Eben’s Head, see the park ranger waiting for you, and all the people getting ready to board the boat to return to Stonington.  But most of all, the view of endless rocky Maine coastline, with mountains in the distance.  And it’s all another adventure waiting to happen. “Kill Nothing but Time… Take Nothing but Pictures… Leave Nothing but Tracks…” – Anonymous (Posted on Duck…

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Stonington to Isle au Haut

Stonington to Isle au Haut

Acadia National Park

We like to go off the beaten path, so it’s only natural that we would go to Duck Harbor Campground.  It’s a primitive, remote campground on the sparsely populated island of Isle au Haut, and boasts hiking trails, bogs, and mountains to explore.  About half of the island is part of Acadia National Park.  What’s not to like? Our journey to Isle au Haut began in Bar Harbor, where we had just gone kayaking and checked out of Blackwoods Campground.  We headed…

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Blackwoods Campground

Blackwoods Campground

Acadia National Park

The first night in Acadia, we stayed at the Quality Inn in Bar Harbor (which we highly recommend!). But we were excited about staying in a more rustic spot: Blackwoods Campground. Blackwoods is one of four campgrounds in Acadia, and it’s the only one on the east side of Mt. Desert Island. Thankfully, it was easy to find as we drove on Park Loop Road, and it’s only 5 miles from Bar Harbor. On our drive to the campground, we…

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