Browsed by
Tag: views

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…

Read More Read More

Wasson Peak via King Canyon Trail

Wasson Peak via King Canyon Trail

Saguaro National Park

On our first full day in the Tuscon Mountain (west) District of Saguaro National Park, we decided to do a day hike to Wasson Peak, the highest point in that district, at 4,687 feet.  When we left for the hike at 8:30 a.m., it was already HOT.  We wished we had left earlier.  But there was no turning back, since we were only there for a week.  Multiple trails go to Wasson Peak, but we chose to go via King Canyon…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Saguaro National Park

As a teacher, I’m always ready for a vacation by the time spring break rolls around. Since it’s only a week, we usually plan on a park that we can really explore in that time frame. In 2017, we ditched a chilly, windy April in DC for a week in Tucson. It felt pretty good as we left the airport and felt the arid climate for the first time. We headed to Gilbert Ray Campground to check in for our…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

Hawksbill Summit Loop Trail

Hawksbill Summit Loop Trail

Shenandoah National Park

We’ve explored Shenandoah quite a bit, but there are many hikes we haven’t made it to.  The southern district springs to mind, as we usually frequent the closer north and central districts.  There are hikes that we haven’t done that are (according to popular opinion) some of the best the park has to offer.  If you search for best hikes in Shenandoah, Hawksbill is usually on the list. So, we traded in a humid summer day in DC for cooler…

Read More Read More

Schoodic Point & Schoodic Head Trail

Schoodic Point & Schoodic Head Trail

Acadia National Park

It was our last day in Maine, and we had gone to Schoodic Peninsula to check out the newest addition to Acadia NP.  We had already explored the Schoodic Institute and Sundew Trail.  Before our trip, we had seen photos of waves crashing onto rocks at Schoodic Point.  And a ranger at Schoodic Information Center had recommended hiking up to Schoodic Head, which would be the last hike of our trip. Schoodic Point The drive to Schoodic Point from the…

Read More Read More

Southwest Harbor Shops and Restaurants

Southwest Harbor Shops and Restaurants

Acadia National Park

Southwest Harbor is small town on the southern end of MDI’s west side. Our first taste of it was seeing the harbor itself on the drive in. There are several piers, and one had a small pulloff. It looked so picturesque with boats scattered around, and we just had to stop and take some photos. The harbor is small, so we definitely recommend stopping to take in the views. To us, this was quintessential Maine. Southwest Harbor is also the…

Read More Read More

Beech Cliff Trail & Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

Beech Cliff Trail & Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

Acadia National Park

The west side of Mt. Desert Island doesn’t have as many hikes as the east side, and overall the hikes didn’t interest us as much.  The one trail that we decided to do on the west side was Beech Cliff Trail.  It interested us because, like the Beehive on the east side, this trail features some unique obstacles.  In this case, multiple iron ladders.  So we woke up in Seawall Campground on our second to last day in Maine, and headed…

Read More Read More

Thunder Gulch Trail

Thunder Gulch Trail

Acadia National Park

This trail wasn’t even on our radar when we arrived on Isle au Haut. Why not? Simply because it’s not on any maps, so we didn’t know about it. I did find it on a USGS topo map, but it’s not on any published park maps. The trail is maintained occasionally, but it’s off the beaten path and takes time to get to. The trail is 1.8 miles out-and-back from the trailhead, but it takes 2.4 miles along an unpaved…

Read More Read More