Monday, August 24, 2015

Beyond the Caldera – Breathtaking Beartooth Loop



I knew I would return before the summer faded into fall (I said so here). I just had to find a victim Hiking Buddy willing to accompany me. 
Hey, Brian! Do you want to go hiking in the Beartooths?
Sure.
The trail head is around 10,400 feet above sea level.
No problem.
The loop is about 10 miles long.
OK, whatever.
I pose at the trailhead, blissfully unaware of the hiking nightmare that awaits me

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Beyond the Caldera – Back to the Beartooths



In 2011, I spent barely 30 minutes crawling around a patch of outcrops on the road to Lulu Pass.
In 2012, I took eight hours to drive the 64 miles across it, stopping to take a picture approximately every 30 feet.
In 2013, I slept overnight in a dimly lit motel room on it, on top of the world.
In 2014, I drove across it again while following a geologic road log, then slept in my car in a rain–drenched rocky canyon.
Earlier this month I reconnoitered two of its high–country trails and told myself that I would be back before summer has faded to autumn.

Island Lake, Beartooth Plateau

Friday, June 26, 2015

Lesser Known Yellowstone - Desolation in Hayden Valley



Everyone so often in Yellowstone I find myself off the beaten path, on an older track less traveled, sometimes by choice and sometimes by accident (and hopefully not face first into a hot spring). A few weeks ago, my path took me beyond the boardwalks and well-traveled trails of the Park, into an area of Hayden Valley where few people venture. 
The old road less traveled in Hayden Valley

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Step Back in Time – Missouri Headwaters State Park



I am still here. I have not fallen off the edge of the earth. However, for a few months I was afflicted by a serious case of writer’s block along with symptoms of mental inertia. I found it impossible to put pen to paper…or in this case, fingertips to keyboard. My lame excuse is that I spent most of March, all of April, and half of May binge–watching “House of Cards” on Netflix. That is not to say I didn’t actually go anywhere. Canyonlands called and I answered. An eight–day raft trip down the Colorado River in Grand Canyon overwhelmed my senses; before succumbing to photographic exhaustion, I snapped over a thousand pictures. I drove back to Yellowstone for my summer rangering job. In addition, I went to Montana for a day. Some things just need doing, and so you (eventually) do them.
A sign welcomes you to Missouri Headwaters State Park

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Can’t Get Enough of Canyonlands

For someone who can’t get enough of a place, I certainly don’t go there very often. I went maybe thirteen years ago to visit friends living in Moab, Utah, and to watch the Perseid meteor shower on a moonless night in Arches National Park. It is not that far from my home, really, as far as western distances go – just over 300 miles away, barely five hours and change. My friends still live there.
010ShaferTrail
Shafer trail takes off near Island in the Sky visitor center - La Sal Mountains in distance