What’s the Difference Between a National Park and a National Monument?

Calf Creek Canyon in Grandstaircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

As someone whose living is based on Grand Teton National Park, I’m frequently asked what the difference between a national park and a national monument is. It’s a very good question. Both are operated by the National Park Service, vary in size, have beautiful sites, and frequently wildlife worth seeing, or at the least, protecting.… Keep reading...

Help Save Ripsey Wash

Arizona Trail in Desert MountainsToxic waste is about to bury a desert wilderness, dumped directly onto the current route of the Arizona Trail. The Ripsey Wash area, unchanged and uninterrupted from its primal natural state, is unmarked on most maps. It’s quiet, remote, undisturbed, and a beautifully hostile desert land. There are few, if any other humans, save for the occasional Arizona Trail thru-hiker in spring or fall.… Keep reading...

Wanderlove: Learning Love by Thru-Hiking the Arizona Trail

Wanderlove Cover
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Wanderlove follows both my mental and physical journey along the 800-mile thru-hike of the Arizona Trail, “a trail as unforgiving as the plants themselves.”

I set out in March of 2016 to do a complete thru-hike of the Arizona Trail. Along the way, I was confronted with personal, mental, and physical challenges that often prevented me from continuing.… Keep reading...

Thoughts of Home

Sunrise over Sonoran Desert

Chapter 15

There weren’t other people back here. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across another AZT thru-hiker, but I wasn’t lucky. Though I was treated to a remarkably beautiful sunrise, my emotions and my will would be tested on this day.

Not realizing that just yet, I got busy capturing the sunrise, hoping I was close enough to Ripsey Wash so that some of the photos could be used for the area.… Keep reading...

Disturbances in Nature

Sonoran Desert Sunset

Chapter 14

The Tiger Mine Trailhead overlooks a vast and intimidating desert wilderness. No grand mountains ahead. No identifiable landmarks to decorate the horizon. Few roads to provide a safe outing in case of emergencies. Just a wide open desert land. This was seclusion. This was intimidating seclusion.

The obscure dirt roads intervened only every dozen miles or so in an abyss of desert.… Keep reading...

Zero Day Unknowns

Twilight over the Oracle Ridge Chapter 12

Zero days are a common practice among thru-hikers. Meaning, zero miles covered, they’re days when thru-hikers just want to rest weary feet, reconnect with new and old friends, share stories, replace supplies, do laundry, heal an injury, get more food, or any other chores or tasks or relaxation techniques that need tending to.… Keep reading...