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...

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...

How the Arizona Trail Weeds Out Thru-Hikers

Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountians

Chapter 11

Through some of the most spectacular desert scenery I had ever seen, I pushed on, continuing my downward trek to my surprise.

I reached Hutch’s Pool shortly after the trail began a gradual climb upward. Hutch’s Pool was the last reliable water before an intimidating and lengthy climb roughly 5,000 vertical feet up to Summerhaven.… Keep reading...

Civilization and My Night Skies

Night Sky over Sky Island

Chapter 6

The mark of the civilization was now becoming more obvious. I was hiking below large homes propped up on hills so the residents could boost their ego knowing that people were talking about their house. It didn’t matter if people were complaining about how their house ruins the view, they just wanted the attention, otherwise they wouldn’t have put their houses in such noticeable locations.… Keep reading...

The Nature of Southern Arizona

Southern Arizona Sky Islands

Chapter 3

There’s no better way to usher in a long-distance thru-hike than by entering a National Park Service entity that leads directly into a designated Wilderness Area. Two very well preserved areas rising in a mountain wilderness above an undisturbed desert vastness extending into Mexico. A sky island secretly hiding forests, snow, wildlife, and many others treasures that wouldn’t survive at its base.… Keep reading...

Help Save Our National Monuments

Tourist Visiting Grosvenor Arch

Our National Monuments have recently been described as nothing more than "federal land grabs." This term is as misguided as the people that use it.

Native American tribes banded together to build support in favor of preserving and protecting the area around Bears Ears, which ultimately became Bears Ears National Monument.… Keep reading...