Denali, a Park Like No Other

I can’t fully describe the excitement I felt when the plane began descending, and through the clouds I could make out the distant mountains surrounding Anchorage. I’m getting chills and a sudden craving to return—a powerful magnet drawing me back—just from writing this. We landed sometime around midnight, but the sun was still out, settled just on the horizon line like a tiny, far-off ball crossing a tight rope, refusing to fall and allow darkness to take over. Five-ish restless hours of attempted airport-bench sleep Continue Reading →

7 Backpacking Lessons Learned in the Smokies

One day I was mindlessly browsing Facebook as we all do, and I came across a post from my friend and former campus minister Todd. He asked if anyone in East Tennessee would like to backpack the AT through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park from Fontana Dam to Davenport Gap; I was immediately interested. After some sporadic Facebook messaging, I decided to join Todd with only about a week to prepare for a five day, seventy-two mile hike. It would be the longest backpacking Continue Reading →

Journey among Giants

Giants before us, above, below, and behind Green hands stretch far and wide Drowning the sun like an overwhelming tide Jurassic ferns sprawl out beneath The site radiates beauty beyond belief Red might stands tall against wind and time. Tire treads and footfalls mark our presence Blazing trail through ancient forest Naught but minuscule tourists Three of millions passerby The trees to our hearts we hold nigh But to the trees we are mere moments. Gliding by like flight Over hills, and along ridges Around switchbacks and Continue Reading →

Peace in the (Yosemite) Valley

Rolling amber hills stretched out before us as we coasted through the desolate Southern California interior between Santa Barbara and Yosemite National Park. Daydreaming most of the drive, I awoke once to look out over the expanse and find a lonely farmhouse perched atop a mound about a mile off the highway. I wondered who lived there, what that life was like (so isolated from other people), and why it was vacant. Sadly we had no time to stop and explore and continued our drive Continue Reading →