Monthly Archives: April 2013

Top 10 Favorite Hikes of our Trip

When I went through the hiking log from our trip to come up with our Top 10 Favorite Hikes, I ended up with a list of nearly 40 trails.  Which just goes to show what an amazing adventure we had in 2012! 

What makes for a favorite hike?  The combination of many or all of the following: spectacular views, solitude, quiet, wildlife, wildflowers, heights, and good weather.  After much debate, I managed to whittle the list down to the top 10 truly iconic hikes on our trip.  Listed below each photo are the location of the trail, total round-trip length, total elevation gain, and the time it took us to complete the hike.


1. Crow Pass

Theresa, Darby and Shadow admiring the view of the Chugach Mountains

Chugach National Forest, Alaska
8.4 miles, 2080’ elevation gain, 5.8 hours

This trail is so good that it’s the only trail on our trip that we hiked twice.  We found out just how important weather is to enjoying a trail.  On our first Crow Pass hike, it was cold, cloudy and rainy.  We couldn’t see the hanging Raven Glacier, but we did get to watch a juvenile black bear rummaging around across a divide.  Just two days later it was sunny and 70s, so we hiked the trail again.  That time we could see the magnificent glacier and the massive valley below.  The Chugach Mountains are some of the prettiest in the world, especially in early summer when the foothills are green and the mountains are accented with large patches of snow.




Bald Eagles at Anchor Point, Alaska

Bald eagle

Anchor Point is a small community on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska.  It’s famous for its flocks of majestic bald eagles.




National Park Week Begins Today!

   National Park Week

National Park Week officially gets under way today and runs through April 28.  There will be many special activities in the parks throughout the country.  Admission to all national park units will be free Monday through Friday next week.

Story at Gadling

Show Your Support for Our National Parks

The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s National Parks.  Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation is founded on a legacy that began more than a century ago, when private citizens from all walks of life took action to establish and protect our national parks.  Today, the National Park Foundation carries on that tradition as the only national charitable nonprofit whose sole mission is to directly support the National Park Service.

You can show your love for our national parks by purchasing T-shirts or other merchandise from the National Park Foundation.  Proceeds from the sale of this merchandise will help the National Park Foundation protect our treasured landscapes for generations to come.


I Heart Parks

I Love Parks


This Is Your Land

Park Art

    Go Parks

Go Parks


   National Park Week

National Park Week 2013 (NEW)


Go Wild

Go Wild!


Logo Gear

Logo Gear


NPF Gear

NPF Gear

Top 10 Volcanoes on Our Trip

Mountains tend to sit in ranges and are usually surrounded by other mountains.  Whereas volcanoes are typically solitary masses that rise straight up from the surrounding plain.  As a result, volcanoes make an imposing feature on the landscape.  The height of the volcano’s peak above the plain is known as its “prominence.”  For example, Mt. Rainier in Washington has a prominence of more than 13,000 feet and is visible from Seattle 60 miles away.

But it’s not only the size of a volcano that makes it daunting.  It’s the possibility that a volcano could blow at any time and rain destruction down on everyone and everything in the vicinity.  Fortunately most volcanoes give plenty of seismic warning before becoming a real threat to people and property.

Following are the Top 10 Favorite Volcanoes of our trip:


1. Mt. St. Helens

Tree debris in Spirit Lake below Mt. St. Helens

Type: Active stratovolcano
Last Eruption: July 10, 2008
Last Major Eruption: May 18, 1980 (57 deaths)
Elevation: 8,366’;  Prominence: 4,605’
Location: Mt. St. Helens National Monument, Washington

On the clear morning of May 18, 1980, Mt. St. Helens erupted in a violent fury that became the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in United States history.  57 people were killed.  250 homes, 47 bridges, 185 miles of highway, and 15 miles of railroads were destroyed.  This was our favorite volcano of our trip because evidence of its destructive power was still quite evident everywhere we looked, from the flattened forests, to the tree-filled Spirit Lake (shown above).  It was both exciting and unnerving to realize that if we had been standing there 32 years ago, we would’ve been instantly seared to death by ash and hot gas travelling 670 miles per hour.