Another weekend wrapping up. That means time to clean the rig and the gear for the next one
Another weekend wrapping up. That means time to clean the rig and the gear for the next one
Inspired Rides! This time is @manventurer who has an amazing build on his 2017 TRD Pro in Cement. What inspires me the most about this build is the super high quality parts that he has chosen to upgrade with, but he has not done anything outlandish so the overall build is very clean. No giant steel bumpers or snorkels or 25 light bars all over the truck but just a clean, functional and capable rig. The things he had upgraded have been top of the line like adding a Warn winch using the hide-a-way mounting, the King suspension lift, Rigid hidden lightbar, NFab sliders, and Ridge Grappler tires among other things. Plus I love that Cement color that just looks so sweet. Lots of great pics of adventures and gear info on his page so be sure to give him a follow for some great content!
Next up on my Adventure Series is Yosemite National Park! This is one of many National Parks in California and is VERY popular. One of the most visited parks in the system, it can get crazy with crowds so an early start to your days is critical. But there is SO much to see and do in this park you could easily spend a week and just scratch the surface. Most visitors spend all their time in Yosemite Valley which has incredible hikes to waterfalls and around the base of El Capitan. But if you have the time, taking some long hikes into the back country gets you away from the crowds and gets you up close and personal with a lot of the sights you can only see from afar on the roads. While I loved spending time in the Valley, driving up to Glacier Point and up to Tuolumne Meadows and hiking around those areas was amazing as well. The one thing I really, really wanted to do that I didn't have time for was hiking Half Dome. But I will certainly be back to knock that one out. If you like visiting parks, you very likely have already visited Yosemite, but if not then put it at the top of the list!
Moab, I miss you
The weekend is here! And I am SO ready for it. Can't wait to get out into nature and explore
Next up on my Adventure Series is Mammoth Cave National Park! This is the only National Park in the state but if you only get one, Mammoth is an awesome one to have! I have always been fascinated by cave systems and love exploring them. Mammoth is by far the longest mapped cave system in the world which currently sits at 405 miles! There are many, many tour options offered since it is such a vast cave system with multiple cave entrances. We had the pleasure of going on three separate tours and they were all different and interesting. Even above ground, this is a beautiful area as well. We were fortunate to visit in the Fall and were able to observe the thousands of trees in varying Fall colors which was amazing. While I would probably say I enjoyed the cave itself more in Carlsbad, the above ground area of the National Park for Mammoth really makes this entire place amazing. Absolutely worth a visit!
The Checkerboard Mesa as you drive in to Zion National Park from the East has some amazing erosion
Next up on my Adventure Series is Grand Canyon National Park! This is the second most visited park, is known worldwide, and appears on many Wonders of the World lists. This is also my "local park" as it about an hour from my home. While it is truly a sight to behold, many visitors, myself included on my first visit, are somewhat underwhelmed when they first visit. Because it is SO massive, it is difficult to really grasp the scope of what you are looking at and to appreciate what it took to create it. Also, the harsh midday sun washes out the colors of the rock layers. Because of this, I would highly suggest two things to anyone planning to visit: Make it a point to view the canyon at sunrise or sunset as it is a completely different experience and also make time to hike down a ways into the canyon if you are physically capable. Hiking to the bottom is the absolute best option if you can but there are marker points along the trails down that provide easy turnaround points. Hiking down even just 1/3 of the way really gives you an appreciation for the size and totally changes your perspective. The Park Service strongly advises against anyone trying to hike down and back up in a single day but there are lodging/camping options at the bottom as well as mule ride options to traverse the canyon. A final option I will put forth is visiting the North Rim. Much less crowded and some really spectacular views just like on the South Rim. Although there is no bridge across this canyon in the park so you will have to drive out and around to get to the North Rim which is a four hour drive, it gives you a very different view and experience. I highly suggest this park if you can plan to do more than just stop at the rim and take a quick look!
Fall has arrived and I love it
The weekend is here and adventure awaits!
Next up on my Adventure Series is Great Sand Dunes National Park! This is one of three National Parks in Colorado. Although the primary feature are the sand dunes, there are six mountain peaks reaching altitudes over 13,000'. At the actual dunes, many visitors enjoy lounging and playing in Medano Creek which flows along the eastern border. While venturing out to climb the dunes can be fun it is deceptively challenging and the sand gets very hot as it absorbs the suns rays. I did enjoy hiking around the dunes a bit but was surprised by the crowds in late August and I moved on relatively quickly to find more solitude. My favorite parts of the park were Zapata Falls which is actually just south of the parks entry and the Medano Pass. The Pass is a fun 4WD road that takes you along the eastern border and up into the mountains. There are also some excellent camping spots along the way which take you far away from any crowds. The only thing I wish is that I had been able to stay and watch the sunset at the dunes as the dramatic colors and shadows are something to behold there. I will surely have to go back to experience that and hopefully get to hike more in the dunes away from crowds.
Insanity at work. Need to get back on the road...
Next up on my Adventure Series is Wind Cave National Park! The main attraction of this park are the caves which contain 95% of the known formations of Boxwork! That is in the entire world...95% of boxwork formations are found in this cave. Incredible. And Boxwork really has to be seen up close to appreciate how incredibly thin and fragile it can be. There are five tours offered which all showcase different areas of the cave. Three are offered multiple times daily and do not require reservations but two specialty tours do require reservations and are absolutely worth the advance planning effort. The Candelight Tour lets you experience how tours were decades ago when your only light source was a candle in a can to direct the light. Really unique experience. But the true jewel of a tour is the Wild Cave Tour. This tour is only offered once a day for ten people and is very strenuous. You are not allowed to carry anything (no cameras, wallets, jewelry, etc) as you traverse many crevasses where items would be irretrievable if dropped. During the four hours we were crawling and sliding and shimmying and climbing through extremely narrow passageways, I was able to stand up three times for a total of about five minutes. This tour is no joke, but definitely gets you up close and personal with the cave and is an experience not soon forgotten. If you will be in the Black Hills area I cannot suggest Wind Cave highly enough. Amazing cave and the Wild Cave Tour is not to be missed if you are physically capable of doing it. I loved this park.
Jealous of @trdpro_cement being out in Ouray. I was there a month and a half ago but I already want to be back!
Wishing I was back at the top of Imogene instead of drowning in overtime at work...
Next up on my Adventure Series is Kings Canyon National Park! This park is east of Fresno and shares its southern border with Sequoia National Park. Because it is so close, there are many Sequoia tree's in Kings Canyon, including General Grant which is the 2nd largest tree in the world (although there is supposedly another tree larger than both Grant and Sherman, the location of which is not made public to protect it as it is not along an established trail). The main attraction of Kings Canyon however are the granite canyon walls carved by rivers and creeks. The Cedar Grove area of the park is only open six months of the year due to snowfall but had many spectacular sights and great hiking trails. I really enjoyed Zumwalt Meadow, Roaring River Falls and Mist Falls but there are many more great trails in this area. For the more prepared and adventurous, a huge portion of the park is accessible only by backpacking which I would love to one day do in this park. The famous John Muir Trail runs along its Eastern border and is supposed to be amazing. Regardless of what you enjoy doing, Kings Canyon surely has something for you that you will love so plan a trip to both this park and it's neighboring Sequoia NP and you will not be disappointed!