2017 National Parks Tour

One of the best perks of my job is what we call PGL: Personal Growth Leave. Starting during our 10th year and every following 5 years we must take a mandatory month off with pay (4 consecutive weeks). This is something I’ve been looking forward to since I started at my job. My first PGL starts now.

My wife was also able to get the month off and in another 5 years my older son may be off to college and starting his own life. So, my family decided that this was our opportunity to take the trip of a lifetime to see some of the most beautiful locations in our country. We are taking the whole month of July and driving around the country to visit national parks, cities and other choice locations.

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  1. Wanderlust Headquarters
  2. Niagara Falls
  3. Denver, CO
  4. Moab, UT & mountain biking, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park
  5. Bryce Canyon National Park
  6. Zion National Park
  7. Grand Canyon National Park (north rim)
  8. Death Valley National Park
  9. Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park
  10. Yosemite National Park
  11. Lassen Volcanic National Park
  12. Crater National Park
  13. Portland, OR
  14. Seattle, WA
  15. Glacier National Park
  16. Yellowstone National Park & white water rafting, Grand Tetons National Park & horseback riding
  17. Mount Rushmore
  18. Badlands National Park
  19. Madison, WI
  20. Chicago, IL
  21. Cuyahoga National Park

It’ll be a mad dash and by the end I suspect we’ll be more tired than we started. But hopefully we’ll be making memories that will last our lifetimes. Stories that we’ll tell when we gather for the holidays. Adventures that our kids can recreate with their kids.

Eventually there will be a slew of blog posts from the trip, but until then stay tuned to my social media locations for photos, updates and more.

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Trail Run: Shell Pond & Blueberry Mountain

SUMMARY

I have been trail running for a year or so but on mostly flat trails near my house. After a few excursions to small mountains in my area, I decided I wanted to try out a long run with more serious climb. I picked out an area on my White Mountain National Forest maps that looked good (I had heard Blueberry Mountain was nice) and headed out.

After having some trouble finding the trail head (pro-tip: the road is called Stone House Road, Google Maps says Shell Pond Road) I parked in the lot by the Stone House gate and started my run.

Trail map

Map of run (interactive map)

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Hike: Pico/Killington

SUMMARY

For this hike I parked at the lot across the street from the Inn at Long Trail on Route 4 in Killington, Vermont. I hiked up the Sherburne Pass Trail to Pico Camp where I took the spur trail to the summit of Pico Peak. I returned to Sherburne Pass Trail and continued south on it until the junction with the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail. I followed this trail south until Cooper Lodge shelter where I took the spur trail to the summit of Killington Peak. I returned using the same trails but bypassed the Pico Peak spur trail.

This hike was twelve and a half miles long, included 3500 feet of elevation gain and took me six and a quarter hours to complete.

Trail map

Map of hike (interactive map)

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Hike: Seek the Peak 2016

SUMMARY

We began this hike from the Davis Path parking lot on Route 302 in Hart’s Location, New Hampshire. We followed Davis Path to Giant Stairs spur trail and slept at the established tent site on the top of Stairs Mountain. In the morning we returned to Davis Path and followed it to Mount Davis where we took the spur path to the summit. We returned to Davis Path and continued to Mount Isolation, where we again took the spur path to the summit. We we again returned to Davis Path and this time followed the path to its terminus on the shoulder of Mount Washington where it met Crawford Path. We completed our ascent of Mount Washington by following Crawford Path to the summit. For our descent we followed Nelson Crag Trail until it ended. Finally we jumped on Old Jackson Road and followed it to our other vehicle waiting at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center on Route 16 in Jackson, New Hampshire.

This massive hike was over 21 miles long and included 7100 feet of vertical gain. Not including the time we were sleeping on Stairs Mountain, this hike took almost 13.5 hours to complete.

Trail map

Map of hike (interactive map)

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Hike: Doubletop Mountain

SUMMARY

We started this hike from our campsite at Nesowadnehunk Field Campground, which is about 16 miles north of the Baxter State Park south entrance. We took Doubletop Trail to the summit of the north peak and then returned to our campsite.

This hike was around 6.25 miles with 2400′ of elevation gain. It took us just about 5 hours to hike to the northern summit of Doubletop Mountain and back.

Trail map

Map of hike (interactive map)

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Hike: North Brother

SUMMARY

We began and finished from the Marston Trail parking area off Park Tote Road in Baxter State Park, about 13 miles north of the park’s south entrance. We hiked Marston Trail to the junction with Mount Coe Trail. We headed north on Marston Trail around Teardrop Pond to the junction with North Brother Trail. We followed North Brother Trail to the summit of North Brother and returned the way we came.

The hike totaled 9 miles with 3000 feet of elevation gain and took us just under 5 and a half hours to complete.

Trail map

Map of hike (interactive map)

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Hike: Crawford/Resolution/Stairs

SUMMARY

We accessed Davis Path from the Davis Path parking lot off Route 302 just south of Crawford Notch in Bartlett, New Hampshire. We took Davis Path to the intersection with the Mount Crawford spur path, which we took to Mount Crawford. We backtracked to Davis Path and continued along it until the intersection with Mount Parker Trail, which we took to Mount Resolution. We again backtracked to Davis Path and continued north to the intersection with Giant Stairs spur path, which we took to the vista overlooking Giant Stairs. We then backtracked to Davis Path and began the return trip to our car. At the intersection with Mount Parker Trail we took an old side trail to AMC Resolution Shelter (demolished) and returned to Davis Path. Midway between Mount Resolution and Mount Crawford we bushwhacked over an unnamed peak marked as 3088′ to a remote cliff. We finally bushwhacked back to Davis Path and returned the remaining distance to our car.

This hike and its many side trips and bushwhacks turned out to be nearly 12 miles long and accumulated over 3500 feet of elevation. Including several breaks it took us just under 9 hours to complete.

Trail map

Map of hike (interactive map)

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