UC #31 — Slept in a traditional Navajo Hogan at Spider Rock Campground, Canyon De Chelly National Monument in the Navajo Nation, which was built by hand by the campground owner Howard using local materials.
UC #32 — After two days of a relentless downpour in Zion National Park my tent was drenched, so when I arrived in Bryce Canyon National Park I decided to sleep in the back of my Honda HR-V. The rain continued into late evening shifting to a soft quietness but with wet stuff hitting my windshield. That rain had turned to snow! I’m pretty sure I was much warmer in my car than I would have been in my tent and the beautiful surprise in the morning when all of the Bryce Hoodoos had been frosted like cupcakes. Pure photographic magic!
UC #34 — My goals to complete Adventure 16’s 3-Peak Challenge and SoCal Hiker’s Six-Pack of Peaks Challange went unrealized. I only got to two of the peaks and I have to say I don’t feel any sense of failure around this, time simply ran out for me.
UC #35 — Part of what happened with UC #34 was an impromptu trip to NEW ZEALAND! It was a two-week adventure and some of the most beautiful hiking one could encounter.
UC #36 — Hike (tramp as the New Zealanders call them) #84 was on the Kepler Track in Fiorland National Park. I’ve never experienced so much green and brown in one place. And at any moment I expected a gnome to appear from under a rock, behind a giant mushroom or inside the notch of a tree. Truly was like hiking in the Hobbit.
UC #37 — Hikes #85-86 were also on the south of island of New Zealand, one on the Milford Sound and the other hike was near an amazing little town named Hari Hari. That hike — Hari Hari Coastal Walkway — was the one of the most diverse collections of trail and terrain I’ve ever hiked on. From marsh land, through moss lined forests, along two rivers, the Tasman Sea, a bit of rock scrambling on the beach to laundry hanging on a line!
UC #38 — Crossed the Cook Strait on a ferry to the north island of New Zealand in search of more trails. Hiked Taranaki Falls followed by the Lower & Upper Tama Lakes — featuring stunning turquoise alpine lakes! A storm drenched me for six miles straight on that return hike. It was quite lovely and exhilarating!
UC #39 — Hiked the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in Tongariro National Park, which is touted as one of the top 10 day hikes in the world! Sadly I didn’t get the full photographic experience as weather doused those views of alpine lakes with low lying snow clouds and I have to say it was a stunning and cold sight — like walking on the moon across black volcanic dirt dusted with snow. You can’t control Mother Nature and this was my only opportunity to take this hike – already delayed one day due to rain, snow and high winds.
UC #40 — One of my hikes while on the north island of New Zealand, was on the Waiarapa Valley Wine Trail. Hey they named it that, so I went with it! I tramped over 4-miles, from winery to winery, tasting some of the best pinot noir in the world!
Another 10 UCs coming your way soon…