Kyle and I had each visited Yellowstone National Park on our own. I had spent about a week there when I was a kid and passed through several times on cross-country drives. Kyle had visited only briefly on his move to Seattle, and was unable to stray far from parking lots because he was traveling with a dog. We decided to take advantage of our summer 2021 Wyoming trip to spend a couple of days in Yellowstone together, before heading to the Tetons.
On our way home from backpacking Ediza and Thousand Island Lakes in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, we added a day for Lassen Volcanic National Park. Because of smoke from wildfires, we decided on a day of short walks and hikes combined with stops at various viewpoints, rather than climbing Lassen Peak.
For the first part of our July 2021 Cascades and Sierra Nevada road trip, we visited central Oregon, stopping in Bend, Newberry Volcanic National Monument, and Crater Lake National Park. Each of these destinations merited more time than we had, but we still enjoyed the three days we had to explore.
One summer at Cold River Camp, another guest presented on backpacking the Muir Trail and through the Ansel Adams Wilderness. This presentation inspired our summer 2016 backpacking trip from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley. The image that most stayed in my mind, though, was a sunset photo at Thousand Island Lake.
Kyle & I finally visited in July 2021, stopping at Newberry National Volcanic Monument and Crater Lake National Park on the way there, and Lassen Volcanic National Park on the way back. This made for a one-week road trip with three days of backpacking in the middle.
Compared to the photo that inspired our trip, the sunset over Thousand Island Lake sunset was muted, but it was still excellent.
After our time in Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park, we had a couple of days to get back to Queenstown. During that time, we explored Lake Tekapo, had a relaxing night in Ohau, and saw a couple of other destinations in Mount Aspiring National Park.
From Wanaka, we drove to Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park. Staying in the national park village gave us good access to the park’s trails and meant we could see the mountains in various light.
For the 2018-2019 academic year, I was on sabbatical. While I was still working, I had a lot more flexibility in when I could travel. New Zealand had been on our to-visit list for a while, but seasons and distance make it hard to visit during a normal year. We took advantage of my flexibility by planning a three-week trip to New Zealand for February and March — late summer / early fall.
Over the years of wanting to visit New Zealand, we had accumulated an extensive list of places we wanted to hike and explore. As we got into planning the details, we narrowed our trip to focus on hiking in the mountains of the South Island. Just that easily filled three weeks.
While tempted to return to some of the excellent hikes from our previous trip to Scotland, we instead decided to explore new parts of the Highlands before returning to prior hikes. After researching hikes in Scotland, we settled on four days of hiking the peaks of Torridonian sandstone running through Sutherland, Assynt, and Wester Ross.
In May 2019, we had the opportunity to return to Scotland for a week of hiking and whisky. Starting in Inverness, we spent the first half of the trip hiking in the northwest Highlands. We then drove down the west coast, took a ferry to Islay, and spend three days visiting distilleries, trying whisky and exploring the island.