Tag Archives: USA

Napa Valley & San Francisco

Katie’s 27th birthday was approaching and with her PhD work in full swing, we decided a weekend getaway would be a healthy change.  The cheapest non-stop flights were to San Francisco and since I had never been, we ventured out there.

Most of our trips involve the usual sightseeing, museums, art, food but we always try to add a small excursion that makes the destination stand out.  In Napa, it was hot air balloons.

Hot air balloon before takeoff
Early morning, right before liftoff

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Maroon Bells-Snowmass

Ever since Katie and I moved to Utah, we’ve been slowly losing touch with friends and family back home.  Although we visit a few brief weekends every year, it’s hard to see everyone we’d like to.  In August, a couple old friends from high school wanted to get out of town for a weekend and I quickly recommended the Maroon Bells-Snowmass area in western Colorado.  Firstly, this pristine wilderness outside of Aspen is lightly traveled and would be perfect for a three night backpacking trek for us.  Secondly, western Colorado is directly between SLC and Lincoln so I could easily meet them there.

Right out of the gate our plans had to change: an increase in bear activity caused the park service to require bear canisters instead of bear bags for all backcountry trips.  We called every outfitter in a 100 mile radius and they were all sold out so we settled on some local tent camping with a few light dayhikes in the area.

Brian and Ben on our first hike into Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area
Brian and Ben on our first hike into Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area

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Glacier National Park

From Banff, we hopped on the highway and immediately missed an exit or two and got lost in Calgary.  Eventually we made it out and after a long stop, courtesy of the US Border Patrol, we arrived at our rental house on the edge of Glacier National Park.  We were pretty tired from driving and spent the rest of the day lounging, before heading into the park the following morning.

East side of Glacier National Park
East side of Glacier National Park

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New Mexico

In April, Katie and I flew to New Mexico for a quick weekend excursion.  We met up with a few friends from Justin’s high school, Ben and Mitch.  Our first order of business was to visit Carlsbad Caverns.  This network of caves includes the third largest cavern chamber in North America.  It spans 4,000 feet and is 250 feet high.

Ben and Justin in Carlsbad
Ben and Justin in Carlsbad Caverns

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