The Most Dangerous Small Mountain in the World: Mount Washington

MOUNT WASHINGTON

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I am so excited to share with you all the most exciting hike I have done in the Northeast! I hiked Mount Washington, also known as the world’s deadliest small mountain, up the Tuckerman Ravine. The landscape on this hike was the most visually striking I have seen in the east. The cragged peaks and bare mountain tops reminded me of the Rockies out West. Waterfalls and ice cascaded down Tuckerman Ravine. I will try to share as much information as I can and also some tips on how to stay safe whilst hiking this beast of the east!

Summary of Mount Washington

  • Difficulty: Strenuous, 
  • Length (Tuckerman Ravine Trail): 8.4 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 6,288′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: It took about four hours to reach the summit from the trailhead. We took water breaks as needed and stopped at the Hermit Lake Shelter 2.4 miles into the hike to take pictures. It isn’t a long hike, but it is steep in its entirety. We spent about 45 minutes in the summit building, grabbing souvenirs from the store and a snack from the food bar. We spent another 30 minutes exploring the summit, taking photos of the surrounding mountains and the trains that climb to the top.  It took us about three hours to get back to the trailhead. We started at 6:45 AM and made it back to the car by 3:30 PM.
  • Elevation Gain: Over 4,000′
  • Photo Opportunities: There are so many scenic areas along this hike. The scenes are breathtaking. There is a captivating waterfall ten minutes from the trailhead. From the Hermit Lake Shelter there are craggy peaks that tower above you. A little further along the trail after the shelter, you’ll see Tuckerman Ravine in the distance. At this time of year, multiple waterfalls cascade down the ice-covered headwall. As you climb Tuckerman Ravine, the views continue to open up behind you. Then, there is the summit of Mount Washington which offers commanding views of the entire area. On a clear day (which we were lucky enough to have), one can see New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine as well as into Canada!! 

Trailhead/Address to Pinkham Notch

The trailhead for the Tuckerman Ravine Route can be found behind the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. It is relatively easy to find if you plug in “Pinkham Notch” into your GPS. The address is 361 NH-16, Gorham, NH 03581. The visitor center opens at 6:30 AM and closes at 9:00 PM. There is food you can order inside that consists of subs, soup, and more. There is a souvenir shop as well with a topographic map of the area and info on what the weather is like for the day. There is a door from the parking lot that leads to the lower section of the building. The bathrooms, vending machines, and trail register are located here. Make sure you sign in!

Mount Washington Trailhead

Beginning the Trek

The hike begins climbing almost immediately. You’ll make your way up the dirt and rock-littered trail eventually coming across a large wooden bridge. Cross it and shortly after, there is a lookout to observe a beautiful waterfall cascading through the woods. We stopped here to take some pictures on our phones before moving on. If you have some spare time, I suggest taking a moment to appreciate the falls. This is just a quick iPhone pic because I didn’t feel like taking my camera out so soon into the hike. 

Mount Washington Waterfalls

Keep Climbing, Two More Bridges

The Tuckerman Ravine trail is pretty straight-forward for the initial 2.4 miles to the Hermit Lake Shelter. You will continue your ascent up the trail and cross two more wooden bridges along the way. You’ll sporadically see the summit of Mount Washington through the trees. It can seem a little intimidating, but on a blue-bird day, it is beyond worth the struggle. As you get closer to the Hermit Lake Shelter, the peaks that start to tower over you are craggy and bare. Like I mentioned earlier, they reminded me of the Rocky Mountains. Check out a picture of them below!

View from Hermit Lake Shelter

Hermit Lake Shelter (2.4 miles in)

It took us about two hours to reach the Hermit Lake Shelter. The shelter has a large wooden deck with benches that you can rest on if needed. We stopped here for about fifteen to twenty minutes to break out our cameras and shoot the surrounding landscape. There is also a snow ranger quarters located here. The sign states the elevation you’re at which is 3,800′ above sea level. The wooden ranger quarters with the mountains towering behind it made for an aesthetic scene.

While you’re here, there are also bathrooms and a water pump (you have to actually hand pump it yourself which is pretty cool) if you need to use either of those. From this point, you have 1.8 miles left until you reach the summit of Mount Washington.

Make Way to Tuckerman Ravine

Tuckerman Ravine is probably the most visually striking you will encounter while hiking Mount Washington up this route. Multiple waterfalls poured over the headwall, flowing around ice formations and through the valley below. Tuckerman Ravine is a glacial cirque formed during the last ice age. Snow will stay in the ravine well into summer, occasionally forming a snow arch by the trail. The trail is closed in the Spring at the ravine floor until it is free of snow and there is no danger of falling ice. This is usually sometime in July. Tuckerman ravine is famous for its skiing and also for the perils that have come with it.

Tuckerman Ravine

Multiple people have been killed in Tuckerman Ravine. Some of the reasons of death include falling off of the headwall, being struck by falling ice, losing control while skiing, and heart attacks. Despite being the most direct and well-protected trail to the summit, please take caution. Mount Washington has claimed over one hundred-and-fifty lives.

Climbing Along the Headwall of Tuckerman Ravine

Once you reach the floor of the ravine, the trail bears right. It is up a well-constructed rock pathway. Yellow paint on the boulders will aid you with staying on trail. There are numerous spots while climbing where water pours over the rocks making it slippery. You do NOT want to rush up and slip off of a ledge.

When I was hiking up it, it was early in the morning and there was a significant amount of ice. In some sections there was ice falling onto the trail from above. I witnessed a young man and woman having to cover their heads as small chunks of ice came hurling towards them. Again, this hike can be unpredictable and you must take caution.

The rock path will take you across the waterfall and up over the headwall. The vistas at this point in the hike are otherworldly. On a clear day like I had, mountains continue for miles, painted in fall colors. It is difficult to capture the landscape’s beauty and feeling you get witnessing it in an image.

Tuckerman Ravine Waterfalls

Wooden Signs Marking .8 and .6 of a Mile to the Summit

After getting over the headwall, you should come across two wooden signs in rather quick succession. One will state that you are .8 of a mile away from the summit and the other further ahead will state .6 of a mile away. Here are photos of both of them, but they are easy to find.

Mount Washington .8 miles sign

Mount Washington .6 miles hike

The Boulder Field

This is probably the most deceiving part of the hike. It looks like you are much closer than you actually are and your legs are likely to be pretty tired by now. Climbing up the boulders is a workout and you’ll want to pay attention so that you don’t step into a crevasse or on a loose rock.

There is another wooden sign in the boulder field that will inform you that you are now only .4 of a mile from the summit. I wouldn’t pay much mind to it because it is still going to take another half-hour or so to reach the summit. Just keep pushing onwards because the summit of Mount Washington has a lot to offer!

Mount Washington .4 Sign

While climbing the boulder field, you will be following cairns like the one seen below. If the light hits at the right time you can capture some really cool photos!

Cairn on Headwall of Mount Washington

Mount Washington Summit!

Mount Washington is unlike most mountains because it is accessible by hiking, by car, and by the Mount Washington Cog Railway (yes, a train to the summit). Therefore, you will go from being in the woods and pretty isolated in the White Mountains to being surrounded by a crowd. Most of these people will probably look like tourists and you will look like the Road Trip Warrior that you are, sweaty and worn out from the climb. Fortunately, you can recoup in the summit building.

Me on Summit of Mount Washington

The summit building atop Mount Washington has inside it a museum, a gift shop, a seating area, and a food vendor with offerings such as soup, sandwiches, chips, and various refreshments. It is also heated inside so that is a plus if you hiked up and wanted somewhere to warm up. The gift shop has your typical souvenirs such as clothing, magnets, patches, stickers, and Mount Washington trekking poles. I ended up buying a patch and a sticker (it felt necessary since I hiked it).

The summit of Mount Washington is typically covered in fog about 300 days of the year with a daily average wind speed of 35 miles per hour. On the day I hiked this beast, there was not a cloud in the sky and there was NO WIND on the summit. The type of weather I had is unheard of on the summit of New Hampshire’s highest peak. I was very fortunate and had the opportunity to capture some stunning images. Below you can see the cars and the Mount Washington Cog Railway climbing the mountain. 

Cog Railway Seen from Mount Washington Summit

Mount Washington Facts

  • Mount Washington is the highest point in the Northeastern United States
  • The summit of the mountain was purchased from Dartmouth College to “preserve and develop unusual scenic, scientific, historical, and recreational features for public use and enjoyment – April 1964.”
  • The highest wind ever observed by man was recorded here. In a great storm on April 12, 1934 the crews’ instruments measured a wind velocity of 231 miles per hour!!!!
  • Some of the buildings on the summit are secured by chains to prevent them from blowing away.
  • Over 150 lives have been claimed by this mountain from people being swept off the mountain by winds, suffering heart attacks, suffering hypothermia, and ski accidents.

Getting Back to the Trailhead

There are multiple trails, but I decided to go back down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to get to my car. I figured that the ice had melted after spending over an hour on the summit and the temperatures rising. I knew that besides descending the ravine, it was a straight-forward hike down. If you decide to go back down this way, just be careful on your descent from the top of the Tuckerman Ravine headwall. There are some sections where falling would be rather painful/deadly.

Dog-Friendly

Mount Washington up the Tuckerman Ravine is dog friendly. I saw numerous dogs hiking up and down the mountain with their owners. I would just be aware of the weather and how your dog might react to it. On the day we went, the weather could not have been more perfect. Therefore, the dogs we saw were seeming to love being outside and jumping from rock to rock. However, when Mount Washington’s usual winds and cold weather picks up I would advise against bringing your furry pal(s). 

Fam-Friendly

This hike has the potential to be family-friendly given the right setting. If the weather is fair, this hike is family-friendly (dependent upon fitness level) in my opinion. I think most people underestimate the amount of elevation gain in the 4.2 miles to the summit. Gaining over 4,000′ in elevation in 4 miles is STEEP. That mixed in with bad weather is what makes this hike treacherous. The only break you really get is at the Hermit Lake Shelter, but besides that this hike is pretty relentless in its ascent. If you are out of shape, I don’t recommend attempting this unless you really want to challenge yourself. If you do want to hike Mount Washington just be mindful of the weather, carry the right gear, and be safe! If you ever need to turn around, then do so. The mountain will always be there for when you return!

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Adidas Joggers
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Athletic Long Sleeve Pullover
  • LL Bean outer shell jacket
  • Winter Beanie
  • EMS Hiking socks (warmest pair they make)

Gear Brought

  • 2L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter granola bars
  • Extra hiking socks
  • LL Bean mid-layer jacket
  • Extra Wind-breaker jacket
  • Microspikes (Kahtoola brand)
  • Winter Gloves
  • Balaclava
  • Bandana
  • Extra shirts, shorts, and underarmour
  • Gaiters
  • Wind Pants
  • Emergency tents and blankets
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Trekking poles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

Omni Mount Washington Resort and Mount Washington

Below you can see Mount Washington tower over the surrounding region and the Omni Mount Washington Resort. Obviously this photo isn’t from the hike, but I wanted to provide it to show the scale of the mountain. Its prominence is 6’148′.

Omni Resort and Mount Washington

RTW Note

Thank you for taking the time to read about Mount Washington, the hike up Tuckerman Ravine, and the photos I captured along the way. It was probably my favorite hike that I have done in the Northeast. It was the closest environment to hiking in the Rockies that I have encountered in the East. The craggy peaks, crazy weather, and unbelievable views make it a stunning landscape to explore. If you choose to hike Mount Washington, I hope this blog gives you some insight in what to expect and how to prepare. I highly recommend checking out New Hampshire’s highest peak!

To those that have read, liked, commented on, and shared any of these posts, thank you again. I appreciate any and all support. I love being able to share my insight from the places I hike and travel to. If you found this post or any others on my site interesting, helpful, or enjoyable, smash that like button and leave me a comment! Be sure to spread the post as well through your social media outlets! Happy hiking!

-Ant

A Weekend in Acadia National Park: Part 1

Ten Hours in Acadia National Park!

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I wanted to share what you can experience while spending a day at one of the most scenic locations in Maine, Acadia National Park. The park offers rocky cliffs, stunning beaches, daring hikes, and is located about fifteen minutes away from Bar Harbor! Here is what you can accomplish in ten hours at one of America’s coolest national parks!

7:30 AM: Park Loop Road and Sand Beach

I left Hancock, Maine where we were staying around 7:30 in the morning and made the 45 minute commute to Acadia National Park. I entered the park around 8:15 AM and turned left onto Park Loop Road. I parked in the large lot for Sand Beach and got all my hiking gear together.

The parking lot for Sand Beach provides access not only to the beach, but the Beehive Trail is across the road. From the lot, you will be able to see the steep rock faces you’ll be climbing…if you have the courage to grasp the iron rungs and can handle the exposure…but I recommend exploring Sand Beach while parked in this lot. It is a great area to chill out and there are bathrooms located near the parking lot. I walked along the beach for twenty minutes because nothing beats that fresh ocean air.

Sand Beach

9:00 AM: THE BEEHIVE TRAIL

Let me preface this subsection of this post by saying this trail is not for the faint of heart. What it lacks in length, it makes up for in exposure. You’ll essentially be climbing vertically up iron rungs and boulders with sheer drops only a few feet away. It is a lot of fun and I LOVE exposure, but if heights bother you, there is a trail that takes you up to Beehive Summit with much less exposure.

It only took about 45 minutes to reach the summit of Beehive and the scenes were exceptional. You get commanding views of Sand Beach, the islands in the Atlantic, and the surrounding mountains! If you do anything in Acadia, try to get to the summit of Beehive. The fun to be had and the surrounding landscape is difficult to put into words.

Beehive Summit

10:50 AM: Thunder-hole

You can’t visit Acadia without visiting Thunder-Hole. It got it’s name from the thundering noise it makes when waves rush into a small inlet and water and air gets rushed out! There are days when the water may spout up to forty feet high! Unfortunately, the ocean was pretty calm when we visited this spectacle. It made some noise, and it was still cool to see it, but water did not spout forty feet high

The parking lot for Thunder Hole is on the right side of the road. There is a small gift shop that offers stickers, key chains, coffee mugs, and more. Across the road and down some stairs is where you will be able to find Thunder Hole!

11:20 AM: Otter Cove

While driving along Park Loop Road, I had to stop at Otter Cove. I Initially did not even know it was called that, but I was just drawn to the beach and the stone bridge in the near distance. I parked along the right side of the road and first ventured down to the body of water that was on the right side of where I parked. The color of the water was a mix of green and blue with mountains looming in the distance. I took some photos here before walking across the street to the beach.

The beach located along the left side of the road is stunning. It is small, but the water is calm with very little waves. There are stones perfect for rock-skipping and the stone bridge on the far end of the beach enhances it’s aesthetic. I spent a good half hour on this beach in good company, skipping rocks and enjoying the sunny day.

Otter Cove

12:15 PM: Lunch in Bar Harbor

After roaming around the park for four hours and the heat starting to take a toll on our energy, we decided to look for food. There is a restaurant in the park located by Jordan Pond, but it was packed. With Bar Harbor being so close, I figured we would have a great shot at finding a quick meal there.

Bar Harbor has so much to do and see. There are countless stores with Maine items, clothes, ice cream stores, and restaurants. We ended up going to the Independent Cafe which had coffee, sandwiches, wraps, and more. I ordered the hummus wrap and it was exceptional. It was the sriracha sauce that completed the wrap. After eating here we walked in some stores and did some window shopping.

Bar Harbor had some really cool stores with unique items. One store, In the Woods, had all items made out of wood. Don’t take my word for it, but from my memory all of the wood was from Maine! Other stores had model boats, nautical items, and souvenirs.

1:30 PM: Accidentally Leaving the Park, and Taking Photos of Boats and Beach-houses 

The last thing that I wanted to do was hike Cadillac Mountain. You can drive to the summit, but I felt like it would be cheating to do that before I actually hiked it. In an effort to find the North Ridge Trail, I ended up off of Park Loop Road and exiting the park momentarily. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because there was a bay filled with dozens of boats and sailboats. There were also some beautiful beach-houses. The scene was picturesque and was worth the stop. Keep an eye out for those brief moments where a mistake can be turned into a positive scenario!

Beach-houses near Acadia

2:30 PM: Jordan Pond

On our way to the North Ridge Trail to hike Cadillac Mountain, I made a last effort to visit Jordan Pond. The parking lot was usually full, but I found a spot and I was able to get some shots of the bubbles across the pond. The pond is absolutely stunning with the Bubbles on the far end of the pond and lush green trees around the perimeter.

There is a trail that loops around the pond and it is 3.5 miles long. I didn’t go on this trail, but I am sure seeing the pond in its entirety is well worth it.

Jordan Pond

3:15 PM: Cadillac Mountain Hike (North Ridge Trail)

At 3:15 PM, we parked at the trailhead for the North Ridge Trail up to Cadillac Mountain. This trailhead is located .2 miles down the Park Loop Road right after it becomes a two-lane, one way road. There is a crosswalk and a pullout for parking on the left side of the road which is opposite the trailhead.

I’ll have a more detailed post about hiking Cadillac Mountain, but here is a short summary of the North Ridge Trail…

  • Distance: 2.2 miles to the summit, 4.4 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate. Rocky in some spots, no bouldering/scrambling, incline gets steeper on the rock face towards the summit
  • Hiking Time: 1.25 – 1.5 hours to summit. 1 – 1.25 hours to get back to car. This depends on level of fitness and how many breaks you take.
  • Photo opportunities: There are some great outlooks of Bar Harbor along the hike. The summit offers commanding views of Bar Harbor, islands in the area, and the Atlantic.
  • Summit: There are bathrooms on the summit, a gift shop, signs about Cadillac Mountain, and a parking lot because you can also drive to the top of this mountain

I do not suggest hiking this when there is an approaching thunderstorm like I decided to do. As brilliant as it is to view a storm over the ocean from a mountain, it is not so brilliant when the storm heads in your direction. As soon as we hit the summit, it rained so hard on us that it felt like hail. I took a short video of myself, but we started to make our way down the mountain in the storm. Within fifteen minutes, the sun was back out and we witnessed multiple rainbows.

Storm in Acadia

(Although the quality of this photo is not up to the standards of the others, I thought the storm over Bar Harbor was wild.)

Since I did not capture any photos on the summit on the day we hiked Cadillac, I drove to the summit the next day and took hundreds of pictures. I will share those in Part 2 of my Acadia trip.

In Summary

In summary, you can see a lot in Acadia National Park if you dedicate your day to it. We hiked two mountains, visited Jordan Pond, saw Thunder-hole, had lunch in Bar Harbor, took photos of a bay, and skipped rocks at Otter Cove.

Now, you don’t have to do a lot in one day. You could dedicate the day to hanging at Sand Beach or Otter Cove. You could hang out in Bar Harbor shopping and eating. There are also plenty of other hikes in Acadia that can be done. I just wanted to share that there are opportunities to accomplish a lot in this beautiful park with limited time.

Note:

Thank you to those that take the time to read these posts. I do hope they are helpful and that you find them interesting. I also hope that you enjoy the pictures. I have been practicing my landscape photography when I am not busy with work. If you enjoyed this post, share it, hit the like button, and hit that follow button as well! Feel free to leave a comment too! Adventure hard my friends!

-Ant

 

 

Road Trip: Home 6/7/19

Finally Made it Home

I took a couple days off from posting anything because I was traveling home for the past two days. Both travel days were BRUTAL. Rapid City, South Dakota to Saratoga, Springs New York is not a scenic drive. It is a lot of farms, back by Chicago, Illinois, more farms, by Cleveland, Ohio, near Buffalo, NY and home. It is rough, but I am very happy to be back in my hometown and spending time with my family.

I just want to put this out there…I do NOT recommend driving over 900 miles in a single shot. It is the second time I have done it and it is so tiring. Starting at 8:00AM in Madison, Wisconsin, and getting home at 1:30AM was terrible. The only way I got through it was coffee and loud music.

Anyways, I am home now and will be back to sharing pictures and hiking info from my adventures in the Adirondacks. I’ll also have more posts about the four national parks I spent time at too, but I won’t be posting everyday (I’ll be working). I will try to post once a week and continue sharing more photos. I am going to continue practicing with my camera and downloading/editing all the videos I took on my GoPro! I am debating on whether or not to start posting edited videos from my hikes and travel…we’ll see. Thanks for tagging along on my road trip with me. Here are a few other pictures from the trip that I really liked!

Glacier National Park (Sony a6000)

Mountain in trees in Glacier NP

Yellowstone National Park (Sony a6000)

Bison and baby bison in Yellowstone

Grand Teton National Park (iPhone)

Tetons with blue sky edit

Black Elk Peak (iPhone)

Summit of Black Elk Peak

Badlands National Park (Sony a6000)

Badlands

Nostalgia

I am already looking at this trip with nostalgia. I had so many great experiences carved into a two week period. I hiked through charred woods in Glacier, was approached by mountain goats, saw a couple bears, drove alongside bison, and hiked the highest peak east of the Rockies to name a few of those experiences. I will never forget trips like these, but it feels good to be home and around family. You definitely appreciate it more after being away and traveling. It also feels like a reset on my mind and body. I am ready to get back to working during the week, exercising, and continuing to work on myself both mind and body.

Thank you for tagging along on and reading what I was doing while on this trip. I appreciate those that took the time to comment and hit the like button. I will continue to share pictures from the places I have been and the adventures I will be going on this summer on the weekends! If you enjoyed this post, leave a comment, hit the like button, and follow Road Trip Warriors for more adventure pics and travel info! 

Best,

-Ant

Road Trip to South Dakota and the Badlands NP: Day Eleven 6/4/19

The Badlands and Back to Wall Drug!!

I finally hit my fourth and final national park is just eleven days…and it did not come without a painful hour-and-a-half drive either. The reason it was painful (for those that are curious) was that I had to drive on the worst gravel I had ever been on before. Then, I saw a sign that said “Leaving Badlands NP.” So naturally, I turned around like the intelligent individual I am and found a road that pointed in the direction of “Badlands Loop.” Well, this road was unpaved and muddy from all of the rain. I made it about 1.5 miles of having very little control over my vehicle. Now, a little bit aggravated, I turned around and got back onto the gravel-covered highway…..

All said and done, I did end up making it to the Badlands National Park in one piece. By the time I made it (around 3:00 PM), the weather was starting to clear up. I did not get to hike the Notch Trail because of the uncooperative weather, but I did get to drive around and hit the overlooks. After driving around for a bit and buying a more than necessary amount of souvenirs, I went back to Wall Drug where I got a great meal, 5 cent coffee, free iced water, and a couple small souvenirs from there as well!

The Badlands National Park

This place looks like Mars. It is almost difficult to comprehend. You drive into this park and it seems like someone dumped piles of wet sand in the middle of South Dakota. It really is unbelievable and I can only imagine what this place looks like at sunrise or sunset. Hopefully one day I get to find out. I’d like to come back to South Dakota…there is so much to see and do and the history that this state holds is incredible. 

Badlands Wallkway

Badlands through the trees

Badlands Oasis

Badlands National Park

Me standing in the Badlands

Back at Wall Drug

Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota is roughly 25 minutes from Badlands National Park, and it is on the way to Rapid City if that is the direction you are heading. It made sense to stop there to get dinner and shop around. Having more time to walk around, its easy to see why this place is so popular….There was a store with cowboy boots, western clothing, and cowboy hats. There were stores selling all sorts of different souvenirs and trinkets. Their cafe has a seating capacity of up to 500 people. There was a bookstore and a store selling all kinds of gems and stones……I am telling you all that Wall Drug is one of the coolest places in South Dakota! If you have a chance, GO.

I am probably going to stop there tomorrow morning as I make my way home for breakfast and another 5 cent coffee. This trip has been wild…in eleven days I have visited four national parks, driven through twelve states, done some first-class hiking, and hit up some famous attractions, such as Wall Drug. The experiences I have had on this trip have been incredible. I have thousands of photos to go through and edit as well as a ton of new material to write about. I am happy to share more with you all.

If you enjoyed this post and the photos, hit the like button and leave a comment! Also, hit that follow button if you enjoy the outdoors, hiking, and traveling! I have plenty more to share! Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog, I genuinely appreciate it!

-Ant 

Road Trip to South Dakota and the Badlands NP: Day Ten 6/3/19

Black Hills National Forest, Black Elk Peak, and Wall Drug!!

I want to preface this post by stating that South Dakota is so underrated! It has so many great attractions besides Mount Rushmore (which I skipped seeing because I don’t feel it is worth it). The Black Hills, Rapid City, Hill City, Badlands National Park, and Wall Drug to name a few.

Today I hiked the South Dakota’s high point, Black Elk Peak. It was formerly named Harney Peak, but was renamed in honor of Nicholas Black Elk and the significance of the summit and Black Hills to Native Americans. I ventured into Harney Peak Lookout and climbed the ladder to the top of the stone tower. The views from up there were phenomenal! 

After getting back to the room and showering, I decided to head to Wall Drug, a famous tourist attraction in Wall, South Dakota. It started in 1931 as a small drug store that didn’t get many customers for nearly five years! The way that the store ended up taking off was by putting up signs on the highway offering free ice water! Now the store receives more than 2 million visitors a year. One can find free ice water here, 5 cent coffee, a meal, and endless shopping. Here are some more details about these locations below…

Black Elk Peak in Custer State Park.

When staying in Rapid City, South Dakota, you must realize how many outdoor activities there are around you. I had researched the Black Hills and found that the high point of South Dakota, Black Elk Peak, was just under an hour from where I was staying. It is the highest mountain east of the Rockies and the stone lookout on the summit was alluring…therefore I had to hike it! I will have a full detailed post on the hike eventually, but for now, here is a summary.

The hike starts at lovely Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park. It cost $20 for a seven-day pass, or $30 for an annual pass into the park. I took trail number 9 to Black Elk Peak which was roughly six miles. Initially it was a bit muddy, but dried up after about a half-mile. The air was dry and it was 85º out so naturally, I was sweating. Despite the heat, nothing could distract me from the beauty of the Black Hills and its wild landscape!

View of Black Elk Peak and Harney Lookout

The summit of this mountain has sweeping views of South Dakota and being able to climb to the top of Harney Peak Lookout Tower was special. The stairs are VERY steep so if you are ever out here, be careful! 

Harney Peak Lookout Sign

Harney Peak Lookout

Top of Harney Lookout on Black Elk Peak

Views from Summit of Black Elk Peak

Wall Drug!

If you are driving through South Dakota, stopping at Wall Drug is an absolute must! It started as a small drug store in 1931 that did poorly for FIVE YEARS! The store picked up business after putting out out catchy signs along the highway and offering free iced water to travelers. Now the store gets over TWO MILLION visitors a year. You can find 5 cent coffee here, meals, souvenirs, boots, blankets….basically anything! They also still have free iced water! I enjoyed walking around the many stores and will probably purchase a few things after hiking in Badlands National Park! 

Wall Drug

Badlands National Park Tomorrow

I hit my fourth and last national park tomorrow while on this road trip. It’s a bit bittersweet, but I am ecstatic to hike in the Badlands and get some souvenirs. I will have hundreds of photos and some videos from this national park after tomorrow. I look forward to sharing more photos with you all! Thank you again for taking the time to read my words and check out my pictures. Don’t forget to hit the like button if you enjoyed this post! Leave a comment too if you’d like. I enjoy hearing from you all. Tap the follow button for more adventure pics and travel destinations!

-Ant 

 

 

 

 

Road Trip to South Dakota and the Badlands NP: Day Nine 6/2/19

Yellowstone –> Rapid City, South Dakota

I left Yellowstone around 11:00AM this morning and started my trek back east. My goal of the day was to stop and see Devils Tower National Monument and then find a place to crash for a few nights in Rapid City, South Dakota. I managed to make check both off of my todo list! 

The drive from West Yellowstone, Montana to Rapid City, South Dakota was a scenic one! I even had the chance to spot a moose which was thrilling!  I had the opportunity to drive through Big Sky and Bozeman as well as some smaller mountain towns in Montana. I tend to gravitate towards these mountain towns, especially the ones with log homes and a creek or river running through their land. Maybe it’s my affection with the outdoors, maybe it’s because I love seeing wildlife…whatever it is, I am drawn to mountain towns like a moth to a flame. 

Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming

I couldn’t drive to Rapid City, SD without visiting Devils Tower, WY along the way. I did not drive as close to the monument as I could have because I did not feel the need to pay the $25 entrance fee. Instead, I took photos from a distance. 

The tower rises 867 feet from its base to the summit. The summit is about the size of a football field and animals such as chipmunks, mice, and the occasional snake can be found upon the top. I did not take a lot of photos of the monument, but it is quite a sight to behold. It is easy to see why Devils Tower is sacred to many Native American tribes. 

Devil's Tower Sign

Devil's Tower Trading Post

Devils Tower National Monument

Rapid City, South Dakota

I don’t have much to say yet about South Dakota…I have big plans over the next two days while I am here that I look forward to sharing. I will most likely be taking hundreds of photographs as I hike and drive around the area. The options are limitless….Black Hills National Forest, Badlands National Park, and Custer State Park to name a few….It’ll be a good time for sure! Thanks for checking out the post and the pictures. They aren’t my finest work, but they’ll make do! If you enjoyed this post, hit the like button, leave a comment, and hit the follow button! Happy adventuring! 

-Ant

 

 

Road Trip to Grand Teton NP: Day Eight 6/1/19

Grand Teton National Park!!

I have been longing to see Teton Mountain Range for at least two years now. I even have a tattoo based off of the range on my left arm. When I planned this trip, I made sure that I would see these magnificent, jagged peaks. I drove 2.5 hours from West Yellowstone, and the drive was more than worth it. I did get to see a black bear on the way to Grand Teton too, which was a plus. They are beautiful animals.

I turned a bend when I approached the park and these peaks shot out of the Earth. They were craggy, and covered with white snow. I unfortunately did not have time to hike in this range, but I was able to visit Mormon Row Historic District and photograph the famous Moulton Barn!

Me at Mormon's Row Historic District

Tetons in my Car Mirror

Mormon Row Historic District: Moulton Barns

These barns highlight Mormon Row and it is easy to see why. With the Teton Range in the background, these barns are picturesque as well as historic. They were built by John and Thomas Alma Moulton on adjacent homesteads. Photographers from all around the world visit here to photograph this historic structure with the Tetons rising in the background. You can read more about the history of this location here. Here are some of the shots I was able to take of these barns. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to do so.

Close up of wooden house Mormon's Row Historic District

Famous Barn at Mormon's Row Historic District

Portrait of wooden house Mormon's Row Historic District

Two wooden homes Mormon Row Historic District

Wood house Mormon's Row

If you have the chance to visit these historic structures, DO SO. I promise that you will not be disappointed. Another thing I wanted to mention was that the Teton Mountain Range is THE most visually striking mountain range I have ever seen (and I have seen quite a few). I definitely plan on revisiting this national park when I can spend time hiking in the range and hanging out by Jackson Lake. 

On the Road Again Tomorrow

Tomorrow I leave West Yellowstone and start making my way back east. The next destination on my todo list is Devil’s Tower National Monument in Northeastern Wyoming. I think I am going to sleep for a full 24 hours when I get home after all of this driving, but it is SO worth it. You can do and see so much in two weeks or less! I hope everyone else reading this gets out and does something that they have always wanted to do. Thanks again for reading and checking out these pics from Grand Teton National Park. If you enjoyed this post, hit the like button, toss a comment, and follow for more adventure/hiking photography!

-Ant

Road Trip to Yellowstone NP: Day Seven 5/31/19

Eight-and-a-half Hours in Yellowstone National Park

What up Road Trip Warriors!? So I spent 8.5 hours today driving around Yellowstone National Park hitting all the major attractions and stopping by at some of the smaller ones as well. I drove through forests, snowy mountain roads, rain, and by numerous bison and elk! It was a FULL day and I captured so many incredible photos. I was very fortunate and I am thrilled to share some of my experiences here with you all!

Gibbon Falls

First stop was Gibbon Falls! It is a wonderful waterfall, and definitely worth the stop. Get out of your vehicle and enjoy some of Yellowstone’s beautiful scenery.

Gibbons Falls

Beryl Spring

Under proper lighting, this spring shines like the gemstone, beryl. It spewed steam and the smell of the spring was unappealing. The temperature of the spring ranges from 188.5 degrees Fahrenheit to 192 degrees Fahrenheit. It is one of the hottest springs in Yellowstone!

Beryl Spring

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

This location was top priority on my todo list. I HAD to see Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. I had seen it many times on television and in pictures. The sight is much better in person. From the viewpoint, I was able to capture a photo of the canyon with a rainbow created from the mist of the Lower Falls. There was also an eagle’s nest in the canyon. If I had a better lens, I would have loved to get a picture of the eagles.

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Sign

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone with rainbow

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone with trees

Before leaving the parking lot, I noticed a raven perched up in a tree above me and I thought it was a cool shot. There was a storm moving in and the contrast between the dark and light clouds was intriguing. I figured it was worth sharing.

Raven in tree Yellowstone

Lower Falls

These falls are beyond impressive. They roar like thunder as they pour down into the canyon. It is the largest waterfall in Yellowstone and the water falls 308 feet. I took a trail down to the top of these falls and that was where I was able to get the photo of the mist creating the rainbow. It was an experience I won’t soon forget. I then went to another location further down the road where I could actually photograph the entire waterfall. If you visit Yellowstone, Lower Falls is a MUST!

Lower Falls Yellowstone NP

Mammoth Hot Springs

Another noteworthy spot in Yellowstone National Park. There are many wooden boardwalks to check out the springs in this location. You also get a great vantage point of Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel below you.

Mound Spring

Minerva Terrace

Practicing with Sony a6000…

After leaving Mammoth Hot Springs and driving further through Yellowstone, I found a pull-off with amazing views. Using my left mirror, I wanted to practice some creative shots with my Sony a6000 that I have been using for the past few months. Here are a couple of the photos I liked…I’m a work in progress.

Mountain mirror shot

Cliffs, car mirror, my arm Yellowstone

Clearwater Springs

As it got later in the day, I saw some springs that nobody was parked at. I stopped to take some pictures and enjoy the serenity.

Clearwater Springs

BISON TRAFFIC

I have never seen so many bison walking down the road at once. There had to have been at least thirty of them. All of them were within feet of my car (was worried that one would hit me). Every time I have seen these creatures, they have behaved like gentle giants. I have also seen videos of them charging and I would most definitely not want to upset one…

Bison Traffic Jam Yellowstone NP

Baby bison in Yellowstone NP

Fountain Paint Pots, Silex Pool, and Earthquake’s Offspring

I saw more springs and I had to stop. They were all very active and fun to observe. Silex Pool was a beautiful turquoise and Earthquake’s Offspring was my favorite as it bubbled and tossed hot mud around.

Silex Spring

Earthquake's Offspring Yellowstone NP

Fountain Paint Pots Yellowstone NP

There was also a geyser at this location that shot water high out of the ground. I took pictures of it, but it was difficult to see due to all of the steam.

Opal Pool, Turquoise Pool, and Grand Prismatic

The last stop of the day were the three pools mentioned in the subtitle. By the time I got here, it was approaching 7:15 PM and it was raining. I could not live with myself if I did not try to get some photos of these pools, especially the iconic Grand Prismatic. I got some pics of them….they aren’t the best (it was thundering and raining by the time I got close to them), but I am thankful for having the opportunity to try.

Opal Pool

The Opal Pool is the pic above.

Turquoise Pool

Grand Prismatic

All Said and Done…

I just wanted to show how much you can see in a single day at this beautiful national park. Yellowstone has so much to offer, and a lot of the attractions can be hit by just spending the day driving around! If I had more time, I would have loved to hike one of the trails. I will have to plan a hike for the next time I am in Yellowstone! Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read this far if you have and for checking out my pictures. Don’t forget to hit the like button if you enjoyed this post, comment (I enjoy feedback), and tap the follow button if you love seeing nature photography and adventure photos!

-Ant

Road Trip to Yellowstone NP: Day Six 5/30/19

West Glacier, Montana –> Yellowstone National Park, Montana/Wyoming

It was about a seven hour drive from West Glacier Montana to Western Yellowstone, Montana. The drive took me through small mountain towns surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Perhaps my favorite town was Ennis, a town in Madison County, Montana. It had some small restaurants, quaint log homes, and outdoor shops. After driving for awhile, I ended up in Idaho for about a half-an-hour. I was lucky enough to drive by Henrys Lake in Southeastern Idaho. It is an alpine lake located at 6,476′ above sea level. Snow-capped mountains towered above it. Finally, I made it to Western Yellowstone National Park. After checking in to the hotel, I decided to explore in my car for a bit. It turned out to be one of my better decisions. I saw a lot of wildlife and a gorgeous sunset. Here are some photos and info from the day.

Swan Lake

While driving through Montana, I had the opportunity to pull off of the road to take some pictures of Swan Lake. This lake sits at an elevation of 3,104′ and is surrounded by mountains and national forest. I did some research and the lake began as a community of loggers. The water was pristine and was still.

Swan Lake, Montana

Ennis, Montana

As mentioned above, this was my favorite mountain town to drive through. It is surrounded three mountain ranges being the Madison Range, the Gravelly Range, and the Tobacco Root Mountains. It offers some of the best river locations in the state (according to my research) with Madison River being known for its trout fishing. The town really offers a western vibe and it made me wonder how it used to be in this area back in the 1800s….ya know…the “Wild West.” Anyways….onto the next section…

Henrys Lake, Idaho

There were no pull-offs here so I unfortunately I did not get a picture. If you have the chance, google this location. It is absolutely stunning.

Western Yellowstone, Montana/Wyoming

I finally made it to Yellowstone and checked into the hotel. After bringing the luggage into the room, I decided it would be a good time to check out the park before the sun set. I drove into the park hoping to see wildlife and I was not disappointed. There were bison everywhere and they are HUGE!! I lost count of how many pictures I took. The highlight of my day was getting caught in bison traffic on the road in Yellowstone NP. It may sound silly, but it was one of the coolest things I have seen. Here are a bunch of photos I was lucky enough to take.

Multiple Bison Yellowstone NP

Bison and sun hitting cliffs Yellowstone NP

Bison Road Traffic

Bison in Water Yellowstone NP

Bison Close-up

Back to Hotel and Sunset

On the way back to the hotel I was able to get an awesome reflection shot as the sun was setting. This park is absolutely awe-inspiring and I cannot wait to explore it all day tomorrow. I look forward to sharing all of the photos I am able to take! Hopefully I will get to see some more wildlife as well!!

Yellowstone reflection shot

Thanks Again to Anyone Following Along

Thank you again to anyone that takes the time to read my blog posts and look at the photos. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoy taking them. I love sharing stories, information, and photos with people. I feel that traveling is important and opens your mind to new ideas. It has helped me become more environmentally aware, more creative, and appreciative of what I have in my life. Anyways, if you enjoyed this post, hit the like button, leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow! I have many more photos to come!!

 

Road Trip to Montana: Day Five 5/29/19

HARDEST HIKE I HAVE EVER DONE

Today I hiked the Mount Brown Lookout Trail in Glacier National Park. It is ten miles round trip and one of the more difficult hikes in the park. To put the difficulty into perspective, in five miles you gain around 4,250′ of elevation gain. It is steep the entire way up and there is not a flat spot to take a break. It was absolutely relentless. I think I took a break at each switchback as we got higher. It probably did not help that my backpack weighed about 30-40 pounds…anyway…the fire-tower lookout was phenomenal.

We ended up having to trek through some heavy snow to get to it, but it was warm out and the views were breathtaking. Here are some photos from the trail and lookout. Oh, and mountain goats are very courteous. They walked within ten feet of me, got off trail to go around me, and then got back on the trail behind me.

From the Trail

Pic of me on Mount Brown Trail

Mt Brown Firetower in distance

 MOUNTAIN GOAT

Mountain Goat on Mt Brown trail

Mountain Goat on Mt Brown Lookout Trail

Mount Brown Lookout

Snow and Mt Brown Fire-tower

Me taking pics from Mt Brown Fire-tower

Feet hanging on Mount Brown fire-tower

Final Note

I know this post is shorter than what I have been posting the past few days, but I am leaving for Wyoming tomorrow morning and need to sleep for once. There will be a whole post dedicated to Mount Brown Lookout Trail in its entirety once I get back home. Thank you again to anyone that checks out my posts, likes them, and comments on them. Feel free to hit that follow button if you want to see more adventure photos and hiking information!

-Ant