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Summer of Travel - Landing on Mars

Time in Utah was in my plans for this summer since last summer. Southern Utah has so much unusual hiking and fun desert and canyon exploration that it's impossible to go there often enough. I been to all the hit list places several times - Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Zion, Grand Staircase Escalante - and I could go to them all again and again, but what I really wanted to do was hop off I-70 and venture out into the great nothingness of the San Rafael Swell , and that's what I did. But not without saving a dog from getting hit on a 65 mph road, getting befriended by a stray cat at the AirBnB, and celebrating Mormon Invasion Day . Yes, that's a thing. Okay, maybe it's called Pioneer Day, but tomato, tomahto. And it's a much bigger celebration in Utah than July 4th. San Rafael Swell Day 1: Wedge and Buckhorn Recreation Areas My friend and I spent the first day north of I-70 in the recreation areas that are accessed from the town of Castle Dale. In the Wedge Recreation

Summer of Travel - Idaho Sandwich

After driving over 2,000 miles and exploring beautiful Banff , I took a little downtime, first in northern Idaho and then in southwest Idaho. But of course, I had to squeeze some adventuring (and more driving!) in between. Sandpoint, Idaho If you know me at all, you know that I'm a planner. I have no trouble plunking down a large chunk of change to commit to an awesome adventure, even if it's more than a year away like I did with Patagonia . And since I work from home, I want to get the best AirBnB possible that fits my criteria and is in my budget. Sometimes I book those seven months in advance.  But once in a while, plans change and I find something completely off the cuff. For example, back in November 2020, I had booked a second floor place in Asheville, NC, but I realized my poor dog was too old to handle those stairs. So, at the last minute, I opened AirBnB, added all my filters, and looked to see what was available somewhere midway-ish between Enfield, Maine and Pass Chr

Summer of Travel - Banff!

For a mountain lover, few vacation destinations are as dreamy as Banff. I started thinking about visiting several years ago, but we all know what happened then. Canada held out for a quite a while with strict entry regulations too, but when I finally got the chance, I jumped at it without further delay. My friend Alex and I spent three nights camping because how can you not camp in a national park? Instead of the packed campsites in town we took our chances on a walk-in site, with the first night being the end of Canada Day weekend, and there were plenty of sites available. We found a nice spot in Mosquito Creek, which is about a half hour from Lake Louise. Everything else was much further up the Icefields Parkway and would have added a lot of driving each day. It rained a little each day, actually a lot our second day, but not consistently. We got some sun and when it rained, we were able to rig up a nice little tarp shelter and the trees provided enough protection that we were still

Summer of Travel - East Coast Edition

I'm back on the road in the USA! After seven months spent mostly in Latin America (see my Ecuador , Argentina , and Panama posts) - with a brief interlude in Manhattan - I have returned to the United States for the summer so I can scale some of the highest peaks in the country back in Colorado. But I have a number of other destinations in mind too. Over the four months that I'm here, I'll be visiting more than a dozen places, sometimes for just five days and sometimes for seven whole weeks. I'm wrapping up my first month in the country of my birth, in which my east coast friends and family were lovely enough to let me mooch off them for accommodation and food. Here's what I've been up to.  Baltimore, Maryland This was my fourth time or fifth time visiting  Charm City . Last year, my friends bought a beautiful brick townhome in the Otterbein neighborhood , just four blocks from the inner harbor. So, I was excited to go see the renovations they've done and a

Summer of Travel - Las Vegas

After a ten month separation, suddenly, there it spread below me. The wild, wild west in all its inhospitable, desiccating, jagged, Martian beauty. My favorite part of America. Except I wasn't going there exactly. I was going to the neon and excess of Las Vegas...and to real people! After two years and two months, I was going to meet dozens and dozens of my coworkers at our first in-person user conference since 2019. The energy, the hugs, the conversations - all amazing. Four days in the MGM Grand with 5,000 Splunkers, customers, and partners. I worked the pavilion floor, evangelizing my customer success knowledge base and running up to person after person I had known only from a small Zoom box and saying "You're real! You're a human!" I loved the connection. And then I did get out into the mountains. I had three days in between conferences and an old acquaintance flying in from Santa Fe to enjoy the dust and desert with. It turns out that 50 degree air