Day 2: Horseshoe Bend & Antelope Canyon

Besides having a comfortable bed, the best part of waking up at a hotel is the free breakfast. The Page Quality Inn was really cheap, had a great room and king bed, and has a big hot breakfast spread. There were the usual eggs and breakfast meat, and everyone’s favorite: the waffle maker. We opted for the potatoes with hot sauce and I attempted the “blue mush,” which was described as a Native American version of grits. It was not good. The potatoes and OJ were a filling meal and the view was fantastic!

After some brief research we headed just down the road to the famous Horseshoe Bend. The trailhead was full of cars from all over the US, and people flooded up the short, steep embankment leading to the overlook. The trail was only about a half mile on a wide path so it was hardly a hike, and the edge was crowded with so many people that they were the most challenging obstacle to get around. Once at the edge the view is breathtaking. The river seems to whip around this massive tower of rock in an inexplicable curve. The scope of what you’re looking at is hard to comprehend until you see a tiny structure on the bank below and then everything feels ten times larger. To escape the crowd (and just to see if I could do it) I climbed out on a small rock outcropping and stood there for quite a while as Becca and lots of other tourists took my photo hanging above the thousand-foot drop. After getting all the photos I scrambled back onto solid ground and we made our way back to the parking lot.

Most people have seen photos of Antelope Canyon even if they don’t know that’s what it was. The picturesque slot canyon with sinuous red walls and shafts of light beaming in through the sand in the air is one of the most photographed places in southern Utah, and it has been featured in countless magazines, default backgrounds, and wonderful WordPress travel blogs. The popularity of this place has always kept me from visiting. You have to book a tour with a large group and pay an entrance fee. Even though National Parks charge fees to get in, I feel like those fees go toward park improvements and places like this are more for-profit. My thinking could be flawed, but nevertheless we decided to give it a try!

First off, there’s a waiting room. We only had to wait about 45 minutes from the time we arrived to start our tour, but the whole commercial aspect was amusing. Once our tour guide, Rihanna, introduced herself we took the short walk to the corral above the canyon entrance where about a hundred people from different tour groups were in queue. Here we waited for the better part of a half hour as people slowly filed down a narrow stairway to get into the canyon. Our guide pleasantly chatted with us about other hikes in the area and where we came from which helped pass the time. As we descended the stairs, guides from below yelled up at people taking photos down into the canyon. It was explained to us that they have had incidents of people dropping cell phones and water bottles from above so they have instituted a “no photos on the stairs” policy. This is a phrase we would hear repeatedly throughout the tour. The long climb down the stairs ended on the sandy wash floor of Antelope Canyon and we got our first views of the slots.

Someone in an online review described this tour as “waiting in line at Magic Mountain” and that description was perfect. The hordes of tourists snaked through the narrow corridors slowly, which ended up being great for getting the shots I wanted. Avoiding the people meant I had to shoot aiming upward most of the time, but that’s where the best views seem to be anyway. A few times I was able to wait out the people in front of us to get a clear shot of the full, open canyon. Our guide actually held me back and told me to shoot with the photography tour and then catch up to them when I’m done. The canyon felt longer than I expected, and I came out the other side with a smile on my face, lots of good photos, and a new, less-jaded opinion of Antelope Canyon tours. It was well-worth the money, and the guides really made the experience better among the flocks of people and their children bumping into one another. I highly recommend checking it out and using Ken’s Tours!

We felt good about our day in Page so we hit the road to Flagstaff, where we attempted to find a park or overlook for sunset. We ended up wandering at the Observatory, but found out it closes early on Sunday so we couldn’t explore too much. We settled on a little pull-off above town where the late-day sun washed over it as the shadow of the mountain behind us overtook the rest. Then we were ready for a beer. Dark Sky Brewing is right down the road from the observatory, and it’s a cute little space with string lights and Brewing tanks in full view. We got a flight of beers that included a great IPA, a rye sour, an amazing coffee vanilla pale ale, and a coconut coffee stout that may as well have been a candy bar. We had a really nice time there looking at photos from the day and talking about our big Grand Canyon hike for tomorrow.

We found a local pizza shop, Pizza Patio, that makes vegan pies and got one for the drive to our hotel. We got vegan buffalo cheese and sausage, which turned out to be wonderful. The man running the shop was super friendly and interested in my thoughts about vegan options so he could expand his menu. The drive to our hotel was short and the $33/night room was just perfect! Another great day on the books.



How to Beer Crawl Boise in 3 Easy Steps

Delicious and beautiful, the War Cry by Barbarian

Beer might not be the first thing you think of when you hear Idaho, but Boise has a vibrant beer community and some offerings that would make the mouth of any cicerone start to water. I’m going to highlight a few of my favorite places from my recent visit to the spud state, but I would highly recommend looking around for yourself as well. We all know how quickly craft breweries can pop up!

First things first: I know everyone has different tastes in beer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been belly up to the bar at some world-renowned craft brewery or local legend with the best imperial barrel-aged something-infused blah blah whatever beer and someone sidles up next to me and asks the bartender what they have that tastes like Blue Moon. And that’s fine. I used to react in astonishment and judge their horrible taste, but they are in the same brewery as I am, and that’s a good thing! Whichever friend, article, or pure flight of whimsy brought them there, they are now among great beers, and the bartender and patrons should be their guides to trying something new.

The tap list can be overwhelming sometimes

If you’re only going to stop at one brewery in Boise make it Barbarian Brewing. If you love sours this place is paradise. I don’t mean flavor-of-the-week raspberry Berliner weisse either, they have barrel-aged golden sours, sour reds, and I saw a sour porter listed somewhere. You have your pick, and they’re all fantastic. They age their beers in tequila barrels, wine barrels, whiskey/bourbon barrels, and of course the regular old oak barrel. The flavors run the gamut from sweet to tart and everywhere in between. My favorite on the sour side of the spectrum was the War Cry, a golden sour aged in bourbon barrels for a year and blended with white wine juice. If ever a description seemed like it was made just for me it’s this one. The Watermelon Sour and Beta Wolf 2.0 sour IPA are also wonderful.

Barbarian doesn’t stick to just sours, however amazing they may be. They extend their talents to IPAs as well, and the quality stays the same. They have a nice selection of east coast style IPAs to choose from. The Space Wolf was my favorite, with lots of big hop flavor and still crushable at 6.8%. The CryoWolf experiments with cryogenically freezing several hop varieties which, from what I’m told, preserves and presents more of the hop characteristics while also increasing the yield of the batch. The pièce de résistance, however, was a very intimidating triple IPA called Fenrir. Billed as a juicy east coast IPA and coming in at 11.5%, this is what we call a “dangerous beer.” Juicy barely does it justice, with sweet, citrusy goodness oozing out with every sip, the high alcohol content is hardly noticeable. It goes down smooth, so please be sure to get yourself an Uber or walk back to your hotel after a few of these.

The best looking cupcake tray I’ve seen

Just a short one-block walk from here is the second brewery I’d recommend: Woodland Empire. Much darker and less shiny than the bright taproom at Barbarian, this place just has a different vibe. It’s dog-friendly, and the bartenders were almost as eager to greet us as the pups under the table. Here you’ll find people playing darts while a long table hosts 4 serious chess games. The menu is a bit more eclectic, with some seemingly gimmicky beers like a celery mint collaboration that actually turned out to be delicious. The sours just couldn’t live up to Barbarian, but they did have some tasty IPAs and other offerings. The Big Sticky Red IPA was a nice full-flavored beer, and the Pineapple Weed Pilsner (infused with chamomile) was uniquely delicious. My favorite was a coffee stout featuring beans from local Neckar Coffee. It pepped me up for the 20 steps I had to take to get to my next stop.

Basically right next door to Woodland Empire is PreFunk Beer Bar. This is the place to squeeze in, find a seat in the small bar area or at the tables outside, and get comfortable to finish out your night. With beers on tap from all over the US and beyond you will definitely find what you’re looking for. My favorite of the night was the Phantom Bride IPA by Belching Beaver, but there were a lot of tempting taps from O’Dell, Victory, Firestone, and so many more. It got pretty crowded, but it was never too loud. It was a perfect way to finish out an evening of drinking before heading over to the Knitting Factory for a show.


A couple of honorable mentions that are close as well: 10 Barrel Brewing, who expanded their reach by selling to Anheuser-Busch in 2014, has a pub nearby, and whatever you may think about big beer distribution this place puts out some pretty tasty IPAs. The local Payette Brewing, who are in the other direction geographically and otherwise, moved to a location closer to downtown last summer and the taproom is beautiful. Outside you can sit on the grass and watch people’s dogs chase each other as you sip on some decent IPAs and fun one-off beers probably brewed with maple syrup or gingerbread cookies.

Boise has managed to surprise me in many ways over the years. From the proximity to ski resorts and hiking trails to the beautiful parks and disc golf and now the excellent beer scene, I count Boise among the best cities I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. The 3 places I described are located downtown, so there’s plenty of access to food and entertainment as well. If you’re feeling like some caffeine and/or sugar after your beer crawl, Guru donuts is just a block away for coffee and treats (if you get there before they sell out.) Drink well, be merry, and get home safely! Enjoy Boise!






Save our Parks! Interviews from a SLC Impeachment March.


Utah has only been my official home for a short time, but it has been a place that I’ve loved and felt close to ever since the first time I visited ten years ago. The beauty and the grandeur of the landscapes in the national parks and national monuments fill me with awe each time I have the opportunity to experience them. Never have I visited one of the countless sites in this state without seeing others enjoying them as well. It’s the reason people come here, and it’s the reason people love it here.

I visited the Donald Trump Impeachment March at the Salt Lake City Capitol Building on Sunday, July 2 and spoke to some people about the current issues we are facing regarding the environment and some of our national monuments. The video is below and you can read on for how you can help:

Two of the designated protected lands, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, are currently under review along with dozens of others in the US. The American public has until July 9 to submit any thoughts or comments regarding the designation of these monuments. Please take the time to share your thoughts by going to this website.

This is the full URL:

A lot of times it feels like we can’t do anything to change what’s happening in our country. This is an opportunity to do just that. Sign the petition, call your local representatives, write letters, make videos, talk to your family and friends. Any little thing we can do to help preserve these lands is worth the time and effort. I attempt to share the beauty of these places through photography and videos in the hopes that it will inspire others to see it for themselves or at least allow them to enjoy images of a place they might not have the chance to see in person. I hope everyone can appreciate the seriousness of what is at stake.

Thank you for taking the time.


The Ear Canal: Make Your Voice Heard!

Ear Canal

Our National Monuments are under attack by a reckless regime in the United States government that sees no value beyond the bottom line. There is still time to make your voices heard. Visit this website before July 9, 2017 to leave a comment letting the government know that these designations are important for us and future generations! Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Bears Ears in Utah are just two of many that are under review!

This is the full URL:

Outside the well-known National Parks of Utah, there are tons of slot canyons that have been carved into the landscape over millennia of wind, sand, and water rushing through them. Peek-a-Boo Canyon and Spooky Gulch in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are two of my favorite slot canyons and they happen to part of one loop hike. Whichever way you take it has some challenging parts, but overall it’s an easy slot for anyone willing to climb and crawl a little bit.

This view is from above after I climbed up, stemming and using counter-pressure techniques that are a big part of why I love these canyons so much. They are basically a huge playground in nature, and they are some of the most beautiful landforms I have ever seen. It’s addictive climbing through narrow spaces and getting different views. This one makes me think of an ear canal. I will sometimes get myself to a spot and just sit in awe of the natural creation that is these slots. I think this is something everyone should experience in their life.

It’s too easy to dismiss something you don’t understand, so let’s make sure the committees reviewing our most precious natural lands have all the facts straight from the people who appreciate them. We can make a difference by making our voices heard. Please take a moment and leave comment before July 9 and I will see you out in the canyons!

One last time the link is


The Subway

Subway Falls

Hiking The Subway in Zion National Park has been something I’ve wanted to do ever since I saw the photos on my first visit. It always seemed impossible to plan with my spontaneous visits to the park. My previous attempts at getting a permit the day I visited had been unsuccessful, but this time Becca and I got the last two permits for the next day! I was overly excited to finally see this place with my own eyes and get a chance to photograph it myself.

Shooting something that is a magnet for photographers in a place this beautiful is a hard thing to do because so many amazing photographers have been there and spent the time to get incredible shots. Finding something approaching unique is almost not possible when you’re just using the landscape. I took a few snapshots of the classic Subway shot just to get a feel for how it was done and the way the light plays off the curved canyon walls. As I waded in the water and waited for hikers to get out of the way I found this little pool where the water cascaded over the edge beautifully, and I felt like I’d found my shot.

I wanted to incorporate the tunnel-like walls from which The Subway gets its name, but I also wanted to include the water we hiked through for three miles. It’s hard to capture the feeling of awe one experiences standing in a place like this, reflecting on the power of water and nature to create such breathtaking features, but I hope this image gives you some idea. If nothing else, I hope it compels people to get out and do this hike and see it for themselves! At the very least I hope it does for you what similar images have done for me: inspire my wanderlust and desire to be out in nature to go find the beauty that surrounds us all no matter where we are!

I’ll have a video up very soon with more from this beautiful hike!


Calling Salt Lake City Home


After two months on the road, 18 states, and countless nights slept in this tent (I could go back and count, but I’m not going to) Becca and I have finally landed in Salt Lake City, Utah with an apartment, a queen-size mattress or two, and a questionable heating/cooling system. Still, this is our new home for at least the 6-month lease period and week one has been great!

Although I’ve been here a lot in the past I’ve never lived here, and that makes all the difference. We even spent a week or two bumming around town before we moved in. I mean that in the most sincere sense– we spent our days in Starbucks, didn’t shower much, and ate most of our food out of a cooler with no ice in it. We camped at a great little spot on Utah Lake most nights. It wasn’t bad as temporary homes go, but we were ready for something more solid. So here we are!

This first week has been full of finding out what’s around us and what the city has to offer. So far we have not been disappointed. The vegan options around here are plentiful and amazing: Buds is the standout favorite for delicious sandwiches like the Buffalo or a cheesesteak while City Cakes Vegan Bakery has some dangerously delicious cookie dough and cheesecake. Honorable mentions are Frisch Compassionate Eatery, Vertical Diner, Vertical Pizza, and the vegan pull-apart cheesy bread from The Pie.

I should also mention Proper Brewing Company, where I already almost feel like a regular. They have daily specials on their delicious beer, trivia on Tuesdays, and a couple of fantastic vegan burgers to boot! My favorite thing has been finding places like Proper which I hadn’t heard of before moving here that turned out to be amazing hangouts with nice people. I can’t wait to find out what else is hiding right under my nose here.

SLC is great for its wide streets and bike lanes, and our apartment in The Avenues is close biking distance to basically everything we need as long as we don’t mind biking back up the large hill to our place on the way home. Speaking of proximity, we are close to so many National Parks that I just don’t know what to do or where to go first. The thought of being less than a day’s drive to all of these places fills me with excitement and the urge to plan trips for every bit of free time I have! Some would be a long day drive, (Olympic NP might take me two days of serious driving) but the sheer amount of options is enough to keep me busy for quite a long time to come. I can’t wait to see new places and old favorites and share it all!

SLC Distances Map

Take me to all of these places! The 6 National Parks/National Monuments I listed in Utah don’t even scratch the surface of what this state has to offer. State Parks, BLM land, canyons, rivers, waterfalls, mountains, and forests are everywhere and packed with incredible trails and views. I’ve got a lot of work to do having fun here.




Peek-a-Boo and Spooky slot canyons were some of the first slot canyons I ever visited. They remain my favorites of all that I’ve been to so far. The sinuous trails created by endless floods of water lead the imagination down a similarly winding journey; the amount of time it took to create these amazing formations, the power of nature and water, and our place in the world. It’s hard to comprehend what it took to create such beauty and the fact that we are able to experience it in such close proximity is a testament to the work of the National Parks Service over the past century.

Not to go down the even more dark and winding path of politics, but this is exactly the kind of thing we need to protect. We are not here merely for ourselves and to use this land for selfish and short-sighted purposes but to preserve the wonders of nature like this for future generations so they know why this planet is worth fighting for!