Our chariot (Roberta Sotonoff)

Exploring Custer State Park, South Dakota

Custer State Park is big - 71,000 acres big. And, it's beautiful which is probably why it became a backdrop for films like "A Man Called Horse" and "Dances With Wolves." Winding roads pass lakes, lodges and lots of animals like bison and pronghorn Read More

Carving at the Trees of Mystery park in Klamath, California (Photo MCArnott)

Pondering Old Growth Forests at the Trees of Mystery in Klamath, California

I am looking at the top of a tree that is so tall, I have to hug it to keep my balance. Let's do the math: It was a seedling around the time Christopher Columbus discovered America. Before the 1800s, the American Northwest was still a dangerous Read More

No Safety Rails on the Reservation

Sky-walking over the Grand Canyon

Not many bridges are in the shape of a horseshoe, which brings to mind the fact that most bridge engineers have not dealt with the problems of building one. And, most bridges aren’t see-through; they are usually constructed of metal, or, at the Read More

Tour group on the Gettysburg Battlefield

Touring the Gettysburg Battlefield with a Gettysburg Guide

It was raining, of course. It had rained for a week and shown no signs of stopping, but this was our one chance to see Gettysburg while John and I were in this part of Pennsylvania. Our National Park Service tour bus pulled into the parking area for Read More

Looking into the grand Canyon

Day Hiking the Grand Canyon in Northern Arizona

The trail doesn't seem especially steep going down, but the faces of people hauling themselves back up tell a different story. Truth is: While the grade might not seem rigorous when you're descending, it is constant. Constant equals relentless on the Read More

Wild horses on Cumberland Island

Backpacking Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia

A quiet snuffle, and a snort, awakens me from slumber. Silhouettes of live oak branches laden with Spanish moss pattern the roof of my tent in the pale moonlight. I roll over in the sleeping bag and peer out through the tent screen. Horses! The Read More

alaska glaciers

Seeing National Park Highlights on a Cruise of Alaska’s Inside Passage

“Look there, in the top of that tree,” our raft guide whispered, pointing to a massive cottonwood tree near the river’s edge. Eight bodies in the raft with me turned and squinted, followed almost immediately by emitting a series of ooohs and Read More

Enjoying the view from atop Stony Man in Shenandoah National Park. (photo credit: Katherine Rodeghier, c 2012)

Autumn Leaf Peeping in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park

We’re nearing the end of an enjoyable family outing motoring along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park when my husband decides it’s time for a break. He pulls into Skyland Resort, orders a beer in the Mountain Taproom and positions himself in Read More

Angels Landing Trail

Hiking the Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park, Utah

My problem was hubris. I had just hiked 500 miles from southern Arizona to the Utah border, in the process crossing the  high desert of central Arizona and the Grand Canyon. I felt fit, acclimated to 100-degree temperatures -- a hard-bitten hiker who Read More

View from Artists Point

Hiking Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park

I am not thinking about gesyers or fumaroles as I am walking; I am thinking about animals, specifically, about the grizzly bear the ranger told me might be inhabiting this slice of Yellowtone's backcountry, in the southern section of the park near Read More

Brook's Range

Flight-seeing Over Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska

The bush plane is tiny, just two rows of seats, sized for people who like each other a lot. It's equipped with winter survival equipment, and before we take off, we get instructions on using the emergency radio and the survival gear. I know that Read More

Hiking the High Sierra

Hiking the High Sierra Trail in California

My eyes are searching in the wrong place for a trail. They are searching in the wrong place because I simply refuse to believe that the obvious route -- up THERE and over THAT -- is the route we will actually have to climb. Two days into a hike of Read More

Sequoia

Hiking Among the Redwoods in California’s Muir Woods

I am standing in front of a redwood tree California's Muir Woods, swaying from side to side. If there was anyone else on the trail, they might think I was performing some arcane New Age ritual. Either that, or being charmed by a hypnotic snake. What Read More

The Grand Canyon and the Colorado River

Hiking Arizona’s Grand Canyon, Rim to Rim

The Grand Canyon, Rim-to-Rim. 21-ish  miles, 5000 feet down from the South Rim then another 6,000 up the North; that's more than a vertical mile. If you're like most people, you'll only realize what that means when you're at the bottom looking back Read More