Journal

  • 7 Beautiful but Potentially Deadly Grand Canyon Spots You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

    Grand Canyon. One of the 7 natural wonders of the world. Beloved as a National Park, renowned as a hiking and rafting destination. Visited by upwards of 5 million people per year. And yet the vast majority of visitors only see a small part of the Canyon: the places that are easily accessible and packed with crowds.

    Out beyond the hiking corridors, manmade skywalks, and car-filled parking lots is a remote wilderness of deep canyons, sandstone terraces, dramatic waterfalls, and natural arches. It can be an arduous journey to reach these places, either by foot or by raft (often both).

    However, if you are willing to go through the immense mental, physical, and emotional challenge to see Grand Canyon’s hidden wonders, you will be rewarded with some of the most jaw-dropping scenery that Arizona has to offer.

  • Cookstove Trail: A Respite in the "Cool" Pines

    On a clear and sunny November day, my wife and I loaded up our little Toyota Prius for a weekend trip to Oak Creek Canyon. With a reservation to stay the night in a cabin at the Forest Houses Resort, I was itching to grab a hike in Sedona along the way.

    As is often the case, my wife’s intuition was much more accurate than mine. Here’s a rough approximation of our exchange as we drove out of town:

    WIFE: “It’s Saturday, don’t you think the trails will be really busy in Sedona today?”

    ME: “It’s November. Tourist season is dying off. It’ll be fine!”

    I should have known better. God, should I have known better.

  • Ultimate Solitude: The West’s Most Underrated National Parks and Monuments

    America’s National Parks have never been more popular. 2014, 2015, and 2016 have been banner years for parks, with each year one-upping the last for the record of most visitors per year.

    While this is great news for the support of our public lands, that also means that the parks are becoming much more crowded, with places like Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite seeing obscenely long lines at entrance stations and more often becoming the setting for news stories like “Idiot Tourist Gored by Bison While Taking Selfie.”

    As a result, longtime nature lovers are increasingly avoiding the more popular parks as they are overrun with human activity. Fortunately, there is no shortage of parks, especially in the Western U.S., and especially after former President Obama’s run of National Monument creation before his end of term in 2016.

  • 9 Best Waxed Canvas Backpacks for Home and Field

    Known for its water-resistant and tough-as-nails durability, waxed canvas was a staple of England and Scotland’s sailing culture. Today, innovative companies across the globe are putting their own take on the fabric, and we’re not complaining.

    Here’s a look at some of the best waxed canvas backpacks for all your adventures at home, in the office or in the field.

  • What Walt Whitman Got Right in His 1858 Men's Health Guide

    Leaves of Grass is now considered an icon of American poetry, but it wasn’t an overnight success. The first two editions of the collection sold modestly, and in 1858, at the age of 39, Walt Whitman was far from becoming the folk legend he is today.

    That same year, a man named Mose Velsor began writing a weekly column for The New York Atlas called “Manly Health and Training,” a collection of anecdotal tips on men’s health. The column covered a little of everything: walking in nature, eating properly, maintaining a beard, working out with the everyday objects around you, taking in fresh air. That sort of thing.

    150 years and a curious graduate student later, we now know that Whitman and Velsor were one in the same. Though Whitman hinted at “Manly Health” in his notebooks and journals, there had never been evidence of an actual series until Zachary Turpin at the University of Houston discovered the column while searching old newspapers for Whitman’s pen names.

    Now, the 47,000-word column has been adapted into the pocket-sized Walt Whitman’s Guide to Manly Health and Training, pairing the bard’s advice with beautiful illustrations from Matthew Allen, a surfer and artist from Southern California.