Sand to Snow

I only went out for a walk
And finally concluded to stay out till sundown
For going out I found
Was really going in

-John Muir

The Sand to Snow Monument was designated in February 2016 as part of a trio of Monuments protecting the California Mojave Desert: Mojave Trails, Castle Mountain, and Sand to Snow. Monument designation for Sand to Snow protected a critical corridor connecting San Gorgonio Wilderness and Mojave Desert. The huge range of elevations, spanning desert floor to 11,000-foot summit of San Gorgonio Mountain … Read the rest

Canyons of the Ancients

Through the strength of the spirits, our ancestors built these dwellings here. That’s what makes them so significant. We want to encourage others to preserve these dwellings for future generations to come and observe because our cultural and traditional ways bring the soul nourishment. – Ernest M. Vallo Sr., Eagle Clan, Pueblo of Acoma, 004

Painted Hand Pueblo

Canyons of the Ancients, comprised of just 176,056-acres, contains the highest density of known archeological sites in the country. I feel like we should just be able to leave it … Read the rest

Bears Ears

Whose Ears? Bears Ears! Whose Land? Our Land!

Bears Ears

 

We were finally headed to Utah, the epicenter of the public land-privatization movement and home to two of the hotspots of the administration’s monument “review.”

Our first stop in Utah was Salt Lake City (SLC) to attend the This Land is Our Land march during the Outdoor Retailor show. Like any good Portlander we will drive hundreds of miles for a good protest. This would be the last Outdoor Retailor held in SLC, as the show was … Read the rest

Vermilion Cliffs

Protected in 2000, the monument houses a geologic wonderland of erosional formations—
sheer cliffs, slot canyons, vibrantly colored yellow-red-orange-purple sandstone dunes, rock outcroppings, mesas and tablelands. It’s a remote and seemingly unspoiled area, and home to many sensitive species of plants and animals. The monument is also home to over twenty species of raptors, and, after being reintroduced in 1996 by the Peregrine Fund, California Condors!

(As an aside, we learned that the condors (and other birds of prey) in the area still face challenges, including lead poisoning … Read the rest

Grand Canyon-Parashant

This monument is vast and magnificently diverse. It includes deep canyons, 30 degrees hotter than the forest, to 8,000’ Mount Trumball with beautiful ponderous pine. It’s also remote and undeveloped. There are no paved roads into the Monument and it would be simple to find singing solitude. The remoteness, vastness and huge landscape-level-protection is what makes this Monument so, well, monumental.

Our exploration Grand Canyon-Parashant began in Nevada, where we contemplated a western entrance to explore Pakoon Springs. A couple we meet in Gold Butte told us a Read the rest

Gold Butte

In far southeastern Nevada, Gold Butte National Monument preserves a remote and rugged desert landscape. Gold Butte isn’t your typical desert, though. It has outcroppings of red and pink rock, sculptural red sandstone piles, mountains rising unto 8,000 feet, and canyons. These features make for a stunning contrast to the desert basin stretching between the Virgin River to Lake Mead.  Scattered throughout the basin and rock formations are amazing reminders of the over 10,000 years of people who have called the area home. There are remnants of indigenous … Read the rest

Basin and Range

“The vast, rugged landscape redefines our notions of distance and space and brings into sharp focus the will and resolve of the people who have lived here.”

– Presidential Proclamation establishing Basin and Range National Monument.

The Basin and Range National Monument, created by President Obama in 2015, protected 704,000 acres and is an ecological and geological powerhouse, offering unparalleled opportunities for solitude. The Monument includes two large valleys surrounded by eight separate mountain ranges, and is home to much wildlife (including many threatened or sensitive species) and … Read the rest

Craters of The Moon

My feet are tired but my soul is wide awake – Craters of the Moon 

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

Craters of the Moon National Monument preserves an other-worldly landscape in Southern Idaho. The Monument was designated in 1924 by President Coolidge to “preserve the unusual and weird volcanic formations” and significantly expanded by President Clinton in 2000 to include the Great Rift zone and three additional lava fields. Because of its expansion, it was included on the current administration’s review list. Just before we … Read the rest

Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument

Upper Missouri River Breaks 1
Upper Missouri River Breaks

Our trip to the Upper Missouri Rivers Beaks National Monument coincided with a heat wave, and the day we arrived in Fort Benton the thermometer read 98 degrees. On the upside we were headed to a river!

The city of Fort Benton marks the western and upriver end of the Monument, and is a quiet historic town that seems to embrace both the Monument and River that call it home. Fort Benton has three museums, including a great interpretive center for the Monument.

The … Read the rest

Hanford Reach

Hanford Reach National Monument
Hanford Reach

On a near 100 degree day we pulled into Richland, WA, heading to Hanford Reach National Monument, our first Monument of the trip! Designated in 2000 by President Clinton, Hanford Reach is 195,000 acres along the Columbia River in eastern Washington.

Our first stop was Columbia Kayak Adventures to chat about floating the Monument. They do tours which fill quickly and sound amazing. The next Hanford Reach tour wasn’t until July, so we rented a tandem and they shuttled us to just below the Monument’s boundary. … Read the rest