Yosemite Valley, California Road Trip Stops

California, Cat On A Leash, Cats, National Parks, Road Trip, Uncategorized, Waterfalls

If you haven’t been to The Yosemite yet, add it to the bucket list! I give this place an 11/10 for beauty. It truly is one of the most breathtaking places you’ll go to!

I drove in from Los Angeles Overnight. I want to say it was about a 4 ish hour drive! My cat, Charles Lickens, and I got there in time to see a beautiful Yosemite sunrise! Charles and I have been car camping all across America for the last year or so! It’s a cheap and easy way to see the country!

Near the visitors center

You can drive all the way through the park from one side to the other (most the year, be sure to check for snow/weather closures).

There are tons of waterfalls and scenic lookouts! I normally would have stopped to hike but it was super packed, there were endless lines for parking spots and I was there at first light! I also didn’t have a safe place to leave my kitty.

Charles and I did manage to find a nice spot to cozy up for a hammock nap! I also found out you can buy a beer in the little eating area. It’s in the fridge with all of the other drinks (water, pop, tea, etc.). It was a nice little refresher after pulling an all-nighter and walking around all day, kitty in tow!

Hammock chillin’ at Yosemite

I have a double hammock! I like the extra space. I’m able to draw and read comfortably inside! It also fits two people super easily! My friend and I used it together and we had more than enough space. He read on one end and i drew on the other.

Mr Talkative as people walk by lol.

Follow me in Instagram for more of my in-the-moment adventures! @maggmountains

There’s a town on the north side of the park, Sonora, California! I stayed the night there. It was so cute! I was told by more than one person that they have the best Mexican food ever there! And I must say, it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had! The place was Called El Arroyo. Yum!

By far the best restaurant you can eat at near Yosemite. But there were also other types of food in this town if you don’t like Mexican!

The best place to eat near The Yosemite.

The drive from Yosemite to Senora is also amazing! Little windy two lane road through the rolling hills of California.

Driving out of the the north side of Yosemite, towards Sonora.

Stunning Scenic Lake In Southern Colorado: Smith Reservoir!

This is an awesome little road trip stop if you find yourself in southern Colorado! This reservoir is small but it’s so beautiful! I drove from Austin, Texas, cut over into New Mexico just before Amarillo and winded through some back highways until I got into souther CO! My grandpa taught me to always take…

Flaming Gorge Reservoir: Road Trip Stop On The Utah/ Wyoming Border

I’m always looking for new and beautiful places to explore around the United States! A lot of the time I will just zoom in on my apple maps on a green area or a body of water, and then research whatever names are posted in that area! That’s how I found the Flaming Gorge. I…

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado: Rocky Mountain Sand Dunes

Colorado is such a beautiful state! I’m so glad I took this route on my way up to Washington State! I weirdly had never been to Colorado, one of the only states I hadn’t been to yet (aside from the airport)! 🤯 seems like the first place I’d go lol. I also stopped at the…

The Mojave Desert: A South West Road Trip Essential Stop!

This was a quick stop for me on my drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles! I always try to see any many places as possible when I’m on road trips, even if I only have time to stop for a few hours. This place was nothing like I had never seen before! Growing up…

Ocean Jet Skiing in Destin, Florida: Destin Beach Trip Mini Guide

Destin and the entire Florid Panhandle have a ton of very underrated beaches! If you’re looking for white sand, and bright blue water, this is the spot! And it’s a pretty affordable vacation spot! I’ve been to the Panhandle a handful of time and it’s been a blast for all of them! Pro tip: it’s…

Tennessee Waterfall Hike: Burgress Falls State Park

I wasn’t sure how I was going to like living in Tennessee, after growing up in the beautiful Pacific North West, but I was pleasantly surprised! Tennessee is extremely lush and has hills and mountains. There a lot of waterfalls to visit! (Here’s another one of my favorite Tennessee Waterfalls). This hike is right off…

Middle Tennessee’s Best Hike, Waterfall, and Swimming Hole: Cummins Falls

I lived in Nashville, Tennessee for a couple years and this waterfall and swimming hole is by far my favorite place in the State.  Also… side note! If you’re going to Cummins Falls you should definitely spend some time in Nashville! I will be writing up a post on the best spots to go in…

Hiking Red Rock Canyon: Best Las Vegas Hikes- Calico Hills

I spent a couple months in the greater Las Vegas area! Between the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and Red Rock Canyon National Park! All of which are beautiful in their own way! One of my favorite hikes and hot springs is close by as well! It goes along the emerald colored Colorado river. If you…

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North Cascades National Park, Washington State: Guide and Photo Gallery

camping, hiking, National Parks, Pacific North West, Uncategorized, Washington State

North Cascades National Park is heaven on earth.

It hugs the Canadian boarder, you’ll even get some “Welcome to Canada” texts if you happen to have service any point!

It encompasses serene alpine lakes, endless mountain peaks and dense forest! Everywhere you drive or go is another breathtaking view! It never ends. For Forests floors are filled with ferns and moss. I’m sure there are tons of huckleberries too but we went a little to early in the year for that!

The hikes we went on were very dangerous, we got stuck more than once, so I’m not going to publicly recommend them! If you want the details, feel free to email me or find me on instagram, or Facebook! 

The dense, lush forest of the Cascades. So beautiful!

Follow me in Instagram for more of my in-the-moment adventures! @maggmountains

Diablo Lake:

This lake is one of the most iconic spots in the North Cascades.

Diablo Lake, North Cascades National Park

Yes, the water is this blue in person! It’s breathtaking. This was before we even hiked or camp, just a beautiful stop as you drive thru the park. Every twist and turn has your eye balls exploding out of your head with excitement.

We took these photos at a scenic turnout right off the main road. 

We stayed at a campground just across the lake from the scenic turn out! There was a nice little trail connected to the campground that we went did the first afternoon. It had beautiful views of the lake! There was absolutely no phone service. There was an investigation going on for a missing person and we were spooked so we only stayed at this spot for one night!

The forest there is super dense. You can see how sunny it is outside, but it’s pretty dark still back in the trees! (I’m from WA state so I’m used to it). It also gets super cold at night. Bring winter or warm clothes for night time, even in the summer!

We make sure to bring the Jetboil so we can have hot coffee during the chilly mornings! It’s super lightweight and compact, which makes it easy to bring around. Not sure how I survived without one before with how much I’m hiking and camping.

We also usually do car camping. It’s safer for women and a little warmer and secure than a tent!

Follow me in Instagram for more of my in-the-moment adventures! @maggmountains

IMPORTANT!!!

There are both black bears and grizzly bears in these woods. Do not go anywhere without bear spray! I would bring multiple canisters of it to be safe. You can get it at most outdoors stores or get it on amazon! And some knives you can strap to the front of your pack!

Bear Spray on Amazon

We even brought ours to the bathroom every single time. 

The next morning we went up to the small town of Marble Mount. It’s one of the only place with phone service and amenities! Its about 30-minutes from Diablo Lake. We found a map and hoped online to find an awesome hike. Which we did find, it just didn’t turn out exactly as planned. Ooops.

The Amazing Mystery Hike

I’m not sharing this hike location, it’s too dangerous and I don’t want to set anyone up for failure! I’m sure you can find it on the AllTrails App by comparing pictures! 

North Cascades National Park Hike
What’s better than a PB&J on a hamburger bun via mountaintop?!

Were both very experienced hikers, it was just a tricky hike with very high elevation. We probably would have been fine later in the year. We hiked far up the Grand Tetons in July and there was minimal snow! Those few weeks can make a big difference in the mountains.

With any hike you go on in this park, make sure to bring warm clothes. Even if it’s super hot out! The temperature can drop quickly. These mountains aren’t ones to be messed with! We started the hike when it was in the 80’s and we were shivering by the time we got down. We each brought a long sleeve too. Be prepared for temperature changes as the elevation climbs and as the sun fades!

We ended up summiting this peak on accident! Lol. 

Summit a North Cascade Peak
North Cascades National Park

Follow me in Instagram for more of my in-the-moment adventures! @maggmountains

It was incredible but we were stuck up there for a long time. The snow is super easy to climb up, and yet super hard to get down! We fell a long ways at one point! It was super steep. We may or may not have been hanging from bushes with our feet dangling at one point…. while massive spiders crawled over out hands. And no, I’m not kidding. We are both terribly afraid of spiders too haha.

Stranded and stressed. Summit Fever got to us.
Rebuilding energy with a snack on the way back down.

Lesson learned (a few years ago): deeply research every hike before you go on them! And don’t summit a Cascade Peak until at least July! (We went in mid June). Always being extra warm clothes, no matter how short or easy the hike may seem.

There wasn’t a gate or people charging money when we went, but things can change over the year so it’s better to prepared for National Park fees. Mt Rainier National Park was surprisingly the same! No gate but there was a big visitors center at the top.

You can get in for free if you have a National Park Service Pass. The pass costs $75 for the entire year, or you can pay anytime you enter but it adds up fast. A lot of parks charge $20 a car. I always get mine renewed every year! The pass also now comes with a parking pass, which hangs from your rear view window.

Stay safe and stay groovy!

Big Tree State Park, Northern California Road Trip

I was making the trip from Yosemite to Lake Tahoe, and of course decided to take the back roads! (Which also lead to another cool discovery and long dead end). I didn’t have a big plan, I was car camping and was stopping and going as I pleased! Luckily I saw the signs for Big…

Yosemite Valley, California Road Trip Stops

If you haven’t been to The Yosemite yet, add it to the bucket list! I give this place an 11/10 for beauty. It truly is one of the most breathtaking places you’ll go to! I drove in from Los Angeles Overnight. I want to say it was about a 4 ish hour drive! My cat,…

Southern California Road Trip Stop: The Salton Sea

The Salton Sea is the largest lake in the state of California! This lake is very close to where they host Coachella! I made a pit stop here on my South West road trip, traveling from Arizona to Southern California. There isn’t a ton to do in the area, but it’s a super unique place…

Hiking Mt Hood, Oregon: MnNeil Point Summit

hiking
McNeil Point, Mt Hood

This was hands-down one of the most breathtaking hikes I have ever done in my life! And I have done a lot of hiking in my days. My friend has hiked around America, Europe and South America and he said the same!

Mount Hood is Located just outside of Portland Oregon. You can see it’s peak while you sip on a patio beer down town. 

Every turn on this was a new and stunning view!

I’ll be going over the trailhead, parking, the hike, safety, and nearby accommodations (aka the most cozy Air BnB ever).

Getting to the Trail Head

You spend a good while driving up the side of Mount Hood up a windy, gravel road. There are no guardrails, some of the sides are a long drop! Be careful. There’s no phone service so make sure to start your GPS before you start heading up the hill.

Mt Hood, Oregon

Apple Maps and Google both work without service if you start them while you have service! You can get the exact directions to the trailhead on the AllTrails app, by Typing in McNeil Point, Mt Hood. 

I always screen shot the details before too, just incase. And bring an extra portable battery pack to charge my phone. I also bought a solar charger that folds up and fits in your backpack, it works amazingly! I was personally recommended this brand by a fellow outdoorsy friend, click here. It can directly charge your phone, or you can charge power banks. It can also hook to the outside of your backpack so that you can charge it while you hike!

There is no parking lot, you park along the side of the gravel road. It did appear that you needed a parking pass. Mt. Hood is part of a National Forrest, so my National Park Service pass worked! (the fine print on the back says it works for any federal land parking). 

The Adventure Up!

Even within the first short bit of the hike the views are stunning! You could see multiple waterfalls, a river and the peak of Mt Hood at the first tree break. 

Almost the entire hike is lined with wildflowers. I was in heaven! I took so many photos on it because every turn was something new and amazing. 

Even in the tree covering areas you can see so much beauty! Oregon is extremely lush and has areas of rainforest. You can find mossy waterfalls all over. We had to cross them many times, and each time we were taken aback by their beauty.

Eventually you reach an open part of the trail again where you’re looking out to the other side of the mountain. From this side, you can see Mount Rainier, which is insane! We hiked until we found a spot we could put the hammock. One side we had a view of Mount Rainier, the other was Mt. Hood. It was heavenly! I drew, while my friend Reese read! We chilled for over an hour before starting the rest of the trek to the top.

This hike gets you so high up on Mount Hood, without needing any crazy mountaineering gear, that you think you’re at the end like 20 times (that’s not an exaggeration) before you actually get to the end. It just keeps going and keeps getting more amazing. 

It’s a super hard hike. My legs felt like complete jello. There were so many times where I wanted to turn around, but them I would see the view and keep pushing. 

When we got really close to the top, there were a bunch of people camping. It was beautiful to see all of the tents right by the peak of Mt. Hood! We snapped a pic there.

We continued again and found more amazing viewpoints. It gets kind of chilly at the top, make sure to pack some warm clothes, even on a hot day!

We found a “climbers trail” to go back down on. This is not for the faint of heart. It was very sketchy and dangerous. We are both experienced hikers and athletes so we felt comfortable. I would go the long way down if you aren’t. We only went this way because we didn’t think we had time to go the long way before it got dark.

Make sure to leave super early for this hike!

Tips and Safety

Bring A LOT of water. We were idiots… we thought the hike was half as long as it actually was so we did not bring enough water, don’t make this mistake. The hike is long and hard! 

Ever since this experience, I always bring my 40 oz Hydroflask and my 70oz Camel Back so that I have plenty, and make sure that my friends bring a lot too if they join. You can always put the bladder in your regular backpack and pull the hose through the zipper too!

Bring food. This hike is long and strenuous. I would recommend bringing a full on backpacking meal (which are actually quite good!) and making it with a Jetboil. Both are extremely lightweight and easy to bring on your hike!

Mossy Waterfall on Mt Hood

If you don’t have those, bring some high calorie bars and some fruit to have some extra sugar! I like to bring Cliff Bars, apples and bananas. They all provide a lot of energy. 

This hike is hard and long! Give yourself plenty of time. I would leave at first light.

Bring bear spray! I always have mine with me as back up. You never know in the mountains. Black bears are pretty harmless for the most part unless you startle them or get in the way of them and their babies.  There have been more and more grizzly bear siting’s in the Pacific North West, so just be cautious! 

Bear Spray on Amazon

Accommodations Close By

My friend and I rented a quite and quaint tent Air BnB right on a riverbed. It was about 30 minutes from the trailhead.

The tent was propped up on a platform. It had lighting, seating area and a hammock right on the water! It was so peaceful.

We woke up to nothing but the sound of the river!

Stay safe and Stay groovy!! Email me if you want the link to this Air Bnb (No Spam).

Maryland Hiking and Sunset Locations: Sugarloaf Mountain

hiking, Maryland, Sunset Hike

Not gonna lie, when I moved from Washington State all the way over to the North East…. Baltimore to be more specific, I did not expect to find a ton of places to explore outdoors. I moved there for a job and was planning on working as much as possible and saving a ton of money for a couple years.

Luckily, I was wrong! I found a ton of outdoorsy stuff to do. I even joined a kayak club where they had multiple areas to use kayaks and the kayaks were all set up right by the water. All you had to do was go through a training day and then they gave you the code to unlock the kayaks to use anytime! I Kayaked rivers, the Chesapeake Bay (super intimidating) and some small streams! 

Sugarloaf Mountain Guide

Sugarloaf Mountain is about an hour or so drive from Baltimore! It’s all beautiful back country roads for most of the drive. 

Info from AllTrails:

“Sugarloaf Mountain and Northern Peaks Trail is a 5.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Dickerson, Maryland that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash”.

You can either do the 5.9 mile loop, or you can drive most of the way to the top and hike less than a mile, up to you! I did the short one because I wanted to safely watch the sunset from the top and be able to get back down before it was too dark. It was perfect timing!

The sunset was UNREAL. One of my all time favorite sunsets. 

Follow me in Instagram for more of my in-the-moment adventures! @maggmountains

I went alone and I asked a stranger to take my picture. He said he would only let me if his dog could be in it lolz. 

There was a mixture of stairs and trails. Parts of it are steep but I would think its manageable for most skill levels. Older people or those not in shape might just have to take more breaks, but it’s doable for sure! I saw all types of people up there, which is so awesome! I would love to get everyone out in nature.

I had some extra time to kill so I found a little hidden spot in an area that didn’t have a lot of people. I had a beer and relaxed and soaked in the view for a couple hours.

Shot from my GoPro

When the sun started to set I headed over to the other side of the mountain that had the best view!

I would highly recommend this spot! Just make sure to clean up after yourself and to respect the land and wildlife. 

Directions From Baltimore to Sugarloaf Mountain

If these screen shots don’t work for you, you can go to the AllTrails app or Website, Type in “Sugarloaf Mountain Maryland”, and it’ll pull up exact directions for you that link to Apple or Google maps.

Mount Rainier National Park: Driving to the Top, Photo Gallery

Mt. Rainier is one of Washington States most iconic peaks. You can see the mountain clearly from Seattle. I was fortunate to grow up in Washington. My brother and I decided to take a longer drive to our cousins wedding, and we drove through Mt. Rainier National Park. You can drive almost all the way…

North Cascades National Park, Washington State: Guide and Photo Gallery

North Cascades National Park is heaven on earth. It hugs the Canadian boarder, you’ll even get some “Welcome to Canada” texts if you happen to have service any point! It encompasses serene alpine lakes, endless mountain peaks and dense forest! Everywhere you drive or go is another breathtaking view! It never ends. For Forests floors are…

Grand Canyon National Park: That Time an Elk Hiked With Me

This was my first time ever going to The Grand Canyon, so you could say I was pretty stoked!  I got up early where I was staying, in Flagstaff, which is just a little over an hour from the park! I threw on my spandex and USA hat and hit the road! I knew I…

Oregon Water Fall Hike: Ramona Falls in Mt Hood National Forest

Ramona Falls in Oregon is a Hidden little gem found in Mt. Hood National Forrest! My friend from Texas found it on the AllTrails app and we went for it! This hike made you feel like you are walking through a tropical rainforest, it was insanely green and lush!  The Trail Head It’s not too…

Hiking Mt Hood, Oregon: MnNeil Point Summit

This was hands-down one of the most breathtaking hikes I have ever done in my life! And I have done a lot of hiking in my days. My friend has hiked around America, Europe and South America and he said the same! Mount Hood is Located just outside of Portland Oregon. You can see it’s…

Spokane, Washington Hiking: Big Rock

Growing up in the Pacific North West, good ole PNW, I was spoiled with serene mountainous beauty, clear lakes and endless exploring!  One of my favorite go-to-hikes when I’m back home in Spokane, is Big Rock! It’s right off the Palouse Highway! It’s about 10-15 minutes down the Highway if you’re coming from the South…

Mingus Mountain, Arizona-Near Sedona: camping, hiking and local amenities!

I’m so thankful I accidentally found Mingus Mountain, Arizona. It wasn’t part of my plan. I headed over to California, and almost all nature was closed due to COVID-19. It was super stressful so I headed back to Arizona. It was hot at this point in the year so I needed to get up onto…

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Spokane, Washington Hiking: Big Rock

hiking, Pacific North West, Washington State

Growing up in the Pacific North West, good ole PNW, I was spoiled with serene mountainous beauty, clear lakes and endless exploring! 

One of my favorite go-to-hikes when I’m back home in Spokane, is Big Rock! It’s right off the Palouse Highway! It’s about 10-15 minutes down the Highway if you’re coming from the South Hill side. I don’t always put exact locations, but a quick Google or DuckDuckGo (non-censored search engine) search will give you the exact location.

There’s a decent sized parking lot! It has a little outhouse as well, always nice when you don’t have to take a nature poop or pee on a busy trail! 

I grew up going to Big Rock to ATV with my family, but that’s not allowed anymore! Luckily just the hiking alone is amazing too! 

It’s not a super long hike, but it’s definitely a booty burner! I usually have to take 3-4 water breaks on the way up. I always bring my 40oz Hydroflask on all of my hikes. I prefer ice water and it keeps my water cold for a solid 24 hours! Don’t know what I did without it before. 

Get the Hydroflask I have on Amazon

My friend and I brought her pups, I love dog-friendly trails! Just make sure to bring some doggy poo bags just incase! 

Follow me in Instagram for more of my in-the-moment adventures! @maggmountains

There a lot of rock climbing opportunities at Big Rock! Some require rope, I’ve watched some people climb some massive boulders! Pretty badass. I’ve only done some freehand climbing, where there’s minimal risk. I love climbing but I’m not experienced, I only challenge myself when I have an experienced climber guiding me!

I’ve never personally seen any wildlife on this trail, but you never know! It is the wilderness after all. Always be aware of your surroundings, for animals and humans. 

Stay safe and stay groovy! 

Maryland Hiking and Sunset Locations: Sugarloaf Mountain

Not gonna lie, when I moved from Washington State all the way over to the North East…. Baltimore to be more specific, I did not expect to find a ton of places to explore outdoors. I moved there for a job and was planning on working as much as possible and saving a ton of…

Sedona, Arizona: Camping, BLM Land and Hiking Guide

Arizona is an incredibly beautiful state. I appreciate it more and more each time I visit! This previous time… I stayed for 2 months. Ooops! I was there during the chaos of Covid-19, so it felt better for me to stay put for a while! Sedona is one of the most beautiful places you can…

How Toxins Negatively Impact the Body: A list of non-toxic products

A study done by environmental scientists found an average of 200+ chemicals in the umbilical cords of pregnant women after giving birth. That’s a lot of poison being pumped right into our babies! General hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, bleach, shampoos, and popular daily products are loaded with toxins that have harmful effects on your body!…

Grand Teton National Park: Hiking Up To Delta Lake

Delta Lake Hike was one of the most stunning hikes I have ever done in my 26-years of life! The contrast of the bright blue water, green trees and white snow was unreal. I could have stayed up there for weeks and been happy! This was a very challenging hike but it’s doable for most…

How to Train Your Cat: Leash Training, Car Rides, Hiking, Camping and More!

Traveling with my cat, Charles, has been so joyful! I wouldn’t have it any other way. Cats can be trained just like dogs, people just choose not to train them for some reason. To prove it, he’s a video of my kitty cat going pee outside! He digs a little toilet, plops on top of…

Breathtaking Hiking in The Las Vegas Area: The Lone Palm

Hot springs are not only beatific and relaxing, they have a lot of benefits to our health! Our skin absorbs the many minerals that naturally occur in the springs through a process of transdermal absorption.  Our skin is permeable and porous and absorbs a lot of what’s in our environment.  Don’t worry, if you can…

Hiking Alone is Very Peaceful, Here Are Some Safety Tips

Hiking alone, especially the first time you do it, can be daunting and very intimidating. I for one was very nervous and scared the first time I did it, but now I do it all the time! It’s so freeing and peaceful, it’s almost a form of meditation for me. Nothing but the wilderness and…

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Mingus Mountain, Arizona-Near Sedona: camping, hiking and local amenities!

Uncategorized

I’m so thankful I accidentally found Mingus Mountain, Arizona. It wasn’t part of my plan. I headed over to California, and almost all nature was closed due to COVID-19. It was super stressful so I headed back to Arizona. It was hot at this point in the year so I needed to get up onto higher elevation and stumbled upon Mingus!

The drive up from both sides is AMAZING. I’ve talked about HWY 89A in other articles, this was the same HWY! It’s so stunning. It’s a two lane windy road with amazing views! 

Getting to The Free (and not free) Camp Sites!

To get to the BLM, you are going to turn onto forest road 104 directly off  89A (Between Prescott and Cottonwood). You follow it for about a mile and then turn right onto forest road 314! This whole road is loaded with spots! It’s shaded and protected from wind, and has cell phone service!

 If you go straight, instead of turning onto the second forest road, you will run into a developed camp groud! I believe it has showers and water. I was there during COVID-19 so it was all closed up!

Amenities Close By

Cottonwood is just down the hill and will have all the supplies you need (walmart, food, and more)! They even have an awesome water store where you can refill your jugs for super cheap! I drink distilled water, tap and bottled water have a lot of minerals that build up in our joints, it was only 50 cents a gallon there!

Dead Horse State Park also has showersand a dump/refill station for RV’s! It was $15 to dump (my friend had an RV) or $7 for a day pass to go in and shower. 

Sedona is also very close and has some amazing spots to stay in!

Follow me in Instagram for more of my in-the-moment adventures! @maggmountains

Enjoying Time on Mingus Mountain

Mingus Mountain is so beautiful! 

I highly recommend driving down from the top, into Jerome and down into Cottonwood. It is AMAZING! I took a time lapse video on my GoPro that I’m working on uploading (I’m new to video, I can email it easy until I have my Youtube channel going!).

There are a lot of hikes in the area, I didn’t get to any while I was up there (I was sick and also on my period so I slept in my hammock a lot lol). 

But I had the blessing of meeting two awesome older hippy gentlemen. They offered to cook for me almost every night and showed me so much kindness!

They were also the ones who told me to switch to distilled water for my joint pain. One of them had arthritis so bad that he was going to need surgery, he switched to distilled water and did physical therapy and ended up curing his arthritis and doesn’t have it at all anymore. I have noticed a huge difference in the first two months doing so! I have had neck pain for 10 years, and this is the first time I can feel something actually healing me. 

You can get distilled water at any grocery store or at Wal-Mart! It’s usually about $1 a gallon. You can order gallons online too! It looks more expensive on amazon but I found one vendor selling it at a good price! (For 6 gallons).

Distilled is just straight H20, it doesn’t have any added minerals. The added minerals can build up in our joints overtime, it’s important to flush them out with distilled water!

I just got this distilled water machine, it’ll save me a lot of money in the long run!

Distilled Water Purifier

I woke up at about 6am and made my morning tea with my Jet Boil. Sometimes I make coffee too, depends on my mood.

I typically use the instant coffee crystals! Or more french press attachment (see below) for my Jetboil. I just fill my Jet Boil up ¾ the way full, clip it to the burner and I have boiling water in about a minute! They also make attachments for pans that you can use as well! 

Jet Boil French Press Coffee/Tea

I also cooked a delicious meal (well a lot of meals, I was there for two weeks)with my Jetboil pan attachment! 

I seasoned and stuffed a chicken (recipes to come later), wrapped it in foil and cooked it on low in my Jetboil pan. It was SO GOOD.

I’m so thankful I stumbled upon this beautiful place. It was such a blessing during all of the chaos of the world! 

Feel free to email me with any personal questions! I love meeting and chatting with new people (I won’t send you any spam).

Utah Hot Springs: Fifth Water

I had seen a lot of photos of these bright blue hot springs on Instagram but didn’t know where to find them! Luckily, one of my best friends lives in Salt Lake City and she knew exactly where these springs were! We packed our backpacks up early Super Bowl Sunday and headed for the springs…

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico: sand dunes and sledding

When I started my second cross-country road trip, I didn’t have the highest hopes for New Mexico (not sure why because it’s gorgeous). I hopped onto my apple maps when I stopped at a gas station; I was tired of being in my car and needed to see some scenery. I zoomed in to a…

Sunrise at Yosemite National Park, California

I had been in LA for a few days and one evening I decided to pack up and hit the road and drive overnight to the Yosemite. I mean, the sunrise from the top is every hikers dream so I made it a goal. If you aren’t familiar with Yosemite, it’s a large National Park…

Sedona, Arizona: Camping, BLM Land and Hiking Guide

arizona, camping, hiking

Arizona is an incredibly beautiful state. I appreciate it more and more each time I visit! This previous time… I stayed for 2 months. Ooops! I was there during the chaos of Covid-19, so it felt better for me to stay put for a while!

Sedona is one of the most beautiful places you can visit to hike and explore outdoors in the United States.

There’s a mix of Ponderosa Pine forest, red rock, desert and rivers!

Ponderosa Pine in Arizona

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I found more than one stunning BLM (free land to camp) spots, tons of hiking trails, and lots of resources in the surrounding towns: Sedona, Cottonwood, and Prescott are the ones I frequented.

I also went on an amazing hike! A lot of trails were closed for COVID when I was there (they are open now), but I did find an awesome trail that was still open, I added it to the bottom here! You can use the AllTrails app to find some other others. I’ve heard Devil’s Bridge and Bear Mountain Trail are both lovely too.

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Loy Butte/ Boynton Canyon Rd BLM: Free scenic camping near Sedona!

This was an UNREAL location to post up for a couple weeks. I was there in March so the weather was ideal. The mornings and evenings were cool, and the days were warm.

This BLM is located of highway 89A, which is one of my all time favorite highways to drive. If you are driving between Sedona and Cottonwood on 89A, you turn off on to Loy Butte road (there should only be one way to turn… turn right if you are coming from Sedona, and turn left off the highway if you are coming from Cottonwood.

Probably better than most men at chopping wood.

It’s a gravel road that connects all the way to the highway on the other side. There are spots all throughout this area you can stay for free! The further in you go, the more scenic it gets!

The road was fairly rough but it’s manageable. There were a good mix of big RV’s, tents and vans! Just be careful.

IPA’s are my favorite adult drink!

Hangout Out at the BLM/ Free Land to Camp On

** you can find other BLM spots to camp for free on the BLM (bureau of land management) website**

We were able to have fires at the time; I would double check before having one depending on the time of year! We cooked some feasts using a combination of cooking over the fire, which I usually use to cook my meats, and I use my Jet Boil for a lot of cooking!

In the mornings I would get up and start my day with hot coffee. It’s so nice to have hot coffee when you’re out in nature, I make it in under two minutes just by using my jet boil and instant coffee , I always get the organic kind. Coffee is one of those sneaky things that has a lot of chemicals.. I just clip my Jet boil cup to the burner; add water, light it and I have boiling water in about a minute. Not sure how I got by without it before!

There’s also a lot of attachments for the jet boil that make it easy to use in a variety of ways. I’ll never go back to using anything else. It’s so lightweight and easy to use. I even bring it on my super long hikes to make pick-me-up meals so that I have energy for the long trek back to the car.

Jet Boil French Press attachment, so handy!:

Jet Boil French Press Coffee/Tea

Click Here For this Amazing Hiking Near Sedona (in video below).

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I drank 40oz of water on this hike, so important to stay hydrated. I love Camelbacks (they hold a lot of water) and I use them on super long hikes, but on 1-8 mile hikes, I typically just bring my Hydroflask since I prefer ice water. I have a 40oz Hydroflask and it keeps my ice water cold all day, no matter how hot out it is! (they have smaller and larger ones as well).

Boynton Canyon Hike, Arizona

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Feel free to email me or message me on instagram with any questions! (no spam).

Stay safe and groovy!

Arizona Hiking and Hot Springs: The Lone Palm on the Colorado

This hike was very challenging but oh so worth it! This is one of those hikes where you really need to listen to the reviews on All Trails and be prepared! There is hardly a trail to follow so it’s extremely easy to get off course once you’re fully into the trail (the start isn’t…

Grand Teton National Park Adventure: Cliff Jumping at Phelps Lake

It had always been on my bucket list to go to Grand Teton National Park and Jackson, Wyoming. I finally made that dream come true in the summer of 2019 during 4th of July week. My best friend and I decided the night before that we were going to go (that’s how we roll), we…

Idaho Mountaintop Hot Spring: Hike up to Goldbug Hot Spring

Goldbug hot springs tops the cake for my favorite hots spring in the United States (at least thus far in my adventures). Adding an amazingly breath-taking view on top of a fully natural hot spring makes it stand out among the rest. Hopefully I will be able to make it back many more times while…

Grand Teton National Park: Hiking Up To Delta Lake

Grand Teton National Park, hiking, Uncategorized, wyoming

Delta Lake Hike was one of the most stunning hikes I have ever done in my 26-years of life! The contrast of the bright blue water, green trees and white snow was unreal. I could have stayed up there for weeks and been happy!

Delta Lake, Grand Teton National Park

This was a very challenging hike but it’s doable for most able-bodied people still! I’l write about the hard parts later in the article.

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What to Bring

I went in the start of July so this is the gear I recommend for mid-late summer and early fall!

  • Your beautiful body!
  • Good hiking shoes, I have some Columbia ones that are awesome!
  • A LOT of water. I bring a Hydroflask with ice AND a camel back on long hikes to be safe.
  • Snacks for the top. It’s a long and hard hike so you are going to appreciate a little energy boost. My friend and I brought the Jet Boil and a lasagna backpacking meal, it was great! Good carb/energy boost. If you haven’t tried a Jet Boil with backpacking meals, I highly recommend it!
  • Back Pack
  • Phone/ Camera
  • BEAR SPRAY (mandatory) and bear bells. We saw 3 bears on this hike! (I’ll talk about that later). Every single review on the All Trails app said they saw bears or some sort of wildlife. You can get them both in town but everything is more expensive by or in national parks so I would recommend buying from Amazon or your local REI before you go!
BEAR SPRAY on Amazon
  • Sweatshirt & Sweats. It can get cold at the top and when the sun goes down. Feels so good to put a dry and warm sweatshirt on after you exert all your energy on a long hike.

Location

“To reach Lupine Meadows Trailhead (from Jackson, WY) head north into the park on US191. Make a left at Moose Junction onto Teton Park Road. Stay north on Teton Park Road for just over 7 miles where you will then turn left onto Lupine Meadows Road, it is unpaved but relatively well maintained (my FWD sedan made it no problem). Follow Lupine Meadows Road to the end where you will a parking area and the Lupine Meadows trailhead to begin the hike.” (from www.theoutbound.com).

You can always ask a park ranger for help as well if you are having a hard time finding it! We made sure to get maps from the visitor center so we could see where we were at even when we didn’t have service!

Parking is limited, there’s multiple trails that start here. Get there early for guaranteed parking!

There’s also some amazing cliff jumping not too far from the Delta Lake trailhead.

The Adventure Up

The entire hike is beautiful!

This hike is a total of 9 miles up and out with 2,329 in elevation gain. It’s a doozy! A very beautiful doozy.

The first mile or so is fairly easy! Once you get past the first part, the ret of the hike is pretty much all-uphill with no breaks!

bear bells

Don’t be ashamed to take breaks! We took A LOT on this hike and we are both very experienced hikers. When you have a pack on with water, food, bear spray and other goodies, it makes the hike even harder!

The trail splits off into two different trails when you get closer to the top. It isn’t super obvious but you can see it. Delta Lake goes off onto a new trail to the right, while the original trail leads to some other alpine lake. We wanted to do all of them but ran out of time! Look it up on the All Trails app and you might be able to get more specifics on this turn off!

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After the turn off you hike for a little ways and then you get a to a  massive boulder field. The boulders are easy to climb but it can get confusing on where to go. There are little rock sharons (those little balanced rock towers) throughout the boulder fields, follow those and you will find your way to the top!

You may be tempted to lay out your socks… but don’t do it unless you want it to be a marmot pillow.

As soon as you finish the boulder field you will make it to the lake! It is absolutely BREATHTAKING. You are below the big peak in the Tetons with a bright blue lake. The color of the lake was unlike anything I have ever seen.

Safety Tips

As mentioned before, you NEED to bring bear spray. Do not do any hikes in the Tetons without it. We saw three bears on our way down the hill, a mom and her two cubs. It was scary, but we stayed calm, played music and let the bears know we were there so we didn’t startle them. We each had bear spray and a knife and kept them in our hands until we knew we were completely safe.

Bear bells and bear spray can both help prevent a bear attack! The bells help create noise so that the bear can hear you coming and you won’t startle it.

Make sure to give yourself plenty of time! Give yourself two full hours of sunlight to get down, you don’t want to be in these mountains in the dark!

Stay safe and have fun!

Get the Hydroflask I have on Amazon

Car Camping: An Affordable and Safe Way to Travel The Country Van Life Style

camping, Car Camping, nomad, Road Trip, Van Life

I get a lot of questions on how I life the “Van Life” without having an actual Van or RV. It’s taken a lot of trial and error to find the best ways to live like this, but I have found ways to make it cozy, comfortable and affordable!

I also love that car camping allows you to lock your “bed” while your sleep. My SUV has an alarm too so I always feel at ease when I’m asleep.

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Mountain Car Camping with Sleeping bag in Summer 2018

Setting Up the Bed

We spend a lot of time sleeping… well were supposed to anyways… so having a comfortable and safe place to sleep when you’re living on the road is very important.

  1. Start but laying down all of the back seats in your SUV (or whichever vehicle you are using). If it doesn’t lay down completely flat, I would recommend taking the seats out completely and storing them somewhere safe (hey, mom and dad!)
  2. Place some sort of soft pad on the bottom. I bought a 2 inch pad, click here. If you are doing it short term, feel free to grab the one off your bed, just make sure it has a sheet (or maybe two, one for each side) so that it doesn’t get dirty!
  3. If the weather is cold, pack a sleeping bag, If it’s on the warmer side bring blankets so that your body can breath. If you are in the mountains I would recommend always having a sleeping bag, it gets cold at night! Right now I have a regular king sized blanket. I like to get them bigger than my car so that I can bunch them up on the side for extra cushion.
  4. Bring Pillows! I have four pillows, again to add some extra cushion and make it cozier!
  5. Set up battery or solar powered lights inside (I use this waterproof solar lantern). This was a game changer for me to help me relax in the evening after the sun goes down. Having lights in there makes it feel more like home and allows you to read, write and draw! … or to see your beautiful fur babies face!
  6. Face your trunk pointing towards the best view. I love relaxing with the back trunk wide open in bed while enjoying a beautiful view.
  7. Cover with a tarp and pack your things on top of it!

Setting Up Outdoors

My best friend and I do car camping together, we fit two in this Rav4 we rented (I didn’t have an SUV yet) comfortably.
  1. TARPS. I love tarps (outdoor rugs work too!). I set them up outside of every entrance of my car I’m going to use. This allows you to keep your shoes by your door without tracking a bunch of dirt into your car. I put one outside of the trunk and one outside of the back side doors (you can’t open the trunk from the inside so in the morning you have to go out of the side). Amazon basics has some nice and affordable tarps.
  1. Folding table. I have a folding table that lays flat in the back of my car on top of my bed. I usually set it up near the fire pit, since that’s where I prep most of my food. Put it where you are going to cook! Having a table makes a huge difference, you can find some affordable ones online and in store.
  2. If there isn’t any shade, I create some. A lot of people use an easy up, I don’t have one (yet), so I typically open my trunk and use bungee cords to hook a tarp to the top of it and then clip the other side of the tarp to a tree or another car near by! This creates shade just outside of your bed and makes a bigger shelter! I do this when it rains too to give me more dry space.

They also have those really cool tents that you can attach to the back of your open SUV trunk!

SUV Tent, so badass.

4. OPTIONAL. Set up your hammock on your campsite. I love relaxing and taking naps in my hammock, gives a cozy feel to your “home”.

Setting up the tent and unloading the car!

Efficient Packing

You obviously don’t have to pack the way I do, but I’ve learned a lot from others over the year on how to pack efficiently and in a very organized way.

If you aren’t interested in the “Van Life” and just want to go on a little camping trip, skip to step 2!

1. Become a MINIMALIST. This is one of the most challenging parts. We all learn to love and become attached to our belongings. You just need to pull the bandage and DO IT.

I got rid of almost everything, aside from a little bit of clothes and some kitchen and bathroom essentials.

I picked a few “cute” outfits to keep for when I meet up with friends or go out and got rid of the rest! It was hard but I knew I wanted to make the transition into this lifestyle so I did what I had to do.

I have one (shallow) clear tub of pants, one for t-shirts & tanks, one for long sleeve & athletic tops and then a deep large tub or warmer clothes (jacket, sweatshirts, gloves, snow pants).

2. I pack EVERYTHING in clear plastic tubs with lids. Click here for the ones I’m talking about! This is way cheaper than buying in person too. In person they are about $8 a piece. on amazon you can get 6 of the nice ones that have the lids that lock shut for about $30. I mean I put EVERYTHING in them. Underwear, food, shampoo, you name it! I got a lot of this from Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix; she does into a lot of detail as to why packing in clear tubs is important.

Clear tubs allow you to see exactly what’s inside without having to dig through it. They also store and stack nicely if you get uniform ones. I have found that the shallow, but large size are best for staying organized.

3. Pack your food in one, cooking supplies in another, clothing in one, bathroom supplies, etc.! Combine two different things if there’s room.

Setting up the car bed! (Shawn at the end)

How to Find Places to Camp

First, be sure to check my camping section, I’m working on adding more!

There are a ton of campsites all over the United States and Canada, and plenty of them are free! In fact, some of my all time favorite places to stay have been on free sites.

One of the best ways to find free land to camp on is by going onto the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) site and finding free public land. You can stay in these places for up to two weeks and then after your time is up you have to move at least 20 miles to the next BLM spot. These are always free, but they don’t have facilities (water and bathroom) so you need to go extra prepared!

Another great way to find BLM spots on your phone and other FREE spots is through the Boondocking app. It will show you all of the free spots around the United States and also gives you information for each spot.

Another great website/app I use is Ioverlander.com. This site/app will show you all places to camp, free and with ones that cost money. I like this one because it has filters. You can put if you want showers and other amenities.

Lastly, the park4night app is another great resource for finding all different types of places to stay. This one will also show you parking lots that allow you to crash overnight in your Car, SUV or Van. It also has BLM land and campgrounds and typically provides information on each location.

With the van life, if you just need a quick spot to pull over and sleep, Wal mart allows overnight travelers to stay overnight in their parking lot (most locations, double check before). This might sound sketchy, but it is actually one of the safest options. There are security cameras, security, and indoor bathroom.

Stay safe and have fun!

Follow me in Instagram for more of my in-the-moment adventures! @maggmountains

If you have anything to add or ask, please comment or email me! I’d love to chat and get more tips and answer your questions. (enter below)