Page 6 of Stephen Paul Travel Blog Posts

2005 was a record season for snow in the Sierra Nevada. Not only did the snow exceed averages by 150%, it fell mostly in the spring after a relatively dry winter. This created exceptional conditions for early season backpacking above 3000 meters, and fortunately Jeff, Brian and I chose the perfect weekend to go! Now here we were in mid-June 2006 going to the same place. I expected it to be patches of snow and clear skies. What greeted us though was dense snow drifts that turned into 4 feet of snow at the lakes. It was spectacular, as the snow evaporates and melts, the clouds formed and winds swept it all away. It was sunny, warm and dry during the day- yet freezing and moist just after sunset with crystal clear skies. We only had ... read more
Yours Truly by the Monarch River
Lower Monarch Lake and Empire Mountain
Marmot, looking for urine

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island March 11th 2006

Waking up in Fox Village, I knew I had no reservations but two activities in mind. #1, to see the Franz Josef Glacier in all its glory, and #2 to see the Fox Glacier in all its glory! I had planned to take a strenuous hike up the side of the Franz Josef glacial valley to an overlook but he trail was closed from a recent rock fall leaving me stuck without set plans. Fortunately Franz Josef village was filled with tour agencies, so after some sleuthing I said "to hell with it" and signed up for a Helicopter Hiking tour of the glacier! It was about $150 US, and to me this seemed steep for a 5 hour tour. But I considered the fact that I might possibly never be here again and charged it. ... read more
Franz Josef Glacier Tour
Secluded Cove, South Westland
The Big Nige Canyoning Tour

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island March 6th 2006

Day 1- Wellington to Picton over the Ferry. Drive to St. Arnaud Day 2- Alpine Hiking in Nelson Lakes National Park Day 3- River Rafting the Buller River, Maruia Hot Springs Day 4- Driving West Coast from Pancake Rocks to Fox Glacier Day 1- Wellington felt strikingly like San Francisco. If I knew nothing about its long history of earthquakes, maritime climate or its lively arts scene- I would still feel the same way. The people I saw were either young professionals or students. Everyone was trendy and lots of people were on the streets, giving the feeling of being downtown in NYC or SF. The skyscrapers of Central Wellington are crammed in between steep hills and the ocean. The surrounding geography lends itself to this layout as well, causing Wellington to have the highest property ... read more
Relax Shelter from the DOC
Ridge Trail
Big Stump, Gillespies Beach

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island March 6th 2006

March 6- I arrived at 6am after the 13 hour flight, feeling good. My muscle relaxant worked and the neck pillow was crucial to my 6 hours of sleep! I drove to downtown New Zealand. The airport is nice, and customs was suprisingly efficient, cordial, intuitive and easy. First was the passport stamper, the then drug sinffing beagle and friendly kiwi handlers, and then the agricultural inspections. I felt a bit like I was going through a museum to different exhibits with friendly curators, explaining to me what I was seeing. I got my rental car keys, bought postcards and a driving atlas and some water. I brushed my teeth and 2 others were cleaning up as well. I wasn't in any hurry to start driving on the wrong side of the road at 630am, stiff ... read more
Whangarei Falls
Poor Knights Islands
Tree Ferns and Kauri Trees

North America » United States » California August 30th 2005

A road trip to the White Mountains is something to be remembered. Its a long drive to a worthy destination, and no matter which direction you come from the scenery is like nothing else in the country. 4000 meter peaks, sagebrush desert, Ponderosa Pine and Juniper forests, rivers and canyons, lakes, lava and glaciers. My friend and I stopped at Hot Creek, a pleasant reminder that a boiling chamber of magma sits below the Long Valley Caldera waiting to erupt again. Convict Lake is another mandatory stop, carved out by glaciers and surrounded by impossibly steep peaks. In fact the peaks around Convict Lake contain the oldest fossils in the Sierra Nevada, lithified marine organisms over 400 million years old that somehow escaped the intrusion of rocks and explosions of volcano's. We also hiked around Mono ... read more
Middle Palisade(4200m) to Owens Valley(1200m)
Mt. Morrison, 3742m
White Mountain Peak (4342m)

Check out my photography homepage here: Stephen Hayden Photography Local business' that made the trip happen: Aventuras: San Juan, Puerto Rico Taino Divers: Rincon, Puerto Rico Lemontree Inn What drew me to Puerto Rico? Looking back on it, I'm not quite sure. It could have been the first time I heard about the bio-luminescent oceans, great diving, El Yunque(the only tropical rainforest in the US Forest Service)or gigantic caves. Ahh yes, an article on Mona Island, "The Galapagos of the Carribean". While I didn't go on a multi-day excursion to Mona Island, I did find out why Puerto Rico license plates say "La Isla de Encantada"... My plan was simple, rent a car and see as much of the island ... read more
El Moro Cemetary
El Moro Lookout

South America » Chile February 14th 2005

I rented a car in Santiago and drove over 3000 kilometers through the country. At my furthest point in the city of Castro on Chiloe Island, I was further south than anywhere in Australia, Africa and most of New Zealand. Why Chile? It is said: "When God created the world he had a handful of everything left: mountains, rainforests, deserts, oceans, cactus, lakes, glaciers, volcanoes-and he put it all in his pocket. But there was a hole in this pocket, and as God walked across heaven it all trickled out, and the long trail it made on the earth was Chile." -- Anonymous Along the way to the south, my first stop was in Chillan to meet with my friend Noelia. She's a high school teacher and speaks great English. When I met her for the ... read more
Volcan Villarica, Sunset
Chilean Palm, Frutillar
Lago Arco Iris, Volcan Llaima

When I finished school in June of 2004, an epic trip 6 months in the making was ripe for the picking. 3 friends and I secured reservations for a backcountry cabin in Kenai Fjords National Park 6 months earlier. We packed our bags and headed to Seward by way of Anchorage, going on a Halibut fishing trip the next day, although 21 hours of daylight meant no night. With kayaks and backpacks in tow, we met the Aialik Bay ferry at 6am June 24- 2 days after summer solstice. The cabin was a 50 mile boat ride through the roughest seas I have ever been on. The seas were so rough, our 4 nights in the Cabin turned into 3 nights, then 2, then 6. You see, the captain of the ferry said the weather was ... read more
late night snack- it was 11pm at night!
Orca's, Mountains and Forest
Kayakers Delight

North America » United States » New Mexico May 21st 2004

Flickr Set: Arizona / New Mexico I suppose I should write about my most favorite place in the Southwest, how I was enchanted by the spirits of Native Americans who once lived in New Mexico or all the adventure I found. But Im going to let the pictures do the talking, because trying to explain a solo road trip where I saw few people is best left unexplained!... read more
14th Century Mogollon Architecture, Gila Cliff Dwellings
There's Something Special Going On Here
Wide Open Spaces, Gila Mountains in the Distance

North America » United States » Arizona May 5th 2004

Flickr Set: Arizona / New Mexico With 2 months off, hardly and money but with unlimited freedom I ventured to see the magical deserts and mountains of Arizona. Crossing the foothill sized Pacific crest from San Diego, the landscape changed dramatically from a fog enshrouded ocean paradise to a hot and dry desert. But underneath the threatening veil of abandon lay something more special- a timeless place where only the strong survive. Wide open vistas, tall mountains, deep blue skies and curious plants make the pacific deserts a place where you contemplate your existence. First stop? Saguaro National Park. In the taxonomy of plants cactus... read more
Giant Saguaro Cactus, Half Moon
Building Blocks of Life
Mature Fish Hook Cactus, Saguaro National Park

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