“The Journey Through Mordor” (Taranaki and Tongariro Crossing – November 16, 2004 to November 19, 2004)

The weather report had predicted bad weather until Friday. Unfortunately, it was Tuesday and I was worried our hoped-for Tongariro Crossing hike was in jeopardy…

“The Shortcut” (Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand – November 13, 2004 to November 15, 2004)

I had read somewhere that this road tended to break up marriages as couples would argue after finding out it wasn’t the shortcut one of them hoped it would be. I prayed this would not be our fate…

“A Destination Wedding to Remember” (Whitianga, New Zealand – November 10, 2004 to November 12, 2004)

When I look back at the destination wedding photos taken by Susanna and her nephew, I still get misty-eyed. It was one of those rare times when all of my expectations were exceeded. I’ll never forget

“Pulled Over” (Northland, New Zealand – November 7, 2004 to November 9, 2004)

We headed west along SH12 when we had to follow a slow-moving truck. And so we merrily waited for an opportunity to pass the truck safely when a police car was suddenly in our rear-view mirror…

“Can I Make It Back Up?” (Bechler and the Grand Tetons – June 25, 2004 to June 26, 2004)

The Falls River almost covered the entire canyon floor I was in. Clearly I could go nowhere without getting into the water. Then, with a roar of thunder, I quickly abandoned any thought I had…

“Caught in the Open in a Lightning Storm” (Northern and Eastern Yellowstone – June 21, 2004 to June 24, 2004)

I noticed there wasn’t anything but grass and low-lying bush around us on the trail. With the lightning flashing with such frequency, I wasn’t sure what we should do…

“The Near Fall” (Southwest Yellowstone – June 18, 2004 to June 20, 2004)

Julie kept her eyes on me to make sure I didn’t get too far out. Then, I pointed my camera down towards the falls, but suddenly the wide angle lens dropped from the camera…

“The REAL Waterwheel Falls” (Waterwheel Falls Day Hike – June 5, 2004)

Determined to see Waterwheel Falls after my disappointing discovery last week, the time had come to retry in a day a hike that I and two others had done in three days…

“The Hungry Bear” (Glen Aulin Backpack – May 29, 2004 to May 31, 2004)

I called the backcountry office to make sure they secured our permits in case we didn’t show up before 10am. It felt pretty good to have things in hand – or so I thought…

“Nude Awakening” (Point Reyes, CA – May 8, 2004)

But this guy looked to be pretty old and wrinkly and probably into his 50s or older, and I didn’t need to be forced to keep moving. We politely said hello to him as we passed each other, but I had…

“Slithering Company” (Hetch Hetchy Backcountry – April 24, 2004)

My parents and I headed back to Yosemite, but this time the goal was to at least see what Rancheria Falls looked like. The weather was quite nice – as opposed to the storm last week…

“Small World” (Yosemite – March 19, 2004 to March 21, 2004)

With reduced maximum vacation hours in lieu of sick leave hours, I had to take a vacation or lose some of those hard-earned hours. That sucks! So, where should I go on a spontaneous trip?

“Airsick on a West Maui/Moloka’i Helicopter Flight” (Maui – September 4, 2003)

I knew the lady trying to sell us the chopper ride was lying to us when she tried to convince us that the Wall of Tears was the same thing as Honokohau Falls. But despite the fact that she BS’ed us…

“Double Dose of Hana” (Road to Hana – September 1, 2003 and September 3, 2003)

Hana Highway was the main reason why we chose to visit Maui. So we made sure we tried to see as many of its waterfalls as possible during this week – and it required two takes…

“Third Time’s A Charm for a Haleakala Sunrise” (Maui – September 1, 2003, September 4, 2003, and September 5, 2003)

Julie and I had grown tired of getting up at 3am. Julie was especially miffed as she had been under the weather since the first attempt to see the Haleakala sunrise. Now it was the day we were…

“Deer in the Daylight” (Zion Narrows – June 18, 2003 to June 21, 2003)

The drive proceeded as normal as the daylight continued and the summer heat started beating down with increasing intensity. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something running…

“Bagging Half Dome” (Half Dome Hike – June 7, 2003)

Now that the proposal was over, the task before us was the physical challenge. With logistics out of the way, we now faced the big hike we trained two months for. The moment of truth was upon us…

“Indecent Proposal” (Yosemite Day Trip – May 31, 2003)

I had to think fast when Julie anticipated that I would propose to her on top of Half Dome, and she thought it was too cliche. And so I decided upon Alder Creek Falls…

“Two Tickets to my Driving Record” (Southern Utah – May 23, 2003 to May 25, 2003)

As we entered the township of Hatch, the speed limit was reduced to 35mph so I lazily let the car roll to the required slower speed from the 75mph we had gone, but apparently it wasn’t slowing down…

“Tubing in the Subway” (Zion Subway and Zion Canyon – April 25, 2003 to April 27, 2003)

As Julie and I made our way up the slippery wet hardened sandstone floor, we were immediately met by a series of deep pools that conspired to turn us around…