From Chicago to Tucson
Four years ago this week I left my beloved city of Chicago and headed west with Tucson, AZ as my final destination. Rather than drive the 1,800 miles straight through over 3 days I decided to make an adventure out of it and planned a week long, solo road trip for myself. I crammed a lot into 7 days and definitely need to go back to some of these stops! It was a great introduction to the Southwest and I know there's still so much more for me to discover here.
- Acadia Round Barn
- Bandelier National Monument
- Cadillac Ranch
- Canyon de Chelly
- El Malpais National Momument
- El Morro National Monument
- Navajo Nation
- New Mexico
- red rock
- Route 66
- Salt River Canyon
- solo adventure
- solo hiking
- solo travel
- solo trip
- Spider Rock
Arizona-Sonora Desert MuseumThe Desert Museum is part zoo, part natural history museum, part botanical garden, part aquarium, art gallery and institute. The majority of the museum is outdoors with plenty of paved and gravel trails to follow. I loved the native flowers and plants that filled the walkways. The Sonoran Desert proved once again to be an infinite source of inspiration for me.
Marshall Gulch Trail After the Bighorn FireI hadn't been on this trail since the devastating Bighorn Fire burned almost 200,000 acres of the Santa Catalina Mountains. It was started by a lightning strike on June 5, 2020 near Bighorn Mountain (hence the name) and burned until July 23, 2020. Due to an almost non-existent monsoon season and extremely dry conditions the wildfire spread quickly from one side of the Catalinas to the other. It was gut wrenching to see the entire mountain up in flames and see billows of smoke from my backyard.
John Muir Trail - Gear List
John Muir Trail - Week 4, Part 3 (Days 24-25) THE END"As I turned on to Hwy 395 heading south I too a final look at Whitney and blew her a kiss. It was finally time to head home. This had been the most challenging but incredible experience. I'm so proud of what I've done."
John Muir Trail - Week 4, Part 2 (Day 23)"I knew on Day 1 that I'd make it. I told myself that out loud while hiking up Cottonwood Pass 22 days ago. Though that confidence and bravery had wavered a bit I felt a renewed sense of belief in myself and I was proving that I was strong and brave."
John Muir Trail - Week 4, Part 1 (Days 21-22)"Don't tell me I don't have to climb any passes when I have two sections climbing over 1,000 ft! Who designed this stupid trail?! I was officially not having fun. I was tired, and cold, and now it was starting to snow?!?"
John Muir Trail - Week 3, Part 3 (Days 19-20)"I hiked by myself for a good portion of the day and it was nice to kinda be solo again. I kept thinking about how I probably wouldn't have made it this far if I was actually on my own for the whole trail. The main topic of conversation after Silver Pass was how each of us were feeling about ending our hike. By now I knew I didn't have another 80 miles in me to get to Yosemite Valley."
John Muir Trail - Week 3, Part 2 (Days 17-18)"The trail is hard in that way, you make friends and you may never see them again. But every once in a while you get reunited and it feels magical. We then wondered where Brian and Diane were. Lee was certain they'd show up sometime. "I bet they come over on the ferry today, I know we'll see them here.""
John Muir Trail - Week 3, Part 1 (Days 15-16)"Combine that with my 47lb pack I was frustrated that I was back to my slow and steady pace. In a bad moment of frustration I took a break and ate one of my Pop Tarts. I reminded myself how far I'd already come and I was still doing it even if it was just a little slower. I told myself I'd start saying I was strong and steady, because I was."
John Muir Trail - Week 2, Part 3 (Days 13-14)"I turned my gaze over to the trail, about 50 yards away, where I saw a line of hikers. A lot of people had hiked by this morning, getting an early start but this group of four was led by a guy wearing a white and black trucker hat and a red bandana around his neck. Hey, why did he look so familiar?"
John Muir Trail - Week 2, Part 2 (Days 10-12)
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