Mark Your Calendar: National Public Lands Day

Celebrating something we all share: public lands! Mark your calendar for Saturday, September 30 and National Public Lands Day. Make plans with your families and friends to go outside and exercise, or pick up trash, or volunteer with a local park organization. Soak it up and celebrate these great resources in your community. If you’re near a national park, make the trip – all federal public lands are fee-free on NPLD.

Here in Anchorage the Bureau of Land Management – Alaska has a volunteer opportunity:

When: Saturday, September 30. 9 AM – 12:15 PM (volunteer registration opens at 8:30 AM)

Where: Campbell Creek Science Center, 5600 Science Center Drive, ANC AK, 99507

What: Help build buck-and-pole fencing to protect revegetation areas and put the gardens and grounds to bed for the winter

If your love of public lands and a free Saturday morning aren’t enough to entice you – there will also be pizza for volunteers, provided by the Friends of the Campbell Creek Science Center.

Life on the Road: Las Vegas, The End.

This is a part of a ‘series’ of posts, sharing pictures and stories from my parent’s cross-country RV adventure. Since November 2016, Mom and Bill have been living life on the road with their dog, Monty. They have no itinerary and no end-of-the-road, save for a summer in Alaska 2017. 

We said our good-byes to Aimee and sent her on her way. She was Chicago bound for work commitments and then back to Alaska. It was sooooo nice to spend some time with her in our tiny home on wheels and let her experience what our adventure is all about. Nellis Air Force Base, home of the Thunderbirds was a great place for us to stay and call our home for the few days she was with us. Next stop, Snowbird Mesa on BLM land just north of Lake Mead. Couldn’t ask for better views or prettier sunsets. And all for free!!


Looking east over Snowbird Mesa



Fullmoon over Snowbird Mesa

All photo credit William Shook.



Red Rock Canyon (aka: Baked Alaskan)

Also known as: I’m sunburned after a winter in Alaska and one day in the desert, and water is wet.

Another cool thing just miles outside of the Vegas city limits: Red Rock Canyon. We spent the day exploring and hiking various trails off the Scenic Route loop. It’s a 13-mile one-way road that cuts along red rock to lower fields of desert wildflowers. There are trails galore from the road, making it nice and easy to pull off and hike, get back in the car and go off to the next place.

We spent the most time exploring the Calico Tank trail, walking and scrambling over sandstone and red rocks.

Red Rocks, viewed from the car on the way into the park and after the visitor center…

Mom and Bill (and Monty), acclimated to the desert and happy as clams…


En route to Calico Tanks trail (calico rocks). There are rock climbers somewhere on this face, and around the corner of this face, and around the corner of that face, and so on, and so on… Rock climbers everywhere!


Snapshots from the Calico Tank trail. We didn’t go all the way back to the tank (a pond of water, seasonally full). It started to become a bigger scramble and between heat and dog, we opted to turn back.

Two of my favorite pictures from the trail:

Post Calico Tanks, we drove to the High Point parking lot for sandwiches and a cool breeze. Then, it was off to the low country for desert wildflowers, petroglyphs and other rock formations (not all pictured):

I was humming the song ‘Lady of the Canyon’ by Joni Mitchell the entire day and this picture captured that feeling for me:

She is a lady of the canyon… do do do do do do do, do do do do do do do do do doooooo

Despite sunblock application, I am one sunburnt canyon lady on my shoulders and chest. Whomp whomp! Every minute in the sun was worth it. This was an incredible experience, unlike anything I’ve seen before. I’ll be day dreaming of Red Rock Canyon for months to come.