Go spend a night sleeping under the stars of Death Valley. Death Valley was my favorite national park as a teenager and since my first visit in 2005 I’ve been here four times and counting. It was the very first time I actually saw stars twinkle.
There are so many drive-up vista points that it’s tempting to take a photo and leave, but there’s so much more to see when you stray far from the car. In fact, you can even sleep in the backcountry. It’s not commonly known that you aren’t limited to the designated camp sites (which I usually find less exciting); the Death Valley Backcountry Roads map was my go-to guide for figuring out where to backcountry camp for the night. Go on a moonless night and you’re sure to see the Milky Way.
My top favorites are a sunrise, sunset, or nighttime hike through Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, and exploring the ridges that stretch between Golden Canyon and Zabriskie Point.
Summer of 2015; Zermatt was the second stop of my solo trip after graduating from Stanford. I purchased an expensive 100€ one-way train ticket from Geneva to Zermatt and was whisked into a cozy town where everything felt tiny in the shadow of the iconic Matterhorn.
By chance I was in Zermatt for the 150th anniversary of the first ascent of the Matterhorn. To honor the first ascent, local mountain guides mounted solar lamps on the Matterhorn and at night it would illuminate one light by one, until the path reached the summit.
Waltzing in Iceland
June 2017; this was the magical year I went to Iceland three times in the span of 6 months. I usually prefer new landscapes with new challenges, but Iceland’s unique terrain always pulls me in and gets me as excited as I was the first time.
Several photos were taken with a tripod and self-timer.
Iceland Ring Road
July 2015 & February 2017; my first and second trips to Iceland contrasted summer and winter.
I will write more soon. For now, my Iceland favorites:
In the South: Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, Reykjadalur thermal river in Hveragerði, Reynisfjara basalt columns, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Skogafoss and Sejlandfoss, Kristínartindar in Skaftafell.
In the West: Glymur waterfall, Rauðfeldsgjá ravine (venture inside but have an extra set of dry clothes), Kirkjufell (don’t just take photos from below; hike to the summit)
In the North: Lake Myvatn, Dettifoss, Godafoss
In the East: waterfalls along the route around Seyðisfjörður