August 2015

Big Pine Lakes

First Lake, Temple Craig, big pine lakes, ca

The moon rises above Temple Craig and Mount Alice near camp…


If Disney made a “SierraLand” it might look a lot like the Big Pine Lakes Basin, which lies tucked away in the John Muir Wilderness. The Big Pine Lakes present the very best of classic high-sierra scenery: photogenic mountain peaks, mineral-tinged emerald lakes, sweeping pine-studded vistas, glacial access, and alpine meadows – all compressed into a manageable area with straightforward access that can be toured in a lollipop loop. It is perfect for a first-time backpacking trip, or a one-hundredth, and indeed it was one of my first in the high sierra. The opportunities for photography are among the best around and after reaching the first Lake, almost every turn of the trail offers a stunning vista…

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Into the Tsegi: Keet Seel

Keet Seel

The main throughfare in the Keet Seel alcove…


Time in Arizona can be a tricky thing to someone from out of state. I was reminded of this in early September of 2013 as I embarked on a quick backpacking / photo trip to visit Keet Seel – a historic site near the Navajo National Monument in AZ. Accessed from the National Monument via a ~19 mile round-trip hike, Keet Seel is home to some of the best preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff-dwellings in the United States.

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Welcome to RamblingWest.com

Hello and welcome to Ramblingwest.com!

I’m John, and this website is a side-project of mine created primarily as a space to share my love of the American West and the outdoors and to present some of my outdoor photography along the way. In addition to photography and trip reports I also hope to post on overlapping interests like hiking, backpacking, canyoneering, gear selection, 4×4 travel, western history, or whatever else I happen to be focusing on at the moment.

This site is currently a work in progress and parts of it may be a bit unfinished but it will continue to evolve as time goes on. The gallery will be updated in due time and will eventually feature a simple selection of my favorite images but Flickr will probably always be the best place for that (I am just getting back to Flickr after many years, so my profile there will be evolving over the next few weeks as well). As part showcase, part journal and part brain-dump, I will do my best to update regularly so long as I have something worthwhile or interesting to post about.

To get the ball rolling I will kick off by posting a series of backlogged trip reports / trip essays over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

-John