Thursday, January 26, 2012

Best of 2011

Here it is. The long awaited, much anticipated, best of the best of my 2011 travels from the Northwest in the summer, the Northeast in the fall, and down to the Southeast for the winter. The best pictures, the most memorable places, and the coolest experiences spanning the country from coast to coast.

The adventure started in June as I headed off to the Northwest. This is the River Gorge near Taos, NM. Tough trail running, but worth it for this spectacular view.

Sunrise at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in southern CO.
The tallest of which are over 600ft high.

Hanging out at Zapata Falls, near the dunes.

The famous Manitou Springs Incline near Colorado Springs, CO. Apollo Anton Ohno's workouts at this particular area are the stuff of legend. For me, it was the most grueling 37 minute hike imaginable.

Biking around the Garden of the Gods. It was way cool to watch the pros race a time trial in this same area just a month later.

A nice, long, snow filled hike up into Rocky Mountain National Park during a Fourth of July weekend camping trip in the Roosevelt National Forest near Allenspark, CO. 

Woke up to this sunrise after stopping at the Rabbit Valley campgrounds on the border of Colorado and Utah (last stop before Utah on I70. Free)

The most scenic drive on the trip, coming from the east side of I70 down to Moab, UT. The combination of river, canyon, and mountains was breathtaking!

A traffic jam on the interstate led me here to crack open a beer and enjoy, right in the heart of Mormon country, just outside Salt Lake City.

This was a fun and dangerous shot to get in the heart of Mt Hood National Forest on a camping trip to recover from the Rev 3 Portland half-ironman.

The clouds almost opened up all the way to reveal Mt Rainer while hiking in this beautiful national park.

Gorgeous sunset in Seattle over one of their many lovely lakes. Surprisingly, Seattle was a particularly good place for open water swimming and running with all the numerous parks and lakes located throughout.

At the Parliament building in Victoria, BC. My favorite pic of the trip with me in it.

View of the Washington coast from Chuckanut road while on my 105 mile journey from Vancouver back to my car in Anacortes. Had to ride straight into a headwind the entire day.

My first taste of Montana's exquisite beauty. On my way to Glacier National Park.

Descending down into Flathead Lake in Montana.

My favorite pic from Glacier.

The best parts about Yellowstone National Park include Old Faithful.

Tons of wildlife!

Beautiful colors from all the lakes, geysers, paint pots, falls, and even canyons!

And my favorite. This snake eating a fish that my little cousin found near a stream. Way cool!

And did I mention it's another great place to ride a bike?

A Grizzly and her three cubs in the Tetons. My first bear sighting!

A young black bear seen on a hike in the Tetons a couple days later. He hung out with us for a bit until I told him to go on his way (with loud noises and arms flailing, big knife and bear spray at the ready...)

Solitude Lake in the Tetons. Completely frozen over and beautiful as ever.

View of the Tetons from afar. I found the sharp, snow capped peaks absolutely captivating.

My favorite view of my favorite mountains. This was from atop Mt Albright Peak in Grand Teton National Park. This one was a nice 17 mile hike (approx. 5000ft of climbing, most of it over the last 4 miles to the top) up to the Static Peak Divide and then a quick scramble up the peak to the right. It includes some good views of the Alaska Basin as well.

The Boulder Flatirons made for a great hike and sweet view. The town was the real experience though. Definitely had the easiest people to talk to and best layout for getting around by bike. I will be back.

The St. Louis arch from a unique angle. The start of my Northeast trip!

On the ferry ride back from Macinac Island. With no cars allowed, it made for a great place to hike or bike and if you eat sweets, I hear the fudge is delicious.

Cincinnati from the other side of the river in Kentucky. There's a Hofbrauhaus here. Not as good as the one in Munich of course, but nonetheless still awesome!

I came across these falls when I took a wrong turn somewhere in New York.

And these falls were on my way out of New York.

But these falls were by far the biggest. I'm sure you can guess where they are.

One of many nice, little picnic spots found in the Northeast. This one in upstate New York.

So many beautiful lakes, all over the entire Northeast.

Even the swamps in this area were stunningly pretty.

The view from Snowy Peak in the Adirondacks. I barely made it back before dark on this hike. Then went back out in complete darkness to make sure an older couple made it back safely.

The moment the clouds finally broke on my way back down the Algonquin Loop in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks.

Sunset over Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT. One of my favorite towns. Small and quaint with great people, plenty of stuff to do and a good, vibrant downtown.

The White Mountains of New Hampshire. An exquisite place for riding a bike or hiking. This is likely my favorite pic of the trip.

The sunrise on top of Mt Cadillac in Acadia National Park.

The first place the sun is visible in the continental US.

Biking around Acadia National Park is the way to go. Most of the park is only accessed through carriage roads which do not allow cars.

The coast of Maine. Best place, hands down, to lie around and cook dinner while reading a book. Almost every town along the coast has a beautiful little spot like this one. Not to mention getting fresh lobster from a Lobster Shack is one of the most amazing meals I've had.

Zakim Bridge in Boston. The spires on top represent the Bunker Hill Monument a few blocks away.

Beautiful spot in the Boston Commons park located downtown.

This statue of George Washington was in the perfect location at the perfect time.

Even the street signs in Boston seemed artsy.

Downtown in Providence, RI. Another very cool city.

The capitol building in Providence was spectacular at night.

Hartford, CT, didn't have much to offer, except for this park to run at (Bushnell Park) and the Mark Twain House not too far away.

My first view of NYC! On the ferry from Staten Island.

Inside of Grand Central Station.

Grand Central and the Chrysler Building in one shot.

Times Square! More amazing than I had always pictured it.

Even better. My face on a Times Square Billboard!

A castle in Central Park? Seriously? Way cool!

The Statue of Liberty at sunset from afar.

At the White House!

A gigantic teacup? Sweet! Even Winston-Salem, NC, has some unique places to see.

On my drive through the Smoky Mountains to Grandma's house!

Looking for crocs around Lake Alice at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Found one! And as it turns out, this town is a great place for winter triathlon training. Even has a pretty sweet downtown as well!

The beach in Navarre, FL was quite awesome. And another great place to run, bike, and swim!

It's always a treat when you can catch the moon out in full at sunset. Good night 2011!
Can't wait to see what 2012 has in store!


  1. Fabulous pictures and journey

  2. Great photos! Minor correction: your NYC photo outside Grand Central Terminal had Chrysler Building (not Empire State Bldg) in background.

  3. Gotcha. Got it fixed! Thanks for the reply!