• Adventures,  Life,  National Parks,  North Carolina,  Tennessee,  U.S.A.

    What I Did & Spent on a Solo Weekend in Asheville & the Great Smoky Mountains

    I really, really needed this trip. I needed to get out of town, to put on my pack and walk into the woods. I needed to spend a few hours in the car, music up and windows down. I needed to be alone in the woods, to take myself to dinner, to drink new beers, to catch up with one of my oldest friends. I just needed to go. Asheville, North Carolina, is a place I keep going back to. The first time I went, I was 19. It was my first-ever road trip. I took my boyfriend, headed south on I-81 and felt like a grown up doing grown…

  • Frederick Douglass National Historic Site || terragoes.com
    Adventures,  National Parks,  U.S.A.,  Washington, D.C.

    A Serendipitous visit to Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

    I didn’t have a plan for the day, not really. I needed to get myself from Richmond to Maryland for a work conference that would start the next day, a friend in Washington, D.C. was celebrating her birthday and it was pissing rain. I sent my friend a text, asking if she had plans for the afternoon, explaining that yes, I definitely did have time for a birthday beverage or adventure and that I would love to see her if we could make the timing work. “What parks do you need here?” she responded, knowing I’m on a quest to see all 417 National Park Service units. “Is Frederick Douglass…

  • Browns Gap Hike @ Shenandoah National Park || terragoes.com
    Adventures,  National Parks,  U.S.A.,  Virginia

    Jones Run & Doyles River Waterfalls at Shenandoah National Park

    IT HAPPENED, Y’ALL! After two attempts to scamper along the trails and explore the waterfalls of Shenandoah National Park, I finally made it. AND IT WAS GLORIOUS! Shenandoah is, in a way, my home park. I was born in the mountains that it protects and I grew up driving up and down the Skyline Drive, but I think I took it for granted and, as a kid, I was restricted to whatever the adults wanted to do, which mostly wasn’t hiking. Plus, I’m a very different sort of explorer than I was growing up, and so, I’ve promised myself I’ll be better about visiting Shenandoah this year, that I’ll hike…

  • Saguaro National Park || terragoes.com
    Adventures,  Arizona,  National Parks,  U.S.A.

    A Beginner’s Guide to Saguaro National Park

    When three coyotes ran across the road in front of me I knew I was in the right place. I knew I was supposed to be there, that waking up early after a long day of travel was the right answer, that starting my Arizona national park adventure in Tucson, at Saguaro National Park was exactly, perfectly correct. I’d ended up there by chance. The original plan had been to fly roundtrip from Phoenix, spending a night or two there before heading north to Flagstaff for the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest and some of the smaller national monuments in northern Arizona. When rental car prices topped $400, I called foul…

  • Bandelier National Monument || TERRAGOES.COM
    Adventures,  National Parks,  New Mexico,  U.S.A.

    Finding Solitude at Bandelier National Monument & also a Tarantula

    It’s been four months since I went to New Mexico. It was the first solo trip I’d ever taken and I can’t stop thinking about it, especially lately as I put together my next adventure, this time to Arizona for my birthday in March. I keep coming back to the way I felt while I was there, to these specific moments that seem suspended in my memory. They’re glowy, like an old television flashback, with a certain amount of sparkle around the edges. In New Mexico, I visited my two favorite parks on the same day. I started at Valles Caldera, arriving just after the gates opened at 8 a.m.,…