Photos Adventure Galleries

Photo of The Day: On a Horseback Ride Near Moab, Utah

Fact: when you're raising little kids, sometimes you have to miss out on some things. We road tripped the long way to Moab, Utah, stopped at Monument Valley for an afternoon, then set up camp in the orange-purple glow of a Utah sunset in Goosenecks State Park on the first night. I ran around the cliff's edge shooting mediocre photos of the wicked bends in the San Juan River while my wife prepared dinner. This trip was going to last over a week, and on this first night the air was cold and breezy. The first night of a good, long trip is always one of the most special and everything felt fine. We were getting settled into things because this other fact: four people in a pickup truck packed beyond recognition. Plus, Ania, the foreign exchange student who was living with us for the year, came with us. Taking a 16-year-old Ukrainian girl on an adventure road trip through the best of the southwest's backcountry was, oh, pretty new to us. Our other daughter, Chloe, was 3 and she's pretty used to this whole thing.

Gallery: Finding Wildflowers in The Desert

The thrill of surprise is likely the one thread that connects all forms of outdoor adventure. Watching a skier pull a 540, taking a ride through Crystal Rapid on the Colorado River, on-sight flashing a route you thought for sure would be project of the year for you, or swimming in a backcountry lake all drop their bombshells of amazement. Even taking a break next to a chilly mountain creek brings on the happy thoughts à la Bob Ross.

Photo of The Day: How Come No One Told Me This Was So Much Fun?

Camera: Canon 5D | Lens: EF24-105mm | Setting: f/16, 1/125 sec, ISO 100

I'd like it to be known that the greatest thing that could make this photo better is if she were be wearing a bikini. But I always say that about my wife.

Moving along now . . .

We got this kite for our daughter and she wanted nothing to do with it. "Oh come on. We'll show you how to fly it." We tried. But no, at this quiet beach, and for reasons unknown to us, she couldn't conceptualize the joy of flying a kite or she simply preferred to dig in the sand and collect shells. I don't know...

Photo Gallery: Hitting a High Point - Trekking Escudilla Mountain Arizona's Third Highest Peak

The place you see in these photos is long gone now, utterly consumed in Arizona's largest wildfire that ignited on June 14, 2011 and didn't get 100% contained until July 8, 2011. The Wallow Wildfire. Arizona's third tallest peak, Escudilla Mountain rises to 10,912 feet and was once a pleasant refuge with its dense aspen groves, towering ponderosas, knee-high wild grass, and numerous trails. We first posted this story on October 7, 2009, shortly after spending a weekend on the mountain. We're bringing it back up now that the context has changed ...  
— Mark Stephens,


Years ago, Arizona Highways Magazine published a challenge of sorts. They ran an article that listed the highest peaks in each county of Arizona. My friend Seth set out to do them all. When he told me that, I blinked once and said, "Dude."

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