Photo Friday – January 23, 2014

As we gear up for a killer history hiking weekend with events on Saturday and Sunday, we know you might just need one little push of beautiful nature photography to help get you over those last few hours of work-week drag. Thankfully, we’re getting a ton of great submissions on Flickr and Instagram using the hashtag #modernhiker, and you can always count on us to share our favorites each week on another Photo Friday.

We’re going to start off this week with a submission from John Graham, who loves to crawl around the deserts near Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The winter is one of the best times to get to better know our deserts, and we’ve got some killer new trails from the deserts coming your way very soon – but for now, just enjoy John’s trip report as he takes the 52 Hike Challenge.

Next up is Kat Sanchez, who shows off some beautiful ceanothus blooms in the Santa Monica Mountains. Most of the year you probably wouldn’t even notice this native plant (unless you brushed against its spiny branches), but once they start blossoming like this they become a little more eye-catching. I’m still waiting for the ceanothus in my garden to pop, but it looks like the more established ones out in the mountains are doing just fine.

We’re heading to Utah for our next entry from Chris, who snapped this lovely contrasting shot from Zion National Park‘s Observation Point Trail. This trail doesn’t get as much attention as the Subway or Angel’s Landing, but when I visited the park this was my favorite route in the park.

observation point hike

And finally, we’re heading to the woods of North Carolina, where Montana Gent has been hiking the Appalachian Trail and learning how useful trekking poles can be when it’s icy. As someone who just spent a week in New England and enjoyed his fair share of slips on ice and frozen snow, I can definitely appreciate this.

Everyone featured this week will get a code good for 30% off their next purchase from our friends at Sierra Trading Post, good through the end of the month.

For your chance to be featured on next week’s Photo Friday, all you have to do is tag your photos with #modernhiker on Instagram or Twitter or submit your shots to our Flickr Group.