Beaut-Tree is an adventure blog updated by current Sierra Nevada resident, but Michigander at heart, Denise.  I started updating Beaut-Tree late 2010 as medium to help log my travels as I moved from my college home in Houghton, Michigan to current home in Groveland, California. Along the way Beaut-Tree has transformed into a hiking and backpacking blog, thanks to Yosemite National Park being my backyard, with the occasional adventure into the big city or my natural (and vegetarian) food kitchen.

About the Name Beaut-Tree

The name “Beaut-Tree” comes from a play on the word beauty – because I personally find the most beautiful things in life come from nature. I hope that this blog helps me to share the beauty I have found in the outdoors, and perhaps inspire you to find your own adventure!


About Denise

A graduate of Michigan Tech’s environmental engineering program, starting off my post-college life in California with my pet bunny, Basil, cat, Herman, and boyfriend, Curtis. My background in environmental engineering and history working with environmental regulations and conservation have given me the ability to  appreciate the balance time in the backcountry can provide to our busy lives. Things most likely to cheer me up no matter how sore I am include: A leisurely morning coffee with a wonderful view, pika sightings, a sandy beach, dry feet after a snowy trail, my sassy bunny (Basil!), and cold can of KBC. Dreams and goals include finding my dream job, running a barefoot 5K to improve my form, building my own woodland/eco themed mini-golf course, and seeking sustainability.

Jacquie and Denise on Adventures in MI’s UP

About Jacquie:

A graduate of Michigan Tech’s civil engineering program, she currently resides in Wisconsin, with her Husband, Dan, and has agreed to blog with Denise about cooking. Jacquie is also in the process of finding her dream job, will someday own a 2 cats (one named Spock, the other something undetermined but decidedly more dignified), and is one of the most under-discovered flutists, painters, and artisans of all trades in the Milwaukee area.

Bunny Yoga

About Basil?

Basil was adopted in the fall of 2008 from the Michigan Humane Society. He is an independent bunny, with a small case of the snuffles. Prior adopting him, he hopped into my lap and sneezed, which then made the humane society lady look like she was going take him away and put him down. Basil was promptly adopted. Basil’s dreams and goals include eating all my things, having a an endless supply of yogurt treats, and getting more subscribers to his twitter feed (http://twitter.com/basilthebunny).

15 Responses

  1. Jason
    Jason · March 27, 2014 at 05:31:52 · →

    Great blog! I live in Michigan (a stones throw away from Seven Lakes) and really enjoyed your photos and comments on some of our Michigan parks. Especially liked the Isle Royale posts and pictures. I hope to get up there myself someday.

  2. Sorin Buiac
    Sorin Buiac · April 19, 2014 at 10:31:02 · →

    Hey Denise,
    To start with, I am glad that I finally have the opportunity to connect with you and I would like to thank you for your awesome articles, that have such a great impact on my daily moods. In fact, they have the power of making my imagination travel to a multitude of mysterious destinations, presented on your blog.
    After following your blog, I realized that you have the characteristics of the perfect partner. Along the time, we have been extremely selective on our partners, and we strongly believe you are the most adequate choice.
    Due to your writing talent, we would love to have you write about our iOS travel app for gourmands, which features the Top 20 traditional local dishes in a foreign country such as: China, France, Germany, Mexico, Romania, Spain and United Kingdom, and we`ll soon add Italy, Malaysia, Turkey and Greece.
    In this way, you can provide added value for your READERS. As an appreciation I’m glad to give you a promo code in order to download our app for free. This is also a recognition of your great work, in what concerns the blog.
    Our website is : https://www.tastytripapp.com
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    If there is anything that you are interested in, we would be happy to clarify every one of your questions.
    Looking forward to speaking with you!

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    Co-founder at TastyTrip

  3. Bill Hensley
    Bill Hensley · May 2, 2014 at 19:16:56 · →

    I love your blog. I’m a Yosemite addict that lives too far away except for the occasional visit, and your dayhike and backpacking trip reports give me all kinds of good ideas.




  4. Isabel
    Isabel · January 28, 2015 at 16:19:52 · →

    Hi Denise, is there an email or number where I can reach you? I’d love to feature some of your writings on our website, Cal31.com. My email is isabel@cal31.com. Hope to connect soon. Isabel

  5. Freaknomore
    Freaknomore · March 3, 2015 at 06:47:35 · →

    Hi I am visiting US next week onwards and making plans to backpack and see the beautiful nature of Yosemite and Grand Canyon. My dates are from 14-20. Can you suggest a itinerary? I will be coming to yosemite or Grand Canyon from San Fransisco (originally coming from UK coming for a brief vacation to US)

  6. Gay Rose
    Gay Rose · April 29, 2015 at 15:30:14 · →

    Hi! Strawberrians have been introduced to you as a result of the possibility of Strawberry Fall Music Festival being held Sep 3-7, 2015 in Tuolumne City. Your blog is way cool and I’m totally impressed by how many adventures you have enjoyed! I’ve lived in San Jose for 40 years & haven’t done a 25th of what you have – I plan on reading your entire blog…..Keep posting & sharing with us – thank you!

  7. Greg Brown
    Greg Brown · June 6, 2015 at 09:26:55 · →

    Beautiful, Well Done and Meaningful Blog. My 27 year old Son and I are from So Cal, Costa Mesa, and will be camping at Hodgdon Meadow, 6/22-25. We do day hikes at Newport Coast down here. I am fully looking forward to following in your footsteps, likely to Inspiration Pt., North Dome, Hoffman Pk., and Mariposa Grove. Do not be alarmed, and please be assured that we are “good” day hikers. We promise to come, tread lightly, appreciate, leave no trace, and go so much the better for it. In the meantime, I have enjoyed getting acquainted not only with Yosemite here at the site, but with you and Curtis as well, so to speak. You remind me of me with your attention to detail including the flowers and birds. Best Wishes to you both in whatever this Life may bring. (And it does…!) Thank You for this body of work, it is serving to Bless us all. We won’t mess it up! Peace 2U. GPB

  8. Dorothée
    Dorothée · June 6, 2015 at 12:25:14 · →

    Hello Denise, I discovered your blog today and I spent the whole afternoon reading it and grabbing ideas for my 3-week Yosemite solo trip this summer. I really enjoy the way you tell us about the hikes you did. I live in Paris but I now think of moving to Groveland :-)

  9. maduffy
    maduffy · August 5, 2015 at 18:04:38 · →

    I have so very much enjoyed reading your blog! My husband and I (ages early 60’s) have only 1 full day and a half day to spend in Yosemite- a travisty! Sounds like you’d recommend we hike Sentinel Dome & Taft Point loop on the full day? How about the afternoon we have free? We then need to drive to Alturas and have 2 days to get back on a flight from San Francisco. Any advice? Maybe Avenue of the Giants? You so remind us of our oldest daughter. Thank you for anything you can share to make our short journey a good experience.

  10. Douglas Gray
    Douglas Gray · January 22, 2016 at 18:57:28 · →

    Hi Denise,

    My family has a cabin in Aspen Valley, there is an old wilderness trail up to White Wolf. I have always been curious about hiking down to where the Tuolumne River goes into Hetch Hetchy. Did you get that far?

    My Grandmother (She passed away in 1971) had pictures of back packing trips to Pate Valley back in the 1930’s. One person woke up one morning with a rattler in the sleeping bag!! They got out in time without mishap, but very scary!!


    Douglas Gray

  11. Thomas Atkins
    Thomas Atkins · October 30, 2016 at 07:11:28 · →

    Hey Denise! I live across the river in Tuolumne and just stumbled across your block. I love backpacking and really enjoyed the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne post. I have done the hike, but didn’t find out about the pictographs until later. I really want to go back and explore that area better! So cool that you found them! Were there a lot of grinding stones down there as well?


  12. Sanjiv Kapoor
    Sanjiv Kapoor · April 10, 2017 at 14:43:22 · →

    Hi Denise,

    Thanks for your blog!

    We are headed into Hogdon campground this weekend. My boy scout troop is practicing for a weeklong backpacking trip in New Mexico later this summer. My original plan…. hiking up Yosemite Falls with a full pack…. is out the window since the road to the Valley is closed.

    Any suggestions for an alternate (scenic) hike for this time of the year? Short drive is okay….


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