Category Archives: Fun Fact Friday

Standing Amongst The Fallen

Standing between a couple of downed coast redwood trees

It’s Fun Fact Friday! Did you know that coast redwood trees have a very shallow root system? When I saw these and other downed trees while wandering the Stout Grove Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, it brought to mind the downed oak trees I’d seen after hurricanes while living in southeast Texas. I asked a park ranger about this and she said yes, coast redwoods have shallow root systems that only go about 3 feet down, but the roots migrate outward around the tree for quite a distance, some as far as 80 feet from the tree. And, studies have indicated that one coast redwood tree’s root system can communicate with another redwood tree’s root system, providing nutrients and water to that other tree if it needs them.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under California, Fun Fact Friday, National Parks, Photography, Redwoods National and State Parks, Travel, trees

National Parks Quiz And Trivia #16 – The Road Edition

The Chisos Basin Road in Big Bend National Park (Texas)

According to the National Park Service, there are over 5,000 miles of paved roads through the National Park System. Park roads (paved or unpaved) allow us to reach amazing vistas we might not otherwise see within a national park, national monument, or national recreation area. These roads are marvels of construction and merit a nod of appreciation to those builders who may have risked life and limb to ensure completion of that navigable ribbon of gravel or pavement.

So, my latest quiz and trivia piece published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler is all about National Park unit roads, paved and unpaved, and what you can see along those roads. Why not test your knowledge of these roads by clicking on any of the photos. If you take the quiz, try to answer them first before looking at the answers at the bottom of the piece.

The road through Arches National Park (Utah)
The Rim Road as seen from the summit of Watchman Peak in Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)
The road through Denali National Park (Alaska)
Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park (Montana)
The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway in Zion National Park (Utah)

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Fun Fact Friday, National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler, Photography

It’s Fun Fact Friday, 6-26-2020

It’s Fun Fact Friday, folks! The image above is of a plant called devil’s club. It’s quite striking among the other greenery growing in the forest interior at Mount Rainier National Park. And, as you can see, it’s got little stickers on it. But, there’s more to this plant than what you think.

In addition to using devil’s club for an arthritis remedy, fishhooks and deodorant, Alaska Natives have also used this plant for coughs, colds and fever, skin disorders, and digestive ailments.

This plant was one of the quiz questions for National Parks Quiz and Trivia #8.

So, the next time you wander the forests of the Pacific Northwest and see this plant, you’ll know more about the forest and this plant than you did before.


Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Fun Fact Friday, Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, nature, Nikon, Photography, plant

It’s Fun Fact Friday 5-8-2020!

Heart Spring

Heart Spring, Upper Geyser Basin, temperature > 190 degrees Fahrenheit

Belgian Pool

Belgian Pool, Upper Geyser Basin, temperature ~ >150 degrees Fahrenheit

Did you know that the colors of the beautiful hot springs you see at Yellowstone National Park indicate the water temperature? Make no mistake, you do NOT want to soak in any of these after a long day hiking. Rule of thumb: the bluer the H2O, the hotter it is. And the orange, yellow, and brown colors you see ringing the springs and leading away from them are thermophilic (heat loving) bacteria.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under Canon, Fun Fact Friday, Geology, National Parks, Photography, Yellowstone National Park

It’s Fun Fact Friday 5-1-2020!

Petrified Logs

It’s Fun Fact Friday! Did you know that the petrified logs you see in Petrified Forest National Park range in age from 211 – 218 million years? And those saturated colors come from such trace minerals as hematite, pyrite, goethite, chromium, and manganese. Pretty cool, huh? And now, you know.

 
I wish I would have had one more day to spend in this national park located in Arizona. It was the very first national park I visited during my 3-week road trip move from Texas to central Washington. I’d never been to this park before, and as what usually happens, even if you’ve done prior research about a park, you still are a little unprepared for what you’ll see and what you’ll do. This national park is one of those less-visited gems, so it’s very easy to practice a social distancing along the trails. This particular trail is called the Crystal Forest Trail.
 
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Arizona, Canon, Fun Fact Friday, National Parks, Petrified Forest National Park, Photography, Travel

Fun Fact Friday 4-24-2020

Black Sand Basin Landscape

“Bobby socks” around Opalescent Pool in Black Sand Basin, Yellowstone National Park

"Bobby Socks" At Fountain Paint Pots Nature Trail

“Bobby socks” along the Fountain Paint Pots Nature Trail, Yellowstone National Park

Hey folks, it’s Fun Fact Friday!

If you’ve ever visited Yellowstone National Park, you’ve seen these dead, desolate trees with the white rings around their bases. Those are called “Bobby socks” and are formed when the trees absorb the silica (natural glass) from the thermal waters. This, of course, kills the trees and “freezes” them to keep them standing.

And now you know!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, Canon Lens, Fun Fact Friday, Geology, National Parks, Photography, Travel, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park

It’s Fun Fact Friday, 4-3-2020!

Recently, I received my book Scenic Science of the National Parks. The National Parks Traveler had done a podcast interviewing the two authors of this book and it sounded pretty cool, so of course, I ordered it. I love learning things about the national parks I’ve photographed, and am pleased and proud that I’ve photographed some of the things mentioned in the book. Here are some interesting facts straight from the book.

Rainforest Growth

This veiny-lettucy-cabbagey lichen in the photo above is called Oregon Lungwort, and it can pull nitrogen straight out of the air.

Oregon Spikemoss

Oregon Spikemoss can grow 6 feet in length. When parts of this moss die, the spiky leaves curl up and turn brown.

Licorice Ferns And Big Leaf Maple

These bright green, delicate ferns waving in the breeze are called licorice ferns. They grow on epiphytes (plants growing on plants) on Bigleaf Maple trees (I didn’t even know this was a maple tree until I looked closely at the leaves) and really do taste like licorice … if you like licorice, that is (ugh).

And now you know!

Scenic Science

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

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Filed under Fun Fact Friday, National Parks, Olympic National Park, Photography, Travel, Washington State

It’s Fun Fact Friday, 3-27-2020!

Painted Hills GeologyPainted Hill Badlands And Sutton MountainsRed BedTwo Red Beds

It’s Fun Fact Friday! Here’s some interesting facts for you if you happen to visit John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Oregon.

In the first photo, that’s the first hill you’ll see that will get your attention as you drive past the sign welcoming you to the Painted Hills Unit. The top of this hill is capped with a volcanic tuff called the Picture Gorge Ignimbrite. This tuff is 28.7 MILLION years old.

The other images show other sides to this same hill as you drive further along the gravel road into the Painted Hills Unit. The red and tan soils are called paleosols, and the red paleosols are indicative of a warmer, wet, tropical to subtropical climate, while the tan soils represent a cooler, drier, more temperate climate.

Those blue-ish shadowed mountains in the background of a couple of the images are the Sutton Mountains.

And now you know!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Fun Fact Friday, Geology, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, National Parks, Oregon, Photography, Travel

It’s Fun Fact Friday 3-6-2020!

Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher

The scissor-tail flycatcher, aka Texas bird-of-paradise, can hover with its tail spread and make abrupt turns in midair. It’s numbers have declined by about 31% between 1966 and 2014.

I found this flycatcher in October, sitting pretty on the barb-wire fence at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge back in 2013.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 1DX, birds, Brazoria NWR, Canon, Fun Fact Friday, nature, Photography, Texas, Wildlife Refuge

It’s Fun Fact Friday 2/21/2020!

The View Along Lost Mine Trail - 14mm

The view along the Lost Mine Trail, Big Bend National Park, in Texas

Hey folks, it’s Fun Fact Friday! Here are some interesting facts for you about Big Bend National Park, in Texas.

  • There are over 60 species of cactus, 450 species of birds, 1,200 plant species, and 3,600 insect species found in this national park.
  • The name Big Bend comes from a bend in the Rio Grande River, which runs along the park boundary.
  • In 2012, the park was named an International Dark Sky Park, which means it’s awesome for star gazing.

I first visited this national park in 2013 and made 4 more trips there before moving out of Texas. I visited during the winter and spring, when the temperatures were at their most ambient. Late spring was awesome for blooming cactus. And, speaking of visiting, Big Bend is entering it’s busy season, so if you are planning to travel there anytime soon, you’d probably better have alternate lodging plans in case you can’t find an available campsite, according to an article published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.

To read more of that article, click on the image at the top of this post.

Strawberry Pitaya Bloom

A strawberry pitaya bloom, Big Bend National Park, in Texas

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under Big Bend, Big Bend National Park, Canon, flowers, Fun Fact Friday, Landscape, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Seasons, Spring, Texas, Travel, winter