Category Archives: National Parks Traveler

Photography In The National Parks: Getting Great Smartphone Shots – Part 2

It’s #TriviaTuesday folks! If you visit Lassen Volcanic National Park in California, you’ll have the opportunity to see all four types of volcano: plug dome (aka lava dome), cinder cone, shield, and strato (aka composite). And you can hike up to each of these, too. Lassen Peak is one of the world’s largest plug domes, Prospect Peak is a shield volcano, Brokeoff Mountain is an eroded part of stratovolcano Mount Tehama, and, well, Cinder Cone is a cinder cone. You can even hike up to and then down into Cinder Cone, pictured here.

This shot was captured with my iPhone. And speaking of iPhones, and smartphones in general, my latest photo column has been published in the National Parks Traveler: Getting Great Smartphone Shots – Part 2.

To read the article, click on the image above

I’m an SLR gal, but I readily admit the smartphone camera is an amazing piece of technology and smartphone cameras can get some pretty cool shots. I used mine when I neglected to bring along a particular wide-angle lens for my other camera during my own hike up to Cinder Cone. And I wanted to prove, not only to myself, but to you also, that you can get some very nice images with your smartphone.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Podcast 197: Overlooked Gems Of The National Park System

“This year has been a year of firsts for the National Parks Traveler Editor Kurt Repanshek. First-time visits to units of the National Park System, that is. This year Repanshek has taken road trips through Nebraska, Kansas, and New Mexico to explore overlooked gems of the park system. To discuss these and other must-see sites with us today are Rebecca Latson, Traveler’s contributing photographer, and Kim O’Connell, a Traveler contributing editor.”

To listen to the podcast, click on the image above.

The background image is one I captured during my visit to the Painted Hills Unit of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Oregon.

The podcast interview was a fun one, and maybe it will encourage some of you out there to take your own road trip to one or more of these “overlooked gems” within the National Park System.

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National Parks Quiz And Trivia #55

It’s time to check out this month’s quiz and trivia piece I wrote for the National Parks Traveler. How much *do* you know about the units of the National Park System?

One of the questions in the quiz – actually, the very first question – deals with the images (one of them, anyway) you see above of the large dacite boulder seen in the Devastated Area of Lassen Volcanic National Park. What are those round-ish things you see within the dacite bouler? Btw, dacite is an igneous rock that forms from viscous (thick, slow-flowing) lava. Those small white inclusions you see are bits of quartz.

To take the quiz and read the trivia, click on either image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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3 Days In Lassen Volcanic National Park

What can you do and see in Lassen Volcanic National Park if you only have three days? Plenty! Today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler has published my three-day itinerary of this park.

To read the article, click on the image above.

As for this image: this is one of the views you get at the top of Cinder Cone, located in the northeastern corner of the park. From right to left: Lassen Peak, Fairfield Peak (I think – the closer tree-covered cinde cone), Painted Dunes and Fantastic Lava Beds.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Forest Restoration, Resilience, And Protection At Lassen Volcanic National Park

Restoration, resilience, and protection are key words used in my Feature Story published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. I had the opportunity to speak with the Lassen Volcanic National Park superintendent and information officer during my recent October stay at this national park, and subsequently wrote an article about the proactive steps park management has been taking and continues to take to ensure a healthy forest ecosystem in the face of past and possibly future wildfires.

Click on the image above to read my article.

The image was captured during my early morning drive toward the Bumpass Hell area.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Photography And Trivia Tuesday

It’s #TriviaTuesday *and* my latest photo column has been published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler!

How many of you have ever heard of, or seen, columnar jointing? It’s a pretty cool geological formation that usually occurs with basaltic lava (as opposed to other lavas, although it’s happened with other mixes before). When lava begins to cool, it contracts, and when it contracts, it causes fracturing. This fracturing begins at the top and bottom and moves inward toward the center. Turns out (long story short) that the hexagonal pattern is the most efficient way for heat to be released when cooling. Columnar jointing occurs perpendicular to the original lava flow.

You can see really cool columnar jointing (aka columnar basalts) at places like Devils Postpile and Devils Tower national monuments. You can also see all sorts of columnar jointing along the Columbia River and in other parts of eastern Washington State, like at Drumheller Channels National Natural Landmark along the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail. And that’s what today’s photo column is all about: photography and exploration at Drumheller Channels.

Click on either the image above or the image below to read more and see more pics.

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National Parks Traveler Checklist: Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

Becky And The Glacial Erratic

If you are thinking about travel and making plans to maybe visit a national park, you should check out my latest National Parks Traveler Checklist. It’s all about planning for Lassen Volcanic National Park in California and is published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.

Click on the image above to check out the checklist.

As for this image, I captured it at the Bumpass Hell parking lot before heading out on a 1.5-mile hike to Bumpass Hell. If you go, not only can you see this huge glacially-deposited boulder for yourself, but you’ll also see nicely-defined striations on surrounding rocks indicating the direction of travel the glacier took.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Pika And Plague In Lassen Volcanic National Park

When you think of plague, what comes to mind? The Black Death of the mid 1300s? Certainly not cute, furry little mammals in a national park. And yet, plague is there. In national parks.

During my recent short visit to Lassen Volcanic National Park, I had the good fortune, thanks to the park’s superintendent and it’s chief of resources, to follow along with the park’s “pika crew” as they conducted field research on the extent of plague in the park, with emphasis on pika.

My article has been published as a feature story in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. To read the story, click on the image above.

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National Parks Quiz And Trivia #53

Visit a unit of the National Park System and you might come across a raven giving you the once over, like I did during a 2021 trip to Yosemite National Park. In addition to their raspy croak/caw, how many other vocalizations do ravens have?

That’s one of the questions in this month’s quiz and trivia piece I penned for the National Parks Traveler. If you feel like stretching your mental muscles and testing your national park knowledge, click on the image above. The questions are multiple choice or True/False. Who knows – you might even learn something new or decide to travel to one of these park units mentioned in this quiz.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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National Parks Quiz And Trivia #52: Water

A wake of water on Lake Chelan at Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, a part of the North Cascades National Park Complex in Washington state.

Water, water, everywhere … or maybe it’s water, water, used to be everywhere. Time to test your national parks knowledge and maybe learn something new with my latest quiz and trivia piece published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.

To take the quiz and read the trivia, click on the image above.

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