Category Archives: National Parks

It’s Trivia Tuesday, June 8th, 2021

The Rosy Glow Of Sunrise, Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

It’s Trivia Tuesday, so here’s a little bit of trivia about “The Mountain.” Mount Rainier is an “episodically active” volcano and the most-glaciated peak in the Lower 48. The indigenous people named this mountain Tahoma or Tacoma, but it’s present-day moniker was bestowed upon it by one Captain George Vancouver, after sailing into Puget Sound in 1792. He named it after his buddy Peter Rainier. Mount Rainier National Park is America’s fifth national park.

Looking at this image might cause you to think I’ve deliberately oversaturated it. Nope. I can honestly tell you that for 20+ seconds, the sunrise colors are indeed this saturated. You have to work quickly to catch the scene, because as quickly as the colors appear, they disappear and are replaced by regular sunlight which turns the snow on the peak blindingly white and risks overexposure of a photo.

See that tiny person standing at the edge of Tipsoo Lake, in the lower center-ish portion of the shot next to the tree? That gives you an idea of the majesty of the landscape: One Big Mountain, One Teeny Person.

This sunrise shot was captured one fine autumn morning, a few months after I’d moved from Texas to Washington state. It’s early summer as I post this photo, and if you were to go there now, the lake would be mostly covered still in ice and snow.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Mount Rainier National Park, National Parks, Photography, sunrise, Washington State

It’s National Trails Day, June 5th, 2021!

Hiking along the Fairyland Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

Today (June 5, 2021) is National Trails Day, folks! Where will that trail take you? Perhaps out among the red rocks and surreal hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park? Perhaps closer to home? Where ever that trail takes you, stop a moment and appreciate the builders of that trail and the fact that you are out in nature. Also practice the Leave No Trace Principles, while you are at it.

This image above was captured one chilly spring morning in 2018, about three months prior to my move from Texas to central Washington state. It had snowed a couple of days before but most of it melted away by the time I hit that trail. It was my last day in the park, and I was tuckered out. So, I didn’t hike the entire 8-mile loop. Next time I visit this national park, I plan on finishing out the hike!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Hiking Trail, National Parks, Photography

Fun Fact Friday – June 4th, 2021

Denali Mountain And Landscape, Denali National Park and Preserve (Alaska)

It’s Fun Fact Friday! So, here are a few facts about Denali Mountain and Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Did you know that only about 30 percent of people visiting the park ever get a glimpse of the mountain? Like Mount Rainier, Denali Mountain makes its own weather and these conditions can hide the 20,310-foot tall mountain behind a wreath of clouds and fog most of the time. The first climb to the top of this tallest peak in North America was done in 1913, and a member of the climbing party – Harry Karstens – would later become Denali’s first superintendent.

There’s an interesting article in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler about Denali Mountain. Climbing rangers out there are voicing concerns about inexperienced climbers trying to summit the mountain, and after reading the article, I see there is very good reason for them to be concerned. To read that article, click on the image above.

I visited Denali National Park and Preserve for five days several years ago, and was lucky to have been able to see Denali every single day I was there. This image is the result of one such day of clear viewing.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Alaska, Denali National Park, Fun Fact Friday, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel

National Parks Traveler Checklist: Crater Lake National Park

A Crater Lake Sunrise, Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

The National Parks Traveler has published my latest Checklist – this one is for Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. These park checklists are not to remind you to bring your toothpaste and toothbrush, but rather they are filled with tips on things to do, see, prepare for, and plan for.

If you are thinking about traveling to this particular national park, then click on the image above to read the latest checklist.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Crater Lake National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Oregon, Photography, Travel, Traveler's Checklist

What’s On Tap For Your Memorial Day Weekend?

A Smoky Morning Along McDonald Creek in Glacier National Park (Montana)

Planning to visit a national park this 3-day holiday weekend? If so, make sure you check that park’s website for alerts/closures and whether or not you might need a reservation to access certain parts of that park.

Take Glacier National Park, for instance. No, you don’t need to worry about forest fires if you visit now. This image was captured several years ago, during the Sprague Fire on the western side of the park. But, you do need to be aware that the Many Glacier Road is closed this weekend, and visits to this national park now require not only a park pass to enter, but also reservations since it’s ticketed entry to drive Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Same thing with Rocky Mountain National Park – timed entry tickets are required and all the pre-reserved tickets are sold out. This national park does keep a percentage of tickets for those wishing to enter the park on that day. If you want to avoid a reservation, then you need to enter the park before 5 a.m. or after 6 p.m. Good reasons to be an early riser or night owl for sunrise, sunset, and night photography.

I’m staying home this weekend. I do NOT want to encounter the huge crowds I know will be in the parks, and I’m still prepping for my Big Trip that I’ll be taking in about 2 weeks.

Where ever you go, whatever you do, stay safe, keep a good social distance, and be nice to people … unless they are doing something totally stupid, in which case, gently remind them to not do whatever stupid thing it is they are doing (like trying to get a selfie in front of that momma grizzly and her cubs). Your reminders probably won’t work, but at least you’ll have done your part.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Glacier National Park MT, Holidays, Memorial Day, Montana, National Parks, Photography, Travel

National Parks Traveler Checklist: Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

The promise of a summer storm over the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

If you are planning a trip to Arches or Zion national parks in Utah over the Memorial Day holiday, then you’d better brace for crowds. No duh, right? However, if you are looking to spend time in a less-visited park that has some amazing scenery and geology, then why not take a look at Petrified Forest National Park, in Arizona. As a matter of fact, the National Parks published my latest Traveler Checklist today. These checklists I write are not the kind reminding you to bring along your toothpaste and not to forget the toothbrush, but rather what you might do during a visit to the park, what to watch out for, and maybe where to get a decent coffee or meal.

To read the checklist, click on the image above.

This image was captured shortly after my arrival at the Painted Desert portion of the park during my road trip move from TX to WA. It was summer, which is the monsoon season out in that part of the U.S., so storm clouds floated over the park, threatening to create a downpour. Never happened, though – may have been cloudy, but was dry as a bone over the landscape.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Arizona, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Petrified Forest National Park, Photography, Travel and Photography, Traveler's Checklist

National Parks Quiz And Trivia: May Notables

Late Afternoon In Many Glacier, Glacier National Park (Montana)

The National Parks Traveler recently published my latest quiz and trivia piece. It’s all about May notables: Glacier National Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Crater Lake National Park. These parks were established in the month of May. If you are interested in testing your knowledge about these parks, then click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Glacier National Park MT, National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler, Photography

About The Size Of A Nacho Chip

A close-up view of an endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchling, Padre Island National Seashore (Texas)

Today’s Feature Story in the National Parks Traveler uses a number of photos I captured during my June 2017 visit to Padre Island National Seashore, where I had the privilege of photographing a couple of endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchling releases. There’s been quite a controversy over this hatchling program since the days of the trump administration, and the National Park Service is not looking so good in my eyes regarding this program. I read the article and came away feeling angry and sad.

To read this Special Report, click on the image above.

This image below is one I took while standing stock-still in the sand, surrounded by these nacho-sized little babies as they literally swam in the sand on the beach to reach the water of the Gulf of Mexico at this national seashore. The scientist in charge of this program had been gracious enough to allow me to be in the midst of this release and it was a joyful experience not only for me, but for the almost 1000 spectators who were up at 6:45 a.m. to watch these little guys head out to the sea.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, Padre Island National Seashore, Photography, Texas, Travel

Fun Fact Friday, April 30th, 2021

Here’s something interesting you might or might not have known about life in Denali National Park and Preserve, in Alaska. There are 39 species of mammals in the park, including the Big 5 (moose, caribou, Dall sheep, wolves, grizzly bears), and 139 species of birds. But, only one amphibian has managed to adapt to life under the harsh conditions of the park’s landscape. The wood frog can actually freeze itself solid during the winter! It’s heart stops, it doesn’t breathe, but there are cryptoprotectant chemicles that keep the frog’s cells alive, and when spring arrives, the frog thaws out and starts searching for a pond and a mate. Pretty cool, huh? (pun intended).

As for this image, it was captured during my 5-day stay at Camp Denali, located near the end of the one and only road through the park. There’s a little pond right outside of the main camp building called Nugget Pond, and on this particular day, I captured three different shots of it as the morning lightened up. The first shot you can see if you look at a previous post. This is the second shot, captured a little later during sunrise, and I’ll post the final shot later on.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Alaska, Denali National Park, Fun Fact Friday, National Parks, Photography, Travel

Traveler’s Checklist For Glacier National Park

The view along Grinnell Glacier Trail in the Many Glacier Area of Glacier National Park (Montana)

The National Parks Traveler has published my latest Traveler’s Checklist. This week’s helpful planner is all about visiting Glacier National Park. If you are thinking about visiting this park for the first time, or are revisiting it again for the hundredth time, check out this checklist to see if you find anything helpful, or if it jives with the list you might be making for your trip.

To read the article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Glacier National Park MT, Montana, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel