Nature does a fine job at making her own Christmas tree, don’t you think? I photographed this lovely, snow-frosted evergreen along the side of the road in Mount Rainier National Park.
And, since it’s Fun Fact Friday as well as Christmas Day, here’s a little bit of Mount Rainier tree trivia for you: The trees in this park extend all the way up to over 6,000 feet along the mountain flanks (over 1,800 meters, more or less). Forests cover approximately 58% of this national park. And most of the trees here are evergreen conifers, meaning they have needles and they keep their needles on their branches year-round.
If you’re thinking of getting out in the parks this winter with mask, hand sanitizer, and camera in hand, then you’ll want to read my annual winter photo column published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. It might be a bit redundant if you read last year’s photo column, but a little winter photography refresher never hurts, right?
Happy first day of winter! Is it snowing where you are? It’s raining here and going to be 55 degrees, which is unusually warm for my part of Washington state this time of year. Feels odd. It’s supposed to start getting chillier tomorrow.
The shot above was captured 3 years ago, in January, along Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. I was trying out new snowshoes (and having a devil of a time with the straps), and of course lugging a loaded camera pack with me, so I ultimately did not get too very far. The view, nonetheless, was pretty nice. There were a few cross-country skiers who zipped on past me that morning, but overall, not many others venturing outside, which was just fine by me.
Even though it’s a Monday, I hope your first day of winter is a good one.
It is possible to take a safe and enjoyable trip into a national park, if you prepare and use some precautions. I returned alive and well (it’s been 14 days since my return) to write how I did it and what I saw at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.
To read the story published in the National Parks Traveler, click on the image above.
Courtesy of the little waterfall at Sunbeam Creek, just off the Stevens Canyon Road heading up toward Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park. As you can see, it’s good to return to the same scene during different seasons to photograph the changes. The first image was captured in July, which is analogous to spring in the upper elevations (hence the healthy water flow). The second image was captured in September. The summer might have been hot, resulting in less flow, and/or the high elevation from whence this creek originates might aleady have been freezing over. True summer, with warm, sunny weather, doesn’t often last very long in the mountains.
It’s Trivia Tuesday! Did you know that the Tetons are the youngest mountains in the Rockies, and that the eastern front of the Teton Range is one huge fault scarp?
Speaking of Grand Teton National Park, tourism officials in Jackson Hole are looking forward to reaching that new “normal” regarding how they will open up, according to an article published today in the National Parks Traveler:
As for this image itself, I captured it on my very first visit into this national park, during my 2018 road trip move from Texas to central Washington. It was in the afternoon – I’d checked into my hotel, unloaded some of my stuff, then hopped into the car to drive into the park and do a teeny bit of scouting to see if I could find any good spots for sunrise shots. I didn’t go very far, though, because, in all honesty, I was plumb tuckered out. I’d been on the road for 11 days, driving, unloading, reloading, stopping off at national parks for 2-3 days here and there for full days of photography. I was having fun, but I was tired. Besides, as the afternoon progressed, the smoke from forest fires near and far became heavier. This image was taken not too far from the Windy Point Turnout. I’d gotten some shots there, then drove a little further northward before deciding to call it quits for the afternoon. By then, I’d pretty much figured out what my sunrise location would be.
A view of the Colorado River and Vermilion Cliffs from the Navajo Bridge in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Arizona
The Colorado River begins in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and runs about 1,450 miles through several states and empties out (eventually) into the Gulf of California. I saw a very tiny segment of this river during my short, 1-hour visit to Navajo Bridge in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on my way to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
As part of the National Parks Traveler’s continuing series on the health of the Colorado River, a great article has been published today about how climate change is affecting the Colorado River water in Glen Canyon NRA. Definitely worth a read.
To read this article, click on the image above.
I know, I have lots of links to the National Parks Traveler, don’t I? If you are new to my blog site (or if you just don’t look at my site that often but still follow me), I am a writer and photographer and contributing editor for the Traveler. I also believe in what the Traveler does, which is to report on our national parks and protected areas on a daily basis, providing you with travel, photography, and news articles you wouldn’t find anywhere else – at least, not on a daily basis.
In retrospect, I wish I could have stayed a little longer at Navajo Bridge then driven the 6 miles down to Lees Ferry to hike along the river. But, having departed Petrified National Park early that morning (it was a little after 10 AM when I captured the image above), I was tired from driving and ready to get to my next destination (the North Rim) with time to explore *that* area.
It’s the weekend! Where will the trails take you? Will you be hiking into adventure or staying closer to home. Wherever you will be, have fun, stay safe, and, if you *are* out hiking, then pack out what you pack in.
This image was captured at the beginning of my walk through the Hall of Mosses Trail in Olympic National Park during my August 2019 visit. The boardwalk made a perfect leading line, and I was hurrying with my camera and 14mm lens to get a nice, wide-angle shot of the boardwalk, the trees in the distance, and the couple on the trail before they disappeared within the shadows of the forest. I thought the two people made a nice bit of scale and reference to the scene.
Summer is a nice time to visit this park, believe it or not. There were lots of people, but nothing compared to the masses I encountered when visiting Yellowstone National Park the previous August of 2018. If you get out early enough, you’ll escape the crowds that appear later in the morning and afternoon.
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.
A strawberry pitaya bloom, Big Bend National Park, in Texas
Mornin’, Folks! It’s Sunrise Sunday! And, it’s even sunny where I live (it’s been gray and dreary this past week). I haven’t posted much in the past few days because I’ve been busy with family things and working on another article for the National Parks Traveler.
I thought I’d sit down and go through Yellowstone images I hadn’t worked on yet, and found this lovely sunrise image of the Lower Yellowstone Falls. I have a thing for waterfalls, I guess, and this place is magical in the autumn, on cold, crisp, clear days. It wasn’t until later that I realized there were more observation points than I’d first thought, and I never got to see them during my 2019 stay there. Next time I visit this national park, you can bet I’ll be going to the places I missed.
All images on these posts are the exclusive property of Rebecca L. Latson and Where The Trails Take You Photography. Please respect my copyright and do not use these images on Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat or any other business, personal or social website, blog site, or other media without my written permission. Thank you.
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