Tag Archives: National Park

Let Others Know You Are A Parks Traveler

I won’t ever ask for money on my behalf, but I will promote issues and entities about which I feel strongly and support, myself. Sure, I have a vested interest in the National Parks Traveler, but even if I didn’t, I’d support it because I believe in it.

The Traveler is the only media organization, profit or nonprofit, that covers national parks and protected areas on a daily basis. The Traveler publishes a wide range of articles, including the most recent about a visit to Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas in search of carnivorous plants, the history of sea chanteys as told at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, the loss of Joshua trees at Mojave National Preserve, and the struggle Navajo artisans have had with closure of the Hubbell Trading Post due to Covid. 

No other outlet is telling these stories, daily or otherwise.

In the days and weeks ahead, among the stories the Traveler plans on posting is one looking at the increasing cost, due to additional fees, of a national park visit; another on the staggering loss of sequoias at Sequoia National Park and elsewhere; a piece that examines the uniqueness of Fort Laramie National Historic Site as a keeper of Westward Expansion history, and; a look at Catoctin Mountain Park, home to Camp David. There will be more in-the-park reporting, plus a continuation of the Traveler’s podcast series, which recently published it’s 113th episode!

I’ll be a part of the stories you see, too, with the Traveler’s Checklists, quizzes and trivia pieces, and monthly photography articles.

Think about a monthly donation to the Traveler, and you can choose from some pretty cool swag (see photos above) to show others that you are a parks traveler. To make a donation, click on the National Parks Traveler highlighted link, above. And, thanks!

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Filed under National Parks Traveler

National Parks Quiz and Trivia #28 – The Spring Wildflower Edition

Blooming claret cup cactus in Big Bend National Park (Texas)

It’s time to test your knowledge with my latest quiz and trivia piece published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. It’s all about spring wildflowers in the national park system. See just how much you know and maybe learn something new.

To take the quiz, click on the image above. After you’ve finished with the quiz, take a look at the other articles in today’s edition of the Traveler, while you are at it.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under flowers, National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler, Photography

“Half The Park Is After Dark”

A starry sky and mirror-smooth Reflection Lake in Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)
A busy night at the Sunrise Area of Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)
Comet NEOWISE over Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)
Taking the road to the stars in Big Bend National Park (Texas)
A starry sky over the Watchman and Virgin River, Zion National Park (Utah)

“Half the Park is After Dark,” as the saying goes. This week is International Dark Skies Week, so here are a few images of some dark skies over Mount Rainier, Crater Lake, and Big Bend national parks. To read more about this week, click on any of the images above.

I don’t do much night photography, but that’s mainly because it’s hard for me to stay up past my bedtime. I’m not a “night owl” and never was. I’m an “early bird” and have no problem getting up at 3 a.m. to get to a spot for sunrise shots. I really do need to get more night shots of the parks I visit, and I’ll try to make that a mission. Another part of the problem, besides light pollution and staying up late, is that clear skies and moonless nights are the best circumstances in which to view and photograph the stars and Milky Way. Sometimes, I remember to time my trips during the week of a new moon, but oftentimes, I simply forget.

Night shots are a good way to work on your photography skills. To get a decent star image, though, you need to set your camera to Manual (not Auto or Program), put it on a tripod, increase the ISO to greater than 640, and experiment with different slow shutter speeds, anywhere from 10 seconds to greater. It’s also helpful to use a corded or wireless remote shutter release, or utilize the 2-second timer on your camera. That reduces blur from camera shake when your finder touches the shutter button.

It takes a little expertise with the editing software to really bring out that Milky Way and landscape. Some photographers blend anywhere from two to more images to get enough light on the landscape while keeping the dark sky dark. If they are honest, they will say what they did. But most photographers keep quiet. That’s why you will be amazed at seeing something like the night sky over the Watchman and Virgin River at Zion Park, where the landscape is beautifully lit. when in reality – as you can see from the image above, captured around 2 a.m. on a cold, clear February night – it is a a bit darker. Nonetheless, it doesn’t detract from the beauty of the shot.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Big Bend National Park, Crater Lake National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, National Parks, Night Photography, Photography, Zion National Park

Early Morning At Roaring Mountain

An early autumn morning listening to the low hiss of Roaring Mountain fumeroles, Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)

This shot was captured on my last day in the park. Actually, I was heading out and back to Bozeman to meet up with some friends, but I was loath to leave the park. I could have stayed there for another week and been happy.

Roaring Mountain doesn’t really roar. Instead, it has a low hiss that is sometimes difficult to hear – especially as cars passed by on the road behind me. All those spots where you see steam issuing forth are from fumeroles – openings that emit steam and other gases.

If you ever visit this national park, take a moment to fathom that you are standing upon a volcanically active (hydrothermally active) landscape. The crust is not quite as thick as you think it might be, which is why it’s good to obey the signs that say “Stay On Trail.”

2022 marks Yellowstone National Park’s 150th birthday. I’m going to try and be there at some point in time to celebrate that year with the park.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Geology, National Parks, Photography, Travel, Travel and Photography, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park

World Water Day 2021 … Yesterday

A Summer Sunset Over Kalaloch Beach, Olympic National Park (Washington)

I’m a day late in posting this – probably because I didn’t realize that March 22, 2021 was World Water Day. So, better late than never, I’m posting a water image the day after World Water Day.

We are a very lucky world to have so much life-giving water. It behooves us, as a species, to take better care of this precious resource. With climage change, I have a feeling that future battles will be fought over water.

As for this image, it was captured during a late August visit in 2019, and while there were people out there, there were not as many as I thought, given that it was summer. If you’ve never visited Olympic National Park, you should put it on your to-see bucket list. It’s a national park with a bit of everything: lush green temperate rainforests, ocean beaches, and rugged mountains.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, Olympic National Park, Photography, Travel, Washington State

Fun Fact Friday 3-19-2021

A Leaf-Strewn Carriage Road, Acadia National Park (Maine)

Ever heard of “mud season?” It’s a term used in northern climates and starts around the end of March, lasting through the beginning of May, more or less – it starts when the weather becomes warmer, snow and ice melt, and the rains begin. It can really, literally, muck up roads and trails, creating potholes, ruts, and exacerbating erosion of those roads and trails.

Right now, it’s the start of mud season at Acadia National Park, so park staff are closing the carriage roads until things dry up a bit. There’s even an article about this in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.

To read the article, click on the image above.

The image above was captured many years ago. I was telling my sister the other day that someday, when I actually feel like flying and cramming myself in with a jillion other coughing, sneezing, hacking people on a plane, I may take another autumn trip out to that national park. And while I’m there, stuff my face with as many lobster rolls as I possibly can. 😉

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Acadia National Park, Fun Fact Friday, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography

Photography In The National Parks: Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

Paddling the lake in the Whiskey Creek area, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (California)

The National Parks Traveler has (finally) published my article about my photographic visit to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, just 8 miles west of Redding, California. I’d made the visit last fall, during a time when smoke from the surrounding wildfires wreathed this park, which suffered its own wildfire back in 2018, devastating 97 percent of its 42,000 acres. Like a phoenix rising, this recreation area has rebuilt most of its infrastructure and there are signs of regrowth on the landscape, and people continue to visit and recreate here.

To read the article and see the photos, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Travel and Photography, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

Careless Visitors Gain Arches National Park An Ignoble Designation

New Year’s Eve Morning At Turret Arch, Arches National Park (Utah)

The National Parks Traveler has run a number of articles about graffiti in the national park units. I even wrote an op-ed for the Traveler regarding graffiti, and one commenter rightly said that the people who really need to see the articles are not the ones who read the Traveler, or probably even anything else regarding behavior and the Leave No Trace Principles in national parks, except how to make lodging reservations or how many miles away it is from where they live.

So, I thought I’d write this post and embed the link to the latest article about Arches in the image above, captured back in 2017 – a year before I retired from my day job and moved up to central Washington.

To read the article, click on the image above.

To read other articles published in the Traveler about graffiti in national parks, click on this link.

Feel free to pass this post with its links on to others. The more people that understand it’s NOT ok to leave graffiti in a national park, or otherwise trash a park unit with garbage, human waste, and pet waste, the less cleanup that will need to be done to the precious natural resources within a park unit.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler

Fun Fact Friday 3-12-2021

Velvet Landscape, Painted Hills Unit
Folds Of Velvet – A Telephoto Landscape

Here;s a wide-angle and a telephoto shot of the same area in the Painted Hills Unit of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, located in east-central Oregon. The telephoto image focuses more on those beautiful folds of maroon and olive hills, which was the objective with the telephoto shot. This is also to prove you can get some really nice telephoto landscapes, too. Telephotos are not just for wildlife, birds, and sports.

It’s #FunFactFriday , so here’s some interesting facts about this national monument located in Oregon. There are three units in this national monument, and each unit is about an hour’s drive from any other of the two units (the roads are winding so it’s important to drive the actual speed limit). The monument, as a whole, contains fossils of plants and animals that date back as far as 44 million years. The varigated colors of the hills denote periods of climate change, between wetter and drier periods. The darker colors of the hills represent wetter atmospheres, in which water oxidized (rusted) the iron minerals within the soils.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, National Parks, Oregon, Photography, telephoto lens, Travel

National Parks Quiz And Trivia #26 – Superlatives

A Lakeside View, Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

Crater Lake National Park is one of the parks mentioned in my latest National Parks Quiz And Trivia piece, published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. Jumpstart your Monday with a test to see how much you know about the national parks – you might even learn something you didn’t know!

To look at the quiz and trivia piece, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Crater Lake National Park, National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler, Oregon, Photography