Tag Archives: national parks

Fun Fact Friday August 20, 2021

Cooling down on a hot day in Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)
Just a pair of ravens chilling out on a snowy winter day in Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

It’s #FunFactFriday ! I have always liked ravens. I like crows too, but ravens more. So, here’s a few interesting facts about ravens. These birds are super smart and very curious. They are also quite acrobatic when flying, turning somersaults mid-air. They’ve got a vocabulary of about 30 calls (including flight calls, hunger calls, and danger calls) in addition to non-vocal communication (like snapping their beaks). Once mated, it’s for life, and they usually nest in the same location year after year.

You can tell the difference between ravens and crows in that (among other things), ravens are larger, have uneven tail feathers (which you can see when they fan them out) and have curvier beaks. Ravens usually travel in pairs while crows travel in larger groups (called “murders” as in a murder of crows).

When I stayed for a couple of days at the North Cascades Institute back in 2019, they talked about a pair of ravens they’d named Bonnie and Clyde. These ravens could unzip backpacks in their efforts to get at hikers’ food. I believe I actually met this pair one day while photographing at the Diablo Lake Overlook. They had landed on the fence railing and were eyeing my camera pack, then hopped down next to the pack. I had a feeling they were trying to figure out where the zippers were, so I had to shoo them away.

The one raven with its mouth open in the top photo is doing something you’ll see other birds doing: it’s called gular (goo-lur) fluttering and they do it to cool down on a hot day since they cannot sweat like humans do.

Oh, and while I am on the subject of fun facts, my latest quiz and trivia piece has been published in the National Parks Traveler. It’s all about “August notables.” To read the article, click on either of the images above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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

National Park Service Requiring Face Masks For Everyone Entering Buildings

A Family On The Steep, Winding Trail In Paradise, Mount Rainier National Park (Washington state)

“National Park Service officials on Monday directed that all visitors, employees, and contractors entering NPS buildings and in crowded areas of parks must wear a face mask, regardless of their vaccination status.”

And I say GOOD! I have absolutely no problem whatsoever wearing a piece of cloth over my mouth and nose inside a building. It protects me, it protects others. It doesn’t infringe on my freedom and I don’t feel one bit whiny about it. The Delta variant aint goin’ away. So, when you visit a national park and want to go into one of the park buildings, then take and wear a mask …. or don’t go in at all.

To read the rest of this article that was just published by the National Parks Traveler, click on the image above.

P.S., I’ll be taking scads of national park-themed masks with me on my upcoming trip to Yosemite National Park, Devils Postpile National Monument, and Great Basin National Park.

#recreateresponsibly #wearamask #findyourpark

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler

National Parks Quiz And Trivia #35: The Waterfall Edition

The Weeping Wall along Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park (Montana)

Ok, I’ll admit the image above is nothing to write home about, but I posted this because one of the quiz questions is about the Weeping Wall in my latest quiz and trivia piece published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. It’s all about waterfalls in the national parks. Click on the link to test your knowledge about these sometimes-ephemeral, always beautiful cascades of water you might spy just off the side of the road or along the trail in a national park.

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

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler, Waterfalls, waterfalls

Time To Mask Up Again In National Parks

In today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler is an article about mandatory masking within buildings in national parks that are ‘”(I)n areas of substantial or high community transmission” of the Covid virus.’ This is regardless of whether you are vaccinated or not.

A number of parks have already announced this on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts (North Cascades, Glacier, Mount Rainier, Yosemite, Yellowstone, etc.). If you are planning a trip to a national park anytime soon, then you might want to check first to see if you need to bring a mask.

It’s not a political thing, folks. It’s a health matter. I and my family are fully vaccinated but you can bet I’ll be bringing my cool masks that my sister made along with me on forthcoming visits to a couple of national parks (provided nothing unforeseen occurs – like what happened with my recent eye surgery).

Stay safe, play it safe, keep others safe. It aint over yet, folks. The sooner you get vaccinated, the sooner those variants go away or are kept from forming (I’m lookin’ at you, Delta and Lambda variants).

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Fun Fact Photography!

The Secondary Phloem Of A Redwood Tree, Redwood National and State Parks (California)

Do you know what a secondary phloem is? I didn’t. But I saw this interesting site of the redwood tree’s parting of the outer bark to show the inner bark and took a photo of it. And, that’s what this month’s photography column I wrote for the National Parks Traveler is all about. I call it “Fun Fact Photography” and it’s facts about the subjects in some of the photos I’ve captured.

Have you ever seen something during a wander in a park about which you’d like to know more? All you have to do is snap a photo of it.

To read the article, click on the photo 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

It’s Trivia Tuesday, July 20, 2021

A View Of Goat Mountain, Big Bend National Park (Texas)
Wandering A Trail Amongst The Redwood Trees, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (California)
A Wide-Angle View Of Bryce Amphitheater Seen From Lower Inspiration Point, Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)
Soft Winter Morning Sunlight Over The Watchman And Virgin River, Zion National Park (Utah)

It’s #TriviaTuesday ! So, what do Big Bend, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park all have in common? They are all a part of the National Park System (no duh, right?). And the National Park System is overseen by the National Park Service. And who helped persuade Congress to create the National Park Service? One Stephen Tyng Mather, born July 4. So, in addition to celebrating Independence Day on July 4, we should also have lit a birthday candle to this man who “laid the foundation of the National Park Service, defining and establishing the policies under which its areas shall be developed and conserved, unimpaired for future generations. There will never come an end to the good he has done …”

And, speaking of Stephen Mather, today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler has published my latest quiz and trivia piece. It’s all about July notables, including Stephen Mather.

To test your national parks knowledge and maybe learn a little something, too, just click on any of the images above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Traveler’s Checklist for Olympic National Park, and Photographing Water In The Parks

The Energy Of Agua, McDonald Creek, Glacier National Park (Montana)
Sol Duc Falls In The Early Morning, Olympic National Park (Washington state)

Ok, this post’s title is not very original , but it’s sort of a “two fer” post. The National Parks Traveler has published two of my articles. One of them is my monthly photo column – this month, it deals with photographing water. The other article is a Traveler Checklist with suggestions on things to do and see if you plan on visiting Olympic National Park.

To read the water photo column, click on the topmost image.

To read the Olympic National Park checklist, click on the waterfall image.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Olympic National Park, Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Washington State, Waterfall Wednesday, Waterfalls

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

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 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