Tag Archives: national parks

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

An Interview With The National Parks Traveler

If you are wondering what the National Parks Traveler is all about, then you should listen to this CNN Reliable Sources Podcast interview between Brian Stelter and my editor and Traveler founder, Kurt Repanshek. Kurt discusses what the Traveler is all about and what it’s like to run a nonprofit news organization dedicated to all things national parks. This is the organization for which I contribute articles and images, and it’s one of the things I am most proud: contributing to the National Parks Traveler for almost nine years, now.

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

As for the image above, it was captured during my last couple of days in Denali National Park in Alaska. We were walking along the park’s dirt and gravel road, looking for birds. I happened to look over to the right side of the road and saw Denali Mountain with its top wreathed with clouds. Only 30 percent of people who visit this park ever get to see Denali in its totality on a clear day. I was lucky and got to see it the entire five days I was there.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Podcast

National Parks Quiz And Trivia: April Notables

An overview of Fountain Paint Pots in Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)

So, what do John Muir, Ulysses S. Grant, Voyageurs National Park, and Isle Royale National Park all have in common? They are all April notables. The two parks were established in April, Ulysses S. Grant (born in April) signed legislation establishing Yellowstone as the first U.S. national park (hence the image below), and, also born in April, John Muir’s writings convinced the U.S. government to protect Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, and Mount Rainier as national parks.

The latest quiz and trivia piece penned by yours truly and published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler is all about these April notables. To test your knowledge about these notables and maybe learn a little something, too, click on the image above.

And, speaking of this image, I was pretty tickled that I finally got to visit this part of Yellowstone, back in autumn of 2019. When I’d tried to see this (and other sights) during my 2018 summer move from TX to WA, I couldn’t because all the parking spaces were filled, and – to be honest – I was starting to tire out from my road trip, as it was going on 3 weeks now that I’d been on the road. Autumn is a good time to visit Yellowstone, with the caveat that it might snow on you and roads might get closed because of the weather. There are still crowds there, but nothing on the scale (not yet, anyway) that there are during the height of summer.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Happy Earth Day 2021!

Today marks the 51st anniversary of Earth Day, a celebration every April 22nd of Earth and the wondrous things we see in nature. I thought I’d mark this day by posting an image I captured while spending five days at Camp Denali in Denali National Park (Alaska).

Every morning, I’d get up, dress, leave my little cabin, and walk up the gravel road to this little pond right outside of the main camp building. It’s called Nugget Pond and it has an awesome view of Denali Mountain and the Alaska Range, towering in the background over the mirror-smooth water of this little pond, with a hint of mist rising from the water.

How will I celebrate Earth Day? By pulling weeds out in the flower beds to make more room for the tulips and iris that are in bloom – nothing very glamorous.

How will you celebrate Earth Day? At least, take a moment to appreciate nature in all of its forms. If you go hiking today, remember to pack out what you pack in and follow the Leave No Trace principles.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Denali National Park, holiday, National Parks, Photography

The Yin And Yang Of A Composition

Sunsets afterglow at Kalaloch Beach, Olympic National Park (Washington)

My latest photography column has been published in the National Parks Traveler. It’s about the yin and yang of a composition, Click the image above if you would like to read the article.

Sunrise at the seashore, Padre Island National Seashore (Texas)

My latest Traveler’s Checklist has also been published, and it has a beach theme like the image above, because it’s all about Padre Island National Seashore. To read that article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Padre Island National Seashore, Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Traveler's Checklist

April Showers Bring May Flowers Part II

Here’s another spring (and summer and maybe even fall) flower you’ll see in quite a few national parks: Indian paintbrush (aka scarlet paintbrush, magenta paintbrush, pumice paintbrush, etc. etc.). Here’s an interesting little fact that you would have picked up if you’d read my National Parks Quiz and Trivia Piece #28: the paintbrush flower is quite opportunistic, digging its roots into neighboring plants to steal their nutrients. This plant, therefore, is hemiparasitic – it has chlorophyll, so it doesn’t get all of its nutrition from other plants.

The next time you are out in a park, or even when you look alongside the road and you spy a paintbrush flower, look around to see if there are other flowers nearby. You’ll usually (not always, but usually) see Indian, scarlet, magenta, or pumice paintbrush quite close to other flowers and plants.

Oh, and if you are interested in looking at that wildflower quiz, then click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under flowers, National Parks, Photography

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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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