Tag Archives: National Parks Traveler

National Parks Traveler Checklist: Great Basin National Park

A Mid-Morning View Of Stella Lake, Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

The National Parks Traveler has published my latest Checklist. This one’s for Great Basin National Park in Nevada. To read the article, click on the image above.

As for the image above, this was my first day and first hike in this national park. I’d driven up Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive and managed to snag a parking spot at a pullout across the narrow road from the actual Wheeler Peak Summit Trail parking lot, which was almost full (the parking lots are small in that park and they fill up quickly).

I knew I was not going to hike the 8-mile round trip up to and back down from Wheeler Peak summit – I wanted to, but didn’t feel I was in good enough shape nor as acclimatized for a hike up to 13,000 feet, even though my visit to Yosemite National Park the prior week helped some with that aspect. Instead, I opted for the 2.6-mile roundtrip hike to Stella Lake, which is accessed via the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail but with a 0.1-mile turnoff to the lake. It’s a beautiful hike through stands of quaking aspen, some of which sported leaves already turning gold. It is, however, a narrow, uneven, rocky trail and would be easy to take a fall if one is not watching their step. No, I didn’t fall, but one little girl I watched almost did, because she was wearing sneakers with no tread and not paying attention to the trail.

At this time of year, Stella Lake looks more like Stella “Pond.” You can even see a sort of “bathtub ring” of different colored grass and bits of driftwood around the lake to indicate a higher water level during an earlier part of the season.

The mountains you see behind you are Wheeler Peak, to the right, and Doso Doyabi (formerly Jeff Davis Peak), to the center.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Photography in The National Parks: Yosemite Tried, True, and New

Yosemite Valley Landscape, Yosemite National Park (California)

The National Parks Traveler has published my latest photography column. This month’s column is all about capturing iconic as well as new perspectives of this particular national park. To read the article, click on the image above.

As for this image: I drove into Yosemite Valley several times during my week’s stay in the park. Every time, I’d pass by this one spot along the road – a small pullout large enough for a vehicle, right next to the rocky banks of the Merced River, which was a trickle of its former self. So finally, I stopped, took out my camera and tripod, and gingerly picked my way to a spot to photograph forest, river, and El Capitan (I believe that’s El Cap) all beneath a blue sky with wispy clouds.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Traveler’s Checklist To Yosemite National Park

A Boardwalk Leading Line Across Cook’s Meadow, Yosemite National Park (California)

Whew! I’m finally back from a 2-week trip to Yosemite and Great Basin national parks! It was a great trip, although I am now totally sick of so much driving. I captured great photos and have plenty of material for articles for the National Parks Traveler. As a matter of fact, the first article is the Traveler’s Checklist for Yosemite National Park, published in today’s edition of the Traveler. Whether it’s your first or your fourth trip, there might be something in the checklist that piques your interest.

To read the article, click on the photo above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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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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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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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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Visiting A National Park? Take A Mask With You.

Ok folks, it’s official. If you are planning to visit a national park and want to go INTO one of their buildings, then you need to wear a mask. No, I’m not talking about wandering around outside – although if you are at a crowded overlook, wearing a mask can’t hurt.

Click on the image above to go to the article published in the National Parks Traveler to see which parks are affected. Hint: lots of ’em.

So, don’t be a putz. Just wear the damned mask and protect yourself and others. It’s not a big deal.

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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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National Parks Traveler Checklist For Yellowstone National Park

Black Growler Steam Vent and Ledge Geyser in Porcelain Basin, Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)

Whether you’re visiting Yellowstone National Park for your first time or your fifth time, you should check out my latest Traveler Checklist published this morning in the National Parks Traveler. This list provides you with ideas and suggestions for things to see and do during a visit, when the best times are to see the park, and so much more.

To read the Checklist, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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