Tag Archives: travel

It’s Waterfall Wednesday 5-27-2020!

It’s #WaterfallWednesday ! So here’s a bevvy of waterfalls, and if you click on each photo, you’ll read an interesting fact or two about each.

This image was captured during a winter in Zion National Park, in Utah, so the water is more of a trickle or a track, indicating it’s falling down the side of a hanging valley. According to the placard I read: “Side valleys began to form at the same time as the Virgin River Canyon. But, the main stream downcut faster than its tributaries, leaving them hanging high above the canyon floor. The mouths of hanging valleys are a likely place to look for waterfalls; they also indicate the river’s former level – a measure of the stream’s carving power.”

This image was captured after a bit of a sweaty trek for me, carrying a heavy camera pack (as per usual) and a heavy tripod, working hard to match the pace of my two new friends who insisted I hike with them to Fairy Falls in Yellowstone National Park, because of a bear frequenting the area. I enjoyed the hike more than the falls itself, because I had a pleasant time visiting with the very nice couple.

According to the NPS site page for this park: “Fairy Falls, 200 feet (61 m) high, is one of Yellowstone’s most spectacular waterfalls. From the trailhead, walk 1.6 miles (2.6 km) through a young lodgepole pine forest to the falls. You can continue 0.6 miles (0.97 km) to Spray and Imperial geysers, which adds 1.2 miles (1.9 km) to the hike.” I was too pooped to hike to the geysers, so I and the couple turned around after a short looksee at the falls. I saw that waterfall in October, so the falls wasn’t as “spectacular” in terms of water volume as it probably is during the late spring and early summer.

A waterfall that I *did* think was pretty spectacular was Gibbon Falls in Yellowstone National Park. There is a large parking lot for this next-to-the-road sight with several different vantage points you can walk to along a nice, wide, paved trail. If this is what the waterfall looked like during the autumn, I can only image how powerful it must look during times when the water volume is higher.

According to author Lee H. Whittlesey in his book Yellowstone Place Names: “Gibbon Falls is believed to drop over part of the wall of the Yellowstone Caldera, which is thought to be 640,000 years old.”

Marymere Falls in Olympic National Park, is reached via a very popular, less-than-2-mile hike on a trail that starts behind Storm King Ranger Station, a hop-and-a-skip from Lake Crescent Lodge. This long, narrow waterfall seemingly nestled within a bed of green ferns reminds me of a whiskey bottle, with a long, tall neck and a shorter, fuller, bottom. To get there, you cross a couple of neat log bridges then handle some steep stairs up to two different viewing areas.

If you ever have the opportunity to spend a few days in the remote community of Stehekin, Washington, located at the head of Lake Chelan in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, then take a hike (after visiting the Stehekin Bakery) or take a bus ride to popular Rainbow Falls. The waterfall cascades 312 feet down to Rainbow Creek, and there are a couple of vantage points from which to view this misty falls – near the bottom of the falls and a short hike toward the middle portion of the falls. It’s one of the most popular stops for day trippers to Stehekin (aside from the bakery, that is) 😉

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, National Parks, North Cascades Complex, Olympic National Park, Photography, Stehekin, Travel, Utah, Washington State, Waterfall Wednesday, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, Zion National Park

More Favorite Places For National Park Photography

The beautiful, cold, clear, turquoise water of the Stehekin River winds its final mile through a portion of North Cascades National Park before emptying into the head of Lake Chelan and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. During my visit to the small, isolated community of Stehekin, a favorite place for photography was at High Bridge, the dividing line between the national park and the national recreation area.


You can learn more of my favorite places for national park (and national monument) photography in the latest article published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. Some of these places have partially or completely reopened to visitors, so if you decide to go out with your camera, please do so safely and at a safe distance from others.
Who knows? My favorite places might become yours, or my favorite places might already be your favorite places!

To read the article, click on the image above.


Oh, if you use Instagram, go on over to @national_parks_traveler and check out the video I posted of the Stehekin River. Yes, I’m still maintaining and posting to the Traveler’s Instagram site. Show the Traveler some love and start following the account.


Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, North Cascades Complex, North Cascades National Park, Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Travel

If You Must Get Out On Memorial Day Weekend ….

Looking through the window at Balcony House, Mesa Verde National Park

If you really must get out this Memorial Day weekend, then it’s worth a check with the National Parks Traveler to see which parks are open and how much of those parks are accessible. Mesa Verde National Park will open this Sunday, but the cliff dwellings will not be accessible. That said, other parts of the park will be accessible.

To find out what national park units are open, click on the image above.

I’ve only visited Mesa Verde once, but it was a cool trip and I did lots of stuff while there. I took most of the guided cliff dwelling tours (like the one pictured here, of Balcony House) and a guided backcountry tour to Mug House (also very cool) as well as a twilight tour of Cliff Palace. I checked out the ruins on the ground, too, in addition to those above the ground. The scenery is stark and beautiful. The sunrises are gorgeous – especially at Park Point Overlook. I stayed at Far View Lodge, which was very nice … except for the part about finding a black widow spider on the bathroom wall – that shook me a little bit. All in all, it was a great trip and one I recommend if you are interested in learning about the culture and architecture of an ancient people.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, Memorial Day, Mesa Verde National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel

A Kemp’s Ridley Hatchling Release

A highlight of my summer visit to Padre Island National Seashore a few years ago was the opportunity to photograph a public Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchling release into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. If you are thinking of attending a public viewing of the releasing of these nacho-sized little guys, however, you’ll have to wait until 2021, as all public viewings have been canceled for this year due to the coronavirus. As you can see in the last photo, there is definitely NO social distancing of the 700 – 1200 participants who attend these viewings. On that particular day I took the photo, there ended up being 900 people.

https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2020/05/sea-turtle-releases-padre-island-national-seashore-summer-wont-be-public

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Padre Island National Seashore, Photography, Texas

It’s Trivia Tuesday 4-28-2020!

A Smoky Afternoon In The Grand Tetons

A smoky afternoon in Grand Teton National Park

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:

https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/…/jackson-hole-touris…

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.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under Canon, Grand Teton National Park, National Parks, Photography, summer, Travel, Trivia Tuesday, Wyoming

Fun Fact Friday 4-24-2020

Black Sand Basin Landscape

“Bobby socks” around Opalescent Pool in Black Sand Basin, Yellowstone National Park

"Bobby Socks" At Fountain Paint Pots Nature Trail

“Bobby socks” along the Fountain Paint Pots Nature Trail, Yellowstone National Park

Hey folks, it’s Fun Fact Friday!

If you’ve ever visited Yellowstone National Park, you’ve seen these dead, desolate trees with the white rings around their bases. Those are called “Bobby socks” and are formed when the trees absorb the silica (natural glass) from the thermal waters. This, of course, kills the trees and “freezes” them to keep them standing.

And now you know!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, Canon Lens, Fun Fact Friday, Geology, National Parks, Photography, Travel, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park

Happy Earth Day 2020!

Autumn Color

Maine in the autumn is one of the most beautiful places to visit for the colors. This particular shot epitomizes what you can see (within and outside of Acadia National Park, which is why I was in Maine in the first place). During the fall, you’ll see tall trees with variagated greens, oranges, yellows and reds, and marshlands with thin ribbons of water weaving its way through the golden grass.

John Ford Country

This image was captured in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park, in Utah. They don’t call it “canyonlands” for nothin’. It’s the “John Ford Country” you’ve imagined in Westerns: arid, deep, broad canyons and tall mesas, buttes, hoodoos and spires, all colored in different shades of red, yellow, pink and orange. The immensity of this place dwarfs the human figure.

Fire Hose From The Air

I’ve visited Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, on the Big Island of Hawaii, twice – once in 2014 and again in 2017. During the 2017 visit, I was with a small photo tour, and one of the highlights of the tour was to take an open-door helicopter ride over active volcanics in the park. In this image, I was flying over the “Fire Hose”, a stream of lava pouring from a lava tube directly into the Pacific Ocean. The land above this is cooled pahoehoe lava. Looks desolate on land, doesn’t it? Probably the way things looked when the earth was still shaping itself.

Sunset Over Wild Goose Island

Sunsets at the Wild Goose Island view area on St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park in Montana are as lovely as sunrises, albeit a little more muted. The trees and forests and lower portions of the mountains become silhouetted while the lake reflects the saturated colors of the oncoming “Blue Hour” (which really lasts only a few minutes between sunset and darkness (or between darkness and sunrise).

Full Moon Over The Three Gossips

The next morning after New Year’s Day, I was up and at ‘em super-early, ready to catch the full moon in Arches National Park in Utah. Actually, I was trying to capture some star shots, but as you can see in this image, the moon outshone everything, creating enough light that I could see my own shadow on the park road as I stood in the freezing winter air with my tripod set up for a long exposure of the moon bathing the Three Gossips rock formation and the landscape below.

As I look back on my photos, I realize I have been to quite a few really cool spots in the U.S. and abroad. Each spot has a different ecosystem, and each ecosystem is fragile. While it sounds trite to write this on every Earth Day, we really should take stock of our environments, appreciate what we see out there in nature, and try to take better care of it – even if that just means we are picking up the trash along the trail and nothing else.

Happy Earth Day 2020!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under Arches National Park, Canon, Canon Lens, Canyonlands National Park, Earth Day, Glacier National Park MT, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, Maine, National Parks, Photography, Travel