Tag Archives: travel

Fun Fact Friday, July 9, 2021

Hey, it’s #FunFactFriday ! So I posted an image of a redwood tree with a “goose pen.” That’s what those triangular openings are called. As I was wandering the trails in Redwood National and State Parks, I kept seeing these things and wondered what on earth they were. Then, I happened to park next to one on the shoulder of the road and there was a placard there. Goose pens are hollow openings caused by some sort of damage (like wildfire) or decay, but where the top of the tree is still alive. Back in the day, settlers used those openings as literal goose pens, in which to corral their geese. Now, this particular opening pictured here wouldn’t work that well as a goose pen because of all those holes in the back, which would allow the geese to escape.

And now you know! Happy Friday, folks!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under California, Fun Fact Friday, National Parks, Redwood National and State Parks

National Parks Traveler Checklist For Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

A Stormy Mid-Day Along Bryce Amphitheater, Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

Whether you’re traveling to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah for your first time or your fifth time, you might want to check out my latest Traveler Checklist published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. The Checklists I pin are not about reminding you to remember your toothbrush and toothpaste, but rather ideas and suggestions on what you can see and do in specific national parks, in addition to alerts of which you might need to be aware.

To read the Checklist for this national park, click on the image above.


This image was captured during my road trip move from TX to WA state. I spent several days in Bryce Canyon National Park. On this day – it was mid-morning – I was hiking along the Rim Trail around Bryce Amphitheater, heading toward Inspiration Point (the rim of this amphitheater in the background). I’d made it to Inspiration Point and realized it was going to rain and maybe I needed to head for cover. A clap or two of thunder told me that I needed to skeedaddle, because being out in the open in the high elevation is a recipe for a lightning strike. I just made it back to the cabin area of Bryce Lodge as the downpour began, and lightning did, indeed, flash more than once during that time.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Bryce Canyon National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel, Traveler's Checklist, Utah

Before And After – An Ode To Photo Editing And Photoshop

The “Before” shot of the Bryce Amphitheater detail at Bryce Point in Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)
The “After” shot of the same scene at Bryce Point in Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

Ok, this is not so much of an “ode” but it is an appreciation of what photo editing can bring out in a composition. Whether you believe it or not, and whether you even like it or not – most images really do need some sort of editing done to them after downloading them to your computer. Digital and mirrorless cameras capture all the detail of a scene, but they don’t necessarily present it quite like we saw it. Our eyes – our wonderful, delicate eyes – are still the best at defining detail within the light and shadow of a landscape. To get that image to match what our eyes have seen (and the memory recorded in our heads), some editing using a favorite piece of software, like Lightroom or Photoshop or some other program is really necessary.

It was my first-ever visit to this particular national park. An April birthday gift I gave to myself several years ago – that, plus one of the last paid vacations I’d be able to get out of the company before my subsequent retirement and out-of-state move some three months after this shot was captured. I wanted to photograph the detail of the amphitheater wall, so I used my Canon 100-400mm lens for a “telephoto landscape.” Unfortunately, I didn’t pay much attention to the camera settings, and the resulting image was washed out, a little overexposed, and downright “blah.”

Recently, I’ve been brushing up on my editing skills, learning all sorts of cool stuff through the video tutorials purchased from one of my favorite photographers, Sean Bagshaw. I wanted to test my newly-learned skills and returned to this image. The result is not half bad, imo.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Bryce Canyon National Park, National Parks, Photo Editing, Photography, Utah

National Parks Traveler Checklist: Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

The National Parks Traveler has published my latest Checklist. This one offers tips and suggestions for things to see and do while visiting Mount Rainier National Park, in Washington state. To read the article, just click on the image.

This image above was captured back in the autumn of 2018. I’d moved to central Washington three months earlier and wanted to get out and explore the park. I’ve visited Mount Rainier a number of times, but this was the first time since moving to the state.

I’ll have to wait on visiting this park or any other for a while. I even had to cancel (and in part reschedule) plans I had to visit three national parks in California. Two days prior to the trip, my left eye suddenly became so veiled that I couldn’t see a thing out of it. Talk about scary! As such, I returned home yesterday from eye surgery this past Monday (June 14). Thankfully, no detached retina, but I did have retinal tears that needed to be lasered back into place and some filmy hemmorrhaging that needed to be removed. I can see again, for which I am thankful, but for the next 2-3 weeks must behave like a bump on a log. No stress, strain, no lifting anything heavier than 10 lbs, no bending over, no housework, no nothing. Although I’m used to being busy, I can certainly behave in order to keep my newfound eyesight. Photographer or not, the eye is a delicate and wondrous instrument and should never be taken for granted.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Traveler's Checklist, Washington State

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

Fun Fact Friday – June 4th, 2021

Denali Mountain And Landscape, Denali National Park and Preserve (Alaska)

It’s Fun Fact Friday! So, here are a few facts about Denali Mountain and Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Did you know that only about 30 percent of people visiting the park ever get a glimpse of the mountain? Like Mount Rainier, Denali Mountain makes its own weather and these conditions can hide the 20,310-foot tall mountain behind a wreath of clouds and fog most of the time. The first climb to the top of this tallest peak in North America was done in 1913, and a member of the climbing party – Harry Karstens – would later become Denali’s first superintendent.

There’s an interesting article in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler about Denali Mountain. Climbing rangers out there are voicing concerns about inexperienced climbers trying to summit the mountain, and after reading the article, I see there is very good reason for them to be concerned. To read that article, click on the image above.

I visited Denali National Park and Preserve for five days several years ago, and was lucky to have been able to see Denali every single day I was there. This image is the result of one such day of clear viewing.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Alaska, Denali National Park, Fun Fact Friday, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel

National Parks Traveler Checklist: Crater Lake National Park

A Crater Lake Sunrise, Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

The National Parks Traveler has published my latest Checklist – this one is for Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. These park checklists are not to remind you to bring your toothpaste and toothbrush, but rather they are filled with tips on things to do, see, prepare for, and plan for.

If you are thinking about traveling to this particular national park, then click on the image above to read the latest checklist.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Crater Lake National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Oregon, Photography, Travel, Traveler's Checklist

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 Traveler Checklist: Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

The promise of a summer storm over the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

If you are planning a trip to Arches or Zion national parks in Utah over the Memorial Day holiday, then you’d better brace for crowds. No duh, right? However, if you are looking to spend time in a less-visited park that has some amazing scenery and geology, then why not take a look at Petrified Forest National Park, in Arizona. As a matter of fact, the National Parks published my latest Traveler Checklist today. These checklists I write are not the kind reminding you to bring along your toothpaste and not to forget the toothbrush, but rather what you might do during a visit to the park, what to watch out for, and maybe where to get a decent coffee or meal.

To read the checklist, click on the image above.

This image was captured shortly after my arrival at the Painted Desert portion of the park during my road trip move from TX to WA. It was summer, which is the monsoon season out in that part of the U.S., so storm clouds floated over the park, threatening to create a downpour. Never happened, though – may have been cloudy, but was dry as a bone over the landscape.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Arizona, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Petrified Forest National Park, Photography, Travel and Photography, Traveler's Checklist

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