100 Days of National Parks: Day 61 – Morning Beneath the Patriarchs, Zion National Park

Morning beneath the Patriarchs

One of the benefits in becoming as familiar with Zion National Park as I have become over the past half decade is the fact that I can go to the park and not feel the need to constantly chase new sights or places I haven’t seen. On my last real trip to the park in November of 2014, I spent two weeks hiking familiar and unfamiliar trails and generally wandering the park freely, as the winter chill had emptied the park of most of its crowds, allowing me the peace of exploring at my own pace in my own manner.

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Morning Beneath the Patriarchs

 

Morning beneath the Patriarchs
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One of the benefits in becoming as familiar with Zion National Park as I have become over the past half decade is the fact that I can go to the park and not feel the need to constantly chase new sights or places I haven’t seen.  On my last real trip to the park in November of 2014, I spent two weeks hiking familiar and unfamiliar trails and generally wandering the park freely, as the winter chill had emptied the park of most of its crowds, allowing me the peace of exploring at my own pace in my own manner.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 61 – Morning Beneath the Patriarchs, Zion National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 58 – Deer Beneath Lembert Dome, Yosemite National Park

Deer Beneath Lembert Dome

Sometimes it’s as much the places you stop that are as important as the places you go. When traveling, I cherish finding those campgrounds that reward you for staying there, where the beauty that greets you in the morning as you crawl out of your tent sets the stage for the explorations to come. There are a few that are consistent g0-to places for me whenever I travel, the Fruita Campground in Capitol Reef, South Campground in Zion, and the Lodgepole Campground in Sequoia, for example, each of which offer amazing access to the best their parks have to offer combined with awesome natural beauty in camp itself. However, in all my travels, I’ve never found a campground that offers a better morning wakeup than the Tuolumne Meadows Campground in Yosemite National Park.

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Deer Beneath Lembert Dome

Deer Beneath Lembert Dome
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Sometimes it’s as much the places you stop that are as important as the places you go.  When traveling, I cherish finding those campgrounds that reward you for staying there, where the beauty that greets you in the morning as you crawl out of your tent sets the stage for the explorations to come.  There are a few that are consistent g0-to places for me whenever I travel, the Fruita Campground in Capitol Reef, South Campground in Zion, and the Lodgepole Campground in Sequoia, for example, each of which offer amazing access to the best their parks have to offer combined with awesome natural beauty in camp itself.  However, in all my travels, I’ve never found a campground that offers a better morning wakeup than the Tuolumne Meadows Campground in Yosemite National Park.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 58 – Deer Beneath Lembert Dome, Yosemite National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 43 – Mist Rising from Diablo Lake, North Cascades National Park

Sometimes in my wanderings I find myself passing through a place at the perfect time, when the lighting and conditions are so perfect, that I have to stop and try to capture the moment as best as possible. In July of 2015, on my way to the Rainy Pass trailhead to pick up a small section of the Pacific Crest Trail, I passed over the bridge along the small spur of Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park, just as the sun was cresting the mountains to the east, creating a thin layer of fog that hung over the lake in an eerily beautiful haze.

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Mist Rising from Diablo Lake

 

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Sometimes in my wanderings I find myself passing through a place at the perfect time, when the lighting and conditions are so perfect, that I have to stop and try to capture the moment as best as possible.  In July of 2015, on my way to the Rainy Pass trailhead to pick up a small section of the Pacific Crest Trail, I passed over the bridge along the small spur of Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park, just as the sun was cresting the mountains to the east, creating a thin layer of fog that hung over the lake in an eerily beautiful haze.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 43 – Mist Rising from Diablo Lake, North Cascades National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 26 – Mather Point Sunrise, Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Sunrise

In many ways, there’s no better place to get up early and watch the sunrise than on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. There’s something refreshingly peaceful about the feeling of waking up at 5am and heading out into the dark to one of the many points overlooking the black vastness of the canyon below, and settling to watch as morning light slowly warms the eastern horizon.

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Mather Point Sunrise

Grand Canyon Sunrise
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In many ways, there’s no better place to get up early and watch the sunrise than on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  There’s something refreshingly peaceful about the feeling of waking up at 5am and heading out into the dark to one of the many points overlooking the black vastness of the canyon below, and settling to watch as morning light slowly warms the eastern horizon.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 26 – Mather Point Sunrise, Grand Canyon”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 16 – Light in the Storm, Zion National Park

Light in the Storm

After what’s been an unexpectedly rough and emotional week, I find nothing re-energizes me on a creative, emotional, and spiritual level than getting out and exploring. When work has me worn down, or my personal life seems to be falling to pieces, I find the simple act of getting out and wandering, finding beautiful moments and beautiful places to photograph, is often enough to clear my head and bring the peace of mind I’m craving.

In September of 2012, my wanderlust was in full swing. I’d started a new job, but had a week off each month to get out and explore, and the main target on my list was a return to Zion National Park. Still trying to find some piece of myself that I found lacking, trying to make myself whole after multiple failed relationships and personal losses, I set out for seven days in southern Utah that would wind up being transformative in my outlook and would further establish my profound love affair with Zion and the National Parks in general.

I’d been once before, seemingly in passing during a weekend road trip the year before, and associated much of the places in the Park with a relationship and people that I no longer wanted to be connected to. Instead of hiding from those associations, though, I faced them head-on, and made a concerted effort to establish new associations, new connections, that have proven more profound and real than any that may have existed before.

A few days into my week there, a massive storm rolled through, and I was privileged to witness one of the most spectacular scenes that everyone should have a chance to appreciate some day. Zion in the rain is a singular experience, one that transforms the park from a dramatic landscape to something otherworldly, seemingly created just for your eyes. As the crowds thin and the clouds obscure the pinnacles of the surrounding cliffs, waterfalls spring out of dry rock faces and life abounds, animals and plants bursting forward to revel in the surrounding wetness.

The morning of the storm, I woke early to take photos of the sunrise, and was treated to this amazing vision as the sunlight streamed through a small hole in the clouds on the East Rim of the park. The darkness of the storm seemed to part and let the light through, and I stood in awe of the scene, brief and fleeting though it was, and consider myself profoundly lucky to have been there to witness it.

It’s a true metaphor for the effect visiting these amazing places has on my life and my outlook on the world. No matter how dark things may seem, that darkness just makes it easier to appreciate the moments of light when they find their way through the holes and cracks in the storm.

Light in the Storm

Light in the Storm
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After what’s been an unexpectedly rough and emotional week, I find nothing re-energizes me on a creative, emotional, and spiritual level than getting out and exploring.  When work has me worn down, or my personal life seems to be falling to pieces, I find the simple act of getting out and wandering, finding beautiful moments and beautiful places to photograph, is often enough to clear my head and bring the peace of mind I’m craving.

In September of 2012, my wanderlust was in full swing.  I’d started a new job, but had a week off each month to get out and explore, and the main target on my list was a return to Zion National Park.  Still trying to find some piece of myself that I found lacking, trying to make myself whole after multiple failed relationships and personal losses, I set out for seven days in southern Utah that would wind up being transformative in my outlook and would further establish my profound love affair with Zion and the National Parks in general.

I’d been once before, seemingly in passing during a weekend road trip the year before, and associated much of the places in the Park with a relationship and people that I no longer wanted to be connected to.  Instead of hiding from those associations, though, I faced them head-on, and made a concerted effort to establish new associations, new connections, that have proven more profound and real than any that may have existed before.

A few days into my week there, a massive storm rolled through, and I was privileged to witness one of the most spectacular scenes that everyone should have a chance to appreciate some day.  Zion in the rain is a singular experience, one that transforms the park from a dramatic landscape to something otherworldly, seemingly created just for your eyes.  As the crowds thin and the clouds obscure the pinnacles of the surrounding cliffs, waterfalls spring out of dry rock faces and life abounds, animals and plants bursting forward to revel in the surrounding wetness.

The morning of the storm, I woke early to take photos of the sunrise, and was treated to this amazing vision as the sunlight streamed through a small hole in the clouds on the East Rim of the park.  The darkness of the storm seemed to part and let the light through, and I stood in awe of the scene, brief and fleeting though it was, and consider myself profoundly lucky to have been there to witness it.

It’s a true metaphor for the effect visiting these amazing places has on my life and my outlook on the world.  No matter how dark things may seem, that darkness just makes it easier to appreciate the moments of light when they find their way through the holes and cracks in the storm.