100 Days of National Parks: Day 34 – Frozen Lake Helen, Lassen Volcanic National Park

Frozen Lake Helen

While late Spring is a bit early in the year to fully experience everything Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California has to offer, there is a peacefulness and a quiet that settles over the Park that I find very enjoyable. As the cold mountain air makes camping unpalatable to most casual travelers, and the freshly plowed roads make crossing the summit an adventure, it’s easy to find yourself alone when driving through one of the criminally underrated parks in the National Parks system.

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Frozen Lake Helen

Frozen Lake Helen
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While late Spring is a bit early in the year to fully experience everything Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California has to offer, there is a peacefulness and a quiet that settles over the Park that I find very enjoyable.  As the cold mountain air makes camping unpalatable to most casual travelers, and the freshly plowed roads make crossing the summit an adventure, it’s easy to find yourself alone when driving through one of the criminally underrated parks in the National Parks system.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 34 – Frozen Lake Helen, Lassen Volcanic National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 30 – Doe, a Deer; Olympic National Park

Wildlife encounters when you’re in the backcountry can be some of the most exciting, and unexpected times that you can spend in the wilderness. When I’m hiking or backpacking, I’m often lost in my own thoughts, and invariably get surprised when I come across another life along the trail, be it person or creature. Most of the time these moments are fleeting, an elk bounding up fern-covered incline above me, or a marmot scurrying behind a rock as I walk past. Sometimes these moments are terrifying, like a bear encounter in the mountains, or lifting my pack to find a scorpion the size of my hand. Rarely, though, I get the chance to really observe the animal I come across, to connect with it for more than those few brief seconds it takes for it to run away.

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Doe, A Deer

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Wildlife encounters when you’re in the backcountry can be some of the most exciting, and unexpected times that you can spend in the wilderness.  When I’m hiking or backpacking, I’m often lost in my own thoughts, and invariably get surprised when I come across another life along the trail, be it person or creature.  Most of the time these moments are fleeting, an elk bounding up fern-covered incline above me, or a marmot scurrying behind a rock as I walk past.  Sometimes these moments are terrifying, like a bear encounter in the mountains, or lifting my pack to find a scorpion the size of my hand.  Rarely, though, I get the chance to really observe the animal I come across, to connect with it for more than those few brief seconds it takes for it to run away.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 30 – Doe, a Deer; Olympic National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 29 – Blood Red Sunset, Sequoia National Park

Blood Red Sunset

When it comes to the sunrise/sunset debate, I frankly don’t have a dog in the fight. I know this makes me terrible on first dates, I know that many will accuse me of playing to both sides because I’m weak willed, but frankly, I love them both. Call me a sun polygamist if you will, but be it up or down, I love watching the sun sit low on the horizon, period.

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Blood Red Sunset

Blood Red Sunset
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When it comes to the sunrise/sunset debate, I frankly don’t have a dog in the fight.  I know this makes me terrible on first dates, I know that many will accuse me of playing to both sides because I’m weak willed, but frankly, I love them both.  Call me a sun polygamist if you will, but be it up or down, I love watching the sun sit low on the horizon, period.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 29 – Blood Red Sunset, Sequoia National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 27 – El Capitan, Yosemite

El Capitan

There’s something about the granite walls of the Yosemite Valley that make it ideally suited to black and white photography. Perhaps its the association with the works of Ansel Adams, my first introduction to the park, or the way the cracks and crevices in the rough-hewn rock accentuate even the smallest shadow. Whatever it is, I find myself fighting the urge to shoot everything in black and white when I’m in Yosemite, and it’s a matter of willpower to find elements of color in many cases to force myself to highlight them.

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El Capitan

El Capitan
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There’s something about the granite walls of the Yosemite Valley that make it ideally suited to black and white photography.  Perhaps its the association with the works of Ansel Adams, my first introduction to the park, or the way the cracks and crevices in the rough-hewn rock accentuate even the smallest shadow.  Whatever it is, I find myself fighting the urge to shoot everything in black and white when I’m in Yosemite, and it’s a matter of willpower to find elements of color in many cases to force myself to highlight them.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 27 – El Capitan, Yosemite”

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”