100 Days of National Parks: Day 60 – Upper Royal Basin, Olympic National Park

Upper Royal Lake Basin

One of the things I love the most about Olympic National Park is the remoteness of its most stunning attractions. With the vast majority of the park designated as a wilderness area, with no roads or easy access routes into the interior, the park courts exploration and wandering, and doesn’t make it easy on intrepid hikers to get back and find the amazing places hidden in the depths of its forests and mountains.

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Upper Royal Basin

Upper Royal Lake Basin
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One of the things I love the most about Olympic National Park is the remoteness of its most stunning attractions.  With the vast majority of the park designated as a wilderness area, with no roads or easy access routes into the interior, the park courts exploration and wandering, and doesn’t make it easy on intrepid hikers to get back and find the amazing places hidden in the depths of its forests and mountains.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 60 – Upper Royal Basin, Olympic National Park”

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 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 24 – Rocky Pass, North Cascades

One of the things I absolutely am excited for in the coming months is the prospect of further exploring the wilderness of North Cascades National Park. The huge glacial valleys and craggy peaks are simply magical, and walking along the ridges and through the forests of this wilderness is one of the most primal experiences I’ve ever had the joy of undertaking.

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Rocky Pass

One of the things I absolutely am excited for in the coming months is the prospect of further exploring the wilderness of North Cascades National Park.  The huge glacial valleys and craggy peaks are simply magical, and walking along the ridges and through the forests of this wilderness is one of the most primal experiences I’ve ever had the joy of undertaking.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 24 – Rocky Pass, North Cascades”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 18 – Night at Reflection Lakes, Mt. Rainier

Night at Reflection Lakes

One of my favorite things to do when traveling is staying up overnight to shoot the stars, or simply wandering through the park while everyone else sleeps. There’s a peaceful solitude to nocturnal explorations, and also an odd rush of adrenaline that courses through your veins, not knowing what lies beyond the shadowy outlines of trees just beyond the range of your headlamp.

In the summer of 2015, during my recovery from my Pacific Crest Trail injury, I took a wander up to Mt. Rainier. I’d often driven through the park, taken walks around the Paradise Lodge and seen the iconic mountain from various angles, but I’d never really allowed myself the opportunity to truly explore it.

I took this photo along the main road cutting through the park, along Reflection Lakes, a common viewpoint and oft-photographed collection of small lakes in front of the mountain. At night, the sound of frogs chirping and the rush of wind through the trees were the only sound, and I sat along the edge of the lake, waiting for my long exposure shots to capture, my car just of camera illuminating the lake with its headlights. The smoke from the new Mt. Adams Complex fires, which I’d been hiking through during the preceding day, obscured the vast majority of stars from view, spoiling my plans to get a shot of the Milky Way, but creating a hazy, moody effect to the sky, as the cool light of stars and moon on the eastern side of the mountain completed with the red-orange glow of towns further to the west.

Next time you’re out, I hope you take the opportunity to get out and wander in the midnight hours, and find a new perspective on places you’ve only seen by light of day. It can be a truly magical experience.

 

Night at Reflection Lakes

Night at Reflection Lakes
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One of my favorite things to do when traveling is staying up overnight to shoot the stars, or simply wandering through the park while everyone else sleeps.  There’s a peaceful solitude to nocturnal explorations, and also an odd rush of adrenaline that courses through your veins, not knowing what lies beyond the shadowy outlines of trees just beyond the range of your headlamp.

In the summer of 2015, during my recovery from my Pacific Crest Trail injury, I took a wander up to Mt. Rainier.  I’d often driven through the park, taken walks around the Paradise Lodge and seen the iconic mountain from various angles, but I’d never really allowed myself the opportunity to truly explore it.

I took this photo along the main road cutting through the park, along Reflection Lakes, a common viewpoint and oft-photographed collection of small lakes in front of the mountain.  At night, the sound of frogs chirping and the rush of wind through the trees were the only sound, and I sat along the edge of the lake, waiting for my long exposure shots to capture, my car just of camera illuminating the lake with its headlights.  The smoke from the new Mt. Adams Complex fires, which I’d been hiking through during the preceding day, obscured the vast majority of stars from view, spoiling my plans to get a shot of the Milky Way, but creating a hazy, moody effect to the sky, as the cool light of stars and moon on the eastern side of the mountain completed with the red-orange glow of towns further to the west.

Next time you’re out, I hope you take the opportunity to get out and wander in the midnight hours, and find a new perspective on places you’ve only seen by light of day.  It can be a truly magical experience.

100/100/100: Day 4 – Thunderstorm Over Arches, Arches National Park

In October of 2013, I was fortunate enough to be in Arches National Park during a massive thunderstorm that swept through the Moab area. I stayed up all night taking photos of the storm as it rolled over the park, capturing many exciting lightning shots, though this one is probably my favorite. There’s something about lightning that makes me feel calm, at peace, and I long for those summer days and nights growing up in the midwest when I’d watch dark clouds rumble across the cornfields from the west. I don’t get enough thunder and lightning on the west coast, but I hope to get out and chase some more storms this year.

This photo, taken from the aptly named Panorama Point utilizing long exposure techniques, just north of the Windows Section of the park, was able to expose several large lightning strikes along the southern edge of the park, likely striking somewhere in the La Sal Mountain foothills or along the Colorado River. The strikes brilliantly illuminated the sky, and silhouetted the sandstone outcroppings of the the Windows perfectly.

Thunderstorm Over Arches

 

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In October of 2013, I was fortunate enough to be in Arches National Park during a massive thunderstorm that swept through the Moab area.  I stayed up all night taking photos of the storm as it rolled over the park, capturing many exciting lightning shots, though this one is probably my favorite.  There’s something about lightning that makes me feel calm, at peace, and I long for those summer days and nights growing up in the midwest when I’d watch dark clouds rumble across the cornfields from the west.  I don’t get enough thunder and lightning on the west coast, but I hope to get out and chase some more storms this year.

This photo, taken from the aptly named Panorama Point utilizing long exposure techniques, just north of the Windows Section of the park, was able to expose several large lightning strikes along the southern edge of the park, likely striking somewhere in the La Sal Mountain foothills or along the Colorado River.  The strikes brilliantly illuminated the sky, and silhouetted the sandstone outcroppings of the the Windows perfectly.