100 Days of National Parks: Day 25 – Emerald Pools Waterfall, Zion

Emerald Pools Waterfall

I took this photo of the waterfall pouring from the Middle Emerald Pools in Zion National Park during my second trip there in 2012, in the midst of my first thunderstorm in the park. In what became a lasting memory, I walked the trails in the mist and rain, sheltering my camera from the wet as best I could, marveling at the way the entire park seemed to burst into a dozen spectacular waterfalls, all pouring forth from seemingly dry fissures in the sandstone walls.

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Emerald Pools Waterfall

Emerald Pools Waterfall
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I took this photo of the waterfall pouring from the Middle Emerald Pools in Zion National Park during my second trip there in 2012, in the midst of my first thunderstorm in the park.  In what became a lasting memory, I walked the trails in the mist and rain, sheltering my camera from the wet as best I could, marveling at the way the entire park seemed to burst into a dozen spectacular waterfalls, all pouring forth from seemingly dry fissures in the sandstone walls.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 25 – Emerald Pools Waterfall, Zion”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 11 – Parting the Veil, Sequoia National Park

Parting the Veil

Parting the Veil
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Mt. Whitney.

The tallest mountain in the lower 48 states.

In my years of hiking, I’ve always repeated the mantra, “Sometimes you beat the mountain, sometimes the mountain beats you.”  Whitney, that unassuming monolith at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the eastern edge of Sequoia National Park, is the one mountain that has truly beaten me.

In 2015, while descending the switchbacks on the western side of the mountain, after being turned back from a thunderstorm that swept in during my ascent, I picked up a stress fracture that ended my dreams of thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail that year.  It was a tough injury, more for the emotional and mental distress than for the physical hardships it caused.  I left Sequoia and the PCT that June defeated but determined to return, to beat the mountain that beat me so resoundingly.

“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.” – Napoleon Hill

When most people think of Sequoia National Park, they think of the big trees, with the mountains almost an afterthought, but so much staggering beauty is out there in the backcountry of the High Sierra, waiting to be explored.  Though daunting, these mountains are some of the most dramatic, beautiful examples of wilderness we have in the U.S.  I encourage everyone to get out and explore them some time, to find their own mountain they need to beat, I know I intend to.

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.