Recent comments

  • Seasons Greetings! It's the Autumnal Equinox -- or Maybe the September Equinox   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Gosh, tomp, this whole thing was supposed to be a joke -- just a little lightweight fare to start the day. But it looks like I may have tapped into a reservoir of pent up emotion. Maybe it's time to turn this whole thing over to Glenn Beck.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Aspect(s) of the National Park System Do You Want to Read More About?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Thanks for the encouragement, Kevin. Your comment about the valuable contributions of the Traveler community is spot-on. The breadth of experience and expertise that this community represents is amazing, and being able to draw on it is certainly a main reason to make Traveler part of your daily routine.

  • Seasons Greetings! It's the Autumnal Equinox -- or Maybe the September Equinox   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I'm partial to Sam's Boston Lager myself, Bob, but somebody digging through my fridge might come up with a bottle of October Fest (or is it Octoberfest?) if I happen to buy the variety pack. Now then, on the matter of the autumnal equinox. I do realize that many people forget to schedule parties, send greeting cards, and exchange "Happy Autumnal Equinox" greetings when they meet. We here at Traveler are trying to fix that, and we'd appreciate your help.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Aspect(s) of the National Park System Do You Want to Read More About?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    More articles on things to do, please. In a forum like this, they are especially enjoyable and helpful, because the community rounds out and adds to the story. Based on information obtained here, I would like to re-do certain trips where out of ignorance, I did not hike the best trails.
    That being said, the variety of articles makes this something to at least check in on daily.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Lost to Hurricanes, the Flamingo Lodge at Everglades National Park Will be Hard to Replace   5 years 23 weeks ago

    April, I'm sure you're not the only one feeling a deep sense of loss over the demise of Flamingo Lodge. Despite the various and sundry complaints (usually involving mosquitoes and sticky heat), the Flamingo Lodge was part and parcel of a fondly remembered place and time. Like loved ones who've passed, the Flamingo Lodge is kept alive in our minds and in our hearts.

  • Dog Owner Cited After Pit Bull Attacks a Deer at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    For goodness sakes, Leash laws started being enacted over 30 years ago, because many dogs WILL CHASE and injure wildlife, other domestic animals and people if given the opportunity. 30 years ago literally thousands of farm animals and wildlife were injured or killed by loose roaming dogs EVERY year.
    Stop, people, this isn't about Pit bulls or German Shepherds, it's about predatory behavior - which all dogs have.
    Keep ALL dogs on leashes for the safety of ALL.

  • Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park Could Shut Down For Structural Strengthening   5 years 23 weeks ago

    It's not a question of corporate greed. It's a matter of the National Park Service allowing the work. The Ahwahnee has national historic landmark status. The concessionaire can't paint a public bathroom in it without NPS approval.

    ...and if they decide to take down the metal balcony on the 6th floor, I want it. After all, my grandfather built it and put it there...

  • Seasons Greetings! It's the Autumnal Equinox -- or Maybe the September Equinox   5 years 23 weeks ago

    In the nearly 39 years of my life, no one has ever wished me a "Happy Autumnal Equinox" or harvest home, harvest tide, Cornucopia, Feast of Avilon, Alban Elfed, Festival of Dionysus, Mabon, Night of the Hunter, Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Witch's Thanksgiving, and of course, the first day of autumn. Hence, I do not care what "they"call it. Now will someone please pass me a Sams' October Fest?

  • Half Dome Hiker Falls to His Death in Yosemite   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I just hiked Half Dome this past weekend and it's my second time. Both times I'm SHOCKED at the lack of respect for this rock. It's a sheer, smoothed piece of granite that we're climbing only because we can pull our weight up by the cables and the little wood step that's given to us. I just witnessed a father take 2 of his sons up around 12 years. One of them was mentally challenged and had difficulties climbing up. This started a huge traffic jam. I rested on each step for over 1 minute to 5 minutes waiting to go forward. My arms were killing me. Some people were starting to just turn around in the middle of their climb because of the traffic jam caused by the father and son. On the way down, it took even longer as I got caught behind the father and son. The mentally challenged son couldn't move and the father had to coax the son and help him on each step. It was sooooo painful to watch because I was thinking I would never put my children in this kind of danger. I also saw people climbing this with moccasins, bare feet, and flip flops. I've done it twice and I'm still amazed at how people don't realize how difficult it is climbing this granite even in top form. I understand that even if you're prepared with correct equipment and shoes, tragedy happens, which is why I'm still amazed at the lack of respect for this climb.

  • Haleakala Visitor Deaths Yield $5 Million Settlement   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Not a nice subject, but nicely written and nicely perspected. A word to the wise.

  • Seasons Greetings! It's the Autumnal Equinox -- or Maybe the September Equinox   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Bah Humbug back at y'all!

    Maybe I'm grumpy because we had snow in the foothills and 50deg for a high for our last day of (northern) summer (winter equinox??), but calling it "September equinox" is a pretty small step toward thinking globally about global phenomena. The point is that today the sun rose due east and set due west everywhere on earth. Today day length changes most rapidly everywhere on earth: shortening in the north, lengthening in the south. "Autumnal" only applies locally where days are shortening.

    ps: don't get me started about "vernal pools", which have nothing in common between New England forests and southern California chaparral.

  • Seasons Greetings! It's the Autumnal Equinox -- or Maybe the September Equinox   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Why does it have to be "hemispherically neutral"? A hemisphere is not a person. I live in the northern hemisphere, so it will be the fall equinox, thank you very much. BTW, on the Gulf coast of Florida, we don't have autumn, so it has to be fall.

  • Seasons Greetings! It's the Autumnal Equinox -- or Maybe the September Equinox   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Let the scientists call it what they want to call it, and I will call it what I want to call it. It is not offensive to me that they want to say "September Equinox". By the same token, it should not be offensive to them if I continue to call it "autumn equinox". But if it is offensive to them... oh well!!

  • Yellowstone Grizzlies Are Back on the Threatened Species List   5 years 23 weeks ago

    This is good news. As in the case with polar bears, it's not so much the bears that are endangered as the habitat. If the habitat goes, the bears go. Also, there are far too many bears being killed by people; hunters by "mistake" or because of conflict especially. Many areas near the park should be closed to hunting.

  • Lost to Hurricanes, the Flamingo Lodge at Everglades National Park Will be Hard to Replace   5 years 23 weeks ago

    My heart breaks everytime I read an article about the Flamingo Lodge, as the Sales & Marketing Manager for a few years and park resident for 5 years, this was home...mosquitoes and all. I just can't imagine I will never be able to take my children there, heck I always planned to work there again during my retirement years..

  • Driving Trail Ridge Road and Other Fall Travel Information for Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    TRAVEL LOCALLY:

    If you are currently traveling near National Parks, or just a regular in the parks near your home-- Get involved in this week's festivities.
    Did everyone know that ALL National Parks are holding an event on September 26th--- Public Lands Day? Get excited for the premiere of Ken Burns' new documentary The National Parks: America's Best Idea by volunteering and celebrating in the National Parks near you. Learn more @ www.nps.gov/September26

  • Seasons Greetings! It's the Autumnal Equinox -- or Maybe the September Equinox   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I'll compromise...if I ever go to the southern hemisphere I'll be sure and wish them a happy spring equinox. Til then...it's fall equinox for me.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • At Gateway Arch, a Two-Week Blackout Benefits Migrating Birds   5 years 23 weeks ago

    As a former long-time Park Ranger at JEFF and a native to the area, I think that turning out the lights is more than symbolic. The lights at the Arch are directed UP at the building and, consequently straight into sky, while the other lights in downtown and in most towns is shining down to the ground for our benefit. So by removing the spotlights from the sky, the Park Service should have exactly the results that are intended.

  • Seasons Greetings! It's the Autumnal Equinox -- or Maybe the September Equinox   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Enough of this political correctness already!!! I don't even like the term! If they are worried about offending someone, then they should just shut their mouths! There is always someone, somewhere who will be offended no matter what is decided or said so just be yourself and use a little bit of respect, common sense, and decency. Enough said.

  • Dog Owner Cited After Pit Bull Attacks a Deer at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    The moral of this story is **very** important, I personally have gotten tired of running other people's trouble seeking dogs off while I'm hiking in the smokies with my 3 german shepherd dogs (on leash).

    However ... 100 pound Pitt Bull? Give me a break! I'm so tired of every Tom, Dick, and Hairy dog that I read about (causing trouble) being automatically referred to as a "Pitt Bull". I want to see a picture of this beast if he is truly a Pitt, because 100# is just astounding! I've trained and rescued/rehabilitated well over 90 Pitt Bull type dogs ... funny that I've never come across one this gigantic. Let's not do this breed any more injustice and just remember that a dog is a dog is a dog. Pitts are no more monsters than an untrained Labrador is a monster (and yes, I've met my share of mean-as-snake Labs), but they do unfortunately attract ill-intentioned owners as well as owners that do not have the skills to handle this strong, athletic, hard-headed breed (but think it would "be cool" to own a "tough" dog).

    For the love of dogs, anyone with 1/2 a brain cell should be able to remember that the media is all about *flair* ... unfortunately for the Pitts, it's just not as flashy of a story when it reads "Retriever Mix Mauls So and So"

  • The National Parks, Our American Landscape   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Kurt,
    You can never have to many coffee table books with pictures of National Parks. My favorite park to take photos in, is always Yellowstone. I was in the park in 1988 during the fires. Wish I took more pics but was able to get some spectacular shots of fire plumes from the top of Washburn. I also got great photos of wild life in many different trips of Trumpeter Swans and their babies on the river in front of Mt. Haines. I did get great shots of Grizzlies after I went digital off the road near Washburn in 2003. We also experienced the changes in coyote from the wolf introduction. We had a coyote beg at our vehicle for food (we knew better than to support their habit). This made for a very interesting close up shots that rival the best. I use many of my National Park photos for my screen saver that can bring up great personal memories and make me long for new ones. As for landscape pics, the variety in Yellowstone is wide (Bechler corner water falls were awesome). But I also enjoy any National Park in Utah. Bryce and Zion (the narrows hike) the best.
    I will check out the book but I suggest your own Photo album can always get your mind to remember your love of the Parks best.

  • New “Roots in the River” Documentary Chronicles Congaree National Park History   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I had a chance to preview the documentary - don't miss it! Betsy and her team have woven together quite a unique story...after viewing you'll want to hit the road to the CNP!

  • Dog Owner Cited After Pit Bull Attacks a Deer at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I have to say that the pit bull is getting a bad reputation. No dog is dangerous to people unless it's taught to be. Pit bulls aren't anymore likely to attack a person than any other dog. The different with them is that they were bred to have very strong jaws and don't let go. This is why they're used in dog fighting. I've been around dogs my entire life and have never had a problem with a pit bull, but I have been attacked by a german shepard, a dalmation, and a lab. Any dog is likely to go after an animal though because they are hunters...hence the leash law in parks.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Dog Owner Cited After Pit Bull Attacks a Deer at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    AT Hiker -

    Your comment brought to mind an experience I had while hiking a trail in a park in Alaska last summer. In that location, the understory vegetation was thick and I was remaining alert for bears, so it would be an understatement to say I was startled as I approached a trail junction and caught the motion of a large black animal out of the corner of my eye. It only took a second or so to realize that the 4-legged beast headed toward me at high speed was a very large (and fortunately friendly) dog, but I could have avoided a test of my cardiac health if the owner had kept his dog on a leash!

  • Dog Owner Cited After Pit Bull Attacks a Deer at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    This does not surprise me. My husband and I have traveled to GSMNP for 35 years and there is always a number of people who just think the rules don't apply to them. When was the last time you read the headline that the owner of a pitbull was mauled by that same pitbull? I know that any dog has the nature to chase another animal, but I don't know of anyother breed that makes the headlines more often. As said above a small child could have been the target in the campground. While hiking the trails in the Smokies I have run into many people who have their dogs with them and when the dog sees me starts barking...a natural defense of his master. "Oh, he won't bite" the owner says....well, I beg to differ....he has teeth plus he doesn't know me and I don't know him. As a responsible pet owner please follow the rules for everyone's sake.