The grandeur of America’s national parks so inspired QT Luong, he quit a career in computer science, and embarked on a decades-long project to photograph all 59 parks, from Acadia National Park to Zion.
Some stories, whether focused on travel or a specific issue, deserve a longer treatment.
There are endless ways to experience our magnificent national parks. We are surrounded by stunning scenery, awash in light and color. Our ears capture the rush of waterfalls in spring and elk bugling in autumn. Scents of crisp air, pines, and wildflowers greet us. Stick your feet into a mountain stream and feel the bonechilling temperatures, or touch the softness of a Pussytoes flower. These types of activities allow us yet another type of experience.
Trails, basically, are connections. They connect one place to another. At Acadia National Park in Maine, Friends of Acadia this year helped the park improve connections by adding a trio of trails that link the Blackwoods Campground and the village of Otter Creek with some of the park’s most popular hiking trails.
I recently received an invitation to sleep in a log cabin. Not something new and swanky, mind you. Instead, my imagination was sparked because this cabin was built in 1817, around the time Davy Crockett was earning his reputation as a frontiersman, storyteller, and politician.
Death Valley National Park has plenty of colorful place names, including Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells, Last Chance Mountain and Devil's Golf Course, so modern-day visitors might be curious about the one given to a popular scenic overlook in the park: Zabriskie Point. The explanation may be a bit surprising, since the name is tied to an activity not usually associated with national parks, and the story of the overlook itself offers a fascinating glimpse into the park's history.
Floods. Windstorms that down trees. Wildfires. Millions of feet. Hiking trails take a pounding from all these things. And while the paths are the responsibility of the National Park Service, the agency often lacks money and staff to tackle all but the most pressing needs. That’s where national park friends groups come into play with their financial resources and, at times, volunteers.
Fall is a season of transition in the National Park System, from long, hot days with crowded roads and trails, to cooler, crisper weather that beckons you to make a few more trips before winter sets in. Here is the second of four suggestions to jump on now, or to add to your to-do list.
My 10-year-old daughter, Alex, and I follow the steep and rugged New Hance Trail on a nearly 5,000-vertical-foot march down into the Earth’s most-famous hole in the ground. The sky seems to levitate steadily higher above us, but it’s just a trick played on the eyes by the severe topography of the Grand Canyon: As we slowly descend deeper, burgundy rock walls creep higher, pushing the cerulean dome overhead farther away from us.
People love puffins so much that visitors to Acadia National Park often ask rangers where they can see them, even though they are too far from shore to be visible.
One could argue that there is no bad time to visit Acadia National Park—and one would likely receive little resistance from those who have experienced the magical park. However, like a proud peacock showing off its striking plumage, autumn’s arrival to Maine’s coastal gem ushers in a symphony of fleeting shades of red, yellow, gold, and even purple as maple, beech, birch, oak, white ash and other deciduous trees don their brilliant fall leaves beginning in early October.
Fall is a season of transition in the National Park System, from long, hot days with crowded roads and trails, to cooler, crisper weather that beckons you to make a few more trips before winter sets in. Here is the first of four suggestions to jump on now, or to add to your to-do list.
Essential Fall Guide '14: Celebrating Rocky Mountain National Park's Centennial, Join The Party At Estes Park
I don’t usually look to elk for hiking companions, but as I worked my way from Nymph Lake to Dream Lake towards my final destination at Emerald Lake, I couldn’t ignore the cow elk and her young calf. We didn’t share the trail, but they paralleled my travels and stuck close to the cascading creek that wore the lakes like gems on a necklace. They enjoyed the succulent vegetation while I enjoyed the Rocky Mountain grandeur.
Visitors to the far north might think they know what’s big. That is, until they see it, touch it, and feel it. In Alaska, peaks and glaciers, rivers and lakes, waterfalls and forests, beaches and bays stretch far away to all horizons, nearly untouched by the hand of man. Even the chattiest air traveler will grow quiet as they fly for hours over pristine landscapes. Things are different up North, and that’s why we love it.
Finding yourself in West Yellowstone, Montana, this fall is the easy part. Deciding what to do, well, that could take some time
There’s a sense of place in the West. It flows from endless stands of lodgepole pines, glades of aspen tinged gold by the season, horizons that spread the sky wider than you’ve ever noticed. Spend a little time here, and it seeps into you. It’s the distant bugle of a bull elk, a band of pronghorn darting across the open range, the chortling flock of sandhill cranes, southbound, high overhead. They all fill your senses with the West as it’s always been, as it always should be.
For many, fall conjures images of blizzards of golden leaves, the eerie bugles of bull elk, and the first crisp, possibly snow-dusted, days of year’s end. For the northern half of the country these are the realities of the National Park System. There are the breathtaking days of hiking, watching wildlife on the move, and even tasting the season in the bounties of wild berries and other fruits.
Concessions Contract Will Cost Grand Canyon National Park $100 Million, But Benefit Park In Long Run
A new concessions contract for businesses on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park will cost the park $100 million, an amount that could impact just about all operations in the park, Superintendent Dave Uberuaga said Wednesday. In the long run, however, the move stands to benefit both the park and its visitors, observers believe.
In central New Jersey, just a short distance from New York City, the Continental Army hunkered down in a place called Jockey Hollow for a long, cold, harsh winter of monitoring the British troops across the Hudson River in New York City. Today you can get a feel for this setting -- though it's heavily urbanized these days -- with a visit to Morristown National Historical Park where General George Washington and 10,000-12,000 troops spent what's believed to be the coldest winter on record.
Next time you find yourself in a gift shop at a national park, check out where the items were made. You just might be surprised that a majority of the items are made in America, with fewer and fewer bearing an oval gold-and-black 'Made in China' sticker on them.
At Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, the National Park Service should welcome a discussion into a form of backcountry travel that, if properly managed, need not alter the decades-long experience of visiting these two magnificent parks, but rather enhance it for a small number of wilderness travelers.