On the road again: More from the twisty Going To The Sun Road, Glacier National Park

I’ve been in a lot of National Parks throughout the USA. In fact, that’s how we typically plan our vacation–which park do we want to visit and what’s around there. Glacier NP was on the list when we went across country in 2013, but for medical reasons, we didn’t make it.

Now we’re here, 4 years later. And, now I understand what the Ranger meant the first day when she kept mentioning the Going To The Sun Road. There really aren’t many other paved roads! Most other NPs have a bunch of paved roads that can get you around. I’m not complaining, the road is beautiful and can take a whole day to drive. However, we’re trying to figure out how to get to the Canadian Waterton National Park.

In the meantime, I do have another set from our drive on the Going To The Sun Road. No more grumbling. I’m sure we’ll come up with a solution and find some more roads.

When these were taken, the skies were relatively clear and cloudy. Tuesday, August 8, there were four fires in the Park. We were surrounded by haze as we wandered in and out of the park. You’ll see the fire effects in my next post.

On the road again: Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks and Fresno, California

“You can’t go home again!” You’ve heard that old saying, and going to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks was like going home for Richard and me. We used to take the kids camping there pretty much every summer. I just loved it there, but we haven’t visited in more than 30 years.

The good news is that nothing has changed in the parks. The same trails are there, campgrounds are the same and the sights are still beautiful. The bad news is that we have changed–we’ve gotten older! Oh, and the altitude is about 1,000 feet less than Bodie. We took a few simple walks and decided that we needed to get into shape. My goal is to do Little Baldy Saddle. It’s a beautiful walk through the woods and then about 1,000 feet straight up via a switch back trail. At least that’s the way I remember it!

Why haven’t we been there? Well, our previous trailer was too big to get into the park and Richard is on a CPAP machine at night, needing a generator to run it. I was told over the phone that they would not make exceptions for medical purposes and no generators could be run at night (there are no hookups). However, it was a different story when we talked with the rangers in person. We can camp there, and we found just the right spot that would accommodate our much smaller rig. That’s why we were in Fresno at an RV park. And staying in the National Park will eliminate the 1 1/2 hour ride each way on Highway 180. I will talk about how Fresno surprised us in another edition of this post.

Right now I want to introduce you to Sequoia if you haven’t been there. This park is home to the earth’s largest tree in wood volume. The General Sherman Tree is estimated to be 2,200 years old. Sequoia is also the second oldest National Park, being given the status in September 1890. The Sequoia tree is resistant to most disease and even fire because of the chemicals in their wood and bark. Different from the coastal redwoods, which are tall and thinner, the Sequoia is wide with a massive trunk, huge stout branches and is not as tall.

Take a look at these magnificent trees found only on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada usually between 5,000 and 7,000 feet in elevation. But, why when they get older, they get stronger; and, when we get older….?

A fun and learning experience: Yosemite, part 3

Two days is barely enough to take in the beauty of Yosemite, but that’s all we had. So we packed as much in as we could.

My last lesson here, was that I needed to get a neutral density filter to capture smooth water. I waited until we got to our final destination within the park–Happy Isles to try to get the water as smooth as I could. It was shady there, and there was enough water to work with.

We also went to the Lower Bridalveil Falls and the church. Tired, we left the park before sunset and ate dinner in Manteca. The Thai food was delicious especially since I was tired of eating meatloaf (for lunches and dinner)! Laura dropped me off at about 9:30 p.m., and I went directly to bed. I know she began editing her photos when she got home.

Here are the last images of Yosemite.

A fun and learning experience: Yosemite, part 2

Live and learn–you’ve heard that before. So far during my excursion to Yosemite I’ve learned to get those heat pads for shoes and pockets when shooting during the dawn patrol.

My second lesson was that I chose the right person to travel and shoot with. Laura kept me moving–even after I called myself a wimp and she agreed. We had a lot of fun together, and she pushed me forward in my photography. There will be more on that subject in part three. I have been fortunate in my photography journey to receive help from fellow photographers, amateur and professional alike. Moreover, Laura knows this park and the right places from which to shoot.

In today’s post you’ll see Foresta. It was part of the area burned a few years ago, but the two barns remained and we were able to go into one. We also went to Stoneman Bridge and then the “fire fall” area. Remember, there was no water falling, but we did get to see how the “fire” effect was done. So we had fire but no fall!

A fun and learning experience: Yosemite National Park

California is a true wonderland when it comes to visiting National Parks. So many are within a 5-hour drive. Yosemite is one of them. I’m so glad that I saw Yosemite before the drought.

Photo buddy Laura and I went there for a couple of days to catch the “fire fall effect.” Once a year when the sun is in the right place and water is in abundance you can get the “fire fall” effect just like the old days when they used to drop fire over the falls. Even though it rained the week before, there was not a drop of water coming down the mountain. The drought was evident elsewhere too with the meadows dry and brown. I remember green meadows.

Our journey began with our first night outside the park. We light painted a gazebo across from the lodge. Then at 4 a.m. the next morning we went into Yosemite to catch the sunrise from the Swinging Bridge. This will be a three part post. Today’s post will take you though first evening and morning at Yosemite. We waited on Swinging Bridge for the sunrise. It was an experience!