Happy Earth Day to you, this April 22nd, 2018. I feel like I experience Earth Day every time I visit a national park. On this occasion, I was up with scads of other people at Sunrise Point in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, watching: the sunrise.
If you happen to be traveling to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, in Utah, along Hwy 211 after turning off of State Hwy 191, you’ll probably pass right by this parking area (with restroom) and a very short path leading to this amazing rock panel crammed with petroglyphs in a fenced-off, quiet sheltered area. Don’t pass by this place. It’s really cool!
This spot records about 2,000 years of human activity from B.C. to A.D. 1300. I can’t find out who actually discovered this spot to make it into an archaeological site, and nobody really knows what all the petroglyphs mean. Do they represent magical symbols, map symbols, calendar events or just doodles? I noticed some current graffiti on the panel (even though the area is fenced off), and I have to tell you, the current graffiti is not half as imaginative or pretty as the ancient stuff. Just sayin’. There’s a reason this archeological site is fenced off.
I had to do a little internet searching, but it has been called a state historical monument that apparently was once part of Bears Ears National Monument, but it’s now been chopped off and is part of the Indian Creek National Monument (according to visitutah.com), located 15 miles west of U.S. Highway 191 (about 60 miles south of Moab).
What’s the difference between petroglyphs and pictographs? Well, petroglyphs are actually carved into the rock, while pictographs are painted on rock. These petroglyphs were etched into the dark rock coating called “desert varnish” to expose the light, buff-colored rock beneath. You can tell the older petroglyphs from the others because they are dark and covered with a bit of desert varnish, again.
It never ceases to amaze me how this particular rock panel was discovered among the vast and imposing mesas, buttes and canyons. If you stand on the road, you can see the panel in the distance, but only if you are really looking for it
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
Not trying to be political here, folks. Before the 25th, I usually wish people Happy Holidays. On the 25th, I wish them Merry Christmas. And to show that I also appreciate globalism, I wish you not only a Merry Christmas but a Joyeux Noel, Feliz Navidad, Frohe Weihnachten, and Buon Natale. I’d do the wishing in Japanese, Korean and Chinese, too, but I don’t have the keyboard for it.
Anyway, you get my point. I hope everybody has a great day, today, no matter whether you celebrate the holiday or not. And, start planning for some great adventures for 2018. I know I’m going to!
My final installment (Part 4) of the Armchair Photography Guide to Mount Rainier National Park has been published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. Click on the photo to be taken to the site if you want to check out the article (and read Parts 1 – 3, if you haven’t already done so). 😉
Just another Friday morning, up at the crack of dawn and headed out the door at 4am to beat the traffic heading north into Houston. After opening the door, I looked around me and saw that it was SNOWING! In SOUTHEAST Texas! All thoughts of leaving for work left my brain as I grabbed my Canon 5DSR and 24-70mm f1.2 lens to get some shots of this rarity. I mean, snow on palm ferns is pretty weird, ya gotta admit.
Dear Northerners: before you roll your eyes over my excitement (and the excitement of everybody from Kingwood to Houston to Katy to Clute to Galveston), please allow me to explain to you: in southeast Texas, I am currently living closer to the equator than the North Pole. It once snowed about 8 inches on Christmas Eve in my town back in 2004, and then it snowed a teeny bit (and I do mean teeny) in 2009 – more north than south. Snow is, indeed, rare, in my neck of the woods, and for many living around here, this is the only chance they may ever get to actually see, feel and even taste snow (I’m serious).
For me, it was a reminder of beautiful winter scenes I’ve photographed in previous years, and beautiful winter scenes I hope to photograph in the future. It was early in the morning, quiet, and utterly beautiful.
Tech specs: ISO between 1000-1250, shutter speed 25-30, aperture f4-f5.6, handheld, burst method.
An afternoon view from the south end of Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park, Montana.
In a roundabout way, I owe this 3-day jaunt (not counting the day to get there and the day to return to TX) to my company taking away a “floating holiday” (to be used at each employee’s discretion). I always used those floating holidays in conjunction with a planned vacation. In return, the company gave to us what the masses apparently wanted: Martin Luther King Day.
Hey, I have absolutely nothing against MLK day. A holiday is a holiday. But I much preferred that floating holiday to use as I wished, versus a “fixed” holiday. So, I decided in an I’ll-show-them sort of way to take a long weekend and head on out someplace away from Texas (all of my vacations are taken away from this state in which I’d rather not be). I’d been hankering for some winter weather, instead of the humid 78-degree weather here in SE Texas (I want my winters to look and feel like winter, dammit). To that end, I flew to Montana and snow shoed in Glacier National Park.
It was heaven on earth, despite the sub-zero temps.
-4 degrees F and frost on the tripod.
Colorful icicles off the side of Hwy 2 just before entering Hungry Horse, on the way to the park.
Some very long icicles at the West Glacier entrance to the park. I look like a bright pink beluga whale but I’m definitely warm.
Moon set during the pre-dawn hours at Lake McDonald. It was silent except for the ice cracking and the distant hooting of an owl.
The look of sub-zero at Lake McDonald.
A frosty sunrise at Lake McDonald. The mountains were still in hiding that morning.
Scenes while snow shoeing near Lake McDonald Lodge in the park. The lodge was as far as the Going-To-The-Sun Road was open.
Late afternoon brought out the mountains, along with some clear skies and lake reflections.
So, thank you, Company, for the MLK Day, because if you had not taken away a floating holiday and given us this day off instead, I doubt I would have given second thought to a deep-winter photography trip to Glacier National Park. And that would have been a shame.
Good night, Glacier National Park. See you in September 2017.