There is something about a campfire, generic National Park Service edition

May 3, 2019

There is just something about a campfire that soothes human souls, brings joy to and instills awe in people who gather around one.

Campfire in a National Park unnamed; photo from the Golden Gate National Park.

Thanks and a shake of the old scrub brush to the Golden Gate National Park, on Twitter.


Leaving Hanksville

November 19, 2018

Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM, Department of Interior) great photographer Bob Wick captures a photo that separates the redrock lovers from everybody else.

The road seems to dead end in the mountains ahead. Nobody visible in the land for miles around. It’s either incredibly desolate and lonely, or among the most beautiful, everyday views among rocks of incredible beauty you’ll ever see and remember forever.

Caption from America's Great Outdoors, Tumblr blog of the U.S. Department of Interior: Heading south from Hanksville, Utah, towards Lake Powell, highway travelers bisect the remote Henry Mountains – the last area mapped in the lower 48. The 11,000-foot forested peaks of the main mountain range rise to the west, while two distinctive summits, Mount’s Ellsworth and Holmes, jut skyward from the rolling red sandstone mesas to the east. Known as the “Little Rockies,” these peaks are studied by geologists around the world as a classic example of igneous rocks, formed deep within the earth’s mantle, thrusting through the overlying sandstone layers. The Little Rockies have been designated as a National Natural Landmark for their geological significance. The peaks also provide habitat for desert bighorn sheep and numerous birds of prey. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands

Caption from America’s Great Outdoors, Tumblr blog of the U.S. Department of Interior: Heading south from Hanksville, Utah, towards Lake Powell, highway travelers bisect the remote Henry Mountains – the last area mapped in the lower 48. The 11,000-foot forested peaks of the main mountain range rise to the west, while two distinctive summits, Mount’s Ellsworth and Holmes, jut skyward from the rolling red sandstone mesas to the east. Known as the “Little Rockies,” these peaks are studied by geologists around the world as a classic example of igneous rocks, formed deep within the earth’s mantle, thrusting through the overlying sandstone layers. The Little Rockies have been designated as a National Natural Landmark for their geological significance. The peaks also provide habitat for desert bighorn sheep and numerous birds of prey. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands

Outdoors people in Utah usually know the Henry Mountains. There’s a buffalo herd there, open to hunting. It’s an amazing rock formation in the middle of other amazing rocks, a towering landmark for miles.

Hanksville would have to be invented by a good fiction writer if it didn’t exist, a desert town where everybody stops who passes by, with nothing really to commend it but the fact that it’s there, and populated by people of great character. Who names a town “Hanksville?”

Who wouldn’t like to be on that road?


Look closely, you can (almost) see Teddy Roosevelt on his 160th birthday

October 26, 2018

Young Theodore Roosevelt, as a boxer and wrestler at Harvard University. Harvard University image.

Young Theodore Roosevelt, as a boxer and wrestler at Harvard University. Harvard University image.

Theodore Roosevelt was born in Manhattan on October 27, 1858. 160 years ago, today.

Among many other things in his life, he was for a time a cowboy in the Dakota Territory, in the area of North Dakota where today resides the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Look closely at the picture.  You can almost see Teddy.  He was a powerful, guiding force behind the movement to protect precious, historic, scientifically valuable and beautiful lands, by the federal government.

Happy birthday, Theodore Roosevelt! Let's celebrate with a great shot of @TRooseveltNPS #NorthDakota

Happy birthday, Theodore Roosevelt! Let’s celebrate with a great shot of @TRooseveltNPS #NorthDakota

In 1922, the U.S. Navy started celebrating Navy Day on Roosevelt’s Birthday, October 27, to honor Roosevelt. When he had been Secretary of the Navy, Roosevelt overhauled the entire fleet and brought the U.S. Navy onto the world stage as a modern, major fighting force worthy of deep respect. When we fly the flag for Navy Day, we also honor one of the Navy’s greatest leaders, Navy Secretary Theodore Roosevelt.

Happy Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday, America.

More:

A short, mostly accurate history of Teddy Roosevelt, from some guy named Jeremiah:

In his life, Teddy Roosevelt often lived outside the box, bigger than life. Running for election in 1912, Roosevelt was shot in the chest before a speech in Milwaukee. The copy of the speech and things in his pocket protected him, but it was still quite a blow to his chest. Roosevelt gave the speech before going to a hospital. Here’s a headline from the Atlanta Constitution on the affair.

Front page of the Atlanta Constitution, October 15, 1912, telling the story of Teddy Roosevelt's having been shot in Milwaukee the previous day.

Front page of the Atlanta Constitution, October 15, 1912, telling the story of Teddy Roosevelt’s having been shot in Milwaukee the previous day.


Milky Way over the Vermilion Cliffs

November 30, 2016

Oh, there’s a little technical wizardry involved in this one, stitching it together.

But, wow!

White Pocket in the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona. Brilliant photography and stitching by Dave Lane Astrohotography, via the U.S. Department of Interior.

White Pocket in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona. Brilliant photography and stitching by Dave Lane Astrophotography, via the U.S. Department of Interior.

A more full description from Interior’s Facebook page:

Located in a remote and unspoiled part of northern Arizona, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is a geologic treasure. For those who can’t get a permit to places like The Wave, White Pocket is an equally stunning place to explore — day or night. Pictured here, the area’s unusual rock formation is crowned by the Milky Way with Saturn, Mars and the Rho Ophiuchus region all visible. Multi-image photo (42 images stitched together in a 6 x 7 matrix) courtesy of David Lane (Dave Lane Astrophotography).

Dave Lane’s work amazes, doesn’t it?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Kathryn Knowles.

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Moonrise at Granite Mountain Wilderness, California

October 26, 2016

Your public lands at work, filling you with awe.

From BLM National's Twitter feed: A full moon 🌕 lights up the sky at Granite Mountain Wilderness, #California. (Photo: Bob Wick)

From BLM National’s Twitter feed: A full moon 🌕 lights up the sky at Granite Mountain Wilderness, #California. (Photo: Bob Wick)

BLM National put this photo up on September 30, so we might assume the photo is from September’s Moon, as well.

More:


National Trails Day 2016, June 4

June 4, 2016

First Saturday in June is National Trails Day.

It’s a life-changing celebration, if you get out on a trail, and then keep going.

Check with the American Hiking Society to see if there’s an event near you. Take a hike in any case.

Maybe take a photo. There’s an annual photo contest.

2015 National Trails Day photograph winner, from Alexandra Novitske, taken at the great Sand Dunes National Preserve. American Hiking Society

2015 National Trails Day photograph winner, from Alexandra Novitske, taken at the Great Sand Dunes National Preserve, Colorado. American Hiking Society


Park Avenue Trail, Arches National Park – splendidly divine

April 6, 2016

Park Avenue Trail in Arches National Park, Bud Walley photo, Department of Interior image

From Interior’s Facebook feed: The massive sandstone monoliths along Park Avenue Trail at Arches National Park in Utah have imaginative and descriptive names. You won’t regret this easy one-mile hike. Where else can you walk in the shadows of the Tower of Babel, the Organ, the Three Gossips and Sheep Rock? Photo by Bud Walley (www.sharetheexperience.org). — at Arches National Park.

And a reminder that Utah’s Sen. Mike Lee and Texas’s Sen. Ted Cruz think this land should be developed. Want a condo on that cliff?

I’d prefer to hike it. I’d prefer to know it’s there, available for hiking without development, even when I can’t hike it.

It’s your public land. You get to use it, undeveloped, or you don’t get to use it if the land is developed. We still have a voice, and time to speak.


Look closely, you can (almost) see Teddy Roosevelt on his birthday

October 27, 2015

Theodore Roosevelt was born in Manhattan on October 27, 1858.

Among many other things in his life, he was for a time a cowboy in the Dakota Territory, in the area of North Dakota where today resides the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Look closely at the picture.  You can almost see Teddy.  He was a powerful, guiding force behind the movement to protect precious, historic, scientifically valuable and beautiful lands, by the federal government.

Happy birthday, Theodore Roosevelt! Let's celebrate with a great shot of @TRooseveltNPS #NorthDakota

Happy birthday, Theodore Roosevelt! Let’s celebrate with a great shot of @TRooseveltNPS #NorthDakota

Happy Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday, America.

More:

A short, mostly accurate history of Teddy Roosevelt, from some guy named Jeremiah:

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.


Petrified trees at De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area, New Mexico

October 7, 2015

Click for a larger view -- see the petrified trees, darker brown and lying horizontal? American Southwest posted this on Facebook.

Click for a larger view — see the petrified trees, darker brown and lying horizontal? American Southwest posted this on Facebook, “Two petrified trees at the edge of a plateau on the north side of De-Na-Zin Wash.”

This is BLM land, but real wilderness — no trails. More examples of what makes America great, and worth defending.

It seems to be a great place for stargazing, too.


A new day: Sunrise at Rooster Rock

September 9, 2015

We seek renewal in wilderness, and find that wilderness itself renews with every sunrise.

Mike Scofield photo, Sunrise at Rooster Rock in Table Rock Wilderness, Oregon

@BLMOregon: Rooster Rock #sunrise from the Table Rock #Wilderness near Molalla, #Oregon – photo: Mike Scofield #camping #hiking

Mike Scofield is a lucky guy to have been there to get that shot.

More:


Milky Way at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison N.P.

June 14, 2015

From the Facebook site of the U.S. Department of Interior: Visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado and see some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock and craggiest spires in North America. Pictured here is a stunning shot of the #MilkyWay rising above the Black Canyon. Photo courtesy of Greg Owens — at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

From the Facebook site of the U.S. Department of Interior: Visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado and see some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock and craggiest spires in North America. Pictured here is a stunning shot of the #MilkyWay rising above the Black Canyon. Photo courtesy of Greg Owens — at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Looking at that river, it’s difficult to understand that it’s just half the flow.  Ranchers and farmers bored a tunnel to channel half the water of the river to the Uncompahgre Valley through the 5 mile-long Gunnison Tunnel, completed in 1909.  Many of the overlooks into the incredibly steep canyon reveal only snippets of the ribbon of water that runs the whole length of the canyon.

I like how this photograph captures reflected light off the water, and makes the river appear easier to see than it usually is, especially at night.

Stunning geology, great hikes — you should go.

Especially you should go if you think about the geology that contradicts creationism.  The canyon is loaded with volcanic inserts that deny flood geology and every other geological distortion offered by creationists, maybe better than the Grand Canyon in that regard.

More:


Moon rise over Joshua Tree National Park

May 5, 2015

Four minutes of a glorious full Moon rising over Joshua Tree National Park — reduced to a 6-second Vine.

I do like a little well-done time lapse. In this one, the action of the clouds playing peek-a-boo with the Moon is a lot of fun. It’s just the sort of astronomical action I love to watch in the National Parks.

Desert sunset at Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree NP. Photo by Brad Sutton/NPS

Desert sunset at Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree NP. Photo by Brad Sutton/NPS

I wonder where Lian Law took that time-lapse of the Moon.  Anyone know?

More:

Screen capture of the Moon rise Vine video by Lian Law, National Park Service.

Screen capture of the Moon rise Vine video by Lian Law, National Park Service.


Flights arriving, Klamath NWR

January 23, 2015

Flights Arriving Daily! Birds are funneling into Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex Photo: A Mize/USFWS; from @USFWSPacSWest

Flights Arriving Daily! Birds are funneling into Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex Photo: A Mize/USFWS; from @USFWSPacSWest

Photo from last fall. Some of the ducks probably overwinter.  Others continued south, and will be arriving at Klamath NWR soon, again, heading north.

Our public lands at work.

More:


Yosemite Park’s Dawn Wall climbers: They made it!

January 15, 2015

Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson on January 14 completed their free-climb ascent of the 3,000-foot Dawn Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park — labeled the toughest free climb in the world.

Wow. Just wow.

The path up, the Dawn Wall on El Capitan.  San Francisco Chronicle graphic by John Blanchard, on a photo by Nate Ptacek/Patagonia

The path up, the Dawn Wall on El Capitan. San Francisco Chronicle graphic by John Blanchard, on a photo by Nate Ptacek/Patagonia

This interactive piece at the New York Times should give the proper sense of awe for what they’ve done. (If you’re a climber, you may want to get some more technical reports from YosemiteBigWall.com, who contributed to that interactive presentation.)

PBS’s Newshour had among the best reports:


Climbing the Dawn Wall in Yosemite — a little spot of light

January 13, 2015

NBC News correspondent Hallie Jackson posted this photo on her Twitter feed, a shot from NBC photographer Scot Kilian:

@HallieJackson:  Incredible shot from NBC's Scott Kilian: that tiny dot of light on side of #DawnWall is where the climbers slept.

@HallieJackson: Incredible shot from NBC’s Scott Kilian: that tiny dot of light on side of #DawnWall is where the climbers slept.

It’s a long exposure, enough that the stars brighten the black sky, but not quite so much that the stars become streaks on the photo.  Long enough that the lights used by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson register on the CMOS (I’m assuming no film here).

Incredibly, their tents are pitched upon the rock, where mountain goats and cliff-dwelling birds fear to tread. It’s very much a vertical sheet of almost smooth rock.

And it’s a great photo.  In these particularly troubled times, any light shining on human cooperation to achieve great things becomes a beacon.

More: 

 


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