I took off from Lake Stevens, Washington to explore the Olympic Peninsula (And Olympic National Park) for 2 days, with a motel room for the night in Port Angeles, and returning to Lake Stevens on the 2nd day. Optimally I would have needed more like 5 days! There’s so much to see. But I did see some cool stuff, and enjoyed it, and may go back at some point.
I wanted to see Bend, Oregon again, partially to consider trying to sell photos there at some point, and I also wanted to see Crater Lake. So I took a road trip from the Portland area, got a motel for 2 nights in Bend, and went to Crater Lake after the first night in Bend…well, since I left at 3:30 AM I guess I should say I went during the night.
Wyoming is a beautiful state, even without Yellowstone National Park, and Grand Teton National Park, but those certainly help. Here are some photos I took in the state.
I’ve been looking forward to crossing South Dakota again ever since I did it in 2010. I forgot how empty it was for much of the state when driving from east to west, but I saw plenty of interesting things in the state, and was glad that I returned.
This was one of those parks I had never heard of until the day I went, but with an annual pass, why not? I was enjoying seeing the big saguaro cacti, which I had never seen in person before, and then the solar halo made the visit that much better!
Sometimes, there’s just not a whole lot to say about a photo that the photo cannot say for itself. I shot this on the Desert Queen Mine Road in Joshua Tree National Park, and I am quite happy with the results. You can see my shots from another trip to the park here.
There are a few truths about Yosemite National Park that are inescapable. First, there’s an enormous number of photos of Yosemite on the internet. Second, I’ve looked at a huge number of them. Also, as you may not realize if you’ve never been to Yosemite, many of the most amazing views in Yosemite are right off the road. Drive up, park, and be in awe. It’s great in many ways, but it also means that getting an original photo in Yosemite can be difficult. And, I have no desire in bringing you a photo that you can easily find elsewhere. That’s no fun for me. I want people to see things they haven’t seen or may not know about. So from Yosemite Valley, to the heights of Glacier Point, I did my best to either scout out views that you don’t normally see, to get creative with my composition, or to do it in the middle of the night! All the while, I wanted to still include some of the iconic landmarks, particularly El Capitan and Half Dome. I am happy with the results, and happy I braved the cold for the night shot.
In December, when I booked a couple of nights of lodging in Yosemite National Park for the middle of January, I was excited to get some use out of the snowshoes that I brought to Southern California with me. I was also excited to see Yosemite Valley with a beautiful cover of snow, and to take photos of waterfalls that were dry during my last visit to Yosemite. As time got closer to the trip, I started reading reports of how it was the driest winter in decades so far, and there had been all but no snow, and there would be no more snow by the time I went. At first I was bummed out and almost canceled the trip, but then I started hearing about how Tioga Pass, through the “High Country” was open later into the winter than it ever had been. I started to become more positive about it. This meant that places usually inaccessible without LONG treks in the snow were easily accessible, so I got excited, and headed up there. I skated on Tenaya Lake (8000 foot elevation), checked out Tuolumne Meadows (about the same elevation), and had a great day.
I spent the day of New Year’s Eve with some friends kayaking around Santa Cruz Island, which is part of The Channel Islands, off the coast of Southern California. After warming up and setting up camp for the night, 3 of us went to seek a good view of the sunset. We heard it was great at Potato Harbor, and after a bit of debate, we picked a trail towards it and headed that way. The last few days had seen a lot of fog in the area, and we were never sure what sort of visibility we’d get, but we went for it anyway. As you’ll be able to see in these pictures, we were quite glad that we made the effort.
You can see more photos from this trip at my Facebook page
After visiting The Grand Canyon and Southern Utah I was tired and ready to go home to Hermosa Beach, but I had told myself for weeks that I was going to stop by Death Valley on the way back. I decided to skip Death Valley, and was on the highway back to go home, when I changed my mind again. I punched Death Valley National Park into my GPS and figured nothing too bad could happen. I was right. The worst part was setting up a tent in the dark, so life was pretty good. I knew very little about Death Valley before visiting. The most amazing thing I learned was that it is the largest National Park in the contiguous United States, measuring over twice the size of Delaware. Plus if you add the stretches of desolation, run down towns, and abandonment surrounding the park, it’s amazing how massive the area is. All just about 200 miles from Los Angeles! Oh, and on average, it’s the hottest place in the world.
You can see more photos and outtakes from this road trip on my Facebook page by clicking here