I’ve been fortunate to be able to visit Yellowstone National Park a number of times in the last few years. A couple of times were in September, which I think is an ideal time to visit the park – the weather was pleasant and the park was not as crowded as it gets during the summer months. Mid to late September also has the added advantage of seeing the aspen and cottonwood trees turn gold. On my first trip to Yellowstone, I planned a 4 day Yellowstone itinerary which I am sharing here.
I had all but given up on a nice sunset while visiting Yellowstone on this day. It had been cloudy and raining all day and I did not think it would clear up. Then, all of a sudden a rainbow came out just before sunset and the clouds miraculously started to clear up just as the sun started going down. It resulted in one of the most fiery red sunsets I have ever seen – appropriate for a (potentially) fiery geyser area.
The usual photos of the Grand Prismatic Spring are aerial shots that show this highly colorful hot spring from above. The reality is that the highest you can get to see and photograph this spring is about 100 feet from an overlook on an official new trail that the Park District established in 2017. Still, that does not make this iconic hot spring any less impressive.
I love mountains, so it is no surprise that a Grand Teton vacation is one of my favorite national park trips in the US. With its jagged in-your-face peaks that are reflected in lakes and streams, it’s a scenic candy jar whose beauty is easy to experience. I am sharing 25 of my favorite Grand Teton pictures to inspire your next Grand Teton itinerary. The scenery is so point-and-shoot gorgeous, that narrowing the list down to only 25 photos was quite a challenge.
The Moulton Barn is part of the Mormon Row Historic District in Grand Teton National Park. It is supposed to be the most photographed barn in the country, and if the number of photos I took is any indication, then the claim is probably true. It is certainly quite photogenic. I could not resist trying my hand at astro-photography when I was there since I had a clear and almost moonless night. The pink glow on the horizon in the photo are the lights from the town of Jackson which is about 6 miles away. Even though my eyes did not necessarily see the light pollution, the camera sensor picked it up quite easily.
I have always felt that if you ever only take one cruise in your whole life, it should be to Alaska. It is a huge state with some of the least accessible national parks in the US, including the very popular Glacier Bay National Park which can only be visited by boat. The various ports of call and the many choices offered on Alaska cruise excursions provide opportunities to easily see more of this incredibly scenic state. Here are my Alaska cruise excursion tips based on the Alaska cruises I have taken in the last few years to help you plan your best Alaska trip possible.
One of my Alaska cruise excursions in Sitka took us to The Fortress of the Bear, a non for profit sanctuary that saves orphaned bears. When a bear mother dies, her orphaned cubs cannot survive without her and would have to be euthanized by state game officials. The Fortress of the Bear organization has converted old, unused water clarifier tanks from a defunct paper mill into large habitats for orphaned Alaskan brown bears and black bears. The sanctuary serves as both a rescue and rehabilitation center and as an educational facility. It’s probably the closest you will ever be able to get to a bear and see them behave as they would in a the wild.
I had the chance to visit the Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka, Alaska on a cruise excursion tour. The center’s mission is to heal, rehabilitate and then release the bald eagles and other raptors that come to the facility. Those birds that are too injured to survive in the wild remain at the center and become part of their educational program.
A cruise with one of the major cruise lines is certainly the easiest and most economical way to see Glacier Bay National Park in southeast Alaska. But when looking at the glaciers from the top of a huge ship it can be difficult to get a sense of size without something else nearby for perspective. In this case, a kayaker and his very well behaved dog provide the much needed scale to be able to get the true sense for how tall the Margerie Glacier really is.