The South Dakota Badlands, located in the Black Hills region, contains so of the most inhospitable land anywhere. Fast blowing wind, and a super hot sun prevent all but the strongest grasses from growing.
For our Honeymoon, Maryellen and I went to New Zealand. We had a somewhat hard time initially deciding where we wanted to go. After some quick research, and finding out that you can see Penguins, New Zealand became the place to be!
The First National Monument, Devils Tower is impressive. It rises 1,267 feet above the surrounding plains. People can climb it freely, we passed some who were on their way back, they did it in 3 hours.
While the sand dunes are the more famous part of Kobuk Valley, the boreal forest along the dunes' edge is something just as beautiful. The landscape quickly changes from large, dead dunes into a lush open forest. The trees might not be as high, or as close knit as other forests, that doesn't make it any less impressive.
Yellowstone has over 10,000 geothermal features, many of them are geysers. Infact, it has the largest concentration of geothermal features on the planet, and it was this that was a key reason why the park was created.
I put my pond in in the summer of 2002. Since then it's gone through one major revision, and dozens of smaller changes.
It's just shy of 1,000 gallons, depending on how high it gets, I haven't done a real measurement since major revision which resulted in a much larger pond.
I always thought that false color infrared photos were amazing. They are incridebly hard to take, because most (all) digital cameras are equipped with a filter to block out 99% of the infrared light from the sun. 99, not 100, so that means that if you just allow those wavelenghts though, and leave the shutter open for awhile, you get some pretty awesome shots.
I like taking photos of fireworks. Unfortunately I never get to go anywhere to get some nice backdrops, but sitting and watching them and just clicking away is a nice way to spend a summer's night.
Some of these are actually fireworks I've set off somewhere
In the early 1900s the Kennicott Mine produced some of the purest copper ever mined. It continued to produce high quality ore for years before costs outstripped profits and closed virtually over night. Due to the extreme remoteness, much of the equipment was left as is. In the mid 1980s it was turned into a Historic Landmark, it's now a part of the largest National Park in the country, Wrangell-St. Elias.
On August 21st 2017, the United States was treated to a celestial event of the Total Eclipse of the Sun. I made a 16 hour drive down to South Carolina to view this event, it was truly something unique and worth it.
On our way to South Carolina to witness the Total Solar Eclipse, we drove along the Skyline Drive for a few hours. It was mid afternoon, quite hot, and very hazy, that didn't detract too much from the beauty of the trip.
The Grand Teton National Park is just 11 miles south of Yellowstone. It has some spectacular sights, yet it doesn't get nearly as much love as it's larger brother to the north. The Teton Range rises up seemingly right out of the plains and presents you with a striking contrast between the two.
I don't know where I got the idea from, but ever since I tried it in Saguaro, I've done it in all the other parks and places I think offer an interesting view. I place my Ray Bans on a chair, or rock, or the ground, and try to get them reflecting something interesting. When it works, I think it's spectacular.
I've been making wine every year for as long as I can remember. It's a long process that starts with a half a ton of grapes and ends with a hundred gallons or so of wine. We've been doing it for over 50 years and we make a wine that we like, which is a dark dry red. It's a mixture of 3 red grapes - Alicante, Zinfindel, and Gernache
Lake Moeraki lies on the Western side of the South Island on the Tasman Sea. The Lake is rather small, but the main draw of the area are the Fiordland penguin, which you can see if you're lucky when they come to shore during the mating season.
The first cave to be designated a National Park, Wind Cave is the densest cave system in the world. Wind Cave is not just a cave though, it's rolling hills and prairie, and forest land. Bison roam free, along with prairie dogs and Antelope.
Colorado has four national Parks, The Great Sand Dunes are one of the lesser popular ones, but that's sad because it's easily one of the more beautiful ones! The massive sand dunes are juxtaposed against even mightier mountains in the distance.
The opposite of Sunsets. Sunrises require waking up much earlier than the sun itself. You often aren't guaranteed to see anything spectacular (besides the breathtaking phenomenon of the sun rising that is).
Over the course of six days, myself and 11 other people paddled over 80 miles down this remove Arctic river. We saw dozens of bears both near and far, and tracks of all sorts of other animals that were much more shy. I made some really good friends on the trip, and I would do it all again. Although, maybe with one less day of kayaking.
It's hard to get an idea of the size of Mount Rushmore until you actually go there. You can read all you want about it, and see pictures, and know that each face is 60 feet tall, but until you see the faces staring at you as you drive up the mountain, you cannot appreciate their size.
On a recent weekend trip to New Jersey we stopped at Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park, and Thomas Edison National Historic Park. The falls were gorgeous, and it was eyeopening seeing how things worked and were made 100 years ago.