In July 2013, I made a dayhiking and car camping trip. It was not as adventurous as my later trips, but it was certainly enjoyable and memorable. It included the following major destinations:
Badlands National Park
Yellowstone National Park (primarily East central and central)
Continental Divide Trail (just one section)
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Yosemite National Park: Half Dome
Point Reyes National Seashore
I also made brief forrays into several other places along the way.
I have not created a full-blown section in this Web site for this trip like I did for Fall 2016, I am including some of my favorite photos of the trip along with limited commentary. Perhaps some day I’ll take the time to expand and document it.
The Badlands is a surprisingly diverse landscape
The bison were bigger than I thought they’d be, especially the larger males. They seem to walk slowly, but the cover a lot of ground much quicker than you would think.
I fell in love with Yellowstone. In my mind, it symbolizes perfection but not the spectacular.
Just one of many fine views from Mount Washburn
I stumbled along this site shortly before sunrise and decided to wait. I was amply rewarded. I was alone. In a few more hours it would be bustling and the sunrise would be long gone.
If you visit Yellowstone to see Old Faithful, be sure to spend some time walking around the geyser basin. Here unoff from the geysers flows into the Firehole River
Mount Sherburn from Heart Lake
Bison grazing not far from the road are the trigger for a long, slow traffic jam. You have been warned. To avoid such things, do your big animal watching early in the morning and avoid the roads in late afternoon.
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Along a section of the Continental Divide Trail that actually follows the Continental Divide along the border of Montana and Idaho. There is no lake down there below the clouds. It’s a broad valley.
Craters of the Moon is weird place dominated by volcanic activity. The black stuff you see is a hardened lava flow that extends into the distance for many miles
The weird landscape from Echo Crater at the end of the Wilderness trail. It’s your reward for hiking about 6 miles. The sandy mountains in the background are not part of Craters of the Moon.
The Snake River Canyon and Shoshone Falls. While it’s definitely a cool waterfall, it’s too civilized for my taste. But it is easy go get to (and well worth doing so).
Looking out over Lake Tahoe from the summit of Mount Rose
Warren Lake in the Lake Tahoe area. Getting here required a very steep, difficult one-mile descent.
Frog Lake Overlook in the high Sierras north of Lake Tahoe. Frog Lake is actually privately owned. Notice the buildings on the shore of the lake.
Yosemite: If Yellowstone if perfection, Yosemite is spectacular. Here, Half Dome (upper left, seen from the back side), Mount Broderick (middle left), Liberty Cap and Nevada Fall.
Yosemite Valley from the top of Half Dome. Tunnel View would be located down there in the distance beyond El Capitan (upper center).
The Merced River just before it plunges and becomes Nevada Fall
Tule Elk in Point Reyes National Seashore
I was stunned when we drove to this area along highway 64 east of the Grand Canyon visitor center. The traffic was low. (Perhaps there aren’t too many people who go to Tuba City AZ.) And there were no places to stop and enjoy a quiet view! I seem to be the only person who thinks this is a great view. This is the canyon formed by the Little Colorado River, so I call it the Little Grand Canyon. Not far from here is the place where Nik Wallenda crossed the “Grand Canyon” on a high wire cable in 2013.
The Grand Canyon deserves more pictures here than it gets. See my 2016 trip for many more pictures.
Arches National Park
One of many nice views along the Highline Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park