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Monday, April 25th, 2011
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Thursday, September 30th, 2010
12:10 pm - New Zealand: Paparoa National Park


Paparoa National Park

continued from part two

We continued journeying down the west coast from the top of the South Island and it was our goal to stay at this really awesome looking beach b&b called Breakers Boutique. It was our big splurge for the trip and it just sounded awesome- we had to wiggle timings around a little bit, but we made plans to spend the next night down there. The owner Jan was just fantastic to talk to online and her husband is a photographer as well. Seriously, this lady went out of her way to provide custom directions and sights where us photographers should stop. Amazing!

So it was still a few hours away from our previous hotel in Abel Tasman, well more than a few but that’s what I remember it as and so we had to do some hard core driving through the bush to get back over where we needed to be. The one benefit of the West Coast is it is home to many a Blue Penguin (Eudyptula minor). Next to the elusive Puffin it might be my second favorite bird I’ve never seen so we were holding out hope that we might come across one of those little guys. Sure enough as we’re driving down the ‘highway’, ie: two lane road, we start seeing signs warning us to not run them over. With all this excitement we had to see one right?

On the way down was another park called Paparoa National Park which has these water carved rocks called pancake rocks…essentially it’s a tour bus stop, but not too shabby. I had read all about this special cave in the area so we went and found that, got soaked, and used my special REI shopping spree flashlight to look for penguins [I bought it specifically for this purpose]. Sadly none, but we thought we heard a cave bear.

Not far down there’s also a really amazing small hike called the Truman Track which brings you through all sorts of trees and stuff and into a secluded cove [with tons of 'don't touch the Penguins' signs] and a medium sized waterfall that lands right on the beach! Nice! After all this fun we still weren’t seeing any stupid penguins so we decided to go for the gold and head over to Breakers, home of it’s own small colony! Maybe we’ll see some there…that and I was hungry and felt like I was going to pass out from all this sun. I don’t get out much.

As I mentioned Breakers was fantastic and after a quick little bite we took the path down to the beach to go look for penguins and take pictures and do fun things couples do on their year-too-late honeymoon. After we did a little walking we saw this little midget bird hanging out by himself next to a rock…a blue penguin?! It looked kind of blue if you stretched the imagination and it kind of looked penguin’ish. It even waddled a little bit! So we convinced ourselves it was definitely a Blue Penguin and it didn’t seem to mind us getting in nice and close and staring at it, all while giggling quite loud. Not soon after, we were seeing tons of these little guys just hanging out getting bitten by bugs. Sweet! And they totally didn’t fly so they had to be legit!

We enjoyed a gorgeous sunset by ourselves on the beach and with the knowledge that we just saw the long awaited Blue Penguin. Sure enough, as soon as we got back Jan told us that it wasn’t a penguin, but some other random gray sea bird that can’t fly for a bit when it’s wings got wet….seriously. Our excitement was destroyed, and we came away devoured by sand fleas. The little bastards destroyed our legs and we had bite marks for at least 3 weeks after. True story.

Paparoa National Park

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Wednesday, September 29th, 2010
11:16 pm - New Zealand: Abel Tasman National Park [day two]


Sorry I’m just getting around to posting these now, I have a hard drive full of awesome New Zealand photos that I have to share! We’re actually going on our honeymoon v2.0 in a couple months, so I figured I should get the rest of these out of the way first…makes sense!

continued from part one

Abel Tasman National Park

So basically we chose to go to Abel Tasman National Park [up on the top of the South Island] because Tanya wanted a little R&R which we knew we weren’t really going to get elsewhere…being that we were doing a pretty massive roadtrip with some epic long drives ahead. What better place to chill out than along the beach in the sunniest part of the country! Not that we we actually going to sit on the beach or anything…

New Zealand is known for their intense hikes, and it’s not like maybe in the states where you can just pick up and go out for a couple hours- no, their hikes are MULI-DAY DEATH TREKS. Well to us out of shape folks anyway, but seriously, their famous hikes sound awesome until you realize what a multi-day hike really is. Anyway, we weren’t going to attempt that baloney, but instead walk from our little beachside home through the woods to the next little checkpoint of sorts. We had a day to waste, so why not! It also gave us an excuse to go on a shopping spree at REI.

So with this new found ambition we found out the next checkpoint was…8 miles away. Sounds easy enough, so we got our stuff together and here’s what we saw:

Abel Tasman National Park

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Wednesday, July 14th, 2010
8:06 pm - Crater Lake, Oregon


Phantom Ship, Crater Lake, Oregon

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Monday, March 8th, 2010
4:45 pm - Great Blue Herons in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Great Blue Herons have recently returned to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. Today I went to the rookery to check them out.

Great Blue Heron Rookery

Great Blue Herons RookeryCollapse )

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4:36 pm - CVNP

Cuyahoga Valley National Park today:

hike in CVNP

CVNP, March 2010Collapse )

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Monday, March 1st, 2010
2:41 am - Clouds:


Cloudy Sky

This is so Beautiful.
I felt like I could touch Heaven.

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Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
9:54 am - Viewing the Grand Canyon from the Air

No posts for awhile :/

I had the privilege of flying over the Grand Canyon after a ski trip to Park City, Utah (the Wasatch mountains are incredible!) and I just wanted to say that it was absolutely breathtaking.

The pure emptiness of the place was enough for me, but the ruggedness of the land gave me a new respect for the place and its vastness. Seeing the river snake through jagged edges and through the desert just reinforced my desire to do a trip there soon. :)

I didn't get a chance to take any photos (the sun was bright and glaring and the wing was in the way) but I found these online to give you an idea of what I was looking at:



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Sunday, November 8th, 2009
6:16 pm

The weather was beautiful today in NE Ohio, so I went for a hike at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

cvnp nov2009

CVNP, November 2009Collapse )

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Thursday, September 17th, 2009
5:59 pm

I am flying into Vegas 16 December and flying back (I'm in Florida) 24 December. While I am there, I'm renting a car and driving to "nearby" parks/preserves/etc. You all may remember my post several months ago regarding Seattle/Pacific NW. We did indeed complete all items on the itinerary, avoided heavy traffic for the most part, and had a really wonderful time. I bring this up because I am expecting you all to criticize how much driving we will be doing during our time there. I think we'll be able to handle it, but of course I welcome thoughts/concerns. Our route & very, very tentative itinerary are behind the cut, so please look and if you can answer the questions following it. As always, I appreciate the advice!

map, itinerary, & questionsCollapse )

x-posted to ljtravel

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Thursday, August 27th, 2009
7:20 am - Lassen National Park, California

I'm going to Lassen NP in a couple of weeks, I go atleast once every year. Can someone recommend a hike or two for me to go on? I've done Lassen Peak, Cinder Cone, Kings Creek Falls. Looking for something between 3-6 miles, maybe a little longer. Thanks for your help!


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Friday, August 14th, 2009
12:44 pm - Comparing National Parks - USA vs Sweden

hello, new member here, and glad to have found this community!

i'm from sweden but i have traveled to various parts of the states since 2000. this winter i visited my first american national park*, yosemite, and this summer i did five* more - mt rainier, glacier, yellowstone, grand teton and rocky mountain. that was quite a trip! a once in a lifetime kind of thing, that i sort of hope i'll get to do at least one more time. :) (well, perhaps with a few other parks.) i've gotten to see all the wildlife i wanted to see and then some, including grizzlies and wolves. the only thing i can think of that i haven't seen is mountain lion (but how many really ever get to see those in the wild?). i've also gotten to enjoy the incredible vistas of the rocky mountains which are so much younger than the mountains here in sweden, experiencing the exciting geologically active areas which we lack, and gotten familiar with a slightly exotic vegetation containing things like sagebrush and lodgepole pine. :)

(* if you don't count the national historical park of jamestown that i visted a few years ago and yorktown that i went to this summer.)

now, we have wildlife and national parks in sweden too, but nowhere in my country can you watch top predators and large herbivores up close from the comfort of your car like you can in the rockies. our national parks aren't situated specifically around predator rich areas - most of our wild predators and their larger prey inhabit forests and mountains where they are hunted along with the prey and thus much more shy and spread out. if you want to see wildlife you hike for days, and if you're very lucky you get to watch a bear with binoculars from the other side of the valley after having crouched in the same hiding place for half a day. we keep exploitation to a minimum in our national parks, with few roads, bathrooms, restaurants and hotels. our parks are for serious hikers who are willing to cook, pee, bathe and sleep outdoors, not for old men hauling oxygen tubes around on paved walkways like i saw in yellowstone. :) you can't expect to find a bathroom right when you need it, and if you find it it's most often a smelly pit toilet out of paper, and never with any hand sanitizer. there aren't any friendly rangers behind every bush to ask for help or information. no fancy hotels overlooking splendid falls or mountain tops. there is however a well developed network of trails and there are mountain cabins you can stay at. in the camping sites you rarely see RVs, or people living their outdoor lives just as luxuriously as they would their indoor ones. :) but what you get in sweden that you don't get in the states is the right to go wherever you please, for free. you don't pay any entrance fees, and you are not bound to the national parks and nature reserves. in sweden you can roam freely over - and pitch your tent on - anyone's land as long as you don't specifically enter people's gardens or disturb nature, crops or farm animals in any way. it's called allemansrätten, everyman's right. no posted signs, no getting shot for trespassing. :)

as a 20 year old i had a great time roaming the swedish mountains one summer, spending practically no money to be able to watch reindeer and drink water right out of the streams, and as a 40 year old i greatly appreciate the comfort of the american national parks where the animals more or less park themselves outside the clean bathrooms. :) i feel very fortunate to have been able to experience national parks both in my own country and in the states.

one picture from my yellowstone visitCollapse )ps: my journal is friends only but if you're interested in adding me (here's my profile) feel free to drop me a note! i could always use some more people interested in nature and traveling on my list. :)

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Tuesday, August 11th, 2009
11:50 pm - Scott-Kilvert Hut - Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

While things are in winter hibernation, I'll post about some older walks: I can't believe I neglected to write about this walk ...

Scott-Kilvert Hut

Scott-Kilvert memorial hut, in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park (which is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area), is about 5km south from Cradle Mountain, by Lake Rodway, a glacial cirque in the shadow nestled under the soaring dolerite spires of the Little Horn and Weindorfer's Tower peaks of Cradle Mountain. The hut was built as a memorial to a teacher and student who died in 1965, when their school group got caught in a blizzard in the area.

The hut is on the eastern side of the Cradle Mountain park, which is much less visited than the western (Overland Track) side. Once we left the main track, near Ranger Hut, we didn't see anybody until we were returning the next day. Which meant that we had the whole, big, two-room hut to ourselves!

First, of course, we had to get there. From the Dove Lake car park, we followed the Dove Lake circuit on the eastern side of the lake until about 500m along, just past Glacier Rock, where the track branches; follow the track to the left, which climbs diagonally across the face of Mount Campbell, until it reaches a saddle at the north side of Hanson's Peak.

Here, there are two options - the short way, involving a steep scramble over Hanson's Peak - a bit over a 200m climb - or the longer, "easier" way, circling around the glacial lake at the base of Hanson's Peak. Which, as we discovered, isn't as easy as it looks on the map, although probably decidedly more scenic.

The track descends almost to the shore of Lake Hanson, then follows its western shore to the pretty Twisted Lakes, before crossing its outlet creek and climbing up again. The lower track is quite rough: although planking has been laid down at some stage, most of it had deteriorated quite considerably, and even in summer the track was wet and muddy, and quite overgrown in places. After climbing to the ridge, it meets the other route over the steep, bare Hanson's Peak.

Walk south along the ridge to a junction; the track on the right is the Face Track, head left towards Lake Rodway and Scott Kilvert Hut. Next to this junction is the Ranger Hut. This is an emergency only hut, but it is a good spot to stop for a rest or lunch break, under the towering peak of the Little Horn.

Past Ranger Hut, the Lake Rodway track enters some beautiful alpine countryside of Pencil Pines and tarns, with the soaring crags of Cradle Mountain behind. Tarns in the area include Artists Pool and Flynns Tarn: here you are requested to keep to the track, so as not to trample the fragile alpine vegetation. The track descends gently to Lake Rodway and Scott Kilvert Hut.

The hut itself is a sizeable A-frame, with a roomy kitchen below, equipped with a coal heater (the supply of coal and kindling is variable, depending on how recently rangers have been able to visit the hut), and a large dormitory area upstairs. Tank water is available, and a composting toilet is discreetly located 100 metres or so away.

The views around the hut are magnificent, and, judging by the Visitor's Book entries, it is visited by maybe two or three people at a time. We had the hut to ourselves that night, apart from some visiting wallabies and pademelons.

Returning the next day, we returned the way we had come, to the Ranger Hut junction, where we opted to cut across the Face Track, and thence down to Dove Lake Circuit and the carpark. Oh, Lord.

I had no idea the Face Track was so high up on the mountain! We were numb with exhaustion and terror most of the way, but by the time we reached the junction to take the short way down to Dove Lake, we had found our "mountain legs", and were really quite enjoying the view.

The climb down, using chains to make our way down almost-cliffs of bare quartzite, should have been the most terrifying of all, but we actually enjoyed it immensely, as you can see in this short video diary.

Excuse the shaky camera work: my professional camera is too heavy to carry on long walks, and it's pretty hard to hold a palmcorder steady when you're gasping and wheezing after a long climb!

(X-posted to my personal journal, and a couple of communities)

current mood: tired

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Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
11:35 pm - Olympic National Park

Has anyone camped overnight @ Kalaloch? I know how to make reservations and the photos look beautiful, but I'm interested to hear input about real actual experiences. We're going to Seattle (coming from the southeastern US) and heading to Olympic for two days, camping overnight. Kalaloch is the only place (from what I've found) that allows reservations. Also, has anyone rented tents from REI? Any info would be great! Thanks in advance!

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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
8:50 pm - Grouse Mountain and Banff

I was wondering about people's experiences with Grouse Mountain and Banff National Park. I'm writing a book set in those areas and I'd really like some personal experience stories. I do eventually plan to visit myself but my visit has been put off for a while due to lack of money. I'm also really interested in the wolves. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help.

current mood: artistic

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Monday, June 22nd, 2009
11:07 am - Yellowstone's Bear World Part 2

So here is the 2nd trip to Bear World, about 3 weeks after the first trip. The babies are a little bigger and although it was raining on this day, it was neat because the wolves were up and about! The other times we've been they've always been sleeping. The gray one actually ran in front of my car a few times so I got some pretty awesome pictures!

So some of the pictures aren't that wonderful because of shooting through the windows/rain and some are zoomed way in which causes 'noise.' But some are really good, IMO =)

More picturesCollapse )

All pictures are © to me. Please don't touch!

I highly recommend this place to anyone who travels through this part of Idaho. It's an awesome place and has kiddie amusement rides for the kids, a petting zoo, ect.

current mood: okay

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10:57 am - Yellowstone's Bear World Part 1


We went to Yellowstone's Bear World a few weeks ago. I went back alone 3 weeks later to grab a few things from the gift shop for my mother who was in town visiting. So I have 2 different posts with pictures to share with you guys =) We had a great time! Took almost 1000 pictures between the 3 of us (my mom, myself & her boyfriend) and have a bunch to share with you all.

If you are interested in the animals at the park - take a look at the link above =)

(Please excuse the blurriness/spots in some of the photos. For the bear part we had to keep our truck windows up and stupid me didn't think to wash them off before we went)

American Bison


More pictures!Collapse )

All pictures are © to me. Please don't touch!

current mood: okay

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Sunday, June 21st, 2009
8:35 pm - Timpanogos and Lehman Caves

Welcome all the new people who recently joined this community! This is the most activity I have seen on this community in 3 years.

The first week of June my wife and I went to Vegas for a wedding. We decided to drive and take a long route so that we could go to Timpanogos Caves and then go to the Great Basin and to the Leman caves along the way.

story and a couple of picturesCollapse )

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9:12 pm - Montana & Northern Idaho

I'm planning a vacation (my first in way too long) for this August, travelling by car around Montana and maybe northern Idaho or Wyoming. I have been through those states before and just adored the natural beauty. Do you have any recommendations of places I shouldn't miss?

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10:25 pm - India


I read in the news that there will be less access for the visitors to India's national parks - don't miss the opportunity to see, there is some great nature there. I visited a couple of places:

free counters

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