Thursday, April 17, 2014

"O" is for Olympic National Park
Sunset at Olympic National Park - National Park Photo
Olympic National Park in the state of Washington was first created as Mount Olympus National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909. In 1938, it was designated a National Park by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The park is located on the Olympic Peninsula and has four regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine, western rainforest, and eastern forests. In 1988, 95 percent of the park was designated the Olympic Wilderness by Congress.

The Northwest features so much beauty, it's hard not to want to spend vacation time every year in the area. I especially want to visit Mount Olympus which is 7, 965 feet high. It receives lots of snowfall and has the highest glaciation of any non-volcanic mountain in the 48 states.

Camera in hand, I look forward to visiting Olympic National Park.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"N" is for Nez Perce National Historical Park

"We did not travel here; we are of this land. We did not declare our independence; we have always been free."

-Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee

What an impressive quote from the Nez Perce. These are the people who decided to help the Lewis and Clarke expedition when it crossed into their territory in September 1805. These people have always been here.

The Nez Perce National Historical Park preserves, protects, and commemorates the history, culture, and contributions of this tribe of people. The park has 38 sites located in four states--Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Lewiston, Idaho has a regional airport that is located 11 miles east of the Spaulding Visitor Center.

Horse lovers will enjoy knowing that the Nez Perce selectively bred horses after they came on their land in the 1730s. They became known for large herds of intelligent horses with speed and endurance.

This National Park will be difficult to visit because of the many site locations. It offers much in the way of history from a perspective far different from what I learned in school.
Old Chief Joseph Gravesite 
Old Chief Joseph Gravesite - National Park Service

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"M" is for Mount Ranier National Park

Mount Rainier When we were in Seattle, Washington a few years ago, I was completely captivated by the mystic distant view of Mt. Ranier from the downtown streets. My excitement continued when I was able to take photographs (35mm color slides) of the mountain range from the commercial jetliner as we flew over the area.
When Mount Ranier National Park was established in 1899, it became our nation's fifth National Park. Mt. Ranier, the highest peak in the Cascades, rises 14,411 feet above sea level and continues today to be an active volcano with its last eruption in the mid 1800s.

Mount Ranier volcano is often shrouded in clouds that obscure it from the view of many of the 1.8 million visitors to the park each year. Of the about 378 square miles in the park, approximately 39 square miles are glaciers.

This is a popular mountain for climbing. Paradise, at about 5, 400 feet on the south slope, is the best-liked area in the park for tourists. Interesting to know that the National Park Service says, "Paradise is the snowiest place on Earth where snowfall is measured regularly."

Although we have viewed Mt. Ranier only from a distance, I would like to visit the National Park someday when the peak is not cloud-covered. I'd like some digital photos of my own and, perhaps, I might even try plein air painting there.

Monday, April 14, 2014

"L" is for Lassen Volcanic National Park

Kings Creek Falls
Kings Creek Falls, National Parks Service photo
Lassen Volcanic National Park sounds like a perfect place for the photographer to visit. If it has boiling mud pots, I will love it because I considered the mud pots the most scenic spots in Yellowstone. Waterfalls are wonderful for photos and paintings as well. The Kings Creek Falls is a beautiful example of the kind of scenes that draw visitors to National Parks.

Established in 1916, Lassen is one of our nation's oldest National Parks. Lassen Peak is still considered an active volcano although it has not erupted since 1917. Steam and ashes spewed from the volcano from 1914 to the early months of 1915. Then in May 1915, the top of the mountain exploded creating devastation a mile wide and three miles long. Lassen Peak has been quiet since 1921.

Is a visit to Lassen possible while visiting Crater Lake? Lassen in California is about 250 miles from Crater Lake National Park in Oregon and a four and 1/2 hour drive. We probably won't do it this summer, but Lassen is a National Park worth the visit. Mud pots, fumaroles, hot springs, and waterfalls make a photographer's dream.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

"K" is for Key West, Not a National Park, a National Treasure

"Wine at Key West" ©Mary Montague Sikes
In my search for National Parks I want to visit again, I thought about Key West which, while not a park, is a National Treasure. There is something about the atmosphere at the most southern point of our country that makes even a glass of white wine on the porch overlooking the ocean very special.

As I scroll through photographs taken there, I long to return. I want to stroll along the quaint streets, visit the museum on the water that houses Hemingway treasures, and even take the ghost tour once more.

The sunsets are spectacular as one watches for the green flash of light just as the sun settles into the water. Camera in hand, I dream of another visit to a destination filled with charm and wonder. I dream of Key West.

"Sunset" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Key West Foliage" ©Mary Montague Sikes