Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Travel, Bryce Canyon National Park

One of many National Parks in the beautiful state of Utah, Bryce Canyon has always held a certain affinity in my eyes as one of the most underrated National Parks in the United States.  It has many treasures and a plethora of photography opportunities.

It is located just west of Tropic, Utah and is pretty much in between Canyonlands National Park and Zion National Park.  According to Kevin on a Google Maps review, "Bryce canyon is a smaller park but is beautiful nonetheless. There are magnificent rock formations and pastel colors throughout the park. The north part of camp is available by reservation 2 days in advance only, but the south part of the camp is first come first serve. We highly recommend the navajo loop trail in combination with others if you'd want a longer hike or the fairyland loop trail. Sunset view is a must. If you are debating whether or not to come to bryce canyon on your road trip do it because we like this park even better than the grand canyon and others."

So as you can see it has hiking opportunities, rock formations, beautiful colors, camping spaces and a lot of exploration opportunities.  I typically enjoy forested parks much better, but this one grabs me because of the sheer beauty within.  Planet Earth is so beautiful, we should all treat it with a bit more care.

I've included a picture and video below, but I cannot wait to visit Bryce Canyon National Park soon!  Enjoy:) 

Bryce point sunrise #1, Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park in December 2011


Monday, January 30, 2012

Photography, Fiddler Creek Road, Montana

This weekend I went went on a little adventure down near the Rosebud area on Fiddler Creek Road in South/Central Montana in the Beartooth Mountains.  I took a few pictures and think they're worth sharing.  Hope everyone has a wonderful Monday!  Enjoy:)

Horse spotted with the Beartooths in the background near Fiddler Creek Road

Beartooths in the mirror

I love the set-up of this picture.  Some deer spotted up West Rosebud Road

Beartooth Mountains down the road
View of the Beartooths from hill

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Travel, Smithers, British Columbia, Canada

Last night I saw the movie "The Grey" and was taken aback by the beauty of the location at which they filmed.  I won't give away anything about the movie, but I will tell you a little bit about where the majority of the movie takes place.

The majority of the scenes include beautiful backgrounds of trees, mountains, rivers, etc, all creating a beautiful setting for the movie.

Smithers, British Columbia, is where the movie was filmed.  I had to look it up as the beauty kept me intrigued throughout the whole movie.  There isn't much to say about Smithers except that it is home to several Hockey players, and has a population of 5000+.  This being said, the real beauty is not inside the actually city, but the areas surrounding it.  Just take a look at some of the pictures below, and a trailer to "The Grey."  Enjoy:)

Smithers welcome
Welcome to Smithers in Winter!

River near Smithers, BC

Welcome to Smithers in Summer!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Travel, Redwood National Park

Today has been a great day so far.  First my classes were cancelled for reasons I do not care to know! And then I came home and got almost all of my homework finished.  Now I have the whole Friday to enjoy.  Should continue to be a great day! Hope all is well for you as well!

To add on to my series last week about lesser-known places I think more people should visit, I am going to outline the Redwood National Park and the reasons why it should be on the top of your list of places to visit.  I toured the Park in August of 2010 and it is by far one of my favorite places to explore.  The sheer magnitude of the trees around you is breathtaking, and when you look up at the canopy and witness what seems to be miles and miles of vegetation there are simply no words to describe it.  It is a euphoric and delightful experience that you all need to experience.

Me climbing a large Redwood

Looking up toward the canopy!

Beautiful forest view

Me and my car driving through a Redwood!
The following video is a very funny video about being "Hooked on Humboldt" which is the county home to Redwood National Park.  I certainly had a few laughs from it, I hope you do to! Enjoy :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Travel, Big Timber Falls

My latest post ellaborated on the Crazy Mountains and the small town/city of Big Timber.  This one will focus on the Big Timber Falls near that area.

I would love to go see them, but considering the time of year, and the weather, that might not be possible.  The falls are part of the Big Timber Creek system.  Just hiking along the creek would provide a plethora of photography opportunities. There may be a nice day to slip in and I'll jump on the opportunity, but until then I'm just left dreaming.
Map of the Big Timber Falls location

Big Timber Canyon Falls
The Big Timber Falls

 Below is a video of the falls.  Enjoy :)


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Travel, Big Timber, Montana

This past weekend I took a drive over to Big Timber, Montana.  The drive was beautiful as you drive past the Beartooth Mountains to the south and then the Crazy Mountains to the north going west on Interstate 90.  I wanted to drive up into the Crazies a bit but the problem with that was the Avalanche Warnings and closed access.
Interesting enough, Big Timber is home to the very famous former NBC News Anchor Tom Brokaw and also the famous broadcaster Brett Munsburger.  I took a few pictures and wanted to take more, but didn't quite have time.  Enjoy:)
Crazy Mountains as seen from Interstate 90 West

Crazy Mountains and Yellowstone River
Bozeman Trail

Crazy Mountains from Big Timber

Big Timber and Crazy Mountains in background

Monday, January 23, 2012

Animals, Dalmatians and Cats!

Today I am going to be a little off topic, but I figured it was for an important reason.

The car door slams shut and once again Chance was off with his owners on hopefully another adventure.  Chance, a ten year old Dalmatian, wagged his tail proudly as the car crawled along the road.  A few minutes later the car stopped and his owner opened the door and Chance hopped out.  It had been some time since they went out to the woods to play.  He loved the way the wind felt on his face when he had nothing but woods to run through, and the smells of the forest intrigued him like none other.  After a few moments his owner commanded Chance to sit, and surprisingly got back into the vehicle.  This was a new kind of game Chance thought.  But he wagged and sat down patiently to see what the game was all about.  Soon the car drove off and Chance felt a little lost.  Was he supposed to follow?  But he'd been told to sit. 

The truth is, the owners of Chance abandoned him, leaving him in a forest to fend for himself.  As Chance had aged he had accumulated a few medical conditions, and the family no longer wanted to put their financial efforts into a ten year old dog.  As sad as it is, this happens to dogs all of the country daily.  Fortunately there are places out there to help.  I know from experience how loyal, smart and caring Dalmatians are, and I can't even imagine leaving my little Rojo in the forest because I didn't want to deal with the financial burden of poor health.  In my opinion, when you adopt an animal, you are making a commitment not only to the pet, but to yourself.

The Dalmatian Rescue of Puget Sound has been doing great things for Dalmatians in the Pacific Northwest as of late.  They have housing and loving homes available until the dogs can be adopted.  They also receive medical care, and if the dogs are elderly, they can stay there for the long term.  I urge you to check out their website, and even voting for them on the Animal Rescue site where they are competed for grants in the Shelter Challenge.  You can vote for them by searching Dalmatian in the state of WA :)

For those of you who don't have a spot in your heart for dalmatians, or dogs in general, I have been a volunteer at Crash's Landing Cat Rescue and Placement and they could use help as well. You can also vote for Crash's Landing on the Animal Rescue web page by searching Crash's Landing in the state of MI. 

I've included some pictures of dalmatians and cats! Enjoy :)

Ford! Is available for adoption at the Dalmatian Rescue of Puget Sound

Radar! Is available for adoption at Crash's Landing

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Travel, Wood Buffalo National Park

One place I really want to visit is the Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada.  I am not a Canadian, born and raised in Michigan, but it has always had a certain allure.  It seems like its a bit more wild and free than some of the National Parks here in the United States.

The Wood Buffalo National Park is larger than many European Nations, it is home to three distinctly different ecosystems, and of course Wood Buffalo.  I have included a video that has inspired me to really make an effort to visit this wondrous place.  I hope it inspires you to do the same, or at least get out there and find something beautiful.  Enjoy:)

Pine Lake, Wood Buffalo Ntl Park
Pine Lake, Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories of Canada

Friday, January 20, 2012

Travel, Porcupine Mountains of Michigan's Upper Peninsula

I am going to start a series once a week about lesser-known travel areas and tourist spots for you to adventure and explore.  These locations will be full of hiking trails, photography opportunities and wildlife.  The first place I am going to elaborate on is the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. 

The Porcupine Mountains or the "Porkies" are located towards the western border of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  Inside of Ontanagon and Gogebic counties there is a wondrous and mostly untouched paradise of hardwood forests.  There is an abundance of maples, birch and hemlock trees that create a stunning portfolio of green in the summer months, and a kaleidoscopic scenery of color in the autumn months.

Wildlife:  The aptly named Porkies are home to a variety of animal species, one of which is the, yep you guessed it, porcupine.  In my experience I have seen two porcupines in the wild, both of which were in Montana.  One thing that surprised me when I was reading up on porcupines is that they often are found in trees, now in my mind I had a preconceived notion that porcupines never got off of the ground.  In fact, they are very sophisticated climbers, and have been spotted near the canopies of many of the trees found here in the Porkies.

In addition to the ambitious porcupine, the Porkies are home to animals such as moose, which can be found near swampy areas and near rivers.  Moose are excellent swimmers and have a hunkering for aquatic plants.  They also take little dips in order to keep flies off of them.

This leads me to another point, the Porkies may have an extreme amount of black flies depending on when you visit.  Bug spray is advised.

There are several other animals that can be found in the Porkies.  The following are all found in this area: deer, fox, wolves, coyote, lynx, bobcat, black bear, beaver, and others.

Pictures: Although my words may entice you to visit, it would be nonsensical not to include some beautiful photography of the Porkies.  I love the contrast in the following two pictures that shows the differences from summer to fall. Enjoy:)

Porcupine Mountains 2008_14683
Lake of the Clouds in the Summer
"lake of the Clouds" Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park
Lake of the Clouds in the Fall
A River Runs Through It, my New Years Resolution version
A beautiful shot of the Big Carp River

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Travel, Billings Montana Weather Pt. II

Well today is going a lot like yesterday.  The weather is well below zero and the snow has fallen even heavier.  I took some pictures on my way to class this morning after basically digging out my car from the snow.

After I unburied my Prius :)
I added a video for fun.  Enjoy :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Travel, Billings, Montana Weather

I have one main point to spell out for you all today.
Literally so cold.  I went outside to shovel the driveway and within about 5 minutes my face was completely frozen.  Luckily I'm speedy at shoveling said driveway, but the cold was just ridiculous.

For those of you who think -9 isn't that bad consider the following picture:
RealFeel tells how cold it feels like outside.  So ya know how it's usually pretty cold outside when it's around 30? Well take that and subtract 65 degrees.  Then you end up where it is out here.
The strange part about the weather being so cold is that this is normally what the weather and temperature is like over in West Yellowstone.  But the precarious part is that in West Yellowstone it is 21 degrees, and feels a tad warmer.  That's enough for my rant for now, but there will be no adventuring today, it is just too cold.  Wish me luck! I'll throw a video that may help anyone who gets stuck in weather like this, luckily I'm warm and inside.  Enjoy:)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Travel, Australia

For as long as I can remember I have always dreamed of going to Australia.  This dream may become a reality in the near future for me, so I've been thinking of what the trip would involve.  Obviously my camera and photography equipment would make the trip along to Australia.  The trip would include a variety of activities.

First on my list of things to do in Australia is to fly into Perth, which is on the west coast of Australia.  Once in Perth I would get a feel for the city, and rent a 4x4 truck in order to get wherever I wanted to go.  I would probably go on a few photography runs trying to find the most beautiful scenes near the city.

Perth, Austrlia at night

Next, I would embark on a journey of epic proportions.  With my rental 4x4 I would drive to the very middle of the continent and have a look at Ayers Rock, also known as Uluru.  This is a large structure with significant meaning to the aborigines in the area.  Many tourists rudely climb on it, and in doing so disrespect the beliefs and feelings of the aborigines.

Ayers Rock at sunset
Ayers Rock or Uluru in the Northern Territory, Australia

Finally the last major thing I would plan on is seeing a wombat.  I have a strange obsession with these marsupials.  They just strike a chord within me that I cannot quite explain.

wombat and joey
Wombat in South/Central Australia
Obviously the trip would have a lot more to it, I would plan on being there for at least 3 weeks.  The majority of my activities would be unplanned and spontaneous, I find in journeys that is where the most exciting and memorable things occur.  I have included a video showcasing some of Australia's beauty and wonder.  Enjoy:)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Photography, A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods
A Walk in the Woods by Marc Steensma - Taken at Spring Grove Park, Jamestown, MI on January 2nd, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Exploring, Bighorn Canyon / Stillwater River / Phipps Park

Recently I discovered about 700 pictures that I had taken while on an adventure with my 1 year old dalmatian Rojo in September of 2011.  This adventure took us from the Stillwater River near Columbus, MT to the Bighorn Canyon to the cool rock formations of Phipps park in Billings, Montana.  I have included some of my favorite pictures from that adventure.  Enjoy:)

Rojo on hillside near Bighorn Canyon

Rojo catching his breath near Bighorn Canyon
Train from rock formation at Phipps Park in West Billings, MT

Rojo in rock formation at Phipps Park near West Billings, MT

Interesting rock formation at Phipps Park in West Billings, MT

Rojo hiding under a rock at Phipps Park in West Billings, MT

Rock at Phipps Park in West Billings, MT

Rojo standing proud near Stillwater River (Columbus, MT)

Near Stillwater River (Columbus, MT)
See You in Another Life, Brother
Rojo in grass near Stillwater River (Columbus, MT)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Geocaching, Without a GPS

Sometimes people may want a little more exploration when they embark on a geocaching adventure.  For theses folks the best advice I can give is go out there in the great outdoors without a GPS device.  Use topographical maps, or satellite maps in order to orient the map with the ground. Basically so you keep the map pointing north, and use the types of trees to identify which part of the map you are currently on.  This eliminates the need for a GPS, and creates a more visceral experience where you can focus on natures beautiful features, rather than your GPS screen.

Here is a video that elaborates on this idea.  Enjoy :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Travel, Red Lodge, Montana

Yesterday I went to Red Lodge, Montana.  Many of you may recognize this as a ski resort.  But for me its a place where I have taken several beautiful photographs.  I would highly recommend a visit to Red Lodge, if not for the cool shops down Broadway St. for the beautiful mountains and scenery that surrounds it.  There is a road to Custer National Forest that goes out of Red Lodge.

So when I got there I took a road that goes up a steep hill, and about halfway up the hill there is a spot to turn off and put chains on your tires.  Well, it is January here and you may expect me to need to put chains on my tires, especially at the high elevation, but there was absolutely no snow on the roads.  There was some off the roads, but not as much as there should have been. Anyways, when I turned off I turned my car off and got out to take some pictures.  My goal was to capture the city of Red Lodge and the mountains in the distance in one photo.  I walked a little bit until I found a good spot to take the photo.  I took in the view and relaxed so I could get a good picture.  All of the sudden six deers flew out of the brush in front of me.  I definitely startled them, but I think they startled me equally.  To make a long story short, I fell into the snow, luckily there wasn't very much, but I was still snow covered.  From there I took a few pictures, but those deer sure got the best of me! Enjoy :)
Red Lodge with Mountains in distance

Mountains in Red Lodge

My Off-Road Capable Prius ;) in Red Lodge

Cool Scene from Red Lodge golf course

In Custer National Forest by Red Lodge