In the past six weeks, I have visited five national parks, one national monument and at least six national forests. Last Sunday Peter and I purposely spent nine hours driving from our home base in North Georgia to Highlands, NC – a drive that normally requires less than three hours. It was an awesome day and I feel privileged to have such ready access to these beautiful and protected areas. And it was refreshing to see so many young families in those places. This image was made at Duke’s Creek Falls in the Chattahoochee National Forest, near Helen, GA. The falls are well worth the two-mile round trip hike from the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway.
So many acorns. They’ve been raining on us for three weeks now. Machine gun spatter announcing the wind. And when it’s calm, a sudden sharp crack…cartwheeling down the roof…short pause to catapult to the deck and gone. And repeat. I decided to do a formal portrait of the acorn, to celebrate this year’s crop, which I understand will make the deer very happy.
Driving east from Ketchum back to Idaho Falls for flight home from the Rockies trip, we experienced one final treat – we stopped right at sunset at Craters of the Moon National Monument. There were few tourists, other than the handful of campers parked and buttoned up for the night. A three-day weather system was moving off, and bone-chilling cold was right behind it. From the park, many miles across the lava fields, you could see Big Southern Butte with its own cloud/fog cap. Glad I had a telephoto and tripod for this one.
This week was about Montana and my first-timer impressions. Montana is about tawny folded hills, soaring rough-hewn mountains, remote gravel roads, pastured horses, log cabins and clear energetic streams hurrying out of the hills onto honey-grass flats. It is also about Glacier National Park and the Going to the Sun Road – the harrowing narrow rock-cut path that traverses the park, crossing the Continental Divide in the process. I did the driving on the way up, uncomfortably hugging the inside, knuckles white. The road down from the Divide to the other side of the park was closed for the season, so we came back down the way we had gone up, and right at sunset. I made this image as we paused at the top, delaying the return trek as long as possible.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. This trip is a great way to kick off the 52 Photo Project but hard to pick just one photo for the week. First morning here, we were up at 5:45am and on the road, trying to get the iconic shot of Grand Teton Mountain at sunrise, reflecting in beaver pond. The sunrise was stunning, but 20 other photographers were already in position and no one was going to give up any real estate! I actually heard “Down in Front!” It was a bit comical, everyone wanting to go home with the exact same Ansel Adams shot. So Peter and I retreated and found this amazingly peaceful out-of-the-way spot just outside of the Park, and I’m pretty sure no one else is going home with this one.