Draper Natural History Museum

This is a fascinating museum that focuses on the natural history of the area around Yellowstone National Park. The exhibits are filled with the artistry of talented taxidermists. This would normally not be my thing, at all, but here the preserved animals are presented in a way that helps visitors understand how the whole ecosystem fits together. Famous animals are also preserved here, along with … Continue reading Draper Natural History Museum

Yellowstone National Park: Part 2 – A Wildlife Scavenger Hunt

One of the most exciting things about Yellowstone for me, was that while I was wandering among the cool geothermal features, I was also wandering among big, impressive wildlife.  I found it amusing to see the signs notifying visitors that bison have the right of way on boardwalks, but when a one ton animal casually walked up onto the path and stood there looking at … Continue reading Yellowstone National Park: Part 2 – A Wildlife Scavenger Hunt

Yellowstone National Park (Part 1: Exploring a Volcano)

I could easily spend an entire month wandering around this massive park, exploring both the wildlife and the fascinating geothermal features that draw life from sitting atop a large super volcano, a massive magma reserve below.  It was vaguely discomforting to know that is what’s behind all of the bubbling, steaming, and spouting water features, but since scientists don’t expect another eruption for the next … Continue reading Yellowstone National Park (Part 1: Exploring a Volcano)

Grand Teton National Park

Anyplace where I can see moose, elk, bison, eagles and either a very large coyote or possibly a wolf, all within a single day, is definitely a place I want to hang out for a while. I had seen the photos of Oxbow Bend, and the Grand Teton peaks, but I wasn’t prepared for the dramatic imposing scale of these mountains as they seem to … Continue reading Grand Teton National Park

Lava Hot Springs, Idaho

I had never heard of Lava Hot Springs until the day before I arrived, when I noticed it was just about the right amount of miles between me and the Grand Tetons for an overnight stop.  I ended up staying two nights in this quiet little community whose claim to fame is their world famous hot springs. I arrived in Idaho after a longer than usual … Continue reading Lava Hot Springs, Idaho

Death Valley National Park

Oops!  How did I miss publishing this post on Death Valley?  Oh well, I goofed and here it is! “Did you know Death Valley is almost the exact same size as the state of Connecticut?” That was the question posed to me by the Park Ranger as I picked up my park map and newspaper at the Furnace Creek Visitor’s Center, and no, I did … Continue reading Death Valley National Park

Northern California

I made it to the West Coast!  It took me two months via a crazy route, but I made it. I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting, but I think I had California all wrong in my head.  My experience with the area was limited primarily to business trips through the LA and San Diego area, when I was rushed and driving from one … Continue reading Northern California

Zion National Park

Zion is basically Disney World for nature geeks.  I’m serious.  The parking lots fill up early in the day, so your best bet is to get in line for the well run shuttle that stops at every major beautiful natural attraction you may want to see in the park.  The trail heads mostly start right in the area of the shuttle stop, and there is … Continue reading Zion National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce really is this colorful.  I’ve wondered about that every time I’ve seen a photograph of the beautiful hoodoos there, and always assumed that photographers were over saturating their photos, but no.  I entered the area through the Dixie National Forest first, and literally had to pull over to just look at the rocks for a moment.  It was late afternoon and they were glowing … Continue reading Bryce Canyon National Park

Arches National Park, UT

Mother Nature’s imagination went a little nuts here, creating a crazy land of shapes and colors in rock that’s still changing quickly enough to measure in a human lifespan. There are more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches in Arches National Park, and since 1970, more than 43 arches have collapsed within the park (so there’s a reason why they tell you not to wander into … Continue reading Arches National Park, UT