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Western Perspectives

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S: Western Perspectives

BC: A Best Friends Production | MMXI

FC: Western Perspectives

1: Buffalo Gap National Grasslands South Dakota

2: Devil's Tower National Moument Northeast Wyoming | Somewhere here there is a ladder for very brave or foolish people to climb!

3: Once upon a time we bought a travel trailer and pulled it behind us while we drove around the United States. We had several places in mind to visit along the way. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but actually in northeast Wyoming, we came to this famous set from the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". About 700 feet tall, it could be seen for many miles. The only green vegetation in the region was here at the park. Very stark and beautiful. There is an easy trail for people to completely circle the tower. Taken late June, 2007.

5: South Dakota has the most amazing variety of landscape. Not far from buffalo Gap Grasslands lies Badlands national Park, a daunting, yet haunting place filled with emptiness, moonscapes, and big sky. It is a "Must-see" place to visit at sundown, and we did!

6: Glacier National Park in Montana is one of our favorite destinations ever. Sadly, it is so far out of the way. Above is a view from the "Going to the Sun" road that crosses the continental divide. Below is a July 4th Celebration on Whitefish Lake, near Glacier.

7: Two of the views from the Going to the Sun road. The horizontal striping is caused by retreating glaciers dragging everything along with them. Most of the glaciers in this park are continuing to shrink in size, but you can't tell in the winter.

8: One subject I like very much to photograph is the wide variety of growing foliage, vegetation, trees, and even rocks that I encounter. Here are some examples I found at Glacier National Park in Montana.

11: The Going-to-the-Sun Road is about 65 miles long, and climbs over 3500 feet in just a few short miles at one point. Logan Pass, the summit and continental divide, is at 6,600 feet elevation. Near the eastern end of the drive is Saint Mary Lake, with its iconic little island. The water is almost bright green due to the minerals in it. This view looks back westward towards Logan Pass.

12: Clockwise, from top left: Lake MacDonald, Oberlin Falls, and MacDonald Creek, which flows into the lake. In winter, Going-to-the-Sun is only open as far as the lake - nine miles from the west entrance on U.S. 2

13: Left: Hiking the John's Lake Trail produced this relaxing view of the namesake body of water. Below left is one of the many waterfalls that step down the mountainside. Below right is a view of the Flathead River , which parallels U.S. 2 and the southern border of the park. South of the park is the Thomas Johnson Wilderness, seen on the opposite side, filled with forests.

15: I just love what flowers look like close up. Never the same, and only perfect for a short time. They all have individual desires on where to live and grow.

17: The North Rim of the Grand Canyon gives a different view, bringing the visitor closer to greenery, bluffs, & other details.

18: Even when the sun starts getting lower there are still many areas and subjects for good views. The color gets richer later in the day, and it's hard to keep up with the changing light.

19: Very late in the day, taken from the patio area of the Grand Canyon Lodge. | When we arrived at the canyon this is the view we saw first.

20: If you look closely, you can see the Colorado River near the top center of the right photo. It is about 7 miles away from here.

21: I like the fact that there was so much growing here even though this is such a dry climate in the summertime. | Green, red, and a band of light beige near the top of the canyon.

24: Charles Kuralt once wrote in a travel book that the Beartooth Highway (Left) in southern Montana was the most beautiful drive in the United States. It may or may not be, but it is truly spectacular, crossing into Wyoming near Yellowstone National Park at 11,000 feet elevation.

25: Less than two miles from our house the Appalacian Trail passes on its way to Maine or Georgia. This portion of the trail is less than 15 miles from us.

29: In the Navajo lands of northeastern Arizona lies Canyon De Chelly (Pronounced DeShay) National Monument. About 25 miles long, there are two rim drives that are open to the public. These photos are taken from the South Rim Drive. A guided tour is available to ride on the canyon floor, where a few families live and farm the area.

30: At one point in time the canyon was settled by the Pueblo Tribe, taking advantage of the plentiful water to raise crops. Many of the people lived in the cliffs until drought drove them away. Navajos live in farmhouses in the canyon today.

33: On the left two photos you can see how steep the canyon walls are. Spider Rock, above, is about 800 feet tall. Above the canyon, the land seems flat for miles.

35: Facing page: Another view into the canyon on the left. A small tree making its way in the world, and a truck full of visitors exploring the canyon floor. Above: a cactus thriving in the red dirt, and to the right a closer view of Spider Rock.

37: Left: The first view of the canyon from the south rim drive. The change in coloring of the rock, along with the addition of vegetation makes a startling change. On this page: An area of cliff dwellings and a tree with millions of branches!

38: of change

39: The only information I have for these photos is that the one above is NOT a flower, but was taken in a Botanical Gardens in Canada.

40: No one can see this view without making a 140 degree turn, but I don't know how to display it except in the two dimensional world of a page. This is the view from Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park on a clear day. Yosemite Falls, highest in North America at 2,500 feet. On the right is Half Dome, a grand name for a piece of granite! Glacier Point is about 3,200 feet above the valley floor.

43: We have been to Yosemite many times. A popular weekend destination, only 4 hours away. Friends had told us NOT to miss it this year because the record snowpack made the various falls special, Yosemite is all about the waterfalls. Left: Yosemite Falls - near and far. Above: Ribbon Falls, second highest at 1,600 ft and Nevada / Vernal Falls on the right.

44: After driving through the Wawona Tunnel there is a parking lot where EVERYONE stops to take in this first view of the Yosemite Valley. El Capitan on the left, Half Dome in the background, and Bridalveil Falls on the right.

45: Another view from Glacier point, of Half Dome - 8,800 feet. On the right are the combined Nevada and Vernal Falls. Just since our visit, 3 people died hiking slippery Nevada Falls, and one person lost their life on Half Dome. There are a series of steel cables on the back side of Half Dome, and people line up by the dozens every nice day to make the ascent. None of them are sane, IMHO!!

46: Yosemite is either green trees, white water, or gray granite. Here is a closer detail of the granite walls rising above the valley floor. People camp at the base during better weather. A six week advance reservation is necessary to secure a campground. People come from all over the world just to climb rocks in the park. The upper area of Yosemite was closed due to the snow remaining on the ground. Tioga Pass, the road we had hoped to use to enter the park did not open until mid July!

47: Yosemite is also home to a beautiful forest of Redwood Trees. While not as tall as the Coast Redwoods they are nevertheless very impressive! Mariposa Grove is home to "Grizzly Giant", one of the worlds largest trees. 210 feet tall, and 3o feet in diameter. Depending on what list you see, this is considered the 25th largest tree in volume in the world.

49: The more you laugh, the longer you live. | These flowers need no description or captions. Someone once wrote that photographing flowers was the least use of the imagination. Probably true, but I don't care!

50: This turned out to be our favorite place for 2011. Located near Page, AZ are a series of "Slot" canyons. The feeling is that you are in a cave, but it is open at the top, over 150 feet above. As the sunlight comes in it changes the color of the wall. This particular canyon is called "Upper Antelope Canyon" We signed up for a photographer's tour which meant we had two hours instead of one, and our Navajo guide assisted us with location setting, keeping the dust away, and making sure we were the only group in our part of the canyon. There were only four of us and we had the time of our camera-loving lives! Most of the photos were time exposures lasting up to two minutes each. Even if you had never heard of it, I'll bet you have seen images from here.

52: Upper Antelope Canyon, looking forward, up, and down.The sun only appears for about 1 - 2 hours per day.

53: Looking nearly straight up to show variation in color, and the width of the slot canyon. Note the tree limb wedged in the upper slot.

56: Five miles downstream from Lake Powell and the Glen Canyob Dam at Page, Arizona, and only three miles south of Antelope Canyon, this part of the Colorado River makes a grand curve, called Horshoe Bend. Almost a thousand feet below where I sit, there are rafts and camping sites. This is less than fifty miles from the beginning of the Grand Canyon.

57: Above: Lake Powell, a playground for boaters and hikers. Houseboats can be rented here by the week, and there are almost 2,000 miles of coastline around the 200 mile long lake. Right: The Glen Canyon Dam, which backs water up well into Utah.

59: Crater Lake, in southern Oregon

60: The main reason we drove west this year was to see Crater Lake in southern Oregon. A faded photo hanging in the living room was badly in need of repacement. It is difficult to believe that the sky and water are so blue, but on a sunny day this is the unfiltered view! | Above: On our way to Crater Lake we passed Klamath Lake and Mt. McLoughlin, less than an hour from the national park. All of the prominent mountains in the Cascade Range are dormant volcanos. Hopefully dormant, anyway!

61: Right: Difficult to discern against the background, the lakes only other island, known as Phantom Ship. The nearly record snowfall last winter had kept the rim drive closed, as well as the boat ride which circles the cold and deep lake.

62: Wizard Island, near the edge of the lake. A sightseeing boat is usually available to drop people off for a few hours.

63: Above: Mt. Thielson, a few miles north of the park, and visible from the rim, which is at 7,000 feet

66: The Snake River, with the Tetons in the back, about 10 miles away.

67: Just south of Yellowstone NP, one of our favorite places is Grand Teton National Park. In the park is the Triangle X Ranch, a "Dude" ranch where people ride horses all day long. Afterwards we would sit and stare at the mountains. The horses above have just been released for overnight grazing. | Credit must be given: Annie took the two photographs on this page on her second visit to the ranch!

77: Bryce Canyon is a National Park in southern Utah. These formations, known as "Hoodoos" are the result of erosion, and are found nowhere else in the world. Part of Utah's red rock country, it is only a three hour drive to the Grand Canyon. An elevation of 9,000 feet makes for spectacular vistas.

79: I'll just call this my Colorado page. On the left is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison (River) National Park, A fairly new park, it was very nice and uncrowded. The canyon is over 2,000 feet deep in places as the river runs (Loudly) by your feet. Right: A visit to the Cliff Palace, part of Mesa Verde National Park. The parks are only about 100 miles from each other.

82: Connecting Banff and Jasper in Alberta is the Ice Field Parkway. This 165 mile long road is almost completely bare of signs, buildings, or anything else that gets in the way of the beautiful scenery. The scale is almost beyond comprehension. The trees, rivers, lakes and mountains stretch as far sa you can see in every direction. Wildlife abounds as well, from Bighorn Sheep to Grizzly Bears, all close enough to run from!Below: a wreath in Butchart Gardens, Victoria B. C.

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