Rockies

Florissant Fossil Beds NM

Link to Wikipedia

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is a national monument located in Colorado. Famous for the abundant and exceptionally preserved insect and plant fossils that are found in the mudstones and shales of the Florissant Formation, the formation is Eocene (approximately 34 million years old) in age and has been interpreted as a lake environment. Fossils are preserved because of the interaction of the volcanic ash from the nearby Thirtynine Mile volcanic field with diatoms in the lake.

Crazy Woman Canyon

I realize this place has a pretty funny name, but I can assure you I encountered no crazy women while I was there.

It was nice to get off the beaten path for a little while. This was at a perfect spot between two of the places we were visiting, a welcome respite from a long day of driving.

Luckily our little rental car made it through some of the muddy paths.

Castle Gardens

This was a neat little surprise!

We followed the signs to Castle Gardens and, little did we know we would encounter a whole bunch of sheep! I love how much the black sheep stood out among all the rest of them.

After we drove for a bit longer, we ended up in another spot where there were very interesting rock formations lit by the warm sun.

Watch for snakes!

Fossil Butte NM

Link to Wikipedia

Fossil Butte National Monument is located near Kemmerer, Wyoming.  It containes Eocene Epoch (56 to 34 million years ago) animal and plant fossils associated with Fossil Lake—the smallest lake of the three great lakes which were then present in what are now Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. Preserved fossils include fish, alligators, bats, turtles, dog-sized horses, insects, and many other species of plants and animals.  Sediments accumulated over about a 2 million-year period.

City of Rocks NRES

If you know some rock climbers, this is the place for them!

What seems like it’s in the middle of nowhere, the rock formations are crazy incredible out here. You have to look quite hard, but if you see a little black dot on the rocks in some of these pictures, that’s likely a hiker trying to make it to the top.

We saw this park close to sunset which made for some really nice shadows on the rocks…

Yellowstone NP

The Yellowstone Act of 1872 created the world’s first national park. It withdrew more than 2 million acres from sale, settlement, or occupation to be “dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” Unlike Yosemite, the bill put Yellowstone under federal control because ceding it to either Montana or Wyoming as newly minted states would have likely prompted a high-noon-style duel. The legislation placed the park under the control of the Secretary of the Interior to “provide for the preservation, from injury or spoliation, of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, or wonders within said park, and their retention in their natural condition.”
Hansen, Heather (2015-10-20). Prophets and Moguls, Rangers and Rogues, Bison and Bears: 100 Years of the National Park Service (Kindle Locations 389-392). Mountaineers Books. Kindle Edition.

From trapper Daniel Potts’s letters to his brother, the Gazette of the United States & Daily Advertiser (Philadelphia) printed, “The Yellow Stone has a large fresh water lake near its head on the very top of the mountain, which is . . . as clear as crystal. On the south border of this lake is a number of hot and boiling springs. One of our men visited one of these whilst taking his recreation— there at an instant the earth began a tremendous trembling, and he with difficulty made his escape, when an explosion took place resembling that of thunder.”

It didn’t take long for official talk of preserving Yellowstone to echo in the halls of Congress. Senator Samuel Pomeroy, a Republican from Kansas, got the ball rolling on an otherwise ordinary Monday in December 1871 when he addressed his colleagues, saying, “I ask leave to introduce a bill to set apart a certain tract of land lying near the headwaters of the Yellowstone as a public park. It has been ascertained within the last year or two that there are very valuable reservations at the headwaters of the Yellowstone, and it is thought they ought to be set apart for public purposes rather than to have private preemption or homestead claims attached to them.” The big idea was known simply as Senate Bill 392.
–Hansen, Heather (2015-10-20). Prophets and Moguls, Rangers and Rogues, Bison and Bears: 100 Years of the National Park Service (Kindle Locations 377-381). Mountaineers Books. Kindle Edition.

http://www.yellowstone.co/images/congress/yellowstone4w.gif

Glacier NP

Glacier National Park is located in the U.S. state of Montana, bordering the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.

Soon after the establishment of the park on May 11, 1910, a number of hotels and chalets were constructed by the Great Northern Railway. These historic hotels and chalets are listed as National Historic Landmarks, and a total of 350 locations are on the National Register of Historic Places. By 1932, work was completed on the Going-to-the-Sun Road (which was closed in June because it was covered in snow!!!), later designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, which provided greater accessibility for automobiles into the heart of the park.

Glacier National Park has almost all its original endemic plant and animal species. Mammals such as the grizzly (which we saw) and mountain goat (which we also saw) as well as less common ones such as the wolverine and lynx are known to inhabit the park.

Glacier National Park borders Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada—the two parks are known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, and were designated as the world’s first International Peace Park in 1932. Both parks were designated by the United Nations as Biosphere Reserves in 1976, and in 1995 as World Heritage sites.

The US half of Waterton Glacier National Park may not seem to have as much wildlife, but it is equally impressive.  This portfolio contains some of my favorite mirror image lake shots.

Bryce Canyon NP

Hoodoos and rock formations galore.  It looks like a naturally formed cathedral.  So beautiful.

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