Tag: National Park (Page 1 of 2)
A few weeks ago we finalized our plans for our summer vacation. We are taking my mom and grandma and heading back to Maine. This time its not a road trip. We are flying in to New Hampshire and renting a car from there. We are renting a condo in Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island for a week.
I am so excited to get back to Maine and to share this wonderful place with my family! We are still far out in the planning stages, of course, and I am hoping that the weather is better than last year. Maine is no fun when it is 95 degrees. As a state, they are not set up to handle that kind of heat, and this is coming from a Michigander. Hopefully it will be cool enough to fully experience the hiking trails and enjoy the outdoors. We are planning on doing a carriage tour of the carriage roads because that was the major thing we missed out on last year that we regretted not doing.
I am looking forward to the smell of salt air and the seeing the rocky Maine coastline. I am excited to drive the Park Loop Road and see the views from Cadillac Mountain. I am excited to spend more time on the quiet side of the island, exploring Southwest Harbor. Summer can come any time now!
Thanks for stopping by! Hopefully, next week I will begin the recap of our cruise and I will have lots of pictures of sunshine and blue waters! Stay tuned for that! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
Our day at the Grand Canyon started early. I think we got to the Visitor’s Center around 8 o’clock, about an hour before they open. Because of that, we were one of the first cars in the parking lot and we were able to get some photos of the canyon while the lighting was still good.
If you’re not staying at one of the hotels in the park, there is not a lot of nearby lodging. We ended up at the Best Western Premier Hotel in Tusyan, which is right outside the boundaries of the park. Its one of two hotels you drive by to get to the South Rim. The hotel was rated highly online and the price was right so we booked it. Overall, I was very impressed with the hotel. The room was large and the bathroom was HUGE. It was a great surprise. Especially in an area where you will get people to stay at your hotel no matter what it looks like, I was impressed. If you are visiting the Grand Canyon, I highly recommend you check out the Best Western. The only way to get closer to the canyon is to stay in the park, which is pretty pricey and the rooms book up fast, even in the winter.
Besides a few hotels, there’s not much in Tusyan beside the National Park. There are a few fast food restaurants and there are some more formal restaurants located in the lodges in Grand Canyon Village, but nothing was very highly rated so we decided to skip it and just eat on the road. There is a grocery store in Grand Canyon Village where you can get the staples. It would be very handy if you were camping in the park or staying in one of the lodges that has a kitchen. You don’t have to worry about stocking up outside the park, although the prices in the park are more expensive than at a grocery store in Flagstaff.
Thanks for stopping by! For more information about the Best Western Premier, check out TripAdvisor. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
The Historic Kolb Studio was built in 1905 and was originally a family home and photography studio of Ellsworth and Emery Kolb. The brothers were thrill seekers and were known to do crazy things to photograph of the Grand Canyon. They made their money photographing tourists riding mules down the canyon. They would develop the photos and the tourists would pick them up when they got back to the top of the canyon.
When the brothers first arrived at the Grand Canyon, they set up their first studio in a tent. Being that this is a desert and the closest water is 6,000 feet below, they had to get creative to find water to develop their photographs, like a muddy cow pond near the studio. Of course a dark room is essential to film photography and tent does not get dark enough to successfully develop film. So, they took over an abandoned mine shaft for that task.
The location of Kolb Studio was no coincidence. It is perched precariously at the top of the canyon, right at the trailhead of the Bright Angel Trail (the trail that goes to the bottom of the Grand Canyon). The brothers charged tourists $1 per mule that went down the trail, which was pretty expensive in those days, but was preferable to walking. The Kolb family operated the studio for over 75 years, until Emery’s death when the building was acquired by the National Park Service (grcahistory.org).
Now, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places. It currently serves as a gift shop and a museum to the Kolb brothers and Grand Canyon art. If you are looking to take home a qualitity photo of the canyon, stop by the Kolb Studio. They had the best photos we saw in any of the park stores.
Thanks for stopping by! Check back next week to hear more about our trip to the Grand Canyon! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
Today marks the 100th Anniversary of Grand Canyon National Park. Afraid that the Grand Canyon would turn into a tourist trap like Niagra Falls, Theodore Roosevelt declared it a National Monument in 1908, which protected the unusual landscape from development. It took 11 years for congress to get on board and designate The Grand Canyon as the 15th American National Park.
I recently got the chance to visit the Grand Canyon after a flush of strange Arizona weather. Where I was, in Phoenix saw two full days of cold rain. After north in the state saw copious amounts of snow. Roads were shut down. People were stuck at home. There was a message on the National Park Service page advising people to cancel their plans and come back another time. We were very close to doing just that, and if it wasn’t for the clerk at the rental car counter telling us that the roads should be fine, we probably would have. Luckily, by Saturday afternoon, the roads were clear so we headed north. The winter is the slowest time of the year at the Grand Canyon. After our experience this summer at Acadia, I was grateful for that. Because of the crazy weather and the travel advisories, I think traffic was even lighter than usual for a weekend in February. We left our hotel early Sunday morning and we were maybe the third car in the visitor center parking lot. It was cold, but definitely worth it.
The Grand Canyon is indescribable. You really have to see it for yourself to appreciate it. There’s a quote about the Grand Canyon that I love: “I have heard rumors of visitors who were disappointed. The same people will be disappointed at the Day of Judgment.” -J.B Priestly First view of the Grand Canyon Theodore Roosevelt described it best: “In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.”
Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
On our second day at Acadia National Park, we set out to hike the Jordan Pond Trail. Jordan Pond is one of the iconic features of the park and by taking the trail around it, you get into the woods and experience the real Acadia. As I mentioned in last week’s post, after two hot days in Maine, a storm rolled in and cooled it down to more comfortable, hiking weather.
The trail begins near the Jordan Pond House Restaurant (left). The 4.3 mile trail is described as an easy, family, friendly hike. 2/3 of the trail are pressed dirt and boardwalks but the rough, rocky terrain near the back side of the pond surprised me. There were some spots where it was hard to get my footing and I was worried I was going to fall. If you want to enjoy the park and get away from the crowds, I recommend taking a hike. The parking lot was full, but it felt like we were the only people on the trail.
We were hoping to do some more hiking before we left Acadia but the weather did not cooperate. Chris really wanted to hike Bubble Rock (the mountain the can be seen straight back in both of the photos). Somehow, its described as an easy hike. How can climbing up a mountain be easy? Anyway, it stormed on our last day so we left early and began heading home. We will have to come back to Acadia another day and maybe I’ll be brave enough to conquer the Bubble.
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check back next week as we photograph Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
After exploring the Park Loop Road we decided we wanted to see Acadia from the water. After looking online, I found Acadian Boat Tours and decided to take the sunset cruise. Luckily, tickets were still available. I was concerned about it getting cold out on the water after the sun set, but after the unseasonably hot day, it actually felt pretty good.
After leaving Bar Harbor, the boat hugged the shoreline and we got the view of some beautiful “cottages” near the park. In the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century, Bar Harbor was the vacation destination of America’s 1%. These cottages were owned by Rockefellers, Pulitzers, and Vanderbilts. Unfortunately, the great fire of 1947 destroyed 237 homes on Mount Desert Island, burning over 18,000 acres (Bar Harbor Historical Society). With the economy of the 1940s, most families didn’t have the money that they had when the cottages were built so they were unable to rebuild and many chose to donate their land to Acadia National Park.
Being a lighthouse fan, I really enjoyed getting up close to Egg Rock Lighthouse (top). Of course, the highlight of the tour for me was all the wildlife we saw. Harbor porpoises jumped near the boat. Harbor seals and puffins were relaxing near the lighthouse. I had no idea that seals and puffins lived on the east coast so that was a pleasant surprise.
Unfortunately a storm rolled in so we didn’t get a sunset on our sunset cruise, but everything else we saw was definitely worth it. This boat ride was a highlight of our trip. The guide was very informative about the area and very interesting. If you are in Bar Harbor and you want to get out on the water, definitely check out Acadian Tours!
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back next week as I share about our experience hiking Jordan Pond! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.