Monthly Archives: October 2009

Grand Canyon National Park

Posted by on October 30, 2009

World Heritage Site #102: Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park: My 102nd UNESCO World Heritage Site and my 11th US National Park

From the World Heritage inscription for Grand Canyon National Park:

Carved out by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon (nearly 1,500 m deep) is the most spectacular gorge in the world. Located in the state of Arizona, it cuts across the Grand Canyon National Park. Its horizontal strata retrace the geological history of the past 2 billion years. There are also prehistoric traces of human adaptation to a particularly harsh environment.

The Grand Canyon is one of the greatest natural attractions on Earth. The colors of the rocks change color through the course of the day, culminating in a spectacular sunset.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Mar 16, 2017 @ 5:32 pm

Yosemite National Park

Posted by on October 29, 2009

UNESCO World Heritage Site #101: Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park: My 101st UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage site for Yosemite National Park:

Yosemite National Park lies in the heart of California. With its ‘hanging’ valleys, many waterfalls, cirque lakes, polished domes, moraines and U-shaped valleys, it provides an excellent overview of all kinds of granite relief fashioned by glaciation. At 600–4,000 m, a great variety of flora and fauna can also be found here.

Yosemite is one of the major parks in the US and one of the first national parks in the US Park Service. The Yosemite valley is one of the most photographed and special places in the country. If I had to come up with a short list of places to visit in the United States, this would be near the top of the list.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Mar 16, 2017 @ 5:26 pm

Southwestern Road Trip Update

Posted by on October 28, 2009

In the last week I’ve put on a lot of miles and seen many amazing things. The Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Four Corners, Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, the Very Large Array, and the dunes of white sand desert. I’ve also been polishing off audiobooks and podcasts during the hours I’ve had to sit behind the wheel.

The trip has been satisfying but I’m getting really tired. I wake up, answer some email, get a photo ready for the day, drive several hours, take photos and find a room for the night tired from sitting all day. The thing with driving all day long is that you don’t get much exercise and most of the food options along highways aren’t very good.

Tonight I’m in Carlsbad, New Mexico where I got my oil changed and will take off tomorrow for Carlsbad Caverns. The town seems pretty empty this time of year. The motels are advertising walk-in specials and there are few cars in the parking lots.

From here I have a long drive to Dallas where I’ll be able to work for several days before heading to Florida on November 5. I have thousands of photos and stories to work on during December before I take off again and leave the US in January.

If you are in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area and would like to meet sometime next week let me know. I’ll probably be doing a formal meet up with my friend Scott Kurtz sometime next week in the Dallas area. More details to follow.

Redwood National Park

Posted by on October 28, 2009

UNESCO World Heritage Site #100: Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park: My 100th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for Redwood National Park:

Redwood National Park comprises a region of coastal mountains bordering the Pacific Ocean north of San Francisco. It is covered with a magnificent forest of coastal redwood trees, the tallest and most impressive trees in the world. The marine and land life are equally remarkable, in particular, the sea lions, the bald eagle and the endangered California brown pelican.

Redwoods are the tallest trees in the world. I was able to see the giant eucalyptus trees of Tasmania which are almost as tall as the redwoods, but they aren’t quite as impressive because they are hardwoods and have a small trunk. In addition to Redwood State and National Parks, you can also see Redwoods as far south as San Francisco in Muir Woods. They are one of the highlights on any trip to California.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Mar 16, 2017 @ 5:18 pm

Olympic National Park

Posted by on October 27, 2009

UNESCO World Heritage Site #99: Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park: My 99th UNESCO World Heritage Site and my 7th US National Park

From the World Heritage inscription for Olympic National Park:

Located in the northwest of Washington State, Olympic National Park is renowned for the diversity of its ecosystems. Glacier-clad peaks interspersed with extensive alpine meadows are surrounded by an extensive old growth forest, among which is the best example of intact and protected temperate rainforest in the Pacific Northwest. Eleven major river systems drain the Olympic mountains, offering some of the best habitat for anadromous fish species in the country. The park also includes 100 km of wilderness coastline, the longest undeveloped coast in the contiguous United States, and is rich in native and endemic animal and plant species, including critical populations of the endangered northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet and bull trout.

I think this is one of the more underrated National Parks in the US. It is a rainforest, albeit not the tropical kind people usually think of. The mosses and the pine trees create a surreal effect when you are walking through them. It is also the location of Forks, WA which as we all know is the home of sexy vampires.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Mar 16, 2017 @ 6:04 pm

Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks

Posted by on October 26, 2009

UNESCO World Heritage Site #98: Canadian Rocky Mountian Parks

Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks: My 98th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks:

The contiguous national parks of Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho, as well as the Mount Robson, Mount Assiniboine and Hamber provincial parks, studded with mountain peaks, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, canyons and limestone caves, form a striking mountain landscape. The Burgess Shale fossil site, well known for its fossil remains of soft-bodied marine animals, is also found there.

The Canadian Rockies are a special place. I visited Banff but would return to explore some of the other parks in a heartbeat. The above photo was taken at Lake Louise.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Mar 16, 2017 @ 8:44 pm

Dinosaur Provincial Park

Posted by on October 25, 2009

UNESCO World Heritage Site #97: Dinosaur Provincial Park

Dinosaur Provincial Park: My 97th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for Dinosaur Provincial Park:

In addition to its particularly beautiful scenery, Dinosaur Provincial Park – located at the heart of the province of Alberta’s badlands – contains some of the most important fossil discoveries ever made from the ‘Age of Reptiles’, in particular about 35 species of dinosaur, dating back some 75 million years.

Dinosaur Provincial Park is located in the middle of nowhere and is part of the Alberta Badlands, which is very similar to the South Dakota Badlands, but not quite as large or colorful.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Mar 16, 2017 @ 8:38 pm

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Posted by on October 24, 2009

UNESCO World Heritage Site #96: Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump: My 96th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump:

In southwest Alberta, the remains of marked trails and an aboriginal camp, and a tumulus where vast quantities of buffalo (American Bison) skeletons can still be found are evidence of a custom practiced by aboriginal peoples of the North American plains for nearly 6,000 years. Using their excellent knowledge of the topography and of buffalo behavior, they killed their prey by chasing them over a precipice; the carcasses were later carved up in the camp below.

I didn’t know what to expect when I visited this site, but in the end, it was far more interesting than I thought it would be. Most people have an image of Indians on horseback hunting buffalo. Horses, however, weren’t introduced to the Americas until the arrival of the Europeans. Before that, they had to walk everywhere. One of the easiest ways to hunt would be to heard bison into a group and run them off a cliff. Most of the tribe would be waiting below the cliff to skin and process the bison that jumped. It was actually quite brilliant and very efficient way of providing food.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Mar 16, 2017 @ 8:40 pm

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Posted by on October 23, 2009

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park: My 95th UNESCO World Heritage Site


From the World Heritage inscription for Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park:

In 1932 Waterton Lakes National Park (Alberta, Canada) was combined with the Glacier National Park (Montana, United States) to form the world’s first International Peace Park. Situated on the border between the two countries and offering outstanding scenery, the park is exceptionally rich in plant and mammal species as well as prairie, forest, and alpine and glacial features.

Glacier might be my favorite national park in the US. The views are breathtaking and mountains are magnificent.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States.

View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Mar 16, 2017 @ 5:06 pm