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GroveDiesel

National/State Parks Worth Seeing

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12 hours ago, GroveDiesel said:

I apologize for doing a lousy job of ordering these photos and not labeling them, but these are what I would judge as the best photos I took from our national parks vacation in July. There were definitely some moments along the way that I wish I had another shot at and some times I cursed the limitations of my gear, but we got to see a ton of cool stuff:

Link

ETA: I do have to say that one of the things I LOVED was the Peak Design Clip that I bought and put on my backpack strap. It was awesome and I had multiple people ask about it.

Need more info on this Peak Design clip.  

Great pics.  We leave for Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and RMNP in less than a month.

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5 hours ago, Poke_4_Life said:

Need more info on this Peak Design clip.  

Great pics.  We leave for Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and RMNP in less than a month.

I got the V2 version through their eBay store at a great price, but it doesn't look like they offer it anymore. They do have their V3 version though.

Link

Their website has good info on how it works.

I've heard their straps are good too, but haven't used them.

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2 hours ago, GroveDiesel said:

I got the V2 version through their eBay store at a great price, but it doesn't look like they offer it anymore. They do have their V3 version though.

Link

Their website has good info on how it works.

I've heard their straps are good too, but haven't used them.

So basically a way to secure your camera to your backpack strap via a tripod quick release mount?   If true and it works well, that is way better than the neck strap or Lowepro backpack that I'm currently using. 

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2 hours ago, Brony said:

So basically a way to secure your camera to your backpack strap via a tripod quick release mount?   If true and it works well, that is way better than the neck strap or Lowepro backpack that I'm currently using. 

That's exactly it. It screws together so it's not coming loose and I had no issues with it sliding around. So my camera was nice and secure on my chest strap while being super accessible. 

I tossed an extra lens in my backpack and I was good to go.

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3 minutes ago, GroveDiesel said:

That's exactly it. It screws together so it's not coming loose and I had no issues with it sliding around. So my camera was nice and secure on my chest strap while being super accessible. 

I tossed an extra lens in my backpack and I was good to go.

very cool. 

Also, great pics on the imgur album. 

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11 hours ago, GroveDiesel said:

That's exactly it. It screws together so it's not coming loose and I had no issues with it sliding around. So my camera was nice and secure on my chest strap while being super accessible. 

I tossed an extra lens in my backpack and I was good to go.

I like it.  Thanks.

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14 hours ago, Brony said:

very cool. 

Also, great pics on the imgur album. 

 

3 hours ago, Poke_4_Life said:

I like it.  Thanks.

The only thing I would note that I have a crop sensor camera and my lenses aren't all that big and heavy. I could see it being uncomfortable or potentially sliding down a backpack strap if you have heavy gear.

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Thinking of a Southern California to Yellowstone road trip next year.

Which option would be better?

Helicopter tour of GC out of Las Vegas

Zion

Yellowstone

Glacier (maybe, but doubtful)

Crater Lake on return trip

Lassen Volcanic on return trip

 

or

drive to Grand Canyon

Carlsbad Caverns

Arches

Yellowstone

 

I assume if one had to choose Yellowstone >>> Glacier.

I've seen most of California's notable places... looking to expand some next year.

 

 

 

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48 minutes ago, tjnc09 said:

Thinking of a Southern California to Yellowstone road trip next year.

Which option would be better?

Helicopter tour of GC out of Las Vegas

Zion

Yellowstone

Glacier (maybe, but doubtful)

Crater Lake on return trip

Lassen Volcanic on return trip

 

or

drive to Grand Canyon

Carlsbad Caverns

Arches

Yellowstone

 

I assume if one had to choose Yellowstone >>> Glacier.

I've seen most of California's notable places... looking to expand some next year.

 

 

 

Carlsbad Caverns is in South New Mexico and it's a long long way to Yellowstone from there - it will add days to your trip. 

How long do you have? Yellowstone can take a long time to explore the right way.  IMO it's not a wham bam thank you maam park.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ffldrew said:

Carlsbad Caverns is in South New Mexico and it's a long long way to Yellowstone from there - it will add days to your trip. 

How long do you have? Yellowstone can take a long time to explore the right way.  IMO it's not a wham bam thank you maam park.

Yeah, I hate how isolated the caverns are from the rest of the parks to see.  It's probably the only park I think is worth going out of the way for since it's so unique than anything else.  Might be the coolest one to see imo.

I figured going east to the Grand Canyon would be 1/2 there to the caverns anyways, but now looking at the map going NE to the GC than SE to the Caverns saves barely any mileage over going straight from SoCal to the caverns.  That might have to be a separate trip at some point with a stop in Phoenix or something.

ETA: planning on 11-12 days prob.  Caverns would eat up 3 days so ya, that's a no go.

Edited by tjnc09

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8 minutes ago, tjnc09 said:

Yeah, I hate how isolated the caverns are from the rest of the parks to see.  It's probably the only park I think is worth going out of the way for since it's so unique than anything else.  Might be the coolest one to see imo.

I figured going east to the Grand Canyon would be 1/2 there to the caverns anyways, but now looking at the map going NE to the GC than SE to the Caverns saves barely any mileage over going straight from SoCal to the caverns.  That might have to be a separate trip at some point with a stop in Phoenix or something.

ETA: planning on 11-12 days prob.  Caverns would eat up 3 days so ya, that's a no go.

Definitely out of the way.  I did southern NM swing with Carlsbad and White Sands.  Definitely worth hitting.  If I had more time, I probably would have added Big Bend in TX to that trip too.

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21 hours ago, Don Quixote said:

Definitely out of the way.  I did southern NM swing with Carlsbad and White Sands.  Definitely worth hitting.  If I had more time, I probably would have added Big Bend in TX to that trip too.

Is there a best time of year for weather to visit that area?  I assume the Caverns stay pretty cool, but would probably try to see those other two while all the way out there.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, tjnc09 said:

Is there a best time of year for weather to visit that area?  I assume the Caverns stay pretty cool, but would probably try to see those other two while all the way out there.

You probably want when the bats are at Carlsbad Caverns for the bat flight.  The bats head south for the winter.

White Sands can be pretty unpleasant in peak summer.  There's no shade or cover: just out in the open.

If you are pretty flexible, maybe something like September when out of the summer heat, but before the bats head out.

ETA:  If you do it in early October, you could also time it to catch the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, which is pretty cool to see.

Edited by Don Quixote
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@tjnc09

If you do a trip from SoCal to Carlsbad, another good stop would be Saguaro in Tucson. And Chiricahua National Monument looks cool, but I haven't been there so can't totally vouch for it.

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Just got back from our trip, I ran out of adjectives on day 3. Breathtaking stuff. I'll post pictures once I go through the 2,000+ the wife and I took.

Day 1 - Flew into Phoenix, took the scenic drive through Sedona (Hwy 89A thru Oak Canyon) to Flagstaff. Probably 3-4 hours with stops. If you've never been through Sedona it will stop you in your tracks. Best way to describe it is every place you look is a postcard.

Day 2 - On our own, went to Wupatki National Monument & Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. From there to Meteor Crater National Park and finally off to Winslow, AZ because I was close enough to Stand On a Corner. Busy day but not rushed and was able to hit everything of note around Flagstaff. Finished the day with a trip to Buffalo Park to attempt some stargazing but picked the absolute worst time of the month for that with a full moon.

Day 3 - Horshoe Bend & Antelope Canyon Tour with Grand Canyon Tours out of Flagstaff. Felt like it was a little pricey for someone to pretty much drive you around but worth it not having to coordinate everything. Also stopped off at Glen Canyon Dam along the way for lunch. Whatever your tip entails, these should be must stops along the way.

Day 4 - Spent the day at the Grand Canyon. Walked the South Rim trail for a couple of miles then drove up to the Desert Watchtower before heading back to Flagstaff. Total of about 6 hours there, great trip for the day.

Day 5 - Checked out of Flagstaff and into Sedona. Our hotel had a great view. Just bounced around town getting a feel for the area.

Day 6 - Went up to Airport Mesa (right across 89 from our hotel) and tried to hike around some. Wife just isn't up for hiking so threw in the towel about halfway. Still got some good pics of the area but was a little disappointed as this was considered a moderate trail for the area.

Day 7 - Given the hiking thing from the day before decided to just drive all over taking in the sites. Saw all the red rocks you could see without going off road. With a little research it doesn't take long to put together a quick itinerary and spend the day driving around Sedona. Stopped at the Chapel of the Holy Cross for a quick pic then off to Boynton Canyon and finally Red Rock Loop Road to get a last shot of some of the picturesque scenery from a different view.

Just beautiful countryside almost everywhere you look. Really enjoyed it and was just the right amount of time at each location, never felt rushed and got to see everything on the list (except for the Milky Way but that was on me scheduling trip during a full moon :rolleyes:). Pictures just don't do it all justice.

Couple of pics I uploaded earlier today, same spot (Chipolte in Sedona) different days Pic 1, Pic 2. Also my favorite from the Grand Canyon. Was walking the South Rim trail, you round a corner and this view just hits you like a ton of bricks, literally took my breath away. Again, pictures just don't do the majesty and size of the canyon justice.

Edited by beer 30
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Okay, looks like we are going to Yellowstone Oct 4-8.   5.5 hour drive for us.  My wife takes stunning pictures.  I'll try to post some.   

I imagine we will get there about 6pm on Oct 4.  What would you do with three full days?

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On 8/19/2019 at 9:13 AM, tjnc09 said:

Thinking of a Southern California to Yellowstone road trip next year.

Which option would be better?

Helicopter tour of GC out of Las Vegas

Zion

Yellowstone

Glacier (maybe, but doubtful)

Crater Lake on return trip

Lassen Volcanic on return trip

 

or

drive to Grand Canyon

Carlsbad Caverns

Arches

Yellowstone

 

I assume if one had to choose Yellowstone >>> Glacier.

I've seen most of California's notable places... looking to expand some next year.

 

 

 

Yellowstone is only marginally better than Glacier imo. And it’s way more crowded. Both deserve at least 3-4 days. But don’t forget Grand Teton if you end up choosing Yellowstone.

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8 hours ago, Getzlaf15 said:

Okay, looks like we are going to Yellowstone Oct 4-8.   5.5 hour drive for us.  My wife takes stunning pictures.  I'll try to post some.   

I imagine we will get there about 6pm on Oct 4.  What would you do with three full days?

My first stop is usually the ranger/information house at Old Faithful area and ask for the geyser times. Then you can plan times what you want to do. You want to see Grand Geyser(my fav) and Riverside while at the OF basin. Grand goes off about every 6-7 hours. You want to get there before hand as Turban geyser next to it goes off about every 20 min in a preshow to the big one at Grand (200 ft) you can get real close on the boardwalk. If you see some weird looking people(or a ranger) with notebooks when you get there early, strike up a conversation and they will tell you what to watch for as the geyser builds pressure. It's pretty cool. Wait around for about 10-15 min after and it sometimes goes off even higher.

Riverside is nearby and goes over the Firehole river - nice visual at 75 ft and it goes off around every 5-7 hours. Usually you get some nice rainbows.

Great Fountain is a good one also on the Firehole. Not tall but a very wide geyser

Check with a Ranger about Steamboat - it has been going off a lot this year. It goes above 300 ft and is the tallest in the world. But it's real unpredictable. It's in Norris Basin.

The hike above Prismatic is a good one. Nice view. Check with Ranger about Bear issues first - https://www.theoutbound.com/wyoming/backpacking/hike-above-grand-prismatic-spring - make it a hike to Fairy Falls as well.

Of course the views of the Falls from Aritists point. If you want take the stairs down the upper falls if they are open and get up close.

See about dinner in Old Faithful Lodge - not the greatest of food in any of the park locations but the ambiance is incredible.

One of my favorites - but Oct 4th will be cool up there - is Boiling river hot spring - just a "wild" hotsprings in the river. It's north of Mammoth. 

Lots of things to do - 3 days is not enough.

 

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1 hour ago, ffldrew said:

My first stop is usually the ranger/information house at Old Faithful area and ask for the geyser times. Then you can plan times what you want to do. You want to see Grand Geyser(my fav) and Riverside while at the OF basin. Grand goes off about every 6-7 hours. You want to get there before hand as Turban geyser next to it goes off about every 20 min in a preshow to the big one at Grand (200 ft) you can get real close on the boardwalk. If you see some weird looking people(or a ranger) with notebooks when you get there early, strike up a conversation and they will tell you what to watch for as the geyser builds pressure. It's pretty cool. Wait around for about 10-15 min after and it sometimes goes off even higher.

Riverside is nearby and goes over the Firehole river - nice visual at 75 ft and it goes off around every 5-7 hours. Usually you get some nice rainbows.

Great Fountain is a good one also on the Firehole. Not tall but a very wide geyser

Check with a Ranger about Steamboat - it has been going off a lot this year. It goes above 300 ft and is the tallest in the world. But it's real unpredictable. It's in Norris Basin.

The hike above Prismatic is a good one. Nice view. Check with Ranger about Bear issues first - https://www.theoutbound.com/wyoming/backpacking/hike-above-grand-prismatic-spring - make it a hike to Fairy Falls as well.

Of course the views of the Falls from Aritists point. If you want take the stairs down the upper falls if they are open and get up close.

See about dinner in Old Faithful Lodge - not the greatest of food in any of the park locations but the ambiance is incredible.

One of my favorites - but Oct 4th will be cool up there - is Boiling river hot spring - just a "wild" hotsprings in the river. It's north of Mammoth. 

Lots of things to do - 3 days is not enough.

 

This is great.  Thanks...

So we will be getting there Oct 4 around 1pm now.  We are going to stay at Old Faithful Inn.  It closes on the 7th.   Any lodging recommendations in the Grand Teton area for the night of the 7th?

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1 hour ago, Getzlaf15 said:

This is great.  Thanks...

So we will be getting there Oct 4 around 1pm now.  We are going to stay at Old Faithful Inn.  It closes on the 7th.   Any lodging recommendations in the Grand Teton area for the night of the 7th?

I'd go to Jackson so you can walk the streets and stuff - hit up Million Dollar Cowboy. Shop for some Western Wear at the stores. It's past the park so if you want to stay in near park it might not be the best. Teton Village is where the ski area is and you should be able to get killer room rates(Check on the Four Seasons) since ski season won't start for a while. But it will be more quiet up there.

 

ETA: You could head back along Henry's Fork and get in some great fly-fishing. Fantastic river. Fun spots near Island Park.

Edited by ffldrew
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4 hours ago, ffldrew said:

My first stop is usually the ranger/information house at Old Faithful area and ask for the geyser times. Then you can plan times what you want to do. You want to see Grand Geyser(my fav) and Riverside while at the OF basin. Grand goes off about every 6-7 hours. You want to get there before hand as Turban geyser next to it goes off about every 20 min in a preshow to the big one at Grand (200 ft) you can get real close on the boardwalk. If you see some weird looking people(or a ranger) with notebooks when you get there early, strike up a conversation and they will tell you what to watch for as the geyser builds pressure. It's pretty cool. Wait around for about 10-15 min after and it sometimes goes off even higher.

Riverside is nearby and goes over the Firehole river - nice visual at 75 ft and it goes off around every 5-7 hours. Usually you get some nice rainbows.

Great Fountain is a good one also on the Firehole. Not tall but a very wide geyser

Check with a Ranger about Steamboat - it has been going off a lot this year. It goes above 300 ft and is the tallest in the world. But it's real unpredictable. It's in Norris Basin.

The hike above Prismatic is a good one. Nice view. Check with Ranger about Bear issues first - https://www.theoutbound.com/wyoming/backpacking/hike-above-grand-prismatic-spring - make it a hike to Fairy Falls as well.

Of course the views of the Falls from Aritists point. If you want take the stairs down the upper falls if they are open and get up close.

See about dinner in Old Faithful Lodge - not the greatest of food in any of the park locations but the ambiance is incredible.

One of my favorites - but Oct 4th will be cool up there - is Boiling river hot spring - just a "wild" hotsprings in the river. It's north of Mammoth. 

Lots of things to do - 3 days is not enough.

 

If you do the hike at Grand Prismatic, know that you need to park at the Fairy Falls Trailhead and not at Grand Prismatic. Also, don't do that hike in the morning (like I did). Yes, you will miss most of the crowds, but because of the difference in temperature in the cool morning and the hot spring, all you'll see is steam, you won't see the spring and the colors. Actually, it may be cool enough all around by October that you won't see anything but steam from there all day.

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4 hours ago, Getzlaf15 said:

This is great.  Thanks...

So we will be getting there Oct 4 around 1pm now.  We are going to stay at Old Faithful Inn.  It closes on the 7th.   Any lodging recommendations in the Grand Teton area for the night of the 7th?

Weather permitting there's a trail that runs up the hill from Old Faithful and gives a nice view back down onto the lodge and geyser.  I think it's like a mile or so RT.  The morning we did it we passed within like 25 feet of four elk before we noticed them standing silently in the trees.  Ask about bears and bison before you head out.

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On 9/23/2019 at 3:34 AM, Getzlaf15 said:

 

 

Edited by Random

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On 8/19/2019 at 12:13 PM, tjnc09 said:

Thinking of a Southern California to Yellowstone road trip next year.

Which option would be better?

Helicopter tour of GC out of Las Vegas

Zion

Yellowstone

Glacier (maybe, but doubtful)

Crater Lake on return trip

Lassen Volcanic on return trip

 

or

drive to Grand Canyon

Carlsbad Caverns

Arches

Yellowstone

 

I assume if one had to choose Yellowstone >>> Glacier.

I've seen most of California's notable places... looking to expand some next year.

 

 

 

Saw Lassen and Crater Lake this summer.  Really liked both spots.  Seeing the color of Crater Lake in person is mesmerizing.  Never seen a shade of blue that rivals it.  However, I thought Lassen was even more fun.  Great trails, dramatic scenery at every turn, and the geothermal activity was pretty neat, even though one of the prominent spots, Bumpass Hell, was inaccessible when we were there due to trail repairs and snow.  It never felt crowded at all, especially when compared to Yosemite or Sequoia/Kings Canyon (or Arches for that matter, since that is on your other list of options).  

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Yellowstone weather next weekend... highs 45-49.  Lows in the 20's.   Would you still go?

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4 minutes ago, Getzlaf15 said:

Yellowstone weather next weekend... highs 45-49.  Lows in the 20's.   Would you still go?

I would 

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1 hour ago, Getzlaf15 said:

Yellowstone weather next weekend... highs 45-49.  Lows in the 20's.   Would you still go?

Yeah. If it's not raining or snowing.  

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4 minutes ago, Mile High said:

Yeah. If it's not raining or snowing.  

reports have only raining on Friday night.

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On the road to Jellystone.  Possible snow the next two nights.  Sunday and monday look fine. 

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Trip planning is always tough because I want to fit so much in. Family is throwing around a couple different ideas for next Summer (late June/early July).

One idea is some kind of LA/SF loop with Joshua Tree, Sequoia, Yosemite, and PCH as options while also enjoying the two cities some.

Another idea is SoCal up to Seattle. To do that, we'd have to pick between a PCH or Yosemite/Sequoia route. I assume this trip would include Crater Lake and, obviously, Mt. Rainier.

Probably third choice right now, but could be convinced otherwise, would be something that stays in the PNW. Not sure if getting all the way over to Glacier is realistic or not. My main worry is what we'd do and where we'd stop on the way to and from so that time isn't just in the car.

Or maybe Seattle to Denver with Yellowstone on the way?

Last year, we did NV, AZ, UT, CO, totaling over 1500 miles and probably about 24 hours in the car over an 8-day span.  Seemed a tad rushed, but wasn't horrible. All of the above trips are in the same ballpark when it comes to total miles and drive time.

So, any thoughts or suggestions? 

 

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