Showing posts with label National Parks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label National Parks. Show all posts

Video: National Parks Week (April 15 - 23, 2017)

This week is National Park Week in all of America's National Parks, which means free entry into each of those amazing places. To remind us of all of the awe inspiring landscapes that exist within those parks, the National Park Service produced this short (just 35 seconds!) but sweet clip that will leave you longing for a visit soon. Spring is here. Lets take advantage of this opportunity.

Video: A Visit to Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is an amazing place. Despite its name, life actually abounds there if you know where to look. In this full-length documentary video, we travel to this spectacular destination and get a fist hand look of the landscapes that are found there. Best of all, if you're lucky enough to have a 4k monitor, you can see it in stunning ultra-HD resolutions. This is the next best thing to actually being there yourself. Of course, nothing actually tops going there, and after watching this, you'll know why. Grab a snack, pour yourself a drink, and get comfortable. You'll want to watch this from beginning to end.

Outside Names America's 10 Most Deadly National Parks

Have you ever wondered which of America's national parks is the most dangerous? After all, it seems like each year we see news stories about someone getting attacked by a bear or falling off a cliff face. The parks are incredibly beautiful places, but they are also nature in its purest form, and we all know that the wild can be completely unforgiving at times.

Outside magazine has published an article that ranks America's ten most deadly national parks. The rankings are based on the number of total deaths the parks have seen over the years. For instance, Grand Teton National Park makes the list because it has had 59 people die within its boundaries since it was established back in 1929. Four of those occurred in 2016 alone. Denali is also on the list with 62 deaths, although most of those have occurred on the mountain that the park shares it's name with.

Of course, I won't reveal all of the parks that made the cut, but I will say that it is a good mix of places that you would expect to see on the list and a few that you might not have anticipated. Amongst the usual suspects are a some that are bit further off the radar, including the top spot overall. It should be noted that Outside uses the term "national park" broadly here, as a few of the places on the list aren't officially designated as parks, but still fall under the jurisdiction of the Park Service.

The list was also generated purely by the sheer number of people who have died within a park, and doesn't take into account the number of years since that place was established nor the number of visitors. If a 100 people died in a park that has been around for 100 years, it seems less deadly than a park that may have had 100 people die in just 50 years for example. Similarly, if millions of visitors pass through a park's gates each year and a handful pass away while there, it isn't as dangerous of a place that has the same number of deaths but only gets a few thousand visitors for instance. Still, this does give you an idea of which parks are the most dangerous in the purest sense.

All of that said, it is a wonder that some of these parks haven't seen more deaths over the years. For instance, Yellowstone has been around since 1872, and over the course of its 145 years of existence, only 92 people have died within the park. Considering that nearly 6 million visitors now go there on an annual basis, that doesn't seem all that bad.

Update: It has been pointed out that the article says that the stats were taken for all parks from 2006 on, so my rant above is off base. That makes the article a fairer comparison for sure.

Find out which other parks earned the dubious distinction of "most deadly" here.

Video: How the U.S. National Parks Are Attempting to Lure More Minority Visitors

The national parks in the U.S. are some of the most dramatic and breathtaking landscapes found anywhere on the planet, and as such they draw millions of visitors each year. Unfortunately, most of those visitors are white, with few minorities sprinkled in here and there. But the Park Service and its partners are trying to change that by creating a more inclusive atmosphere for everyone. In this video, we see how those efforts are being conducted with the hopes of getting more people of color to experience the outdoors as well.


Video: The Wonders of Yosemite in Winter

There is no question that Yosemite National Park is amongst the most naturally beautiful places on Earth. That's why millions of people visit it every year to take in some of the sights to be seen there. But in the winter, as temperatures drop and a blanket of snow covers the area, few people make the pilgrimage to see this incredible place. That's a shame, as it is probably even more breathtaking during this time of year. In this video, we'll go to Yosemite and see just what it is like during those winter months. I think you'll agree, it is worth the trip.

YOSEMITE WINTER WONDERS from Rudy Wilms on Vimeo.

Video: Thru Hiking the Grand Canyon - Thirst and Threats in the Godscape (Part 3)

Today we have the third – and final – video in the National Geographic series that follows photographer Pete McBride and journalist Kevin Fedarko on 650 mile (1046 km) thru-hike of the Grand Canyon, as they explore the threats that that place now faces. They've discovered that amongst those threats are environmental issues, climate change, encroaching commercial interests, and more. As their journey nears and end, the two men face a challenge of their own – potentially running out of water in a remote corner of the national park. Find out how their expedition wraps up in this installment of the series.

Video: A Look at the Newest U.S. National Monument – Bears Ears

One of the big stories that occurred while we were away celebrating the holidays was that President Obama declared a new national monument in the form of Bears Ears in Utah. Stretching out over 1.3 million acres, the landscape there is utterly beautiful, and contains not only great opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, but is rich in culture and history for the Native Americans that once lived there. In this oh-so short, but wonderful, video we get a glimpse at this newly protected region, which is already on my list of places to visit.

Video: More Than Just Parks - Voyageurs in 8K

The More Than Just Parks project is an attempt by brothers Will and Jim Pattiz to shoot a spectacular video in each of America's National Parks. So far, they've visited places like Joshua Tree, Zion, and the Great Smoky Mountains, and each of their short films has been breathtaking. Now, they've traveled to the lesser known Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota to shoot this stunning video, which captures the beauty and essence of that place so well. This is a park that most people have never heard of, and yet it is one of the great wilderness regions of the country. If you're not aware of what Voyageurs is truly like, let the Pattiz brothers introduce you. You won't regret it.

VOYAGEURS 8K from More Than Just Parks on Vimeo.

Adam Ondra to Challenge the Dawn Wall in Yosemite

In January of 2015 the world was transfixed by one of the most difficult and audacious rock climbing expeditions ever. That's when Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Joregeson spent nearly three weeks climbing the Dawn Wall in Yosemite National Park, widely considered the toughest big wall in the world. At the time, millions of people followed their ascent, including a large portion of the population who normally doesn't care about what happens in the rock climbing world. It was a pivotal moment for the sport, and an inspiring challenge to say the least. Now, another climbing star is hoping to repeat that epic feat, even as he climbs in Yosemite for the very first time.

Czech climber Adam Ondra has already made a name for himself as one of the best sport climbers in the world. But, he recently admitted in an interview with Black Diamond that he has never been to Yosemite Valley to go climbing before – something that he is about to change. Ondra arrived in the U.S. last week and is currently en route to the national park, where the has already announced plans to take on two of its most iconic routes – The Nose and the Salathé Wall. Both are considered to be extremely challenging, and and are amongst the most well known routes in the entire world.

But, Ondra has also told Black Diamond that he is considering an attempt on the Dawn Wall as well. He admits that he doesn't want to reveal too much about those ambitious plans since he hasn't even seen the route in person yet, but he would like to give the famous climb a go should the opportunity present itself.

For most climbers, attempting a massive climb like the Dawn Wall without first setting eyes on it would seem like a silly proposition. But as National Geographic Adventure points out, Ondra has already climbed similar routes on his first attempt, something that is known in rock climbing circles as "onsighting." Nat Geo further points out that the Dawn Wall carries a Yosemite Decimal System rating of 5.14d, which is incredibly tough for sure. But, there are three sport climbs rated 5.15c in the entire world, and Ondra is the only person to complete all of them. That is the most difficult rating in the entire sport.

Will he be able to complete the Dawn Wall? Only time will tell. Personally, I think he'll need to scout the route a bit and consider his options closely. Climbing the Dawn Wall isn't just about its difficulty rating. It is a long, grueling ascent that takes days to complete. Caldwell and Joregeson spent years in preparation, and both have a great deal of experience in Yosemite. Can Ondra make he climb? Of course he can. But, I think he'll need a bit more seasoning in the Valley before he does so.

If he proves me wrong, it will indeed be one of the greatest feats in the history of climbing. For now, we'll just have to wait to see if that is the case.

Video: How Traveling Through America's National Parks is Different for a New Generation

As the National Park Service continues to celebrate its 100th year of stewardship over America's national parks, we are learning just how different generations have viewed those iconic places. For my parents, they were wild areas that were perfect for family vacations. For my generation, it is more about getting out of the car and exploring the parks on foot and camping in the backcountry. And for the millennials that follow me? Find out in this video from Nat Geo, in which they discuss what the parks meant for their families and how they feel about them too. It turns out, not all of today's youth feel the need to stay indoors.

Video: How Would You Describe America's National Parks?

In this video, photographer and filmmaker Corey Arnold traveled to America's national parks where he challenged the next generation of travelers and explorers to describe the landscape there. Some of their responses were surprising, others were revealing, and some were downright insightful. The result, is this short clip which not only includes lovely shots of the landscapes they saw, but these individuals sharing their thoughts on the natural spaces around them.

Backpacker Gives Us America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes

When most of us decide to go for a hike we generally tend to hit local trails that are scenic, fun, and even relaxing. But not all trails fit that description, with many being down right difficult and demanding. Then of course, there are the ones that are actually quite dangerous.

That's the subject of a great article put together by Backpacker magazine, which takes a look at the 10 most dangerous hikes in the U.S. The list contains some iconic treks across the country, as well as some lesser known trails that have a reputation for being incredibly difficult. In fact, if you go unprepared on these hikes, you could get seriously hurt or even killed.

Some of the hikes that make the list include Bright Angle Trail in the Grand Canyon, which is known for being a challenging walk in hot conditions the often leaves those who aren't prepared dehydrated and exhausted. The Maze in Utah on the other hand will confound even the most navigationally savvy, while the infamous Mt. Washington in New Hampshire blasts hikers with its high winds, which tend to blow furiously all year round.

I won't give away the entire list, as the article is well worth a read by everyone. I will say however, that each of the entires definitely has an element of danger to it, which could cost the inexperienced and unwary their lives. Thankfully, Backpacker has some suggestions on how to avoid these challenges, and survive each of these beautiful but difficult hikes.

Check out the entire list here.

Canadian Adventures: Paddling the Saguenay Fjord

As I mentioned in a previous piece about my recent trip to Quebec, Canada, the theme of the visit was "Must Love Water." As such, many of the activities that we took part in involved paddling a boat of some type. That included a stand-up paddleboard, a whitewater raft, and a canoe. But perhaps the best experience of the entire trip saw us loading up on sea kayaks and heading out onto the breathtaking Saguenay Fjord, a place of such natural beauty that it literally had to be seen to be believed.

After spending the better part of the week on waterways of one kind or another in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec I was beginning to think I had seen most of what there wast to experience there. After all, our whitewater run was a thrilling, adrenaline inducing affair, and even our canoe trip mixed in a taste of whitewater to keep things interesting as well. Both of those experiences took place in lovely settings with thick forests lining the shores of the rivers we were on, and scenic settings to pass through. As lovely as those settings were however, they couldn't compare with kayaking on the fjord.

On the day we were scheduled to go kayaking we spent the better part of the morning driving to the Parc National du Fjord-du-Sagueny (the Sagueny Fjord National Park) where we would eventually join our guide from OrganisAction, a local outfitter that organizes kayaking excursions there. The park itself has a lot to offer in addition to paddling. For instance, there are several self-guided hikes to take, each of which offers some great views of the surrounding landscape. But for the truly bold, there is also an impressive Via Ferrata that takes visitors high up onto the rocky cliffs on a trek that is is both beautiful and heart-stopping for entirely different reasons. Unfortunately, we weren't there to make that hike, so after a quick lunch it was off to find our guide and begin our waterborne adventure instead.

As usual with any guided kayaking excursion we had to first go through an orientation on how to paddle most efficiently, the best ways to enter and exit the boat, and how to steer the long sea kayaks that we would use on the fjord. I've had plenty of experience in this department and was more than ready to go, so thankfully it didn't take too long before we were dropping the kayaks into the water and setting out.


It didn't take long to figure out just why this region was declared a national park in Canada. A few paddles away from the dock and the impressive landscape began to take shape. High cliffs rose all around us, while tranquil water ran all the way from our put-in spot out into the middle of the fjord itself. On that day, with the sun shining high overhead and the clear blue water all around us, it was simply a magnificent place to be.

For those who don't know, a fjord is a long, narrow inlet that has typically been carved by a glacier, and has high, towering cliffs all around it. A true fjord is fed by salt water from the ocean, but in the case of the Saguenay Fjord, there is salt water underneath with a current of fresh water, fed from the Saguenay River, on top. This makes it a unique environment where both fresh and salt water fish and mammals can be found. In some parts of the fjord it is possible to spot whales or even Greenland sharks, while a variety of salmon and other fish from the river exist in the same space.

Our group paddled out into this aquatic wonderland with our jaws hanging open. Over the course of our week together we had seen some truly beautiful places, but this one the crowning jewel of the experience for sure. Paddling along the cool, but refreshing water was a relaxing affair, even when we took our boats out into the middle of the fjord itself. From there, we were afforded the best views of the waterway, able to look west towards the mouth of the river and east where the deep blue waters drifted off into the distance. I'm sure on a day where the weather isn't cooperative the fjord could be a harsh place to be, but on this day it was perfect.

One of the highlights of a kayak trip out onto the Saguenay Fjord is spotting the famous Virgin Mary Statue that adorns one of the cliff tops there. While not quite as large and imposing as the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio, it is still a memorable sight to behold. The state was placed there by a local trader named Charles Napoleon Robitaille back in 1881. A few years prior to that, Robitaille was traveling across the frozen ice when it gave way beneath him. As he was pulled into the freezing cold water, he prayed to the Virgin Mary to save him, and somehow he found himself alive, out of the fjord, and on solid ice. After that, he vowed to do something to both commemorate the experience and thank the higher powers that he had lived. He made good on his promise and later had the statue installed.

Even from the water below the tall cliffs, the white statue of the Virgin Mary stands out against the lush green trees. The monument was another unique element to a place that was already amazing to look upon, and the story of how it got there only adds to the mystique of the place.

After spending several hours paddling the fjord it was time to head back to the shore, but not before making a detour along the opposite shore to catch a glimpse of a beautiful waterfall that tumbled down the rock face there. As we paddled we could see several such waterfalls in the distance, so it was nice to see one up close too. It was a brief stop over however, and before long we were steaming our way across the open water once again.

While we were out on the water, the tide had obviously come in. The dock that we had used as a put in earlier in the day had been sitting high and dry on the beach, allowing us to wade in a short distance before setting out. Now however, it was floating on the surface of the fjord, and the water had risen up to our waists. That made for a soggier exit, but the water felt good after a warm afternoon.

After dragging our boats back up on shore, it was time to say goodbye to our guide and the fjord. It was certainly a memorable day in the kayaks however, and one that I would love to do again. In fact, our guide mentioned that there are some primitive campsites along the shore of the fjord that stretch for miles. He said that adventurous kayakers like to paddle down the fjord and stay at those campsites as they go. With a good kayak, plenty of supplies and gear, it would be possible to go for days in this remote, and pristine wilderness. That sounds like the kind of trip I would enjoy doing.

If you're in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region in the summer, a visit to the national park is a must-do adventure. Even if you can't get out on the water in a kayak – which I HIGHLY recommend you do – at least go for a hike and take in the surrounding landscape. It is a place that will definitely leave a lasting impression.

Video: The 17-Million Year Old Grand Canyon is Still Teaching Us New Things

In this video, we join 17-year old Katie Winkelman as she takes part in a youth group that is exploring the Grand Canyon on foot and by raft. While in the Canyon, she learns a lot more about how it was formed and its continued importance in the lives of more than 40 million people who depend upon the Colorado River – which carved the dramatic landscapes there – for fresh water. The health of this place, and the waters that pass through it, are incredibly important, which is why we must continue to strive to protect it.

Nat Geo Gives Us 20 National Park Leaders Under the Age of 30

As most everyone knows by now, last week the National Park Service celebrated its 100th anniversary. In the days since then, we've seen a lot of celebrations across the country, with thousands of people saluting the government agency tasked with protecting the parks while at the same time making them accessible to the public.

The celebration will continue throughout the rest of the year, but it is also a time to begin looking forward to the next century. There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that the national parks will be around for future generations to enjoy as well. To that end, National Geographic has selected 20 scientists, filmmakers, activists, and educators who have dedicated their lives to protecting the parks, both in the U.S. and abroad. Oh yeah, and each of these men and women happen to be under the age of 30 as well.

Amongst those making the list are Ben Masters, a filmmaker and horseman who is working to protect wild mustangs. He's joined by Cassi Knight, an NPS scientist who is searching for dinosaur remains in Denali National Park, and Elizabeth and Cole Donelson who spent the past 12 months visiting all 59 U.S. national parks. Others include Jen Guyton, a scientists helping to protect animals from poachers in Mozambique, and cartographers Ross Donahue and Marty Schnure, who are mapping remote areas of Patagonia.

As you can see, this is a diverse and interesting group of individuals, each of which is playing a vital role to help promote national parks both at home in the U.S. and in other countries around the world. The concept of creating public lands that are set aside for future generations to enjoy too has been called "America's Best Idea," and these young men and women are helping to spread that idea further. Hopefully in another hundred years we'll be continuing to celebrate the National Park Service, and the effort that these individuals have made along the way.

Video: Grand Teton National Park as You've Never Seen it Before

We continue our theme of sharing videos from America's national parks today with this amazing clip from our friends over at Teton Gravity Research. They take us deep into Grand Teton National Park to give us a look at the place at it has never been seen before. As you'll see, it is wilderness playground unlike any other, and due to its proximity to Yellowstone, an often overlooked destination for adventure.

Video: Powerful Yellowstone in Timelapse

Most of the videos I've shared this week have centered around America's national parks in some way, and this one is no exception. This time we travel to Yellowstone – the first national park in the entire world – to catch a glimpse of the powerful forces at work there. Through timelapse video you'll see some of the park's famous geothermal anomalies at work, as just below the surface sits one of the most powerful super volcanoes on the entire planet. This is part of what makes Yellowstone so special, and seeing it captured in this manner is incredibly impressive indeed.

SKYGLOWPROJECT.COM : HADES EXHALES from Harun Mehmedinovic on Vimeo.

Video: Celebrating 100 Years of America's National Parks

If you've been reading The Adventure Blog this week, you know that today is the 100th anniversary of the founding of America's National Park Service. This video comes our way courtesy of CBS, and it was made with one purpose - celebrating 100 year of the national parks. This is a momentous occasion indeed, so sit back and enjoy this four-minute clip that will remind you of why these places are so special.

Video: The Best of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

We continue our salute to the National Park Service this week with another great video from America's National Parks. This time, we travel to the Great Smoky Mountains to explore the most visited park in the entire U.S. system. More than 10 million people visit this place every year, and after watching this video, you'll understand why. Wild, remote, and beautiful, and yet still accessible, this is truly a great adventure destination.

Video: Yosemite Ranger Meets the True Owners of the National Parks

As we edge closer to the 100th anniversary celebration of the National Park Service later this week, this video gives us a good reminder about what those parks are all about. The clip, which comes our way courtesy of NBC News, introduces us to the true owners of these parks – the American people themselves. The national parks have been called "America's Best Idea" and for good reason. Prior to the designation of the world's first national park – Yellowstone – the idea of setting aside lands for the greater good of the public was completely unknown. Now, there are thousands of national parks around the world, with more being created on a regular basis.