Surprisingly close to downtown Minneapolis is a beautiful park with a roaring crown jewel in Minnehaha Falls. The falls can be viewed from all angles with the main walkway above and a large series of stairs to get to the base. On a sunny Saturday afternoon there were a lot of people enjoying the park, but it still felt somehow secluded. There were a couple of daring teens that took a walk behind the falls; something I would have done on a less crowded day I’m sure. I’ll wait for the one that’s a little harder to get to.
While driving through Georgia visiting some sections of the Appalachian Trail we came across Vogel State Park. We could see this waterfall from the road so we found our way into the park, ate breakfast, and then picked up the short trail around the lake that led to the falls. There is a small observation deck at the edge of the falls, but you can walk down farther to the bottom if you choose. I stood by the torrent for a long while, letting the white noise of the rushing water drown out all of my thoughts for a few minutes. At that point I needed it, and it was nice.
Back on the East Coast, and it really feels like it. The trails are what I remember along the Appalachian Trail. We stopped at Amicalola Falls, which is the Approach Trail to the AT. We didn’t hike the whole thing, but we went up to the top of the falls and back around. It’s a beautiful rushing flow that sprays out over the bridge while you look up at it. The dreaded stairs on the trail weren’t even that bad; maybe because we prepared ourselves and we didn’t have 30-pound backpacks on.
I took this shot at a slight long exposure on the side of a small trail off of a mountain road in Colorado. The best part about it was getting to spend some time with my friend outside. In the new year, take a couple seconds to appreciate the people you have and the beautiful nature that surrounds us. Happy new year!
Ringing Rocks State Park in Pennsylvania provided some unexpected treasures during a holiday visit last year. After checking out the field of rocks and hitting a few of them with a hammer (look it up) we headed down a short trail to the waterfalls. Being December, it was cold enough for it to have frozen, and the fresh light coat of snow on everything made the scene even more perfect, if very dangerous to climb on. The ice formations were so intricate and fun to explore. I think I managed to only almost fall once!
The multitude of ecosystems in Olympic National Park allows you to be in a tidal pool of marine life followed by a high mountain peak covered in snow and then in a temperate rainforest all within a few hours. The saturation of color and beauty in this little stretch of northwest Washington makes me imagine what this part of the country was like before the highways and Wal-Marts. We can be grateful for Parks preserving this amazing place along with so many others for us and future generations to enjoy and remember how precious and fragile the world really is. This beautiful scene is along the trail to Marymere Falls and I had to do some rock hopping to get here. It’s really a privilege to be able to immerse myself in something so beautiful and really feel a part of it.