My recent trip to Africa afforded an astounding array of animals in their natural habitats. The parks we visited were vast and beautiful but they served more as a background for the magnificent display of wildlife.
The animals that inhabit the land of my next journey, however may be vying for attention, for I will be traveling to some of our greatest scenic national parks: Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Olympic and the Grand Canyon. Joining a National Geographic expedition I know I am guaranteed some mighty spectacular photo opportunities.
I have visited the Grand Canyon before, in 2003 as part of an overall Canyonlands tour encompassing that as well as Bryce and Zion National Parks. The picture at the top of this post is from that trip. Each park had its magic and I am sure the parks on my next trip will be as amazing.
This time, however nature itself has thrown in a WTDGAP. For those of you new to this blog, this refers to When Things Don’t Go As Planned. Enjoying any experience to the fullest requires flexibility as often stuff happens. You can scroll through some of my WTDGAP posts to get an idea of what I mean. I have found swinging with the punches just adds to the enjoyment – most of the time. This time the issue is quite intense: Fire.
2015 was considered one of the most severe wildfires seasons in the Northwest Pacific. Oregon and Washington experienced 3800 wildfires which burned more than 1,600,000 acres. Why?
Weather: The first 6 months of 2015 were the warmest in history since 1895. This record warmth, along with way below average precipitation brought drought. The resulting parched land proved easy tinder for lightning strikes.
Unfortunately this year is following in 2015’s footsteps and fires are raging. Take a look at this map:
Due to these fires, the Southern entrance to Yellowstone Park has been closed, necessitating a detour of about 3-4 miles to another entrance. Fortunately, firefighters have been making inroads in containing a number of this outbreaks and hope to continue to minimize the fires in the upcoming days. They expect that the southern entrance will be reopened by end of week.
There is also some good news on the horizon. Cooler air is now flowing into the region and this will help diminish the fires. And, out of the ashes new growth will eventually form.
Great thanks and admiration go out to the people fighting these fires as well as hope that they get through this without injury.
Chasing Dreams will be on hiatus during my two and half week adventure, but you can keep track by checking in on Instagram: @cgurmann as I will provide pics when possible.