Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, 2013   A brilliant sunset bursts out beyond a swirling storm cloud above the painted desert in Petrified Forest National Park. Here visitors can discover ancient ruins of native peoples among the colored sediments at the western edge of the Painted Desert, along with much more ancient petrified trees that give this park its name.

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, 2013
 
A brilliant sunset bursts out beyond a swirling storm cloud above the painted desert in Petrified Forest National Park. Here visitors can discover ancient ruins of native peoples among the colored sediments at the western edge of the Painted Desert, along with much more ancient petrified trees that give this park its name.

Unknown Creek, Wallace Falls State Park, WA, October 2013

Unknown Creek, Wallace Falls State Park, WA, October 2013

While the national parks were shut down I took time to explore a local state park: Wallace Falls. It is full of classic, mossy, fern-filled Washington forest and a multitude of small streams and waterfalls in addition to the massive Wallace Falls themselves. 

​Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, May 2013

​Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, May 2013

The Arizona sun paints the landscape, beams stretching through the dusty desert air of the Grand Canyon.  The canyon itself is nearly a mile deep, and stretches through northern Arizona's western half. The canyon was formed by the colorado river, and is a popular location of people looking for adventure and beauty.

 Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley, California, 2013   Though these dunes seem to stretch out forever, they are but one facet of the enormous wealth of natural wonders in Death Valley National Park. Many visitors will venture out into the dunes a short distance, but intrepid souls with a knack for exploration can walk far into the middle where the largest dunes rise nearly 400 feet high. 

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley, California, 2013
 
Though these dunes seem to stretch out forever, they are but one facet of the enormous wealth of natural wonders in Death Valley National Park. Many visitors will venture out into the dunes a short distance, but intrepid souls with a knack for exploration can walk far into the middle where the largest dunes rise nearly 400 feet high. 

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 Tourists at Arches, National Park, Utah,2013   Here a tourist poses rather dramatically for a photograph in front of Turret Arch in Arches National Park, near Moab, UT. This small national park attracts thousands of tourists every day, and it almost seems as if they are just as much a part of the park experience as the Arches themselves. 

Tourists at Arches, National Park, Utah,2013
 
Here a tourist poses rather dramatically for a photograph in front of Turret Arch in Arches National Park, near Moab, UT. This small national park attracts thousands of tourists every day, and it almost seems as if they are just as much a part of the park experience as the Arches themselves. 

Trona Pinnacles, California, 2013

Trona Pinnacles, California, 2013

The Trona Pinnacles, California, 2013
 
Spires of Tufa rise mysteriously out of the Mojave Desert in a patch of land just south of the small town of Trona California. These bizarre formations jut sometimes higher than 100 feet, and due to their almost alien nature have been featured in Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, and Lost in Space. They are truly a sight to behold, and even more amazing to spend a night among. 

 Sunset Over the Painted Desert, Arizona, 2013   Arizona is well known for its sunsets and rightly so. Here the brilliant orange glow of one such sunset ignites the horizon over the painted desert in Western Arizona. 

Sunset Over the Painted Desert, Arizona, 2013
 
Arizona is well known for its sunsets and rightly so. Here the brilliant orange glow of one such sunset ignites the horizon over the painted desert in Western Arizona. 

 Self Portrait at Lava Beds National Monument, California, 2013   As the sun sets I watch the onset of dusk in this photo, a small fire warming me, my tent to the right of the frame. This was one of many campsites of mine along my 20 day, 4800 mile trip around the western united states. 

Self Portrait at Lava Beds National Monument, California, 2013
 
As the sun sets I watch the onset of dusk in this photo, a small fire warming me, my tent to the right of the frame. This was one of many campsites of mine along my 20 day, 4800 mile trip around the western united states. 

Monument Valley Tribal Park, Navajo Nation, May 2013

Monument Valley Tribal Park, Navajo Nation, May 2013

Monument Valley is one of the most striking natural wonders in the Navajo Nation where large red sandstone mesas and spires rise strikingly from the valley floor below.  

Upper Falls, Wallace Falls State Park, WA, October 2013

Upper Falls, Wallace Falls State Park, WA, October 2013

The massive Wallace Falls are the final payoff along the waterfall trail at Wallace Falls State park. They are fairly easily accessed by a moderate hike and make for a good day trip from Seattle.  

Devil's Garden, Arches National Park, UT, May 2013

Devil's Garden, Arches National Park, UT, May 2013

Arches is known for it's narrow, winding canyons and vast arches. The Devils Garden is full of sandstone fins, arches, and canyons that wind out into the Utah desert. Though a popular trail, it isn't 100% safe, traversing a few narrow fins along the way.

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