Forest Fire Smoke and Inversions, Mt. Baker Wilderness, WA, October 2012

Forest Fire Smoke and Inversions, Mt. Baker Wilderness, WA, October 2012

Here thick smoke from nearby fires and a low cloud level combine to create an almost alien sea of clouds and haze in the wilderness just outside of North Cascades National Park near Mt. Shuksan.

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 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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 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. 

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.  

 A Snowstorm at Alpental, Washington, 2012   Alpental is one of many ski areas in Washington State. Here a single skier riding the lift one chair ahead is almost completely obscured as a massive snowstorm dumps at a rate of nearly 2 inches per hour.

A Snowstorm at Alpental, Washington, 2012
 
Alpental is one of many ski areas in Washington State. Here a single skier riding the lift one chair ahead is almost completely obscured as a massive snowstorm dumps at a rate of nearly 2 inches per hour.

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. 

 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. 

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Matthew Penny - Mt. Hood, OR

Matthew Penny - Mt. Hood, OR

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