After hiking past the turbulent Tanalian Falls, the serenity of Kontrashibuna Lake is a pleasant surprise. Just one of many stunning landscapes at Lake Clark National Park & Preserve in Alaska, the lake’s frigid waters are colored a light blue by glacial dust and lap at the edges of rich forests and rugged mountains. Fall colors make the area even more popular with intrepid visitors. Photo by W. Hill, National Park Service.
Today is the anniversary of the bloodiest day in American history – the Battle of Antietam. More than 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after 12 hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederacy’s first major invasion of the North and gave President Abraham Lincoln the opportunity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. It’s hard to imagine the horror that ravaged this Maryland community when you walk the now peaceful fields of Antietam National Battlefield. Photo by National Park Service.
Summer green becomes autumn orange in the blink of an eye at Denali National Park in Alaska. Termination dust – what Alaskans call the high altitude snow that signals the end of summer – coats mountains and sprinkles onto valleys. The red leaves of blueberry bushes carpet the landscape and offer bears a last dessert before hibernation. It’s a feast for the eyes. Photo from a previous fall by Tim Rains, National Park Service.
On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, four commercial airliners were hijacked and used to attack the U.S. – two planes were flown into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City and a third into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Because of the actions of the 40 passengers and crew aboard the fourth plane, Flight 93, the U.S. Capitol was saved. The four aircraft strikes killed nearly 3,000 people, the deadliest attack on American soil by a foreign entity.
Today the National Park Service, its volunteers, and its partners work to honor their sacrifice and to try to understand more fully the legacy of Flight 93 and the other events of 9/11. We will #NeverForget.
Photo from the Flight 93 National Memorial by Tami A. Heilemann, Interior Department.
Curecanti National Recreation Area in Colorado is a series of three reservoirs along the once wild Gunnison River. The reservoirs that make up Curecanti today are a destination for water-based recreation high in the Rocky Mountains. Best known for salmon and trout fishing, Curecanti also offers opportunities for hiking, boating, camping and bird watching. Photo by Paul Santellan, National Park Service.
The first touches of fall are in the air at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. While most of the trees in this Colorado park are still green, snow showers dusted the Sangre de Cristo Mountains over the weekend, and the highest aspen groves are beginning to turn gold. This photo was taken south of the dunes looking toward California Peak at 13,855 feet. Photo by Patrick Myers, National Park Service.
As you enter Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California, Moro Rock looms overhead, thousands of feet above the highway. This large granite dome is a spectacular geologic feature that can be enjoyed from above or below. A concrete and stone stairway leads over 350 steps to the summit where views open up from the foothills and San Joaquin Valley to the west, to deep into wilderness to the east. View from the top of Moro Rock by Cheryl Dickinson (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Be careful taking a trip to the National Park of American Samoa. You might not want to come back. With 9,000 acres spread across the islands of Tutuila, Ofu and Ta‘ū, it’s the only national park south of the equator. Snorkeling and hiking are popular activities in this tropical paradise, as well as soaking up the welcoming Samoan culture. Photo from the Tuafanua Trail by National Park Service.
The best part of camping at Badlands National Park in South Dakota is waking up in time to see the sunrise. The colorful rock formations – carved by wind and water over thousands of years – catch the glowing light of daybreak and display their rugged beauty. It’s a great way to start off the day before exploring ancient fossil beds and taking pictures of bighorn sheep and bison. Photo by Kevin Huston (www.sharetheexperience.org).
2,250 feet down, at the base of the Painted Wall – the tallest cliff in Colorado – the Gunnison River thunders through Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. You can actually hear the river roaring from the canyon rim. Several trails and overlooks along the rim offer stunning views of dramatic drops and the distant river. There are no maintained or marked trails into the inner canyon. Routes are difficult to follow, and only individuals in excellent physical condition should attempt these hikes. Photo by Nancy Danna (www.sharetheexperience.org).