Posts about travel photos

Nice Interaction with a Group of Wild Mountain Gorillas Strolling Through Camp

An amazing encounter with a troop of wild mountain gorillas near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. The reality is that these many natural environments will be maintained only with economic incentives. A certain amount of wilderness can be maintained with economic support from outside (government, charity…). But reasonable accommodations to find ways to make retaining natural wonders economically viable are likely a key to saving much of these environments for the future. Unfortunately there are big incentives to destroy nature from those rich tourists who don’t follow the rules and push their guides to break the rules (guides often do this as they have seen great monetary rewards [in tips] for breaking the rules (bothering animals, going too close, going to off limits areas…). It is sad how often tourists at national parks show utter disregard for nature and preserving things for later generations.

It seems like this video wasn’t about that type of behavior though. Instead it is just an example of how cool nature can be at times. Animals are not quite as predictable as some believe. Like this group that wandered into the camp (as they do a couple times a year) animals often stray from their normal behavior.

Providing good jobs and sharing revenue from tourists with local residents (paying for schools…) is a very good way to encourage residents to support natural heritage sites. This is true in Africa and also near park in the United States, or anywhere else. Here is an example of an organization doing that: Conservation Through Public Health.

I am a huge fan of tying in economic benefits to natural parks and resources. I think this is part of making them not environmentally sustainable but economically sustainable. If the areas do not make a contribution to the economic well being of those living there, there is a danger the land will be tapped for uses that will damage their natural heritage value. We do have to be careful as often these economic interests can turn into greedy people just wanting whatever they can get now (I am saddened by how often tourists behave in this way at natural wonders).

People are going to determine how land is used. We can hope that purely altruistic motives will result in long preserved natural habitats. But I don’t think that hope is as sustainable as creating a situation where it is also in people’s economic interests to maintain the environments. A combination of altruistic, long term thinking and economic interest is more likely to preserve natural environment (in my opinion).

Related: Massive Western Lowland Gorilla Population in Northern Republic of CongoGrauer’s Gorilla (Eastern Lowlands Gorilla)African Parks (a business approach to conservation)Travel photos from National Parks

Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Ladybug City

Ladybugs crawling on rocks in Guadalupe Mountains National Parkphoto of ladybugs covering the bark of a tree near the Guadalupe Peak, by John Hunter, Creative Commons Attribution.


At Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas at 8,749 feet in Guadalupe Mountains National Park I found a huge city of ladybugs. They covered the bark of many bushes and trees and crawled over rocks (as seen in the photos). They were everywhere. It seems odd to me that they would have such a huge concentration since it would seem like food would then be a problem, but there they were.

Related: Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, Ohio PhotosBackyard Wildlife: Great Spreadwing DamselflyNorth Cascades National Park PhotosMount Rainier National Park Photos

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Historical Engineering: Hanging Flume

Hanging flumephoto of hanging flume overlook in Colorado, by John Hunter, Creative Commons Attribution.


While driving from Dinosaur National Monument to Mesa Verde National Park last year I passed the sight above with the remnants of a hanging flume. The Montrose Placer Mining Company built a 13 mile canal and flume to deliver water from the San Miguel River for gold mining operations. The last 5 miles of the flume clung to the wall of the canyon itself, running along the cliff face in the photo above (see more photos).

Constructed between 1888 and 1891, the 4 foot deep 5 foot 4 inch wide hanging flume carried 23,640,000 gallons of water in a 24 hour period. The mining operations used water and sluice boxes to separate the gold from lighter materials (dirt and gravel).

The technology was not yet available to pump the water directly from the river at the necessary volume and pressure to wash the gold from the gravel, therefore they constructed the flume to transport the water.

Related: Mount Saint Helens Photosphotos of Manhattan (Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building…)C&O Towpath – Monocacy Aqueduct to Calico Rocks
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Antelope Island, Great Salt Lake Photos

Yellow flower on Antelope Island

I have posted photos from the first day of my Utah trip: Antelope Island, Great Salt Lake and Salt Lake City. The Great Salt Lake is

Why is it Colder at Higher Elevations?

John Hunter at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park

I know it is colder at higher elevations (there is snow on the top of mountains when no snow is left on the bottom). When I was hiking this summer in Colorado and it started snowing I thought about why it was colder in higher elevations. My guess was that it was mainly due to lower air pressure and being higher up in the atmosphere where air was cooler than is was closer to sea level.

So I did some research online and the main explanations seem to be that at higher elevations the air pressure is lower (molecules and atoms under less pressure move more slowly which means the temperature is less).

Hot air does rise, but the amount of hot air is minor compared to the existing cold air in the atmosphere. So when hot air rises from the ground it is cooled down before getting far off the earth’s surface. And as it rises the pressure decreases, which cools it down.

Mountain Environments report, United Nations Environment Programme:

Air temperature on average decreases by about 6.5° C for every 1,000 m increase in altitude; in mid latitudes this is equivalent to moving poleward about 800 km. The dry dust-free air at altitude retains little heat energy, leading to marked extremes of temperature between day and night.

Photo of John Hunter at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.

Related: Why is the air cooler at higher altitudes?Why is the Sky Blue?scientific explanations for what we experienceFlint and Steel: What Causes the Sparks?Mount Rainier National Park PhotosLow air pressure decreases temps at high elevation
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National Museum of the American Indian Photos

photo of the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC photo of a Mayan Calendar

Photo of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC by John Hunter. The museum is the newest addition to the collection of Smithsonian museums on the Mall. The second photo is of a Mayan calendar. Photos can be used with attribution.

Related: Botanical GardenC&O Towpath near Monocacy Aqueduct Museum of Science in Boston

Photos of Parfrey’s Glen, Wisconsin

John Hunter Durwood Glen

photo of Yellow Flower in Parfreys Glen

See more photos from my visit to Parfrey’s Glen Natural Area in Wisconsin, about an hour outside of Madison. It really was amazingly beautiful – the pictures do not do it justice. The Parfrey’s Glen trail is under a mile but well worth visiting. If you want to hike more try the Ice Age National Scenic Trail or nearby Devil’s Lake State Park. The top photo is of me (John Hunter) at nearby Durwood’s Glen. The yellow flower is from Parfrey’s Glen.

Photo of yellow flower by John Hunter is available for use: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike (see requirements for use).

Related: Hoh Rain Forest and Ruby Beach, Olympic National parkC&O Towpath – Monocacy Aqueduct, MarylandNature Recreation DecliningCurious Cat photo traveloguesBull Run Trail, Virginia

Parfrey’s Glen is Wisconsin’s first State Natural Area, is a spectacular gorge deeply incised into the sandstone conglomerate of the south flank of the Baraboo Hills. The exposed Cambrian strata provide excellent opportunities for geological interpretation. The walls of the glen – a Scottish word for a narrow, rocky ravine – are sandstone with embedded pebbles and boulders of quartzite.

Starved Rock State Park, Illinois

Photos from my hike in Starved Rock State Park, Illinois in 2006.

blue flower photos of red berries

Related: Appalachian Trail PhotosGrand Teton National ParkBull Run Trail, VirginiaCurious Cat Travel Photo posts

Forest Glen Preserve Photos

Photos from my hike in Forest Glen Preserve, Illinois 2 years ago.

photo of lantern tree

Other photos: Mount Rainier National ParkMason Neck State Park, VirginiaSouth Carolina
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Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve Photos

photo of Tree at the Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve
The Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve in Ohio is quite a nice short hike. Photos by John Hunter. If anyone knows what the green beetle is, please add a comment.

I visited the preserve last year. Other sites from the trip include: Rocky Gap State Park, Maryland and Coopers Rock State Forest, West Virginia.

More photos: North Cascades National Park PhotosMason Neck State Park, Virginiatravel photo directoryOlympic National ParkThe Cloisters Museum and the Museum of Modern Art

photo of a green beetle

Coopers Rock State Forest, West Virginia

photo of Coopers Rock State Forest in West Virginia

See more photos of my visit last year to Coopers Rock State Forest in West Virginia. The day before I visited Rocky Gap State Park in Maryland. Photos by John Hunter.

Related: Mason Neck State Park, VirginiaShaker Village of Pleasant Hill, KentuckyHuntington Beach State Park, South Carolina