US Parks

Images From Yellowstone

Images From Yellowstone

We’re nearing the end of our stay at Yellowstone National Park. We’ve been fortunate because the weather has fully cooperated, and the animals have mostly cooperated with our efforts. Smoke wasn’t a big issue either, which seems to be unusual for the western US in 2018.

We’ve certainly collected enough pictures and video clips to keep us busy for some time, but we though now would be a good time to share some of the shots we made this week:

Posted by Donald Fink and Bonnie Fink in blog, Travel, US Parks, 0 comments
Yellowstone, A First Look

Yellowstone, A First Look

Okay, it’s not actually our first look at Yellowstone. We’ve been here many times over the last few decades. We’ve been here with our 5th wheel trailer, staying in the park and close by in West Yellowstone. We’ve been here camping, and even been here staying exclusively at hotels, like we are this time.

But this is our first trip here in awhile, and we need to point out how much we enjoy it, each and every time we’ve been.

This time, we’re not finding the animals like we have in the past, but we may be a bit early. And when we say we’re not finding the animals, we mean we’re not seeing as many elk as we were expecting. There are plenty of bison, antelope, and even a coyote up close and personal like we’ve never seen before, but the elk are a bit hard to come by.

We usually find the elk along the Madison River between West Yellowstone and Madison Junction, and there are indeed a few starting to show up, but we’re not seeing the large herds like we usually encounter. Also, we usually see plenty of elk just hanging around Mammoth Hot Springs, but not this year. They usually nap in residents’ yards, but so far, not this time.

The Lamar Valley, located along the northeast part of the park is full of life. We’ve encounter large herds of bison and antelope, and we’ve even seen one grizzly bear feeding on a bison carcass.

Enough with the words. Here are a few on the images we’ve made so far. Enjoy:

 

Posted by Donald Fink and Bonnie Fink in blog, Travel, US Parks, 0 comments
South Rim of the Grand Canyon

South Rim of the Grand Canyon

We’re off on our summer of vacationing in the American West, and our first stop is the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We’re spending only two days here, and not planning for all that much in terms of award winning photographs, but we thought it would be fun to visit as we made our way to California.

We’ve had the most fun at the Grand Canyon in the fall or winter. From a strictly photography point of view, that is the best time for us. The air is clearer then and once in awhile we get lucky and find a little snow on the ground just to accent the images. And of course, there’s a lot fewer people here in the winter.

This is the last weekend in July and as such, we expected wall-to-wall crowding, but yesterday we drove right up to the main gate, waited for about three minutes, and were in. Once in the park, we headed over to the East road and were surprised that nearly all the turn-outs had parking available. There were some clouds to make the pictures a bit prettier, and even though there are several active fires in the area, the smoke wasn’t too bad.

This morning (Sunday), we drove right up to the gate and were in with nearly no delay. Of course, it was 7:30 am and most folks were still sleeping in. We again made our way our to the east road, and in most cases, we had the canyon to ourselves. Not really, but there were surprisingly few people out and about early in the morning. When we left the park at around 10:30 am, we were amused to see that the line to get in the park was backed up about half a mile.

We plan to return later today and tomorrow to get some more images we didn’t do today, but we thought it would be fun to post some that we have for now, so please, have a look at what we’re seeing at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon today:

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The Battle of Yorktown

The Battle of Yorktown

Yorktown was established in 1691 as a seaport, primarily for the export of tobacco. Because of its great location along Chesapeake Bay, it quickly became a favored location for receiving and sending many other goods by ship. It had a wharf area along the waterfront, and a bluff overlooking the York River where many prosperous merchants and workers built their homes.

Cannons are placed like they might have been during the battle in 1781. Photo by Bonnie Fink.

Like Jamestown and Williamsburg, this little town is rich in early American history, but its most famous event took place during the American Revolutionary War, when the last major battle of the war took place.

In the summer of 1781, British General Lord Cornwallis took possession of Yorktown to use as a naval base. When he heard about this, General George Washington, in cooperation with French General Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur (comte de Rochambeau) and Admiral François Joseph Paul de Grasse, traveled to Yorktown to engage the British. General Washington was also assisted by the 2nd Canadian Regiment, commanded by General Moses Hazen.

Yorktown is a protected harbor but still very accessible to the Atlantic, which is why it made such a desirable port during the American Revolutionary War.

Upon arriving at Chesapeake Bay, Admiral de Grasse’s fleet of 28 ships defeated the British Navy and set up a blockade, blocking General Cornwallis’ access to supplies and reinforcements. This was a significant sea battle because it marked the first major defeat of the British Navy in over 200 years.

When Washington arrived in Yorktown on September 28, 1781, he faced a British Army that was entrenched in good defensive positions around the town. The British had dug 10 redoubts (forward fortifications) to defend their position, had 65 guns mounted in the redoubts and a total of 240 artillery pieces. Unfortunately, they had no horses to help move the guns around, which limited their ability to move. Washington had 365 guns. The shelling on Yorktown and the British artillery was so intense that the British were only able to return fire during the night, when Colonial firing diminished. Washington shelled the British for three weeks while preparations were made for the assault. Overall, cannons were fired at the British at the rate of nearly 1.2 per minute for a total of over 36,000 shots fired in the shelling.

Washington’s army – combined with French and Canadian troops – totaled nearly 20,000. Cornwallis’ British army, assisted by a small contingent of German soldiers, numbered only 7,500. After continual shelling, Washington finally gave the order to begin the attack in earnest on October 9th. On October 17th, Cornwallis offered to surrender unconditionally.

It was customary during the 18th century that, when a commander surrendered, he did so in person, and handed over his sword to the victorious commander. In the case of General Cornwallis, he sent a subordinate to the French Army to surrender. When the French directed him to General Washington’s camp, the subordinate was received, not by General Washington, but by a subordinate that Washington appointed.

 

While the Revolutionary War officially lasted another year after the Battle of Yorktown, this was the last major battle. It shouldn’t be implied that the battle of Yorktown broke the British, or defeated them in any significant way. They lost 7,000 troops (taken prisoner), but still had over 30,000 in the Americas, outnumbering the Continental Army. They still held New York City, Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. They also held parts of Florida and Canada. If the British were only fighting in the Americas, they might have continued indefinitely. Instead, they were fighting the French and Spanish elsewhere, and the loss at Yorktown probably helped the British realign their priorities. While it was clear that the Continental Army could not singlehandedly defeat the British Army, it was also clear that Britain could not control the Colonies. Two years after the Battle was over, the peace treaties were signed in September, 1783, and the British Army left New York, their final occupation, on November 25th.

Posted by Donald Fink in Travel, US Parks, 1 comment
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

There are places we enjoy visiting over and over, and one of those places is the great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee. It’s located near the towns of Gatlinburg , Pigeon Forge  (home of Dollywood), and the often overlooked Sevierville, Tn. We’ve enjoyed the Smoky Mountains from a 5th wheel trailer, staying in downtown Pigeon Forge. We’ve traipsed back to Cade’s Cove and stayed in our tent, and we’ve stayed in hotels nearby with and without our Harley. Continue reading →

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Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

The Rocky Mountains, in the beautiful state of Colorado have long been romanticized as the best and brightest example of the Rocky Mountains anywhere. When most people think of Colorado, or Denver, they most likely imagine vivid images of the pristine mountains with sunshine, snow, and blue skies. While Denver, Colorado , is indeed a nice place to live and visit, the image of the Rocky Mountains might be best served by a place that’s actually in the mountains. That place would, of course, be the Rocky Mountain National Park. Continue reading →

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Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

If you approach pretty much anyone in America – or even the world for that matter – and ask them to name the first American National Park that comes to mind the answer would probably be Yellowstone. There might be several reasons for this, but it’s probably because Yellowstone was the first national park in America, and probably the first national park in the world. Of course, the fact that most American baby boomers grew up watching Yogi Bear cartoons on TV helps too. Continue reading →

Posted by Donald Fink and Bonnie Fink in Featured, Travel, US Parks, 1 comment
Making a Geyser

Making a Geyser

It’s a fascinating experience to stand at Old Faithful and watch it erupt for the first time. While steam and water is vaulting into the air nearly 100 feet, it’s simply awe inspiring and beautiful to see.

There may come a time, however, when you wonder exactly how this all works. And while the specific circumstances that allow a geysers to exist are rare, it’s not a very complex issue from a physical world perspective. Continue reading →

Posted by Donald Fink and Bonnie Fink in Featured, US Parks, 1 comment