Recent comments

  • Naked Hikers Let It All Hang Out On the Summer Solstice   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Christian,

    Nude trail-walkers are engaged in an activity that is offensive - suddenly 'inflicting' their exposure upon unaware, unprepared "victims". It is appropriate and accurate to compare this activity to that of flashers and other exposure-perverts. I personally enjoy nudist venues, but I don't kid myself that dropping my trousers in the midst of a clothed social setting would be Ok. Unless a trail is recognized as a nude trail, it is offensive - and perverted - to traipse down it naked. Yes, it is reasonable to be suspicious of the internal motives of such 'ambush-nudists': some of them are simply exercising poor judgement, are just being inconsiderate & rude, but others may very well be more worrisome individuals. This sort of thing is 'perfect' for the "real wackos".

    At a very low incidence, nude trail hikers are more a bizarre anomaly, but at higher rates I will predict a fairly stiff enforcement-policy against them. Like steakers & flashers, the context of trail-nudity shows that the intent is to shock (that's plainly what will happen), and that's what makes it an offense.

    The case of the topless female city-walker you mention did not set a precedent. The problem with her arrest, incarceration, psychiatric examination etc is not that nudity was legal in her jurisdiction, but that those who intervened overreacted to her offense. It's against the law to jay-walk, too, and though we may agree that it's pretty crazy to do so on many streets & highways, there is no need or call for us to get hysterical about it ('hysteria' is the word for the reaction we saw in the topless case). The authorities are lucky she only got $29,000 - but she got it not because it was Ok for her to be exposed, but due to the excesses of her apprehension.

    Yes, WAY most people support the nudity taboo 'as we know it'. A quick search does not uncover a definitive nudity-approval poll, but there are useful proxies we can look at (and perhaps more reliable than polls). There are nude beaches, hotsprings, and other free-access public settings where folks can register their disapproval of the nudity taboo and indulge their preference for exposure. These venues are an extremely minor component of the overall beach, hotspring and other public-access venues available. It is simply the case that way most people choose a clothed setting, over a nude alternative. If there was more demand, there would be more nude places.

    Socially, private citizens assemble casually in private settings (house-parties) for their mutual benefit & pleasure in many ways & styles. It happens occasionally that such private gatherings incorporate nudity ... but it is really quite unusual, overall. When we say that WAY most people support the nudity taboo, we are actually giving the nudist-faction the benefit of the doubt.

    These two proxy-indicators - low use of public nudity-venues, and the tiny incidence of private house-party nudity - are clear affirmations that WAY most people support the nudity taboo - not that they like it, or think nudity per se is inherently disagreeable - but that they accept the status quo as it exist. Yes, it's 'just' a taboo. Do we think that humans have evolved beyond taboos? Does the illusion that only 'primitive' cultures in the Darkest Heart of Hollywood Africa are subject to social taboos & fetishes still affect contemporary North Americans?

    The National Parks Traveler website is overwhelmingly about 20th & 21st C. Parks of the United States, the citizenship that owns them, and the governments that control them. The condition of pre-European tribes, especially-liberal sections of other continents, etc, is immaterial to this post & thread. We're talking 'here & now' - and the nudity taboo is overwhelmingly-dominant reality, here & now.

    Not only do way-most people support the nudity taboo, but most of those people are not religious, and what's driving our position is not shame, neurosis, etc. I have some sympathy for nudity-activists, and as mentioned I'm happy to join in appropriate nude venues when & where they arise, but the nudism-community (rather like the vegetarian/PETA-community) has a rather-dramatically skewed impression of their own status & significance in the greater community-web, and a baseless optimism in the ascendancy of their preferred outlook. Nudism & vegetarianism both represent noticeably-deluded, small, single-digit portions of the population with little prospect for growth in the foreseeable future.

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3 Revealed: It’s Lupine, and It’s Complicated   5 years 24 weeks ago

    This is the true promise of the internet--a collaborative discussion of a fascinating topic sparked by a well-written article, regardless of where you are located, how knowledgeable you are, or who you are. The only requirement....that you be interested and thoughtful. Thanks Bob.

    By the way, Bob was set up, albeit unintentionally (as Terry said). And, I do like the name Bob...my dad was a Bob (and, I, a Rob).

    “It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.” Mark Twain

    rob
    --
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com
    Robert Mutch Photography

  • Reader Participation Day: Tell Us Your "Dream" National Park Vacation   5 years 24 weeks ago

    We took our dream national park vacation last year. Starting out from our home in Mt. Pleasant, SC, we drove to Carlsbad, NM for a day in Carlsbad Caverns. A truly out of this world experience. Then on to Albuquerque and Santa Fe. From Santa Fe to Flagstaff, AZ passing through Gallup, NM (the City of Murals) and the Painted Desert. We stayed in Flagstaff for several days using it as a base for trips to Sunset Crater, Canyon de Chelly, Walnut Canyon, Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon, Wupatki National Forest, and the Grand Canyon.

    From Flagstaff we set off for the California portion of our trip which included visits to Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia National Forest, the Monterey Aquarium, cannery row, Big Sur, and Napa Valley. From San Fransisco we made the long drive to Jackson Hole, WY where we spent a week in the Grand Tetons, toured Yellowstone, went white water rafting and enjoyed the abundant wild life up close and personal. Although difficult to move on, we made the drive down to Moab, Utah, a true Mecca for "gear heads". Using Moab for a base we visited Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Canyonlands.

    By the time we arrived home at the end of our six week journey, we had driven 9,000 miles in our van, shot over 1,500 digital photos and used our "Senior" national park pass to enter 16 national parks--some several times. Ain't good health and retirement great!!

  • Reader Participation Day: Tell Us Your "Dream" National Park Vacation   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I already had a number "dream vacations" in National Parks. Be it three weeks on the Colorado Plateau with all the diversity from hiking down to the Colorado in Grand Canyon and to the more remote spectacular arches in Arches NP to Native American culture from Basketmaker and Anasazi to Navajo and Hopi. Another memorable region was the Rocky Mountains, from the Wasatch Range to Yellowstone, from Glacier to the Canadian parks Banff and Jasper with a multi day hike on the tree line in Jasper. I've seen almost all landscapes of California (and most of Oregon) and spent some time in the Pacific northwest (including the Vancouver/Vancouver island area).

    I'd love to explore the prairies, maybe three days on horseback in Badlands or Theodore Roosevelt NP plus canoeing on the Missouri River in the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument (BLM, not NPS)? Alternatives are Alaska or the Everglades.

    The total opposition to a nature oriented trip would be a vacation to learn about the prehistoric Native American cultures of the eastern US: From Poverty Point NM over the American bottom and Cahokia to "Hopewell land" in Ohio to the Effigy Mounds of Wisconsin and adjacent areas.

    Or - just to get away from it all - five to ten days in the backcountry. Maybe in a Wilderness Area in Colorado.

  • Studies Show Bear Spray More Effective Than Guns Against Grizzlies   5 years 24 weeks ago

    To the "Anonymous" who commented today on how to be aggressive yourself against an aggresive bear, he might rethink his solution if he ever encounters a bear that close to his body. Sounds like a real winner, Anon - for the bear.

  • Interior Department Agrees To Conduct EIS on Gun Rules for National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    In the same vein, has an EIS been done regarding the impact of people and automobiles, etc on the environment in national parks? If not, I think the Interior Department should shut off all access to our national parks until these are also completed.

  • Mules In Grand Canyon National Park: Should They Stay?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Yes, mule use should continue. It's a unique historical aspect of Grand Canyon NP. And, sustainable use is sensible. The problem lies in a definition of sustainable. Rafting through the canyon seems to be an appropriate analogy for sustainable use. Some kind of lottery system may be needed.

    rob
    --
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com
    Robert Mutch Photography

  • Reader Participation Day: Tell Us Your "Dream" National Park Vacation   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I'm on it right now. Sketching in 6 national parks in 2 weeks through Utah. Colorado, and Arizoma. Posting along the way via iPhone so friends can travel virtually with me.

  • Reader Participation Day: Tell Us Your "Dream" National Park Vacation   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Any National Park in Alaska. I would love to see bears, calving glaciers, whales, and all the incredible beautiful scenery! However, Great Smoky Mountains and North Cascades are very high on my list as well.

  • Mules In Grand Canyon National Park: Should They Stay?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    My wife and I have been to the Grand several times and we have ridden the mules to Phantom Ranch and we have hiked rim-to-rim. For us, both experiences were uniquely memorable and profound beyond the justice that any written word can bring. The mule trip to Phantom Ranch was later gifted to my mother and sister as a Christmas gift because I discovered the experience to be so very profound. Upon the completion of their trip, they couldn't have agreed more. For many, the mules offer the only way to reach the inner depths of the canyon, and anyone who has been there learns immediately that one cannot truly appreciate the overpowering beauty and majesty of The Grand from behind the railings on the rims. On our rim-to-rim hike, we, of course, encountered several mule trains, and this was expected. Encountering the mules on the trails was just another part of what experiencing The Grand is all about. Never did we feel the mule’s presence as undesirable. On the contrary, the presence of the mule trains only enhanced our overall experience. As time goes by, the mules remain one of the few aspects of a Grand Canyon experience that reflect the history and heritage of the visit in a truly hands-on way. One hundred years from now, portions of a mule ride to the bottom of the canyon will feel just as they felt in the early 1900's. The day will likely come when a mule ride into the depths of the Grand is the only remaining experience that represents the historical heritage of the Grand. The hands-on, sometimes-dirty, dusty, hot, sweaty, uniquely beautiful and spiritual experience, that is accessible to the many, that is remembered for a lifetime, should certainly be preserved.

  • Reader Participation Day: Tell Us Your "Dream" National Park Vacation   5 years 24 weeks ago

    To buy an R.V. and travel around the U.S. for a month or two stopping at as many parks as I could along the way!

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3 Revealed: It’s Lupine, and It’s Complicated   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Thanks, Linda. It's nice to know that the dicots I encounter on the golf course are the trees that my golf balls hit, not the chunks of turf I send flying with my errant swings.

  • Studies Show Bear Spray More Effective Than Guns Against Grizzlies   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Any aggresiveness from you will definitely anger the bear more, always act defensively be calm, use bear spray but also hold a survival knife with your right master hand, you need only one hand to spray the bear,if the bear is undeterred use your survival knife to defend yourself by allowing the bear to touch the razor tip of blade to warn that you can inflict pain on him. Stay upright but if you fall curl up yourself holding the survival knife with two hands pointing upwards tostab the bear in case it crawls up near you

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3 Revealed: It’s Lupine, and It’s Complicated   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I enjoyed this mystery!

    Dicotyledon (dye-cottle-ee-don)
    A member of the class of flowering plants having two seed leaves, or cotyledons, floral organs arranged in cycles of four or five, and leaves with reticulated veins, among other distinguishing features; often abbreviated as dicot. Includes trees (with exception of conifers) and most ornamental and crop plants. Source: http://www.phschool.com/science/biology_place/glossary/d.html

  • Should the Trains Keep Rolling into Grand Canyon National Park?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    As a hiker and train lover.... I have enjoyed everything about the grand canyon. The train just makes it that much special. Two years ago my twin brother, dad , and uncle took the train which was a breath taking experience and then hiked down to phantom ranch and back up. The train ride let me see how the past use to be and allow new generations to still be able to enjoy the grand canyon.

  • Should the Trains Keep Rolling into Grand Canyon National Park?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    There is much we can learn (relearn) from western Europe where train travel is thriving. It's time to quit building endless highways and shift to far more efficient and sustainable transportation.

  • Should the Trains Keep Rolling into Grand Canyon National Park?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Keep 'em rolling!

  • Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park Could Shut Down For Structural Strengthening   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Imagine paying the high rates the Ahwahnee commands to stay at a hotel that could kill us in an earthquake!!! Talk about corporate greed!!!

  • Vessel Speed Restrictions Extended At Glacier Bay National Park to Protect Whales   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Marshall -

    Here's a link to the park press release on this subject - the map with that release is quite a bit larger:http://www.nps.gov/glba/parknews/2009624.htm

    My wife and I were in Alaska for 2 weeks recently, including 4 days at Glacier Bay. We saw a lot of whale activity in a number of locations, and the above speed restrictions seem very reasonable in this part of the park. The new regs should also have very limited impact on most visitors making the usual boating trips into the park.

  • Vessel Speed Restrictions Extended At Glacier Bay National Park to Protect Whales   5 years 25 weeks ago

    World it be possible to get a link to the map you have as your photo? Or the ability to click on it and blow it up, though I'm guessing it would be harder than a link.

    Thanks, if so!

  • Selecting Lenses For Your National Park Visit   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Thanks a lot for the write-up Brett! It's amazing how many photographers I see out and about without TRIPODS. This goes for wildlife, landscapes, macro, etc. You can set up your composition by walking around the scene without a tripod, but, always use a tripod when taking your shot. And, don't use one with a extendable center head. It's too unstable and defeats the purpose of having a tripod.

    I use a Gitzo 1548. It's lightweight and extremely tough (it's expensive, but, you won't have to buy another one, for many years) and has enough weight to act as a support. A tripod too light is not much good and you end up having to stabilize it.

    rob
    ---
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com
    Robert Mutch Photography

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3 Revealed: It’s Lupine, and It’s Complicated   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Bob, my question was innocent. I had no intention of setting you up, but I think I'll let either my good friend Rob or willow explain to you what a dicot is.

  • Americans' Dream Vacation in 2009? That'd Be A National Park Visit According to Survey   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Holy crap, they charge people $2750 to see the full report!? Are they nuts?

  • Winter In Summer at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Sorry I'm too far from Apostle Islands to hear the talk. We thoroughly enjoyed a visit to the park last summer - but remarked during wonderful weather in June that life is undoubtedly different here in the winter!

  • Selecting Lenses For Your National Park Visit   5 years 25 weeks ago

    For nikon digital slrs: I use my 18-200 zoom as a walking around lens, with a canon close-focusing ring that screws on at the filter end to make this almost a 1:1 macro when needed for flowers & insects. It has autofocus (I often override) and vibration-reduction, which helps in low light.

    I also have the 12-24mm: I take crazy shots out on the playas, and have photoshop to automatically back-correct the curvature from 12mm.

    I agree with MRC: the limitations of my photography in the parks are due to my limitations, not the equipment's, except for vivid color & resolution, where film still beats digital. I shoot thousands of digital frames (thousands of bad shots, a few keepers, but I'm learning), but when I have the time and light, I still shoot film for the best shots.