A blanket of snow and a river of fog soften the landscape of Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. The park protects over 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence going back over 11,000 years. Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs and standing masonry walls pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still lives in the surrounding communities. Photo by Andrew Gordon (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Big enough to be overwhelming, still intimate enough to feel the pulse of time, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park exposes you to some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock and craggiest spires in North America. This western Colorado landmark was sculpted by the Gunnison River and the forces of weather over 2 million years. Photo of a snowy and fog-filled canyon by National Park Service.
The calendar says it’s spring, but it still looks like winter at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois. The snow and fog glow in the purple gloom on this April morning. Despite the chill, the wetlands, forests and prairies of the refuge are great places to see migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Listen for their calls in the morning. Photo by Mitchell Baalman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
On foggy mornings, an eerie calm falls over Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi. The water is still and the air is thick. With 48,000 acres of forests, fields and waters, the refuge is excellent habitat for eagles, alligators and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Visitors enjoy fishing, hunting, hiking, and wildlife photography and observation. The refuge also serves as an outdoor classroom for Mississippi State University and other local educational institutions. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Layered rock formations rise like islands in an ocean of fog at Badlands National Park in South Dakota. From golden sunrises to star-filled nights, Badlands offers terrific chances to explore ancient fossil beds, observe a variety of wildlife and learn about the park’s fascinating cultural history. Young visitors, don’t forget to get your Junior Ranger badge! Photo by Barry Castetter (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Fall snow drifts across Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. By now, Dream Lake, Bear Lake and Emerald Lake are frozen, but the frosty beauty of these areas still draw hikers throughout the winter. Swirling clouds and cracked ice make gorgeous pictures, but please be safe and carry the proper gear. Photo by Carlton Fuqua (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Early morning sun creates a tunnel of light along the Craggy Pinnacle Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. As fall colors fade and snow covers the upper elevations, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers amazing views of rolling mountains trimmed with frost and fog. This is a park that keeps you coming back. Photo by Michael Sherburne (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Happy 80th birthday to the Golden Gate Bridge. On this day in 1973, this iconic bridge first opened. With towers extending 700 feet into the sky and over 100 feet beneath the San Francisco Bay, the bridge is an engineering marvel. In addition to driving, you can walk or bike the entire length of its 1.2-mile expanse, bounded on either side by spectacular scenery. Photo from Golden Gate National Recreation Area courtesy of Bruce Getty.