|Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park|
|Merced National Wildlife Refuge, south of the city of Merced.|
|Zabriskie Point and Manly Beacon in Death Valley National Park|
|Natural Bridge in Death Valley National Park|
We survived a phenomenal windstorm on the last night of our trip. I hate to say I littered in a national park, but somewhere out on the dunes there is a tarp that blew away from under my tent in the night.
|The Ghirardelli Store in Hornitos within the Sierra Nevada Mother Lode|
|Yosemite Falls in Yosemite Valley|
|Mt. Rainier in Washington|
|Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado downstream of Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam|
|House on Fire Ruin in Bear's Ears National Monument|
|Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park|
|Valentine Cave in Lava Beds National Monument|
December arrived and along with it came the holidays. We have family all along the coast from California to Washington, so Christmas for us was a very long road trip. On our last night we stayed near Mt. Shasta in Northern California. The sunset provided beautiful lenticular clouds around the summit of the second and third highest volcanoes in the Cascades (you'll have to check out the last post to learn about that one).
And that was the story of my year and that of my students and Mrs. Geotripper. We saw a lot of incredible things, and my whole purpose in describing these places is to encourage you to explore them for yourselves. I know that this is impossible for many, which is quite literally why I write this blog. But if you can make time and get away, seek out the wild places where you live. If your local college offers field studies courses, consider getting back into school for some personal enrichment. I guarantee you won't regret it.
If you live in the vicinity of Modesto, the Modesto Junior College Geology Department will be offering a great line-up of field studies courses. We'll explore Death Valley again in February, the Southern Mother Lode in March, and Yosemite Valley in April. In September we'll head out to the Eastern Sierra Nevada and Owens Valley. In October we'll travel through the Mother Lode, and in November we'll be back to Pinnacles National Park.
But our premier trip with be on June 26-July 10 when we head to British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. We'll be exploring Olympic and North Cascades National Parks, Vancouver Island, and the Coastal Mountain Ranges around Whistler and Pemberton. It will be a memorable experience. If you are interested, keep an eye on this blog, follow our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1920712791360611/, or the class web page (soon to be updated) at http://hayesg.faculty.mjc.edu/GeologyPacificNorthwest.html.
See you on the road!