An Open Invitation

Discussion in 'Nature' started by Gup, Mar 4, 2017.

  1. Gup

    Gup Gup

    After a 7 week cruise through 20 states back in the autumn I came to realize how much more difficult it is to find landscape shots sans the 'hand of man' in the US than it is here in Canada. I have taken my semi-wilderness existence for granted for 30 years. Here I can walk and hike with my dog at my side on any given day for hours and hours without encountering another person or evidence thereof. I was really uncomfortable a lot of the time down there especially in the National Parks. Far too much company for my tastes. Tour busses, huge motorhomes and 30'+ fifth wheel trailers at virtually every turn. The line-up to access Arches NP had me doing a U-turn 10 minutes in and seeking solitude somewhere further down the road. I was also put out at being told over and over that my dog was not welcome even on a leash at so many venues and trails. He is my constant companion and can't be left alone all the time.

    • The US has a population of 350 million, give or take. Canada, a larger land mass, has a population one tenth that amount. It is only logical there would be 10 times the traffic, etc., but I wasn't really prepared for the commercialism I found in places.
    1. This year is Canada's 150th birthday and our National Parks are throwing open the doors for all. Every National Park and tourist site is free to access. I would invite any of you to pack your gear and come experience what this country has to offer photographers. From sea to sea to sea. Yes, the Arctic Ocean is scheduled to be accessible by road by September for the first time. I'm looking forward to that sometime in the near future. And, you will be happy with the USD to CDN dollar exchange rate!
    2. I'm still charting my course but I'm leaning toward returning to Newfoundland this summer. The people are by far the happiest and friendliest I've ever encountered anywhere on the planet I've visited with a photo-op at nearly every turn. (It is pronounced 'newfundland' with the emphasis on the first syllable if you want to appear 'local' - this will be very difficult for Texans and New Yorkers, to sound local, I mean) ;)
    3. Here is a shot taken 15 years ago and scanned, from the top of Gros Morne National Park. You can't drive up, and in truth, can't take your dog either, but the view will stun you the first time.

    Nikon scan 18 8x ice (fine) batch 72dpi.jpg
    Mary Doo likes this.
  2. Gup

    Gup Gup

    I'm still trying to create paragraph breaks in the text I type. The OP wasn't intended to be a list so disregard those meaningless numbers. I tried < b> inserts and got bold type instead so not sure what I did wrong.
  3. ZNP-4885a-sml.jpg Gup, we live in National Park Central (northern Utah), and we share your frustration with the crowds, etc. Still, we find enormous enjoyment in travelling to the various NP's in the off season as much a possible. Much of Canada is on our bucket list to visit, so perhaps you'll see us along the way. When we are craving solitude, we tend to head out into the unpublished open spaces, such as the west desert, the San Raphael Swell, Capitol Reef backside, etc. There's just no point in fighting the crowds... We spent a recent weekend in Zion with very few people and a wonderful rain storm. A truly unique experience!
  4. Sorry, Gup, you were in the wrong kinds of places, and unlike David, I'm not generous enough to share the right ones. Over the years I have had some good and a few bad experiences in Canada, even though the balance is on the good side, I don't need to throw the dice ever again. What you describe as ideal, I can have any day without leaving the ranch, or by going to friends ranches, or state or federal lands. Simply a case of expectations and how to achieve desired results. As to National Parks, timing is everything -- Yellowstone on opening, fantastic, mid / late season, not so much. BTW, every visitor in peak season is part of the "problem" you describe.
  5. Gup

    Gup Gup

    • Well, the fact these parks exist is to be celebrated, of course. Without their protection we would have virtually nowhere to escape to. I was just surprised at the amount of traffic. And, I was part of the traffic. As the crowds have grown it has become important to control them to ensure the integrity of the parks continue. I understand it all, I just hadn't considered it all until I was actually experiencing it all. Which brings me back to what I was saying about being spoiled up here with all the privacy. I guess when I think about it, I do avoid the parks up here, too, that cater to the most people on any given weekend. I drive further north at every opportunity because it is out of reach of the weekend tourist and I value that solitary experience.
    • Of course, living locally to any of these magnificent places you will find the treasures 'off the beaten path'. Enjoy them as much as possible... before Google Earth coughs them up!
    • While driving through Yellowstone I came upon a herd of buffalo or bison grazing on both sides of the road. It was truly a beautiful sight because it stirred the imagination to picturing a time long ago when this would have been a regular sight throughout the plains. But, the reality of it was that all traffic had stopped on both sides of the road and didn't move again for about 30 minutes. By then, the people who got their first were honking horns and shouting at others that had more recently come on the scene to move out of the way. Others had left their vehicles to approach the animals for clearer pictures with their P&S or cellphones and it was chaotic. I wanted to be far away.
    • Something similar happened at the Grand Canyon. I arrived at a look-out point at twilight and decided to stay put for the night to shoot the dawn. I scouted out a good location for my tripod and went to sleep. When I hiked back in the morning I met another guy from Florida and we shared a pot of coffee and exchanged addresses and got set up for the show. As the sun was breaking a large tour bus screeched to a halt and unloaded about 50 people who came pouring into the look-out. The bus had access to a road we did not and got right up close. We didn't have any more right to be there than they all did but somehow we felt put upon. We tried to protect our ground so we could get the shots we'd come for but these tourists were aggressive and weren't going to be denied. We were soon overrun by the selfie crowd and it really was discouraging. Within 45 minutes they were all back on the bus and gone. I hadn't experienced anything like that before and it was eye-opening for me.
    • I hope nobody sees this as a rant or the complaints of an ungrateful visitor. It's intended only as an open invitation for you to come up north of the invisible line and experience a little solitude for yourself. Paddle a canoe down a river or across a pristine lake with nothing but trees and the wild for company. It can be humbling.

    • Kilarney SW 72dpi.jpg
    • The Crack west 72 dpi 8956.jpg
    • These are south and west views from the same point not far from my home and I still live only 2 1/2 hours from the biggest city in Canada.
  6. Gup, what you describe is less a complaint, as I see it, than an accurate report. At the risk of sounding prejudiced, we even have seen differences in the behaviors of tourists from different parts of the globe. Asians generally require far less personal space than most Euro-Americans, and it manifests in their greater willingness to crowd others at viewpoints. While we still visit our favorite NP's and SP's and NM's at high season (now rarely), we just can't normally justify fighting the madding crowds. We are blessed, as are you, Sandy, and others, to have ready access to beautiful, lonely places separate from the designated mob magnets. That is a blessing associated with the West and vast public lands, as opposed to other parts of the world where everything is privately owned, fenced, and/or regulated to the nth degree. I pity those for whom Central Park represents their nearest routine approach to wilderness. Give me a shout if you are ever in our neighborhood and I'll let you in on a few less populated be incredibly beautiful places in our area. Happy trails...
    Gup likes this.
  7. One other trick that works for us: Most states have a couple of state holidays that do not coincide with federal holidays or holidays in surrounding states. What that means is that proper planning can allow one to get away to prime locations over a holiday weekend, but avoid the worst of the crowds, if one is willing to travel out of state. For us, Utah's Pioneer Day holiday is prime opportunity to visit locations in Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, or even California, since the Utah sites are mobbed with locals on holiday, but a little further out, across the state line, the locals are at work and school. This is more effective in the Western US, with bigger state boundaries, than it might be back East. I wonder if the same is true for Canadian provinces? If travelling to any US state for a vacation, it can be wise to check for dates of local holidays before assuming you will miss the crowds by avoiding federal holidays.
  8. I want to clarify something I said above: My statement regarding Asians and personal space is only in regards to habits and attitudes regarding personal space that develop in high-density social environments, such as Tokyo, etc. That is a fact of life, and not a criticism or social commentary. It has nothing to do with an evaluation of the value of people or their worth as individuals. Personally, I don't know how I would cope with living in a high density urban environment like New York City, Tokyo, Singapore, Delhi, anyplace in China, or the like. I barely cope with neighbors in a low density, suburban neighborhood. Others thrive in various social contexts. I'm sure there are those who find my own need for personal space off-putting and impersonal. We're all a little different, and I sincerely hope there's no harm in acknowledging the differences...
  9. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    David, I whole-heartedly understand your feelings about being crowded. Some 15 years ago I moved from London to Norwich for that very reason. Now Norwich is getting overcrowded (for my taste), but as a pensioner with limited mobility, moving would be too much. Luckily I am close (and hour or so on the bus) to several vast areas of Norfolk's coastline, where I can be joyously alone with Nature and my thoughts.

    Have you read the poem 'I Have No Gun, But I Can Spit' by W.H.Auden ?

  10. Tony, I have now. Very apropos. Thanks for the reference.
  11. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    'I exist only to serve'
  12. The problem with going off season (at the opening of Yellowstone, for example) was that I got snowed in at Rapid City, SD for three whole days.
    Did make a very dangerous drive to Mt. Rushmore in a blizzard, however. :)
    • Mt Rushmore, May 9, 2015​
    • SD-Mt-Rushmore-150509-026ss.jpg
  13. Second that, JDM, first time I went to Yellowstone I came over Beartooth Pass in a white out driving a standard sedan.
    Scary! Opening weekend. Once in the Park all was well except the restaurant had just opened, and the staff was struggling. When the food finally arrived, it was good. That said, no crowds at all, lots of animals.
  14. We frequently hit Yellowstone at Memorial Day weekend, if the snow has cleared sufficiently. Best time for baby critters! 1 July through Labor Day is to be avoided, if possible.
  15. Make sure you give the Canadian Parks pass some time to reach you - ours took a little over a month to arrive in the U.S.

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