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Blog for Victoria Bennett Beyer Photography

The photography blog of Victoria Bennett Beyer, featuring travel photographs from road trips across America and botanical photography of plants, flowers and leaves.

Filtering by Tag: travel

Old Fort Niagara, NY

Victoria Beyer

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Not far from Niagara Falls is Old Fort Niagara, one of the prettiest forts you will ever see. The French built it in 1726, but wanted it to look like a ‘House of Peace’ instead of a fort, so as not to arouse the suspicions of the Iroquois. It was later taken by the British, then the Americans, and one again by the British. It was returned to the Americans at the end of the War of 1812. That was the fort’s last armed conflict, and since then has served as a barracks and training station .

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Olympic National Park - Ruby Beach

Victoria Beyer

Seven Weeks Across America

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Driving up the Washington coast proved to be a much quieter experience than driving up the Oregon coast.  There were quite simply fewer places to stop and less people, which was really nice.  We had heard Ruby Beach was a must-see, and we were eager to park the RV and stretch our legs.  The parking lot is above the beach, and looking down we assumed it was a strenuous hike, but really it was easy and we were down in no time.  

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Brian and W got right to wading along the shore.  They eventually made it down to the large rocks and even found an arch.

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My favorite part, however, was the huge collection of driftwood piled against the shore.

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Though I did eventually look down and was entranced by the beautiful variety of stones that make up the beach.  

Patrick's Point State Park

Victoria Beyer

Seven Weeks Across America

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Our first night camping along the California Coast was spent at Patrick's Point State Park.  It's a beautiful, misty forest with paths through the woods to the ocean cliffs.  We set up camp and headed out to see where the trail went, and found a rocky spot where we saw some seals.  On our way back through the Jurassic-looking foliage, we spotted this bunny on the trail.  

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The next morning I got up early to take photos.  It was cool, but not cold, and it was so refreshing after spending weeks in the hot and dry southwest.  Patrick's Point was like a dream.

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Point Cabrillo Lighthouse

Victoria Beyer

Seven Weeks Across America

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We headed up the coast from Santa Rosa, making our first stop at Point Cabrillo Lighthouse.  The first floor of the lighthouse serves as a museum.  You can also walk through the 1st Assistant Lightkeeper's house, which is decorated in period pieces.  There are beautiful trails around the headlands.  On our walk we saw some people diving off the wreck of the Frolic, which lies just off the coast.

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Kings Canyon National Park

Victoria Beyer

Seven Weeks Across America

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Though they are administered together and are geographically close, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks have some very different areas.  Kings Canyon is also the home to some giant sequoias (more on that later) but it is more than just that.  We drove the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway to its terminus down in the canyon.  It's a windy road that hugs cliff edges and offers superb views of the beautiful South Fork of the Kings River below.

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Near the end of the road, we hiked around Zumwalt Meadow.  It's a pretty green gem, and the trail takes you through rocks and over boardwalks, at times skirting the river.  We were vigilant looking for rattlesnakes, but we are happy to report no sightings.

Our campground was back up the road, walking distance from the Visitor's Center and Grant Grove.  Unlike Sequoia National Park, there are no busses to ferry you around in Kings Canyon.  

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We really enjoyed the paved interpretive trail around Grant's Grove, which includes not only the immense Grant Tree, but also an old cabin, signage about the history of logging in the area, and a giant fallen redwood that you can walk through upright.  I figured that would be my daughter's favorite part of the trail, and I was right.  But I was not expecting to delight in it so much myself.  It just seems so crazy to be walking through a huge tree that's laying on its side.

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You can get a little closer to the trees here on the trail than you could at Sequoia.  Several are hollowed out from fire and this one was just right for a little fox to scramble through.

Sequioa National Park

Victoria Beyer

Seven Weeks Across America

General Sherman Tree

General Sherman Tree

Even if you've seen sequoia trees in a small grove before, you should still visit Sequoia National Park.  It is so awe-inspiring to see them everywhere you look.  There are paved trails that make accessing them easy. It's one of these paths that lead to the General Sherman tree - the largest tree in the world by volume.  It's about 2,000 years old.  Many other sequoias in the park are older, but it found a prime spot to grow which is why it is so very large.  It's really quite an experience to tilt your head back and just look up to the top of the tree.

That's not really a solitary experience in the summer, particularly when you are depending on the bus system to shuttle you around.  It was in fact a little distressing to see so many people behaving badly, collecting pine cones in bags, clearly to take home, and stepping off the trail to take photos with the sequoia trees, which hurts their shallow roots.  It was a tough lesson to teach my little Junior Ranger to hold her tongue instead of correcting the many people who were breaking the park rules. 

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We found some solace later by taking the Soldiers Loop Trail.  We saw only two other families on our hike, and we even left behind the sounds of the road. This, to me, was the best part of our Sequoia National Park experience. 

That and not having a bear break into our camper.  When we arrived at our campground, there was a sign saying there had been 3 car break-ins by bears in the past week.  A ranger drove through the campground every 15 minutes to look for any food that had been left unattended.  I'm happy to report I didn't so much as see a bear during our stay.

Tunnel Log, which you can still drive through. Unless you are in an RV.

Tunnel Log, which you can still drive through. Unless you are in an RV.