I sometimes get asked why I go back to the same national parks again and again. Some of my friends seem to think that national parks are static and never changing. Their assumption is that once you have seen one place, then there is no real reason to see it again because you’ll simply be seeing the same thing that you saw the last time you visited. I think that most of them don’t realize how much national parks change depending on the time of year that you visit them, or even the time of day.
The truth is that national parks are dynamic and ever changing. I don’t remember a time when I have visited an national park and thought “nothing has changed.” Whether I am viewing iconic landscapes in a different season where plant and flowers are completely different, or simply in a different light due to where the sun happens to be, I constantly find new and interesting things with each visit.
While much of Sequoia national park was covered in snow during my last visit, coming to the park in June allowed me to discover this:
One of the greatest parts of national parks is their ability to get you to slow down a bit and relax. if you can manage to do this, you will notice that while the general landscapes may appear to stay relatively the same over time, the truth is that you will never see them the same way twice no matter how many times you visit. Please visit them often to try and prove me wrong 🙂
After hiking 1.1 miles along the Plaikni Falls trail, you’re rewarded with a beautiful view of Plaikni Falls. The name “Plaikni Falls” which means “from the high country” comes from the Klamath Indian Tribes whose traditional homeland includes Crater Lake National Park and who still have strong cultural ties to this area to this day.
Plaikni Falls is not fed by Crater Lake. The source water for Sand Creek is snow melt which begins at Anderson Spring just above Anderson Bluffs (7000 feet above sea level — 2134 meters) Sand Creek flows approximately a quarter of a mile before hitting a glacier carved cliff which it cascades over to create Plaikni Falls. At the base of Plaikni Falls, Sand Creek continues to cascade over rocky terrain to the south through Kerr Valley, then toward the west through The Pinnacles until it eventually flows out of Crater Lake National Park.
The base of Plaikni Falls is quite lush and filled with wildflowers:
It’s wonderful that there is now easy access to this previously “secret” waterfall at Crater Lake and the beautiful scenery around Plaikni Falls makes the hike out there well worth the time and effort. Here is a short video I took at the end of Plaikni Falls trail at the base of the falls:
If you are into large driftwood scenery or photography, Dry Lagoon beach in Humboldt State Park (CA) is a place you want to check out. Located off of highway 101 between Trindad and Orick, there is a one lane road that leads down to a beach parking lot. While most people probably head straight for the waves, it’s the area deeper in that caught my eye. Between a lagoon filled with reeds and the sandy-pebble beach is a a wide stretch of plant life including a large number of wildflowers:
Even better than the wildflowers, are the large redwood tree driftwood logs that have settled into the sand which gives the area an other-worldliness look:
The beach itself is a combination of sand and pebbles / small rocks. Like at Agate Beach, there were a number of people combing through the sea rocks and collecting their favorites.
This beach is a nice photography beach, especially those that love driftwood: