The Traveling Turtle Visits Death Valley National Park

Death Valley_6505My family and I went to Death Valley National Park in California on Saturday, January 3rd. This is the the lowest, driest, and hottest area in North America.

First we went to the salt mud flat – it was a big part of land that was all mud and used to be under the ocean. According to the movie we watched, this area is home to the pupfish. (Wikipedia: a species of fish that is the last known survivor of what is thought to have been a large ecosystem of fish species that lived in Lake Manly, which dried up at the end of the last ice age leaving the present day Death Valley in California. The pupfish is adapted to the Death Valley 2015-01-03 15.17.08pupfishshallow, hot, saline water of a particular part of Salt Creek that flows above ground year-round, and is also sometimes referred to as Salt Creek pupfish.) We did not see the pupfish here but we did see it at Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge where we saw a lot in the hot springs.

Then we walked through a canyon; we climbed on the rocks and looked for lizards.

Then my brother and I walked through the sand dunes. We were trying to get up a big sand hill. When we got to the top we were really high up. Then after we made Death Valley 2015-01-03 16.50.38it up, we emptied our shoes then we slide down the big hill. It was really fun! After, we went up Dante’s View and there was a really good view of Death Valley.

Then we drove home and on the way back we saw a road runner and a coyote.



Redwood Forest and State Parks in California

In early November, we went to the Redwood National and State Parks in California.


The first thing we did was go for a walk in the Redwood Forest. We saw the giant Redwoods. While we were walking we saw a yellow spotted millipede. 2014-11-05 12.02.59The trees were so big, I felt like I was a millipede. The trail we were walking on had a river. Jacob built a dam in it. When we came back to it a frog was swimming in it.

One of the facts I learned was that the two trees symbol on the ranger’s badge and park signs stands for the National Parks and State Parks that work together.DSCN1562

Later we went to Enderts Beach. We saw sea stars, barnacles, crabs, anemones, hermit crabs, and seashells. On the way back we saw tons of elk. It was really cool.2014-11-04 16.05.33


Our Trip to Craters of the Moon in Idaho

Lucas at Craters On October 5th my family and I went to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Arco, Idaho. According to the National Park Service, this “weird and scenic landscape” is a vast ocean of lava flows with scattered islands of cinder cones and sagebrush.

When we arrived, we watched a movie about a part-time explorer named Robert Limbert who journeyed through the lava three times in the 1920s. His work helped the area become a national monument in 1924.

aa lava

‘a’a lava

pahoehoe lava

pahoehoe lava

We attended a program by a ranger who taught us about the different types of lava called ‘a’a (pronounced “ah ah” – Hawaiian), which is sharp loose rock, and pahoehoe (pronounced “pa hoy hoy” – Hawaiian), which is wrinkly and smooth rock. The ranger also told us about the vegetation that grows there like Limber Pine, and animals that survive there like Pikas.

Lucas butt in cave

Lucas exploring a cave

After a bit, the ranger brought us to the caves where we went around touring it. We saw mini pointed rocks hanging from the ceiling; the cave was really dark but it was still fun. It was hard to climb over the collapses and the big rocks in the caves. The cave was called Indian tunnel. Then when we got out, we explored a few other caves called Honeydew, Boy-scout and Beauty cave.


Yellowstone – America’s First National Park

Yellowstone sm2

Lucas & Franklin at Grand Prismatic Spring

Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming was established in 1872 as America’s first national park. On October 3rd Franklin and I visited this magical place.


A buffalo grazing by the road

We saw a bunch of different geyser basins as well as other geothermal features such as mudpots (an acidic hot spring), fumaroles (an opening in the planet’s crust, often in the neighborhood of volcanoes, which emits steam and gases such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, and hydrogen sulfide), and hot springs (a spring that is produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater from the Earth’s crust). Grand Prismatic Spring was the most colorful. It was very windy when we arrived however so we did not see all of the beautiful colors. The steam kept us warm though.


Bull elk (male)

While we were driving around in different parts of the park we saw many animals, including a Grizzly bear, elk, buffalo, fox, and moose.


Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Later that day we went to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, which had a waterfall in it. The canyon had a bunch of colors on the walls like orange, green, black, gray and yellow. The Yellowstone River is what created the canyon and the falls.

old faithful

Old Faithful at night approximately 8:00 pm

Our last stop was Old Faithful. We watched it spurt water up into the air about 130 feet high. It was really big and cool. It was after dark by the time we finished and because a bridge was out on one road passageway, we had to drive three hours to get back to our campsite. It was almost midnight when we returned. Franklin and I were very tired but had a great day at Yellowstone.


My trip to Bighorn Canyon National Park

Devil's Outlook

Devil’s Outlook

I went to Bighorn Canyon National Park in Wyoming with my family on September 26th. The cliffs are 1,000 feet high and Bighorn River flows through it. Did you know Delaware could fit in this national park?

Big Horn Canyon 9-26-14_0181

Lucas and Pronghorn Antelope buddy at Horseshoe Bend.

We ate lunch overlooking the river at Horseshoe Bend. While there, we saw a big fish swimming in the water. A Black-billed Magpie also landed on a fence close to us.

Then we crossed over the border into Montana. We went to Devil’s Overlook to look into the canyon and saw people fishing in the river. They looked really small. While we were exploring the park we saw a rabbit and wild Mustangs (horses). We also explored an abandoned ranch.

Medicine Wheel with Native American adornments.

Medicine Wheel with Native American adornments.

Finally, we drove up the western peak of Medicine Mountain in Wyoming, which is also located in the Bighorn range. It was 9,642 feet high. At the top we found the Medicine Wheel, which is a National Historic Landmark that Native Americans use.

A Mustang - wild horse in the park.

A Mustang – wild horse in the park.

P.S. Franklin was not on this trip. A member of his squad, Pronghorn Antelope, came with me this time.