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The Gipper

The Gipper's Guide to America

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On my recent trip to Wyoming I again visited some "old friends"  i.e. National Park Units that I had been to before.

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.   Though this time I visited the southern section, whereas before I had been to the northern section.

Yellowstone National Park.    I had previously been to most areas of Yellowstone, but this time I hit a few spots that I had not stopped in before.  And it is always nice to go back. This was my 3rd time there. For my travel companion, it was his 10th time!

Grand Teton NP.   My previous time here was somewhat cursory being just a "passing through" situation, so this time, staying in Jackson, just 5 miles away, I was able to do a much more in depth visit to this park.

So, my count stays put.  I have been to 368 of the 419 units.  Though I did do a check....I have only 33  park units left on the Continental US to visit.  Nineteen of those are in only 3 states:  9 in Northern New Mexico,  5 in Washington and 5 in California. In no other state are there more than 2. (not currently scheduled to visit any of those states....though I am considering a winter So.  Calif. visit)

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1 hour ago, TexasAg1969 said:

I found this on the internet for those who enjoy seeing starry skies unencumbered by air and light pollution.

https://www.theparkcatalog.com/blog/certified-dark-sky-parks-in-the-united-states/

Interesting that neither Yellowstone nor Grand Teton are on that list, considering how remote they are from any major cities.  I have done some stargazing at several of these parks. Most recently Big Bend earlier in like February.  (but I did not really think to do stargazing in the Tetons.  I was literally going to bed at like 9:00 pm.

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2 hours ago, The Gipper said:

Interesting that neither Yellowstone nor Grand Teton are on that list, considering how remote they are from any major cities.  I have done some stargazing at several of these parks. Most recently Big Bend earlier in like February.  (but I did not really think to do stargazing in the Tetons.  I was literally going to bed at like 9:00 pm.

The back side of Rocky Mountain National Park is phenomenal during the summer when prevailing winds of W to E are in play and any afternoon cloudiness has cleared with those winds. And it really isn't bad either from the Estes Park side under those conditions when looking West away from any lights of Denver. My brother's back porch is set so you sit facing that direction and anything from Denver has his house between us and the light source. Spectacular star counting (well estimation in millions anyway). And the longer you stay out there the more you realize you're on a little ball that is rotating in relation to those stars. In August you get to experience the meteor showers. 😁

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2 hours ago, TexasAg1969 said:

Interesting article on National Park System:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/society/national-parks-estimated-to-save-trillions-in-mental-health-costs

Obviously needs a lot more viable research.

I agree, it helps.  Not sure how they can come up with some kind of dollar figure however.

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On 11/1/2019 at 9:14 AM, The Gipper said:

Interesting that neither Yellowstone nor Grand Teton are on that list, considering how remote they are from any major cities. 

Even more amazing to me was that 2 Florida parks were listed. Trust me, with our humidity it doesn't matter how dark the sky is,  Viewing the night sky is terrible most of the year regardless of the lack of light pollution :(

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7 minutes ago, Axe said:

Even more amazing to me was that 2 Florida parks were listed. Trust me, with our humidity it doesn't matter how dark the sky is,  Viewing the night sky is terrible most of the year regardless of the lack of light pollution :(

And one of the main reasons it is so starry in Estes Park is that you are already 8000 ft into the atmosphere from where you sit. The heavier atmosphere is well below that level. Same reason that many observatories are built as high as possible. The multiple telescope complex on the Hawaii Big Island is above 13,000 ft.

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Next trip is in Jan/Feb.  to Sedona and Las Vegas...and for a day or two to a place called Deep Springs Cal.   Just north of Death Valley.  I don't think you will find it on any regular map, though your Google gps should bring it up.   It is where my brother lives and works at a college/cattle ranch. Closest semi size town there is Bishop Cal.   

I suspect the stars at night are big and bright...dun, dun, dun, dun deep in that part of the country.  We shall see.

I do plan to visit a couple of new NP units:   Castle Mtns...In Cal...out sort of Laughlin way.  Plus  the Tule Fossil Beds...just outside of Vegas.  Plus, I will certainly  re-visit a couple of major parks.  The aforementioned  Death Valley, plus the Grand Canyon, and maybe a couple of others that are somewhat close to Sedona. 

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Love Sedona, Been there a few times and was even scouting out real estate there at one time..

If you get a chance and haven't seen it yet, Canyon De Chelly.. I can't recommend it highly enough!

31647_395638831510_3892185_n.jpg?_nc_cat

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10 hours ago, Axe said:

Love Sedona, Been there a few times and was even scouting out real estate there at one time..

If you get a chance and haven't seen it yet, Canyon De Chelly.. I can't recommend it highly enough!

31647_395638831510_3892185_n.jpg?_nc_cat

Been there, done that a couple of times.

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1 hour ago, The Gipper said:

Been there, done that a couple of times.

Were you required to go with a Navajo guide and if so what was the cost? It's on my bucket list, but "basically I'm on my way to Australia"-James Garner in Support Your Local Sheriff 🤠

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5 hours ago, TexasAg1969 said:

Were you required to go with a Navajo guide and if so what was the cost? It's on my bucket list, but "basically I'm on my way to Australia"-James Garner in Support Your Local Sheriff 🤠

More or less to go fully into the Canyon.  You jump on a truck and they take you  in and around.  But that is only for IN the Canyon.  For all views above the Canyon rim, you just drive yourself and stop as you please. I was there I think in 1999 and again in like 2005....so I don't recall the costs. But it was perfectly affordable.   Tip your guide.

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Word to the wise. Do not ever take the Epcot Mission Space training trip to Mars. It is a centrifuge based ride that takes you to 2.5 Gs which is more than you get in a simple space shot up to the spacelab. When you're an old fart you get close to passout level. Made several people use the barfbags. I went on multiple roller coasters but none hit that level of g-force for sustained periods of up to 1/2 min. like this one did. Anyway we celebrated our upcoming 50th with all our children and grandchildren plus siblings and some of their families (19 in all). Had a good time all week if you like standing in long lives. Favorites were "Sourin'" in Epcot and "Skull Island King Kong" in Universal Studios.

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Stars are numerous and shining bright off my brother's back porch in Estes Park. Just got in tonight and all the weather cleared out just in time. No smog or ozone at all up here at 8,000 ft. And listening to a big ole hoot owl out there somewhere in the distance.

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12 hours ago, TexasAg1969 said:

Stars are numerous and shining bright off my brother's back porch in Estes Park. Just got in tonight and all the weather cleared out just in time. No smog or ozone at all up here at 8,000 ft. And listening to a big ole hoot owl out there somewhere in the distance.

I assume you saw my son's photo of a Snowy Owl I posted on here.   Speaking of brothers and stars.....I plan to go up to my brother's place for a day or two when I am in Vegas.  He lives out past the north end of Death Valley....and there is absolutely nothing up that way. Highly remote. The stars should be crazy from there. 

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3 hours ago, The Gipper said:

I assume you saw my son's photo of a Snowy Owl I posted on here.   Speaking of brothers and stars.....I plan to go up to my brother's place for a day or two when I am in Vegas.  He lives out past the north end of Death Valley....and there is absolutely nothing up that way. Highly remote. The stars should be crazy from there. 

Yes I saw the picture-impressive.  This morning I was looking through clear air above Estes west into the mountains past the Sheep Lakes area in RMNP. There was a very thick cloud in between the peaks snowing thickly like cotton and already fallen snow blowing off the side peaks so much so that it appeared like the two sources were converging into a river of snow flowing down the valley towards the lakes. Too bad I had no camera with me.

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