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mary caperton morton

Getting There and Getting Around California

One of the easiest ways to visit Death Valley is to fly into Las Vegas, rent a car with four-wheel drive and head due west 250 kilometers to the east entrance of the park. Before exploring, stop at the Furnace Creek Visitors Center for park maps and information on weather and road conditions. Before heading out on a hike or a dirt-track drive, talk to a ranger about where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

 
04 Mar 2012

Travels in Geology: Going to extremes in Death Valley

A desert called Death Valley sounds like a place to avoid. Don’t let the ominous name scare you away. Most of the year, this vast and rugged expanse of eastern California is brutally hot, but visit in winter or early spring and you’ll find a surprisingly beautiful and vibrant place.

04 Mar 2012

Getting There and Getting Around Albuquerque

To get to Ghost Ranch, fly into Albuquerque or Santa Fe, rent a car and drive north on Highway 84 past Española and Abiquiu to Ghost Ranch. A sign marks the right-hand turn into the Ghost Ranch Education and Conference Center between mileposts 224 and 225. The museums and visitor center are approximately 1.5 kilometers off the paved highway on a dirt road suitable for all cars.

 
07 Nov 2011

Get Dirty

If hiking the trails at Ghost Ranch and perusing the museums aren’t hands-on enough for you, consider signing up for a course through the Ghost Ranch Education Center, which offers reasonably priced (about $300 a week) one- and two-week classes throughout the year.

 
07 Nov 2011

Travels in Geology: Unearthing the ghosts of Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

For centuries, Ghost Ranch, N.M., was known as “Rancho de los Brujos” or Ranch of the Witches. Both monikers suit this stunning place well, as all sorts of creatures have left their bones behind here in the 400-meter-high cliffs layered with red, yellow and white Mesozoic rocks.

07 Nov 2011

Getting There And Getting Around Michigan

Part of the Upper Peninsula’s appeal is its inaccessibility. The U.P. boasts a few small airports with service from Detroit and Chicago, but they have limited car rentals, so driving up from Michigan’s lower mitt or from Wisconsin or Ontario (across the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge) is probably your best bet. Fortunately for travelers, much of the region’s economy is tourism-based and even the smallest waypoints offer cozy cabins and bed and breakfasts. Campsites are also plentiful throughout the U.P. 

 
12 Oct 2010

Travels in Geology: Up to Michigan's U.P.

You have to be tough to be a Yooper. Between the epic lake-effect snow, ship-sinking storms and summertime swarms of black flies, Michigan’s remote and rugged Upper Peninsula is one of the last true wild outposts in the lower 48 states. But while living in the U.P. may not be for everybody, a visit in any season will delight rock hounds, beachcombers, wildlife watchers, storm seekers and fall colors enthusiasts. 

12 Oct 2010

Getting There And Getting Around Oregon

To visit Crater Lake, fly into Portland, rent a car and take a five-hour ride down Interstate 5 and a couple of smaller highways to Crater Lake National Park. If you’re not pressed for time, take scenic routes 26 and 97 along the crest of the Cascades mountain range, where you’ll pass by 3,426-meter-tall Mount Hood, 3,200-meter-tall Mount Jefferson and 2,375-meter-tall Mount Washington. The closest large towns to the park are Bend, a picturesque ski town in the shadow of the Three Sisters and Mount Bachelor volcanoes 180 kilometers north of the park, and Medford, a town with a small airport — with daily flights from Portland — in the Rogue River Valley 120 kilometers southwest of the park. Bend/Redmond also has an airport. 

 
12 Sep 2010

Travels in Geology: Clear water and cataclysm at Oregon's Crater Lake

Today, Crater Lake in southwestern Oregon is known for being one of the deepest, clearest lakes in the world. In 5,700 B.C., however, the scenery stunned witnesses for a very different reason: The eruption and collapse of Mount Mazama that created Crater Lake is thought to be one of the greatest geologic catastrophes ever witnessed by humans. A trip to Crater Lake National Park will not only redefine your concept of nature’s bluest blue, but it’s also an opportunity to bear witness to the peaceful aftermath of one of Earth’s great cataclysms. 

12 Sep 2010

Travels in Geology: Floods, Fires and Bears in Montana's Bitterroot Valley

Everything is big in Big Sky country: big mountains, big rivers, big glaciers, big floods and big bears. Montana itself is such a big place that it would take a lifetime to explore the whole state, so visitors are better off picking a few hot spots. Glacier National Park in far northern Montana may be the state’s most popular tourist destination, but Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley, a scenic four-hour drive south of the park, should also top any geo-traveler’s must-see list. 

11 Jun 2010

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