Point Lobos

Rocky cliff along the Cypress Grove Trail, Point Lobos State Reserve, Carmel, California
Rocky cliff along the Cypress Grove Trail, Point Lobos State Reserve, Carmel, California

Point Lobos State Reserve on the Big Sur Coast south of Carmel is the quintessential California seaside location. Once the haunt of luminary residents Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, its rocky cliffs, cypress groves, pebbled beaches, and blue lagoons provide an endless variety of photographic opportunities.

As part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary its waters are home to abundant sea life including the endangered sea otter. And extensive trails wander through the rare groves of Monterey Cypress, which only occur here and in the nearby town of Monterey, and are the classic wind-swept symbol of the central California coast.

 

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Plitvice Lakes National Park

Travertine cascades on the Korana River, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Travertine cascades on the Korana River, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

The mesmerizing waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes National Park are renowned for their unique colors, ranging from azure to green and blue. The waters are fed from underground Karst formations, and the colors change constantly throughout the day depending on the quantity of minerals and organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.

Delicate travertine dams separate the 16 lakes that are visible on the surface, creating a unique ecosystem between each body of water. Formed as plants and bacteria in the water interact with the air, these barriers grow at a rate of 1 centimeter a year and continue to shape and form the myriad cascades the park is famous for.

Established in 1949, Plitvice Lakes is one of the oldest national parks in Europe and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Croatia is a beautiful country with a rich and colorful past, and as one of the newest members of the European Union its friendly atmosphere and gorgeous scenery make this an ideal addition to any European adventure.

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Yosemite Mist Trail

Vernal Fall and rainbow on the Mist Trail, Yosemite National Park, California
Vernal Fall and rainbow on the Mist Trail, Yosemite National Park, California

The appropriately named Mist Trail is one of the world’s classic hikes, and a highlight of any trip to Yosemite National Park. As an alternate to the John Muir Trail when hiking to Half Dome or Clouds Rest, the trail ascends a series of stone steps above the Merced River with dramatic views in all directions.

The trail climbs steeply out of the Valley and during a heavy flow the swirling mist is a perfect way to cool off during the warm summer months. A rainbow often forms at the base of the falls, and the upper portion of the trail is actually carved into the adjacent cliff providing an exhilarating finish as the water plunges over 300 feet to the canyon below.

©Russ Bishop/All Rights Reserved