沙漠中的匕首？ Desert daggers?
Joshua Tree National Park
These immensely photogenic and relatable trees, their shaggy, sinewy limbs thrust upward into the pale light of the desert sky, are the main reason people come here to California's Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua Tree was declared a national monument on August 10, 1936, before being designated a national park in 1994. Perhaps no other national park is so completely defined by a single feature, be it a plant or wildlife or natural formation. While Joshua Tree National Park contains other wonders, this tree that looks drawn by Dr. Seuss is what visitors come to celebrate.
The park (and the town of the same name) could also be called the hippest national park in the country, owing to its proximity to Los Angeles, and the Insta-worthy, charismatic flora that have helped make JT a darling on social media. Van lifers, artists, celebrities, and other creative bohemians have fueled a boom in tourism, not just to the park itself, but to the surrounding towns, like Pioneertown. The kitschy outpost served as an old Hollywood set and is now a center of nightlife in the area. Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace serves artisanal cocktails with its barbecue and features live music, sometimes from the likes of Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, and Patti Smith. And if you can't find an elderflower martini in Joshua Tree, then Palm Springs and Indio and Coachella are a short drive away, something Yellowstone and Yosemite can't claim.
But for those going purely for the nature—the hikers, rock climbers, campers, and stargazers—the 1,200-square-mile park is no less a marvel. Two deserts, the high-elevation Mojave and the low-elevation Colorado, merge here, each with its own ecosystem. The Joshua tree itself grows only on the Mojave side, at elevations between 1,300 and 5,900 feet. Most of the world's Joshua trees are found here. A variety of yucca, Joshua trees live to be 500 and 1,000 years old with roots as deep as 35 feet. Most believe their name was first concocted by Mormon pioneers who likened their branches to the oustretched arms of the biblical Joshua. It proved catchier than its botanical name, Yucca brevifolia. And as any influencer worth their followers will tell you, it makes for a much more memorable hashtag.
这个公园（和同名的小镇）也可以被称为美国最时髦的国家公园，因为它靠近洛杉矶，以及有魅力的植物群，使JT成为社交媒体上的宠儿。范利弗、艺术家、名人和其他富有创意的波西米亚人推动了旅游业的繁荣，不仅是公园本身，还有周边城镇，如先锋镇。这个俗气的前哨站曾经是好莱坞的老片场，现在是该地区的夜生活中心。Pappy&Harriet的先锋城宫殿提供手工鸡尾酒和烧烤，并配有现场音乐，有时来自保罗·麦卡特尼（Paul McCartney）、罗伯特·普兰特（Robert Plant）和帕蒂·史密斯（Patti Smith）。如果你在约书亚树上找不到接骨木花马提尼酒，那幺棕榈泉、Indio和Coachella就在很短的车程之外，这是黄石公园和约塞米蒂不能宣称的。
这座岛海拔超过一英里 This island is more than a mile high
Fannette Island, Lake Tahoe
Tucked into a tiny bay of a grand alpine lake is this granite bump called Fannette Island, the only island in Lake Tahoe. The massive lake lies in the Sierra Nevada at an altitude of 6,225 feet, straddling the state line between California to the west and Nevada to the east with near perfect symmetry. Fannette Island is in Emerald Bay, on the California side of Tahoe's southwest shore. A narrow inlet, seen here at the top center of this image, connects Emerald Bay to the rest of the lake, whose natural beauty draws visitors in all seasons of the year.
Lake Tahoe is known as a mecca for boaters and skiers. Its frigid alpine water is renowned for its clarity. Despite the cold winter temperatures that provide the surrounding ski resorts with ample snowpack, the lake never freezes. The largest alpine lake in North America, Tahoe rivals even the Great Lakes by volume because it is so deep.
Ice-Age glaciers, nature's master sculptors, carved out Emerald Bay eons ago, and for some reason left behind in its wake tiny Fannette Island. It has been known by a half dozen names over the last century, before Fannette finally stuck. A short hike to the top, 150 feet above the water, will take you to the ruins of an old stone building called the 'Tea House,' constructed in the 1920s by the former owner of the island as well as a nearby estate on Emerald Bay called Vikingsholm (the property is now owned by the state and is a popular feature of Emerald Bay State Park). The tea house was used for exactly that, intimate tea parties in surroundings that would be nearly impossible to duplicate in any other home. While tea is no longer served atop the island, the alpine vistas are still there for the taking.
前往山林，今天是国家步道日！ Head for the hills, it's National Trails Day!
National Trails Day
Whether you're a leisurely day walker or a hardcore hiker, there's a US National Trail with your name on it. Thankfully the trails in the national network are categorized as 'Scenic,' 'Historic,' or 'Recreational' to simplify things. The most famous pathway is the Appalachian Trail ('Scenic'), which was the first to be officially named to the National Trails System when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the system into law in 1968.
In a speech three years earlier, Johnson had said, 'We can and should have an abundance of trails for walking, cycling, and horseback riding, in and close to our cities. In the backcountry, we need to copy the great Appalachian Trail in all parts of America.' His vision took root, and today there are protected trails across the US, with much of their upkeep carried out by enthusiastic volunteers. If you need an incentive to hit the great outdoors, we reckon this image should do the trick. Banner Peak and Thousand Island Lake in the Ansel Adam Wilderness are highlighted along both the Pacific Crest Trail and the John Muir Trail.
Today is National Trails Day, established by the American Hiking Society as a day of public events aimed at advocacy and trail service. On this day, 'Thousands of hikers, bikers, rowers, horseback riders, trail clubs, federal and local agencies, land trusts, and businesses come together in partnership to advocate for, maintain, and clean up public lands and trails,' the AHS explains. The society aims to protect and enhance US National Trails for generations to come. A current focus is to make sure that trails are inclusive and accessible to everyone.
没有哪儿比这里更能代表旧金山… Nothing says 'San Francisco' quite like...
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Few structures achieve the status of the Golden Gate Bridge—so recognizable that it needs no introduction. Opened on this day in 1937, the bridge was a marvel of engineering, built to withstand ferocious winds above and swirling currents below. Its construction was embraced by the local population because it would finally connect the rising metropolis of San Francisco to communities in Marin County and all that lay north. Before the bridge was completed, a ferry was the only way across the Golden Gate, the mile-wide strait that connects the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco Bay. Building a bridge to cross the span would be no small feat, and many thought it impossible.
Financing for the construction was another hurtle and was put further at risk with the Great Crash of 1929. But eventually voters in the Bay Area supported a bond measure worth $35 million ($473 million today), using their homes, farms, and business properties as collateral—the infusion of cash allowed construction to begin in 1933. In the midst of the Great Depression, the bridge became a jobs generator, putting 2,000 men to work. In four years they completed the engineering triumph ahead of schedule and under budget.
Its two towers rise to 755 feet above the water, and the span suspended between them is 4,200 feet long, which made it the longest suspension bridge in the world upon its completion. Seventeen longer suspension bridges have since been built (most of them in China), but the Golden Gate remains the star among them, considered the most beautiful, most photographed, a symbol of American style and ingenuity, and a calling card for a city. There are few better reasons to leave your heart in San Francisco.
潜力惊人的萌芽 The sprout with amazing potential
With a little love and support, this little sprout at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in California has a big future ahead of it. It has the potential to one day be the tallest tree on the planet, or at least close to it. Its 'big brother,' Hyperion, currently holds the record at 380 feet. They're giant sequoias, aka giant redwood trees. They often grow upwards of 300 feet tall and can live for thousands of years. They're heroes of nature, affecting the weather and climate, while housing and protecting other plants and animals. But all of this little sprout's potential is at risk because the giant sequoia is an endangered species. Fewer than 80,000 of them remain. That's why today is an important day for it and all trees.
That's right, today is Arbor Day, the day where we stop a moment to think about the trees (and hopefully even plant a few). The first American Arbor Day occurred 150 years ago when an estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska in 1872. This year, America's Arbor Day Foundation is celebrating its 50th year of dedication to tree planting. They've planted over 350 million of them over the years, but the mission never ends. Trees are vital to the health of our planet, which means they're important for our own health as well. Why not do a little to make the future a better place and take a moment to nurture or plant a new tree today?
你能把灯关掉吗? Could you turn off the lights?
Dark Sky Week
During International Dark Sky Week, we're counting ourselves lucky to have this spectacular nighttime view, considering the astonishing fact that 83% of the global population lives under a light-polluted sky. Unneeded artificial light is classified as a pollutant and has been proven to have harmful side effects. Not only does it waste money and energy, it also disrupts plants and animals, is believed to impact the climate, and blocks our view of the universe.
Encouraging people to get away from artificial light is one of the goals of International Dark Sky Week, and today's photo shows just how magnificent that can be. Here, we're treated to a beautiful view of the Milky Way from Yosemite National Park in California. Yosemite is part of a network of national parks monitoring dark night skies to gather a complete data set of light pollution. They've learned that 'two-thirds of Americans cannot see the Milky Way from their backyard, and if current light pollution trends continue, there will be almost no dark skies left in the contiguous United States by 2025.'
Luckily, dark sky is a recoverable resource. There are ways to reduce our light use and improve the view of the night sky for everyone. Think about it over the course of the next week, preferably while gazing at a night sky undisturbed by light pollution—or at least a beautiful photo of one.
通往过去的隧道 A tunnel to the past
Point Reyes National Seashore
This evocative photo of a cypress-lined road was taken in Point Reyes National Seashore, a marine and coastal reserve under the care of the National Park Service. A portion of the park preserves the marine habitat in the harbors along the coast of the Point Reyes Peninsula on California's central coast. Inland, the area's grasslands, marshlands, and wooded uplands present a notably diverse collection of landscapes—including the cypress tunnel.
It's worth noting that at the end of this tree-lined cul-de-sac is an old ship-to-shore radio station known as KPH. It's mostly a historic site that still broadcasts locally but was once a vital communications relay for the many ships that passed by Point Reyes, especially during World War II.
If you're looking to take in a beautiful sunset over some exotic terrain, you could do worse than the Borrego Badlands, a 20-mile stretch of desert in southeastern California's Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. This arid landscape is not the kind of dune-filled terrain t you might visualize when you think of a desert, but a series of rolling hills, canyons, gullies, and arroyos, speckled with sparse but hardy vegetation. It makes for a surreal and beautiful view.
Fossilized seashells found in the area reveal that this arid landscape was once submerged under the waters of the Gulf of California and the Colorado River. The terrain was shaped over time by water and wind erosion into its current form. Today, the Borrego Badlands is a favorite spot for campers, while photographers are drawn by the picture-perfect sunsets.
Shrouded in snow on the summit of Mount Hamilton, in the Diablo Range just east of San Jose, California, lies the world's first permanently occupied mountaintop observatory. Constructed between 1876 and 1887, the Lick Observatory has been the site of significant discoveries including several of Jupiter's moons and other planetary systems. It's named for American real-estate entrepreneur James Lick, who set aside $700,000 for the University of California to build a facility that would be home to a 'telescope superior to and more powerful than any telescope yet made.'
His wish came true. The 36-inch refracting telescope on Mount Hamilton was the largest that had ever been built from when it saw first light on January 3, 1888, until the construction of the 40-inch refractor at Wisconsin's Yerkes Observatory in 1897. Sadly, Lick died before his vision became a reality, but his name lives on. His body is even buried beneath the telescope, which continues to scan the skies today.