Looking for Something, Finding More - A Tale of a National Park Adventure

Photography and Text By Tara Fidanza  © All rights reserved.

Recently I drove cross-country with my husband. This was a well-planned trip. For our honeymoon, we would drive from New York to Washington, primarily to see our favorite band perform at Washington's   Tara Fidanza notorious Gorge Amphitheater. Colleagues thought we were daring, maybe a bit fanatical, and our family thought it was endearing. We saw nothing bold in our quest; we wanted to glimpse some of the country as we journeyed to have a new experience in a different state. We prepared to lodge in the national parks along our intended route, at my request, to satisfy the photographer in me.
Our first stay was in the Badlands, South Dakota. Not only was I awed, overwhelmed would be a better word. I had too many sights to take in, many views to photograph. The changing scenery under the chameleon sky and abundant wildlife made it one mesmerizing moment after another. We planned to devote one day to Mt. Rushmore, but it was a challenge to pull myself away from the park. I feared I would miss an amazing dream shot of a lifetime. Reluctantly, I left; after all, I faced a dilemma. I had already taken more than 800 photos in two days. I needed more memory space. Since there were no stores in the park, off we went.
I conserved my space on my digital, by purchasing extra rolls of 35mm film for my Pentax that I had brought on the trip. I now had all my bases covered. We enjoyed our time at the national monument and   Tara Fidanza headed back to explore the park. Generously, nature greeted us with a beautiful sunset. On our last day in the Badlands, I rose early to catch a spectacular sunrise. Fog was like a blanket covering the valley. Many of these photos from all the national parks are available on my website.
Next on the list of destinations, was Yellowstone National Park, after a brief stop at Devil's Tower. Again, emotions were powerful as my camera filled with images, wildlife, and foreign sights to a fellow New Yorker. We are not strangers to the countryside, as we are not from a metropolis. The sights however, were breathtaking, and I could not snap the shots fast enough even for our slow moving vehicle. Sometime during this time, I had a realization; my day job working in a lab would never convey the same feelings that emerged shooting pictures in God's magnificent wonderland. This created another challenge for me. I would hope to conquer this later in my life trek.
We reached WA five days after leaving NY, and again beautiful landscapes were plentiful and welcomed us as we arrived. The scenic view had been a constant companion the entire trip, but certain regions   Tara Fidanza appeared more pronounced than others were. As a last minute day trip, Mt. Rainer and Mt. St. Helens were stunning. The sentiments that surfaced when encountering these illustrious surroundings are very humbling to the human character. Where we stayed in Vantage, WA was a picture haven also. After four days, we headed home, heavy hearted as we traveled back east.
One last stop was northern Montana. We arrived in Glacier National Park about an hour before sunset and found that nothing in our trip had prepared us for this abundance of magnificence. I snapped off three rolls of 35mm film and over hundred digital photos in less than an hour. The highlight of our trip was cresting the peak on the 'Going to the Sun Road'. As we positioned ourselves precariously on the edge of the mountain, beautiful colors of orange, pink, red, and purple splashed its way across the horizon. Dark silhouettes of trees and foliage dotted the foreground. If I had not been present I would thought it was a portrait trick, an imaginative view conjured up by a writer. A trip like this is a necessity for any nature lover, photographer, or artist.
As we left the park and saw the moon rising over the peaks near St. Mary's Lake, we rode in silence, much like most of our trip had been. It was incredible. It was beautiful. We will never forget any moment.
Three days of traveling brought us back home to NY. Though we love where we reside, we reminiscence and long for the places we visited. When people ask me how our honeymoon and trip was, I tell them it   Tara Fidanza was definitely life changing. We went for one thing and attained something entirely different, without even searching. Peace and serenity fill the soul with no words that are able to describe the places we saw. Though it surprises most when I say this, I know they could not understand where my passion comes from. They had never been there.
The only regret I have from our trip, besides it being over, was the last night we sat on our swing of our cabin in the Badlands. Stars were dotted all over the night sky, brighter and bigger than I had ever seen. The Milky Way belt danced brilliantly through the heavens. The quiet and stillness of the night awakened with a distance howl from a coyote. One could almost picture the animal baying at the moon. In that moment, I not only wished I was within picture range, but also had a video recorder. Perhaps another time, this is enough reason for me, to go back.

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