Dr. Frederick W. Vollmer

Alaska Range


I am still an enthusiastic student of geology after over three decades of study and teaching. My outdoor activities focus on geology and natural history, and I have been an avid photographer for even longer. These galleries are accounts of various trips I have taken, a mix of geology excursions, road trips, motorcycle journeys, and backpacking trips. They are probably mainly of interest to my friends, family and students, however I use many of the images in my geology lectures, and these may be of wider scenic or scientific interest. In any case, I enjoyed taking them, and hope you enjoy viewing them.

The galleries and images are all copyrighted and may not be used without permission. I specifically grant educators permission to use individual images for non-commercial use provided they are each clearly attributed, "Photograph by F.W. Vollmer". The images may not be altered. A few images were taken by family, students or colleagues, and I have indicated that (if I have omitted an attribution, please let me know). Those images may not be used without the photographer's permission.

Northern States Ride Northern States Ride 2016.  In August 2016 I have a geology conference in northern California, and decide to use the opportunity to visit my dad, tour some National Parks, and maybe check out the Sturgis motorcycle rally. This decision takes me and Jezebel, my 2013 Road King, on a two month journey of 11685 miles (19905 km) along the shores of the five Great Lakes, the northern border on US 2 (The Highline), down the Pacific coast on US 101 and CA 1, through 19 states, 7 national parks, 4 national monuments, while riding some of the most coveted motorcycle roads in the United States.
Hawaii Volcanos Hawai‘i Volcanoes 2016.  Each year the Geology Department at SUNY New Paltz runs an extended field excursion, usually to the western United States. This year we step off the continent to visit Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, one of the best locations in the world to see evidence of volcanism and processes of igneous rock formation.
Bergen Spring Bergen Spring 2015.  At a geological conference in the summer of 2012 my colleague Haakon invited me to spend a sabbatical in Bergen studying deformed conglomerates. Such a study offers a window into the behavior of rocks deep within a mountain belt over timescales not reproducible in a laboratory. Geologists must work where suitable exposures are located, so I plan a visit to Bergen. These photographs are a distillation of my experiences in Bergen, mostly outside of that work, exploring Bergen and observing its landscape, people, and culture.
Tri-Coastal Ride Tri-Coastal Ride 2014.  My decision to ride my Road King to a geology conference in Colorado turns into a 9469 mile ride from New York to California to Louisiana, crossing 24 states. I seek out classic motorcycle roads, US-36 across the Heartland, Mount Evans and Rim Rock Drive in Colorado, Nevada's Loneliest Road in America, the Pacific Coast Highway, Route 66, Natchez Trace, Cherohala Skyway, Tail of the Dragon, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Skyline Drive.
John Muir Trail John Muir Trail 2013.  Backpacking 210 miles from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney along the John Muir Trail (JMT), one of the most famous, and scenic, long trails in the world. I had the JMT on my mind for decades when a friend invited me to hike it. We planned for months, but circumstances required him to cancel just a few days prior. These photographs document my personal experiences hiking the JMT solo.
Denali Denali Backpacking 2012.  A backpacking trip to Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. My daughter, who is stationed in Anchorage, could not get a leave, so I plan a five day solo trip. There are no trails, so I study maps, and work out a detailed equipment list before leaving. At the park, the rangers give a required training session that addresses river crossings, bear, wolf, and moose encounters, and other safety concerns, before they will issue a wilderness permit.
Old Faithful Thrust Belt and Yellowstone 2012.  A SUNY New Paltz field excursion to Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho in May 2012. The itinerary included the Wasatch Range, with a transect through the Sevier thrust belt, Green River Basin, Wind River Range, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone National Park, and Craters of the Moon National Monument.
Old Faithful Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne 2008.  A backpacking trip through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, August 2008. Looking for a hike in the Sierra Nevada, I am intrigued by the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, which extends from Hetch Hetchy Valley to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. John Muir provides inspiration, writing "Everyone who is anything of a mountaineer should go on through the entire length of the canyon ... there is not a dull step all the way."
Down East Down East Ride 2008.  In June 2008 I spend two weeks on motorcycle trip from New York to New Brunswick. On my way to do geologic field work on Mount Desert Island, Maine, I check in at the Laconia Motorcycle Week, ride Mount Washington and the Kancamagus Highway, tour the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Green Mountains of Vermont, study sheet joints and Silurian supervolcanoes, and sample lots of tasty lobster.
Delicate Arch Coast to Coast Tour 2007.  In 2007 I buy a new Subaru that cries out for some exercise. I have funding to do a geologic study on sheet joints in Maine, so Acadia National Park in Maine is my first destination. After that I figure a road trip to the Pacific Coast for a visit with my parents in California is in order. Naturally I pick a route that includes a few national parks and some scenic geologic features.
Barber Motorsports Museum Blue Ridge Ride 2006.  In June 2006 I take a 3000 mile motorcycle ride from New York to Alabama, following the Appalachian Mountains. I take the scenic route along Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, and ride the Tail of the Dragon. While in Birmingham, where I have family, I visit the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, with its amazing collection of classic motorcycles.
Death Valley Death Valley 2006.  In 2006 the New Paltz Geology Western Field Excursion heads to Death Valley National Park over Spring Break. May is an ideal time to visit as summer temperatures typically exceed 110°F (43°C). The Death Valley area makes a compact field study location, with numerous geologic features within driving range.
Grand Canyon Colorado Plateau 2005.  The Colorado Plateau is the 2005 destination for SUNY New Paltz's annual Geology Field Excursion. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado is on the list of any geologist, and we plan to hike to the Colorado River and back, experiencing the journey through time. Colorful Bryce and Zion are also on the list.

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