The first National Parks (NP) first grabbed my attention during the summer of 2004 on my Great Move West. In the midst of a 2500 mile journey, my brother and I pulled off I-90 for a scenic detour through Badlands NP at sunset. We were blown away. We’d never seen anything so natural and beautiful in our entire lives. We just kept coming around corners saying, “Oh. My. Gosh.” Two days later, we made a similarly adjectived drive up Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier NP. We hiked over snowy fields in our flip flops in July and fell in love with the bright turquoise water of glacial lakes.
The National Parks are something to be celebrated…that American pioneers had the foresight to preserve our best places, when humans tend to be so good at exploiting lands for a profit.
This summer, we took several excursions that led us through Crater Lake, Yosemite, Arches, and Canyonlands. Each park was unique, but each one held breathtaking viewpoints, and a myriad of color and natural beauty. The parks were a melting pot of nationalities, and during our time in Utah at Arches and Canyonlands, we ran into very few Americas, rather we met mainly Europeans in rented RV’s. It made me wonder if the National Parks are something we might take for granted, when we are the very people they were set aside for! And, even with some of the parks boasting as many as 15,000 visitors a day (Yosemite) I was amazed at how much is still preserved.
So one of Summer 2010’s Greatest Hits for me was being introduced to the beauty of the National Parks, I must agree with historian Wallace Stegner (who was tagged by Ken Burns for the National Parks documentary) in saying they are “the best idea we ever had.” Here’s a few snapshots in testament to their beauty!
Crater Lake National Park (Oregon, June 2010, with mother-in-law and father-in-law)
Yosemite National Park (California, June 2010, with friends from Taylor University days)
Arches National Park (Utah, July 2010, with Mom and Dad)
Canyonlands National Park (Utah, July 2010, with Mom and Dad)
So, now, it’s your turn. Where would you like to go? I’m thinking, Hawaii or American Samoa.
Coming up Next, Summer 2010 Greatest Hit #2: The Backyard Garden.