Friday, February 19, 2016

100 Years And Counting: The National Parks

Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park
  One of my favorite things about living in Utah is that we have five national parks. I like to think that it's proof that we have the most scenic state but maybe I'm biased. Only California (9) and Alaska (8) have more national parks than Utah, and that's not too shabby.
  This year the National Parks Service is celebrating 100 years of preserving America's prized and delicate locations. There are 58 parks spread throughout 27 states and also the territories of American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands. There you go, I just gave you 58 locations to choose from for your next vacation. You're welcome.
  Looking through the list I find it somewhat embarrassing how few parks I've actually visited. I can count eight that I've visited and seven of them I tend to frequent. Glacier National Park I've only visited once and the week before we arrived (in June) an avalanche closed the Going to the Sun Road, the main thoroughfare through the park. This made it very difficult to see the park and unfortunately we missed out on the best the park has to offer. I hope to return before all the glaciers melt. We'll see how that goes.
  This year will be a return visit to Yellowstone. It's at the top of my list of favorite parks despite my beautiful local parks. We haven't been there since 2009 and in my opinion I'm overdue for a trip. If you visit on the 4th of July you can catch an awesome fireworks display in West Yellowstone, Montana. The colorful explosions seem even more patriotic as they light up Yellowstone's surrounding forests.
  I've mentioned in previous posts that I will be stopping into Yosemite National Park for the first time. This is the trip I'm most excited for due to an exciting itinerary that I've been working on but from the photos and videos I've seen of this park I'm sure it will be a highlight. I may have to bring twice as many memory cards for the cameras than usual.
  I cant' say enough about these parks. They encompass everything I like about traveling. I'm either seeing something unique and beautiful or I'm standing in some kind of historic site where long gone people lived and left their remnants behind for us to ponder and learn about. Spring is coming and with it comes warmer weather which gets us thinking about Summer vacations. I hope when you plan your vacations you consider stopping in to one our 58 parks. Bring your cameras, kids, and curiosity because visiting these places bring inspiration, beauty and adventure that you won't want to miss. I hope to see you out there.

Brandan

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