Thursday Trek~National Parks Top 5
Really Dawn. How in the world could you narrow down 409 National Parks, Preserves, Historic Sites, etc., into the top 5? By cheating of course!
In case you hadn’t heard by now – which means you haven’t been paying attention to me – 2016 is the 100th year for the US National Parks system. There is a campaign this year focused at guaranteeing that the parks survive another 100 years. This campaign and celebration require a two-fold purpose. Our National Parks need future generations to not only visit and enjoy them but to become the next champions to defend the parks. Need I say against all enemies, foreign and domestic?
In my love of most things outdoors, the parks are pretty high on the list. I’ve visited only 37 of the 409 and hope to visit much more in the coming years. The Centennial Celebration just gave me a boost to do what I can this year! So my top 5 list is the top 5 I’ve been to. Then I’ll post on the top 5 I wish to get to soon. Then the top 5 I’ve never heard of that have me intrigued.
My Top 5 National Parks and why ~
Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon, and it is incredible I admit, but the Black Canyon has a few things I enjoyed more. Crowds: there weren’t any at the end of June – high tourist season. Snakes: there aren’t any poisonous ones in this area as the nights are too cold. Park Ranger attention: because there aren’t crowds pulling their attention every which way, one can have a conversation with them. The beauty is astounding but with my fear of heights; I witness it with a firm grip on the guardrails.
Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. I suggest the drive-along CD to travel the park. All parks stir up emotions of some type for me. Usually a feeling of awe or that I am such a small piece of the big pie. Gettysburg stirs up empathy and pain so deep I rarely leave the park without crying. I can’t imagine the depths of personal conviction that would move brother to fire his weapon across the field at his brother. The blood of our forefathers is what built our nation and parks like Gettysburg need to be here to remind us of this.
Denali National Park in Alaska. This park was so big; there is no way I could ever see enough of it. As part of a Holland America Land & Cruise Tour, we spent an afternoon/evening and the next morning in the park. Deer visited the woods just behind our little cabin that was the best thing ever. We took a bus tour into the park further than you can drive your car on the lookout for bears. What I remember most was the vastness and how much we couldn’t ever touch. That is what I think I like most about the parks; how beautiful they are and will stay because we can’t develop them.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in New Jersey. I will totally own up to this as being a sentimental National Park for me. I practically grew up in this recreation area. Our family camped for vacations and we went here at least once yearly. It was the first camping trip I took at six months of age, the first one I got poison ivy in, and one I’m looking forward to re-visiting again; maybe this June. This area boasts great fishing, water sports, hiking, and camping. The Appalachian Trail rolls through here and I’ve hiked both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey side of it. This was also where I had my first and only experience with a Timber Rattler! UGH
Finally, my next top 5 would be any of these parks in the Southwest of the US. All of these National Parks preserve ancient Native American Pueblo history, culture, and lifestyle. I can’t seem to decide which I liked more of the following:
Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico.
Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico.
Any visit to any National Park will reward you with so much more than can be imagined. So go here: FindYourPark, click on your state and see what might be right around the corner. MANY parks have no entrance fee and if you want to visit one that does; go on a free entrance day. Free Days 2016
As always ~ Thanks for reading!