Monday, April 11, 2016

JJJewels of the Continent ~ Happy Birthday to America's National Parks! 5 Parks You Need to Visit This Summer! { A to Z Blogging Challenge #FF}

On August 25, 2016, the National Park Service turns 100!

The anniversary of our national park system 
 celebrates the achievements of the past 100 years
 AND  initiates a second century of care taking 
and exploring  America’s national parks.

What types of activities can you engage in at  a national park?
The list is only as limited as your imagination.

The national park system grew from one reserved area in 1872
{ya gotta love Teddy Roosevelt }  
that we now know as  Yellowstone National Park, to encompass
over  450 natural, historical, recreational, and
 cultural areas throughout the 
United States, its territories and island possessions. 
And with all our traveling,
sometimes it seems as if  my family has been to all of them.
But, no such luck!
Most summers we traverse 8 to 10 thousand miles from our eastern US home
in order to tour  the natural and historic offerings of 
a specific area of our great country.
These are our 2015 travels....From Sea to Shining Sea
Our 2014 travels.....Visions of the Southwest
Our 2013 travels...Forever West
I began my blog in December 2012...
sooooo, our journeys prior to that are not blogged.
So I guess you can say, while I might not be an expert, 
 I've logged enough 
miles, hiked enough trails, packed enough bags, put out enough campfires,
read enough maps and helped fill out
enough pages in those junior ranger handbooks to give a little advice! 
And by the way, think you can't afford a cross county trip?
Think again.
My family's been living on one salary for sixteen years
and yet we've visited 47 national parks, monuments, battlefields
 and 41 states.
Here's how.
It's troubling to me when I hear families express their
inability to afford such trips.
If we can do it, so can you.

So here we go~  My faves won't be your faves....for so many reasons.
But to me, these are the absolutely must-visits.
Just grab your camera and camping gear, 
get in the car and get going.

~ 1 ~  Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
One of the seven wonders of the world!
The details on my family's trip there, the camping 
and the hiking are  all here 
This summer, we have reservations at Phantom Ranch....
at the verrrrrrry bottom!
Right on the Colorado River.
Um, check back in August to see how it went.
And to make sure we're still here. ( ! ) 
And remember the motto of the Canyon...
Down is optional, up is mandatory.
Lest you forget, the NPS has posted these signs alllllll over the trails!
For more on the rich natural and historic elements of the Canyon, click here.

~ 2 ~ 
Waterton-Glacier InterNational Peace Park.

It's waaaaaay off the beaten path and soooo far north.
But there is nothing in all the US like Glacier National Park.

"The unheralded line that separates Canada and the United States 
is the longest unfortified border in the world today, and perhaps in all of history. 
It says to mankind: 
Let not the cartographers rule, 
elevate nature and human friendship."
Stewart L. Udall U.S. Secretary of the Interior, 1967

On a hike to Grinnell Glacier~ 2012

~ 3 ~

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

My blog header photo was taken in the Badlands, summer 2012...
so you know this place is near and dear to my heart.
The history and the nature and the geography...all the quintessence of perfection.

~4 ~

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Montana

While in Glacier in summer 2012,
 I jotted a few pages of notes which became
  Glacial Peaks, Alpine Creeks, Gunslingers and Gold Miners
How the West Was Lost Part 1

The ugliness that is westward expansion is  Little Bighorn.

~ 5 ~
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado

A beautiful park and preserve way completely out of the way in southern Colorado.
Not highly visited, but  should be!

Also don't- miss - and - almost - made - the - list- national -parks:


and Yosemite

Yes we really did take all these pictures!!
You can't take a bad photo  in any of these places.

Where's your closest national park or monument??
Click here to learn! #findyourpark

To learn more about the NPS, click to their official site.

I'm happy to link with Ashley's weekly #5faves party
Please click over to peruse many bloggers' favorite "everything!"
It's  really a lot of fun!

Day 10 ~ J,  of the A to Z Challenge!
I'm writing off a picture/s or a thought/s for the month.....
Now real "theme," just a stream of consciousness.
Please visit tomorrow for K, day 11 !

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 Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!

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so we can be in touch regularly!

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Until next time,


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  1. I've visited many many National Parks--they truly are the treasures of our country. I think I've loved Yellowstone the most because it is the park with the most varied topography and sights. I also love my home states park of Rocky Mountain National Park as hiking on the tundra is a thrilling experience. I plan on seeing more parks this summer --they are all so interesting!

    1. We have a lot in common, Pat!! We, too, have loved Yellowstone and the RMNP!! So many memories too.

      I'll be clicking over to your blog too!!

      Thanks for stopping by, Pat!!

  2. Your National Parks look absolutely stunning, I'd love to visit some of them one day! Your pictures are beautiful, thank you for sharing :)

    @LunaNoctis from There She Goes

    1. Thanks so very much for stopping by!

      I'll be visiting your blog as well....

      God bless

  3. I would love to visit all of them especially Waterton-Glacier InterNational Peace Park. I love the Canadian Rockies and enjoyed hiking there. The Waterton-Glacier InterNational Peace Park, was South of where we were so we didn't get to visit. Our J post is up

    1. They're each amazing in their own ways aren't they??

      I'll be clicking to your post now too...thanks for visiting!!

  4. These look so amazing! I really hope to be able to visit them all one day.

  5. Chris,

    I'm getting National Park envy each time I visit your posts on all your amazing travels!:) What a wonderful gift you have given your boys by consistently traveling to these wonders! I'm determined to go West with my family someday and will be definitely using your blog and advice if my dream becomes a reality! I love all your photos and memories and adventures!


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