43 of 59

These numbers stand for the next big challenge that I am currently working on…

Conquering all of the National Parks in the US!

This truly started when my family had finished visiting all of the 50 states.  My Dad started looking at where we should go next and he figured that we needed to see all the National Parks (NP).  As a family we accepted the challenge.  In total there are 59 parks.  To see a listing and a map click here.  We had been to over half with our prior travels so we were off to a great start.  As of this moment I am at 43 of 59.  Not too bad!

For me, National Parks provide an area of land that I know will be protected and preserved so people can enjoy them for years to come.  Thanks to conservationist like John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt, we have these wonderful areas of land preserved.  With the push for more homes, more shops, and more factories, these areas have been set aside so that nature has a place to thrive.

Here are just a few of the things I love about these parks (yes, all this thing happened in a National Park):

  • Listening to the breathing of a bear walking by the outside of your tent in Sequoia NP and knowing there is only a very thin layer of fabric between you.  And, I had a juice box in the tent right by my head for my blood sugar, which I thought he was coming to get!
  • Taking a 2 1/2 hour boat ride to Dry Tortugas NP. The only way to get there.


  • Being in Death Valley on one of the coldest and rainiest days of the year.

Southwest Spring Break 2011 119

  • Finding out that yes the hot springs in Hot Springs NP are really too hot to touch (Mom’s hand was only in that water for a second!).


  • Winter in Yellowstone!  Nothing better!

Winter in Yellowstone 2011 515

  • Dad rolling over in the tent in Mesa Verde NP on his car keys and setting the car alarm off in the middle of the night. We all had a rude awaking!
  • Whitewater rafting in freezing water of Denali National Park.

Alaska 105

  • Being at Glacier National Park the first day the park was fully open after the winter.


  • Visiting 5 National Parks in one week: Petrified Forest, Great Basin, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, and Saguaro.
  • Seeing a male and female Pileated Woodpecker (very hard to see) at Isle Royal NP.


  • Mom making up hand motions for the national parks Saguaro and Joshua Tree because they are two different types of cactus and we had to keep them straight.

My family did go on a trip to 3 more NPs one summer while I was working so they have the Great Sand Dunes, Wind Caves and Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  Three I need to see on my own.  Anyone up for a road trip west?

There are 7 in Alaska that are on the list and those are the ones that intimidate me.  To get to some of these places there is only one way in and one way out, airplane.  Now I don’t mean big commercial aircraft, I mean a little puddle jumper.  My Dad has found a trip that will take you to all the NPs in Alaska, let’s just say that it is very, very, very expensive.  These locations may have to wait until I win the lottery, but I will get there.

So I have 16 left:

  1. American Samoa National Park, American Samoa Territory
  2. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado
  3. Channel Islands National Park, California
  4. Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska
  5. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
  6. Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
  7. Katmai National Park, Alaska
  8. Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
  9. Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska
  10. Lake Clark National Park, Alaska
  11. Lassen Volcanic Park, California
  12. Pinnacles National Park, California
  13. Redwood National Park, California
  14. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
  15. Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota
  16. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska

In just a few days I will be able to cross off Pinnacles and Redwood.  Be looking for updates as we go!  There is hope that this summer we might hit Voyageurs.  Every adventure brings us one step closer to our goal!

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