US National Parks Photos

The National Park Service celebrated its 100-year anniversary last year and has garnered a lot of attention recently as the Alt National Park Service sprang up in response to the recent Presidential administration. All politics aside, these parks are a legacy that we must cherish and preserve at all costs.

Me at Denali (with Tee's skinny legs)

The National Park system includes 417 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These areas include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House.

9/12 - Amy, Lisa, Olivia, Jenny and I

Some of my earliest travel memories include trips to National Parks such as Badlands, Yellowstone and Grand Teton.  Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to visit over half of the 58 National Parks, which I keep track of here.  I plan to add another half-dozen to my list this year!  These are some of my favorite National Parks photos.

Double Arch

Arches National Park

Big Bend National Park

1997 - Me, Dono, Donna at black Canyon

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

9/12 - Jenny, me and Lisa at Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park

Confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers - This is the point on the river where we had to stop and put PFD's on

Canyonlands National Park

Everglades National Park

Glacier National Park

Sunday 9/6

Grand Canyon National Park

Leigh Lake!

Grand Teton National Park

Glaciers on the Resurrection Bay cruise

Kenai Fjords National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

3.2.09 - Trail brushing in Saguaro National Park - Thunderbird Trail

Saguaro National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park - North Dakota

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

West Thumb Geyser Basin (YNP)

Yellowstone National Park

Zion National Park

I have favorite National Park photos, but I could never choose a favorite National Park. Zion, Grand Canyon and Big Bend are pretty high up there, though! There are still so many more to explore!

Wondering how you can help our National Parks?

  • Visit!
    • Plan your trip at NPS.gov.  Buy an annual pass for $80.  A great deal if you visit more than 3 parks in a year.
    • Have a 4th grader?  You can get a free pass through the Every Kid in a Park program.
    • Senior Citizens can get a reduced-fee lifetime pass
  • Volunteer!
  • Donate!
  • Vote and be heard!  Let your representatives know what is important to you.
  • Share this post!  🙂

Have you spent time in the US National Parks?  What was your favorite?

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Two Traveling Texans
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Year in Review: 2016

Happy New Year!  Even though I already have my first passport stamp of 2017, I want to take one look back at what a fabulous travel year I had in 2016!  Everyone’s talking about how 2016 stunk, but the Cubs won the World Series, guys!

In 2016, I (quietly) celebrated 10 years at my company.  This meant a bonus week of Paid Time Off, along with a generous gift of American Airlines and Hyatt gift cards, all of which helped make this a banner travel year for me!  Thanks, CDW Corporation!

January

January is always a lay-low month for me.  Recovering from short work weeks, holidays and holiday travel, I usually stay close to home, hibernate and try to cut back on eating and spending.  Fun, huh?!

I did set out to put a dent in my resolution of visiting museums, with a trip to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, but as with most resolutions, this one faded away early in the new year.

Also, it was so cold, my dog had to wear a coat! (A very rare occasion)

JAN2016 - frigid below zero temps :(

February

February – more winter, more hibernation.  I was able to catch another night in the chef series at Kendall College.  Other than that, I doubt I left the house!  Can you blame me?!

Chicago River

March

In March, I took my only business trip of the year – a quick overnighter to New York.

At the end of the month, I set off on my first big solo international trip with two weeks in SouthEast Asia.  I started off in HongKong, then a few days in Chiang Mai, on to Bangkok, Siem Reap, Phuket and back to Hong Kong!

Angkor Wat

April

Although the first 10 days of April were spent in SouthEast Asia, I managed one other weekend getaway to Tom’s Lake in the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Tom's Lake Cabin - Hiawatha National Forest - Michigan

I also became a godmother to this cutie in April!

Harper Grace Christening

May

May always kicks off with this guy’s birthday.

Leigh and Emmit

At the end of the month, I finally made a trip to Southern Illinois for some hiking.

New tent!

Cache River Natural Area

June

June was uneventful, other than a trip to the Field Museum to see the Terra Cotta warriors exhibit.

July

In July, I returned to the UP to see some new spots I’d been hearing about for years, like the Porcupine Mountains and Pictured Rocks.  It was too hot, so I came home early and made plans to return in the fall!

Porcupine Mountains State Park / Lake of the Clouds

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

August

August was the calm before the storm, travel-wise.  Work-wise, it was insane and I worked most weekends and nights this month.  Not exciting, but necessary!

September

September was the start of two very busy travel months!  First up, I headed to Mexico City for my birthday.

9/12 TuribusCondesa neighborhood

Mexico City

I returned home for two days, then it was a road trip to the UP (again!) for my first attempt at solo backpacking, in Pictured Rocks.

Starting the hike at Grand Sable

TwelveMile Beach Campground

October

The first weekend of October was spent at Mt Princeton Hot Springs in Colorado, allowing me to catch the fall colors that I’m usually too early for.

Cottonwood Pass

Two weeks later, I headed to North Carolina for a family weekend at the beach.

Full moon over Kure Beach

November

November was the best month of all time when the CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES!  Seriously!  It wasn’t until after the parade that I finally stopped thinking it was all just a dream.  (For those not in the know, this is a really big deal – the Cubs have been the lovable losers of MLB for 108 years!!!)  Some of my favorite people came into town to celebrate, along with about 5 million other people, making this the 7th largest gathering in human history.

Chicago Cubs World Series Parade

Another big event in November was celebrating my niece’s first birthday!  Isn’t she the cutest?!

Aunt Leigh and Harper Grace

December

December was the usual rush of holiday parties and shopping, Christmas Eve with family followed by a Christmas day flight to Baja Mexico, where I closed out the year!

All told, it was a great  year for travel!

Here are a few of my stats.  I love stats, I’m such a nerd!

  • Flights: 16
  • Hotel/Cabin Nights: 29
  • Tent Nights: 15
  • Vacation Days Taken:  29.5 (wow!)
  • Countries Visited: 4
  • States Visited: 6 (not including my home state)

I’ve got some pretty cool plans in the works for 2017, including 15 days spent hiking the Haute Route in the Swiss Alps!  I predict fewer flights and more tent nights, but we’ll see how it all pans out!  And I might just get to a few more museums after failing at that goal last year 🙂

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