"With this Passport, you have a guide to the national treasures in America-the national parks. Use this book to discover more about the parks near your home and throughout the nation. The national parks in America are incredibly diverse. They range from well-known areas of natural beauty such as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon to historic Independence Hall and the lesser-known areas commemorating presidents, decisive battles, and famous Americans from all walks of life."
Learn more about the Passport to Your National Parks at http://easternnational.org/what-we-do/passport/
"This Passport can also be a history of your life and a plan for your future."
That is the part they left out.
Last month, my national park trekking partner and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary by visiting Yosemite National Park. We bought our passport book and got our first cancelation stamp. On this anniversary we reminisced about our past park experiences together, but mostly we talked about our future.
Yosemite is calm in the off-season and we enjoyed a quiet lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel. Sitting in the historic dining room, we flipped through the pages of our new passport. With the help of the National Park System Map and Guide, we checked off the parks we have visited. Our partial list includes:
- Grand Canyon on our honeymoon and returning for our 30th wedding anniversary.
- Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park, camping in the rain with our children. (2002)
- Pinnacles, a New Year's Day hike with our adult children (2018).
- Olympic National Park, hiking the Hoh River where it was so green it hurt.
- New Year's Eve (2017) winter camping at Death Valley's Mesquite Springs campground.
- Joshua Tree National Park, 2018 just this winter on our Southern Arizona camping trip.
- Redwood National Park our way to Arcata for the Oyster Festival (2017).
- Great Smokey Mountain National Park on our trip across the country (2017).
- Firefighting together in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks while working for the Sequoia National Forest.
- And our best friend, Yosemite, our first visit before we were married; we stayed at the Dogwood cabin of Yosemite Lodge on our honeymoon and returned four times a year for the last 20+ years.
There are a total of 58 national parks in the United States. We are going to have a tough time getting to all of them. What better than a dream of visiting all of our National Parks?
Americans are so fortunate to have preserved such magnificent places. We can look back on our memories and look forward to new adventures together.
"How are we going to get to Everglades National Park? It is so far South!"
"Alaska must be two trips or one big three month trip with a sturdy pick-up and a cozy trailer..."
"There are no National Parks in Oklahoma or Kansas. I'm good with skipping those states."
"We must do Great Smokey Mountain National Park again. I did not have enough time there."
"And Arcadia National Park in Maine... We must do that in the fall to also catch the autumn colors."
"Mount Rainier and the Olympic are going to be our new backyards day trips. We are going to know these parks very well. We will need extra pages in our passport just for our visits to those two parks."
For the next 15 years, we are going to be gathering our visits to national parks. We are planning and hoping that on our 50th wedding anniversary we will be collecting passport cancelations from Haleakala National Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. That will be a very sepcial trip.
"You gotta have a dream. If you don't have a dream, how you gonna make a dream come true." - Oscar Hammerstein II.
Our passport now has four cancelation stamps; Yosemite, Grant Grove in Kings Canyon, Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park and Pinnacles NP. That means we only have 54 to go.
I better make some plans and hit the road. There are many national parks ahead for Whelan on Walkabout.
I can't wait!
#npspassport, #yosemite, #pinnaces, #kingscanyon, #nationalparks,