In 2005, Angela and I went on a six-month trip in a 2004 Lance 1030 and visited as many National Parks as we could fit into our budget. It may be impossible to believe now, but we had no idea what the National Parks had in store for us.
Other than visiting Valley Forge National Historical Park in my teens – it was a local hangout believe it or not – and a frozen misadventure my parents took to Yellowstone National Park when I was six or seven, I had no comprehension of what the National Parks were all about.
Angela had been to Fort McHenry National Monument and Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, but she too was in utter amazement as we discovered the National Park System.
Nobody – and I mean nobody – we knew on the East Coast had any idea about Utah. How could no one we know have a clue about Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, and Arches National Parks? We got back from that trip in 2005 and said, with great enthusiasm, “Forget Europe! Skip Florida! Never mind California! Go to Utah and see the National Parks! They’re unbelievable!”
Well, they thought we were being literal and didn’t believe us. Not one of them have taken our advice in the decade that’s followed. Too bad for them, we’ve been back to Utah and the four corners area three times since, and can’t wait to go back again, and again.
That last paragraph might lead you to believe that Utah’s National Parks are our favorites. While that’s partially true, we have equal affections for Big Bend National Park in Texas, Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, Redwood National Park, Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, and Death Valley National Park in California, Badlands National Park in South Dakota, Glacier National Park in Montana…
Oh heck, we just love the National Park system. I can honestly say the National Park System is one of the things that makes me so incredibly proud of my country, the United States of America. We are very lucky to have such beautiful, stunning, and life affirming wellsprings at our doorstep. if you have the time, and the means, a road trip to the National Parks of the United States (and Canada) is the stuff of dreams. Do it. Do it now.
Naturally, I’m preaching to the choir. Like John and Marilyn Kochever in this week’s article, “The National Park Chase” many of us have been to dozens of National Parks in our truck campers over the years, and continue to go back for more.
Since we’re talking about National Parks to an audience who knows a thing or two about the subject, how about we pick our collective brains and share – like the Kochevers – our favorite National Parks? These favorites can include national monuments, national historic sites and battlefields, national memorials, national scenic trails, national shores, national recreational areas, and national parks.
With the Spring and Summer truck camping season fast approaching, let’s share our favorite National Parks and inspire others to enjoy what we have discovered.