National Parks: an anniversary to celebrate

I’m told that today is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Huzzah! I treasure my trips to the gems of the park system. This is my little thank-you note to the NPS team.

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Acadia National Park, Maine.

I love Acadia, and I love it even more in the off-season. Best trip there I ever had was on a blustery, showery October weekend when I had the carriage trails practically to myself.

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Acadia’s carriage trails get heavy use in the summertime, but October finds them quiet and inviting.

When I visited Yellowstone, bison greeted me as soon as I crossed into the park on Route 20. My one trip was during a week before Memorial Day – a shoulder season, post-winter and pre-summer, with no traffic jams. A week is too short a visit; there’s so much to see, and choices must be made. I felt the same way after seeing Yosemite.

last look at Yellowstone river

Geysers are all well and good, but be sure to get away from Old Faithful to find the Yellowstone River.

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A springtime visit means seeing the bison calves – from a distance. I was safely in a car when taking this photo.

Grand Geyser

Grand Geyser is more impressive than Old Faithful and draws smaller crowds. I loved it.

It wouldn’t have occurred to me to visit Grand Teton National Park if I hadn’t gone to Yellowstone. On a map, Grand Teton looks like an afterthought compared to its imposing neighbor to the north. It’s a marvel in its own right.

view from Colter Bay GTNP

The Teton range from across Colter Bay Village. The summits were in cloud throughout my trip.

atop Signal Mountain looking east

Another side of Grand Teton NP: looking east from Signal Mountain.

 

I like my local hikes just fine. They’re affordable, for one thing, while a trip to any national park farther away than Acadia is a bit of a reach for me. I’m glad I’ve done some reaching, though. We have treasures out there.

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