U.S. NATIONAL PARKS
It pains me to say as a 30-year-old adult that I have yet to visit a U.S. National Park. My family didn’t travel much as a child, besides the occasional beach trip or hurricane evacuation, so I didn’t get to see much of this country. In my college years, I was broke and couldn’t really afford to go anywhere, although I did manage to squeeze in a few U.S. cities and a handful of trips to Disney World (which should probably be designated a National Park).
As soon as I had a real job, I felt like I had catching up to do so I picked far off destinations. If I was able to get any time off I didn’t want to “waste” it traveling around the U.S. People I’ve met traveling internationally seem to have the same problem. Most never take the time to travel around their own country, and the U.S. is huge compared to many other places. Therefore I’ve decided it’s time to visit my first National Park.
I’m headed to Utah this fall to get a taste of three National Parks and one National Monument. Utah is actually home to a few other parks and the Grand Canyon is not far, but I didn’t want to over do it. I’ve been eyeing Zion National Park for a few years and I’ll finally get to experience it, along with Bryce Canyon and Capital Reef. Leslie Knope would be proud.
October is on the cusp of when everything starts to slow down so I’m hoping for fewer people and great weather. Many of the parks, especially the ones at higher elevations are best visited in the summertime. Some even close through the winter. This is great for traveling families since the kids are out of school, but for me it’s a bummer. I try to avoid the crowds and lets be honest, families, so traveling to the parks in the off-season isn’t always an option. That’s when I try to take advantage of the shoulder season.
As much as I love Disney World and the beach, I wish more of my friends would take a trip to one of the parks for their yearly vacation. Park trips promote outdoor activities, family bonding, and the sites can be humbling. A wonderful memory and experience for any human, young and old. It’s a shame that some kids grow up without seeing one or two of this country's landmarks. Myself included.
*There was a flash flood yesterday in and around Zion National Park. My thoughts are with the families of the victims, and I hope for a swift recovery of any missing parties.