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Category: US & Canadian Parks

Congaree

Congaree

I finally made it over to Congaree National Park, just south of Columbia for a day. It’s a little less than a 2 hour drive. I’ve been checking the weather and the NPS Congaree current conditions regularly because the trails have been flooded. I had a perfect day, high 50s, brightly sunny and below flood stage so drove over Thursday the 14th. I stopped at the visitor center to talk to one of the rangers/volunteers about the trails and the conditions,…

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Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains

I only spent a half day at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, driving over from Asheville. It’s definitely not the best season for a visit but we still had a nice afternoon. I had spent a week here in 1993, taking my daughter on our first vacation since I had got out of the Army, home from West Germany, and started my new job. After a couple of years, I finally had a few dollars left over between paychecks so…

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Shenandoah

Shenandoah

My parents took my sisters and me to many of the national parks on our family vacations. I took my daughter to a couple dozen over the years, as well, from Acadia to Zion. She and her husband just took 18 months to visit the 59 parks in the states. I am trying to visit as many as possible as I wander the country; not just the main parks but historical sites, national battlefields, trails, and many of the other…

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Gettysburg

Gettysburg

I have wanted to visit Gettysburg for years. I almost added it to the Washington DC, Chesapeake, Philadelphia trip I took with my daughter, Alex, in 1998. She enjoyed touring the White House, visiting both the Washington and Lincoln monuments, and seeing the Constitution and Declaration in the Archives. We even went to the Air & Space Museum for a few hours, where we saw the moon lander and moon rocks. She even thought it was fun to tour the…

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Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave

I had a 13+ hour drive to Savannah.  I could probably have driven straight through but looked at various options for stops en route.  I have an old friend from the Army living in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  I arranged dates and times with her for Saturday night then realized how close she was to Mammoth Cave. I was here as a kid with my family but literally decades ago and I wanted to visit again. I had planned on stopping for…

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Olympic

Olympic

From Bellingham, I drove south on I-5, then took Highway 20 at Burlington to Whidbey Island to get on the ferry at Coupeville.  It really shortens the trip not having to drive south of Seattle then back to the Olympic peninsula.   The ferry lands at Port Townsend and it’s an easy hour drive to Port Angeles and the main visitor center at the park.   I visited with my daughter and son-in-law.   After arriving at the park, we…

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North Cascades

North Cascades

After leaving Seattle, I spent the night in Everett, as it was getting late and the weather was turning bad.  Then after a lazy, rainy morning, I drove to the North Cascades.   I don’t recall if I had been here with my family as a kid but thought I should visit.  I was not really feeling excited about the visit, but I was so close, I felt obligated. Fortunately, after a mostly overcast, rainy drive, it cleared off to…

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Mount Rainer

Mount Rainer

I only spent a rainy afternoon in Mount Rainer, pretty much driving through, so don’t have a lot to say about it.    It deserves more time, but I was driving north from Oregon to Bellingham, Washington, and it was essentially a short detour. I got there a bit after noon, paid $30 to enter, then stopped at the Nisqually Ranger Station to get a map of the trails and talk with a ranger.   There are no trails for…

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Redwoods

Redwoods

I thought Redwoods was “just” another park in the National Park System, but was surprised to find it’s a combination of 3 California State Parks and a National Park. California created their protection for the redwoods in the 1920s but it took until 1969 for the federal government to create a National Park.   California fortunately acted “early” to protect these forests saving some of these trees, but outside the state parks, 95%, NINETY-FIVE PERCENT, of the trees were logged…

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Crater Lake

Crater Lake

I was here many, many years ago with my parents and sisters.  I know that from family pictures but really didn’t remember visiting.   I’ve been wanting to return to Crater Lake and Oregon for several years. I made reservations at Mazama Campground on the park grounds before leaving but unfortunately they were cancelled when I was in route.  They are performing hazardous tree removal and it was taking longer than expected. I found another campground just south of Klamath…

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