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Category: US & Canadian Parks

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Because of a large fire much of the park was closed. I visited the Piney Spring Visitor Center and did several short trails with Boo, when visiting on Memorial Day. The visitor center has a great exhibit on desert animals and plants. Well worth 1/2 hour or so of your time to stop and read the information. The Pinery Nature Trail, right behind the visitor center, leads to buildings from the Butterfield Stage, a 2800 mile route from Saint Louis…

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Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park: Mountains and deserts and rivers, oh my! Chisos Mountains, Chihuahuan Desert, and the Rio Grande make up the diverse and beautiful landscape of Big Bend. I’ve never been here, so when planning the next stage of my travels, I looked at the map and thought, I need to visit Big Bend! This is not a park that is easy to get to and it’s not highly visited. The ten most visited national parks range from the…

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Corpus Christi and Padre Island National Seashore

Corpus Christi and Padre Island National Seashore

After Austin I decided to visit the gulf coast for a few days. I had wanted to spend time in Sanibel and Captiva when I was in Florida. However, in January and February every place was very, very expensive which is why I spent those months in the panhandle, where I could afford it instead of where I wanted to be. Since I didn’t get to visit those Florida Gulf islands, I thought I’ll come visit some other Gulf of…

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Vicksburg National Military Park

Vicksburg National Military Park

Like Gettysburg, I visited to see the military park. Unlike Gettysburg, there is no museum and the visitor center is also closed. It may have some great exhibits, information, and artifacts that are comparable to Gettysburg. I stayed close to the downtown area, just off the Yazoo River. I had an easy walk to Washington or Levee Streets and was close to all the restaurants and sites. I stopped at the visitor center my first morning to pick up a…

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Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

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 National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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 National Park

Shenandoah National Park

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 National Military Park

Gettysburg National Military Park

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 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 Philadelphia…

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Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park

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 National Park

Olympic National Park

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 got some trail…

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