US & Canadian Parks

US & Canadian Parks

  • Badlands National Park - Like several parks I’ve visited recently, I’ve been to Badlands National Park before, both with my parents decades ago and with my daughter in the late 90’s. I didn’t remember the beautiful colors, thinking the park was just various shades of tan, but there are yellow, pale greens, purple/pinks, gray. So beautiful. I drove all the way down I-90 to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. I should have entered at the Pinnacles entrance, exit 110, and driven the Badlands Loop...

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  • Wind Cave National Park - I’ve never been to this park and definitely wanted to visit while in the area. I like visiting caves. My daughter has mentioned to me she thinks all caves are alike but even she thought Wind Cave is unique. Wind Cave, the 3rd largest cave system in the US and the the 8th largest in the world, contains 95% of the world’s box works formations. Box work is a rare cave formation; it is formed when dissolved calcium carbonate crystallized...

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  • Lassen Volcanic National Park - Like Pinnacles, I hadn’t heard of this park, either. I read about it on my daughter’s blog. Unlike Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Pinnacles, however, Lassen Volcanic National Park is not a “new” park, it was established in 1916 under President Wilson after Teddy Roosevelt made it a national monument in 1907. I did check the active fires in the area before booking here or Bend, Oregon. Crazy. I’ve never thought about doing this before, but every time I listened...

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  • Pinnacles National Park - Pinnacles, in west central California, is a fairly new park. It was dedicated January 2013, although it has been a national monument since 1908. I’ve owned the National Geographic “Guide to National Parks of the United States”, since the second edition, early 1990s, I think. Like Black Canyon of the Gunnison, in Colorado, dedicated in 1999 and Congaree, in South Carolina, dedicated 2003, none of these parks were in my old book. Time for an upgrade. I now have the...

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  • Channel Islands National Park - I’ve heard of this park, I’ve seen pictures, but until reading my daughter’s post about her visit it really wasn’t on my must-see list. And it should be on everyone’s must-see list! So beautiful. It does take advance planning, as you have to book their vendor, Island Packers, to get to the islands (unless you have your own boat?). Island Packers go to all five islands that are part of the Channel Islands National Park, plus they have wildlife and harbor cruises....

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  • Joshua Tree National Park - After leaving the San Diego area, I headed east to spend 3 days and nights at Joshua Tree. I’ve been wanting to visit this park for decades and finally made it out here. Wrong time of year, definitely, with temperatures in the 100s but … I loved this park. I just wanted to see the trees but the park is so much more than that. There is amazing scenery, rock piles, mountains, “gardens” of cholla cacti, plus, great trails, historic...

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  • Arches National Park - Despite booking a “pet friendly” hotel, when I checked in Saturday night, I was given a form with all sorts of rules. The first rule: If I left my dog alone, they would call animal control. Absurd. So I quickly went online trying to find a true pet friendly place to stay. I called other hotels, filtered by pets allowed, but all of them said the same, no pets left in room. One even told me “no hotels allow you...

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  • Canyonlands National Park - “The most arid, most hostile, most lonesome, most grim, bleak, barren, desolate, and savage quarter of the state of Utah – the best part by far” – Edward Abbey ** Canyonlands National Park in Utah is comprised of four unique and separate districts; Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and Horseshoe Canyon. All but Horseshoe Canyon are contiguous but separated by the Green and Colorado Rivers. The Maze has no paved roads and is only accessible with 4-wheel...

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  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park - The eighth wonder of the world. Truly amazing. I arrived in Carlsbad and stopped in the caverns on the way to town. I had hoped to get tickets then as well as general park info. I was told tours were fully booked until June 7th, 4 days after I was leaving. Disappointed but I thought I would continue to check recreation.gov per recommendation from the ranger. Boo and I did the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail and walked down to the amphitheater before...

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  • 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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