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National Parks

Your Outdoor Adventure Site Since 1995

Bryce
Big Bend
Boundary Waters
Glacier
Grand Canyon
Hatteras
Rocky Mountain
Theodore Roosevelt
Wind Rivers
Zion

The weekend trips we take during the school year and the weeklong Spring Break ski trip we take to Colorado are all great. But the photo albums that set on our living room coffee tables and the memories we will carry with us for the rest of our lives are from our Summer Expeditions to major national parks in distant corners of America.

Once back in the city, it's hard to believe we backpacked into the depths of the Grand Canyon, to the vast reaches of the Wind River Wilderness, and along the Continental Divide in Glacier and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Seeing a grizzly bear, a mountain lion or a buffalo close up is an adrenaline rush unlike anything else. Wading up the Virgin River Narrows in Zion, wind surfing off Hatteras Island, negotiating a snowy slope

high in the Tetons, and paddling past moose and beaver in the Boundary Waters make us all want to spend our lives preserving these special places so kids will always be able to see them.

Many of the sights which we will remember all our lives were not even in the national parks we went to visit. Cowboys tending their cattle high on the lonesome Wyoming plains, Amtrak passenger trains carving through the Colorado Rockies, and gigantic storms bearing down on us out on the Kansas prairie are like something out of a movie. It's all still out there.

Wyoming calls itself The Big Country but in truth the whole nation is a big country. The various parts of America may as well be different continents.

There have been some difficult times on these trips. We have been pinned down for 24 hours by a blizzard in Glacier National Park. We had to hike up out of the Grand Canyon in 120 degree heat. We've gotten caught out on Burntside Lake in canoes in high wind and two foot waves and had to fight our way to shore. A family of javelinas came grazing through our Big Bend campsite at 2 a.m., and we had to sprint with backpacks on to get away from an irritable buffalo in Theodore Roosevelt. A mountain lion prowled around our campsite all night and we had to chase down a moose in our underwear when he stole one of our packs in Rocky Mountain. A Northeaster on Massachusetts Bay brought rain drops so big and ferocious they slashed through our double wall tents and soaked us in our expedition strength rain parkas. Wolves lurk in the shadows on Isle Royale and grizzlies watch from the berry bushes in Glacier. But Life Should Be An Adventure, and in the national parks it usually is.

These really are major expeditions and they take an incredible amount of planning. We start that planning in September. We decide where we want to go the next Summer and start working out the itinerary. We apply for trail permits nine months in advance, especially for the Grand Canyon and Glacier. We order current books on our destination and use long winter nights to read up on the place. We have to save money each month for trip costs. And we spend a lot of time in the gym getting in condition.

Only some parks are listed. Five are in Kentucky and we cover those locally. Several under History. Some are not suited to weeklong outdoor expeditions. And some are outside our driving range.

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