Castle Geyser

One of the highlights from our trip happened by surprise. In Yellowstone National Park, we caught Castle Geyser erupting while literally standing next to it.

Most people think about Old Faithful when they picture Yellowstone National Park. However, Yellowstone has 500 amazing geysers and some 10,000 thermal features to check out!

Castle Geyser has the largest cone geyser and may be the oldest geyser in that area.  It’s named after looking like an old castle.

While the geyser’s eruption pattern has changed over time, it now goes off about every 12-14 hours unless it has minor eruptions which throw off the pattern at times.

The water eruptions from this castle shoot hot water up to 100 feet into the air for about 20 minutes! And then it blows some hot, noisy steam for around 30-40 minutes. The entire eruption can last about an hour.

We caught this eruption one day in July while visiting there. Our family loved it! Definitely a highlight from the trip!

Enjoy some photos and a video of this really cool geyser!

Wilderness Act

On this day 55 years ago, Congress established the Wilderness Act. Congress wanted to protect undeveloped and wild areas as an enduring resource for the American people. Today, this act protects 111 million acres of wilderness.

This act created the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and immediately designated 54 areas into this system.  Some of the first wilderness areas created included Bridger Wilderness in Wyoming, Ansel Adams Wilderness in California, and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. Today, the National Park Service makes up about 56% of the land under NWPS with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management areas making up the rest.

Many benefits exist today from this land conservation including providing habitats for wildlife; clean air; clean drinking water; boosting local economies with tourism and recreation; and providing some really amazing places to escape and appreciate this great land here!

Go enjoy this anniversary and get out in the wilderness today!

 

103!

Check out who’s turning 103 years old! The National Park Service!

President Woodrow Wilson created the national park service (NPS) back on August 25, 1916.

The act stated that the NPS “is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Pick a park to visit and celebrate this important birthday of these amazing treasures!

National Mall

Happy 229th anniversary to our National Mall.  The National Mall is centrally located in Washington, DC.

100_2704

The National Mall is America’s most visited national park and nicknamed “America’s front yard”.

The Mall area preserves the Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, D.C. War Memorial, World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, George Mason Memorial, Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House, the National Mall, East and West Potomac Parks, Constitution Gardens, 60 statues, and numerous other historic sites, memorials, and parklands.

I remember seeing the National Mall for the first time. I had traveled to DC for an internship after graduating college. In my free time, I walked over to check out a few sights and knew this area would be an ideal place to see some iconic memorials.

I grew up seeing the skyscrapers in Chicago. I’ve seen tall or big buildings. I’ve seen open areas and parks.

Yet, this place wowed me. I paused in my steps there. The beauty, the history, the size, the importance of it all truly awed me.

I love going back to this part of our national park system. It brings together our country in unique ways. It still awes and wows me!

According to the National Park Service, “The open spaces and parklands envisioned by Pierre L’Enfant’s plan, which was commissioned by President George Washington, created an ideal stage for national expressions of remembrance, observance, celebration, and expression of First Amendment rights.”

If you’re traveling to the DC area, definitely make some time and check out the National Mall area.

Happy 229th!

100_2683

Indiana Dunes National Park

Recently, we visited Chicago and Indiana to see family and show the kids some fun there. During this trip, we visited a national park! And we got see a newly designated one!

Indiana Dunes National Park sits along the southern shore of Lake Michigan in northwestern Indiana. This national lakeshore became a national park as of February this year.

We checked out the visitor center first and our kids become junior rangers there! As I’ve mentioned, you definitely need to check out the junior ranger activities at our national parks! Great way to get the kids involved and learn something!

At the center, we read up on the park, watched the short history film, and even bought our youngest a junior ranger vest and hat. 😍

I love learning cool facts about the park like the fact that Lake Michigan took form 11,000 years ago when the Wisconsin glacier began to melt.

We headed to the shoreline and parked by the Kemil Road Access Point. We enjoyed seeing the lake and let the two kids skip some rocks.

We had to drive over and check out the park’s most dynamic dune, Mount Baldy. Mount Baldy stands 126 feet tall. To see this powerful dune, you need to take a short, fun trail to reach the beach from the parking area. It’s a fun little hike!

If you’re in the Chicago or Indiana area, check out our 61st national park and the first national Park in Indiana.

National Trails Day 👣

Happy National Trails Day today!  Today kicks off the Great Outdoors Month of June!

Did you know that there are over 18,000 miles of trails in the national park system? And did you know that there are 158,000 miles of trails in national forests and grasslands? So, we have lots of trails to explore in the United States!

Enjoy this day and month and find a trail to enjoy!  Happy National Trails Day! 👣☀️

Muir Woods

Crater Lake National Park

Happy 117th anniversary to Crater Lake National Park located in Oregon!

About 7,700 years ago, Mount Mazama erupted creating the deepest lake in the United States and the 9th deepest in the world.  With a depth of 1,943 feet, Crater Lake is the  one of the most beautiful lakes you will ever see. The water’s intense blue color is an indication of its great depth and purity. Surrounded by cliffs, the lake is fed entirely by rain and snow. Scientists consider Crater Lake to be the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world.

My husband and I have journeyed to this national park twice.  Here are a few photos from our first excursion there in September 2007.

100_2650100_2663100_2665 (2)

Did you the see the lake in the second photo? Yep, we didn’t either on that trip! The snow and clouds came in fast and hid that beautiful lake. We still enjoyed being in the national park, but really wanted to see Crater Lake!

And here are a few photos from our second trip there in August 2016.

IMG_0352IMG_8279IMG_8309IMG_8392

We definitely saw this amazing lake on this trip! We really enjoyed seeing this spectacular lake as the blue color is really unique.

We also took in a hike in the woods there too as the lake is only part of the national park.  This national park has a ton of old-growth forests with towering ponderosa pines to ancient whitebark pines hosting many trails for hiking.

If you’re in the Oregon or Northern California area, I highly recommend checking out this national park. This lake will truly amaze and inspire you!