Hiking Stick

Since March, we have spent lots of time at home. And spent plenty of time dreaming of hiking and traveling again. To help get excited for future hikes, I made this fun hiking stick.  I have some real hiking poles, but thought it would be a fun activity to paint my own hiking stick.

My kids found this stick in our yard and discarded it for being too big for their project at the time.  I checked out the stick and it was a perfect size for hiking.

This stick was pretty smooth and didn’t need sanding, but some others might need to be sanded. I painted the sections and later sprayed it with a sealer. I opted with a colorful, rainbow look, but you could do any colors and patterns. You could even add stickers, ribbons, or other decorations to make it your own style.

Just thought I’d share a fun (and easy) hiking activity to do at home!

National Park Movies

While we wait until we can go and visit a national park, check out a few movies here to enjoy some scenes from a variety of national parks.

  • Star Wars, A New Hope (1977) – Death Valley National in California – filmed some scenes on Tatooine here as well as some other scenes in the movie
  • Dances with Wolves (1990) – Badlands National Park in South Dakota- has a variety of scenes there including a pretty, mixed grass prairie landscape scene
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) – Redwoods National and State Parks in California – filmed some scenes here
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) – Zion National Park in Utah – Robert Redford and Paul Newman filmed some scenes here
  • Star Trek V, The Final Frontier (1989) – Yosemite National Park  in California – Captain Kirk decides to climb El Capitan in this film
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) – Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming – featured the tower as the aliens landing site
  • The Shining (1980) – Glacier National Monument in Montana – filmed the Going-to-the-Sun Road and a few other scenes here and the Overlook Hotel lounge set in the film was modeled after the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park
  • Into the Wild (2007) – Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska – Sean Penn’s movie based on Jon Krakauer’s book set here
  • Rocky IV (1985) – Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming – filmed the Tetons as a stand in for scenes with his training in Siberia
  • Planet of the Apes (1968) – Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Arizona and Utah – filmed the landing site for the astronaut crew there
  • Forrest Gump (1994) – National Mall in Washington DC – Forrest Gump described this scene as the happiest time of his life takes place here and Forrest also journeyed through Glacier National Park in his adventures
  • North by Northwest (1959) – Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota – Alfred Hitchcock movie with Cary Grant filmed some scenes here, but the final scene was filmed on a set which looked just like the memorial
  • E.T. (1982) – Redwoods National and State Parks in California – filmed some scenes here in the forest
  • Free Solo (2018) – Yosemite National Park in California – filmed the nonfiction movie here about a rock climber’s attempt to climb El Capitan

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Enjoy some movies while pretending to be in a national park!

 

Virtual National Park Tours

Did you know that you check out and take a virtual tour of some of the most popular national parks online? I know that I need an escape from everything going on right now and wanted to share it with others.

The National Park Service (NPS) has a great website with a ton of tours, videos, webcams, photos, articles, and other excellent resources.

First, I have to share my favorite national park, Yellowstone National Park. Click here to virtually tour parts of Yellowstone like the Mud Volcano area, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Mammoth Springs, and some other areas. 

You can also check out another one of my favorites, the Grand Teton National Park, by clicking here.

Who has seen the 1977 movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind?  The film used this unique tower in Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. You can visit it virtually and check out this distinct tower by clicking here.

I have always wanted to visit Denali National Park in Alaska. Click here to take a virtual tour of this national park.

Take a virtual tour of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in New York by clicking here.

The national park service has a ton of other online opportunities to virtually explore our national park treasures. Click here for NPS’s main page and search your interests.

Take a minute and enjoy our country’s beauty and treasures online. It will do wonders for the soul during these tough times right now.

 

 

America’s 1st

Happy 148th birthday to America’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park!

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“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

Check out some of my previous posts about Yellowstone by clicking here and here.  There are more blog posts about Yellowstone on here that you can find by just searching my blog by Yellowstone if you’re itching to read more!

To celebrate, take a minute and mark a visit to this amazing national park on your calendars. Check it off your bucket lists as it is a must vacation in your life!

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Cheers to 148 years!

101!

Happy 101 years to the Grand Canyon National Park!

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President Teddy Roosevelt urged Americans to protect this great canyon, “What you can do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American should see.”

For more information on this park, check out a previous blog by clicking here.

If you visit Las Vegas or Arizona, take the time and check out this grand national park! Definitely worth the time and journey!

Cheers to 101 years!

Museum of the National Park Ranger

During our vacation in Yellowstone National Park this summer, we discovered the Museum of the National Park Ranger.

Built in 1908, the museum once served as the Norris Solider Station. It’s currently on the National Register of Historic Places. This spacious, multi-room log structure housed a detachment of U.S. Cavalry. The soldier station changed into a ranger station and underwent several room alterations before it finally became the Ranger Museum in the 1990s.

This cool museum takes you through the history and timeline of national park rangers in America. You can learn about their iconic uniforms, duties, hardships, lifestyle, and other cool facts here. They have some really great exhibits here! And you can even watch some short videos in a small auditorium in the museum (great opportunity to rest your tired legs and learn a few fun facts).

In addition, retired national park service rangers staff this museum giving visitors a great opportunity to ask questions about their past work and the national park.  Ask away as they love to chat!

If you’re in Yellowstone, take time to stop into this cool museum and check out the history here!

Enjoy some photos from inside the museum:

 

Grand Prismatic Spring 🌈

In July, we visited the Yellowstone National Park. We had a few must-see items on our list and it included the Grand Prismatic Springs.

We had missed seeing it on previous trips to Yellowstone, but I had seen photos and could not wait to see it in person! I should disclose that I love rainbows, color, and volcanic activity, so could not wait!

We had warnings of the crowds, so we started our day early. We enjoyed a nice hike to the area and then hiked up to the overlook.

These springs look amazing! 🌈 You can really see the rainbow of colors! It’s not photoshopped or edited and looks just as beautiful as the photos (if not more so). Gotta love that bacteria giving us these colors!

This is the largest hot springs in the United States and the third largest in the world.

Hayden Expedition of 1871 leader Ferdinand Hayden said this about the Grand Prismatic, “Nothing ever conceived by human art could equal the peculiar vividness and delicacy of color of these remarkable prismatic springs. Life becomes a privilege and a blessing after one has seen and thoroughly felt these incomparable types of nature’s cunning skill.

Add this amazing and beautiful hot springs to your bucket list to see in person! 🌈😊

Dinosaur National Monument

Happy 104th anniversary to Dinosaur National Monument!

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A few years ago, we planned a vacation to Colorado and we planned on driving from California to Colorado. At the time, our son loved dinosaurs! I mean really loved them and even talked about growing up to become a paleontologist! After some discussions and checking out the routes, we decided to stop by this national monument and check it out.

We really enjoyed this national monument! Our son loved seeing real dinosaur fossils!

From the Quarry Visitor Center, we took a shuttle up to the Quarry Exhibit Hall.

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In this hall, you can see approximately 1,500 dinosaur bones! There are even some places where you can touch them!

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Our future paleontologist loved this national monument! IMG_4997

Beyond the dinosaurs, there is much more to do in the monument. For example, you can check out carvings in the rocks, called petroglyphs, left by the Fremont people nearly 1,000 years ago. You can also take a hike, go camping, go fishing, or watch wildlife like elk or bighorn sheep there.

Definitely check out this national monument if you’re in the Utah or Colorado area.

To celebrate this anniversary or if you can’t wait to visit there, click here and check out their Junior Ranger activity book. 

 

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!