100 Years of Grand Canyon National Park

Happy 100 to the Grand Canyon National Park! 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.”

I have had the opportunity to visit this national park two times (so far).  It’s on our list to take the two children there, so we will be back.

I first visited the Grand Canyon National Park many years ago after finishing the 8th grade and went with my grandma. Coming from the Midwest, I had never seen this grandness (had to use the word in this blog at least once!)!  As a child you often feel like the center of everything and I remember seeing this canyon and realizing how little people are in this great world and what wonders exist out there to see and experience.

Many years later, I traveled to the Grand Canyon National Park with my husband in the spring about 13 years ago.  We spent an entire week exploring this national park.  Again, the grandness of the canyon truly resonated here with me. We really enjoyed our time in this national park!  We even experienced some snow while out on a hike one day!  In today’s social media era this would be a disaster, but our camera broke on the way back home, so we have no photos from this amazing trip! Crazy! And our cell phones did not take photos back then either (not sure our children will ever understand that idea!).

My husband visited the park last year with a couple of friends. Enjoy a few of his photos here.

grand canyon 1grand canyon 2grand canyon 3

To understand this grandness, I will share some statistics of the park with you.  The park covers 1,217,403.32 acres or 1,904 square miles. The Colorado River runs 277 miles in the park. The South Rim averages 7,000 feet of elevation and the North Rim averages 8,000 feet.  The park preserves landscapes and resources ranging from 1,840 to 270 million years old.  The Colorado River established itself there about 6 million years ago. So, this park has some grandness (tired of the word, yet? 😉 ).

If you visit Las Vegas or Arizona, take the time and check out this grand national park! Definitely worth the time and journey! Just make sure to protect your camera!

Cheers to 100 and to the next many 100!

 

 

 

Rocky Mountain National Park

Happy 104th anniversary to Rocky Mountain National Park!

In 1915, Congress created the Rocky Mountain National Park. Named after the mountain range, this mountain range is one of the world’s longest mountain ranges stretching from Alaska down to Mexico.

Rocky Mountain National Park lies in north central Colorado covering 415 square miles. And it is not too far from Denver!

Rocky Mountain National Park is a great place to go on some fun hikes, experience the mountains, drive the epic Trail Ridge Road, see wildlife, and enjoy the outdoors! If you’re in this area or looking for a great national park to visit next, I highly recommend that you check out Rocky Mountain National Park!

Enjoy a photo below of me hiking a trail in this national park back in June of 2006.

rocky mountain natl pk june 2006

Smoky, the Black Bear

Many years ago back in 2001, my husband and I were in the dating stage of our relationship. We had a great relationship and had started talking about vacations.  He suggested doing a camping trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I had never camped before and hadn’t visited more than one or two national parks before.  I really liked him though and agreed to this adventure!

Our first night at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we pull into the campsite along a quiet river.  It is a beautiful campground. You can hear the water flowing along next to you and sleep under the tall hemlock trees. We grilled out and had just started eating our tasty hot dogs and the rain came. Not just a dribble, but a downpour! We quickly finished up our food and jumped into the tent.  The rain persisted on, so we crashed early on this first night of camping. 

I had a hard time falling asleep as I kept picturing the river overflowing and then carrying our little tent (with us in it) down for a ride.  I finally ignored these silly worries and fell asleep.  I woke up a few hours later to a consistent wet drip on my forehead. The tent had one little leak and it was right above my head.  My sweet man just rolled me over away from the drip, held me, and took the drip for me for the rest of the night.

We had picture perfect weather the next day and the rest of the trip. With the great weather, we set out for a few hikes targeting waterfalls. I really wanted to see some waterfalls there. 

On our first hike, we get to the base of this particular waterfall which is surrounded by rocks. These rocks are wet of course as water crashes around here at the base and splatters.  My new hiking boots didn’t think about this wetness situation as my feet went flying out from underneath me and my bottom lands on the wet rock.  I stand up to see him giggling at my gracefulness and join him in the giggles.  I was so embarrassed!  I take a few steps and manage to repeat the flying process.  So, note to anyone hiking on wet rocks – they are very slippery!

Our last hike of the trip, we planned to hike part of the Appalachian Trail to a cool view.  I don’t remember how many miles we did, but I had never hiked that far before that day.  Almost half way, we pick up our tired pace as we are almost at the view. It must be around this bend on the trail according to our mileage. We turned the bend and get to our “view”.  It was not a “view.”  We looked at each other like “this is it?” Don’t get me wrong, the view wasn’t ugly and we are still out in nature, but we both definitely had expectations for something grander like the ability to see the entire 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

One thing I tried to tell my man prior to the trip is that I drink a lot of water hiking.  I don’t think he quite heard or believed me on that one. On this same longer hike, we had a few miles left before reaching our car and I run out of water. He looked so shocked as we still had a few miles to go. I really do drink a lot of water. He shared his water with me the rest of hike. Now, he always plans for extra water for me when hiking.

He ended the trip with giving me a little souvenir – a stuffed animal black bear named Smoky. Smoky is still with us and still makes me smile! This vacation still ranks as one of my favorite vacations ever. I fell in love with my man and also with the national parks.