2010 was an uncommon year for me in my national park quest. For years and years, Kim and I would have gone on several trips each year, all with the sole purpose of marking dozens of parks off of our list.
This year, things had changed. Even so, I was able to make it to a bunch of new parks—eight to be precise—and also made return visits to 10 other ones.
Most of the return visits occurred during personal time extended onto existing work trips. All but one of the new visits happened during my summer roadtrip. It was great to be able to mark off a bunch of parks — I’m looking at you Manzanar and Devils Postpile — that I had driven past before but was never able to stop and see.
- Arches National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- White Sands National Monument
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park
- Redwood National and State Parks
- Golden Gate National Recreation Area
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
- Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim)
- Petroglyph National Monument
- Saguaro National Park (Rincon District)
- Aztec Ruins National Monument
- Manzanar National Historic Site
- Devils Postpile National Monument
- Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
- Lassen Volcanic National Park
- Lava Beds National Monument
- WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument (Tule Lake unit)
- Oregon Caves National Monument
I considered ranking the parks I’ve seen this year, but it’s always difficult to choose amongst such cool places. Each is in their own way special, whether it’s because of the terrain or the memories you create there. However, a few of this year’s experiences stick out.
One of those moments was seeing the bat show at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Another was finally—finally!—visiting the north rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Or being part of some amazing sunset light at White Sands National Monument. Or collecting wild blackberries by kayak in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. Or exploring Fern Canyon in Redwoods State and National Parks. Or spending several days kayaking through Canyonlands National Park.
There were certainly other moments, special moments, and others that are more forgettable, but each unique and special in its own way.
I’ve been particularly bad about posting photos and trip summaries from the trips I’ve taken this year. I’m hoping to start getting those up in the next few months.
So what are my 2011 National Park goals? I’m not sure yet—I suspect that it’ll be a relatively lean year, but I’m definitely hoping to mark off a few more. Do you have any national park trips planned this year?