Lee and a curious calico crisscross the country in a RV, living simply and sustainably.

August 25th is the Centennial Celebration of the National Park Service. After watching Ken Burns PBS Special on the National Parks a few years ago, I knew that visiting as many parks as possible would be a priority on my RVing adventure. Working and living in Yellowstone National Park for 6 months this year is a dream come true.

Yellowstone is celebrating with a Centennial party for 6,000 featuring musicians Emmylou Harris and John Prine. The Governor of Montana and other dignitaries will talk about the future of the National Park Service and a Theodore Roosevelt reenactor will talk about the past. But I’m especially proud to be of service in the present, inspiring and educating folks about how they can help to preserve Yellowstone for the next generations and forever.

While there are many parks still on my wish list, here are is a trip down memory lane from ones I’ve already enjoyed…

Yell bison path.jpg

Which way do we go now??? Rogue male bison are often found along popular paths throughout Yellowstone National Park. I think they like having their picture taken! On this trek we were howled at by a coyote for several minutes before a second one ran behind a hill and we heard the yipping of her young kits.

Grand Tetons.jpg

Two weeks ago I enjoyed visiting a friend who is a National Park Ranger. We hiked around Phelps Lake, paddled the Snake River, watched for falling stars, and stopped for many photo opps. This one captures the famous Grand Tetons in all their glory.

black canyon.jpg

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado was a sweet surprise. My son and I camped on the South rim for two nights, breaking in the spare bed in the new RV. We enjoyed a Ranger led program at the bottom on the gorge on how early settles tunneled through the mountains with precision.

rocky mtn.jpg

This toddler and chipmunk are poised at the edge of a cliff near the continental divide crossing Rocky Mountain National Park. The Rockies are incredible to climb in a 4-wheel drive vehicle and I can’t even imagine hiking across them! Snow on the mountaintops in August was surprising to see.

mamoth cave.jpg

This little guy was clinging to the roof of Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Eastern bat populations have dwindled due to White Nose Syndrome, so I was happy to spy this little pollinator. My son and I explored the cave during a 10 day trip together.

cumberland gap.jpg

First time I spied a copperhead was at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. From the pinnacle overlook, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia are in full view. Many birders keep track of which state they see a bird in, and I remember watching a crow fly through all three states.

Clingmans Dome July 2009.jpg

Not sure who to credit this photo with since I’m in it. I do remember the steep hike to the top of Clingman’s Dome in Great Smoky Mountain National Park and how devastating it was to see bare tree trunks for miles in every direction due to acid rain caused in part by automobile exhaust. 9 million visitors a year visit this park in eastern Tennessee.

grand canyon.jpg

Photo taken by sister Michelle at the edge of the Grand Canyon. The West was lit up in Technicolor – turquoise blue sky, sand and sage, and red rocks. This was a groundbreaking trip so many years ago – the furthest I’d been from home to that point, and confirmation that I could indeed achieve my travel goals in time.

Question: What is your favorite National Park memory and why? Please comment below. And…Happy Birthday!


Comments on: "Happy 100th Birthday National Park Service" (4)

  1. Marilyn Williamson said:

    I worked as a Park Ranger at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site on the Navajo Reservation at Ganado, Arizona way back in the 1960’s, right after it became a National Historic Site. I conducted many guided tours and greeted visitors in the “bull pen” in the trading post. While living in Ganado I hiked many times at Canyon de Chelly—once under a full moon—and at the Grand Canyon. Wonderful memories!

    • Oh wow, Marilyn, I can just picture the Canyon under a full moon. So glad to have a glumpse at your wild side. Favulous memory!

  2. Barbara Chatham said:

    It is impossible to choose as they all are unique and beautiful.
    We visited Yellowstone several years ago and witnessed two male bison
    tangle in the open pasture. One male had approached an existing herd
    and tried to mingle. The alpha male sent him packing. It was both exciting
    and a little frightening to see their power in the fight.
    So happy for you to be living such an exciting and adventurous life.
    Very proud to know such a courageous lady.

    • Hi Barbara, what a cool sene to witness! I was watching a video today of two baby bison butting heads – so much behavior is ingrained. Places like Yellowstone offer opportunities to witness wildlife without filters. Such a rare perspective – I feel as lucky as I feel courageous. Lee

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