If you're a frequent visitor to my blog, you've no doubt noticed that partway down the righthand column I recently added a portal for Park Basix, which is a DVD guide to a growing number of national parks. Produced by Adventure Crossing, a small company based in Kanab, Utah, these DVDs are best described as a video trail guide.
I've been hesitant to explore advertising on my blog, mainly because I don't want to add clutter and lessen the emphasis I'm trying to focus on how our national parks are being managed. However, there are a number of products that I see value in for park visitors, and Park Basix is one of them.
Full disclosure: I do get compensated for copies of Park Basix sold through my blog, but if you study this product I think you'll agree it could come in handy for many folks.
A beauty of Park Basix is that it puts you on the ground in the parks. There are scores of guidebooks out there -- including a few of mine -- and while writers can be incredibly creative with how they arrange words, those descriptions often fall a bit shy of the imagery reflected in photographs or, in the case of Park Basix, a DVD.
Park Basix, which retails for $17.95 per edition, is not for everyone. Those experienced in venturing out-of-doors and frequent visitors to national parks might not see much value in these DVDs. But for someone considering a cross-country trek to a national park they've never explored, this is a great product.
Jares Gallagher, who created Adventure Crossing with her husband, Dan, for a long time lived in Scottsdale, Arizona, and together they made frequent trips to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Those trips showed the couple that many Grand Canyon visitors weren't properly prepared for what they might encounter in the park.
As a result, each Park Basix DVD (there currently are four, featuring Canyonlands, Arches, Rocky Mountain, Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion national parks, with a guide to Capitol Reef coming this spring) contains basic information on outdoor ethics, hydration, nutrition, safety and gear and clothing. There also are segments on wildlife, flowers and trees endemic to each park.
A value even experienced parkies might appreciate are the segments that highlight hiking trails in each of the parks. While Park Basix doesn't touch on every trail a park offers, there is a nice cross-section of beginner-to-expert level trails that takes viewers into a park's landscape and shows them what they might find when the arrive in the park.
Jares told me that one man who bought the Zion edition discovered by watching it that he could tackle many more trails than he anticipated while planning his trip. The result was a more satisfying trip.
The DVDs are so handy that, if you tote your laptop computer with you on vacation, you can preview your next day's hike the night before and know what to look for on the trail. Heck, you can even load a version on your iPOD or other MP3 player.
Each Park Basix edition is prepared with the help of National Park Service interpretive staff, so you can be confident the information you receive is accurate. And they come in both English and German.
To get a feel for the content contained in Park Basix, click through the portal to Adventure Crossing and you'll find some sample video clips, as well as still photos, to give you an idea of what to expect.