Harry S Truman was a true Missourian. It is the state where he was born and raised, where he met his wife to be, where he ran for public office, and where he chose to return following his presidency. Our 33rd president was born of modest means, worked as a businessman and farmer, and progressed up the political ladder from county judge, to U.S. Senator, Vice-President, and, upon the death of President Franklin Roosevelt, President of the United States. After it was all over, he returned to his home in Independence to live a down-to-earth life in the town he loved.
Exploring the Parks
Sometimes, you find the best things where you may least expect them. In the middle of the Great Plains, amid the waving golden prairie grasses of the Nebraska Sandhills, winds the Niobrara National Scenic River. An oasis in a dry landscape, the sight of the river is a dramatic change.
We recently returned for a stay of several nights in Isle Royale, one of America’s most lightly visited national parks. Based on our memory of the previous trip nine years ago, pretty much everything was unchanged, and that was fine with us. The park remains quiet and uncrowded with beautiful vistas, friendly people, and cool temperatures.
A few months ago, when Mongolian national park director Tumursukh Jal was on an official visit to the Grand Canyon, one of his hosts asked a simple question: “How many national parks do you guys have there in your home country?” When Tumursukh mentioned there were 99 of them, his U.S. colleagues seemed a bit nonplussed. “That many, really?”
Crossing the powder-blue bridge spanning the Potomac River at Point of Rocks, Maryland, I feel like I’ve time-warped to another century. With my husband and two children in tow, we have left behind the bustling Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., to stay in a historic lockhouse along the C&O Canal. For one weekend at least we hope to experience what life was like for a 19th-century lock tender and his family, whose livelihood was tied to the daily rhythms of moving boats and goods. If history had gone in a different direction, however, our stay would have been impossible.
We recently returned to Keweenaw National Historical Park in Michigan after an absence of nearly a decade following our first visit in 2007. The national historical park covers a substantial amount of real estate as it spans much of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. This large expanse makes it likely a visitor will miss at least some of the park's important features, one of the reasons we chose to visit a second time.
I placed a mix of boneless breast meat, boneless thighs, and bone-in thighs into the bottom of the Dutch oven, and the meat began to sizzle in the hot olive oil. Diced onions, potatoes, sliced celery, and dried morels from the nearby mountains soon followed.
There are, not far from the pavement, glorious creeks to splash in and ponds and lakes to fish, forests to explore, and grassy meadows to chase butterflies across. These are kid friendly aspects of the natural world that come without batteries, don’t need a Wi-Fi signal, and are guaranteed to bring the kid out in all of us.
Spring in Yosemite National Park following a wet winter is spectacular. Waterfalls roaring, thundering, pouring over granite cliffs, cascading down boulder-strewn canyons. Rainbows in waterfalls. Merced River at flood stage. Lush green meadows. Trees bursting with new spring growth. Lovely white blossoms on graceful branches of dogwood trees reaching out over the Merced River. Snow-capped peaks in the backcountry.
The rich cobalt blue waters of Crater Lake are the centerpiece for this national park in southern Oregon. Its geologic birth has left an enormous volcanic caldera, in which the lake rests today. The story of the lake’s birth is as fascinating and striking as the park itself.