We love our cars, we love our parks, and we love to drive our cars in the parks. Well, at least when the traffic isn’t too bad, and we really don’t mind just going along for the ride. The windshield touring season is nearly here, so it’s time to start thinking about park trips. All of the national parkways are recommended. Here are a dozen other traverses, loops, and shuttles that belong on your short list.
Kings Canyon National Park is an alpine wonderland, set amongst the rugged lands of the Sierra Mountains in California, just north of Sequoia National Park and to the southeast of Yosemite National Park. The park, administered with Sequoia, is one of America’s oldest. While it still protects the ancient sequoia trees of the Grant Grove that were the park’s original focal point, it is rapidly becoming known as one of America’s premier backcountry destinations.
Imagine taking the time to go into your backyard, or the nearby woods, or even a pond close to your home, to catalog all the life you found in it. Not just the deer or snakes or fish, but the birds and insects, reptiles, plants and fungi and everything else biological or botanic. Imagine how fascinating that would be. At Great Smoky Mountains National Park they've been working on just that, and what they've found has been incredible.
I was inspired recently to write an article about the problems drugs bring to the parks when I visited Olympic National Park earlier this summer. As recreational visitors to the national parks, we may not be aware of the battle behind the scenes to keep drugs out of the parks. I was told a story by a long-time law enforcement ranger that surprised me, and made me realize the burden to the resource they represent.
Just in time for summer's backpacking and camping season, The Last Season has arrived in paperback. I reviewed this book a year ago shortly after it hit the market in a hardcover-edition and it's well-worth your time if you like a true-life mystery involving a legendary backcountry ranger in Kings Canyon National Park.
I'm so impressed with Eric Blehm's "The Last Season," an accounting of the disappearance of Randy Morgenson, a backcountry ranger who spent 28 seasons in Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks before vanishing into a void. It's a mystery that perhaps will appeal largely only to parkies, but it's one masterfully told.
What I liked about working on National Parks With Kids is that it allowed me to take a slightly different look at the parks. For sure, parks are family friendly. But when you're trying to guide families with young kids into the parks, well, you can't focus on 18-mile round-trip hikes and scaling the Grand Teton.