Happy 100th Birthday to the National Park Service

DSC02791_FThe National Park Service turns 100 today! Let’s all celebrate by going outside! I don’t know about everyone else, but the National Parks Service has really enhanced my life. I grew up in Oklahoma, and for those of you that have never been, I’ll just fill you in a little bit. There’s not a whole lot going on there as far as scenery goes. There are no National Parks in Oklahoma. There is one National Recreation Area, and a few historic sites, but there are no Parks. Don’t get me wrong, Oklahoma absolutely has some beautiful places, but it’s not the kind of flashy in your face, look at me I’m a mountain/ocean/really tall waterfall. Oklahoma is a bit more ahem, humble, in its beauty. That is why when my family went on trips as a kid the whole experience was almost magical to me. I remember staring out the window at the mountains and having the urge to jump out of the car and run straight up the side of the mountain, all the way to the top. (I also estimated that it wouldn’t be that difficult.)

I was in absolute awe of all the beauty that surrounded me. Some of the most amazing experiences of my life have happened in National Parks, like watching a lightning storm across the Grand Canyon at dusk, and driving through the tunnel that leads to the first glimpse of the Yosemite valley just after a rainstorm. I remember staring at the rainbow of colors in the hot springs pools at Yellowstone and watching the mud pots bubble. I remember seeing herds of elk, spotting multiple moose, and other wildlife. As a child, I remember hugging the trunks of the giant Redwoods with my sisters, the span of our arms together not even reaching halfway around. I remember seeing the deep blue color of the water at Crater Lake for the first time and wondering how it could be so blue. I remember the weather changing from shorts weather into a blizzard as we ascended the road in Rocky Mountain National Park. I remember riding a horse named Judy through the red canyon walls of Zion. It has been amazing being able to re-visit these parks as an adult, and being able to reminisce as well as create new experiences. The world is filled with people, but you get a sense of how small you are when you get out into these parks, past the crowds and into nature, and you get to experience what being alive is all about. Thank you to the National Parks Service for this wonderful gift that we to explore!

I’ll leave you with a few photos of some of my more recent trips through these beauties.

Carlsbad CavernsDSC01080 DSC01103 RedwoodsDSC02001 YosemiteDSC02522 DSC02532 The Grand CanyonDSC02748 DSC02774 DSC02791 ArchesDSC07330 DSC07344 Crater LakeDSC02353DSC08273 DSC08275 ZionDSC09854 DSC09932 DSC09949 YellowstoneIMG_9165 IMG_9352 IMG_9412 IMG_9423If you’d like to donate to the National Parks Service please visit this link to find out ways you can help.

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