Back my popular demand, this week’s Park People is the second installment of people sharing their favorite parks and public lands. This is an ongoing series, so don’t worry if your entry hasn’t been included yet. If you enjoy Park People and haven’t participated, head on over to the Park People Participants page to learn more.
Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park is a hidden gem. The park is located in the middle of nowhere in Baker, Nevada (pop. about 60, not counting the park rangers) and it is not a hospitable place. Once you go up the mountain, it changes to an alpine oasis with cool temperature, some of the oldest living things known to man, and a really cool cave system.
Roosevelt National Forest
This hike started my fascination for hiking. I was excited and got up early in the morning and my son and I started up this steep incline that looked like it lasted forever. We made it to the top and the view of Long’s Peak was magical. At that point we realized we hiked the wrong trail and had to backtrack to the trailhead to get on the actual trail the lead to the summit of the Twin Sister’s East peak. By the way we did not make the summit due to altitude sickness.
Grand Canyon National Park
At the risk of sounding clichéd, the Grand Canyon. There is nothing so awe-inspiring and shock-inducing as experiencing the Grand Canyon for the first time. I remember standing before an immense gorge a mile deep and nearly 18 miles wide, then watching a pin-prick of a helicopter fly past and down into the canyon.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park, NS
Cape Breton is home for me, so CBHNP is already close to my heart. Twenty-six hiking trails mark out the beautiful coastline, climb our small but loved mountains and snake through river valleys. The Park is home to many species of wildlife, with moose being a common sighting. The drive along the Cabot Trail is world-known, and the Skyline Trail in particular is a landmark view. The culture in Cape Breton is alive with its French Acadian and Scottish settled descendants — music and food are the spice of life here.
North Cascades National Park
I can’t not include North Cascades National Park on my list of top three. It’s not a park I visit often, partly because it’s at least a five-hour drive through Seattle traffic to get there and partly because it’s a park that doesn’t reveal itself easily. You have to be willing to work for your experience, usually by climbing up steep mountainsides to breathtaking views of a sea of peaks. But I loved this park before I ever visited, because I spent years researching how it came to be a park–research that turned into a book, Crown Jewel Wilderness: Creating North Cascades National Park, published in September 2017. During the early years of my research, I did get to the North Cascades for a memorable day hike to Cascade Pass, the most popular hike in the park and one of the most beautiful places in Washington state–and in a state full of beautiful places, that’s saying something.
Want to participate in a future “Park People” post?
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