Friday, October 23, 2009

National Parks


When I was a kid, we never necessarily made a big deal about going to the national parks as much as it was more like 'Well, this is the closest we'll ever be to it, so we might as well go'. Oddly enough, I grew up a couple hours' drive from Rocky Mountain National Park, and I don't think we ever went least, not that I remember. But I digress.

My mom and dad both grew up in South Dakota and my mom's family has their reunions there every 3 years. Since it was cheaper to drive than it was to fly with two kids, it was always a family road trip. Every time we went back, we stopped at Mount Rushmore. I still consider it my favorite of the National Monuments--it even beats the DC mall. It is also the only photo of a National anything that I have framed (though since I'm doing a photo project in our guest/drum room, I'll soon have three pictures of Yellowstone/Grand Teton and three of Big Bend up there).

I'm the one in the trench coat. I was cold. I was walking around using the umbrella like a cane. For whatever reason, I remember that I was pretending I was Mark Twain.

Of course, on one of the trips back we stopped at Devil's Tower in Wyoming (and Fort Laramie). It was also around this time that we went to Yellowstone. This trip was precipitated because we were living in Cheyenne at the time and we were going to be moving back to Colorado so it was decided "We'd better see Yellowstone before it's another 2 hours away". I don't remember much of the trip--we stopped at Independence Rock, and we ate at a restaurant in Thermopolis that had the most dead animal mounted heads I've ever seen...or rather, I guess I should say we didn't eat there--my sister and I claimed that there was no way we were going to be able to eat buffalo and elk steaks while said animals watched from above as the heads were mounted over the table. Instead we ate at some restaurant that had fish mounted everywhere. And we saw lots of buffalo in Yellowstone. It was during our over-sized sweatshirt and leggings phase as well. Hey, I was in the 6th grade.

Every road trip we made had some history thrown in. When we went to Disneyland, we stopped at Mesa Verde, the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon. When we went to Disneyworld there were stops at Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Kennesaw, Stone Mountain, St. Augustine, the Kennedy Assassination Museum, and at every historical marker in Texas (well at least on the road we were traveling). A cousin's wedding in Ohio warranted a trip along the east coast seeing revolutionary war battlefields, DC, Mammoth Caves, and more Civil War battlefields. Etc. Etc. Etc.


Since getting married (all of 4 years ago), we've gone backpacking in Yellowstone and Big Bend, camped at Grand Teton, and went to DC and Gettysburg. And all of this was within the last 3 months. I blogged about every day of the Yellowstone trip on my other blog. If you don't want to read all the verbiage of the blog entries, just know that when I label the Prius as a "Stupid Car" it really has nothing to do with the car other than it has a huge center console display and it doesn't even bother telling you "hey dummy, the reason the car won't start right now is because you're not stepping on the brake pedal". All the pictures can be found on my Picasa page here:

A month after Yellowstone, we went back east for one of the husband's cousin's wedding. My parents met us out there and we hit up a couple of historical markers in the Pennsylvania/Jersey area. After my parents left, we headed down to Baltimore, DC, Gettysburg, and then drove back to Philly for the wedding. All of those pictures can be found on my Picasa page as well. Of course, this time there are many more people in the photos since we were with more people.

East Coast Vacation

Most recently, we took a 5 day trip to Big Bend to do some 16 miles worth of backpacking. Water is heavy in case you didn't already know. The weather was nice and of course it was wonderful. The part I find odd though is that the border crossing agents have a little set up just south of Marathon, which is like an hour north of Big Bend. Very odd. The Big Bend pictures can be found here:
Big Bend National Park


bond said...

I loved the Big Bend pics!!! I am all ready for our camping trip now. I actually have the tent set up in the backyard now. I went ahead and repaired it for next week. Still might get a smaller tent at some point. What tent do you have? Do you reccomend it?

Dani said...

Why is it that the parents only remember me unable to eat at the animal head place? I remember the hotel room-serivce pizza wasn't that great... but hell, much better than eatting dead animals with deheaded animals wittnessing.

Shawn said...


We have a TarpTent right now that we use for backpacking trips because it's a whopping 2 lbs. but it doesn't afford much room for 2 people. We also have a 4 lb Gart Sports (Sports Authority) tent which is much roomier, but you still can't stand up in it. I like both tents, though i'm a bit more partial to the bigger one--it's much more of the normal tent you think of for camping nowadays. But of course, since Shawn's the one that carries the tent when we camp, I can't complain too much about using the TarpTent--besides, it gets the job done admirably. If you want to borrow either, jut let me know.

Bob said...

If you ever plan a trip on a river and need kayaks you are certainly welcome to borrow ours. I don't know where you would put them on that little car of yours but you might be able to rent a rack. It's just something to keep in mind.

Annie in Austin said...

The Big Bend album is beautiful - the ones around #42-45 are outstanding, Katina!
It must be very different to grow up where a visit to a National Park is almost spur of the moment instead of a trip to the Other.
Walking around with a cane pretending you were Mark it.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose