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National Park Memories

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kuhjäger, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. kuhjäger

    kuhjäger
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    I read yesterday that next week all national parks in the US are going to have free admission. I was wishing I could take the time off and go visit a couple, but I started thinking of all the national parks I have been too, and frankly, how awesome they are. They are seriously one of the best, and most important things in this country. I actually dated a girl who had never been to one. You can imagine how that went.

    I was in the Boy Scouts, (yes, drunken, philandering, asshole Kuhjäger wore that uniform) and we visited a shit load of national parks, and my mom always made sure that we went to at least 2 in the summer. I have a crap load of stories.

    My favorites are of course Yellowstone, (I spent 2 weeks in the back country). One day on a backpacking trip after hiking 7 miles with packs, the guide told us about a waterfall that had a bunch of heated springs above it, so it felt like taking a shower. In addition there were hotsprings at the bottom that people had turned into jacuzzis. It was only another 7 miles, and only 2 of us scouts went with the guide. It was easily one of the things I will remember until I die. It was a narrow cut of rock with a river flowing through, and trees clinging to the rock, and a waterfall pouring down, and the rocks were stained a rainbow of colors from the algae that grew in the warm water. The water was a nice 85 degrees coming down, and the natural hot tubs were about 110. We sat there for hours, and took in nature. When we walked the 7 miles back, the other scouts were bragging because they had caught a fish.

    My other is Zion Canyon. The place is beautiful, but the highlight of my trip was Hiking to the top of Angels Landing, which is 1208 ft off the base of the canyon, and is about 20ft wide. Looking down from the edge almost gave me a heart attack.

    I fucking hate Yosemite. I went there once to hike to the top of Half Dome, and the yokels being towed around in the back of tractors taking pictures with their cell phones pissed me off because I knew that they would never get off their asses and take a fucking hike.

    Focus: What are your favorite National Parks? What are your favorite memories from them?

    (The picture below is the top of Angels Landing)
     

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  2. spoons

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    Zion and hiking up Angel's Landing is one of my favorite memories from my childhood. My dad and I hiked it together when I was about 13 and it was absolutely amazing.

    Canyonlands and Bryce Canyon parks are along the same lines as Zion (all in Utah) and are both absolutely breathtaking as well.
     
  3. bewildered

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    I have 5 siblings. When we were much younger, my parents would load up the van and we would travel all over the US during the summer vacation, visiting parks and historical spots. Instead of renting hotel rooms, we camped.

    My favorite memory was when we visited the Delaware Water Gap. It was amazing. We hiked up the beautiful trails and went swimming (this was illegal) in the mountain streams. I also remember collecting interesting rocks (also illegal) in my socks, which were completely sodden from the aforementioned dip in the water. I hope to go back some day, but am afraid that it won't measure up to my childhood memories.
     
  4. Gargamelon

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    Sequoia National Park is breathtaking and has tons of awesome trails. It receives much less traffic then places like Yosemite and is just as beautiful.

    I went during summer, which I assume is a peak travel time, and there was barely anyone around. The real big ass trees generally have a bunch of fat annoying tourists gawking, but there are a shitload of less traveled places. There were times where I was literally alone in a grove of giant, towering, hundred foot trees, or sitting on a rock next to a massive waterfall.
     
  5. AbsentMindedProf

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    I went on quite a few backpacking trips with my dad when I was younger. My favorite trip was to the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. There was such a great variety in terrian. After the first climb we dropped into a valley that has a rainforest like ecosystem, and some really cool streams and small waterfalls. Then you hike up into the high valley plains. It's pretty incredible to walk out of a forest and see the mountains stretch out in front of you. I'm really having trouble describing it, and I don't have any pictures from the trip. It was a beutiful and peaceful place.

    I think the National Parks out west are going to get a lot of love in this thread, but the parks in the Appalachians shouldn't be over looked.
     
  6. katokoch

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    Superior National Forest

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    It's easy to take spectacular photos because, well, it's just so damn pretty. The last one is my avatar.

    I've been making annual trips to these lakes since I was 9 years old and it has become one of my favorite places in the world. Thanks to strict regulations and difficulty navigating the land (not anyone can canoe/portage/hike around the land and they sure as hell don't have tram tours), it's a spectacularly pristine place. The water is crystal-clear (with a rusty tint), the air smells of cedar and pine, and wildlife flourishes in absolute freedom. I go with the same group every year and the trips are the same: fish, drink, explore, fish, drink, and relax. While we go mainly to fish nonstop and smoke fine cigars and sip scotch, it's worth visiting for the simple ability to not let yourself be bothered by anyone else. Cell phones don't get any signal up there and the nearest WiFi is miles away. It's the place to escape the rest of the world and enjoy silence and tranquility.

    I say it is absolutely worth visiting in your lifetime.
     
  7. Kubla Kahn

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    We went a family trip out West when I was in middle school. We rented a SUV and hit a bunch of big ones. The Grand Canyon is indescribable. I remember visiting Devils Tower and having to walk all the way around it before I would leave, then I couldn't take my eyes off of it as we drove off. Arches National Park is pretty amazing as well. We spent two days at Yellowstone and I remember the spring pools being the coolest thing. Old Faithful is as lame as most people will tell you, there was another guesser named The Beehive (?), which had a much more spectacular eruption.
     
  8. ec88

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    I've had the opportunity to visit a lot of national parks; Yellowstone, Hana, Mt. Rainier, St. Helens, and Olympic National Park to name a few. My favorite though was Glacier National Park in Montana.
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    I just snagged that picture off of google. It's a great picture, but does not do the entire park justice.
     
  9. lust4life

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    Acadia National Park and Jennifer Brennan. Now, THAT'S a national park memory.
     
  10. Aetius

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    The ones I've been to:

    -Yellowstone (One of the most incredible places on earth. If you don't visit Yellowstone at one point in your life you done fucked up)
    -Grand Teton (As one review described it "While Yellowstone has many attractions, Grand Teton only has one. But it's one hell of an attraction")
    -Acadia (Great park, definitely worth renting a kayak in Bar Harbor and island hopping)
    -Grand Canyon (It's a hole in the ground. But it's a fucking huge hole)
    -Denali (Above all other parks you get a sense that you are truly in the wild and civilization is far far behind)
    -Mesa Verde (Really cool Indian ruins)
    -Joshua Tree (I don't do enough drugs to truly do this place justice, but it's a really trippy landscape with some great scrambling and rock climbing)

    Ones on my list to see at some point:
    -Bryce
    -Arches
    -Zion
    -Glacier
    -Olympic
    -Wangell St Elias
    -Gates of the Arctic
    -Sequoia and Kings
    -Yosemite
    -Everglades
    -Carlsbad Caverns
    -Great Smoky Mountains
     
  11. numeric

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    Badlands National Park. I did some hiking there a few years back, and have always wanted to return. Once I was taking a breather on a small rock about 4 feet around. The sun was blazing down, and even at noon the temperature was up around 90. As I hopped off the rock to get going, I almost landed on a prairie rattler keeping cool in the shade underneath. That sound made me jump straight up back onto that rock. And I swear I set a world-record long jump the next time I tried to get down.
     
  12. Sam N

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    Haleakala National Park on Maui is amazing. It's a complicated place, because it stretches around the volcano, and entering it at one point does not mean you are going to get to see stuff at other points. Once you get into it though, the sheer beauty of it is amazing.

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    The Crater of Mt. Haleakala:
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    Seven Sacred Pools:
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  13. Crazy Wolf

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    What, no love for Death Valley? I like it just fine as normal, but a few years ago Death Valley got more rain than it had had in a century, my dad pulled me out of school and we were off to Death Valley. I don't have any photos of it on this computer, but seeing the entire valley covered in flowers that hadn't bloomed for 100 years was pretty awesome. Instead of paying attention to the interesting rock formations and twisted trees, there were these sheets of color blanketing every horizontal spot in the park that wasn't paved. The drive back wasn't bad, I don't remember whether we went through Yosemite on the way there and up Owens Valley on the way back or vice versa.
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    I didn't take this photo, but that's basically how it looked.

    There's also this little place called Darwin Falls, on the southwestern border of the park. The trail isn't long, but it's still beautiful. You're walking in this land of reddish earth and yellow stone, and then you see this little damp patch on the ground. As you follow the water, you start to see a dense growth of greenery. You keep walking, and soon the plants are as high as your eye, and there's water trickling between their bases. When you hit the end of the trail, you're in this shady alcove, with a pool of cool water at your feet, a small waterfall across the water from you, and a few water skimmers and frogs going about their business. You can rest in this little patch of green underneath some trees and breathe clean.
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    Also not mine, and not the shot I would have chosen, but a decent photo, albeit without the leaves on the trees.
     
  14. The Wildcard

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    Joshua tree reminds me of the episode of Entourage when the guys went there and tripped on shrooms..fucking hilarious

    I am going on a vacation out west in July. Grand Canyon is a must, and thinking about Lake Tahoe, what does everyone who's been there think about it?
     
  15. AFHokie

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    A very timely thread...Depending how soon I can wrap up a few significant loose ends, I'll have the opportunity to take off most of the summer and I'm seriously considering spending a month on a road trip to Zion, the Grand Canyon, Joshua, Death Valley, Yosemite, Redwood, Crater Lake, Olympia, and Glacier NP's.

    spent several weeks last summer in the Badlands, Devil's Tower, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton...words can't describe
     

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  16. Noland

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    When I was 17 my older brother and I climbed the Grand Teton, so I second that one.

    Also I went to a summer camp in Estes Park, Colorado for 7 years as a kid. Estes Park is just outside Rocky Mountain National Park, which is amazing. It has its touristy spots, but what National Park doesn't? The Never Summer Range on the west side of the park is the most beautiful place I've ever been.
     
  17. Ton80

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    It's not one of the better-known parks, but I highly recommend King's Canyon for anyone in the Northern California area. It's almost as breathtaking as Yosemite, but with a whoooooole lot less people.
     
  18. Crown Royal

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    The Grand Canyon is the site of sites, for for a single visual feat, the overrated Yosemite's greatest monolith is the 3000 foot granite cliff El Capitan. It truly is something to see, popular for climbers and idiot BASE jumpers.

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    Another is Death Valley, a truly eerie and one-of -a-kind place: The Devil's Cornfield and Bad Water Basin (lowest and hottest place in America) are creepy and have a look all their own, but the Racetrack is the tops: a 3-mile-long and utterly 90 degree flat desert surface where 1000 pounds rocks seem to slide around like pucks whever it rarely rains:

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  19. Guy Fawkes

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    The most vivid memory I have about national parks has to do with disappointment.

    I was very young and my parents were talking up our family trip to the White Mountains. However instead of saying White Mountains they kept saying National Park. Young Fawkes was young enough to think that this National Park was just one big park that would contain the Grand Canyon and more importantly Old Faithful.

    Needless to say I was very disappointed when the highlight of the trip was neither of these but rather a railroad that ran straight up the tallest peak in NH. (Which was still pretty cool).

    I'm planning on a Yellowstone-Craters of the Moon-Mt. Rainier-Olympic parks tour during my leave of absence next year.