The sun had long since set by the time I got to Crater Lake National Park. I had made the long drive from Davis, CA to Crater Lake National Park after work to spend the weekend in Oregon’s only national park. I couldn’t wait to check out Crater Lake as it would be my 42nd national park and the last of the Cascade mountain national parks. As with most of my trips, this was a last minute decision to spend the weekend in Crater Lake.
Kayla and I emerge from the forest and arrive at my car. We look at each other. Joe still hadn’t caught up with us. I unlock my car and pull out my phone. Kayla keeps glancing at the trailhead as I turn my phone on. Finally, it turns on. No signal, that isn’t a surprise given we are in the North Cascades Mountains in North Cascade National Park in northern Washington. Kayla looks at her watch. “It’s 5:30,” she states. “Sunset isn’t until at least 9,” I respond. We have over three hours of sunlight. “He should have realized we were going to make it to the top by now, right,” her voice wobbles. I hesitate for a moment, but respond, “Yea, he should have caught us on the way down.” With that statement, the nagging feeling that I have had the whole way down comes back.
I sat near a 1,500 foot vertical drop and admired the view. It had taken me almost 8 years of plotting and planning to make this trip a reality. The view from Angel’s Landing exceeded expectations and was worth the wait. The early explorers were right.
In honor of REI’s #OptOutside movement and part of my Cyber Monday series, I am sharing some of my favorite gifts for a USA national park traveler / junkie like myself.
Every Thursday, I will be posting a photo from my travels and a spotlight on the location. Today’s Spotlight Thursday is from my visit to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. The North Rim was the last stop on my 2012 National Park Road Trip. Grand Canyon National Park was my 27th National Park on my quest to visit all 59 US National Parks.