Giant Coastal Redwoods rise up around me. I stand in awe that less than 30 minutes ago I was standing among the skyscrapers of San Francisco. A short drive across the Golden Gate Bridge is a wilderness oasis near one of the US’s largest cities in the most populous state. These coastal redwoods aren’t a hidden. They stand proudly in the Muir Woods National Monument.
I am a national park junkie in every sense of the word. I have been to 41 National Parks and over 150 of the other National Park units. My love of the national park system came at an early age. I was to my first national park before I was a year old. It is no secret that I love our national parks. I am forever thankful for the efforts of early environmentalists. Their tireless work saved many of these magnificent places from destruction. The U.S. National Park system is often called ‘America’s Best Idea.’ I firmly believe this statement. Over the last couple of years, I have realized out park system is under attack.
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 stare at the campsite full sign. This is the last open campsite in Yosemite National Park, California. My travel without a plan plan just failed. I am still in shock. This has never happened before and I was sort of at a loss for what to do. I could usually find a walk up campsite when I arrived in a National Park. It was the middle of the week during late October and I wasn’t expecting camping to be an issue.
Every Thursday, I will be posting a photo from my travels and a spotlight on the location. Today’s Spotlight Thursday is of the . I took this photo is of a pair of round-tailed ground squirrel from my cross-country US road trips. On my way from Tennessee to Colorado, I stopped and spent a couple of days in Saguaro National Park. This park is around Tuscon, Arizona. The park has two regions split by the city of Tuscon. I spent time in both the Rincon Mountain District (Saguaro Park East) and Tucson Mountain District (Saguaro Park West).