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59 national parks

Tax Dollars Well Spent: The Nation’s Best National Parks

Editor’s Note:  Last January Yahoo Travel and author and contributor Bill Fink named the Nation’s five worst National Parks.  Since we have traveled to all of them, we thought we would offer our view of the five best National Parks.

Tax Dollars Well Spent: The Nation’s Best National Parks

We are asked all of the time what our favorite National Park is.  We are reluctant to name one.  Each National Park is a National Park for a reason.  We believe that each one should be measured and enjoyed based on its own merits.   Too many different apples and oranges to make an intelligent “favorite” call.  With that, we are going to crack and let our readership which ones we consider to be the five best.  We do this on the basis of:

1.  We have really been to all of them and do not rely upon stock photography to make our decisions.

2.  We believe it is more fun to love on things than to hate on them.

3.  We collected a huge volume of evidence based on books, interviews and significant personal experience.

Here goes. Continue reading

59 national parks

59 National Parks in 61 Weeks

59 National Parks in 61 Weeks

On June 5th, 2015 we completed our quest visit all 59 National Parks when our bush plane touched down at Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska.  Besides our excellent pilot Jim Kincaid, we were the only people in the Park that morning. Fitting, we thought.   It took us 61 weeks–two more than our stated goal.  We never intended to see all of the Parks in a sprint.  We only selected the number 59 because we thought we could afford to take about a year off of work.  We wouldn’t have cared if it took us 75 weeks, 3 years or even 59 years.  Every moment of our 61 week journey was precious and special. Continue reading

59 national parks

Alaska Preview and #TheFinale

 

Alaska Preview and #TheFinale

Alaska Preview

Last August we were poised to see all eight of Alaska’s National Parks.  Two days before we were leaving Alaska we jumped on an Alaska Airlines flight headed for the remote village of Kotzebue.  On approach, the pilot was forced to pull up and fly back to Anchorage for repairs.  We knew immediately that we would have to try again in 2015 to visit Kobuk Valley and Gates of the Arctic National Park.  We wrote about our first Alaska experience here. Continue reading

@MissouriHowell

@MissouriHowell, The Interview

Editor’s Note:

Fellow Missourian Jeff Howell (@MissouriHowell on Twitter) was one of the first people we followed on Twitter.  In spite of the fact that he is a St. Louis Cardinals Fan, we engaged in frequent banter and became social media friends.  After much buildup, Shelly and I finally met him in Kansas City for BBQ at an “event” we dubbed #RibFest.  Shortly after, I interviewed Jeff and here is the result. #FriendsForLife  Oh yeah, when I hiked with @ExoticHikes we didn’t find Bigfoot. Continue reading

59 national parks

Hot Times at Death Valley National Park

 

Hot Times at Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is a different place.  All National Parks come with a degree of danger.  At Yellowstone visitors are frequently warned about wildlife encounters.  At the Great Smokies guests are urged to take plenty of water especially during hot weather.  At the Grand Canyon hikers are cautioned not to take on hikes greater than their abilities and health will allow.  At Death Valley, visitors should take special care to heed all park warnings.  The death in Death Valley is well deserved. Continue reading

59 national parks

It’s All About Our Guide at Antelope Canyon

It’s All About Our Guide at Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is not a National Park.  It’s not an Arizona State Park.  Rather it is a Navajo Nation Park located near Page, Arizona.  The Park is not remote.  It is accessible via a paved U.S. Highway and sits right across the street from the much decried Navajo Power Plant.  Other than the last five miles, which consists of a rough dirt road, Antelope Canyon is an easy trip.  The most efficient way to see it is by hiring one of the many Navajo sponsored guide services.  We hired Antelope Slot Canyon Tours.  As an unexpected bonus, we were paired with their most well known guide Leonard Nez.  We were blessed to have this gentle, creative and intelligent man introduce us to the wonders and mystery of the Canyon.  In many ways, our tour happily became more about him that the Canyon  itself. Continue reading