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U.S. National Parks thread

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  • darwinstheorydarwinstheory LaPorte, INPosts: 4,341
    This thread is designed to share some of our likes/dislikes/stories about some of America's National Parks. If you're like me, and have been to some, you may have had a fantastic time. I always enjoy telling my stories or showing my pictures, but they very seldom do the actual scenery much justice. I really need to get a camera for such trips. But it's hard to justify so much money for a decent camera.

    Below is a questionnaire. If you would like to participate, have at it. Look forward to hearing of others experiences.

    Have you visited any:
    How many?
    Which ones?
    Rank favorite to least favorite?
    Key points (from each park)?
    What time of year did you visit?
    Was it worth the trip?
    Do you plan on visiting all National Parks?
    Do you plan on visiting any more?
    If so, which ones?
    Which one is next?
    Any must share stories?


    Ready? GO!
    I've visited Yosemite and Mt. Rainier.

    I went to Yosemite on August 24, 2006 with my parents. We were staying in San Francisco and took one of those side trips that leaves around 5:30 am. From what I recall it's a five-hour trip, though we stopped somewhere along the way. I want to say Merced. We saw all the major things El Capitan among them,

    I went to Mt. Rainier with three other people I met from the board who don't post here anymore. This was Sept. 20, 2009 when I was in Seattle to see two shows at Key Arena. Capped one of the best weekends I've had started it with Mariners-Yankees, Ichiro walk off against Rivera, Washington beating USC on a last-second field goal. USC was ranked No. 2 at the time I believe and then the listening party for backspacer at Easy Street Records. From what I recall the section of Rainier we went to (Paradise) is about two hours beyond Seattle.
    Wow! What a weekend! And the football game was the only thing needed to make it epic. The rest was just the icing onto the cake for you.
    "A smart monkey doesn't monkey around with another monkey's monkey" - Darwin's Theory
  • PJ_SoulPJ_Soul Vancouver, BCPosts: 48,100
    edited July 2018
    For anyone planning a trip to Yosemite right now... the entire park has been completely closed due to wild fires. I think they said they expect it will be closed through the weekend.
    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy. ~ Desiderata
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 24,794
    PJ_Soul said:
    brianlux said:
    The best National Parks are the most remote ... way less people.
    This!  Muir Woods comes to mind.  After visiting my step daughter in San Francisco yesterday, we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and just a little ways into Marin County saw a lighted sign that said "Muir Woods Full, No reservations.  Try again."  That's horrible!  I remember a time when you could go there any time.  There were never reservations needed.  It's not even an over-night spot- just a day use national Monument.  WTF?!  What it comes down to is too few natural and wild places and way to many human beings. 

    And yes, t'n'g, Trump admin is trying to close some of them down. He wants to shut down 26 National Parks.  That alone should qualify for impeachment.


    Sorry to get political and on a rant here (it's a fine thread), but I do feel an urgent need to defend our National Parks and even create more park lands and wilderness. 



    Is there any such thing in America as a government campsite that isn't always fully booked? Or private for that matter? I have heard so many stories about how you have to book any camping months or even years in advance in the US now.
    What you can do is show up when a station opens and ask for a cancellation and you should be able to get one.

    But to answer your question, yes, they are always booked up in advance for camping.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 32,848
    PJ_Soul said:
    For anyone planning a trip to Yosemite right now... the entire park has been completely closed due to wild fires. I think they said they expect it will be closed through the weekend.
    Bummer.  Not a great time to go to Yosemite either.  Hot weather and very smokey from the big Ferguson fire not far to the west of the park.  Lots of smoke and haze from recent photos I've seen. 
    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • rgambsrgambs Posts: 13,299
    Monkey Driven, Call this Living?
  • rgambsrgambs Posts: 13,299
    It's interesting we were just talking about overcrowding at parks, I was thinking about it quite a bit while I visited an area which has become overused for it's capacity.
    The Nordhouse Dunes National Wilderness (very small, only a few thousand acres) is bordered by Lake Michigan Recreation Area and Ludington State Park to the north and south, and Manistee National Forest and the big lake to the east and west.
    LMRA and Ludington are both controlled fee sites, and are both very popular.  The National Forest is the most used entry point to the wilderness because hiking up or down the beach is very difficult in soft sand that is very steep in many spots.  It all makes for an interesting intersection of accessibility.  We stayed in an improved but primitive campground and then drove to the trailhead for a backpack trip.  The trail to the wilderness dunes is only .75 miles.  Once you reach the dunes hiking becomes incredibly difficult, but it also becomes unnecessary because the dunes create pockets for campsites that allows a high density of campers.  There is no permit system, so the trailhead fills early and then people park off the road for almost a mile up the road.  The dunes are fragile and people climb all over them, creating new erosions all the time.  People hike in coolers full of beer, firewood, charcoal grills and steak, etc etc.
    At the public beach there were frat boys playing beer pong with sorority type girls in thong bikinis.  People had stereos and giant umbrellas and kids were digging giant holes in the sand while their parents literally slept in the sun... and then, the most surprising thing of all...I didn't hate any of them or care about any of it. 
    I was watching Simon climb this steep dune that should not have been climbed and I started to tell him to get down, and I saw his face was just lit up.  I thought about what that must be to him, a motherfucking sand mountain all his own to explore.  Lucky damn kid, I wish I had more experiences like that as a child.  I looked around at all the other overused dunes nearby, and realized there were 2 that were pristine for every one with footprints.  I thought about my map studies in the beta stage, and the fact that only 5% of the dune complex is accessible for any but the hardiest.  I thought about the fact that the dunes are only a few thousand years old and in a few thousand years they will be gone with or without human impact.  I looked all weekend and didn't see hardly any trash and people weren't being obnoxious, at least beyond the capacity of the dunes to negate.  I  thought about all those things and I lightened up.  I thought about how i wanted Simon to have easy access to cool places and I thought, shit, if I was a local youngster I'd want to play beer pong with girls in thongs too!

    I guess having a child has softened my stance on overuse and accessibility a bit.  It will be years yet before we can get back into legit backcountry, and in the meantime we have to do family accessible things.  I want everyone to be able to enjoy nature and unfortunately that means some beautiful areas are going to get trampled and trashed. 
    The backcountry will always be there for those who want to get away.
    Monkey Driven, Call this Living?
  • F Me In The BrainF Me In The Brain this knows everybody from other commetsPosts: 21,509
    Thanks you for not hating sorority type girls in thong bikinis!
    ;)
    Glad you had fun!
    The love he receives is the love that is saved
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 24,794
    rgambs said:
    It's interesting we were just talking about overcrowding at parks, I was thinking about it quite a bit while I visited an area which has become overused for it's capacity.
    The Nordhouse Dunes National Wilderness (very small, only a few thousand acres) is bordered by Lake Michigan Recreation Area and Ludington State Park to the north and south, and Manistee National Forest and the big lake to the east and west.
    LMRA and Ludington are both controlled fee sites, and are both very popular.  The National Forest is the most used entry point to the wilderness because hiking up or down the beach is very difficult in soft sand that is very steep in many spots.  It all makes for an interesting intersection of accessibility.  We stayed in an improved but primitive campground and then drove to the trailhead for a backpack trip.  The trail to the wilderness dunes is only .75 miles.  Once you reach the dunes hiking becomes incredibly difficult, but it also becomes unnecessary because the dunes create pockets for campsites that allows a high density of campers.  There is no permit system, so the trailhead fills early and then people park off the road for almost a mile up the road.  The dunes are fragile and people climb all over them, creating new erosions all the time.  People hike in coolers full of beer, firewood, charcoal grills and steak, etc etc.
    At the public beach there were frat boys playing beer pong with sorority type girls in thong bikinis.  People had stereos and giant umbrellas and kids were digging giant holes in the sand while their parents literally slept in the sun... and then, the most surprising thing of all...I didn't hate any of them or care about any of it. 
    I was watching Simon climb this steep dune that should not have been climbed and I started to tell him to get down, and I saw his face was just lit up.  I thought about what that must be to him, a motherfucking sand mountain all his own to explore.  Lucky damn kid, I wish I had more experiences like that as a child.  I looked around at all the other overused dunes nearby, and realized there were 2 that were pristine for every one with footprints.  I thought about my map studies in the beta stage, and the fact that only 5% of the dune complex is accessible for any but the hardiest.  I thought about the fact that the dunes are only a few thousand years old and in a few thousand years they will be gone with or without human impact.  I looked all weekend and didn't see hardly any trash and people weren't being obnoxious, at least beyond the capacity of the dunes to negate.  I  thought about all those things and I lightened up.  I thought about how i wanted Simon to have easy access to cool places and I thought, shit, if I was a local youngster I'd want to play beer pong with girls in thongs too!

    I guess having a child has softened my stance on overuse and accessibility a bit.  It will be years yet before we can get back into legit backcountry, and in the meantime we have to do family accessible things.  I want everyone to be able to enjoy nature and unfortunately that means some beautiful areas are going to get trampled and trashed. 
    The backcountry will always be there for those who want to get away.
    Interesting take.  

    Here in NY we have 4x4 passes(fishing passes) for beach access and they too can be crowded.  You can always tell whom isn't used to coming there, the trucks that form a circle or park parallel to the beach to take up more space than is needed.

    But saying all that they all clean up their trash and leave only tire prints.

    I now only go when there is inclement weather or off days to avoid the mad rush.  There is nothing like having a whole beach to yourself to do some surf casting!
  • helplessdancerhelplessdancer Posts: 4,822
    edited August 2018
    garden of the gods in colorado springs blew my mind when i was there
    i have showed many people the pictures i took while i was there for a couple of hours walking around and they are all say WOW OMG !
    some pictures on the trip advisor site but nothing like seeing it in person
    and get this. it's FREE

    https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g33364-d104029-Reviews-Garden_of_the_Gods-Colorado_Springs_El_Paso_County_Colorado.html
  • darwinstheorydarwinstheory LaPorte, INPosts: 4,341
    Thanks you for not hating sorority type girls in thong bikinis!
    ;)
    Glad you had fun!
    Yeah, I think this is a most worthy and appreciated outcome of the dunes becoming worn down and over populated. 

    Sorority type girls in thong bikinis > oversized mounds of sand with trails and trees

    :l:look_at_the_time:
    "A smart monkey doesn't monkey around with another monkey's monkey" - Darwin's Theory
  • darwinstheorydarwinstheory LaPorte, INPosts: 4,341
    garden of the gods in colorado springs blew my mind when i was there
    i have showed many people the pictures i took while i was there for a couple of hours walking around and they are all say WOW OMG !
    some pictures on the trip advisor site but nothing like seeing it in person
    and get this. it's FREE

    https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g33364-d104029-Reviews-Garden_of_the_Gods-Colorado_Springs_El_Paso_County_Colorado.html



    Agreed, that does look pretty awesome. 
    "A smart monkey doesn't monkey around with another monkey's monkey" - Darwin's Theory
  • teskeincteskeinc Posts: 803
    edited August 2018
    Have you visited any:
    How many? 20
    Which ones?
    Grand Canyon - Bright Angel Trail, Also recently did Skywalk at GC West
    Yosemite - the usual tourist spots
    Rocky Mountain - Drive on the top is pretty intense with no guardrails
    Zion - Angels Landing Trail is intense especially last 1/2 mile
    Yellowstone - Waterfalls are awesome there
    Olympic
    Grand Teton
    Glacier - Love this park - so peaceful
    Joshua Tree
    Bryce Canyon - beauty at sunset
    Arches
    Mt. Rainier - Go to Paradise and hike the loop
    Death Valley 
    Sequoia = General Sherman Tree
    Capitol Reef
    Badlands
    Everglades
    Canyonlands
    Crater Lake
    Kings Canyon

    Rank favorite to least favorite?
    favorites
    1 Glacier
    2 Mt Rainier
    3 Zion
    4 Yellowstone
    5 Grand Canyon
    Key points (from each park)? see above
    What time of year did you visit? usually summer
    Was it worth the trip? always
    Do you plan on visiting all National Parks? probably not
    Do you plan on visiting any more? of course
    If so, which ones? Hawaii
    Which one is next? ? 
    Any must share stories?

    A few other cool spots

    Cedar Breaks outside of Brianhead, Ut
    Red Rock Canyon west of Las Vegas
    Valley of Fire North of Las Vegas
    Post edited by teskeinc on
    1994 : Memphis 1995 : New Orleans 1996 : Seattle
    1998 : St Louis, Birmingham, Knoxville
    2000 : Memphis, Nashville, St Louis
    2003 : Irvine 1+2, Vegas, Bridge School 1+2, Santa Barbara
    2005 : Missoula, Vancouver, Gorge 2006 : LA 1+2, Vegas
    2008 : W Palm Beach, Tampa, Who Rock Honors, EV LA 2
    2009 : LA 1, LA 4, EV 1 Nashville 2011 : EV Long Beach
    2012: EV Vegas 1+2
    2013 LA 1+2 2018 Prague, Wrigley 2
    2020 Phoenix, SD
     
  • HesCalledDyerHesCalledDyer MarylandPosts: 15,833
    I like both mountains and beaches.  But I love summer and downright loathe winter  I tolerate anything between 50-80 degrees..  Therefore, beaches win.  And yet I live in the mountains.
  • darwinstheorydarwinstheory LaPorte, INPosts: 4,341



    Some photos from put trip to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky on an unexpected trip to Alabama. 

    Caves may not make for the best photo ops...especially without a good camera.
    "A smart monkey doesn't monkey around with another monkey's monkey" - Darwin's Theory
  • rgambsrgambs Posts: 13,299

    Tennant Mountain: Shining Rock Wilderness, Pisgah NF
    Monkey Driven, Call this Living?
  • Jason PJason P Posts: 18,771
    I've been to 38 so far, mostly west of the Mississippi.  Favorite is Yosemite (although tons of people there for good reason).  Really love the Sierra Nevada's and Pacific Northwest.  Probably done the most amount of hiking in the Olympics.  Least impressive was probably Joshua Tree, but I wasn't high on peyote and listening to U2 when I visited.  
  • KN219077KN219077 MontanaPosts: 837
    I live close to glacier and have been 20+ times, I’m biased towards it. Yellowstone is otherworldly, same with volcanoes  park in Hawaii. I prefer the landscape of Glacier and it’s vastness. 
  • mcgruff10mcgruff10 New JerseyPosts: 24,091
    KN219077 said:
    I live close to glacier and have been 20+ times, I’m biased towards it. Yellowstone is otherworldly, same with volcanoes  park in Hawaii. I prefer the landscape of Glacier and it’s vastness. 
    glacier is still my favorite.  it was the one place in the lower 48 where i felt nature could kill you at any moment.
    I'll ride the wave where it takes me......
  • jerparker20jerparker20 St. Paul, MNPosts: 2,003
    Barring anything unexpected, I’ll be spending a few days this February in Death Valley NP. 
  • darwinstheorydarwinstheory LaPorte, INPosts: 4,341
    edited October 2018
    Nice! Might be hitting up Cuyahoga and Congaree...maybe Shenandoah here in a couple weeks. Hopefully still in time to catch the tail end of the fall foliage. 

    Will be nice to mark off 3 more.
    Post edited by darwinstheory on
    "A smart monkey doesn't monkey around with another monkey's monkey" - Darwin's Theory
  • darwinstheorydarwinstheory LaPorte, INPosts: 4,341
    Kaleigh (Cali) on her first road trip today at Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio.

    "A smart monkey doesn't monkey around with another monkey's monkey" - Darwin's Theory
  • Jason PJason P Posts: 18,771
    ^^^ That's the famous river in Cleveland that caught on FIRE!  Very nice place to visit now.  
  • darwinstheorydarwinstheory LaPorte, INPosts: 4,341

    Some photos of our day at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia....including a black bear, view from Mary's Rock (that was a legit hike!) and a marker where we connected with the Appalachian Trail for a time.
    "A smart monkey doesn't monkey around with another monkey's monkey" - Darwin's Theory
  • darwinstheorydarwinstheory LaPorte, INPosts: 4,341
    And a couple from Congaree NP in South Carolina last week.


    "A smart monkey doesn't monkey around with another monkey's monkey" - Darwin's Theory
  • darwinstheorydarwinstheory LaPorte, INPosts: 4,341
    ^^^maybe not the best place for cell phone cameras.
    "A smart monkey doesn't monkey around with another monkey's monkey" - Darwin's Theory
  • darwinstheorydarwinstheory LaPorte, INPosts: 4,341
    "A smart monkey doesn't monkey around with another monkey's monkey" - Darwin's Theory
  • Jason PJason P Posts: 18,771
    Pretty cool to have another national park on the board!  Indiana Dunes was a hidden treasure that few paid attention to.  Hopefully it leads to a lot of new trails to hike.  
  • jerparker20jerparker20 St. Paul, MNPosts: 2,003
    Made it back from Death Valley National Park. A very awesome place. Beautiful views, hikes, and landscapes. I highly recommend a visit.  A high clearance 4x4 vehicle is a must though.

    An added bonus to the trip was getting to witness a very rare occurrence, RAIN. It made the first day of the visit a little rough, but it provided a different look at the park.

    also took in some of the weirdness the area has to offer. Spent a night at the Armagosa Opera House and Hotel. Hands down the strangest place I’ve ever slept at. Took a side trek on the way out of the park to the ghost town of Ballarat. Charlie Manson’s old truck is there, and the Barker Ranch is near by.
  • darwinstheorydarwinstheory LaPorte, INPosts: 4,341
    Sounds like a pretty awesome trip you had. Do you have some photos to share?
    "A smart monkey doesn't monkey around with another monkey's monkey" - Darwin's Theory
  • jerparker20jerparker20 St. Paul, MNPosts: 2,003
    The wife is the picture taker, but here are few:

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