All proceeds will go towards Open Outdoors for Kids, an initiative that seeks to connect kids to nature through experiential outdoor explorations and events. Not only does Open Outdoors focus on getting kids to learn about our natural world through investigation, they also provide multiple training opportunities for teachers.
Calendars are spiral-bound and feature some of my favorite pictures from Part I of my trip. You can order them online by clicking here.
It’s been a week since I’ve temporarily ended my lifestyle as a traveler and put down some short-term roots in Northern Virginia. Transitioning from a nomadic lifestyle to a more settled one is a much-needed break, but I still can’t quite shake the feelings of restlessness.
I said goodbye to Clarence, placing him in a spacious home where he will live out the winter months until we’re reunited in the spring.
I miss the open road already, the wide spaces, and the newness of each day. I miss being immersed in nature and having hours to reflect upon the beauty of the natural world. Yet I have a newfound appreciation for this area, as well. It’s got a contagious energy, a myriad of opportunities, and a unending supply of things to do and see.
So for now, I rest. And in the resting, I rediscover the joy of what it means to be alive.
Many people have asked me what my favorite park is. Answering that question is difficult; I’ve felt connected to most of the national parks I’ve visited and struggle choosing simply one that takes the cake.
Ask any parent who their preferred child is and (hopefully), they’ll respond “all of them”. After all, each child has his/her own merits and unique attributes. While there have definitely been some parks I haven’t enjoyed as well as others, I have decided to give awards to some of my most-liked places.
30 hours! It seemed inaccurate, so I hit the refresh button and waited. Yep. Home was definitely a lot further away then I initially thought. After all, I had taken the trip out West in short little bursts, stopping at parks and having a jolly good time along the way. But now it’s pretty much a straight shot back to the east coast, with one tiny layover in Tennessee to visit my brother and his family.
I typically don’t do well with long, extended time in the car. My back gets sore, my bladder seems oh-so-small, and I feel pretty loopy after staring at so many car bumpers. Yet Arizona was the perfect stopping point in my journey. I was halfway finished with my quest to visit all 47 parks in the contiguous U.S., and the cooler weather was a sign that it was time to head home. With the holiday season around the corner, I’m quite content to take a break for a while and regroup. Come spring, Clarence the MyPod and I will once again hit the road and continue our epic adventure.
I made a list for my multi-day, multi-hour, multi-mile upcoming drive.
Petrified Forest national park is chock-full of fossilized wood. Based on the pictures I’d seen, I figured that there may be a couple of key places where one might be able to see this mineral-permeated organic matter. After all, how much “rock-wood” can actually be found in an arid desert-like environment?
Apparently a lot.
Thanks to plate tectonics, this area of Arizona used to be near the equator, resulting in a lush, rain forest environment. These trees got buried under layers of sediment, became saturated with minerals, and turned to stone. (This all took many, many years, of course). There are big chunks that can be found at the Long Log section, and smaller multi-colored pieces that are strewn all about the Crystal Forest.
It’s pretty. It’s unique. It’s science!
I also had a chance to tour the Painted Desert Inn, an old traveler’s rest stop that now serves as a museum. In the spirit of Halloween, we took the entire tour in the dark. Using only glow sticks to light our way, the ranger told stories and tall tales about a myriad of suspicious and creepy behavior that happened in the old inn. Spoiler alert: someone actually did die there. We entered the basement through a locked door – a place where park visitor’s are only allowed to go once a year. The floor creaked and the dumbwaiter was super eerie.
Was it truly haunted? The park rangers and volunteers seem to think so.