And the Award Goes To… (Part II)

Every park that I’ve been to is special in it’s own way. The diversity found within the natural areas of our country is truly astounding.

That being said, some parks piqued my interest a little more than others.

Introducing my favorites…

(1) Best Hiking: Redwood Forest

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Tall trees, lush greenery, coastal views peeking through the trees… can’t get much better than this.

(2) Best Desert Park: Joshua Tree

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Everything about this place captivated me. The rocks were unique, the sky was gorgeous, and the wildflowers were in full bloom.

(3) Best Lil’ Town: Bar Harbor (outside of Acadia National Park)

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An overlook in Acadia with Bar Harbor nestled neatly off in the distance. This town boasted excellent lobster, fun shops, and an overall non-touristy feel.

(4) Best Exploration: Channel Islands

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This piece of paradise was chock-full of fun places to discover. There were rocky coasts, sea caves, and historical ranches.

(5) Best Views: Glacier

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Those mountains. That sky. *sigh*

(6) Most Isolated: Isle Royale

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In the middle of Lake Superior. I commuted 3-hours via ferry to experience this wonderful wilderness.

(7) Best Waterfalls: Yosemite

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One of the many waterfalls in the Valley. The heavy winter snow resulted in a tremendous amount of falling water.

(8) Best Forests: Sequoia

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I enjoyed walking through forests full of these giants. The crisp spring air and snow-clad floor made the atmosphere peaceful and fresh.

(9) Best Pure Fun: Lassen Volcanic

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Snowshoeing and looking at geothermals was a grand ol’ time.

(10) Best Overall: Olympic

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Beaches, forests, mountains, and more!
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Acadia Recap

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Countdown:

  • 1 more park to go!

Length of Stay:

  • 2 days, 3 nights

High:

  • The compactness of the park; so many neat things to see wrapped up in a relatively small area (= less driving)
  • Every¬†hike I did
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Yet another incredible overlook on another incredible hike

Low:

  • Too many detours

Favorite Hike:

  • Beehive trail (lots of iron rungs and exposed parts)
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Enjoying the view on the Beehive Trail

Favorite Treat:

  • Lobster roll*

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*Probably the top 5 best foods I’ve had on my trip

 

Isle Royale Recap

Countdown:

  • 2 more parks to go!

Length of Stay:

  • 1 very full day, plus another morning at the visitor center on the mainland
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Perfect spot for a lunch break

High:

  • Being on a remote island on a sunshiney day

Low:

  • Too short (I had the option to spend the weekend, but the Lodge was expensive and I didn’t have Clarence with me)
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Nice scenery

Favorite Hike:

  • Scoville Point
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Scoville Point

Favorite Treat:

  • Pasty (rhymes with nasty, not hasty); in the Michigan Upper Peninsula, these were commonly taken via lunch pail to the copper mines back in the day.
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Getting ready to devour the pasty

Voyageurs Recap

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Beaver Pond Overlook (I didn’t see any beavers)

Countdown:

  • 3 more parks to go!

Length of Stay:

  • 2 days, 1 night

High:

  • Visiting the Ellsworth Rock Garden
  • Being out on the Lake
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A peek of the lake along the Blind Ash Bay trail

Low:

  • No visitors centers open (despite what the website said)
  • Hitting Bambi

Favorite Hike:

  • Blind Ash Bay Trail

Favorite Treat:

  • Locally made scones
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Taking shelter under some trees during a rainy hike

Theodore Roosevelt Recap

Countdown:

  • 4 more parks to go!
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The super muddy, Little Missouri River

Length of Stay:

  • 2 days, 1 night
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Tracking the herd

High:

  • More bison
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Found one! (Right on the trail, no less)

Low:

  • Seeing dead prairie dogs on the side of the road #DriveSlow

Favorite Hike:

  • Painted Canyon Nature Trail
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Good morning Grasslands!

Favorite Treat:

  • Plain, old-fashioned doughnut holes

North Cascades Recap

Countdown:

  • 6 more parks to go!
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Stopping to smell the flowers…

Length of Stay:

  • 1 day, 1 night

High:

  • The fascinating emerald green lakes
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The glacial silt turns the lakes a unique color

Low:

  • Dam power lines obscuring the landscape
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One of the old power plants in the park

Favorite Hike:

  • Thunder Knob Trail
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The view from Thunder Knob. ¬†This is why the North Cascades are known as the “American Alps”.

Favorite Treat:

  • Smoked salmon