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August 28, 2016
NPS Centennial: Discovering Desert Beauty in Zion

Zion-Deb-3b.jpgThe desert offers both magical and mystical beauty. When I’m still, I can see the changes in the color of the landscape, and discover nature I didn’t see at first glance. As I see these things, I hear the desert calling me.

August 26, 2016
NPS Centennial: Amazing Beauty Close to Home at Mammoth Cave

Mammoth-Cave-Tamera-1.jpgThe first field trip went on was in first grade to Tuckaleechee Caverns in Townsend, Tennessee. This trip was the first time I became fascinated by caves and bats. Once I learned about Mammoth Cave from the weekly reader during elementary school, I made a plan to someday visit there. It was interesting to me to know the largest cave system on the planet was less than 200 miles from home. Experts have explored 400 miles of Mammoth Cave, but there’s still much more to explore.  After a little research, I put the cave at the top of my to-do list.

August 25, 2016
NPS Centennial: Island Adventures in St. John

Jody-BVI-5.jpgI honestly cannot say what would be my favorite National Park because they’re all wonderfully diverse treasures. I had the unique experience of living on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. John. Did you know that more than half of this stunning island is part of the Virgin Islands National Park?

August 24, 2016
NPS Centennial: Making Family Memories Out West

Yellowstone-Amy-1.jpgI’ve long been a fan of America’s National Parks. This probably began the summer I worked in Yellowstone while I was a college student.  At 21-years-old, visiting Yellowstone was a life altering-experience.  Although I’ve visited quite a few national parks, Yellowstone has remained my favorite.

August 22, 2016
NPS Centennial: Getting a Bird's Eye View From Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie-Heather-1.jpegIn late September 2013, I visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  One of the highlights of the trip was a stop at Bodie Lighthouse on the Oregon Inlet in Nags Head, NC.  It had recently undergone major renovations that finished at the end of March 2013.  Luckily for me, it was now open for the public to explore the interior of the lighthouse!

August 21, 2016
NPS Centennial: Running with the Wolves in Yellowstone

Western-NPS-Tour-2-Gina-1.jpgWhen I was a junior in the biology department at Appalachian State University, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel cross-country throughout the United States, into Mexico and Canada, visiting many state and national parks. Our studies focused on the fauna and flora throughout the U.S. We traveled for 7 weeks.

August 19, 2016
NPS Centennial: Paddling & Birding on the Congaree River

Congaree-Joey-1a.jpgGrowing up in Columbia, South Carolina, I’ve had this somewhat overlooked gem in my backyard my whole life.  My dad loves bird watching, so, as a child, I got to go to the Congaree National Park about four times a year for the seasonal bird counts.

August 17, 2016
NPS Centennial: Exploring the Great Smokies in Tennessee

GSMNP-Chris-4.jpgI always like to visit the Great Smoky Mountain National Park because it is the most bio-diverse park in the NPS.  With everything from huge, exposed balds and ridge lines to dark and wet coves, the Smokies have it all.  They have just over 800 miles of trails that can give you whatever you want to see while in the woods.  I have been trying to knock out every trail in the Park since I was in college, and I am up to just over 600 miles complete…and don’t want it to end!  For that reason, every trip to the Smokies is my favorite trip.

August 16, 2016
NPS Centennial: The Grand Canyon, an Ethereal Visit

GC-1.jpgZephyr-roughened and patinaed cliffs began to narrow all around.  I watched for the indications of our journey’s end, read where we were in the encyclopedic rocks in my enfeebled way.  Past the friable Tapeats Sandstone, fascinating Vishnu Schist was yards First time reactions differ.  The Grand Canyon.  One of the World’s Wonders.  Stillness pervades my whole self.

August 15, 2016
NPS Centennial: Bikecentennial '76 Memories

Grand-Teton-Chafin-1.jpegI participated in the Bikecentennial ‘76.  This landmark event consisted of a series of bicycle tours on the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail across the United States in the summer of 1976 in commemoration of the bicentennial of America's Declaration of Independence. Best of all, I was able to enjoy several national parks from the comfort of my bicycle.