• Live On The Edge At Pedra Do TelĂ©grafo

    Pedra do telegrofo!

    Pedra do telegrafo!

    Maybe you’ve seen this death defying pictures somewhere on your social media or other blog sites that you follow? Maybe you’ve thought, “OMG why are people so crazy? The likes aren’t worth it!” But what if I told you that the most dangerous part of these photos was the hike to get there… and also the dangers of losing your mind while waiting in line to get these pictures taken.

    pedra-2

    Alright. So Pedra Do Telegrafo is about a 30 – 40 minute drive outside of Copa Cabana. Now, the trick is knowing where in this tiny almost favela town, this mysterious rock is located. I will admit, I cheated a little bit. There was a local man with a motorcycle who informed me that he would take me and my friend on his motorcycle halfway up the mountain which would save us almost an hour and a half of uphill walking. Why would I accept a ride from a stranger? Well.. because my friend and I were not prepared and were not dressed nor equipped with the tools to go hiking. Aka.. proper shoes or water. So we took the ride up this bumpy mountainside then began to walk for another 40 minutes. I fell down a lot… got a lot of scratches… could hardly breathe and was insanely dehydrated by the time I got to the top but MAN!!! The view was phenomenal.

    The view from the edge of Pedra do telegrofo.

    The view from the edge of Pedra do telegrofo.

    You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the view because there will probably be a 2 hour wait to take the picture you climbed the mountain for. Yup. A line. A line so long that the weather actually transitioned from clear and sunny to cloudy and rainy. But the experience is fun nonetheless. Seeing other tourists who have traveled far and wide to take goofy looking photos.

    When the clouds rolled in

    When the clouds rolled in

    The final product is usually a million times worth it though. I will admit it gave my Facebook friends and MOM a serious shock. There will be people who know it’s all camera angles but, the photos will serve it’s purpose.

    Just be careful on your way down the mountainside. It’s still a tough walk and the round trip excursion can be classified as your day’s workout. Also, be careful when walking around the town. It’s not necessarily tourist friendly if you catch my drift. But it’s fine, you’ll have your “Living on the ledge” pictures to keep you company.

    The town I walked through after my hike to Pedra do telegrofo.

    The town I walked through after my hike to Pedra do telegrafo.

    This may have been one of the highlights of my trip if I do say so myself… aside from the Olympics of course.

    :P

    😛

  • What To Know When Going To Manuel Antonio

    Walk through the Cloud Forest (cloudy rainforest) to get to the beach of Manuel Antonio.

    Walk through the Cloud Forest (cloudy rainforest) to get to the beach of Manuel Antonio.

    Manuel Antonio is one of Costa Rica’s National Parks. Word of mouth and a few helpful forums told me this was the place to go to experience the beach life of Costa Rica. I don’t want to say they were wrong, but I do want to say to take it with a grain of salt. By that I don’t mean it was terrible! All I mean is be prepared!

    The idea of going to the beach from San Jose is all too tempting. I didn’t realize that 2.5 hours per google maps actually meant 3.5 – 4 hours in Costa Rica. The laid back attitude and traffic will delay your journey. A day trip may not be in your best interest if you are on a time crunch. Be ready to leave early in the morning and arrive late at night if traveling from San Jose to Manuel Antonio.

    We made a stop to see some crocodiles.

    We made a stop to see some crocodiles.

    Closer image of the crocodiles. There were so many!

    Closer image of the crocodiles. There were so many!

    So when you finally arrive, let me talk about the humidity… again. I know. But of course the humidity is ampliphied by the proximity of the beach. Of course wear appropriate clothes, but mostly, be aware of the humidity because you may find it hard to breathe. The walk from the entrance to the beach is steep in both directions, and like me, you may have a difficulty breathing due to a heart problem or asthma, etc. Bring plenty of water to keep yourself cool.

    Walking through the rainforest of Manuel Antonio.

    Walking through the rainforest of Manuel Antonio.

    You are walking through an actual rainforest, or cloud forest as they are called in Costa Rica. That means there are animals everywhere! Monkeys, birds, deer, moths, sloths, and mosquitoes! These animals will want to come to you… I don’t just mean the cute monkeys. I also mean the mosquitoes. Wear bug spray, but put it on BEFORE you get in to the park. They are very protective of their wildlife and park rangers will frown upon you launching bug spray in to the air. I’m warning you. The beautiful rainforest demands blood for you to pass through it.

    So many monkeys! Almost as many as there are bugs.

    So many monkeys! Almost as many as there are bugs.

    There are SO MANY PEOPLE. It is not only a popular tourist destination for foreigners, but for Costa Ricans alike. This is not the park to have a secluded moment on the beach… UNLESS… you are brave and willing to wonder off from the pack, like I was. I found a little cove at the far end of the beach where there was no one! Even though I was only a 10 minute walk from the masses, it was a welcomed break from the crowds.

    Found my little peace of quiet in Manuel Antonio

    Found my little peace of quiet in Manuel Antonio

    Speaking of the beaches, Manuel Antonio beach is beautiful and makes for some great photo ops, but it’s a rocky beach and difficult to get in the water if you have sensitive feet. I know Costa Rica is known to have some of the MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACHES IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD!! But… I would say this one was only super nice. I know I can’t judge the whole country based off of one beach, but I’m just saying. Maybe it was also the cloudy weather? I guess I may never know… unless I go back of course.

    After your time spent in Manuel Antonio, prepare for the trek back to the entrance. It’s exhausting and you think you’re never going to make it, but just remember, there’s cold coconut water and beer at the end of the rainforest. Cheers.

    Imperial Beer after a day at the Manuel Antonio Beach

    Imperial Beer after a day at the Manuel Antonio Beach

  • Things To Know When Visiting Costa Rica

    Hanging out on the beach at Manuel Antonio! The humidit was intense.

    Hanging out on the beach at Manuel Antonio! The humidit was intense.


    It rains and it’s humid. Like REALLY humid.

    I know Costa Rica rains.. hence their rainforests. I did not know that it rained so much too the point where I don’t remember being completely dry. My hair… my skin… my clothes.. EVERYTHING was moist the whole week I was there. I’ve been in humidity, but sometimes I forget how sticky it can be. My recommendation is DO NOT where form fitting shorts, because you WILL have a terrible time trying to put them back on once the humidity has kicked in.

    They take USD

    No need to change your USD currency if you will be visitng popular tourist destinations. $1 was equal to $500 Colones when I was there. Fairly straight forward to buy items, your change will just come back to you in Colones. I personally still enjoy changing my currency. I like to think it makes me look more local.

    One of my favorite looking buildings in San Jose, Costa Rica.

    One of my favorite looking buildings in San Jose, Costa Rica.

    It’s not as cheap as you think it would be

    Speaking of money… be warned.. Costa Rica is not a budget traveker’s paradise. Sure you can buy a meal for about $5 – $8 bucks at a local Soda (small hole in the wall spot). The downside to Sodas is that they are not commonly located in the capital. In the capital, where I stayed, the prices were equivaletn to the United States. Sometimes I would catch a break and buy street empanadas or meat on a stick for a low cost, but that was only sometimes. The hotels, transportation and tours were all still relatively pricey. Not a bad thing, but just something to be aware of.

    The Capital (San Jose) is pretty centrally located. Centrally FAR.

    I wish I had time to bum around on a small beach town, but alas, I only had 1 week. Instead of being isolated on a beautiful beach, I opted to see as much of the country as I possibly could in a short amount of time. I chose to stay in San Jose which was centrally located to the sites I wanted to see. Now, if you want to follow in my foot steps, I must warn you that just because it was central, doesn’t mean it was close to anything. San Jose was roughly 2 hours away from anything of natural beauty. It’s a sweet location for some people, but I know all that travel time is not ideal for all. I personally enjoyed it.

    San Jose is the red dot. We went to North to Arenal, South West to Manuel Antonio and East to Pacuare.

    San Jose is the red dot. We went to North to Arenal, South West to Manuel Antonio and East to Pacuare.

    Bring Bug Spray and Sunblock

    I don’t get bug bites and sun burns are a foreign concept to me… but my best friend was with me and ended up with about 25 bug bites and some gorgeous looking sun burns. In fairness, I used sunblock too. But not because I burn, but because I don’t want cancer.

    You need to like animals

    Costa Rica is full of wild animals who have integrated their natural habitat to that of their surroundings. For the most part, they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. As a matter of fact, the locals don’t like you bothering them, so don’t. But if you’re calm and steady, you can see some real gems! You have more luck seeing animals when near the rainforest versus the city. For example, I saw the most animals when I was hiking through Manuel Antonio, their National Park and also Pacuare River when I was river rafting. Some animals I saw are pictured below! (But I definitely saw more than what is pictured.)

    It's a sloth in a tree!

    It’s a sloth in a tree!


    A deer! A female! Ray... a drop of golden sun...

    A deer! A female! Ray… a drop of golden sun…


    It's Marcel from Friends!

    It’s Marcel from Friends!

    Pura Vida

    Last but not least, be ready to learn the Pura Vida lifestyle! Pura Vida is a saying meaning Pure Life, but it really means anything positive. It means, have a nice day, thank you, you’re amazing, enjoy your stay, have a great life, best wishes, cheers, you’re a rock star… you get the deal? The Costa Rican people are happy and kind and you’ll have the best experience possible if you let their lifestyle find a place in your heart too.

    PURA VIDA!

    Pura Vida it up at Manuel Antonio

    Pura Vida it up at Manuel Antonio

  • Cathedral Gorge

    Isolated Photo Op in Cathedral Gorge

    Isolated Photo Op in Cathedral Gorge

    The sun is starting to shine again in Las Vegas, while I know most of the United States has some snow falling to the ground. However, just because Las Vegas is on the verge of a heat wave doesn’t mean all of Nevada is warming up. Just under 2 hours north is Cathedral Gorge State Park. Now, Cathedral Gorge is usually very dry and is colored red and pink from the ground to the top of the rocky peaks. It also usually features some slot canyons that are ideal for exploring and hiding from the sun. HOWEVER
. I didn’t know that in the winter there it snows
 a lot. This wouldn’t sound like such a crazy idea
 (snow.. in the winter?? Who would have thought?!) except for the fact that it only snows in southern Nevada maybe
 once every two years if we are lucky. So I was shocked to think that a place like Cathedral Gorge, that didn’t feel much higher in elevation had their ground completely covered in the white stuff.

    The drive out of Las Vegas to Cathedral Gorge is easy enough. You drive north. Simple. I noticed on the drive there that there weren’t many people heading the same way. That was totally cool with me since I love an open road and less people in my photographs. Also fun perk, I can take all my middle of the road photos that I love so much! See below to know what I mean. 😉

    Photo of me taking a photo of snow. Middle of the Road, outside of Cathedral Gorge.

    Photo of me taking a photo of snow. Middle of the Road, outside of Cathedral Gorge.

    The drive takes you through so many small towns and I loved it!! And when I mean small towns.. I mean if you blinked or sneezed, you would miss it. However, the snow made it look lost in time and I love moments like that. My favorite part was the park… .no soul around to show you someone was there except for tiny foot prints.

    Somewhere in Northern Nevada.

    Somewhere in Northern Nevada.

    After you soak in the small town liife, you will finally find a small sign that directs you to Cathedral Gorge State Park.

    So… I mentioned snow earlier… well at the park there was so much snow we couldn’t get much further than a mile within the entrance because we lacked snow chains and wanted to err on the side of caution since it’s been over an hour since we located another human.

    Cathedral Gorge 3

    It was of course a bummer we could not explore further in to the park… it was another bummer that the snow was so deep I couldn’t get to the slot canyons!! 🙁 🙁 🙁 I was highly disappointed that I came all that way and couldn’t even snap a good instagram pic. BUT that was all left at the wayside when I stopped to apprciate the beauty of the snow and the quiet of my surroundings. The white snow looked exceptionally white against the pink rocks and the snow was undisturbed with the exception of bunny snowprints. <3 … oh and my phone marks in the snow as I tried to set up my camera phone for a photo… and then I failed. But I think it still turned ok…

    Accidental Photo when trying to have my phone stand up in the snow!

    Accidental Photo when trying to have my phone stand up in the snow!

    After some time of trying to walk through the snow and taking tons of fun photos, it was time to move on. I didn’t want to get caught in the snow in the dark… the drive home was just as lovely and allowed the opportunity to stop next to some lakes for a snack.

    The Road Leading out of Cathedral Gorge.

    The Road Leading out of Cathedral Gorge.

    Overall, even though I did not have a chance to hike the area as much as I would like to, I think seeing it in such a way that can only be described as rare made the day completely worth it. Sometimes magical things happen when nothing goes as planned.

  • Canyon Dreaming at the Grand Canyon

    Aerial view of the Grand Canyon

    Aerial view of the Grand Canyon

    I’ve had the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon many times but I have decided that Maverick Airline’s Canyon Dream is the BEST way to see one of the natural wonders of the world. What is it? Why is it awesome? Three words. Airplanes and helicopters!

    Getting ready for the Canyon Dream Tour!

    Getting ready for the Canyon Dream Tour!

    Leaving from Las Vegas, you board a Beechcraft 1900D. It’s a small 18 seat plane that will get you to the Grand Canyon National Park in a mere 50 minutes. That means it just saved you 3 hours of your life. If that doesn’t sound like arriving in style to you… then I don’t want to be your travel buddy! All that extra time you save can be put to excellent use by exploring the park upon arrival. Now, the Canyon Dream isn’t ideal for hiking since you are scheduled to ride in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon!!!

    South Rim of the Grand Canyon

    South Rim of the Grand Canyon

    The airplane is nice and pretty fun but the helicopter is the peak of the tour. You fly for about 30 minutes over both the South and North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Honestly, you of course see the canyon at the edge of the viewing stations and you can experience the depth by hiking in to it through trails… but you get to see parts of the canyon that are only visible by air. Nothing beats the views of the canyon from a helicopter.

    Canyon Dream 7

    The Colorado River looking muddy after heavy rain fall.

    The ride gives you a true appreciation for how large the canyon is and how much character it has. You see the winding rivers, changing colors in the rock (you even see the second oldest piece of exposed earth!!!) and the difference between the South Rim and the North Rim of the canyon.

    North Rim of the Grand Canyon

    North Rim of the Grand Canyon

    The North Rim in itself is a big deal to see. It’s much more difficult to drive too and is only open during part of the year. The higher elevation of the North Rim creates more vegetation and a truly beautiful view to see from above. Not only is the scenery during the ride breathtaking but it’s just fun. If you like roller coasters and thrills or a general fan of trying something new, the helicopter ride is so for you!

    North Rim of the Grand Canyon

    North Rim of the Grand Canyon

    After all the excitement of the bird’s eye view of Grand Canyon, you hop back into the trusty Beechcraft and jet back home. Be sure to look out the window so you can see the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Las Vegas as you fly in. That is, if you are not exhausted. Otherwise, the seats are at least comfortable enough to sneak in a good nap.

    Canyon Dream 5

    Views of Lake Mead from the Beechraft Plane

    Have I convinced you to jump on the next open seat for Canyon Dream yet? I hope so! Because it truly is an awesome experience. If you are NOT in the Las Vegas area but I have sparked your interest, at the Grand Canyon you can book a helicopter ride separately with Maverick Helicopters right next to the National Park. It can’t get more simple!

    So tell me, have you ever been on a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon or any other remarkable views? How did you like it? Leave me a comment and maybe you will inspire my next flight!

  • Mesa Verde Colorado

    Mesa Verde 6

    On my road trip to the Four Corners and Monument Valley, my friend and I thought it would be fun to stay the night in Colorado. We chose the small town of Cortez, Colorado. Upon check in, we were informed almost the whole town was sold out! It was shocking and asked why, to which I was told “Mesa Verde.” What is that, I wondered? Well! It’s another National Park! If you have been reading my blog, you know me and my National Parks.

    Mesa Verde 3

    Mesa Verde is home to some of the best Ancestral Pueblos in the United States. Now, to be honest, I did not get a chance to spend much time at all in Mesa Verde. Just about an hour and a half to ball park it. It was enough time to see the pueblo known as Step House. The pueblos are located by access of a downhill trail, that will take about 10 minutes to walk down and 15 minutes to walk up. The pueblos were interesting to see. I don’t think I have ever been as close to an actual archaeological site. Pretty neat to see. I wish I could have spent more time there! Maybe next time.

    Mesa Verde 5

    Since Mesa Verde is up high in the mountain and hills of Cortez, it did offer some beautiful view points that were just a quick hike from the parking areas. The height of the park serves as an excellent vantage point.

    Mesa Verde

    The views were so lovely and the fresh air made it that much more enjoyable. On my way out of the park, I also had to stop and take some pictures near their field of burned trees. It was too beautiful not to! The contrast of the sky and earth were perfect. It was a delightful ending to a quick visit.

    Mesa Verde 2

    If you have been to Mesa Verde, let me know what else I missed out on and if I should go back. 🙂 I’m just happy I spent SOME time in Colorado.

    Mesa Verde 4

  • Monument Valley

    Forrest Gump sign at Monument Valley

    Forrest Gump sign at Monument Valley

    I enjoy visiting cities and places that I’ve seen in movies and television. Monument Valley is the location for one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies… Forrest Gump. If you’ve seen the movie, the pictures should all make sense to you! If you haven’t, I suggest you watch it ASAP. There is a part in the movie where Forrest runs across the country and then comes to a sudden stop, right here. He looks at the crowd and says “I’m pretty tired. I think I’ll go home now.” Simple, funny and powerful. I adore that part in the movie and I was willing to make the 4.5 hour drive from Las Vegas to see it.

    View of Monument Valley from the Navajo Park

    View of Monument Valley from the Navajo Park

    Located near the border of Utah and Arizona, Monument Valley is on Navajo land. There is a Navajo park close by where you can see some of the rock formations up close. I accidentally ended up inside of one, thinking that’s where the Forrest Gump spot was. I was wrong. However, the $10 was still worth it to see some of the sights. If you have more time than I did, they also offer tours (for an additional fee I’m sure.)

    I'm pretty tired. I think I'll go home now. - Forrest Gump (Monument Valley)

    I’m pretty tired. I think I’ll go home now. – Forrest Gump (Monument Valley)

    My priority was Forrest Gump. I learned it is located near markers 13 and 14 on Highway 163. If you are driving AWAY from the monuments, you will miss it. I did. The easiest way to find the exact location is to drive towards them and get a feel for the view you are looking for. There is a pull out near 14 and if you look to your left… you will know you are in the right spot. The view will look perfect but this cute sign will let you know you are right!

    Me and the coolest roadside sign.

    Me and the coolest roadside sign.

    Finding this sign made it all worthwhile. I almost gave up when I was first driving and missed the marker. I am so happy I turned around and tried to look for it one more time. If you blink, you will miss it on the road. There were no other tourists there when my friend and I found it, but as soon as we pulled over and began to take pictures, I think they knew what we were doing. If you can’t find the sign on your own, keep driving in the general area until you see cars pulled over. Just don’t give up! The sign is there! Just be careful when recreating your Forrest Gump pictures. Cars drive about 90MPH on the road. Stay safe and have fun! I know I did.

  • Yosemite Falls

    Yosemite 3

    A few weeks ago, I asked all of you to take a poll on which National Park on that list I should visit next. Of the excellent choices, Yosemite National Park was the overwhelming winner. (Let me take a second to say how fun of an experiment it was to let YOU choose!)

    I spent many years living in California’s Bay Area, but I do not recall having a chance to visit Yosemite. In the realm of National Parks, Yosemite is usually in the top three of the “Best” parks to visit. Having already visited Yellowstone the year prior, my expectations were high yet I was still unsure what to expect.

    Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park

    Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park

    Yosemite is beautiful in it’s own way. Massive granite cliffs and giant sequoias can be found all over the Yosemite Valley. Yosemite, although very popular, was not as touristy as I thought it was going to be. Maybe I was jaded with how touristy Yellowstone and Grand Canyon can be. Either way, Yosemite was low on the tourist scale. If anything, it had a touch of that wild and free that most people look for in a National Park.

    Walking through the woods

    Walking through the woods in Yosemite National Park

    I didn’t have much time to explore the whole area. (The transportation system in the park is rather terrible. Be prepared to drive yourself or walk to each destination. I do NOT recommend their shuttles!) I could see the famous Half Dome looming in the background, but considering it is a 16 hour hike, it was a hard pass on this trip. Instead we opted to hike around the Yosemite Valley near Mirror Lake and up to Lower Yosemite Falls.

    Mirror Lake, Yosemite National Park

    Mirror Lake, Yosemite National Park

    Mirror Lake, although great for a picture or two, was no where near as awesome as Lower Yosemite Falls. The highlight of my day in Yosemite was the end of this trail. At the base of the waterfall, the water collects into neck high pools where you can go swimming! I don’t know about you, but swimming in fresh, cold waterfall water after a hot hike is a great idea! The water was cold, but you are having way too much fun to care. There are usually other tourists around who are sharing in the good times. Although you don’t have the place to yourself, it’s nice to have a helping hand around when you need assistance. I wouldn’t recommend swimming during any other time of year, but it was ideal for the summer.

    Swimming in a cool, waterfall pool formed by Yosemite Falls.

    Swimming in a cool, waterfall pool formed by Yosemite Falls.

    Yosemite was a nice experience and I can see myself going back to give Half Dome a shot. I just need to get in to better shape, but the thought of those pictures I could take and the bragging rights I could have seem worth it. Wouldn’t you agree?

    Yosemite 2

    Half Dome in Yosemite National Park

     

  • Lehman Caves – Great Basin

    Greetings from Lehman Caves in Great Basin

    Greetings from Lehman Caves in Great Basin

    There is a little known National Park called Great Basin and it is home to the Lehman Caves. Never heard of them? You need to know about them. Especially if you are remotely located to Nevada. Great Basin is in east-central Nevada, near the Utah border. It’s about a 4.5 hour drive from Las Vegas. Up in the mountains, Great Basin offers great views of the surrounding desert while offering it’s own beauty in the forms of green trees, natural creeks and lakes and some quality hiking for those who love the outdoors. As beautiful as it is, that is not the main draw of this National Park.

    Great Basin

    **I apologize in advance for some of the pictures. The lighting was very dim and they only allow minimal photography items into the caves!**

    The main draw of the park for many, including myself, are the Lehman caves. I’ve always wanted to visit something like these since reading Tom Sawyer, but those caves are all the way out in Kentucky. Lehman Caves are much more accessible for someone located in the southwest. (Even closer than Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico). Only accessible with a guided tour through the park for the low cost of $10 per person. You can tour the Lehman Caves for 90 minutes. The tours do sell out during the peak summer seasons. Purchase at least a day in advance.

    Lehman Caves, Great Basin - Nevada

    Lehman Caves, Great Basin – Nevada

    The caves are something out of this world! The guides are great in giving additional information information about the caves. My favorite part is when they turn out all of the LED lights and show you how dark it is. By dark, I mean pitch black. It was a little creepy to think about what it would be like to be lost in there forever. Luckily, the caves are now well lit and even have a paved path to follow. Even though the National Park Service has made it more tourist friendly, there weren’t that many tourists to be seen. Our tour group was small, only about 15 individuals total. It makes it an intimate experience and really easy to take as many pictures as you would like.

    Lehman Caves, Great Basin - Nevada

    Lehman Caves, Great Basin – Nevada

    After exiting the Lehman Caves, my friend and I planned to sneak in a quick hike to see the lakes. The weather was perfect, so why not right? Well, we had to drive about 30 minutes up the mountain to start the hike and boy, did the weather change. It was overcast when we left the car and truly thought we could complete the 3 mile loop before the weather really changed. Mother nature did not agree with our endeavors. We made it about a half mile when it started to rain. We tried to power through for another quarter mile and then it started to hail… that’s right. It was 75 degrees and sunny at the base of the mountain but it was 40 degrees and hailing where we were. Sadly, we were unable to complete the hike. But it’s always nice to have something to look forward to for another time.

    Rain falling in a clearing

    It’s hard to see the hail and rain.. but this is it as it’s starting to rain near a clearing.

    While I was at Great Basin, I learned that “half the park is after dark”. The area is one of the best places to star gaze. Since it is located in such a remote location, there is limited sky pollution which leads to a beautiful cosmic display. I love star gazing so Great Basin is definitely on my priority list to return and experience their astronomy program first hand.

    Great Basin 7

    Lehman Caves, Great Basin. I would not want to be stuck here for a night!

    Great Basin and Lehman Caves was such a random experience, it has truly motivated me to see what other untapped treasures the state of Nevada has to offer! The state is so large, I know there are some secret gems waiting to be found. Stay tuned to see what I explore next. Who knows where the lonely road may lead? I know I can’t wait to find out!

    Until next time...

    Until next time…

  • 7 National Parks

    National ParksI love hiking and visiting National Parks. There are 59 National Parks in the United States. There are more National Parks than actual states in the country. Each one has something special to offer and the more parks you see, the better off you are for it. I have visited only visited 6! 🙁 That list includes Death Valley National Park in California, Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, Zion National Park in Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park which extends throughout Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.The limited list is not enough. Below are 7 National Parks that are high on my Bucket List. Check them out!

    Yosemite, California
    Photo credit to Yosemite Park

    Photo credit to Yosemite Park

    The park contains North America’s highest waterfall (Yosemite Falls) and Ralph Waldo Emerson dubbed their mountains as“unmatched on the globe.” Need I say more?

    Bloggers who have been:

    The Indie Traveler – 5 Tips to Avoid Being Driven Mad by Crowds

    Denali, Alaska
    Photo credit to Skolai Images

    Photo credit to Skolai Images

    My boyfriend is hooked on the idea in living in Alaska. The National Park seems like a good idea to visit before we pack our bags. Only one, 92 mile road gains you access to Denali. Supposedly, this is the park if you want to experience WILDlife. Also, if I time it just right, you can see the Northern Lights. The Aurora Borealis.

    Bloggers who have been:

    Kooky Travel – Photo Diary Denali National Park

    Olympic, Washington
    Photo Credit to Polyploid

    Photo Credit to Polyploid

    So named because it looked like the Gods could live there. The park has three distinct ecosystems. We have the coast, mountains and rainforest. It legitimately looks like something out of a Fairy tale or Tolkein novel.

    Bloggers who have been:

    Stick’s Blog – 7 Days & 6 Nights in the Olympic National Park

    Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina & Tennessee
    Photo credit to My Smokies

    Photo credit to My Smokies

    This is the most visited National Park in the United States. I think a song sums up why… “O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties..” It has purple mountains… just like in the song America the Beautiful. I don’t need any more of a reason.

    Bloggers who have been:

    Roads Less Traveled 

    Dry Tortugas, Florida
    Photo credit to Basic Planet

    Photo credit to Basic Planet

    The seven Dry Tortugas islands are the westernmost and most isolated of the Florida Keys. The surrounding coral reefs are the least disturbed of the Florida Keys reefs. There are also legends of sunken treasures from shipwrecks! It’s a park where I can live out my Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

    Bloggers who have been:

    Jaspa’s Journal – Dry Tortugas National Park

    Glacier, Montana
    Photo credit to David J West

    Photo credit to David J West

    For starters, their official symbol of the park is a Mountain Goat. ADORABLE. Second, if current environmental trends continue, some scientists predict that by 2030 Glacier National Park will NOT have any more glaciers!! Must see it before then.

    Bloggers who have been:

    Travel Savvy Mom – Visiting Glacier National Park with Kids

    Hawaii Volcanoes, Hawaii 
    Photo credit to Wooden Camp

    Photo credit to Wooden Camp

    One of the world’s most active volcanic spots that’s comprised of two active volcanoes. You can walk near lava and literally watch land be created before your eyes!

    Bloggers who have been:

    Stuff It… Go Travelling – Discover Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

    🙂 Wherever the road may lead you, remember to not only take plenty of pictures but stay safe! The best way to connect with nature on your National Park adventures is to know what you are getting yourself into. Read the Flora and Fauna Hiking Guide for useful tips about the general region you will be in. I find this guide useful any time I’m hiking in an unfamiliar area. You will thank me in the long run, I promise!

    Each park is so diverse I can’t wait to see and hike them all! Which ones have you been to? Which ones will you go to next? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram @thereandbackwithsnacks. Also, vote on where I should go next below 🙂 

    Which National Park should I visit next?

     
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