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Our Love of National Parks

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Every Summer, we go on vacation. Six years ago, we started a journey of visiting National Parks and National Monuments. We went to Oregon and Washington, and visited the Oregon Caves. This was something my husband found and thought would be really amazing. My youngest was pretty little, and I had a hurt foot, so the girls and I stayed in the lodge while the boys explored the caves. We also visited the Hoh Rainforest (after visiting Forks, Washington for my first book).

After that, it seemed to ignite a spark in my husband. His family didn’t go on vacations at all, but before his grandfather died in 2006, he told Wayne to take his family on vacations – have adventures, make memories. So, we have. And for some reason or another, the National Parks were the way to go.

In 2009, he also took his best friend up to Zion for a hike in the Narrows for his bachelor outing. He loved it so much, he decided we should go. So, in 2010, we went to the Grand Canyon, Zion Canyon, and Bryce Canyon.

My view from the North Ridge of the Grand Canyon.

My view from the North Ridge of the Grand Canyon.

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The girls in the Narrows, Zion National Park.

Kids looking out over Bryce through a "window" in the rock.

Kids looking out over Bryce through a “window” in the rock.

That was a great trip, and we saw some beautiful sights. National Parks so far:

Olympic National Park

Grand Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Zion Canyon

The next year, we decided to see Yosemite, which my husband had NEVER seen. He also had great plans to see some caves and volcanic lava beds.

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The girls walking through a snow-covered Lassen National Park. It smelled like sulphur where the hot mud was bubbling up.

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So much snow in Lassen!

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King’s Canyon National Park.

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I think this is Sequoia.

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Yosemite

Yosemite

National Parks count- 8

Olympic National Park

Grand Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Zion Canyon

Lassen

Sequoia

King’s Canyon

Yosemite

In 2012, we went to Santa Barbara instead of a big trip. It was a short, local vacation that we really needed. In 2013, we headed back to the Southwest, and visited White Sands monument, Carlsbad Caverns, the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, and the Grand Canyon again.

Inside Carlsbad Caverns

Inside Carlsbad Caverns

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Wayne in the Petrified Forest

North Rim Beauty

North Rim Beauty

National Park Count – 10

Olympic National Park

Grand Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Zion Canyon

Lassen

Sequoia

King’s Canyon

Yosemite

Carlsbad Caverns

Petrified Forest

Last year, we only did one National Park – Crater Lake. But boy was it amazing!

There was snow on the ground AND it started snowing when we were there!

There was snow on the ground AND it started snowing when we were there!

National Park Count – 11.

Last week, we went to Death Valley for the kids’ Spring Break. My husband had actually booked us a room there when we went to Zion and Bryce back in 2010. While we were still in Utah, however, we checked the temperature and it was 120, so we decided to skip it that time.

In March, it did get a little hot, but not like THAT. And it was pretty.

Resting in Golden Canyon

Resting in Golden Canyon

Scotty's Castle

Scotty’s Castle

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Exploring Mosaic Canyon

Mosaic Canyon

Mosaic Canyon

Mesquite Dunes

Mesquite Dunes

This summer, we hope to see a few more. Perhaps a few in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.

It’s so amazing to see the beauty of our country – the vast array of mountains, rivers, forests, and the amazing colors of each one. It really puts things in perspective and makes all your problems feel small in comparison to all the things to be thankful for.

What’s your favorite National Park?

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