Monday, August 29, 2022

Park #6 - Mount Rainier

Back in June 2014 I had to do a work trip to Seattle. We decided to stay a few days later and go see some of Doni's family, and a do a trip around Mount Rainier and the Olympic Peninsula. 

Seattle is one of those places where the mountain kinda dominates the skyline: 

But we took a day and drove around and into the park from the Northwest, circled east, and then came out on the southeast side before going across the Tacoma Narrows. The mountain is up there in the fog:

I even brought a little radio with me, and tried to make a 2m Simplex contact from Paradise:

Mount Rainier was a neat place. Unless I decide to climb it someday, I don't see myself needing to go back though. Lots of big mountains I haven't seen yet, but glad I saw this one :)

Monday, August 22, 2022

Park #5 - White Sands

 I've been to White Sands twice now.. first back in 2010 I went for the Bataan Death March... where I walked 15 miles thru the dirt and sand to get a coin, and remember the sacrifice they made...... and then Also on the Atomic Amsat Road Trip. 

Here's a pic from doing the Bataan Death March (God I look young):

And of course you can read about the Atomic AMSAT Roadtrip here, on the portion we were at White Sands: 

That's all I've really got on this one. Been there, done that... it's centrally located to things I like, so I might be back there again :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Park #4 - Glacier Bay

This summer (2022) I knocked one of the big tough parks off my list... Glacier Bay. My folks have been wanting to do something with the family for a few years now, and also return to Alaska. Combine that with the fact we haven't done a good family vacation in several years cause of the Pandemic, and collectively we all decided to an Alaskan Cruise from Vancouver to Anchorage. In the planning stages we specifically made sure we would be with a company, and on a boat, that spent a day in Glacier Bay. There are other ways to get to the park, but we would see the coolest stuff on a big boat, with guides that showed us around. 

We entered the bay and the Park in the morning and met an NPS boat with rangers who boarded the ship. We then floated around and looked at bears, porpoises, whales:

 and of course, glaciers:

There was one other cruise ship in the Bay with us, but we only saw them one other time: 

There were additionally some ocean Kayakers being dropped off by a smaller ship from Juneau, who were going in for close ups of the tidewater glaciers via human power: 

I'd never seen a true tidewater glacier before, until this trip... and on this trip I saw bunches of them. It's one of those places I'd like to go back and spend more time, say like in a Kayak, but for now seeing the entire park and the remnants of the different pieces of the Grand Pacific Glacier was totally worth it. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Park #3 - Channel Islands

 This one is a quick one - it's basically a rehash from an earlier blog post. In the fall of 2016, Wyatt, AC0RA, and me went to grid CM93 with satellite gear, and CM93 happens to be exclusively location in the Channel Islands National Park. 

I did a 3 part blog series about the Islands, and really don't have much else to say on the topic. Here's the links here:

That's all I've really got for this one. National Park #3 on my list :)

Monday, January 17, 2022

Park #2 - Great Sand Dunes

 Great Sand Dunes National Park: Visited June 25th, 2010 

This park Doni and I visited back in 2010 when we were on our way to my sister Beth's wedding up in Summit County of Colorado. Even though I'd been to Colorado many time, Great Sand Dune is on the west side of the Crestone range, meaning there's not a particularly good way to get to it, without having a reason to go there. In this case our path to Summit County took us west across Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico and up into Colorado from the south. From there we cut across the gap in the Crestones south of Blanca peak and into the area from the south. We had an afternoon free, so we stopped and dinked around in the sand. 

The dunes were huge, and that time of the year Medano creek was flowing well, so it almost had a 'beach' feel to it, with the sand water and sun. 

Unfortunately there was a large forest fire raging in the high peaks of the Crestones just to the east of us. It wasn't threatening the park per se, but I did notice some ash and soot in Medano creek, which was interesting. 

All in all, it was an enjoyable afternoon stop at an out of the way National Park. 

Monday, January 10, 2022

Park #1 - Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs National Park: 

So this one is easy. This was my 'local park' for the better part of 12 years when I lived in Little Rock. It was right down the road, and just required an easy drive. Heck I got married technically "in" Hot Springs National Park:

This was at the Old Mill wedding chapel on the north side of the park. I've been trying to find some other better pictures, but before the age of Google Photos I'm having to dig back thru memory sticks and such... oh well, 'tis technology... 

Either way, I've been in and around Hot Springs National Park many times over the past 10 years, so that's why it's park blog #1 on my list. If I ever find more pictures, I'll add them :)

Saturday, January 1, 2022

The National Park Challenge

 So I'm adding a new category to this blog, in the hopes that it might get me writing a few more things more often. It's simple enough category, and it's all about a goal... and the goal is simple: 

I want to travel to all of the National Parks in the United States in my life. 

Yup. It's that simple. And yet it's not. So, let's start with the basic. 

The Parks

There are 63 National Parks in the US as of January 1st, 2022 - when I'm writing this. I've already been to 18 of them before, though 4 I probably should go back and revisit, cause I was only driving thru quickly and didn't get a chance to do much. The remaining 14 I've seen most everything I wanted to see, and would be OK not looping back to them again without a reason. 

Of the 45 parks I still need to visit, 30 of them only require me to literally get in my truck and start driving, albeit some are a fair distance. Of the 15 left after that 7 of them require a fairly long flight to either Alaska, Hawaii, or American Samoa first - and then I can drive to the park. 4 of the remainders require a flight, a drive, and a boat trip, and the final 4 require a flight, a drive, another flight, and then an amount of backcountry work involving planes, boats, and hiking. 

My List:

So, as you can see I've got a ways to go. I think what I'm planning on doing for this blog's sake is trying to cover parks I've been to in the past, post some pictures or something, and then use that as my reference for "I've been to that park". I've never been one much for remembering my NPS 'Passport' book, but I do normally take pictures. 


That's really it for now. This is my plan. I've written it down, let's see how things go. I'll be back thruout 2022 providing updates. Most will likely be short and sweet, some might be more detailed. Good luck to me.