Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Top Ten Parks Honorable Mentions

To finish this series off, here are a few parks that are well worth your time, but didn't quite make it into my Top Ten.

Glacier Bay National Park is located in southeast Alaska, on the Inside Passage, and features numerous tidewater glaciers. Tidewater glaciers are those that end in the ocean, often spectacularly "calving", which is when large chunks break off and splash into the ocean.

A tidewater glacier as seen from the deck of our ship.

There are no roads that lead to the park, however, many companies offer a boat service to shuttle visitors to and from Glacier Bay. Most visitors, my family included, visit Glacier Bay while on a cruise ship. We took a 7-day Holland America Cruise through the Inside Passage, and our day in Glacier Bay was one of the highlights. Our boat was able to glide up next to the massive glaciers as we were stunned by their truly gigantic size.

Another ship that was in the bay at the same time as us. The ship is many hundreds of feet long and that helps to give scale to the glaciers.
Next up is Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. In the movie Jeremiah Johnson, a character named Del Gue says, "The Rocky Mountains are the marrow of the world...and, by God, I was right."

Ypsilon Mountain. NPS photo

This park showcases the beauty of the Rockies in all their splendor. All of the park is over 7,500ft elevation, including many "14ers", those peaks over 14,000ft. Hiking and wildlife viewing are the main draws, with over 330 miles of trails offering visitors the opportunity to view megafauna such as bighorn sheep, elk, mountain lions, black bear, and the occasional moose.

A bull Elk in Rocky Mountain NP. NPS photo
The final Honorable Mention goes to... all the rest. The National Parks ("Our Best Idea" according to filmmaker Ken Burns) are all worth visiting for one reason or another. There are caves (Carlsbad Caverns, Mammoth Cave), coasts (Hawaii Volcanoes, Acadia), forests (Great Smoky Mountains), desert (Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon), swamps (Everglades), mountains (Mt. Rainier, Grand Teton) and so much more that it is impossible to narrow down the list even further.

I haven't been to them all yet, but I think that is a worthy bucket list item. Hopefully I'll see you out there.

1 comment:

  1. Your blog is awesome, like seriously! If you want, I would love it if you marked some of your posts on JourneyJotter.org it's an effort to collaborate all outdoor adventures on a map to help other people research and plan their next trip for a specific location. Your blog posts would be a wonderful addition for others to see!