2010 North Rim Visit

As I sit here on the porch of the General Store at the North Rim, (the only place within miles where you can get wi-fi), I’m enjoying the cool breeze and anticipating a grand sunset tonight.

Yesterday we met our friends Marshall, Cathy, John and Suzi.  We all chipped in to make an amazing meal and enjoyed good conversation and good wine around the campfire.

Today we had breakfast at the Grand Canyon Lodge this morning, then did a little exploring around the rim.

Here are a few shots from our trip so far.

Not sure if I’ll have time to post more until we get back, but enjoy these for the moment.

The weather is perfect up here!  The only downside is the fact that they’re doing some controlled burns on the south rim of the canyon, so we can see the smoke at times.  Not horrible, just a little distracting for pictures.

National Parks Postcards

You may remember that we discovered some great vintage reproduction National Parks postcards when we were at the Grand Canyon.

Well, we saw a similar poster at Great Smoky Mountain National Park yesterday and wondered if we could find more of the postcards for the Eastern parks.  They didn’t have them at the Visitor Center, but they did have notecards and we looked at the package to find the website where we could buy the ones that we want.

This is what the Smoky Mountain one looks like and there are others for parks we visited as well.  I’ll be placing an order for a few when we get home.  Then we want to put them all in a large frame and hang it in our office with the rest of our travel posters.  So far, all the ones we’ve bought have this vintage look.  Kinda fun, huh?

A Deep Love for Creation is in my Blood

As I watch this series about the National Parks, by Ken Burns on PBS, I’m moved to tears again and again. Sometimes in awe of the beauty of God’s creation or in reminiscing about the visits I’ve made to one park or another. But also, by the inspiration brought on by people who have made a difference in protecting and preserving our nations most beautiful vistas and corners.

I have heard the words of John Muir, a Scottish-born American author, naturalist and early advocate of preservation of U.S. wilderness, who fought for the parks he loved with eloquence until his dying breath at the age of 76.

I’ve learned about George Melendez Wright who was barely in his 20’s when he became an advocate for the wildlife in the parks. With a degree in Forestry and Zoology, he set off for a 4-year study that changed the management of wildlife in all the parks. Returning to a philosophy of allowing all creatures to live within the natural order in which they were created, instead of coaxing bears to garbage piles and killing natural predators. Even though his life was cut short by an automobile accident at the age of 31, in less than 10 years he had a profound impact on the way our National Parks are managed to this day.

Then, I’m reminded of this awe-inspiring black and white photography of Ansel Adams, that almost single-handedly invoked the creation of Kings Canyon National Park. His work later introduced the rest of the world to the gorgeous scenery in nearly every national park and beyond.

A true inspiration is Marjory Stoneman Douglas who, at the age of 57 (that’s older than me) wrote a book about the Everglades which generated support for the park in it’s infancy. Marjory continued to speak on behalf of the park well past her 80’s and lived to the ripe old age of 108.

In 1986, (when she was 94!) the National Parks Conservation Assoc. established the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award “to honor individuals who often must go to great lengths to advocate and fight for the protection of the National Park System.” Now that’s someone with perseverance!

These stories and the parks themselves inspire me. They make me realize that I’m not the only one who thought about becoming a park ranger as a youngster. Or whose heart aches because I realize I can’t always stay as long as I’d like when I visit a National Park. I’m not the only one who tries to think of ways to live there or spend more time there every year or to capture the beauty thru my lens so I can take it home with me to enjoy every day.

But, how on earth can I make a difference? That’s still to be determined…but I’m determined to do what I can, if only to be a National Parks Evangelist in my own corner of God’s creation. I’m so thankful that our nation has decided to set aside and protect these slivers of glory for all of us and our future generations to enjoy…and thank you God for providing them.

Pictures, Pictures, & Postcards…

So I have been “working” on sorting our old photographs for at least 6 months. Well let’s say, I started it at least 6 months ago and they have been sitting in the office on this table waiting for me to finish. I started with about 13 shoeboxes full of photos and I filled a wastebasket with duplicates and ones that were poor quality and I still have almost that many boxes to fill back up.

I’ve been working on it most of the weekend.

I sorted them by subject. For example:

Amy & Friends
Kevin & Friends
Amy & Kevin
Terry and Me
Hann extended family
Perkins extended family
Places we’ve been
Etc., Etc.

Now I just need to make up labels for the boxes and put them away so I can find what I need when I want them. I can’t wait to get them off the table and then finish cleaning up the desk area. We’ve been living with piles for quite a while.

We also picked up these cool vintage reproduction postcards at the Grand Canyon. They are all National Parks that we’ve visited. Be sure to click to enlarge to see the great colors and artwork. We want to get them all in one frame with a nice mat to hang in the office with the rest of our travel posters. Too bad Andrew doesn’t do framing anymore. Oh well, I guess we’ll have to pay for it. I will try to save money by getting a standard size frame for them to fit into.

National Parks on My Bucket List (continued)


I just added to my bucket list that I want to visit all the National Parks in the U.S. before I die.
There are 58 of them and we’ve been to 22 already, so we’re off to a good start.

Of course, there are at least 5 in Alaska, so we’re going to need to take a long trip or several trips “North to the Future” (their state motto). I’ve always thought it would be fun to rent an RV up there and just hit the road. I think that might make things a little easier since hotels and restaurants are few and far between. Anyone want to join us?

Here’s a picture that I took just this week when we were at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon with our friends, Cathy & Marshall. It was just perfect up there. Gorgeous weather, great friends, fall colors and amazing beauty.

This is Terry and I at Angel’s Window. If you click to enlarge, you’ll see people standing on top of that formation and you may also be able to see the Colorado River at the base of the canyon thru the window.

We are very blessed to have so many National Parks in relatively close proximity to us. Can you believe that there are still a few in Arizona that we haven’t visited yet?


National Parks America’s Best Idea – Mini-series

Have you been watching this new mini-series on PBS ?

We just watched the first episode and it brought tears to my eyes several times. There’s just something about the majesty of the nature in our National Parks that makes me so thankful that these pieces of earth were set aside and preserved for us and future generations.

I’m so glad that we’ve had a chance to visit many of these parks and to take our children there. I look forward to someday being able to share them with our grandkids as well.

Did you realize that there are almost 400 National Parks and Monuments? Wow! Here are a few of the parks that we’ve visited that will be covered in the series, with links to more info about each one:

Acadia (Maine)
Denali (Alaska)
Grand Canyon (Arizona)
Yellowstone (Wyoming)
Yosemite (California)

And here’s a link to a list of all of them. See how many you’ve visited. What’s your favorite? I know it’s hard to choose.

One of mine is probably Yellowstone because of the wide variety of things to see and the sheer size of the park.

I also love the rustic architecture in the parks. Someday, I’d love to be abel to stay at all the different lodges in the parks.

I hope you’ve had a chance to visit the National Parks in your area and beyond…if not, please make a point to go and take your family. You won’t regret it!