On April 20, 1832, the first National Park was established in Arkansas, Hot Springs. Today we have 58 National Parks, plus monuments, historical locations, wilderness areas and more. People come from all over the world to enjoy what is in many of our backyards. This is especially true in the West. As National Park Week comes to a close, here are a few of my current favorite pictures.
There is nothing grander than Grand Canyon National Park. Watching the sun rise in the crisp morning air is beyond words created by man. One advantage of visiting the park during the winter, a little bit of solitude. This trip we encountered an unexpected snow storm and freezing RV parts. It delayed our morning departure, but allowed me to take a hike to the rim.
In March we returned to White Sands National Park for the first time in over 20 years. This time we learned something new. Nature’s ability to adapt is a wondrous thing. Lizards have evolved over the years to survive in this harsh environment. Yuccas have learned to grow as much as 30 feet to keep their heads above the dunes. Sadly, when the dunes move on, the yucca is unable to support it’s own weight, bends over to kiss the sand and eventually fade back into the earth.
There isn’t much prettier than a cactus flower. Maybe it’s because the host is so menacing to look at and is full of spines to pierce your skin with one false move. The Sonoran Desert is having a banner year and the desert creatures will benefit from the fruit this flower will produce. Saguaro National Park is currently a riot of blooms in all different colors.
Tumacacori National Park is delightful in the spring. The mission gardens are bursting with color. The pomegranate trees produce not only beautiful flowers, but delicious fruit. Tourists can be funny. As we were admiring this tree, a man walked by and called out to his friends, hey! come over here and look at this carnation tree.
Let’s end with this saguaro at Saguaro National Park bidding the sun goodnight. One night soon the flowers will open, the bats will feast on it’s pollen and saguaro fruit will be born.
We are off this coming week to explore more National and Arizona State parks. Believe it or not, after all these years some we will be visiting for the first time.
It’s time for Americans to hit the road for family summer travels. What National Parks do you plan to visit? What’s your favorite? Please share your plans in the comments below.