And beautiful, she is! I’ve been on the road for over two and a half years now, and I’ve got to see a lot of the U.S. of A. Being a road warrior has taught me a lot of things, and when it comes to traveling this country, I’ve learned just how diverse and amazing it is. In just one week’s time, I’ve seen canyons, a desert, a rainforest and pristine beaches. I’ve gone from Glacier Bay up in Alaska, to Las Vegas, to Yosemite, just in the course of several days. While my body sometimes has trouble adjusting to the changes, my mind, spirit and photographic eye live for it.
When I first moved onto the bus, I got a National Parks Passport book. I had seen these before, but never thought I would visit enough National Parks to do it justice. Man, am I glad I was wrong! In case you’ve never seen them before, these passport books are available at all the visitor centers in all of the national parks, monuments, historic sites, etc. The book is organized by U.S. region, and the sections for each individual region list all the national sites in that area and then include several pages for “cancellations” or stamps. When you visit a national park (or other national site) you take your passport book to the visitor center and use the dated stamps to mark your book. The stamp station is usually easy to find.
While some women thrive off of collecting shoes, bags, etc., I thrive off of collecting stamps in this book. Each stamp represents a different experience, and an amazing place I’ve visited. There is just so much to see in this country and every place is so different. Just look at Utah. You’ve got beautiful, snow-capped mountains in the northern part of the state, incredible rock formations in Arches National Park, expansive canyons just down the road in Canyonlands National Park, and then of course there’s Zion, Bryce Canyon National Park, Lake Powell/Glen Canyon National Recreation area, etc.
One of the reasons I love photographing these places so much is to show everyone just how awesome they are. I consider myself REALLY lucky to be able to visit so many great places, and I really encourage everyone reading this to check some of them out. It’s worth it. Trust me. If you’re into vacationing at the beach every year, try something different one year and go to Yosemite, or Yellowstone. Heck, if you can’t sacrifice the beach, to go Haleakala National Park on Maui!
Can you guess how many national parks/monuments/historic sites there are? I bet it’s more than you think. It’s more than I thought a while ago! The following is from the National Park Service web site:
The National Park System comprises 397 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state (except Delaware), the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These areas include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House.
That’s a whole lot of stamps to collect. Ben and I set a goal of knocking off all the National Parks first. If we hit the monuments, historic sites, etc., then great! But the Parks are the current plan. We should hit between 10 and 12 of them before the end of the year.
I’ll close this post with a few pics, but I really wanted to write a little piece on the Passport Book. It’s a great little thing to have and it’s really gratifying to watch it fill up with stamps. More to come!