Saturday, April 20, 2013

“All who wander are not lost” - J.R.R.Tolkien

Ed, this post's author and an avid outdoorsman,
recommends a vacation in nature!
Whether your ideal vacation lies in the bustling streets of Chicago, New York, or London, or in the vast expanse of the great outdoors, every avid traveler can identify with this mantra.  I am here to convince you that a trip into the wild can be every bit as rewarding as visiting all the great cities of the world, and how you can go about making such a trip happen.  Within the boundaries of these United States lie some of the most staggeringly beautiful scenery you can find on a planet full of beauty, and it’s all accessible to you if you’re willing to seek it.

Hetch Hetchy Valley - Yosemite National Park
As any lover of the wilderness can attest, the disconnect from civilization and technology that a trip into the wild provides can leave one feeling refreshed and rejuvenated for long after the vacation itself has ended.  Indeed, studies have shown that after several days in the wilderness, cognitive function significantly improves.  While I am not ready to endorse backpacking through the mountains as a cutting edge SAT study method, anyone who has spent significant time outdoors can attest to this phenomenon. There is a beautiful simplicity in a day spent hiking under the redwoods or over the great ranges of the Sierra or Rocky Mountains, and this often leaves the hiker feeling a sense of calm and wellbeing that is often sought after, but rarely achieved in our hectic everyday lives.

OK, now that I’ve convinced you to get outside and enjoy our incredible country, the paragraphs within this post (and the one that will follow detailing camping and hiking specifics) should tell you a bit about where and how to go about doing it!

Yellowstone National Park
First, a little advice on the “where” (with the next post to follow with the details of “how.”)  If you are planning a road trip that will include visits to multiple National Parks, you should strongly consider purchasing an annual National Parks Pass.  These can often be purchased at the entrance of the national park, so I would recommend purchasing the pass when you arrive at your first park.  At a scant $80, the annual pass gets you unlimited entry to all of our beautiful national parks for one year from the date of purchase.  Since many of the parks cost $20-$25 each to enter, you can quickly recover the cost.  Besides, who doesn’t want a little extra incentive to get outside and enjoy all of the natural beauty that surrounds us?

Maroon Bells - Rocky Mountains

In addition, our National Parks also offer “free” days five times throughout the year, including this week (April 22-26, 2013) to celebrate National Park Week!  These are perfect times to enjoy the beauty of nature, for free!  In addition, check with your county and state parks, which often offer similar free or reduced admission days throughout the year.  Some states, such as California, offer tax deducible annual state park passes.

Stayed tuned for details of “how” to go about getting hiking and camping permits to really enjoy your adventure, as well as tips to enjoy your time outdoors, in the next guest blog post coming soon!


1 comment:

  1. Great blog! Thanks especially for letting me know next week is freebie week!!