Park It Here: A National Park Story

My favorite national park is Yosemite National Park. A feeling of amazement takes hold of people coming out of Highway 41 and its dark tunnels as they look down and see Yosemite Valley in all its splendor. The compact gray rock walled valley, gushing waterfalls and distant knob of Half Dome are a foolproof photo for even the most amateur shooter.

Majority of Yosemite tourists never reach the sights beyond five percent of the valley park due to the large crowds they have to contend with. Still people are more inclined to withstand the crowds in Yosemite because of its almost vertical nature than they are in parks like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

All eyes are pulled to the sight above. Visits in early spring, autumn and even winter are preferable to the population explosion of summer.

The Great Smoky Mountains is not as popular as other national parks. One true way to savor the visit is to walk the trails of the most toured park. Grand Canyon trip takers are almost just half of the annual 9.2 million that go see the park.

Some Westerners have gone to the place thrice but have found the crowded roadways pretty much uninteresting. Gateway towns like Cherokee and Gatlinburg are filled with tourist traps and casinos.

Air quality has taken a turn for the worse in past years. National Parks are known for this feature but with so many soaking it in it failed to last.

Travelers would like to see the Wrangell Saint Elias national park also. There are 55 million acres of parkland in Alaska and I’ve been to more than most people, including the rarely visited Gates of the Arctic and Kobuk Valley.

But I’ve never gone southeast of Anchorage to the place the park service calls The Mountain Kingdom of North America. The place has the greatest number of glaciers and mountains as tall as 16000 feet in the entire country.

Grand Canyon has a North Rim that many tourists would like revisiting. It is believed that the dad of one child disliked the South Rim crowds so much that they took the long route to the Grand Canyon North Rim. Tourists who return to the Grand Canyon and the huge crowds often find it tough to savor the spectacular canyon backdrop amid the frequent elbowing and jostling going on.

My favorite wildlife is the Everglades where I’ve seen buffalo in Yellowstone and grizzlies in Kobuk Valley. Get close to nature by dropping by the Everglades Anhinga Trail and witnessing several gators sunning themselves. You get a minor scare just by watching them yawn baring their sharp teeth and then seeing them slip into the water leaving their eyes the only thing visible for you to see.

National parks could possibly include Monument Valley. You can clearly see traces of the West in its red colored monoliths.
There is a place encompassing Utah and Arizona which represents a Navajo Indian reservation that film makers have used repeatedly for the making of a movie. The possibility of converting it into a national park is nil given that it is tagged as a sovereign location. If it were, it would have been one of my favorites.

With regard to Hot Springs counting it with the rest of the national parks has received much argument. Arkansas has a place called Bathhouse Row that features old fashioned massages for visitors.

As a historic national landmark it is possible but as a national park it cannot be named that. In 1916 the National Park Service came out and what was a longtime federal land spanning 40 years pre Yellowstone was grandfathered. Once in the club, it’s next to impossible to get out.

The best international two for one treat is the Glacier Waterton International Peace Park.

It is an international peace woodland delight. The Tudor Prince of Wales Hotel imitation back in Canada with the old British inspired tea hour is another must see location.

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