A National Park For Every Season

A National Park For Every Season

Ready to take a road trip yet?

Although hitting all of the United State's 59 National parks is an admirable goal, I've compiled a far more manageable list of 4 parks below. These natural wonderlands hold plenty of landmarks to marvel at. After skimming through numerous photos of these beautiful sites I've labeled them with the particular season I'd prefer to spend exploring them, though they are beautiful year round.

Summer - Yosemite National Park - California

1,200 square feet of steep valleys, meadows, ancient sequoias, and brilliant skylines. Yosemite is a must see for campers and astronomy lovers alike. The lack of light pollution creates a beautiful natural canvas for stargazing. This park is perfect for an overnight trip, pitching a tent under the sky and setting up a bonfire. It is a proven fact that s'mores taste better when coupled with this view.

Winter - Tongass National Forest - Alaska

The nation's largest national forest hosts a variety of ice caves hidden beneath the Mendenhall Glacier. The 13-mile glacier is an outlet for the Juneau Ice Field and a perfect hiking spot for the adventurous (and warm blooded). However, this park is home to much more than hiking paths. Visitors can choose from a variety of activities to partake in, including dog sled rides, icefishing or simply relaxing in a remote cabin. Even in the colder winter months, this park boasts a wide variety of animal life.

Fall - Sequoia National Park - California

The world's largest trees grow (and fall) in the forested areas of Sequoia National Park. The namesake trees in this park reach unreal heights of 5,000 - 7,000', and yes, there is actually a fallen tree you can drive through. Named Tunnel Log, this passage is located on the drive up to Moro Rock. Driving through a tree is truly a novelty, and can be a busy location for park visitors and photographers. Pros recommend waiting till dawn when the tourists retreat to their tents or lodges and the mist begins to settle. With so many beautiful trees, the vivid colors that arrive every fall are breathtaking.

Spring - Olympic National Park - Washington

Sunrise illuminates the meadows that line the High Divide in Olympic National Park every morning. Created in 1938, the park is 95 percent forested and contains numerous different types of terrain. Diversity is the hallmark of this park. This trait is expressed in the spring as the local flora begins to bloom, creating a natural watercolor painting along the hillside.

Ready to take a road trip yet? Be sure to visit the park's respective websites to learn more about visiting and keeping our national park system alive and thriving!

Cover Image Credit: national geographic

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5 Reasons To Travel in 2018

2018 is the year that you book that flight.

2018 is a year to explore, a year for change and a year of realization. This year you should be checking off the bucket list and doing spur of the moment adventures. This is the year to do what you've always wanted to do. The year especially to travel. I mean, who doesn't want to travel, it is most people's aspiration to travel but never do so because life gets in the way. This year move life aside and travel.

1. Why not?

Pairs is practically calling your name! Whether it's Paris or Switzerland, across the Atlantic is calling for you. Travel, explore what that part of the world you haven't before.

2. Experience new things

Traveling for the first time or trying new cuisines. Traveling is all about firsts, very good firsts. Food, alcohol, and art. It is so different from the States.

3. Relaxation

From sitting in Luxemburg Gardens drinking wine to laying out on the beach in Nice soaking up the sun and salty air from the Mediterranean Sea, relaxation will be on your mind. Travel, take a break, relax, make 2018 peaceful and serene.

4. Meet new people

The people you will meet can and will probably become one of your lifelong friends as the memories you make will last you a lifetime.

5. Just to travel

Set your heart on travel, let it lock (love lock bridge) in. Get your passport. Start somewhere. Fill it with stamps of different countries and adventures. Adventure is out there, just waiting for you.

Don't let the trials and tribulations of 2017 to hold you back from boarding that plane to the trip that you've always wanted to go on.

Cover Image Credit: Haiden VanDerlaske

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How To Travel As More Than Just A Tourist

My trip to India taught me how to truly experience a foreign country.

Traveling has always been my favorite thing to do with my family. I am lucky enough to have parents who love to take trips all over the world, exploring new places and cultures as often as we can. Traveling with them over the years has made me question what it really means to visit a foreign country. What do we mean when we say we have visited a country? How much of it are we really seeing?

This morning, I landed home after spending two and a half weeks in India with my family. Before I left for the trip, a few people asked me if I was ready for what I was about to experience, and if I was afraid of the culture shock. I even had a friend ask me why I would ever want to visit somewhere as intense as India and tell me that he would never want to go there.

As someone who loves to travel, I couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to explore somewhere so fascinating and different than their home country. At the same time, I couldn’t help but feel nervous to witness a world so different from my own.

I have to say that my trip to India was definitely intense and a lot to experience. Among the stunning temples and palaces I got to visit, I was also met with images that shocked me, ones that made me want to avert my eyes, and ones that reminded me of how far I was from a culture I knew and understood.

While I could see why some people couldn’t see the appeal of experiencing a world so different, to me, it was the whole point of going to India in the first place.

Even after returning from such a powerful trip, I am still asking myself how much of it I really got to experience. I spent a big portion of my time in India sitting inside cars or rickshaws, watching the world outside like I was watching a movie. Through my window, I saw women fetching water draped in colorful saris, a Hindu monk smoking a cigarette, a group of men in turbans sitting around a fire on the side of the highway, and the most extravagant wedding procession pouring through the streets.

I saw cows, elephants, monkeys, and camels meandering through traffic in the middle of a crowded road.

Though I was in the country, visiting its sites, speaking to locals, and eating local dishes, there was still a sense that I was completely removed from my surroundings. As I looked at miles and miles of villages and towns fly by as we drove past, I realized that being a tourist may have only let me scratch the surface of India and its rich culture.

My travels through India were not about the hotels we slept in and were certainly not about how much rest and relaxation we had during the vacation. But they were not only about the historical sites and opulent monuments we visited as tourists, either. The moments that had the deepest effect on me were the ones when I felt completely out of place.

When I think of my time in India, I think of getting lost in the middle of a bustling crowd, feeling totally overwhelmed by my surroundings, receiving stares from locals and wondering if I was intruding when entering temples, markets or monuments. I think of the moments when I got a glimpse into a world that tourists do not often get to see.

The raw and real side of India, the one that people once warned me about, is what makes me long to return and continue experiencing all of it.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Schulman

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