Travel is our passion. It can be challenging, both mentally and physically, but the rewards are incalculable. Travel is always unpredictable. We have to be adaptable and self-sufficient, whether we find ourselves in a city or a wilderness. Travel can also rejuvenate. It provides perspective on work and the media; a mental reset that lets us focus on the important things in our lives. Working out in a gym can become tedious after an hour, but when we are hiking we find that we can keep going for hours. Perhaps it is that “explorer’s high” that keeps us going when we experience a new place.
We enjoy the logistics of travel. Preparation and anticipation are two fundamental components of any trip. We hope that Raven About The Parks inspires our readers to plan their next excursion to one of the 418 units in the National Park Service (NPS) system. The NPS recorded more than 330-million visitors in both 2016 and 2017. More than half of them were tallied at the top 30 parks alone. Only the top 81 sites see more than one-million visitors annually. That leaves 337 other parks for the rest of us to discover the historical and natural wonders of America without the crowds.
We love learning new information when we travel. Even when we return to a place our experience is never the same, since we change as we age, gaining a fresh perspective as though seeing through a different lens. Many of the units in the NPS system are historical in focus. We have fun finding similarities with the present time and take solace in the fact that most every challenge of today was faced in past. We are inspired by people that stood strong in the face of adversity. The greatest acts of bravery often came from the least likely sources.
We are truly humbled to be in the presence of the natural wonders of America. Given the perception of one human lifetime, it is often impossible for us to comprehend how many of Earth’s features formed on a geologic timescale. We relish being able to interact with a landscape beyond the designated pullouts and overlooks; to feel the ground beneath our feet and not just look at it. We enjoy photography, but find the immersive experiences are more satisfying than taking a good photo. We believe that the best photos will trigger a fond memory in the future, in comparison to just having something pretty to look at.
Even though we have visited 323 of 418 NPS units, we realize we will probably never make it to them all. That is not our goal, though we will strive to see more of them. We have had great experiences at most of these special sites, many of which we visited without high expectations. In 2019, we plan to explore 35 NPS sites new to us in the Northeast U.S. and Virgin Islands, as well as some old favorites in new ways (like a paddling trip through Dinosaur National Monument). We thank you for following Raven About The Parks as you plan your next adventure in a National Park.
Happy new year!
Scott and Tiff