By harley mcallister
Yellowstone Lodges just posted a newsletter with some photos, videos, and recordings of the elk rut. This annual mating ritual occurs in the second half of September all across the West, but the two best places to observe in are in Yellowstone NP and Rocky Mountain NP. You can see there newsletter here, but we also wanted to share some of our favorite photos of this time. Enjoy!
As you probably have heard, this year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. In celebration, all National Parks are offering free admission from August 25th (the actual birthday) through the weekend until August 28th. Here is a link to more details, NPS 100th Birthday.
If the notice is a little short for a big road trip to a major park, still click on the link and use the search function to find the NP closest to your home. Too often we overlook those little gems that we live close to, but this weekend would be a great time to make a quick visit. And if you are fortunate like we are, it could be that one of the most majestic parks around is just a half day away. If you find yourself in Glacier this weekend, keep an eye out for us!
by harley mcAllister
With the Centennial celebration of the NPS and cheap gas prices this summer, Yellowstone set a new record for visitation this past month of July, and is about 6.5% of last years record breaking pace. Here are more specifics, https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/news/16048.htm. There is still time left this summer to make it out there!
And if you don't care for the crowds we highly recommend visiting in September if your schedule allows. The evenings will be frosty, but the crowds will be thin, the colors will be changing, and the elk will be bugling. It is a magical time in the park! If you do go, check the park website to see which campgrounds and other locations might be closing as several of them do start to shut down as the month of September wears on.
National Parks-our best idea
It has been said that the national parks are our country's best idea. Certainly they are something worth celebrating on this 100th anniversary year. Having lived in countries where there are not parks with such open accessibility, we can certainly say they are a grand heritage. Now PBS is airing their series by Ken Burns called "The National Parks" celebrating the national parks! You can catch episodes on your local station (find yours here ) or you can watch them online for a limited time here.
By Abby McAllister
Spring Biking in Yellowstone
Mt Rainier Wilderness Reservations
If we had not already made plans for Yosemite and Glacier this summer, I know where we would be headed! Take advantage and learn more here: https://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/wilderness-permit.htm
We would see what we thought was maybe the opening of a slot canyon in the Waterpocket Fold and set off across the sage and sand flats, only to find 20 minutes later that it was a dead-end opening that only went 30 feet into the Waterpocket Fold, or that the mouth was blocked by an impassible pool of water (which still left us wondering if this was in fact the correct canyon or should we keep looking for it somewhere else?). After many false starts we decided to split up and cover more canyon openings in less time. At once my group encountered at trail that closely matched the descriptions online and we followed it to the canyon we had been seeking all afternoon. It was cool, in both temperature and interest factor but that canyon wasn’t the actually my favorite. What I loved was the feeling we had as we worked together as a family to find “clues” that we were in the right place. I loved seeing my kids come alive as the realized how different it felt to be on a “hunt” for something hard to find versus hiking along a well known and marked trail. We found animal tracks, animals themselves, rocks to climb, pools to attempt to cross, and a wilderness that many visitors to national parks never find. We were explorers, problem-solvers, adventurers and pioneers. On this afternoon our kids truly understood what the early settlers experienced as they searched for a way through the huge uprising of the Waterpocket fold, something the informational video in the visitor center addresses but fails to strike home like doing it yourself does. While we all like to visit the national parks to see the famous sites, I find that my best memories are formed around time spent together, often when things don’t go smoothly or as planned. It is being together in those moments that we will all remember for many years to come.
by tavin mcallister
Capitol reef was an interesting park. I liked the hikes just fine, but those weren't my favorite activity. What I liked was the creativity, the building and the pie. Yes I said pie. At capitol reef at the campground we were at there was a little shop that sold pie. And boy, was it good! After we finished off our pie, my older brother, Kaden had an Idea. He had been gathering rocks all day and we decided to go up a trail close to the campgrounds, and make a sundial. It actually worked! So if you go to capitol reef, make sure to eat pie and try and spot our sun dial! These were my favorite memories because when you build something it is cool to think back and say I wonder what happened to that little sun dial we made, and then you start thinking about the pie, then the hikes, and it all comes back and you can remember the fun you had.
We have some really great news for you today! As you may know if you've been reading along the last few weeks, we are counting down to this weekend when we are celebrating the release of our guide to all the parks in Utah. Today we announce the next two countdown items for your enjoyment:
First, our guide book "Utah's Big 5 National Parks with Kids" goes on sale starting tomorrow! We will be selling this guide book on Amazon on sale this weekend only. We are in the prime planning time for a summer vacation to Utah so go grab the book while it's on sale.
Also in anticipation of this launch we had the opportunity to be guest speakers on "The Familyman Podcast with Todd Wilson". Todd is all about encouraging men to be better fathers and better husbands, and we found a lot of common ground in our desire to help parents plan memorable and exciting family vacations. So if you want to be encouraged and get motivated to plan an epic family vacation, tune in to the podcast and let us know what you think! (Harley's segment starts around 13:13 minutes)
Check in tomorrow for our final family memories of our time in the Utah parks and we hope you find inspiration to start your own journey!
We, Harley and Abby, are the parents of 7 boys and 1 girl whom we regularly drag into any and every national park we come near to. We love our parks and know that the only chance we have of keeping and maintaining this priceless resource is to give our children a love of them too.