Saturday, August 17, 2013

I Love Our National Parks

I just had to say it, “I LOVE our National Parks!” There is just something about them….National Parks have their own sort of feeling…..
It starts with the campgrounds….. Our campsite was lovely, no hook-ups, but generous generator hours. I really like the feeling of ‘dry camping’ and just being self sufficient. It adds to the overall ambiance of the National park experience.
If you don’t like the ‘camping’ experience, the National Parks usually have nice lodges….
While walking about the Rim Village, we stopped in at the Crater Lake Lodge. The pic on the right was taken from the boat….
I love that cozy, pull up a chair, feeling……whether around a fireplace, or off the balcony overlooking the lake…..And what a view!
I love the dining rooms at the National Park Lodges….cozy and rustic…..and staffed by an international group of young people. We had breakfast at the lodge on Tuesday before we left. I had an omelet; Fred had the scrambled eggs. The coffee was good as was the service.
I love that at the National parks, they make a big deal out of their wildlife….even the birds.
The Clark’s Nutcracker (on the left) feeds on the seeds of the white-bark pine, which relies on the nutcracker almost entirely for its regeneration. The blue bird is a jay (Stellar’s jay?) that was chasing the other critters around. The jays are noted to be a bit of a thief around the campgrounds….taking things from people’s packs, if left unattended.
And where, but a National park, would a little ground squirrel become the park’s mascot?
I love the whole concept of the National Park system. The idea – to set aside these wonderful things for all to enjoy. To protect the wildness from development, so that all people may visit and enjoy these places. This plaque commemorates Stephen Mather, often called the father of the National Park system……the same Stephen Mather that Mather lodge at Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas is named after……We owe him a lot….
And, yes…….with that noble idea, comes the crowds. At the National parks, there are people of all nationalities…..all coming to appreciate the beauty.  You just have to know when to get out to avoid the worst of the crowds. We like to get an early start when we can…..but otherwise, it is good to have patience and remember that everyone should have a chance to see these wonderful places. And you might just meet some very interesting people......

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