I arrived in Los Angeles late last October with the idea of spending a few weeks before heading south to Baja for the winter and then working my way back east and home to Virginia. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way. And I’ve been in LA ever since. I’ve yet to change my voting registration and driver’s license but I’ve come to think of this beautiful place as home. For a died-in-the-wool Virginian that’s hard to believe – but it is what it is. Still, there are places back east I need to be in the near future – principally my daughter’s wedding in September – and people scattered between here and there I need to see so next week after dawdling lo these many months in the SoCal sun I begin the long trek eastward.
One of my projects, not that I’m burdened with many, is to visit and photograph each of our National Parks at least once. There are 59 all told and so far I’ve taken in 27. Nine of those by the way are in California, the state which is home to the largest number of national parks. The trip back will consume 37 days primarily because I intend visiting a few more along the way. Eleven in fact. This project gets tougher as the number increases simply because at some point it’s no longer possible to drive to my destination: there are parks in America Samoa, the Virgin Islands and Hawaii. And eight in Alaska!
I’ll figure it out.
For now I thought I’d share the itinerary in word and image:
- 10 July Depart Los Angeles, CA
- 10 – 12 Mono Lake, CA
- 12 South Lake Tahoe, CA
- 13 Ely, NV – Layover Point
- 14 Great Basin NP, Baker, NV
- 14 – 16 Capitol Reef NP, Torrey, UT
- 16 Natural Bridges National Monument, UT
- 16 – 17 Blanding, UT – Layover Point
- 17 Hovenweep National Monument, UT
- 17 – 18 Mesa Verde NP, Cortez, CO
- 18 – 19 Heron Lake State Park, NM
- 19 – 22 Taos, NM – Summer Writer’s Conference
- 22 – 23 Great Sand Dunes National Park, Alamosa, CO
- 23 – 25 Black Canyon of Gunnison NP, Montrose, CO
- 25 – 27 Rocky Mountain NP, Estes Park, CO
- 27 – 28 Wind Cave NP, Custer, SD
- 28 Badlands NP, SD – Stopover
- 28 – 29 Jamestown, ND – Layover Point
- 29 – 31 Voyageurs NP, International Falls, MN
- 31 July – 2 Aug Isle Royale NP, Grand Portage, MN
- 2 – 3 Ironwood, MI – Layover Point
- 3 – 4 Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, MI
- 4 – 5 Saginaw, MI – Layover Point
- 5 – 6 Parma Heights, OH – Layover
- 6 – 7 Cuyahoga Valley NP, Brecksville, OH
- 7 – 12 Elizabethtown, KY – Layover
- 12 – 14 Great Smoky Mountain NP, Gatlinburg, TN
- 14 – 16 Triad, NC – Layover
- 16 – 17 UVA, Charlottesville, VA
- 17 Aug Arrive Reston, VA
The trip covers a little over 6,000 miles and will consume about 115 driving hours. I’m won’t get to spend as much time in each of the parks as I’d like but I know I’ll get back to many of them over the next several years.
I’m looking forward to visiting my longtime friends and maybe to making a few new ones along the way. More about the wedding later. For now I’ll just say I’m probably looking forward to it as much as any father does when it comes to his one and only (and favorite) daughter. But I’ve known my future son-in-law now for half a dozen years or more and he’s a wonderful young man. I’m sure AnnaSummer will mold him into something workable. 🙂
And next winter? Baja, of course.