Friday Five: My Favorite National Parks

This week’s Friday Five is Five Favorites. Since I love being outdoors so much, I decided to list out my five favorite National Parks. So far, I have been to 19 of them and I’m gonna go ahead and list the 5 best! Thanks to Mar on the Run, Eat Pray Run, and You Signed up for What?! for hosting the linkup.

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  1. Glacier National Park

This one obviously had to make first on the list. Frank and I got married at Glacier a little over 3 years ago, where we had our closest friends and family with us to celebrate the wonderful day. The park is more than magical. It teems with wildlife and beautiful flowers. Every direction you look is a more fantastic view than the last. There are tons of day and overnight hikes around the park, and there are even trails that are accessible to people with injuries or are handicapped.

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Our wedding was pretty small, but it really was such an amazing experience.
  1. Canyonlands National Park

Recently Frank and I took a trip out to Moab, Utah and we spent a good amount of time in Canyonlands. Although Arches National Park is more popular for that region, Canyonlands offers trails that are longer and with way less people. We hiked probably about 50 miles around the park, and even did an overnight trip. If you are ever in Utah… this place is pretty amazing!

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Frank and I went mountain biking at Canyonlands. It was pretty awesome!
  1. Gates of the Arctic National Park

During the summers of 2013 and 2014, I did some fieldwork at Toolik Field Station in the north slope of Alaska. The field station was right up against Gates of the Arctic, which is incredibly inaccessible to most people. The park is pristine and there are no trails. Basically, you just wander around through the tundra in a particular direction to head up mountain peaks. There are bears, porcupines, elk, moose… basically there’s almost any mega-fauna you could think of out there. This park made the list because you really get to feel like an explorer when you are out there. You get to see things that hardly anyone sees, and it really feels like you’re the first person to ever step foot there.

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Nearly to the summit of the highest peak in the Brooks Range. We didn’t quite make it because visibility near the summit was non-existent. 
  1. Everglades National Park

I grew up in South Florida, pretty close to the Everglades. I remember large afternoon storms brewing over the everglades and dumping steamy rain on to Coral Springs. I’ve been to the Everglades many times, but the craziest was when Frank and I paddled 100 miles through the park along the Wilderness Waterway. It took us 7 days. The Everglades is a fantastic place to see a really unique ecosystem. If you live close, you should check it out!

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There are some beautiful beaches in the Everglades.
  1. Smokey Mountains National Park

While in college, I was part of an outdoor club that frequented the Appalachians. Trips with the outdoor club were where Frank and I realized how we felt about each other and some of my favorite trips were at and around Smokey Mountains. There’s climbing, hiking, and some of the best backpacking in the country. The Appalachian Trail runs straight through the park and includes some of the most scenic areas.

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Right outside of the national park is a large waterfall where a bunch of us repelled down (a few of my friends repelled naked… not advised). 

I could include so many more parks, but these are probably the most sentimental to me. If you are ever around any of these (especially Glacier), you should really check them out! I really think the National Park System was America’s best idea!

 

What is your favorite National Park? Are there any that you’ve always wanted to go to? I’ve never been to Yosemite, but I’ve always wanted to.

Heading West!

By the time you read this, I’ll be on my way to Utah!

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I promise to take pictures!

Lows throughout the week are in the teens, and since we are camping, I’m kinda expecting to spend my nights pretty cold. We should be in Moab by the end of the day Saturday and then the exploring begins!

My birthday is this coming Tuesday (Nov 24), but I celebrated it with my friends here in Manhattan a few nights ago. We went to my favorite hibachi place in town, where I knew they would throw a big celebration for my birthday. It was crazy fun and I even got this gift:

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Sometimes it’s kinda bad…

I thought this was the perfect coffee cup given my feelings about Kansas.

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All of us at the Hibachi Restaurant! I don’t really know all that many people here yet. 🙂

In less fun news, Frank fell off his bike and landed himself in the emergency room with a few stitches. He hit a curb, flew off his handlebars and landed right on his chin. The doctor said that the cut extended all the way to the bone. Honestly, just looking at the cut makes me kinda queasy (I am going to spare you any photos). He’s been taking it like a champ, though. He says it doesn’t hurt, but I’m really not sure that I believe him. He’s a little beat up on his left arm and leg. We’re just hoping he heals fast and that this doesn’t slow him down in Utah.

I am going to do my best to stay on top of blogging while I’m out in the desert, however, I don’t expect to always have internet access. So, if I kinda disappear for the week, have a great Thanksgiving!