I bought a tent. That makes things pretty official, doesn't it? I didn't even mean to do it. I've been happily borrowing and renting tents for a little while. I was just exploring my options. But then my options started to look so appealing. Before I knew it, I was pitching a tent in the middle of Atmosphere while the salesperson told me about all of the brilliant adventures he has had in his tent (the same as the tent I was pitching), and well, it was last year's model so the deal couldn't have felt much sweeter.
I also bought a roof box. And a foam mattress to make a nest out of (more details coming soon), and, of course, my beloved National Geographic Road Atlas (Adventure Edition!). I've spent some time somewhat in denial on this, but things are feeling pretty real, now. I am doing this road trip thing!
Two years ago, I was in California for a big music festival. My friend and I took a day while we were in the area to make a drive out to Salvation Mountain, and took a quick jaunt through Joshua Tree National Park on our way back. I think that was the day I officially decided that my bucket list literally is the list of North America's National Parks. There are so many gems, right in our backyards!
Not only do I want to see all of the National Parks in North America, but I want to really experience them and spend time in them.
I dug in deep last season, and set my eyes on the parks nearest to me. Many of them I had driven through a bunch of times, but I hadn't really spent much time in them. So I set out to! I enthusiastically crossed Kootenay, Yoho and Jasper National Park off of my list. I'm now 10 parks in, and I am looking to at least double that number this year. I know, a pretty lofty goal!
Now, I just have to determine what my standards are. What will qualify a park to be marked as "complete" on my list? I've been throwing around some ideas. For example: a minimum of one sunrise and one sunset (conscious sunrise/sunset; sleeping through it doesn't count!) in each park? Or maybe I need to experience the back country of each park? Is it a number of days or nights? Perhaps it will take even more time than I know, to really build a connection with each park. Something tells me I may not have it all figured out by the time I set out, but it will come together, I'm sure.
Launch Date: Summer 2017. (Stay tuned for more details - I am currently finalizing my route!)
Photos are my own. Please do not use or reproduce without my written permission.