On August 25th, 2016 the United States National Park Service turned a century old. Some consider the creation of this wonderful bureau to be one of the greatest successes in the history of this magnificent nation. Regardless of your beliefs, everyone can agree that visiting a National Park is a true joy and one of the many privileges of living in this country.
With the exception of the middle of the United States, you can find National Parks in all corners of the map. There’s the Everglades down in Florida, Acadia up in Maine, Joshua Tree in Southern California, and Olympic out in Washington.If you are looking to make a visit, pull up a list or map of these parks and you will see there are a laundry list to choose from. What you will first need to consider is why you are going. Is it simply to drive through, check out some sights, and take photos? Or are you the adventurous type looking for your first multi-night, backcountry experience? Most might go for the convenience of a drive through, but nowadays the backcountry is becoming more and more popular. These are sections of the park where you hike in and find your own campsite. Those huge backpacks with the rolled up sleeping bag at the bottom? Yeah, you’re going to need one of those. Meals, water filters, and proper shoes are essentials as well. If you don’t have these yet you should pick up a few Groupon coupons for Sierra Trading Post. You do not want to be stuck in the wilderness without the necessary gear. If you’re going to give yourself up to the mercy of Mother Nature you need to be prepared and comfortable.
Whatever your reason is for visiting these spectacular chunks of land just make sure you do your research. You’ve seen and heard horror stories of being lost or helpless out in the wilderness. Don’t become one of those poor souls. Also keep in mind that there can be bears. That’s right, bears. Add bear spray to that shopping list.