Lance and I have been watching The National Parks: America's Best Idea, a lovely new mini-series by Ken Burns. Each weekend we get to learn a little more about the history of the parks when a new disc arrives from Netflix.
After watching the first disc about the creation of the first national parks, Yellowstone and Yosemite, which happen to be two of my favorite places in the world, I fell in love with John Muir all over again. Once I graduate, I want to read his books and anything else written by and about him. I also want to make a pilgrimage to the John Muir House: admittedly it won't take me long because it's in the next town over. The picture decorating this post is from my favorite Bay Area locale, Muir Woods. It is one of the most magical places I've ever been and no matter how many times I visit, it never fails to entrance me.
In all, I've been to 14 places within the national park system:
Rocky Mountain National Park (many times...it was practically in my backyard growing up)
Yellowstone National Park (in 1990)
Mount Rushmore National Memorial (in 1990)
Canaveral National Seashore (in 1991)
Mesa Verde National Park (in 1993)
Grand Canyon National Park (in 1993)
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (in 1993 and 1996)
Golden Gate National Recreation Area (many times)
Muir Woods National Monument (many times)
Point Reyes National Seashore (many times)
Sequoia National Park (in 2007)
Yosemite (in 2000, 2005, and 2006)
Alcatraz Island (in 2009)
Presidio of San Francisco (many times)
The standouts for me are certainly Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, Muir Woods, and Point Reyes. The theme here is trees, I'd say, with a dash of ocean.
I recommend watching the series. It not only highlights our gorgeous national parks though the stunning cinematography, but it also points out who fought for the wild lands in this country, who we can thank for preserving them. Because let me tell you, if it wasn't for people like John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt (that surprised me), and Stephen Mather, I'm not sure how much of that land would have been saved from mining, forestry, and development. I am eternally grateful to them.