National Parks: an anniversary to celebrate

I’m told that today is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Huzzah! I treasure my trips to the gems of the park system. This is my little thank-you note to the NPS team.

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Acadia National Park, Maine.

I love Acadia, and I love it even more in the off-season. Best trip there I ever had was on a blustery, showery October weekend when I had the carriage trails practically to myself.


Acadia’s carriage trails get heavy use in the summertime, but October finds them quiet and inviting.

When I visited Yellowstone, bison greeted me as soon as I crossed into the park on Route 20. My one trip was during a week before Memorial Day – a shoulder season, post-winter and pre-summer, with no traffic jams. A week is too short a visit; there’s so much to see, and choices must be made. I felt the same way after seeing Yosemite.

last look at Yellowstone river

Geysers are all well and good, but be sure to get away from Old Faithful to find the Yellowstone River.


A springtime visit means seeing the bison calves – from a distance. I was safely in a car when taking this photo.

Grand Geyser

Grand Geyser is more impressive than Old Faithful and draws smaller crowds. I loved it.

It wouldn’t have occurred to me to visit Grand Teton National Park if I hadn’t gone to Yellowstone. On a map, Grand Teton looks like an afterthought compared to its imposing neighbor to the north. It’s a marvel in its own right.

view from Colter Bay GTNP

The Teton range from across Colter Bay Village. The summits were in cloud throughout my trip.

atop Signal Mountain looking east

Another side of Grand Teton NP: looking east from Signal Mountain.


I like my local hikes just fine. They’re affordable, for one thing, while a trip to any national park farther away than Acadia is a bit of a reach for me. I’m glad I’ve done some reaching, though. We have treasures out there.

Acadia: any winter experiences?

I didn’t make it to Acadia National Park this year. Next year, perhaps. I’ve been there in summertime, and once I enjoyed a quiet October weekend there as well (from that trip comes this picture of the Bubbles). I’ve never been there in snow season. Have any readers paid a visit to Acadia in the wintertime? I’d love to hear from you. Winter camper, or stayed in town? Snowshoes or cross-country skis? What’s open?

The Bubbles (Acadia National Park). Ellen Kolb photo.

The Bubbles (Acadia National Park), mid-autumn. Ellen Kolb photo.

A Street With No Name

I miss Acadia National Park. It’s a mere six hours away by car, but my visits are rare. When I’m there, I head for the carriage trails. Wide as roads, quiet, listed on maps but with no individual names, they’re a Rockefeller’s gift to the nation (really). Acadia has its hills and mountains and shoreline, all very beautiful, typical of northern New England. The carriage paths set Acadia apart.

Carriage trail, Acadia National Park

Carriage trail, Acadia National Park