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What's Your Favorite National Park?

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American Road's Winter 2016 issue celebrated National Parks. We want the best National Parks to add to our bucket list! Leave a comment about your favorite National Park (50+ words or more). Why do you recommend it? What makes it special to you? Would you go back for another visit? Feel free to include photos. *Your story may be shared in an up coming issue of our magazine!* If we use your story, you'll be entered to win an American Road tote bag.

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Of all the National Parks I have visited, my favorite is always Death Valley National Park. I highly recommend a visit to Death Valley National Park, during winter, for all aspiring geologists and earth scientists. Death Valley offers much more than most may think. As a geologist, there is much to see throughout the park. Over 800 million years of Earth history is represented there, from the late Precambrian to the Holocene. The park also offers an interesting look into what life was like for explorers, settlers, miners, and natives alike. Sometimes the beauty of the place is hidden, in time, which is something I enjoy exploring each time I go. A good example of this would be the dry lake bed of Lake Manly, which used to be over 600’ deep and over 100 miles long. The beauty of this once vast lake, while lost to the naked eye, can still be seen if you look hard enough at what it left behind. Salt flats, shorelines, fossils, and other features still tell the tale and still allow visitors to see and experience that period in time. I always look forward to my next visit to the park and can’t wait for my visit this year.

 

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Mike, Thank you for your account of Death Valley Nat'l. Park and the gorgeous photo. Even if someone isn't an aspiring geologist or earth scientist, your enthusiasm will make all travelers want to add this park to their bucket list!

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Becky and Sue, ,

 

Our American ancestors were absolutely brilliant to create our national parks! It would be impossible today. Each is a gem, and it is impossible to choose one over another.

 

How could anyone choose between Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon!! Or between Yosemite and Zion? Impossible!! I treasure them all! It is one of the things that makes me proud to be an American. “We did good!!”

 

Because this is about our heritage highways I will cite just two along historical two lane roads, because I visited them in November. Arches and Zion.

 

I have visited both more than once in my 77 years and still I am awed by their beauty and majesty. And I was astounded how much I had forgotten, and how much more there was to discover. I don’t want to enter a competition (even though it is a great idea!), but I value the opportunity to share a few photos and experiences.

 

In early November two children of Dolph Andrus, the man who pioneered the Monumental Highway, contacted me and I learned that they were planning a trip to Bluff, Utah and the scenes their father saw in 1917. When I say “children,” each is older than I am.

 

I literally jumped in the car on less than 24 hours notice and drove from my home near the Puget Sound, Washington, to Bluff, Utah to meet with them so we could share some photographs taken in Comb Wash outside Bluff, where Dolph had also photographed the scene in 1917. That was the reason for my road trip, and another story. But it also took me past Arches National Park and later through Zion National Park....twice. So I will focus on those experiences since the topic is National Parks.

 

In Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, the Tetons, Zion, and for the most part even at the Grand Canyon you are viewing the spectacular at a distance. At Arches you are inside and under it. Enormous stone structures that seem to defy gravity surround you and overarch you. The scale and color is breathtaking. And humans become tiny actors on the scene. I was stunned….once again. It stirs an old man’s awe, which is tough to do!! :)

 

I have included a few of my snapshots, but you will have to click on them and make them bigger to see the automobile and people in the enormous landscape.

 

Zion never fails to delight. Coming in from the east through the 1.1 mile long 1930 tunnel is a stunning experience. A long period of darkness distinguished by the headlights of oncoming cars…. and then a breathtaking introduction to the vast canyon and multicolored cliffs of Zion. Cars below look like tiny hotwheels with motors. The road winds down and into the canyon.

 

Zion has been called Yosemite in color, but that isn’t completely true. It has its own special standing. Zion is a multicolored display of enormous cliffs and what appear to be technicolor dunes frozen in place. And wildlife is abundant on the rocky slopes.

 

I have added red arrows to help identify cars and people in the massive landscapes.

 

As with all our national parks…..visit them!!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

 

ARCHES

 

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ZION

 

 

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The Colorado Plateau is certainly a spectacular area for scenery and geology, as the photos you presented show. That region is one of the better, and certainly easier to see, displays of mostly Mesozoic sedimentary rocks. The rocks of Bryce Canyon are a bit younger, being early Cenozoic. The scale of some of those formations is quite amazing.

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Mike,

 

Thanks for the geology insights! I have an amateur understanding of our geological heritage and some of the forces and events shaping it. Clearly not nearly as great as yours.

 

My days in academia introduced me to a fellow with his doctorate in geology from Princeton, and we became best of friends. Our families spent many days over a 10 year period “in the field.” He helped instruct me. I think if I were going to prescribe preparation for being a vintage road fan, it might be a combination of civil engineering, geology, and local history.

 

Like your pick, Death Valley, and all of the Sierra Nevada, the great events of geology are laid bare in places like Zion, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Bryce, Arches, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, etc. About the only thing any are lacking is a nice active volcano. But wait awhile and maybe a Long Valley Caldera “event” will reroute US395! :)

 

You are fortunate to have your knowledge and interest!!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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Yellowstone is hands down my favorite National Park. I've been there four times and still am amazed by the geology of the thermal features! I live in Michigan and hope I have one more good roadtrip to the park left in me.

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I saw the article in the magazine. Very cool to see! Thank you for the opportunity to contribute.

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