First, we took a tally of how many national parks we had been to in our home state. There are 3 parks in Florida and we haven't been any! None. Trevor and I have been to 2, but it has been years so I'm not counting it unless Ellison and I have been there together. So, we really need a trip to South Florida to check out Key Biscayne, Everglades and Dry Tortugas.
Next, we counted how many we have been to nationwide. There are 58 overall and together we have only been to 3. That's it. Only 3 of the 58 incredible and iconic natural areas. But, those 3 are unforgettable. So diverse and unique, but so representative of our country as a whole. I have written previously about our trips to each of these three here on 'Girls in the Park' - Great Smoky Mountains, Hawaii Volcanoes and Grand Canyon.
Then we tried to decide what our favorite memory was from each of the parks, and from there we tried to decide which of the three parks was our favorite. We laughed while reliving some of the hikes we took and the misadventures involving bad weather and poor navigational skills, and it was fun to look through the pictures from these trips and try to remember the day when they were taken. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were driving through Hawaii and Arizona and making plans for our annual trip to Tennessee. I guess Gretchen Rubin was right when she said "the days are long, but the years are short."
So as far as favorites go Ellison said hers was Great Smoky Mountains because "it's her favorite place in the entire world. You know that." and I said mine was Hawaii Volcanoes because it has a little bit of everything - mountains, deserts, tropical rain forest. But, there are 55 parks left to visit so who knows. What I do know is that it is important to do all we can to preserve these areas and protect them for future generations. Our history is deeply connected to the physical landscape of our nation and our future is dependent on its preservation!
Hawaii Volcanoes (June 2015)
Oh, and here is an organized checklist of the 58 national parks that is kind of cool to use if you're a list maker like me:)