I love parks with all my heart. There’s nothing better to me than a place of natural beauty to recreate & relax. That’s why I bought a Colorado Parks & Wildlife pass as soon as I was considered a resident, and why I’ve made it my mission to visit as many U.S. National Parks as I possibly can. I accidentally (!!!) got a free (!!!) National Parks pass while on the job one day. In that moment I knew it was God’s way of confirming the desire I’ve had in my heart to not only visit, but also help preserve the natural resources & views He’s given us on this Earth. Hence the National Park Tour of 2018, where I visited five parks in a month, alongside some wonderful friends.
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
My roommate Amy & I made the three hour drive to this park at the end of August. We rented a sandboard and sled to goof around on the ginormous dunes, which ended in some gnarly wipeouts & loud laughs. On the way home we decided to take the scenic route, which added an extra hour, a coffee stop, & a brief lapse in Amy’s vegetarianism when we scarfed down a couple burgers at one of my favorite restaurants.
Rocky Mountain National Park
I had been dying to go to RMNP since the day I found out I was moving to Colorado. Trey and I have known each other since kindergarten, but it had been nearly three years since we had seen each other once I moved to the city he’s going to school in. We drove up north one Sunday when we were both finally free to spend the day reminiscing, catching up, & hiking around this stunning park. 100% guarantee I will be back very soon.
Canyonlands National Park
My best friend Jasmine flew in to spend a week with me this September. It was such a blessing to be with each other again after spending about four months apart after moving away from college. She shares my infinite love for National Parks, so it was a no brainer that we wanted to spend our time together checking a couple new ones out. Canyonlands was the first, which we spent a couple hours exploring after driving from Grand Junction, CO the night before.
Arches National Park
Jasmine and I camped at Arches, which was genuinely a dream come true for me. We somehow made putting up a tent in Moab heat fun (despite us taking turns complaining to the other), did some grilling & stargazing, then woke up the next morning for a hike to the famous Delicate Arch. The road trips to these Utah parks & back were half the fun of our trip together!
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
The last park on my tour was a solo visit. I went to Black Canyon while I was completing my Wilderness First Responder certification course in Crested Butte, on our day off. It was so calming to spend time not only by myself, but with myself taking in the beauty of “Colorado’s Grand Canyon.” After my visit here, only one more National Park in Colorado to cross off the list!
I wish I knew how many hours I’ve spent calculating the distance between Colorado Springs and all of the National Parks in the country (trust me, it’s more than you think). I truly can’t put into words how thankful I am that God placed me somewhere where I can easily access so much natural beauty, which brings more joy to my heart than I’ve ever experienced. I can’t wait to continue my journey of visiting park after park for as long as I’m blessed to be here!