National Parks: Magic Moments 2016

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What a Year it’s Been!

9 Parks 12 Days

Just half of our amazing 2016 adventures!

We were blessed in 2016 to travel around the United States and visit 18 National Park Service sites, most being National Parks. We began 2016 at Yellowstone National Park, our very favorite place to be, and ended in the same place, with a few more visits during the warmer months. In addition to America’s first National Park, we hit the following sites last year:

  • Arches National Park
  • Canyonlands NP
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
  • Carlsbad Caverns NP
  • Guadalupe NP
  • White Sands National Monument
  • Petrified Forest NP
  • Grand Canyon NP
  • Mesa Verde NP
  • Badlands NP
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
  • Pipestone NM
  • Agate Fossil Beds NM
  • Wind Cave NP
  • Jewel Cave NM
  • Theodore Roosevelt NP
  • Scotts Bluff National Monument

What Makes a National Park Magic Moment?

Wow! We are so fortunate to have a great location in this country for reasonable travel distances. Yet, somehow we still have more places to see that aren’t far away! For example, Grand Tetons, Devil’s Tower, and Rocky Mountain NP are all within a day’s drive for us. Perhaps those will make the list for 2017! How are you going to spend the first year of the NEXT 100 years of the National Park Service??

Upon reflection, here are a few of our Magic Moments, or times that meant the most to us, during our trips in 2016.


Frosty morning in Lamar Valley

Experiencing what happens with thermal steam meets sub-zero temps in Lamar Valley.

Heading out of the park on our last visit in 2016, spotting this fox lounging in the sun!

Grand Canyon:

Sunset over the Grand Canyon with “Aunt Sharyn”.

Carlsbad Caverns:

Watching two cousins play together for the first time in person…

Great Sand Dunes:

Pronghorn at Sunset

Driving into Great Sand Dunes and spotting this pronghorn in front of an amazing landscape.

Arches & Canyonlands:

Sand Dune Arch was our boys’ favorite, a perfect spot to cool down and play!

Mesa Arch at Canyonlands. I was speechless. Best Arch in Moab!

Theodore Roosevelt NP

Stepping out of our car and discovering a band of wild horses tearing across the valley behind us… no idea they were coming!!

White Sands National Monument:

Trying to sled here was a bit of a bear – not as easy as at Great Sand Dunes! And it was So. Hot. But we bough this saucer and used it this winter at home!

Guadalupe Mountains:

These mountains are begging to be explored! What secret beauty – we only had a quick stop here, and it was over 100 degrees, so we will be back!

Agate Fossil Beds and Scotts Bluff

Walking up to fossils embedded in the rock – wow!

Standing on the actual Oregon Trail, where thousands passed between the tall Nebraska bluffs.

Mesa Verde:

Petrified Forest:

Up close and personal with the petrified wood – and so child-friendly!

Badlands NP

Every trip here is magic – fossils, wildlife, and fun hikes! Our “Home Park”.

Sleeping Bear Dunes and Pipestone

Watching these two help one another with their Junior Ranger badges amidst the pipestone deposits.

Cousin “Besties” digging into the sand – and playing outside together instead of ONLINE.

Wind Cave and Jewel Cave (our neighbors!):

Sunrise below zero at Wind Cave in January.

Trying out a little “caving” above ground. We decided well leave it to the pros!

Thank you to everyone who liked our photos on Instagram and Facebook, have watched and subscribed to our videos on YouTube, and Retweets our content on Twitter! You are appreciated – and we look forward to sharing another awesome year with you!

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