August 25th is the 101st birthday of the National Park Service. Established in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson, the National Park Service was created to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein…for the enjoyment of future generations.”
From its humble beginnings with just thirty-five parks administered under the Department of the Interior, today the National Park System includes over 400 units including parks, monuments, and historic sites. Ken Burns’ recent film The National Parks: America’s Best Idea rekindled the connection many feel with the parks, and is a wonderful tribute to the history and originality that first made them possible.
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and a great resource for staying in the loop about events and activities at nearby parks or putting the finishing touches on planning your next big adventure.
The Kalalau Trail along Kauai’s verdant north shore is arguably one of the finest hikes in the world. Originally built in the late 1800’s to link early Hawaiian settlements along the rugged coastline, it is still the only land access to this remote part of the Island.
The trail, which starts at the end of the road at Ke’e Beach, hugs the sheer cliffs and traverses 5 valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach where the pali (Hawaiian for cliffs) create a natural terminus.
Along this mystical journey you pass verdant spires, wander through lush valleys, and are left with the feeling that you’ve truly entered the Lost World (not surprising since both King Kong and Jurassic Park were filmed here).
Whether you cover the entire 11 mile distance and camp at Kalalau Beach or take an afternoon hike to Hanakapi’ai Beach, this is the quintessential Na Pali Coast experience.
John Muir referred to the Sierra Nevada Mountains as the Range of Light, and it’s hard to imagine a more fitting moniker. The play of light amid the high peaks, the unique cloud formations along the eastern escarpment, and the painterly sunsets combine in a luminous landscape to stimulate the senses. And though I have many favorites in the range, one location seems to embody the spirit of these mountains like no other – Tuolumne.
Tuolumne Meadows, in the high country of Yosemite National Park, is a pristine alpine environment of glacial-polished domes, cascading streams and lush meadows under an indigo sky. At nearly 9,000 feet it also has a short summer season between snows with virtually no spring or fall, which makes an annual pilgrimage even more special.
Days here might be spent photographing the landscape, climbing the world-class granite, exploring miles of forest trail, or just lounging by a secluded spot along the river as Muir once did. However you experience Tuolumne, when the daylight fades it’s time to find a clearing in the meadow or scramble up a dome to reflect on the day and enjoy the show as the Sierra magic hour ushers in the night.
Celebrating all the ladies out there today – the mothers, daughters, sisters, partners and friends. You add beauty and grace to the world, you are the best companions to share in our adventures, and you deserve equality in the workplace and in life. #plegeforparity