Looking back in time to all the national parks I've visited, has been a great trip down Memory Lane.
The inspiration for this was delivered by Pam at Digging. She asked us to share our stories of national parks, after watching the Ken Burns series, The National Parks.
I've visited many of the parks, monuments and historic sites. Many of these trips were when I was a child. So, the photos I have were taken decades ago, with an old Kodak camera.
My parents liked to travel and camping was the most economical way to go. My dad was always into the economics of things. But, camping is a great way to get close to the nature and...essence...of a place.
One park we visited way back then was Grand Teton National Park. See the sticker above, I found in the box, when looking for photos? It's been hiding in there for fifty something years. Pretty cool, huh?
But, not as cool as the park, itself.
Grand Teton National Park, circa 1954
Rugged peaks are the signature of the Tetons. There was some controversy over this park. The people who lived in the region, weren't too happy about the Federal Government coming in and taking control of the land. So, it took many years to have it all come together. The original Grand Teton National Park, was established by congress in 1929, and only included the Teton Range, and the lakes around in. In 1943, President Roosevelt decreed a large part of the area The Jackson Hole National Monument. Then, in 1950, the two were combined to make the park we know today.
Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park, circa 1954
I remember we camped at Jenny Lake.....a 'bottomless' lake. I couldn't quite grasp that as a child. Bottomless....that's pretty deep. But, I could see how beautiful it was.
We hiked around the lake and, I'm sure, my parents fished.
Next up was Yellowstone National Park....which is right next door.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park, circa 1954
Yellowstone was America's first National Park. Established in 1872.
Beyond the canyon and river, it's an other worldly landscape, with lava pots and spewing geysers.
Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park, circa 1954
Old Faithful is the most famous of these. It's a geyser that 'blows' every hour. Sometimes, it actually goes off on schedule.
I remember the fragile looking 'crust' under the board walks placed over the boiling pits. Pam at Digging, has some good, more up to date pictures of this.
Camping in Yellowstone was an adventure. We had our trusty tent again, and it was all pretty primitive. You were warned to not leave food in the campsite, because of the bears. So, we put ours in the car, and were lucky the bears didn't break in. And, there were plenty bears. Even, a mother and her two cubs. No picture of them. But, I found one of a big black bear that came to visit.
Yellowstone National Park, circa 1954
Next, let's go further west. We went out to California to visit relatives. Quite a pleasant trip, way back then, crossing the desert without air conditioning in the car. Almost like real pioneers.
We did all the California things...Disneyland, the beach...then up to one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Yosemite National Park, circa 1959
Yosemite has a varied and controversial history. It became a National Park in 1890. It is such a beautiful place. There still is the pull between preservation to the point of closing it off, and making it available for all to enjoy. It's a place I hope to return to some day.
Our time was short, so we headed back east. We drove through the 1950s version of Las Vegas, and across the Hoover Dam. Then, spent the night at Grand Canyon National Park.
Much has been written about this famous place. It became a National Park in 1919. If you get a chance to go, you should. It's quite amazing. I returned with my husband and friends in 2005 via one of the helicopter tours out of Las Vegas, for a special birthday. That was exciting. We flew through the areas they allow aircraft, landed on the canyon floor and had a nice champagne lunch. There are pictures of that trip. I think they're living in the old computer. I need to dust that off and transfer them over to the laptop.
Petrified Forest National Monument, circa 1959
Close by to Grand Canyon is Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert. The Petrified Forest wasn't a National Park when I was there in 1959, it was a monument. It became a National Park in 1962. I remember being disappointed with it. I guess I thought those 'trees of stone' would be standing. Remembering back, it was pretty interesting, though.
So, those are the 'way back when' places. There are many other parks we've visited, not so many pictures. One place I visited as a child, then again in 1979, with my children, and one more time in 2002, with grandchildren, is Great Sand Dunes National Park, in Colorado. It's an amazingly big pile of sand. Another great place to see.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, circa 1979
Great Sand Dunes National Park, circa 2002
As I said at the beginning, this has been a fun trip back into my family history. There are so many parks we haven't visited, and many we'd like to revisit. If you get a chance, visit as many National Parks as you can. In the mean time, go see Pam at Digging. She has links to a lot of other blogger's trips.
I'll leave you with this travel sticker memento from long ago. It is so iconic of the times.