So, our first group hike was with the Yellowstone Association and we were hooked. The following year, REI offered the most options with their Glamping group camping trips. Simply put, they provide transportation from the local REI store to the national park, accommodations at a camp ground with tents set up on platforms, all meals and guided hikes for 5 days and 4 nights. We met at an REI store just outside of Las Vegas and rode in large vans to Zion National Park to the first of 2 campgrounds . We had to bring our own sleeping bags but the campsites were set up with tents, cots, cushions for our sleeping bags, lanterns, chairs and small tables. Very posh. A staff of 3 made us feel very comfortable. There were bathrooms and showers in a dedicated building and after luxurious meals we all sat around a campfire with power point assisted lessons on the constellations.  We would recommend planning your visits to Zion National Park no later than the end of May. We had to delay to the first week in June due to family obligations and our first hike found us enduring temperatures of 105 degrees! The low humidity made a huge difference, but even so 85 to 95 degrees would have made a big difference in our tolerance to the higher elevation and its effects.

Angels Landing – 1,500 feet above the valley floor at 4,000 feet above sea level

How we got here

We have decided to abandon our favorite local hiking trails that we have enjoyed over the years and start new adventures in the many national parks across the US. Yellowstone was a particular interest to Rich because of the park history and the transformation from climate change. We were astounded to discover that you needed to book 2 years in advance to get reservations in any hotel inside Yellowstone. It resides in an isolated location not easily reached by any airport or served by very many opportunities for lodging. One of the work arounds was to book a trip through the Yellowstone Association which was an organized group hiking trip that included accommodations within the park. The big requirement was being able to hike 10+ miles per day! We made the leap and booked our first group hike and spent the next 6 months training to meet the 10 mile requirement. We arrived in June at Mamouth Springs at the Northern entrance to the park in Wyoming and met with our guide and the 7 other members of our group for the next 5 days. It was a challenge and an affirmation of our ability to keep up with the mostly younger group. It also introduced us to the many alternatives to see the national parks from a much different point of view. Ninety-nine percent of visitors to the national parks observe the sites from a parking lot! Taking advantage of the guided hikes gave us an inside view that was only available to those who ventured off the short paths adjacent to the parking lot—a world apart. We were hooked! The highlights of our trip were 3 up close and personal experiences with grizzly bears, one an adolescent lone male, too close for comfort for our guide,  a large male rollicking in a shallow pool not far from the road with an audience of  hundreds  venturing from their parked cards to appreciate Yogi Bear cooling off; and the last one, a mom with 3 cubs moving close to the end our hike and enthralling a line of traffic from the main road. We got to see Yellowstone from a very different perspective and realized that this how we preferred to make the most of out park experience . We hope you enjoy the pictures posted highlighting our time at Yellowstone. More next time on our 2nd national park trip to Zion in June, 2016 .

Oh, the places we’ll go!

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Rich and I are getting ready to start writing our own journey by the beginning of next year and invite you to join us. We plan to buy an RV or travel trailer and head out on the open road to visit as many national parks as we can in a year. Maybe this is the life for us, and we will continue to look for more adventures.

We are excited about the aspect of not working and discovering life on the road. The next 12 months we’ll be researching and creating our master plan, deciding on the mode of travel and everything else needed to live in such small quarters. After forty-three years of marriage, we will be testing the metal of our relationship along with our equipment.

Its time to downsize and start sorting through contents of the house to decide what we will be stored, sold or donated. We need to get started now!

We have been encouraged by our sons who travel for work and pleasure and have been happy to offer their advice. If one can do it with a child and the other on a dime, with their help,  we know this could end up being one of our greatest adventures.

So, come along with us for the ride of our lives and feel free to help us make the right decisions. We can’t wait to see America in search of the best hikes, the best in RV living, and our personal favorites, the best cup of coffee and hamburger in every town we visit.