Monthly Archives: December 2012

Final Route Map

Timm & Theresa Route Map

Click on the image above to see an interactive map with every stop along our trip.  You can click on any pushpin to see a summary description of the associated park and a link to images of the park on our photo blog

This awesome interactive map was made with the FREE Google Maps tool, and it was embedded into our blog using the FREE Map Channels mapping tool.

We visited a total of 94 parks, including 29 national parks, 24 state parks, 11 national monuments, 9 national forests, and 6 provincial parks.  We stopped in 18 US states and 3 Canadian provinces.  We started in Kentucky in January 2012, then headed south to Louisiana, west to California, northeast to North Dakota, north into Alberta, spent the summer in Alaska, back south to California, then ended up in Florida in November 2012.  We spent 292 days or about 9-1/2 months on the road.  We drove 17,794 miles in our RV and another 8,640 miles in our SUV for a total of 26,434 miles.  For more details about our trip, please check out our Final Trip Analysis.

Grand Finale in the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon from the Grandview Trail

The Grand Canyon was a fitting grand finale for our trip of a lifetime.  There may be canyons that are deeper, longer and wider, but the huge expanse and colorful rock layers make the Grand Canyon the most grand of all canyons in the world. 

We spent four days in the Grand Canyon and hiked down into the canyon twice.  We didn’t hike down to the Colorado River and back—that’s too long to go in a single day for mere mortals like us.  But we hiked deep enough into the canyon to really appreciate just how deep and massive the Grand Canyon really is.

Please check out our Grand Canyon photo tour.

Paradise in Zion

Theresa looking down Zion Canyon from Observation Point

Zion National Park is a magical place.  The Virgin River cut the magnificent Zion Canyon through red and white sandstone.  The park offers numerous spectacular hikes, including our all-time favorite trail, Angel’s Landing.  The photo above shows Theresa looking down Zion Canyon from Observation Point.  This was our third visit to Zion, and likely won’t be our last.

Please check out our photo tour of Zion National Park.

Snow Canyon: Our Most Favorite State Park

Sandstone cliffs in Snow Canyon

Snow Canyon in Utah is our most favorite state park.  With its red and white sandstone cliffs, accentuated with black lava rock and green desert foliage, the beautiful Snow Canyon is like a mini-national park.  This was our second visit to Snow Canyon, the last visit was for a balloon ride over the park on my 40th birthday.

Please check out our photo tour of Snow Canyon State Park.

Giant Sequoia Trees

Giant Sequoia tree in Giant Sequoia National Monument

Giant Sequoias are the largest trees by volume in the world, and are one of the tallest and longest-living trees.  Giant Sequoias can grow over 300 feet tall, 50 feet in diameter at the base, weigh over 2 million pounds, and live over 3,000 years.

We did not visit Sequoia National Park because we were there just a few years ago.  But we saw hundreds of Giant Sequoia trees in three other parks:

Giant Sequoia National Monument
Sequoia National Forest
Yosemite National Park

California Parks

Red Rock Canyon State Park

We visited California for the second time on our trip, this time coming from the north.  Please check out our photo tour for the following California parks which have not yet been mentioned in our blog:

Red Rock Canyon State Park
Dove Springs Recreation Area
Stanislaus National Forest
Buckley Cove Park

Our Most Favorite Park Yosemite

Timm standing on a cliff at Taft Point

Of all the parks we have visited—on this trip and in the 20 years we’ve been together when we’ve visited at least one national park per year—Yosemite National Park is our favorite.  We’ve been to Yosemite 3 times, and each visit has been magical.  Perhaps we love Yosemite best because it has just about everything one could want in a park: majestic mountains, broad glacier-carved valleys, deep blue lakes, rushing rivers, roaring waterfalls, massive granite monoliths, giant Sequoia trees, hundreds of miles of hiking trails, complete isolation in the backcountry, incredible views, and dizzying heights.  Even though the park protects over 760,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, most visitors spend their time in the 7-square-mile Yosemite Valley.  On our visit in October, the weather was perfect, the waterfalls were only flowing lightly, and the park wasn’t too crowded.

The photo above shows me standing on a cliff 3,000 feet above the valley floor with the famous El Capitan granite monolith in the background.  For more photos and information, please check out our Yosemite photo tour.