In honor of National Parks Week (which runs from today until April 27) and in light of this week’s many celebrations of life, death, and rebirth, it seems only appropriate to take this opportunity to jump-start this site again as well as get back to my (much longer neglected) travel blog, Worth the Detour. I’ve just updated the layout and will be posting there all week, with a different park featured each day.

Morning at Yellowstone Lake, September 2011

Morning at Yellowstone Lake, September 2011

It seems only fair to begin with the first official national park in the world, Yellowstone National Park, established in 1872. Yellowstone was the first of what is currently fifty-nine officially designated national parks in the United States and its dependent areas. The latest is Pinnacles National Park, right here in California. Pinnacles was established as a national monument by Teddy Roosevelt in 1908, but only received official park status in January 2013. With the addition of Pinnacles, California is now the state with the most national parks (nine), followed closely by Alaska (eight). Only ten national parks are located east of the Mississippi. Two are outside of the fifty states, one in American Samoa and one in the US Virgin Islands.

National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.

—Wallace Stegner

I have been privileged to visit twenty-three of these national treasures to date. Although I still have a long way to go before I can cross them all off my list, I’m trying! In addition to Yellowstone, some of my favorite parks include Death Valley, Redwood National Park, and Yosemite in California; Crater Lake in Oregon; Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park in Utah; Mount Rainier in Washington; and Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Please click the links above to see my posts and photographs of each of these parks. I will be adding links as I catch up on write-ups. For parks visited since I began my blog, I will be backdating posts to the time I visited.