I consider myself very lucky to live in a country where each state is so uniquely different. Within many of our states, national treasures can be found in the form of enthralling and eclectic landscapes at our national parks. I’ve had the opportunity to visit several of them and each experience has been vastly different: Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Dry Tortugas, Mammoth Cave, the Redwoods and Mt. Rainier. So during National Park Week (and also Earth Day), it’s no surprise that I’m currently loving the most recent Lonely Planet book on my TBR list.
I can say with full confidence that after reading Lonely Planet’s National Parks of America: Experience America’s 59 National Parks (Lonely Planet, April 2016) that their experts have a firm grasp on what makes each park so special. Take for instance, Mt. Rainier. The first thing they mention is Whistling Marmots and this was a defining experience during my hike there. To say that my time there was anything but magical would be an understatement -– I sat with my friends before starting our journey at the foot of the mountain and tiny birds swooped down and landed in our palms. When we began our ascent, haunting whistles drifted across the meadow we walked through, dotted with wildflowers. We had no idea where these phantom whistles came from until we saw a marmot on the side of the trail standing upright and at attention, watching us as we walked by.
In no time at all, the springtime landscape turned into a snow-filled winter wonderland and I felt like I was suddenly in an alternate reality. It was surreal and indescribable. Lonely Planet captures all the quirks of each park and the wildlife that you are sure to come across on your journey. They also provide amazing panoramic photographs, suggested itineraries, how to easily get to each park and the best places to stay after a long walk through nature. Although I’ve been to some of these parks, this beautiful collection wrapped up in an amazing book makes me want to travel to each and every place on this list even more. I’m already making a to-do list of the next park I want to visit in 2016.