U.S.A National Parks & More

“We are so fortunate in America that we have such places, even with their various human-inflicted wounds and blemishes, at this advanced stage of history. The power of human life is in emotion, in reverence and passion for the earth and its web of life…it’s an ancient idea.”

~ Michael Frome ~


Stops Along the Way

Los Angeles → San Diego → Joshua Tree NP → Lake Havasu City → Grand Canyon NP → Monument Valley → Horseshoe Bend → Las Vegas → Zion NP → Bryce Canyon NP → Moab/Arches NP → Glenwood Springs → Flaming Gorge → Jackson Hole → Grand Teton NP → Yellowstone NP → Bozeman → Glacier NP → Couer d’Alene → Seattle.

National Parks

With intimacy and emotion, with integrity and hope the National Parks stand with pride and hold a lot of secrets. We are in a generation of continued imagination. Often times we lack the appreciation of what mother nature has produced. Studying the parks is an ongoing life experience that comes with each generation. Each park has their own distinct smell and each breath pulls in memories of that day. The endless mountains are scattered in a form of a masterpiece. The breathtaking views of the skies are filled with wondrous colors. Crowds of people surround you like a grain of sand amongst the ocean. The soft hum of the early morning blissfully awakens you to the suns rays. The sun goes down and the little bit of light that is left penetrates through the skyline. The windy days bring a breeze that creates a rhythmic beat on repeat. The air is damp and the animals are trotting. The earth rotates and in the late evening the sky lights up orange and blue streaks. Some days the mountains are endless as they cram together waiting for the next person to discover what’s on the other side. Everyday is an isolated time lapse.

Joshua Tree National Park

The Trees

The Yucca species consist of dense rosettes of narrow, thin, closely spaced leaves often edged by shorten, white, curling hairs. Joshua Tree is the largest species of Yucca that are endemic to the southwestern Untied States. More specifically, they can be found in Southeast C.A., Northwest Arizona, South Nevada, and Southwest Utah. The scientific name for Joshua Tree is Yucca Brevifolia. In 1936 Franklyn D. Roosevelt set aside 825,000 acres for Joshua National Monument. Joshua Tree did not become a national park until October 31, 1994.

Joshua Trees got their name from the Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert on their exodus west in the mid-19th century. The limbs of the trees capped with spiky leaves evoked images of the Biblical Joshua with arms outstretched, leading his followers to the Promised Land. The trees primary habitat is the Mojave Desert which is between 1,300 and 5,900 feet in elevation. Joshua Trees are distributed sparsely across the dessert so their roots are absorb in sufficient water. The first decade of its life grows about three inches per year, an incredibly fast rate for a desert species. After the first three years of its life, the branches spread faster outward than upward, slowing the growth rate to about one inch per year. Joshua Trees are known to live for hundreds of years and can grow up to 50 feet tall. 

When To Visit

If you have a low tolerance to dry heat than do not go between June, July and August when the temperatures can easily reach over 100ºF (37.8ºC). From October – March you only need a thin sweater or thin jacket for the day since temperatures do drop below the 50’s (15ºC). At night you may want to bundle up as temperatures can drop into the 30’s (0ºC). If your into intense hiking then go from November – February and you won’t have to worry about getting over heated.

Little Nighttime Critters

Unless you are into little creatures, don’t expect to see a whole lot of big animals. A lot of the animals are nocturnal and the ones out during the day tend to stay hidden. If you are lucky you may see snakes, bighorn sheep, kangaroo rates, coyotes, lynxes, black-tailed jackrabbits, red-spotted toads, and round tailed ground squirrels. 

 * Scroll left and right to see the pictures directly above *

Lake Havasu City

A Fairly New City

Thanks to Robert McCulloch & C.V. Wood, Lake Havasu City was established September 30, 1963 by resolution #63-12-1. The reservoir created over 450 miles of shoreline and between 1940-1942 the reservoir held over 211 billion gallons of water. A lot of prospective buyers came from colder climates by plane. By 1981 there were over 17,000 people. May buyers were in search of refuge from big cities and to enjoy the hot dry weather and laid-back lifestyle.

River Island State Park Campground
London Bridge

London Bridge

The bridge you see in the picture above is a bridge originally built in London and put up from auction. In 1968 the founder of Lake Havasu City, A.Z. Robert P. McCulloch submitted the winning bid of $2,460,00. Due to the extreme distance between London and Lake Havasu City Mr. McCulloch had to spend another $7 million in order to have the bridge moved. The transportation journey took a total of 3 years and was shipped by boat 10,000 miles to Long Beach, California. From Long Beach California it had to be trucked to Lake Havasu City where it was stored in a seven-acre fenced storage compound. From here a civil engineer from Nottingham, England and his team came to the different phases of reconstruction. The reconstruction of the London Bridge was dedicated in Lake Havasu City on October 10, 1971 drawing in 50,000 spectators from British to Arizona officials participating in this event.

Route 66 Road Runner
Route 66 Garage

Route 66 Is Special

Route 66 was the first all weather highway linking Chicago to Los Angles. It was the shortest year-round route between the Midwest and the Pacific Coast. Route 66 linked the isolated and predominant rural west to the densely populated urban Midwest and Northeast. Route 66 symbolized the new optimism that pervaded the nation’s postwar economic recovery.

Disney Movie ‘Cars’

The filmmaker and animator John Lasseter drove the entire 2,451 miles on Route 66 and along the way and spoke to as many people as he could about the history of Route 66. Many of the scenes from the movie ‘Cars’ take place on Route 66. 

Route 66 Garage
Route 66 Road Runner

Grand Canyon National Park

Deep, Down, and Around the Bends

At 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and 6,093 feet deep the Grand Canyon spreads across the surface of the earth. Before the National Park Service had control of the Grand Canyon, cattle grazed freely above the rim and miners filed claims for any location that might produce ore. The park was established on February 26, 1919. In 1903 president Theadore Rosevelt visited the canyon and was moved by the beautiful landscape. 3 years later in 1906 Theadore Rosevelt signed a bill that proclaimed the Grand Canyon Game Reserve. 2 years later the park officially became a National Monument on January 11, 1908. 

Principle of Superposition

The younger the rock the closer it is to the top of the canyon and the older the rock the further down the canyon it will be.

The Color Red

The Grand Canyon walls are primarily red due to the amount of iron in the rock.

The Geological Incline Creates a Diversity of Biotic Communities

The bottom of the canyon floor known as the Vishnu Basement rock dates back to 1.8 billion years ago. The Vishnu Basement rock is made up of schist and granites of the Canyon’s inner gorge. The next group of layers are called the Supergroup. Its strata accumulated in basins formed as the land mass pulled apart. This layer consists of shale, limestone, and lava rock. You can see these layers from the South Rim’s Lipan Point. The top layer known as the Kaibab Limestone which is 270 million years old and started out at the bottom of the ocean and over time was forced upward. The plate tectonics lifted the rocks high and flat creating a plateau.

Colorado River

The Colorado River established its course through the Canyon at least 17,000,000 years ago. 6,000,000 years ago the Colorado River first began flowing down and out of the Rocky Mountains and started carving a path through the Colorado Plateau. The Colorado River continues to erode and form the Canyon to the point we see it today.

Nobody truly knowns how the Colorado River ended up to be the length and shape it is today. There are a few hypothesis on how the Colorado River was formed. The Colorado River either started out as two rivers that over time joined together or it was a shorter river that was lengthened over time.

Best Time to Go

March – May & August – November are the best months to go to the Grand Canyon. The daytime temperatures are not going to be scorching hot and there will be less people to photobomb your beautiful pictures.

Length of Stay

If it is your first time and you aren’t a rigorous hiker you only need 3 to 4 days. The rim has a lot of beautiful picture spots and for those who don’t like to walk for long periods of time can take a shuttle to each sightseeing spot. There are multiple events that happen throughout each day so make sure to plan ahead each day.

Interesting Fact

There is a book with a list of all the people and their stories on how they died at the Grand Canyon. This book has hundreds of people listed from heat exhaustion to dehydration to accidental falls and more.

Rock Squirrel

Rock squirrels are diurnal, meaning they are very active during the day time. Often times these curious little creatures will roam around the most touristy sections of the Grand Canyon luring in tourists to get close and personal with them. If someone has food they are not afraid to sneak up and try to steal a bit or two while nipping the persons finger. They are officially Grand Canyons most dangerous creature.


The Grand Canyon has multiple places to get food. You can eat at the pricy restaurants or go to the general stores and cook a meal for yourself. The Market Plaza is the main plaza for food and drinks. The food at the restaurants are quite good. The general stores are like a mini superstore which means it has everything from food to survival gear and clothes to gift items. If you forget anything just buy it at the general store.

Fun Attractions

The Kolb Brothers Studio: In 1904 the Kolb Brothers ran a small photography studio at South Rim near Bright Angel Trailhead. They became well known for taking pictures of men and mules as well as their extraordinary adventures.

Yavapai Point and Geology Museum: A place for people interested in geology and a great spot to sit on the edge of the cliff and watch sunset.

Helicopter & Airplane Rides: Definitely a pricier excursion and a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Train Excursions: Ride the Santa Fe Railroad around the top of the Grand Canyon.

Biking: Rent a bike and ride around the brim. Just not that you can’t go down into the canyon with the bikes.

Havasu Falls (For the Adventure Seekers): It is not easy to get too. From the Grand Canyon Village you must go 195 miles to the falls’ trailhead. From the Havasu Canyon trailhead you have to walk. 8 miles by foot, mule, or helicopter. The reward is the USA top swimming hole.

Monument Valley


Hózhó is the philosophy and belief system that guides the Diné (Navajo People) people through life. Life revolves around hózhó. The Diné people live a beautiful, happy and simple life that revolves around nature. In order to maximize hozhó, ancestors struggled daily to foster and create hózhó for themselves. Loranzo, a Diné educational leader and speaker said, as humans we are nature and nature is all around us. We ned to be at peace, in harmony and allow nature to balance. In order to live life to the fullest you must have compassion and kindness, you must seek beauty in life, and you will think deeper when you are closer to mother earth. The Diné believe there is male and female wind and male and female water. There is good energy and bad energy. We need to respect nature to allow for Hózhó Ónglei (nature is restored & rekindled). Every prayer begins and ends with Hózhó.

When to Eat

The Diné do not believe in eating 3x a day. They believe you eat when you have to and you never eat to the fullest. All food must be fresh food. If the Diné want to go into town and buy processed food or junk food, they must pay a hefty junk food tax.

The Diné people believe it would take a human multiple of lifetimes before they can adapt to a completely different way of eating. Mimicking the way the ancestors ate will help with a lot of health issues.

The Diné diet consists of meat, fat, wild plants and seeds. 2 months out of the year they would eat watermelon, squash, cantaloupe, peaches,  and apricots.

No Economic Development

No electricity, no water, no indoor pluming, no infrastructure of any kind. Why? The government wants them to suffer and take their land. The Diné live in mobile homes since they can’t buy affordable supplies to build a home that they can’t own.

The federal government froze the land in the mid 1960’s. This is due to the salt trail that leads to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The local tribes have been using the trail to gather salt for years. Two men, Sam Steiger & Robert Bennett wanted to set boundary lines for the salt trail which lead to dispute between communities. Due to the law, no tribe can build infrastructure on their reservations. The government did however allow for communities like Cameron to use 1 square mile of their land to allow for very limited economic development. This section is called the administrative area. This law effects 1.6 million acres of land and affects 9 major communities and 50,000 – 60,000 people. If the tribes want food, water, building supplies, they must go into Phoenix or Flagstaff to get their supplies. This forces the tribes to support the local government.



Great Leaders have been trying to unfreeze this law for years but nobody listened. When president Obama came into office he listened and tried to unfreeze the land and change the law through a package he put together. The republicans did not agree with this package and the land is still frozen.


Hogons are what the Navajo people use to live in before they moved into trailer/mobile homes. Some still live in them today. Hogons are a dome shaped structure made out of stone that was use to support the hogon with a framework that is covered in mud, dirt, and sod. The entrance faces east  toward the rising sun and was covered with a blanket.

4 Main Electrical Lines

There are 4 main electrical lines that run through the Navajo Nation Reserve. These lines power the major surrounding cities like Las Vegas. Meanwhile the Navajo Nation Reserve are not allowed to have any of ht electricity. 


It can take 5- 10 years to become an entrepreneur. The process of becoming an entrepreneur is so difficult due to the amount of approval from different departments run by various governments. Most natives get rejected.

Horseshoe Bend


  • Located in Page (Northwest) Arizona
  • 4,200 feet above sea level
  • 3/4 mile hike from U.S. Route 89

Zion National Park


Zion is located in Southwestern Utah. Zion means Hebrew for “Jerusalem” and the “Holy Sanctuary” in Arabic.



For over 8,000 years people have inhabited the Virgin River Valley. Nomadic families have camped, hunted, and collected plants and seeds. Almost 2,000 years ago the Nomadic families have began cultivating crops which then led to construction of permanent villages called Pueblo’s. Tools used by the Fremont Culture and Virgin Anasazi include stone knives, drills and stemmed dart points that were hurled with atlatls. As the Fremont Culture and Virgin Anasazi left the region, the Paiute and Ute Indians moved in. It wasn’t until the late 18th century the Franciscan missionaries became the 1st people of European descent to explore the region. Franciscan missionaries became the first people of European descent to explore the region. Franciscan missionaries became the first people of European descent to explore the region. Franciso Domiguez & father Escalante led an eponymous expedition which left Sant Fe in search of a route to Monterey, California. Before reaching the Sierra Nevada their journey was impeded by a shortage of rations and snowstorms. Mormon farmers settled the Virgin River region in 1847. A few years later, Parowan and cedar city were stablished. and they named the area used as a pasture and lumbar yard Kolob. According to Mormon scripture, Kolob is “the heavenly place nearest the residence of God.” By 1858, new settlements were established along the South Virgin River. Expansion continued when Isaac Behunin became the 1st settle on the ground floor of a canyon which he named Zion.

Bryce Canyon National Park

It wasn’t until the 1920’s when the Union Pacific Railroad laid down tracks and in the 1930’s the CCC built roads that Bryce Canyon became easily accessible.

“a hell of a place to lose a cow”

~ Ebenezer Bryce ~


In 1918, the first National Park Service director Stephen Mather opened his eyes at Bryce Amphitheater, where a battalion of colorful rock like structures known as Spires called Hoodoos were waiting to greet him. The views are so spectacular, devine, and empowering. In 1875 the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints sent Bryce to settle the Paria Valley.  Him and his family chose to live right below what is known today as Bryce Amphitheater. Bryce built a home for his family, a canal for his crops and his cows and a road to collect wood used to heat his home during the cool evenings and frigid winters. Bryce Canon is not a true canyon. It is a horseshoe shaped bowl/amphitheater formed by several creeks and streams rather than a single river and its tributaries. 

Living in and around Bryce Canyon was never easy. The first humans visited the region over 8,000 years ago. Sheep and cattle overgrazed the area’s limited vegetation and the region was ravaged by cycles of drought and flooding. The Fremont Culture, hunter-gatherers supplemented their diet with modest amounts of cultivated crops like corn and squash. By the mid 12th century, the Fremont Culture abandoned the region and the Paiute Indians moved in and lived like the Fremont Culture. Legends from the Paiute grew around the origin of the peculiar rock formations, or hoodoos. “Anka-ku-was-a-wits” means “red painted faces” and believed the faces were the Legend People turned to stone at the hands of the Coyote God.

Arches National Park

Established November 12, 1971 and became a National Monument on April 12, 1929. Size: 76,519 Acres.

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Standing tall, high, and wide is a collection of more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches in Southeast Utah, high atop the Colorado Plateau. The arches began forming more than 300 million years ago. A massive sea covering the region evaporated, depositing a salt bed thousands of feet thick in some places. During the Uncompahgre Uplift, rivers and streams buried the salt beds with debris and sediment. Desert conditions of the early Jurassic period allowed a layer of Navajo sandstone to be covered by a layer of Entrada sandstone. Another 5,000 feet of sediment was buried and the weight of material caused lower salt beds to heat up and liquefy. Eventually Faulting occurred and years of erosion wore away the surface sediment which exposed the underlying sandstone. Since the 1970’s, 43 arches have collapsed.

Over 10,000 years ago nomadic people came to the region hunting and gathering. It wasn’t until 700 years ago the Fremont People and Ancestral Puebloans lived here growing crops of maize, beans, and squash. When the Fremont People and Ancestral Puebloans moved out the Paiute and Ute Indians moved in. It wasn’t until 1855 when the European Americans settled in the region.

Yellowstone National Park


On March 1, 1972, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Act of Dedication making Yellowstone the world’s first National Park. Before Yellowstone became known as Yellowstone, Native Americans used this land as a hunting ground shortly after glaciers from the last great ice age receded. Much like the area’s first explorers, today’s visitors came across steaming rivers, towering waterfalls, bubbling mud-pots, hot spring terraces, and boiling water gushing from the earth. Completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad line to Livingston, MT and the park’s northern entrance increased tourism.


Grand Prismatic Springs

The Grand Prismatic Springs is the largest hot spring in Yellowstone National Park. It is 370 feet wide and 121 feet deep. It’s prismatic colors of the rainbow come from the bacteria and varying hot temperatures. The temperature can reach 189°F (87.2°C) in the center. The outer ring is the coolest and around 131°F (55°C). The organisms that live inside the springs feed off of inorganic chemicals like hydrogen gas. The most diversity of organisms live on the outer ring.


Bison Life

Bison have a lifespan of 12-15 years and are nomadic grazers that eat a variety of grasses and sedges, herbs, shrubs, and twigs. Bison can reach heights up to 6 feet tall and can swim and jump over objects 5 feet tall. Although they walk slowly, they can run up to speeds of 40mph. Their neck and head consist of such strong bone and muscle that they can blow slow aside in the winter to feed on the grass beneath it. Although Bison are the largest North American land animal, they do have predators. Wolfs and grizzly bears will take advantage of bison for food, especially the newborns.


Bison’s location in the Summer vs Winter

During the Summer months bison will move to a higher and cooler elevation. In the Winter months bison will move to a lower and warmer elevation. In the winter the Bison will graze near the basins due to less snow.

Elk aka. Wapiti

European American settlers called the animal “Elk” to describe the animal although in Europe Elk are what American’s call Moose. Wapiti means “white rumped deer”. The North American elk is considered the same species as the red deer of Europe.

Elk Antlers

Bull Elk begin to grow their first set of antlers when they are a year old. The antlers weight around 30lbs. (13.6kg) and are around 60 inches (1.5m) long. Bulls with larger antlers are more dominate over the bulls with smaller antlers.


Yellowstone is one of the few states where bison have persisted since prehistoric times, although fewer than 50 native bison have remained there since 1902. in the 19th century settlers killed over 50 million bison for food and as a way to intimidate and starve the tribes that lived on the great plains. The park ended up importing 21 bison from two privately owned herds. With protection from poaching, the native and transplanted populations increased.


Bison’s Natural Reduction

In 1936, bison were transported to historic habitats in the Firehole River and Hayden Valley. By 1954 the population numbered to 1,477. Park boundaries along with natural ecological processes determined the bison numbers and distribution. The population of bison reduced to 397 bison for the next 13 years.



There are over 30,000 Elk from 7-8 different herds. Elk are the second largest subspecies of deer. Moose being the largest. Adult males (aka. bulls) can weigh up to 700lbs. and the females (aka. cows) can weigh up to 525lbs.


Elk Life

In the winter months the males and females remain separate. Elk will move to lower pastures where they spend the season pawing through snow to eat the grass and shrubs. In the Summer, Elk will migrate to higher areas where females will giver birth.

Old Faithful Geyser

A geyser is any type of hot spring that is under pressure and erupts sending jets of water and steam into the air. The reason “Old Faithful Geyser” at Yellowstone National Park is so famous is because the eruption can be predicted and erupts multiple times per day. The window period between each eruption is between 90min. – 110min. Each eruption lasts a few minutes.

The bottom of the geyser is molten rock called magma which heats up the water as it gradually begins to boil. The water is under so much pressure that it eventually jets out in an upward force above the surface.

Flaming Gorge


Flaming Gorge Hydroelectric dam

Old Faithful Geyser

A geyser is any type of hot spring that is under pressure and erupts sending jets of water and steam into the air. The reason “Old Faithful Geyser” at Yellowstone National Park is so famous is because the eruption can be predicted and erupts multiple times per day. The window period between each eruption is between 90min. – 110min. Each eruption lasts a few minutes.

The bottom of the geyser is molten rock called magma which heats up the water as it gradually begins to boil. The water is under so much pressure that it eventually jets out in an upward force above the surface.