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National Parks Adventure

In June of 2009 I hosted a 12-day adventure out west to five of our greatest National Parks.  I’ve always been fascinated by the history of our West and jumped at the chance to meet Buffalo Bill Cody in person.

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Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jeanne 😉

We flew into Scottsdale, Arizona and spent a day in this gorgeous town then picked up our motor coach and headed out.  We toured Sedona; a charming artist’s community full of great art and wonderful food.  On our way out of town we took the motor coach through the painted dessert and witnessed the spectacular scenery of the Oak Creek Canyon.  From there we ventured to Lake Powell then on to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

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The Grand Canyon is simply spectacular

There’s nothing like seeing the Grand canyon up close and personal.  It is simply spectacular.  After the Grand Canyon we ventured on to Bryce Canyon National Park, home of the peculiar rock formations known as the Hoo Doos.

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From the right angle, these look like salt and pepper shakers

These rock formations are an orangish-red color due to the iron oxide content of the rocks.  In the fading sunlight these rocks positively glow.  We then headed to Zion Canyon National Park in Utah and spent some time in Salt Lake City.  This is a beautiful town and the architecture is striking.

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A Buffalo Jam! These mighty animals slowly made their way across the highway and naturally everyone gave them plenty of room.  This is near Sylvan Path through the Great Prairie
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In Jackson Hole, Wyoming we were given the option of a fast-moving rafting trip down the Snake River or a leisurely hot-air balloon ride.
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Of course we opted for the balloon ride 😉

While on the balloon ride, we flew over some real cowboys and watched them herd cattle, all from 1200 feet high.   That night we delighted in an outdoor feast prepared from a real Chuck Wagon, just like the cowboys of the Old West would have.  From there it was on to Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

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This pretty little church has the Grand Teton range for a backdrop. Can you imagine having to cross this range on foot or by covered wagon? This church certainly would have heard some dedicated prayers.
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One stunning view after another. This is Bear Lake in Wyoming
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The Grand Teton Mountains

 After leaving Grand Teton, we headed to Yellowstone in Wyoming’s Northeast corner.  We thought we had seen amazing vistas at the previous parks yet Yellowstone   is one magnificent sight after another.  It’s a visual overload of dramatic landscapes and wide open skies, with steam geysers and glacial passes, amazing wildlife and starry nights that can take your breath away.

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You wouldn’t last long in this jacuzzi 😉
Breathtaking sights are everywhere in Yellowstone
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Teddy Roosevelt’s personal hunting camp, now a tourist attraction

On an adventure such as this one, it’s easy to see how President Teddy Roosevelt was inspired to create the National Park System.  It really is a testament to his foresight.  On our flight home we tried to decide what was our favorite sight and we couldn’t agree, the scenery is just spectacular and after awhile one can get overloaded.  Yet this remains one of my favorite adventures and I look forward to hosting this trip again.

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