I hope that some of you, at least here in the U.S., have been able to see part of Ken Burns’ new documentary on PBS about the creation of the national park system here. Like all of Burns’ work (except for the one on baseball), it is beautifully written, has wonderful music and is voiced by some of the best talent around, including Tom Hanks and Sam Waterson.
Here’s a description of the series:
Filmed over the course of more than six years at some of nature’s most spectacular locales, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” is a six-part, 12-hour documentary series by Ken Burns and his longtime colleague Dayton Duncan on the history of America’s national parks. This is a story of people — rich and poor, famous and unknown, soldiers and scientists, natives and newcomers, idealists, artists and entrepreneurs — who were willing to devote themselves to saving some precious portion of the land they loved and in doing so, reminded their fellow citizens of the full meaning of democracy.
I have been fortunate enough to visit two of the most spectacular parks–Yellowstone and Yosemite. These two sites encapsulate the beauty of the west with a capital W. We went to Yellowstone on our honeymoon and I remember seeing Old Faithful. It was my first experience of actually seeing something I never actually thought I’d see in person. I’ve had that pleasure many times since, but Old Faithful was the first. Several years later, we traveled through Yosemite. I will say right now that Yosemite is not always a good choice for people as afraid of heights as I am and I did come down one trail on my rear end (much to husband’s embarrasment and dismay).
As fabulous as the western parks are though, they’re not my favorite. That distinction has to go to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s where my parents took us on our first vacations as children. It’s where we escaped to on the first pretty spring days during college. And it’s where I’ll be this weekend. In a cabin overlooking the blue-green mountain tops of East Tennessee.
As much as I love travel to foreign lands, it’s nice to be reminded of the spectacular scenery right here at home. (And yes, that is a hot tub. Don’t be a hater.) 🙂