2016 – Positive Thoughts

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times – that was truer this year more than ever. And the worst certainly upstaged the best.

As a wise man said, “Nothing lasts forever except the earth and sky.”

But this, like most other blog posts, will stay positive. I managed to have some high notes in 2016.

Like the rest of the United States, I celebrated the National Park Service Centennial. After visiting over seventy national parks in the southeast over six years, I published
Forests, Alligators, Battlefields: My Journey through the National Parks of the South through Kimberly Crest Books.

Publishing is one thing; marketing is another. I visited bookstores, outdoor stores, hiking clubs, schools, churches, and national parks to introduce the world to the national parks of the South. And to my surprise, I’m not done. More invitations came for 2017.

In this, the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, I visited or revisited several parks including:

* Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. I’ve now been in all fifty states.

Yorktown Victory Monument

* Yorktown National Battlefield, the end of the American Revolution. Since the park in Virginia, it’s not in the NPS Southeast region. But I refer to it so much that I had to visit it.

* I gave a talk at Fort Moultrie in Charleston

* Bandelier National Monument and the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Los Alamos when I went to Family Nature Summits in New Mexico.

Up to the cliff dwellings in BAND

That doesn’t include my four home parks: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, and Carl Sandburg Home.

A new section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail around Waterrock Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway opened this year. We had a big, big celebration.

And of course, I had my day job: leading hikes for Friends of the Smokies and Carolina Mountain Club.

But wait – the year isn’t over.

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