Hit the Road Jack

The 100th Anniversary of America’s National Park Service

This month we take a moment to remember the individuals who began the celebration and preservation of this country’s most remarkable habitats exactly one century ago, as well as those who continue to uphold and upkeep. Today there are more than 400 parks and historic sites to visit, far and near, large and small. Here I share my personal experience with just a few.

Photo: A couple traverses Saint Mary Lake via canoe, Glacier National Park, Montana

Although I always grasped, in theory, the vastness and dramatic natural diversity of this country, I cannot say I truly understood it until I traveled from coast to coast and back for myself, by myself. In my life to date there are four times that I recall being quite literally lost for words. All have been occasions where the sheer majesty and scale of nature have overcome me. Three have been in America’s national parks.

To truly know what it is to be one with these magnificent plots of life and land, venturing into the heart of these parks, far from the familiarity of highly trafficked roads, becomes a necessity. Whether it is hiking up a ragged and rocky mountain in Glacier The peak of Half Dome appears in the distance  during the final portion of an 8-mile ascent.National Park or descending down into the alien-like depths of the Grand Canyon, the sense of adventure, solitude and physical strain all help to offer the smallest glimpse into what it is to live in some of nature’s most remote and harshest climates.

During certain parts of my treks and travels, I was truly alone. So alone, in fact, that if anything were to happen, no one would know. This is both an exhilarating and apprehensive state. You are in awe of the enormity and sheer scale of what is in front of you and yet here you are, in the midst of this sprawling habitat in which you are not fit to survive, nor prosper. Yet in this place, there are no distractions. Nothing and no one to influence you or your behavior. There is only the present, and a feeling that is near impossible to convey in words.

It is moments like these which can never be crafted, created or forced. Seconds and minutes where everything seems to come together and you are overtaken by emotion and connected to something more than yourself.

For more images from his travels, visit: www.AdrianBonvento.com

Two hikers pause to take in the seemingly unending  Yosemite Valley, California after a taxing journey to the summit of Half Dome.The barren and chilling expanse of  California’s Death Valley unfurls into the distance.

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