Skip to main content

National Parks

National parks, wilderness areas, forests, oceans, the wild places within our world, they all hold a special place in my heart. When I stand on the pinnacle of a high place or find myself in the bowels of the darkest cave, whether paddling down a wild river or feeling the thunderous motion of a waterfall, I feel most at peace. I feel closest to the God of creation. When I hear the gentle whisper of the wind through the trees, gaze at the endless night sky, or hear the lapping of waves on a shore, I am in awe. I think of the verses in the Bible that state that the rocks will cry out, and these wild places make me believe those words.
The other night, after our kids were in bed, Daniel and I were debating between putting our own exhausted selves to bed or watching mindless television. As I flipped the channels, I stumbled across an episode of a PBS documentary entitled "National Parks: America's Best Idea."

Grand Canyon

Within five minutes we were hooked. I have always been drawn to the National Parks, not only for their grandeur, but also for the stories that are tied to them. These experiences in the wilderness are the ones that stick with you for a lifetime.

Grand Canyon

The episode we watched reinforced this belief, as countless supporters of National Parks (biologists, writers, park rangers, etc.) shared personal accounts of visiting these parks as children. Each person had been profoundly impacted by their time in the parks. The people in the documentary all had similar experiences in childhood (around age 10 or so) when their parents loaded up a car and drove across the country, visiting as many of the parks as possible. These indelible memories were tied not only to the magnificence of the land, but also to their parents who took the time to take their children on an epic adventure.

Niagra Falls

I have only been to a handful of National Parks (though many of them are on my bucket list), but as a small girl I did get to visit the Grand Canyon with my parents. I don't remember the trip, but I have pictures to prove I was there. I hope to go back with my own children some day.

Lake Huron

I want to share a family adventure that my family embarked on about the time that I was entering adolescence. In my mind this was a catalyst for my love of the outdoors. I believe that I was about 12, and my family had recently transplanted from Ontario, Canada to Arkansas, when my great grandmother passed away. My parents made the decision to attend her funeral in Canada, and since it was summer time, they decided we should visit all five Great Lakes.

Lake Ontario

The Great Lakes are not National Parks but they have their own vastness and majesty just the same. I remember driving over the Mackinac Bridge, one of the longest suspension bridges in the world, as we crossed into Canada, high above the waterway that connected Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Lake Michigan

On this trip we swam, or dipped our toes, in all five Great Lakes – with Lake Superior being the coldest by far. I believe my mom was the only one to actually get into Lake Superior. There is something magical about watching your mother throwing caution to the wind as she runs into a freezing lake.

Lake Erie

In addition to visiting the Great Lakes, we camped as we drove through the province. The campground that stands out the most is Grundy Lake Provincial Park – you can read my full account of our experience here. To this day, any mention of this park conjures up memories of ridiculous amounts of mosquitoes. It was early summer and we were drowning in mosquitoes. My mom took my siblings and I down to the lake to swim while my dad set up camp. This translated into us holding our breaths and staying under water as long as humanly possible to escape the swarms.

Algonquin Provincial Park

As soon as our tent was up, we hurried inside and spent the next 30+ minutes killing everything that buzzed. We were all miserable, but in the end the story is among our fondest memories, and we all still love to camp. 

Rocky Mountains

After Grundy Lake we visited Algonquin Provincial Park. Obviously this was a park in Canada and not the United States, but I'm sure it had the same profound impact on me as a National Park would. I was young and impressionable as I decided that some day I would come back and take a multi-day canoe trip in that park. Twenty+ years later, I still hope that dream comes to fruition.

Rocky Mountains

In junior high and high school I had several opportunities to attend Wilderness Trek (a Christian camp in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado). On the four different trips I made, we hiked into back country to spend five days, and if the weather allowed, we would summit a mountain. My very first year I found myself on top of Mt. Elbert, the highest mountain in Colorado, and I was never the same again. I was convinced I would eventually make my way to the top of all 50 states. I no longer believe that will happen, but I continue to try (I have made it to 9 out of 50 high points).

Anthony Creek Trail (GSMNP)

Daniel grew up taking yearly trips to the Great Smoky Mountains, and has many personal stories that he relives whenever we visit the park today – including hitch hiking with his dad from the Chimney Tops.

As adults, Daniel and I have formed many new memories in this park as well. We also had the opportunity to visit Crater Lake several years ago and those experiences have shaped, and continue to shape who we are. I just hope we have the chance to share these types of experiences with our boys as they grow up.

Crater Lake

As for the PBS documentary, I hope to watch the rest of the series, and some day, in the not-so-distant future, I hope to take our boys to stand on the edges of huge canyons and endless shores, and to the tops of tall mountains where their breath will be taken away. And just maybe, they will begin to dream their own dreams, as the beauty and majesty that God has put all around us begins to shape their lives.


Popular posts from this blog

Baby Update: 32 Weeks, What's It Like to Have Polyhydramnios

I have had some questions about how I am feeling so I thought I would share what it has been like for me to experience Polyhydramnios with this pregnancy. If you have missed my previous posts, I have too much amniotic fluid in my uterus which makes my belly really big and it also causes early contractions (and possibly labor) because my body thinks it is further along than it is. For me it meant a hospital stay at almost-30 weeks to stop contractions.

Yesterday I had my follow up with the high-risk OB. Their ultrasound measurements showed the fluid is currently 21cm (which is below the risk). The measurements are a bit of an art project with different people getting different numbers (last week I was still measuring 25cm). The doctor I saw said they will continue to measure and assess me on a weekly basis for now. According to him, once I make it to 34 weeks, they would not try to prevent birth if I went into labor. He also mentioned wanting to induce me at 38 weeks. We shall see... my…

Weekend Project: Sign Art

UPDATE 01/07/16
This project is by far my most viewed post thanks to Pinterest and also this blog post from Make Magazine in 2014. If you are interested in purchasing a PDF of the words from me, you may do so for $20. Contact me at cheree dot moore at gmail dot com to make the purchase. If you make your own sign, I would love to hear about and see your results!

For some time, I have been intrigued by the idea of transferring printed art to wood. Specifically the transfer of words (or typography). Sign art is all over the internet – be it blogs I follow or Pinterest – and I have had an itch to try my hand at it. 

Daniel and I had some scrap wood from pallets from our move to Alabama that was in good shape and I thought that this wood gave me the perfect opportunity to create a (cheap) sign for our living room.

It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to go on the sign and then it took even longer to research how I would do the transfer. Actually doing the project took even longer sin…

It's the Final Countdown

Three long years ago, we learned that Daniel was going to be relocated from working in Hollywood, Alabama to two hours north in Spring City, Tennessee. We knew it was coming, but it still turned our world upside down. We spent eight months living out of suitcases, in and out of hotels and vacation homes during the week, until finally settling into our current home on Signal Mountain.
We both felt strongly that we made the right choice in regard to the location of our new home, but we knew it would be a difficult journey – Daniel's new position promised long hours, with a 70-minute commute each way. We were told the job would last about a year, so we hoped and prayed for the best.
To say it's been a hard experience would be an understatement. Jack went through a phase where he didn't believe that Daniel lived at our house. Which was kind of true. For months on end, Daniel worked 6-7 days a week, and sometimes weeks at a time without a day off. The hours were lo…