40 National Parks Done! Countdown from 10, 9, 8, 7….

So while our blogging is woefully behind, by Halloween we’ve hit 40 of our 50 National Parks and made a full circle around the United States!  We are now counting down our final 10 parks as we round the corner on November and winter.  (See live map here.)  To sum up, here’s where we’ve been after 40,000 miles on the road since January: Continue reading “40 National Parks Done! Countdown from 10, 9, 8, 7….”

Great Smokies: Just what is a Wildflower Pilgrimage?

Birding with nerds at Great Smoky National Park

The timing was just right for our week in the Great Smoky Mountains. It was the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, a Smokies tradition almost 70 years in the making. We assumed it would be mostly amateur outdoor enthusiasts giving ranger talks similar to what we have seen in other national parks, just focused on flowers.

Trilliums, the most popular of all the wildflowers in the park.

We vastly underestimated this Great Smoky Wildflower Extravaganza. The line to register was absurdly long, and people were nervous wrecks fretting over programs that filled up too fast (the Night Owl Prowl walk is the crowd favorite) and eager to snatch up the last few programs spots. I too, panicked and grabbed slots like a women possessed, if nothing else so as to keep pace with my fellow pilgrims.

Crested dwarf irises on the trail

Continue reading “Great Smokies: Just what is a Wildflower Pilgrimage?”