Hi there!

Hope your Tuesday is very happy! Hope no one screamed at you like two people did to us two days in a row, in two separate incidents, for zero good reasons. Why is Montana so screamy?

We just wrapped up a four-day stay at Glacier National Park. Can’t wait to share about that very special park.

For now, we thought we’d go back in time a bit and recap Leg 4 of our year-long trip. What we considered to be Leg 4 was looooong. Remember back when we visited Hot Springs? In the beginning of February? Yeah, that was part of this leg. Why did we split it up into the legs we did? Geography, for one, but mostly breaks. We left my house in Washington, Missouri in February and just had a nice long visit with my sister, aunt, and my parents (who flew over) in Seattle, Washington. So we consider everything we did in between as Leg 4.

If you are interested in reading about our other legs, you can see those here: Leg 1, Leg 2, Leg 3. Whoops, I guess we didn’t recap Leg 3. Well, we went to Hawaii and American Samoa. The end. 

But this recap is a big one.

From February through the beginning of May, we traveled through Arkansas, Texas, southern New Mexico & Arizona, all the way up California, through Oregon, and then in and around Seattle, Washington. We hit 18 national parks during this time. Here they are, with a whole lot of linkage:

You can access SO MANY PICTURES in our Facebook albums by liking our page here.

For this leg’s recap, I thought it would be helpful to do a “Top 3” list with a few fun categories. When I used to tell my students we were going to do something fun, they always asked if it was my kind of fun or their kind of fun. This is hopefully both.

Top 3 Favorite Day Hikes

3. Bear Gulch + High Peaks // Pinnacles

2. Guadalupe Peak // Guadalupe Mountains

1. Upper Yosemite Falls // Yosemite


Top 3 Coldest Nights

3. Backpacking in “The Bowl” // Guadalupe Mountains

2. Second night // Hot Springs

1. First night // Hot Springs

Top 3 Ranger Programs

3. Keys Ranch Tour // Joshua Tree

2. Snowshoe Hike // Crater Lake

1. King’s Palace Tour // Carlsbad Caverns


Top 3 Non-Park NPS Sites

3. Lewis & Clark National Historic Park // Washington

2. San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park // California

1. Manzanar National Historic Site // California

Top 3 Panoramic Views

3. South Rim // Big Bend

2. Hurricane Ridge // Olympic

1. Highest point in Texas // Guadalupe Mountains


Top 3 Worst Weather Moments

3. Too cloudy to see Mount Rainier // 3 of 4 days at Mount Rainier

2. Raining buckets // Channel Islands

1. Our tent fly got torn to shreds by the wind // Death Valley

ALPS jackets in Channel Islands

Top 3 Times Elizabeth Got Emotionally Attached to a Plant

3. When the ferns are curled up // Redwood

2. When Cole threw pine cones at the trees like a bully // Sequoia

1. Looking at the dead saguaros // Saguaro


Top 3 Arguments

3. We need to save money but also eat // Every day

2.  You said you wanted to rock climb and now you are refusing // Joshua Tree

1. I don’t want to camp on top of snow // Lassen Volcanic and Mount Rainier

Top 3 Overnight Trips

3. Hetch Hetchy // Yosemite

2. South Rim // Big Bend

1. Toleak Point // Olympic


Top 3 Eyerolls 

3. Traffic in L.A. and Seattle

2. There are no natural springs to soak in at Hot Springs

1. Told by a ranger: “Yeah, Yosemite is definitely the most visited park. I think technically Great Smokies had more visitors but that’s only because they have a highway through it.”  (Yosemite was actually 5th most visited last year.)

Top 3 Disappointing Winter Road Closures

3. Rim Drive // Crater Lake

2. Road into the actual canyon // Kings Canyon

1. The entire road through the park // Lassen Volcanic


Top 3 Animal Sightings

3. Black bear struggling up the hill // Redwood

2. A seal while kayaking // Channel Islands

1. 6 California Condors // Pinnacles

Top 3 Non-hiking Activities

3. Wildflower hunting // Death Valley

2. Kayaking the sea arches // Channel Islands

1. Soaking in the hot springs // Big Bend


It has been a fabulous few months! As we roll right into Leg 5 (Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Badlands, Wind Cave, Theodore Roosevelt, Voyageurs, and Isle Royale), we will continue to post our videos, pictures, and thoughts from the road.

If there is anything you’d like to see specifically (more of something, less of something), please let us know! We love feedback!







Written by Elizabeth

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6 Comments on "RECAP: Leg 4"

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Calvin R

I can tell from your lists that I’ve pass through a couple of areas much too quickly. Specifically, I drove through Guadalupe Mountains NP and past Carlsbad Caverns NP impatient to get back to Ohio. I’ll take another look when I can. I need to go back and look at your other posts, too.

I lived in Tucson long enough to get a look at each unit of Saguaro NP. I could (and probably will) spend much more time there. The saguaros and much more in that park needs more than a couple of hours of my time.


Loved your lists! and your pics & stories of your great adventure this year!! Best of luck & Enjoy (ignore those screamers :- )


Fantastic that you saw California condors!

I would’ve been eye-rolling at that ranger, too 🙂

“Too cloudy to see Mount Rainier // 3 of 4 days at Mount Rainier”

So, be ready for the same thing with Denali. We were there for 8 days bracketing the summer solstice (it was light about 19 or 20 hours/day) and we saw Denali for about 5 hours.