Hope everyone had a fantastic Turkey Day yesterday! We missed being with family yesterday, since we’re 1,300 miles away in South Florida, but we definitely have a heaping helping of stuff to be thankful for. So here’s our sappy Thanksgiving homage…
You know how many species of fish live in our most recent Biscayne National Park? Over 500. That’s more than the total number of species founds in much larger parks like Yellowstone. I’d conservatively estimate Elizabeth and I have at least 500 things to be thankful for. But if I tried to list all those things we’d be here until next Thanksgiving. Half of those things I don’t even realize I should be thankful for.
Instead, I want to cherry pick a few thanks things related to our trip. One of those things is that our blog audience is steadily growing as we progress through the parks and meet new people with amazing stories (see People of the Parks). We hope our celebration and promotion of the parks inspires others to appreciate and visit them as well. That’s the biggest reason we have this blog. For you.
Since we have a lot of new followers, I put a link on each of the other things I listed below to a page on our blog that you should check out in your spare moments between food comas and football this holiday weekend.
- Family – There’s now way this could not come first. Elizabeth and I are blessed with awesome, loving families that we are thankful for for many reasons. One is they introduced us to the outdoors both early and often. (see posts on Cole and Elizabeth growing up outdoors)
- National Parks – The U.S. created the idea of protecting land and are national treasures that people come from all over the world to see. In my opinion, this is one of the coolest, most productive and least controversial things our government has done. (see posts on National Parks 101 and 201)
- Corporate park advocates – When you think of Corporate America, I doubt you think of friends of the parks. Maybe oil spills, polluting factories or sprawling cities, but not cherishing America’s pristine natural landscape. Throughout our trip we’ve been very encouraged who are supporting and advocating for the preservation of and recreation in our great outdoors. REI has rightfully gotten lots of publicity for its #OptOutside campaign today. But there are countless others. When Elizabeth and I were searching for gear sponsors we started with the long list of companies who contribute to the National Park Foundation (the nonprofit, outreach, fundraising sister of the NPS). We were very impressed by the positive responses we got from a number of diverse companies from L.L. Bean to USAopoly to Garmin, who shared our park love. (see our Acknowledgements page to view our awesome gear sponsors, as well as special friends and family who’ve helped us out)
- Gear – Speaking of gear, we can’t forget our trusty inanimate friends who stand by us every day. “Chatty” our GPS keeps us on the road, our compact baby stove gives us hot meals, our camp chairs provide a place to collapse and our leaky sleeping pad lets us sleep on the ground. (ok, maybe not as thankful for that one). (see our Gear page for an in progress list, reviews and impression of our entourage)
- Inherent park love – Finally, we’re thankful for our instinctive awe and inspiration sparked by the enduring natural wonders that surround a civilization that is merely renting space. This natural wonder translates into park wonder. And the park wonder is shown by the tens of millions of people who visit the parks every year. We’ve run into many people who have awesome stories about their park experiences, be it proposals in Acadia, honeymoons in the Smokies, camp hosting in the Everglades or good old family vacations to the Mighty Five. America is in love with her parks. And I hope Elizabeth and I can help pass that love to the next generation. (see our Featured page for lists of newspapers, newsletters and podcasts who have embraced our story and our message)
If you want to share our adventure with park lovers (or future park lovers) you know, we’d be very thankful for your support and help to share the parks. Word of mouth, social media shares, subliminal messaging, it’s all great. But above all THANKS FOR FOLLOWING ALONG!