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I am a hiker, camper. I love me some National Parks. As a kid in the 70s and 80s I am pretty sure many parents took their kids to Disney Land. My parents took me to National Parks and we camped and walked around. Heck one of my first memories was when I was like four. In Colorado. I caught a trout. My parents found a resturant that showed me how to gut it and then serve it to me for dinner. Those were my summers!

Coolest thing ever IMHO .....

Almost every year I camp for weeks a year. Two years ago I went with a friend from college, a guy I've known for 20+ years.

He brought a friend that was to like the right of Rand Paul. This is how that worked out.

He got there the first day, well at like midnight. Late.

The next day we went for a long walk. Saw things like this:

Smoky Mountains Creek (2009)

The first night we said we had to pay our camping permit. He jumped up and said he'd pay it. When we told him it was only $12 he was confused.

The next day we went white water rafing. I kid you not, he didn't know how to swim and both myself and my friend jumped into this:

Smoky Mountains #1

to pull him out ...

The next day I wanted to go on this hike. Climb to Clingman Dome. This is the view:

Smoky Mountains Clingman Dome

Or this.

Smoky Mountains "Strange" Sign

What stuns me is the dude couldn't get how "neat" our Park Service was. He had planned to camp/sleep in his car. We showed him other ways to live life and he came to think, well he wanted to pay MORE not less for Park services.

Originally posted to webranding on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 11:16 PM PDT.

Also republished by National Parks and Wildlife Refuges.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Only Later Did He Get (10+ / 0-)

    that myself and my buddy had a trash bag in our pockets. That we picked up litter ....... but at the end he got it.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 11:20:59 PM PDT

  •  What kind of an idiot goes (8+ / 0-)

    whitewater rafting if they can't swim?

    Did he at least wear a life preserver?

    Jeez...I know how to swim AND canoe and I wouldn't go down those rapids w/o a life preserver.

    Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

    by Youffraita on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 12:13:13 AM PDT

  •  Great story. (10+ / 0-)

    There's so much ignorance around, about even the most surprising things like parks. Glad you were able to show the guy a little of what's what.

    My parents weren't big on camping, but my grandparents were. Took me all across western Canada. The Pacific Northwest. Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Glacier Nat'l Parks. I had a great education that way. Not everyone does, I suppose.

    Anyway, enjoyed the diary and the pix!

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 12:53:19 AM PDT

  •  Great diary (7+ / 0-)

    That's a keeper hole you show in the picture illustrating the white water rafting adventure - very dangerous.  Of course, everyone on those commercial raft trips wears a life vest, but the risks and rewards are real, as is the rest of the National Park experience.  That is the point.

    Encouraging people to use our national heritage is an important message as we begin to engage in what I hope will be a lengthy debate about the role of our government and the services it provides to all of us.  My quibble would be that there are more, much more, of those sorts of experiences available all around us.  It is not necessary to travel the thousands of miles most would have to go to experience the top tier parks: Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Smokies, Everglades, Yosemite, etc.  The less publicized parks are wonderful too.  Spend a week canoeing the Boundary Waters, or exploring Hatteras and the Outer Banks.  I was surprised and delighted to find a National Park in New Orleans, for example, devoted to jazz and the role the City plays.  Of course the "rangers" there are quite a bit different from those we find in parks where the emphasis is on what we might broadly call Nature.  But, I needed just as much help enjoying that at more than a superficial level as your friend did in the Smokies.  And don't neglect the National Forests - they're even cheaper.  

  •  I can't get over (9+ / 0-)

    how so many right-wingers don't get (or don't care) that when they vote for republicans and their neanderthal approach to the federal budget that they are voting to defund our national parks and other public lands and in many cases also voting to hand over the rights to these lands to oil, mining, development, and logging companies.  

    The republican party's horrendous positions on public lands is the one issue I can never get past with them and the primary reason I won't vote republican ever.  Even if the GOP suddenly matched the democratic party on all other issues, barring a major change on public lands, I could never bring myself to support them.  

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 01:57:38 AM PDT

  •  Park workers everywhere thank you for this post (10+ / 0-)

    I cherish our parks and my husband and I travel to a different one every year.  They are one of America's greatest gifts.  My husband works at one of them and is in danger of losing his job this season because of sequestration.  It's a shame.  People think the trails that are there just somehow exist without maintenance or expense and have no appreciation for what our country, our government, is giving us by taking care of and developing these amazing and special places for all of us to explore.

  •  I live in the Northeast... (3+ / 0-)

    ...so I've always been a little jealous of you Westerners and  the easy access to the vast national parks out that way.

    I've been to Yosemite and Grand Canyon (easterner tourist style - a quick in and out), although I've spent weeks across the northern border in Kejimkujik National Park (Nova Scotia) canoeing through the backcountry.

    But then again, I'm a history geek.  I can drive 10 minutes and be on the Battle Road at Lexington and Concord, so I guess it all evens out.

  •  Cheers for the National Parks! (4+ / 0-)

    I have been inspired and refreshed in National Parks from Florida to Alaska and from Washington DC to the Cascades (and points in between). I am a third generation pack-up-the-gear, grab-the-kids-and-lets-go, summer road-tripper. We are blessed to have access to these public lands and the National Parks are the marquee attractions.

    Lets also send a shout-out for the other public lands under federal, state, and local ownerships. Hike, bike, camp, ski, fish, hunt, paddle, birdwatch, swim, ...

    If I don't get outside soon I'm going to lose it. (March is cabin-fever time in WI.)

  •  Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackSheep1

    here in Montana would like to sell off Glacier National Park. They don't feel that the government should have national parks. They would like to see the park either privatized so that corporations can make lots of money from it, or sold so that the land can be developed. Failing that, they insist that it be run like a business--that is, charge for everything.

    Mtn 3691
     

  •  "run like a business" ... into the ground, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    as they've done with so much of our nation?

    The parks are our biggest bargain.

    LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 12:48:14 PM PDT

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