I’m a big fan of March 1, 1872; that was the day the US Congress and President Ulysses S. Grant designated Yellowstone as our first National Park. This land was set aside “as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people” and placed under control by the Secretary of the Interior. This one action led to a new world-wide trend, now more than 100 countries have set aside some 1200 national parks or preserves. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service to protect 35 national parks and monuments. In 1933 the National Park Service also assumed stewardship of 56 national monuments and military sites. Now more than 84 million acres are protected, so much to enjoy!
Words always seem to fall short when I attempt to articulate what hiking means to me. Of all leisurely pursuits, hiking has always been my activity of choice. In lone pursuit at a very young age, I continually wandered beyond the boundaries of our farm in pursuit of trees and creeks. This was no small task as I was surrounded by crops and my legs were much shorter then! I finally discovered a pristine creek in the woods where I spent hours enthralled with minnow filled pools along with the sounds and sights of water trickling over and through the rocks. My parents and family weren’t into camping or hiking. Someway I pursued those adventures anyway – perhaps nature chose me.