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Welcome to the Hardcore Husky Forums. Folks who are well-known in Cyberland and not that dumb.

Favorite National Park you have visited

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  • BleachedAnusDawgBleachedAnusDawg Member Posts: 6,733
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    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. @dnc
    dnc
  • dncdnc Member, Swaye's Wigwam Posts: 53,739
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    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. @dnc

    Did you know drive it, hike it, helicopter it, abundance?
  • Purple_PillsPurple_Pills Member Posts: 1,230
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    I stayed at Volcano House back in January and could see the crater glow all night long from my hotel room.
  • BleachedAnusDawgBleachedAnusDawg Member Posts: 6,733
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    dnc said:

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. @dnc

    Did you know drive it, hike it, helicopter it, abundance?
    Wife and I drove to the park, got out and immediately realized that we did not dress correctly because it was 25 degrees cooler up there than at Hapuna Beach so we went to the gift shop for clothes. Couldn't drive the road around the rim due to high sulfur levels and portions of it being knocked out from an eruption a couple years prior, etc so we toured the perimeter area at the main Kilauea lookout, listened to it erupting for a bit, hiked a big portion of the park over lava fields, through lava tubes, steam vents, etc. At the end of the day we had dinner at the restaurant that sits near the rim there. They shut off the lights every 20 minutes so that you could watch the volcano glowing at night and you could hear it rumbling while eating. Took some pictures that looked like this (just pretend the lights are out inside the restaurant). Very cool to experience in person. That, and going up Mauna Kea at night to view the galaxy were incredible experiences. Definitely want to go back. Both places felt like an entirely different planet from anything I've visited before.

    image
    dfleadncYellowSnow
  • Miley_CyrusMiley_Cyrus Member Posts: 711
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    Crater Lake is just an awesome fucking place.

    I know it’s smaller compared to the bigger parks and I don’t claim it to be “the best”... but damn it is just breathtaking on a clear day.
    dncdfleaYellowSnow
  • dncdnc Member, Swaye's Wigwam Posts: 53,739
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    Crater Lake is just an awesome fucking place.

    I know it’s smaller compared to the bigger parks and I don’t claim it to be “the best”... but damn it is just breathtaking on a clear day.

    Only been there once and it was real cloudy, hope to make it on a clear day at some point.
    dflea
  • YellowSnowYellowSnow Moderator, Swaye's Wigwam Posts: 27,697
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    Crater Lake is just an awesome fucking place.

    I know it’s smaller compared to the bigger parks and I don’t claim it to be “the best”... but damn it is just breathtaking on a clear day.

    I haven’t been there in over 30 years. But now I live only 88 miles away. Gonna have to day trip it down there soon.
    dncdflea
  • dncdnc Member, Swaye's Wigwam Posts: 53,739
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    dnc said:

    Been to Rayonier (obviously), Olympic, Grand Canyon, Glacier & Yellastone. And the Everglades.

    If you want to see wildlife from the minute you get there until the minute you leave, Everglades is en fuego. It's great for that. And in its own weird way it can be beautiful.

    Glacier was powerful and felt historic. Loved Lake McDonald and the Lodge. Would like to visit Many Glacier on the other side.

    But something about ONP ... part of it is that I grew up around it, and the other part of it is the combo of amazing wilderness, yuge fucking trees, alpine, and coast all in one park. It's also isolated out there on the peninsula and, IDK, just a fucking beautiful place.

    Yellastone was cool too. Some unique shit there.

    I agree with the PBS tag line: America's best idea.

    I'm going to Everglades (and Biscayne and Dry Tortugas) with my dad and oldest kiddos in June. Really pumped for this . Wifey and I did like a thirty minute airboat excursion in the glades when we got off our honeymoon cruise out of Miami but didn't get into the park at all. Will see much more this tim around. Any recommendations in the Everglades area?
    Alright so it's been almost three months, time for me to recap this (at times) grand event.

    I apologize in advance to all of you who DNGAF. Stop reading, now.

    You've been warned.











    So my oldest two joined me and we drove to NC to pick up my Dad (who turned 77 shortly after the trip). We left NC for a one week driving trip mostly through Florida the first week of June. We hit four NPs in total plus a brief stop at a National Monument.

    First up was Congaree National Park near Columbia, SC. This is one of the newer parks (promoted from National Monument in 2003), and one of the least visited parks in the nation (10th least according to this, ahead of only 3 NPs in the Continental 48). My family has lived only a couple hours from Congaree for two and a half decades and never even considered taking a trip trip there.

    Needless to say, expectations were low.

    But I have a goal of seeing them all that means even the ones that NOGAF about have to be checked off the list. And it was only about 25 minutes out of the way on our trek south so it felt like the best time to check it out.



    It's essentially a hardwood forest in a floodplain preserved for it's ecosystem rather than it's scenic beauty, and in true @BearsWiin fashion I can confidently say it's nothing special. It's basically a big bog, covered in thick mud and underbrush. Obviously taking a five year old, six year old and 76 year old limits the backcountry options significantly, so we settled on the 2.6 mile wooden platform loop just outside the Visitors Center that takes you around the swamp with a self guided tour. We set out on the trek but about the time we had made it 3/4 of a mile Pops' back started acting up so we had to turn around and return. Which was fine with my son who was already complaining of boredom.

    Great start to the proceedings, but thankfully my expectations were low to begin with so I wasn't too disappointed.

    It did give Pops and I a brief Dad laugh thanks to this meter at the VC.



    So southward we rolled. We made it to St Augustine, FL for our first night out of Dad's house, with no other real sightseeing on day one except a brief drive around Old Town Savannah.

    Cool fucking city.

    Day two we hit up Castillo De San Marcos National Monument in St Augustine, the oldest masonry fort in the US. Not a must see by any means but if you're ever in the area and need to kill some tim it's definitely worth a stop.

    Then it was off down the east coast of Florida headed for Key West. We spent a bit too much time at CDSMNM and missed out on daylight for the last quarter of the drive through the keys or so. Honestly wasn't as spectacular of a drive as I expected but was still very cool.

    Next morning it was down to the ferry dock for the 2 1/2 ride to Dry Tortugas National Park. Dry Tortugas gets about 1/3 of the visitors that Congaree does (ranking 7th least visited) but for vastly different reasons. It's in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico so you can only get there via boat or floatplane. The payoff here was far better than Congaree.

    Dry Tortugas is a collection of keys on a reef in the middle of nowhere with the largest key the host to Fort Jefferson, the third largest fort we ever built and at one point in time the most heavily armed. Gorgeous water, good swimming, lots of fish, hot as balls. Not cheap to get there and it takes a full day at minimum, but extremely cool place.







    Will give the minor Biscayne NP and major Everglades NP reports later on.

    dfleaYellowSnowhuskyhooligan
  • alumni94alumni94 Member Posts: 4,221
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    edited August 2021
    I just completed a trip to Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming.

    Went to:

    Little Big Horn
    Devil's Tower
    Mount Rushmore
    Crazy Horse
    Custer State Park (Needles Highway)
    Badlands
    Grand Tetons
    Yellowstone.

    I think as a family we were most impressed with Custer State Park and the Needles Highway.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=needles+highway+south+dakota&rlz=1C1GCEB_enUS910US910&sxsrf=AOaemvJ924yFwlnp1RkQ0fCX31pUG2iu-g:1630356056992&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjU_YjNzdnyAhU-STABHZz8CH4Q_AUoAXoECAEQAw&biw=2400&bih=1171#imgrc=BbLkCZPf-WWKAM

    My kids as liked this small little place the best of everything:
    Columbia Falls about 10 miles outside of Hot Springs, SD.




    YellowSnowdncdflea
  • dncdnc Member, Swaye's Wigwam Posts: 53,739
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    Obviously all national parks are best seen outside of your car, but most of the western parks are at least worthwhile to visit even if you're just passing through. These South Florida parks are completely different, they aren't really drivable (you physically can't drive to Dry Tortugas, can barely enter Biscayne by car and while there are plenty of roads through the Everglades you really don't see anything worthwhile).

    Also unlike the western parks they aren't especially hikable. Everglades is the only one where it's really an option and I wasn't especially keen on taking three people I'd be responsible for keeping alive out into a gator and python infested river.

    So unlike basically every other experience I've ever had with my Dad in an NP, we invested heavily in some professional tours. I already mentioned the ferry to Dry Tortugas. We also had a boat tour scheduled to some islands in Biscayne Bay. Unfortunately my daughter had a cough and they were extra COVID cautious so we didn't get to do that one. That left us essentially walking out on a jetty into Biscayne Bay from the VC. We saw a ton of iguanas (non native species) and plenty of fish. Encountered a number of dudes who could have passed for the darkness brothers and looked like they would have played for the U 20 years ago. @creepycoug. Wasn't a single @dflea or @YellowSnow cracka fishing out there, all brothas.

    So Biscayne was kind of a bust as we only scratched the surface on it. Definitely a place I'd like to explore more.

    Did get a shot of Pops and the kids I can actually share there.





    Now to the easily the best part of the trip. Everglades National Park is huge, iconic, unique and yet not entirely what I expected. I've always associated the Everglades with gators and airboats, and there are plenty of both. But there's a ton more to it than that.


    Everglades was actually the first NP set aside for environmental/ecosystem reasons rather than scenic ones. And most of it is not what I would call especially beautiful. It is absolutely full of animal life though, and a lot of animals you're not going to see anywhere else in the NP system. Certainly not anywhere out west.

    As the third largest park in the lower 48, Everglades actually preserves 7 unique ecosystems, rather than just the obvious swamp I've always associated with it. We got to check out a number of them:

    Tram tour through the poorly named Shark Valley (this is what most would think of when thinking of the Everglades). Saw a number of gators here, a black snake of some sort (much smaller than a python), a few turtles and a crapload of wading birds. Most exciting experience was at the one stop the tram makes there was a nest of baby gators we were able to view from a distance. I took the kids over there, we looked, and then we heard a low growling sound. I was curious as hell but smart enough to gtfo there. Told the tour guide about it and he said "yeah that was Mama letting you know you were too close to her babies."

    My son swears the guide is wrong and it was a Florida Panther who was babysitting for the Mama Gator.

    CSB




    We also did the classic airboat tour. Lots more wading birds and gators, and saw a bunch of turtles on this as well (softshell and hardshell). I had done an airboat tour in November years ago and the wildlife was much more plentiful so it was a bit of a disappointment for me. Apparently the water levels are lower November to April and so you see a lot more critters then. Summer is the wet season and they have a lot more water to hide in. But the other three had never been on an airboat and were very impressed with what we saw.





    But the highlight for all four of us was not these more classic Everglades experiences, it was what did on the Everglades coast. The glades includes large chunks of the south Florida coastline were the river of grass meets the sea. This brackish environment is absolute gold for wildlife. We did two tour boats out here - first on the southwest side through 10,000 islands and secondly at the far south edge at Flamingo. Both were extremely worthwhile.

    The 10,000 Islands trip was easily the best though. We went out amongst the mangrove island (basically a floating tree that builds a root down below the water line and creates it's own island) in this extremely shallow brackish water and honestly my big hope was to see a manatee. We did see one although we didn't get a very good look. On that end it was a bust.

    But we found a pod of bottlenose dolphins who decided to ride in our wake for a good 5-10 minutes and it was probably the most fun my kids have ever had. Hell up there with the most fun me and pops have had too. Pics don't do it justice but this site doesn't have a good mechanism for uploading video so it's the best you'll get.






    Also saw tons of seabirds: Ospreys and kites and plenty of others.

    My son had one big goal for the trip that hadn't been accomplished - he wanted to see a crocodile. So we added an extra trip and went to the aforementioned Flamingo for another boat tour with the express purpose of seeing some crocs. We did see four or five (none especially close). We also had a much closer encounter with a couple manatees this time around including a baby one.



    Both kids completed some assignments and became Everglades Junior Park Rangers which they were very proud of. My son was most excited to have seen the crocodiles, my daughter fell in love with the manatees. The dolphins were far and away the highlight for me.



    All told I think we spent about 2 1/2 days exploring the Everglades.

    Worth all the tim and every pemmy.

    If you ever get the chance to visit it's easily my favorite one to visit of any that I've seen east of the Rockies.
    dfleaYellowSnowhuskyhooligan
  • dncdnc Member, Swaye's Wigwam Posts: 53,739
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    alumni94 said:

    I just completed a trip to Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming.

    Went to:

    Little Big Horn
    Devil's Tower
    Mount Rushmore
    Crazy Horse
    Custer State Park (Needles Highway)
    Badlands
    Grand Tetons
    Yellowstone.

    I think as a family we were most impressed with Custer State Park and the Needles Highway.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=needles+highway+south+dakota&rlz=1C1GCEB_enUS910US910&sxsrf=AOaemvJ924yFwlnp1RkQ0fCX31pUG2iu-g:1630356056992&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjU_YjNzdnyAhU-STABHZz8CH4Q_AUoAXoECAEQAw&biw=2400&bih=1171#imgrc=BbLkCZPf-WWKAM

    My kids as liked this small little place the best of everything:
    Columbia Falls about 10 miles outside of Hot Springs, SD.




    You are a must follow on Twitter my fren.
  • dncdnc Member, Swaye's Wigwam Posts: 53,739
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    dnc said:

    Of the ones I've been to I'd rank them roughly

    Tier 1 - Wood go out of my way to go back anytime I had the opportunity
    Yellowstone
    Mount Rainier
    Arches
    Olympic
    Grand Teton
    Glacier

    Tier 2 - Wood gladly visit again
    Grand Canyon (was mildly disappointing)
    Crater Lake
    Rocky Mountain
    North Cascades
    Great Smoky Mountain
    Badlands
    Wind Cave
    Mammoth Cave

    Tier 3 - Glad I visited, wouldn't go out of my way to go back
    Gateway Arch
    Hot Springs
    Shenandoah

    Incomplete - just barely been inside, not enough to have a real opinion
    Petrified Forest (really liked the little bit of the Painted Desert I saw)
    Mesa Verde
    Theodore Roosevelt

    Updated tier rankings

    Tier 1 - Wood go out of my way to go back anytime I had the opportunity
    Yellowstone
    Mount Rainier
    Arches
    Olympic
    Grand Teton
    Glacier
    Everglades

    Tier 2 - Wood gladly visit again
    Grand Canyon (was mildly disappointing)
    Crater Lake
    Rocky Mountain
    North Cascades
    Dry Tortugas
    Great Smoky Mountain
    Badlands
    Wind Cave
    Mammoth Cave

    Tier 3 - Glad I visited, wouldn't go out of my way to go back
    Gateway Arch
    Hot Springs
    Shenandoah
    Congaree

    Incomplete - just barely been inside, not enough to have a real opinion
    Petrified Forest (really liked the little bit of the Painted Desert I saw)
    Mesa Verde
    Theodore Roosevelt
    Biscayne
    dfleaYellowSnow
  • dncdnc Member, Swaye's Wigwam Posts: 53,739
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    edited August 2021
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    dnc said:

    alumni94 said:

    I just completed a trip to Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming.

    Went to:

    Little Big Horn
    Devil's Tower
    Mount Rushmore
    Crazy Horse
    Custer State Park (Needles Highway)
    Badlands
    Grand Tetons
    Yellowstone.

    I think as a family we were most impressed with Custer State Park and the Needles Highway.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=needles+highway+south+dakota&rlz=1C1GCEB_enUS910US910&sxsrf=AOaemvJ924yFwlnp1RkQ0fCX31pUG2iu-g:1630356056992&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjU_YjNzdnyAhU-STABHZz8CH4Q_AUoAXoECAEQAw&biw=2400&bih=1171#imgrc=BbLkCZPf-WWKAM

    My kids as liked this small little place the best of everything:
    Columbia Falls about 10 miles outside of Hot Springs, SD.




    You are a must follow on Twitter my fren.
    Wait @alumni94 did you go to Glacier also? If not you're not the person I thought you were. There's another UW fan who just did almost this exact same trip (including Custer State Park) but hit Glacier one direction.
  • alumni94alumni94 Member Posts: 4,221
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    dnc said:

    dnc said:

    alumni94 said:

    I just completed a trip to Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming.

    Went to:

    Little Big Horn
    Devil's Tower
    Mount Rushmore
    Crazy Horse
    Custer State Park (Needles Highway)
    Badlands
    Grand Tetons
    Yellowstone.

    I think as a family we were most impressed with Custer State Park and the Needles Highway.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=needles+highway+south+dakota&rlz=1C1GCEB_enUS910US910&sxsrf=AOaemvJ924yFwlnp1RkQ0fCX31pUG2iu-g:1630356056992&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjU_YjNzdnyAhU-STABHZz8CH4Q_AUoAXoECAEQAw&biw=2400&bih=1171#imgrc=BbLkCZPf-WWKAM

    My kids as liked this small little place the best of everything:
    Columbia Falls about 10 miles outside of Hot Springs, SD.




    You are a must follow on Twitter my fren.
    Wait @alumni94 did you go to Glacier also? If not you're not the person I thought you were. There's another UW fan who just did almost this exact same trip (including Custer State Park) but hit Glacier one direction.
    We did not. This was more of a rental car issue. We flew into Bozeman and the rental car companies were jacking up the prices if you didn't return to the same place. Trust me, my wife and I both said at the end of the trip that we should have added in Glacier, but it gives us a reason to go back.

    I would like to go back to the Grand Tetons in the spring, as it was a little smoky and that took away for the overall beauty of the place.

    dnc
  • 1to392831weretaken1to392831weretaken Member, Swaye's Wigwam Posts: 5,783
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    ...a married Japanese couple legit put their toddler on a wild elk who was just chillen on some grass in one of the tourist areas for a photo op. Kid didn’t get hurt but it still blows my mind.

    The fuck!?
  • dncdnc Member, Swaye's Wigwam Posts: 53,739
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    On an epic road trip taking the fam to 23 American NPs in 41 days (plus Banff). Been to four so far. Quick fupdate: Grand Teton and Glacier moving way up my list.
    YellowSnowdflea
  • YellowSnowYellowSnow Moderator, Swaye's Wigwam Posts: 27,697
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    dnc said:

    On an epic road trip taking the fam to 23 American NPs in 41 days (plus Banff). Been to four so far. Quick fupdate: Grand Teton and Glacier moving way up my list.

    Crater Lake or GTFO
    whlinder
  • dncdnc Member, Swaye's Wigwam Posts: 53,739
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    dnc said:

    On an epic road trip taking the fam to 23 American NPs in 41 days (plus Banff). Been to four so far. Quick fupdate: Grand Teton and Glacier moving way up my list.

    Crater Lake or GTFO
    Wifey wants to drive the Oregon coast so Crater Lake 'tis not on the itinerary.

    Parks we've hit so far on the trip (bold = park I've never been to before this trip)
    Rocky Mountain Had to 86 this one because the pass was closed due to heavy snowfall the night before so we whiffed on our first target.
    Grand Teton
    Yellowstone
    Glacier
    Banff
    (Yoho, Glacier and Mt Revelstoke on the TransCanada highway but we didn't do anything but drive through so they don't really count)
    North Cascades

    Still to come (bold = park I've never been to before this trip)
    Mt Rainier
    Olympic
    Redwood
    Lassen Volcanic
    Yosemite
    Sequoia
    Kings Canyon
    Pinnacles
    Channel Islands
    Joshua Tree
    Death Valley
    Zion

    Grand Canyon (north rim)
    Bryce
    Capitol Reef
    Canyonlands

    Arches
    Mesa Verde
    Black Canyon of the Gunnison
    Great Sand Dunes
    dflea
  • CFetters_Nacho_LoverCFetters_Nacho_Lover Moderator, Swaye's Wigwam Posts: 19,937
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    dnc said:





    First up was Congaree National Park near Columbia, SC. This is one of the newer parks (promoted from National Monument in 2003), and one of the least visited parks in the nation (10th least according to


    So southward we rolled. We made it to St Augustine, FL for our first night out of Dad's house, with no other real sightseeing on day one except a brief drive around Old Town Savannah.

    Cool fucking city.




    I almost got arrested in Columbia for streaking through a hotel lobby and into the bar to order a drink. Bartender wouldn’t serve me.

    Savannah is a great fucking party town.
    dnc
  • PurpleThrobberPurpleThrobber Member, Swaye's Wigwam Posts: 35,453
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    Savannah Bananas is a great IG follow. Need to hit one of their games and I fucking hate baseball.

    SAV is a great town. NOLA without a major fear of getting killed.
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