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    Posted April 21, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    The world's best national parks

    American National Parks Road Trip 2013


    Last summer, my boyfriend and I took a road trip to the western US for a few weeks of camping, hiking, and adventuring. We visited Yosemite, Lassen Volcanic, Redwood, Crater Lake, Yellowstone, and Badlands National Park. What an extraordinary experience! The parks were overflowing with life; amongst the animals we encountered were yellow-bellied marmots, pikas, Roosevelt elk, bison, black bear, Bighorn sheep, and pronghorns.


    Did we put a few thousand miles on the car? Sure. Was the camera memory card quickly full of pictures? Yep. Will we ever forget waking up to a mountaintop sunrise? Not a chance. If you can—even just for a day—make the time to take your family or friends to see the wondrous beauty of America’s national parks.


    All pictures are credited to Phillip Rodenbeck.


    Picture 1: Half Dome soars above several roaring waterfalls in Yosemite National Park. Hiking the towering granite dome is by permit only and is one of the most demanding in the park.


    Picture 2: In Yosemite National Park is Glen Aulin, which means “beautiful valley” in Gaelic; this hike truly lives up to its name.


    Picture 3: Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to an alien landscape of steam vents and boiling mud. The pools of bubbling water are colored with various metals, and the sulfur-laden air lets visitors know they’re getting close to openings in the Earth’s crust.


    Picture 4: Hundred-foot-tall trees in Redwood National Park tower over buildings and visitors alike. Where the forest of these centuries-old redwoods ends, families of Roosevelt elk can be seen strolling along the beach of the Pacific Ocean.


    Picture 5: When Mount Mazama erupted thousands of years ago, it created a caldera more than 1,000 feet deep. Snowmelt and rain filled the crater to create one of the purest bodies of water on the planet; Crater Lake National Park is tucked into the Cascade Range in Southern Oregon.


    Picture 6: Yellowstone National Park sprawls across parts of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, and because it is located on top of an enormous supervolcano, geothermal features are a unique feature amongst the mountains, canyons, and rivers.


    Picture 7: American bison roam throughout Yellowstone. Bison share the park with black bears, grizzly bears, elk, moose, Bighorn sheep, and millions of curious visitors each year.


    Picture 8: Through the aptly named Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone runs the Yellowstone River. Hiking throughout the park, each view is more spectacular than the last, so it’s not hard to see why it was tantamount to preserve some of America’s greatest treasures as the first national park.


    Picture 9: Badlands National Park is overflowing with thrilling Native American history; the sharp buttes run alongside grass prairies. Since this area was once entirely underwater, the park is a paradise for paleontologists, archeologists, and historians.

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