100 Years in God’s Country – Part V

by Juel A. Fitzgerald, CTA, MCC

The National Park Service (NPS) celebrated its 100th birthday this year on August 25, 2016.  This was the perfect year to visit any of the national parks throughout the country.  Our current quest is to visit all 59 of the national parks.  So far we have enjoyed 23 of them.  The NPS have more than national parks available for our hiking and viewing pleasure.  There are 28 different categories of parks included in the system.  According to the NPS they are as follows:

  • 128 historical parks/sites
  • 78 national monuments
  • 59 national parks
  • 25 battlefields/military parks
  • 19 preserves
  • 18 recreation parks
  • 10 seashores
  • 4 parkways
  • 4 lakeshores
  • 2 reserves

As we wrap up our National Park series for 2016, a few of the 23 parks that we have visited were featured. Glacier National Park was featured in the first article and Yellowstone and Teton National Parks were in the second article, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks were in the third article and  Arches, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks were in the fourth article.

We end the year at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.  My husband, travel mates and I  experienced God’s blessing of being able to visit this park in a special year.  The National Park Service celebrated 100 years since it was established in August 25, 1916.  The Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park was born August 1, 1916.  It was the 15th National Park and was born before the National Park Service was officially launched and before the state of Hawai’i became a state in August 21, 1959!!!  We were able to enjoy being in the park when both of these anniversaries happened.  We visited the park on December 6, 2016.

It was a thrill yet strange taking pictures of the crater as it erupted red lava!  I found it amazing.  Dan and I were on this island for the second time.  This time was more impactful than the first time.  The first time we took a guided tour of lava tubes and tropical areas of the island.  This time we rented a car and drove to the National Park to see more of the island on our schedule.  Seeing the eruption made me suddenly think about the fact that I was walking on an active volcano voluntarily!  It also made me think about how people live on the island and that it is didn’t appear to be a concern to them that their island is growing because of the volcano and it is a living deadly entity.  According to one of the park rangers he told us that every day they have to check the status of the volcano.  She changes a lot!  Some days due to lava flows or toxic gases sections of the park have to be closed off to visitors – some permanently.  The staff have a daily meeting to be updated on the volcano’s status.  What a job that must be!  It is always in a state of change.  In addition, to seeing the eruptions, we hiked on several different trails.  The foliage was lush.  Sulfur steam rose into the air.  We were warned to stay on the trail, due to potential falls off cliffs and to be aware of carbon dioxide.  This was a hike unlike any hike we had ever been on.  Normally we watch out for wildlife that might want to take our life, not the mountain itself.  It was fun, yet scary at the same time.  We loved it!  It’s a beautiful place to visit, but I can’t imagine living there wondering if the volcano might blow.

Pictures for Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park can be seen here.

$20 admits a single car into the park.   There is also a Hawai’i Tri-Park Pass.  This pass for $25.00 covers the entry fee in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Haleakalā National Park, and Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park.  Haleakalā National Park we saw on our last visit and Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park we saw on this visit.  The pass lasts for one year from date of purchase.  Since we love to visit more than one park in a year we always purchase the America the Beautiful Pass Series for $80. This annual pass gives us access to federal parks for twelve months for one car load of four adults where a fee is charged.  Active military are able to obtain an annual military pass for free.  We are looking forward to obtaining a lifetime pass for $10 for U.S. citizens who are Seniors ages 62 and over (2017 for hubby and 2018 for me)!  Lifetime passes for U.S. citizens who are permanently disabled are available.

This concludes the National Park Series.  We hope you enjoyed the journey!

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©2016 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire article to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any articles at http://www.travelbeacon.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

 

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