I am a park ranger at Shenandoah National Park, but my blog represents my own musings and enjoyment of the NPS.
April 21 - April 29 is National Park Week. Get outside and enjoy YOUR National Parks for free!! During the next week, entrance fees will be waived at all National Parks (this does not include fees for other tours/activities within the park).
My new home is inside Death Valley National Park. I’m not going to lie, when the words Death Valley first came out of my mouth I thought, “what am I in for?” Well, after my trip across the country, I’m happy to report that it was well worth it. My bank account might disagree! My first view of Scotty’s Castle, outside of reading about it, was the day before I was to report to work. I was not disappointed as I traveled through Grapevine Canyon and rounded a curve to see a Spanish style castle turret in the distance. My breath was instantly taken away as this beautiful desert oasis came into full view.
I pulled into the parking lot, grabbed my camera and headed inside the visitor center. I spent some time looking at the exhibits and the gift shop, where I purchased some postcards to send the family and show off my new digs. I decided not to take a tour, as I knew plenty of that would be in my future, but I did walk around the grounds.
Since that first day, my awe has not diminished. I’ve absorbed a lot of information in the past few weeks, and now have also had the opportunity to share that with visitors. Each facet of the home and its inhabitants has truly been interesting.
I refuse to share that story with you in the hopes that Death Valley and Scotty’s Castle will be on the itinerary for your next trip out West. I encourage you to visit before the end of May or wait until next fall, as daytime temperatures in the summer easily exceed 100˚F … in the shade! Nonetheless, don’t miss this gem of the National Park Service if your travels bring you anywhere near the metropolis of Las Vegas. It’s an easy 2 hour drive to Death Valley(3 hours to Scotty’s Castle) via US-95 and the breathtaking landscape will keep you entertained during the journey. Well, that and the ever present search for UFOs over Area 51!
I’m a park ranger at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. This beautiful park stretches from Front Royal, VA (70 miles from our nation’s capital), to Waynesboro, VA. There are over 500 miles of hiking trails, including 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail. These trails will take you for walks in the woods, to high peaks and to gorgeous waterfalls. At Dickey Ridge (milepost 4) and Big Meadows (milepost 51), you will find visitor centers to better orient you to the over 196,000 acres that are available for you to explore. Enjoy the exhibit, watch a short film about the park’s history or just simply sit and watch the world go by. I look forward to seeing you! If you want to familiarize yourself before you visit, check out the website at www.nps.gov/shen.