National Parks Birthday – 100 Years Old Today! (Yellowstone National Park)


I took Stu Patterfoot to visit Yellowstone National Park. This was the first US National Park, signed by an Act by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. The park is mostly within the state of Wyoming, but also covers parts of Idaho and Montana.

It displays many geothermal features, like Hot Springs and Old Faithful Geyser, which Stu is sitting in front of. Besides the unique land features, there is also an abundance of wildlife.

This park, particularly is near and dear to me because long ago, between college semesters, I spent a summer in the park. I was a cabin maid at Mammoth Hot Springs.  This was my first time seeing mountains up close, and took me nearly two weeks before I no longer felt like I was walking inside a picture. The entire summer was one wild adventure. Back then, there were a few times at work when my maid-partner and I waited inside a cleaned cabin to allow a bear or bear family to wander on past us before we deemed it safe enough to dash to the next cabin to clean.

Although I haven’t added geothermal features to any of my stories (yet), nor bison or many of the hundreds of unique experiences or near-misses I experienced that summer working in Yellowstone, all my adventures are stored with many of them sneaking into my characters’ adventures. I strongly encourage you all to get out and experience nature, over and over again. The National Park Service has over 400 “units” to explore. ( This is our country.

I’ll now return you to your regularly scheduled author writing posts. Keep on writing.

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National Parks Birthday – 100 This Month! (Devils Tower National Monument)

Here is Stu Patterfoot visiting Devils Tower National Monument in the Black Hills of Wyoming. You can see this unique rock formation rising dramatically from the prairie for miles as you approach it, growing larger and larger and larger.

Climbers have tackled this formation for a couple hundred years. Although during the month of June, most climbers honor the Native Indians and do not climb these 30 days for related Indian ceremonies and prayers. Stu didn’t get much past the crumbled base.

Using US National Parks for writer inspirations for settings has existed before there were even National Parks. Devils Tower was used as a backdrop for “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” but visiting it after seeing the movie was a bit disappointing in that respect. Spoiler alert: FYI, you oldsters or old movie buffs, there are no aliens from other planets on the grounds. But I can’t guarantee the same if you look up.

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National Parks Birthday This Summer – Sleeping Bear Dunes

100 years ago this August, Teddy Roosevelt starting designating places as National Parks.

Here is Stu the Rabbit at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in northern Michigan.

The land is mostly sandy, covered in woods. Some of the dunes going down to Lake Michigan are hundreds of feet tall. Most are gradual, wood-covered sand hills, until some dune grass, then sand only at the water. There are miles of beach, some rocky, most sandy. Some of the beaches are deserted (by humans) even in the height of summer tourist season.

Enjoy your National Parks this summer.

National Parks Birthday Coming This Summer


On August 25, 2016, the National Park Service turns 100.

In college I was an armchair traveler as I took a course on the geology of our National Parks. I then decided I wanted to do more than just read about the land and see slides of all these places. I wanted to visit them. My original family wasn’t much for traveling for pleasure. One spring we went to Washington DC. That was about as close as we came to national parks although we did spend time outside, down on the farm and out boating on Lake Erie.

For the past nearly 40 years, we Carlsons have enjoyed many of our wonderful and varied US National Parks through the years.

When we lived in SD, I made a stuffed bunny to take to national parks to photograph for a book. The book(s) never happened, but blogging has. Although I have about 100 shots at each park, you shall now be the recipient of some of these National Park/Memorial/Seashores images with Stu the Rabbit.

Stu at Mt RushmoreStu at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota