Exploring Our National Treasures

This week our Tuesday hound is recovering from a family vacation with her hubby and three little ones, and suggested the topic of national parks. I’ve been to a few, but I can’t seem to find many pictures to document those travels. Most of these events happened before I started scrapbooking, so they may be hidden in a box somewhere. I’ll probably unearth them when I go to look for something else.

My family didn’t travel much, but one year in the late 1960s my dad decided to take us all on a big road trip. We went south to Mammoth Caves National Park in Kentucky, then over to Washington, CD, up through Gettysburg, PA (dad was also a history buff), up to Niagara Falls, and then through Canada and back home. What I remember about Mammoth Caves is the sense of adventure I felt when walking through them. What secrets did they hold? I could imagine a Nancy Drew-like mystery taking place there.

When I was in high school, a local filmmaker decided to create a documentary about camping through the central and western United States. As a unique angle he decided to take a cast of teenagers from various ethnic groups. Since there were very few Asian teenagers in Grand Rapids back then, I got the honor. We traveled in a couple of vans and trucks and stayed at campgrounds from Michigan to Arizona, up through Utah, and back home. We were filmed hiking trails through Rocky Mountain National Park, climbing in Mesa Verde, and waiting for Old Faithful to spout at Yellowstone. While this was a great adventure, I didn’t truly appreciate my surroundings. Guess I was having too much fun. And while I heard that the film was eventually completed, I never saw it.

My daughters participated in the marching band at their high school, and in December 2001 the band performed in the Fiesta Bowl competition in Phoenix. One daughter was a freshman and the other was a senior. Of course I had to go along! I got a room with three other band moms and we tagged along for most of the activities, like a day trip to Slippery Rock in Sedona and a riotous evening at Ed Debevic’s. On the day of the scheduled trip to the Grand Canyon, though, we arrived just as the school bus was pulling out – they had an important rehearsal before the competition, so they had to leave early. The parents stayed and explored the canyon. Later, I found out one of my daughters got a friend to take a picture of the two of them – and we loved it so much we had it enlarged. The younger daughter is wrapped in a blanket – Arizona experienced one of its few snowfalls that day, but her winter coat had been left in Michigan because she couldn’t imagine needing it that far south!

Most of my travels since then have been out of the country or to writing conferences. Since my husband hates to leave home I’ll have to find a travel buddy if I want to visit any more national parks. But I have fond memories (if not photos) of the trips I’ve described here.

About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Kiyono/e/B0067PSM5C/
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2 Responses to Exploring Our National Treasures

  1. jeff7salter says:

    Sounds like you’ve been quite a few places here in the states — not even mentioning your overseas travel. I’ll chime in on Hound Day with the particulars, but I’ve also been to several of the spots you noted herein.
    Not certain I — as a teen — would’ve been brave enough to embark on a long journey with other kids such as you described. For example I never went on a “senior trip” to any grand location. [Not sure if that was a financial issue or one of reticence, however.]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful trip that had to have been in high school! I wonder if you could find a copy of the film. That would be fun to watch.


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