Somehow, it’s been nearly two weeks since I got sick with this lingering bug, which has morphed from the flu to a sinus/upper respiratory thing to laryngitis, so this big national parks road trip I had planned to kick off over New Year’s is temporarily on hold until I’m back to 100 percent. I was really looking forward to my planned New Year’s Day hike in Acadia National Park and witnessing the country’s first glimpse of the sunrise in 2016 from the summit of Cadillac Mountain, but maybe I can do that next year. Still, definitely a drag.
On the positive side, the quarantine has given me some good time with my folks and my dog that I would have otherwise missed out on, and I’ve been able to work on a few assignments from the comfort of a recliner versus the back of a station wagon or a crowded coffee shop filled with distractions, so that’s been helpful!
Since the reason I wanted to start in Acadia was tied to a specific day and I missed that, I’ve shifted some plans around and am now planning to start local and then head south. This week, I’ll go check out the North Country National Scenic Trail, which stretches from New York to North Dakota and passes through a few counties bordering mine in western Pennsylvania, and I also hope to squeeze in a short visit to one of the historic NPS sites within a few hours of here before the end of the week.
Since my birthday is next weekend, I’ll spend that with some friends and family in Pittsburgh, and then I’ll head out from there toward Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Shenandoah National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park by approximately the end of January. From there, I’m planning to participate in the Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh (a five-mile race in which you try to eat a dozen of the world’s most glorious doughnuts halfway through), then head south toward Congaree National Park in South Carolina and three national parks in southern Florida. Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine has assigned me 60 blog posts this year based on my NPS visits, and they’ll appear throughout the year on www.blueridgeoutdoors.com first and then I’ll repost them to this site. I’m really looking forward to finally getting on the road so I can start sharing stories about America’s awesome national parks and public lands versus just updates on my personal ailments.
So! Stay tuned for the first NPS-focused post of the year from the North Country National Scenic Trail, coming soon. And thanks for your patience :). I’m thrilled so many people have expressed interest in this project so far, on a professional as well as a personal front, and I hope my journeys inspire you to get out and explore the parks yourself.