National parks

National Parks are such a great American legacy. They protect natural resources and are open to all. Most are in areas away from cities, however, so they do not get as many visitors as you might think. When visiting the parks, I am always struck by how many foreign tourist are there. They seem to appreciate our parks more than we do, or maybe they just stay at the lodges more often, while Americans drive it for the day. I don’t know.

Much of the infrastructure, the cabins and lodges, is old and the trails are often not perfectly maintained. I like this. It hearkens back to an earlier time, when we were a little tougher and less demanding, when you could go into nature w/o taking all sorts of high tech tools. There was no wi-fi at Grand Canyon and no TV in the cabins. The cabins are comfortable and clean, but simple. Simple is usually better in lifestyle.

I worry about the state of nature. As we become a more urban society, our encounters with nature become more shallow and episodic, maybe more cartoonish. Simple is not usually better in understanding. Nature is complex. It takes a long time to appreciate its nuances and ever changing aspects. You literally need the time and attention span to watch things grow and change.