- June 1, 2013
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We were in high school when we bought the rusty tin can of a school bus that would become our adventure mobile. After four years of tinkering and toying with her, she was transformed into a mobile home, and that year we took her to 11 of America’s National Parks. It was spontaneous and a little reckless, but it was the best time of our lives.
Suddenly, 11 years have gone by and we’re getting older (and heavier). We’re getting engaged, buying houses, starting families, and suddenly the time to be spontaneous is becoming something of a rarity. So this August, we’re loading up the bus with ten friends and ten backpacks for a two-week, cross-country journey that will take us back to our favorite wild places (and a few new ones): the Tetons, Yellowstone, Bryce, Jackson Hole, Crater Lake, North Cascades, Yosemite, Sequoia, Zion and Arches. Together we will be trekking over 100,000 feet of elevation gain, and rock climbing roughly double the vertical climb of El Cap.
We have no air conditioning and a top speed of 64 miles-per-hour, but we’ve got a secret weapon: a list of summits and routes we don’t want to label with “someday.”
People are becoming more and more content with visiting our National Parks on their computer screens and on Instagram, but we’re still firm believers that to see great things you have to go to great places. Our National Parks were hailed as “the best idea we ever had” by writer Wallace Stegner, but tough economic times have meant increasing budget cuts to the park system. Last time we took this trip, it was about us. This time, it’s about us sharing our journey with others through a dedicated blog and social media campaign in the hopes that we’ll motivate people our age to value our National Park System and put aside the time to visit it. Even if that means putting it on Instagram.
We believe the most dangerous risk of all is to risk devoting your life to not doing something you love in the hopes that you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later. We aren’t rich—we’re rubbing pennies together hoping we’ll come up with the dollars it takes to pay for what it costs in gas (and inevitable repairs) to get the bus out 3,700 miles and back again. We’ll be using a portion of the $10,000 in grant money to help pay for gas and food and maintenance to the bus. Whatever money does not go to above mentioned items, we’d like to donate to each National Park as we travel along.
Our trip is a little spontaneous and definitely a little reckless, but if we don’t go for it now…when? One things’ for sure: we don’t want to have to look back to find the best times of our lives.