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Canipe Correspondence – The National Parks

More and more often these days, I feel the need to get away from people, the internet, the news, and the sinking feeling that America is, well, sinking. Grumpy old man syndrome is setting in pretty early I guess, and I’ve got to do something to re-boot on occasion. Fortunately one thing we do still have is a set of National Parks, and I’m pretty excited that I got to spend a few days in one. This time, it was Rocky Mountain National Park, which was wonderfully unpopulated except for the busiest trailheads. There’s an old cabin up on a cliff near the Moraine Park visitor center. I’m pretty sure if I ever save the Earth from an asteroid or aliens or something, Bruce Willis style, that’s what I’d ask the President for…

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I was staying in a suburb just north of Denver, directly behind a Starbucks, a mile from Hooters, and zero feet from what seemed like an eternal traffic jam every time I left the hotel. I had planned on scouting out places for a possible relocation, but with Colorado legalizing drugs and criminalizing weapons (my livelihood) that seemed ill-advised. With some days to kill, we headed to Estes Park, the small mountain town in Estes Valley between Roosevelt National Forest and Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). In the summer, Estes Park is a royal pain, literally shoulder-to-shoulder on all the sidewalks, long waits at any restaurant, and traffic seems like it never moves. In the winter, it’s a sleepy town with good food and cool local businesses right outside of the park. Fifteen minutes and one bathroom break at the Visitor’s Center later, we were on a snowy trail headed up a ridge looking up at Long’s Peak and an awesome panorama of Flattop Mountain, Hallett Peak, and Otis Peak. The plan had been a recce of routes for a traverse of the ridgeline connecting these 12K-ish peaks, or a possible trip up Long’s, but scheduling and weather conditions didn’t match up to make it happen on this stay. Nevertheless, it was a great couple of days, easy walking, and some easily gained/much needed solitude. And I’m not ashamed to say, more yak burgers than a cardiologist would advise at Grubsteak in Estes.

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The National Parks were a hard-fought victory for conservationists fairly early in American history. Thanks to their hard work we’ve got a tremendous resource, open and accessible to everyone. It’s $80 for a pass allowing access to all of them for a year, which is almost certainly the best bargain in America. Starting with Yellowstone in 1872, the National Park System now includes 59 National Parks and a total of 398 sites administered by the National Park Service. The National Park Service was formed in 1916 to oversee this great national treasure. They preserve the best of America as seen by it’s founders, explorers, and citizens, while making it remarkably accessible to all visitors. I’ve been lucky enough to visit over a dozen of the parks, and have yet to be disappointed by the staff, and the ability of the Park Service to find people who genuinely love their jobs.

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Disney World is so expensive I don’t know how anyone can afford it, and to me spending a week at the beach with all the other vacationers in the world is about as relaxing as driving a nail through my kneecap. That’s not to say the parks don’t get crowded, but the beauty of them is there is plenty of room for everyone if you’re willing to work your way into it, leaving the most popular routes or venturing farther from the main entrances. For a long time I’ve thought the National Parks were America’s best gift to itself, and I’m still pretty sure of that one today. There is one near you, and making a trip on a shoestring budget is easily do-able. They are your tax dollars at work, and for once you’ll get your money’s worth.

*For anyone interested in the history of the National Park System and it’s founders, check out the Ken Burns documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”

Visit www.nps.gov for more info on the parks, prices, seasons, accessibility, and directions. The NPS is very helpful towards visitors.

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17 Responses to “Canipe Correspondence – The National Parks”

  1. Willie says:

    I am NOT trying to start an argument or fight, but I would like to know what you have against pot legalization? The only real problem I have with it (and I live in Colorado) is that I don’t like seeing so many dispensaries, and I hate the smell. However, I personally don’t think those are good enough reasons to stop people from doing what they want to do.

    As I said, I am not trying to start a fight, or really even a discussion, I would just like to hear your opinion.

    • Willie says:

      And we both agree the new gun legislation is stupid.

    • Jon C says:

      I don’t really care, I just think the irony in Colorado’s legislative priorities is disgusting. I personally think booze is a much bigger hindrance to society and catalyst for personal destruction than a plant from the dirt…

      • Alex says:

        I also agree on the irony of the situation. I find it very ironic that the Left always acts victimized when it comes to their freedoms being restricted(gay-marriage, pot, women’s choice, etc) but are always willing to perpetrate the restriction of the Right’s freedoms(Gun Rights, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion).

        Personally, when it comes to most any subject, I’m a supporter of more freedom, regardless of the subject, as long as it doesn’t infringe on other’s freedom.

        -Alex

  2. Kevin says:

    Man I couldnt agree with you more. Grumpy old man syndrome is setting in early as my fears of America going down the crapper creep closer daily.

  3. seth says:

    “America’s best gift to itself” is a great way to describe the resource!

  4. AJ says:

    I love getting away from civilization. Admittance to National Parks is free for active duty service members so there’s really no excuse to get out there and have a blast.

    • AJ says:

      As far as their legislation, I’m always up for removing a source of revenue from the cartels. It’s a shame about their gun legislation, looks like Magpul is gonna have to move.

    • Alex says:

      “Admittance to National Parks is free for active duty service members…”

      This really needs to be edited into the main article. Everyone knows that a lot of active military folk ready this blog, and if you thought $80 was cheap, what about free!?!

      -Alex

  5. Mendo Man says:

    The one great thing is I have a family and I live in Co. I have 2 kids that are 21 and 24. My wife, myself and both my parents living with me. This allows me to grow 24 huge outdoor Marijauna plants and run a indoor grow. 1 plant outdoors csn yield 2 to 10 pounds of great weed and what i cant keep legally i can give to friends. The best part is thank god for the soldiers in Afghsnistan, they are the ones who have brought us the seeds and clones from the finest afghan Kush indica plants in the world. The war has brought one good thing. In 2005 a group of USA and British soldiers
    gave theses supreme genetics to the best breeders in the world and have personally saved small children’s lives!! I know your thinking I’m a bad guy but the Cannabis plant has THC that gets you high and also another molecule called CBD for short. Some and I am talking thousands of Small children with epilepsy have 10 to 15 sesuizes everyday and no medicine helps them. Adults yes but it’s to strong for children. The exact strains brought to the USA and UK by soilders is taken and the THC is taken out and the CBD is given to these kids and no more seizures. It’s still illegal to do this but would you do it for your child . I’m thinking yes! The Government needs to look past these stupid laws. Read up on it , a grown man smoked a certain weed with THC using no other meds from doctors and he cured is cancer. I am bit a weed head or drug dealer and my wife uses it for pain. I smoke it when my back hurts. My best buddy is dealing with PTSD from Iraq and is better.
    I want everyone to give a big shout out to these brave soldiers and to the Afghan pot farmers ( not Taliban of course) that helped get these amazing genetics to the breeders in the USA, Amsterdam and the UK to make this possible. Moving back to Cali after they go legal next year. Either way I can go buy weed or hash easier than getting my oil changed. There’s actually a oil change, 7-11 and weed shop in one place. To the guys who brought us These pure Afghan indicas and allowed us to change everything I Salute you.
    Oh if you have seen the movie Savages its the true story. Well at least the part about the Army bringing it to the breeders. I wish when I was there I would have brought it back. Those guys helped people and are multi millionaires living in Amsterdam running a huge seed co. I love it!!! God bless America.

  6. Bill says:

    Let’s also note that the NPS has it’s hands full with SAR, fire, EMS and LE.

  7. Anthony says:

    Thanks for the plug JC. It is great to see my friends taking the time for themselves for a change.

  8. Orrin says:

    That dog is awesome. What breed is it and what is it’s name? I feel you on the grumpy old man stuff. When I get back to the states I hope to get the family on something at least a little away from the world.

    • Jon c says:

      That’s Mukluk, a 190-pound Giant Malamute. He’s awesome, but was not for sale. I asked…

  9. SGT Rock says:

    Great article! I think most Americans don’t take advantage of the NPS as they should.

  10. Momorris says:

    Good post.
    We have been coming to visit the National Parks for many years. America has every right to be proud of these wildernesses.

  11. palacial says:

    A bit late to the party but here goes. Glad you enjoyed the park I call both home and office. I was pleasantly surprised, When I saw the byline I honestly assumed that it would be a tirade against government inefficiency etc. etc. The gun and tactical blogs seem to be rife with such stories. I’m certainly not discounting any of their claims however I prefer to not be painted in such broad strokes. We work hard to protect this place. I’m really glad you enjoyed it, Hallett Peak in the winter isn’t exactly a walk in the park.

    SPF