READ THIS! Former National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis’ message regarding Trump:


From the Association of National Park Rangers (US)
Former National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis’ message regarding Trump:

This morning former Director Jon Jarvis made this statement about recent events involving the National Park Service:

“I have been watching the Trump administration trying unsuccessfully to suppress the National Park Service with a mix of pride and amusement. The NPS is the steward of America’s most important places and the narrator of our most powerful stories, told authentically, accurately, and built upon scientific and scholarly research. The Park Ranger is a trusted interpreter of our complex natural and cultural history and a voice that cannot not be suppressed. Edicts from on-high have directed the NPS to not talk about “national policy”, but permission is granted to use social media for visitor center hours and safety. The ridiculousness of such a directive was immediately resisted and I am not the least bit surprised. So at Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta should we not talk about his actions to secure the rights to vote for African Americans in the south, or is that too “national policy”? At Stonewall National Monument in New York City, shall we only talk about the hours you can visit the Inn or is it “national policy” to interpret the events there in 1969 that gave rise to the LGBT movement? Shall we only talk about the historic architecture of the Washington, DC home of Alice Paul and Alva Belmont or is it too “national policy” to suggest their decades of effort to secure the rights of women can be linked directly to the women’s marches in hundreds of cities last weekend? And as we scientifically monitor the rapid decline of glaciers in Glacier National Park, a clear and troubling indicator of a warming planet, shall we refrain from telling this story to the public because the administration views climate change as “national policy”? These are not “policy” issues, they are facts about our nation, it is how we learn and strive to achieve the ideals of our founding documents. To talk about these facts is core to the mission of the NPS. During the Centennial of the National Park Service, we hosted over 300 million visitors (now that is huge) to the National Parks and most came away inspired, patriotic and ready to speak on behalf of the values we hold most dear. The new Administration would be wise to figure out how to support the National Park Service, its extraordinary employees and their millions of fans.”


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Kilauea meets the sea. Volcanoes National Park – Big Island Hawaii

JOIN NOW! You don’t have to be a park ranger to “Like” what they stand for – or even to join ANPR as a full-fledged member! The have categories for park employees, students and park supporters. (RIGHT CLICK and “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW”)

NOTE: A freeze on federal government hiring was instituted on January 24, 2017 by executive order. The memo, which does not apply to military personnel, states that “no vacant positions existing at noon on January 22, 2017, may be filled and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances”

Trump put a freeze on federal government hiring, and it could seriously impact the National Park Service and the need to hire thousands of seasonal rangers and other employees for the summer! Beyond seasonal positions, there are many permanent positions that parks are trying to fill and people who have already been offered permanent jobs but haven’t begun working… this will definitely affect the visitor experience and park safety!

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Waimoku Falls – Haleakala National Park in Hana-Maui, Hawaii



“O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties. Above the fruited plain! 
America! America! G-d shed his grace on thee.”
– America the Beautiful
from a poem written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893
(after a visit to Pikes Peak in Colorado)
music composed by Samuel A. Ward

Pikes Peak, named in honor of American explorer Zebulon Pike, is one of the highest summit of the Rocky Mountains in North America. The 14,115-foot mountain top is located in Pike National Forest, 12 miles southwest of downtown Colorado Springs. The summit of Pikes Peak is a high alpine environment with a polar climate due to its elevation. Snowfall is possible year round at the top and thunderstorms are common in the summertime. Pikes Peak, above 14000 feet, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961.
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JoshWillTravel in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias – Yosemite National Park

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Yosemite, California

JoshWillTravel in Yosemite National Park (Wawona Tunnel Picture Point)


Field Quarter in the Sierras 1984 – Part 1 Big Sur, Big Creek and Cone Peak

I backpacked for college credit Spring Quarter of 1984, when I chose a Field Quarter in the Sierras during my Freshman year in college at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC extension and the Sierra Institute).  It was a great program!

UCSC logo

After a particularly gray winter in Santa Cruz, I needed to get out of town.  So I signed up for a Field Quarter in the Sierras.  “BACKPACKING FOR COLLEGE CREDIT” for three Upper Division Course Credits: Natural History of the Sierras, Natural History Wilderness Studies, and an Environmental Studies advanced course.  The curriculum included backpacking trips of varying length in amazing natural locations: Monterey, Big Sur, Yosemite Valley, Hetch-Hetchy Resevoir, the Tiltill Valley above Yosemite, the Southfork of the Tuolumne River in the Sierra National Forest, El Dorado-Toiyabe National Forest, Desolation Wilderness in Plumas National Forest and Lake Tahoe.


We all met as strangers in Monterey and drove to a local campground for an overnight stay, where we were introduced to our instructors and each other and given the orientation for the next thirteen weeks (ten weeks of course work, a week of travel time plus a timeout for spring break).  There were thirteen students and two instructors on the first night as we made camp together for the first time.

UCSC Field Quarter in the Sierras - Monterey, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

UCSC Field Quarter in the Sierras – Big Sur, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

PLEASE NOTE: These events took place in Spring of 1984, so trying to recall all the details is a little difficult now.


Big Creek Bridge and Cove - Big Sur, California

Big Creek Bridge and Cove – Big Sur, California

At dawn the next morning we had breakfast and broke camp, packed up and drove to the UCSC Reserve in Big Sur.  Protected by the Santa Lucia Mountains and rocky cliffs, the Big Sur coast includes the largest and most pristine coastal wildlands in central and southern California. In the center of this area, the University of California Natural Reserve System and the University of California at Santa Cruz operate the Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve.  Big Creek Reserve Homepage:

Big Creek Reserve Trailmap - Big Sur, California

Big Creek Reserve Trailmap – Big Sur, California

We strapped on our backpacks and hiked 9 miles to the base camp near Cone Peak.  Cone Peak in Big Sur is the highest coastal mountain in the contiguous 48 states, ascending nearly a mile (5155 feet) above sea level, only three miles from the ocean.  The hike begins at almost sea level and takes you up through the climate zones, lush forest, oak scrub and into high chaparral.

Copy and paste the following links into a new window for some great images:

VR Panorama of Big Creek:

Photo Gallery:

Our first trek was an uphill killer! When we finally reached the base camp we set up our tents and prepared the evening meal.  (Nevermind the part about Jen trying to set the camp and forest on fire with her propane stove and the rest of us helping to put it out before it spread…)

Boronda Base Camp - Big Sur, California

Boronda Base Camp – Big Sur, California

We camped there for a week.  The program included daily class in the wilderness, field studies, day hikes and “homework” assignments.  There was also time allotted for camping duties, cooking, and personal (free) time.  And every evening we gathered around the fire, talked about the day and got to know each other a little bit more.

Trail snack and lunch recipes for wilderness hiking: Flour tortillas, add cheddar cheese and salsa.  Flour tortillas, add peanut butter and honey.  Bread may be substituted for tortillas (but tortillas travel better in a foodsack).  Easy to prepare, no cooking required.

Cone Peak

Cone Peak (Altitude 5,155 feet) – Big Sur, California

One day we hiked to the top of Cone Peak from our base camp and were buzzed by F-14 jet fighters from Moffett Feld and then we watched from high above as Blue Whales swam by during their Spring migration!

View from Cone Peak

View from Cone Peak – Big Sur, California

View from Cone Peak

View from Cone Peak – Big Sur, California

Going downhill is a lot easier than going uphill with a backpack!  The hike out was pretty easy, again passing through the different climate zones, and returning to our cars for the drive to our next destination.

COMING SOON: Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Valley, Hetch-Hetchy and Tiltill Valley, Southfork of the Tuolumne River, Sierra National Forest, El-Dorado-Toiyabe National Forest, Desolation Wilderness, Plumas National Forest, and Lake Tahoe.

NOTE: I have to admit that this is by no means a complete blog at this point.  I started this story unprepared and the details are coming back slowly.  Except for the people, these are not my pictures.  I’m inspired to find my journal, workbook and photos from this time and may revise this blog for next week.  Thanks for reading!  Your feedback is welcome.

North to Alaska! I’m an Alaskan Certified Expert!

UPDATED April 1, 2017:

I was an Alaskan Certified Expert (ACE)


Map of Alaska:

Certified by the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA)

Map of Alaska!

Alaska became the 49th State on January 3, 1959

“Seward’s Folly”?  Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million ($120 million adjusted for inflation).  Alaska is the largest state in the U.S. by area, measuring 663,268 square miles, and has a longer coastline than all the other states combined.  According to a 1998 report by the US Bureau of Land Management, approximately 65% of Alaska is owned and managed by the Federal Government as public lands.  The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the population of Alaska was 731,449 on July 1, 2012.

We watched a Grizzly Bear fish for Salmon in Katmai National Park on Periscope
(courtesy of Disney’s Magic cruiseship):

NOTE: I am no longer a Travel Agent, now I just write about travel and other things…

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