Two summers ago, I decided that it was time to revisit Yellowstone National Park, which I had last seen from the backseat of my father’s brand-new 1967 Pontiac when I was 7 years old. I remembered almost nothing about that trip, which probably explains why I had never returned to the park as an adult.
But as I drove west from Cody, Wyo., toward the park’s east entrance, the highway wound through three closely spaced tunnels carved into the side of a mountain. In the dark interior of that last tunnel, a few scattered memories of the trip 47 years before began to take shape.
I focused my eyes on the bright semicircle of light ahead that marked the tunnel’s exit, watching it grow larger and brighter as I sped closer, and when I emerged from the tunnel, sunlight exploding all around me, it was as if I had entered a new world while simultaneously traveling back in time.
In the summer of 2011, three generations visited six national parks for the first time on a “Western frontiers” tour. Pictured are Bill and Carole Hasbun, with daughter, Cristina, and grandmother, Helen Salamy, at Grand Teton National Park.
Cristina and her grandmother, Helen, have been roommates on four trips with another one planned for this year. Hands down, the national parks tour was our all-time favorite!
In 1967, I drove from Sacramento, with my wife and two sons, on a cross-country camping trip culminating in Montreal and Expo 67.
We arrived late in Yellowstone. We found space, unpacked our gear and set up a campsite.
Setting up our barbecue with our ice chest and sleeping bags around us, we sat in a circle enjoying dinner. We heard a rustling noise near the ice chest. Thinking that a thief was stealing the chest I rose up to confront the intruder.
I recall the colors of Glacier National Park, particularly the dark green palette of the forest. Closing your eyes, you could breathe in the pine-scented shades of the expansive woods.
The iridescent turquoise of the snow-fed lakes and the multi-hued boats shifting in the still waters next to docks created an artist’s canvas of pure and quiet nature. And the distant pale bands of snow on the surrounding ranges hinted of the impending extinction of the once-mighty glaciers that named this park, sad beauty for this majestic, changing land.
To celebrate my retirement in 2015, my wife, Linda, and I planned a classic American road trip. Covering 3,500 miles, including stops at six national parks and two national monuments, our ultimate goal was a visit to Mt. Rushmore, S.D.
In late May we hitched up our 25-foot Airstream trailer and headed for the Black Hills of South Dakota. While rounding a corner near Mt. Rushmore, we spotted this profile of George Washington.
Our experience reminded us of the vast beauty preserved by our national parks, and how these parks are enjoyed by people from all over the world.
I had just purchased my Cadillac Seville and thought I ought to take it for a “test drive” so we could get to know each other.
I headed toward San Bernardino, but the ride was so smooth that I somehow ended up on the road to Yosemite. I had not been there since 1963, when as a summer school student at Berkeley the university sponsored a trip and I was totally overwhelmed by its natural beauty.
I have no idea why I had never gone back, but here it was October 1976 and I was in a state of bliss, singing “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” along with Judy Collins on the car’s eight-track.