by Jessie Friskey
“Within National Parks is room—glorious room—room in which to find ourselves, in which to think and hope, to dream and plan, to rest and resolve.”
–Enos Mills (Naturalist and Father of Rocky Mountain National Park)
This year the National Parks Service turns 100 years old. My family and I have developed a strong affection for the parks system over the past few years. Our fascination began with a vacation to Yellowstone National Park five years ago. Until then, we had stepped a toe or two into Great Smoky Mountains National Park and took a peek at the Grand Canyon, but had not explored any of the parks for any significant length of time.
What we discovered in Yellowstone, and every other location since, is what continues to propel us from park to park: We found space and time. We found quality time and the room in which to enjoy it; long hikes with meaningful conversations, outdoor picnics observing nature and wildlife, and wide open, glorious space. No longer did we have to compete with thousands of other vacationers vying for seats or long lines. We were in the front row, with the best seats in the house, and all the time in the world.
As a yoga teacher and practitioner, it seemed natural to pair our destinations with yoga. My photos have become a travel scrapbook, documenting not only my practice but time spent with my favorite people on Earth.
In sharing these pictures, I challenge you all: Opt out of the theme parks and crowded tourist traps for your next family vacation. Say no to long lines of people and the noise of the masses. Pick one—any one—of the 58 National Parks in the United States. There are no bad choices. Get away, really away, with your loved ones. Find the time that has eluded you. Embrace the expanse you never knew you craved. When you leave the congestion and distractions, you open yourself up to experiencing much, much more.