Never Too Old for Escapades

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Never Too Old for Escapades

by Kathleen M. Purcell
by Kathleen M. Purcell,
History Camping Nature National Parks

David and Catherine Bean, both in their seventies, crisscross our nation to reconnect with nature, people and history. This adventuresome couple prefer camping to hotels because the campsites are located inside many of the national parks so once they park their car they are free to explore the parks. Tent camping allows them to observe the area in more detail and experience the wonder of seeing wildlife up close like the time elk strode through their campsite. Each region and campsite has a diverse landscape from the tropics to the deserts to the woods. Along the way they meet salt-of-the-earth people who enjoy hiking, bird watching, swimming and fishing just as much as Dave and Cathy.

Four National Parks stand out as their favorites. Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys is a tropical haven. Pristine beaches, snorkeling in the corals, and fishing are just a few of the activities they enjoy while visiting this park. Mesa Verde National Park nestled in Montezuma County, Colorado offers abundant archeology and history. They were fascinated by the Ancient Pueblo cliff dwellings built over 700 years ago. Breathtaking scenery abounds at the Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. Sunsets light up the canyon walls with spectacular colors. The Milky Way illuminates the night sky. Nature lovers won’t want to miss hiking here. Explore the gypsum dunes at the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. The Tularosa Basin glistens with sand that sparkles like snow and ice. Hiking and biking allow visitors to explore the ever changing landscape as the wind shifts the sand into new formations.

Here are their tips for successful camping

·        Get a Senior Pass which can get seniors up to 50% off campground fees and free admission to National Parks (for example, they are able to visit the Grand Canyon park for free and they can go to the park whenever they please).

·        Map out the travel route with fun and interesting sightseeing along the way to get the most from the trip.

·        Pack smart and lightly by bringing the right equipment, shoes and clothes. This is really important as campers are out in the elements.

·        Seek out volunteers and rangers because they are knowledgeable about the park you are visiting.

·        Keep an eye on your gas tank as gas stations can be far apart in some states.

·        Embrace serendipity because other campers and travelers may have advice and suggestions about where to visit so they suggest being open to change.