5 After 5, National Parks Edition

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It's time for another round of 5 After 5!  In case you missed it, last week's list was 5 books for a deserted island and if you're new to this series, you can read more about it here.

Today I've got my list of 5 to share, as well as next week's topic for you to stew about over the upcoming days.

And this series is now a link party, so be sure to scroll down and join in all the fun with us this week!

List 5 of your favorite National Parks

Summer is just around the corner (I sort of feel this weekend kicks it off, don't you?) so why not get out and explore some of the fantastic parks this nation has to offer?

I've been to 2/3rds of our country's parks and I must say that I don't think I've met one I haven't liked.

I'm sure most of the parks on my list would top yours, as well, but I didn't fill all five slots with big names, as you'll see:

1.  Yosemite

A heavy-hitter, right out of the gate.

Although I feel like I definitely got a taste of everything this park has to offer, I'd love to go back and really explore it all further on foot.

This park was one of many I checked off my list in a great "across the U.S." loop trip I took by car all the way from Florida almost two decades ago.

Taking a trip like that frugally calls for a lot of packed food.

A lot.

So, when I stepped into the Valley Visitor Center and was confronted by all those blown-up photos of what bears will do to cars when they smell merely a crumb left on a child's car seat, I knew my backcountry hiking plans were headed out the door.

Still, it was an amazing park and maybe someday, I can try again, without the refrigerator-on-wheels in tow.

2. Grand Canyon

This is one of those situations where a place had been hyped-up so much, I just knew there was no way it could live up to everything I'd heard.

Boy, was I wrong.

I don't think it's even remotely possible to over-hype this place.  You stand on the edge of that rim and it's just amazing views, as far as the eye can see.

I can't even begin to convey how incredible this place is.

3.  Great Smoky Mountains


There's a reason why this is the most-visited park in the country.

This spot on the map is one of my favorite places in the world to be, so it's no wonder that we spend a month of our summer hidden away in its woods each year!

4.  Acadia

Climb a mountain next to the sea.  This park's got it all.

It's the first place I ever had a camping disaster (but not the last!), but it certainly didn't slow me down!  

It's also the scene of the first meal during what became known as the "trip of lobster" (I ate enough to last the rest of my life - twenty years later and I still can't eat the little boogers again!)

5.  Guadalupe Mountains

Where is this park?

Shhh, it's a secret, which is what makes it so wonderful.

It may not have the expansive views of other parks, but what it does have is plenty of solitude.

As long as you don't count the approximately 5,748 rattlesnakes that I saw, on just one hike.

Seriously, I only remember seeing one other family at this place - and I didn't even explore more than the popular tourist trails, so how often does that happen in a National Park?

For next week:

List 5 of your must-have kitchen gadgets

I love creating things in my kitchen, but there are some things I just wouldn't want to be without.  Come back next week to see what those are and to share your list, as well.

And now, here's this week's link party!  Two other fabulous bloggers have teamed up with me to create lists of five each week and we hope that you'll join us, too!

That's right, every post will be read, pinned and tweeted!  

Every Saturday, just stop by one of our three blogs to add your own list of five, then pop over and read as many other posts as you're able to each week - treat it like a true party and really mix it up and mingle with our fun little community!

The rules are simple:  just write your own list following the prompt each week (feel free to interpret it loosely - or in a unique way!), follow each of the three hosts on the social media channel of your choice, and then get into the spirit of the party by grabbing your favorite beverage or snack and reading the lists of the other party-goers.

Your Hosts:

Lisa, at Syncopated MamaFacebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Google+ // Bloglovin'
Samantha, at Motivated DaysFacebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Google+ 
Heather Marie at Life, Love, and LasagnaFacebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Instagram // Bloglovin'

What's your list?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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