National Parks are the Shizz.

I am a fan of Ken Burns. I'm not sure if that is square, or stupidly conformist, or neither, but I am a fan of Ken Burns. I love the Ken Burns effect (if you don't know what that is, you obviously don't have a Mac or don't use iMovie). I love the music. I love the to-the-point yet always entertaining narration.

My first introduction to Ken Burns was in my American Military History class in college (which, by way of anecdote, was taught by a foul-mouthed dead ringer for Ulysses S. Grant... best casting career choice ever), where we watched portions of his Civil War documentary. We watched more of it in my Civil War History class (taught my the same professor), and thanks, Ken Burns, I got As in both.

I haven't seen Baseball, but I'd like to. It's the only one of his documentaries we don't own at the library, which is incredibly annoying. The West is enjoyable, Jazz I have to enjoy because I was in a jazz band once upon a time, and he was apparently in Gettysburg. NERD!

I'm currently watching The National Parks on PBS, which after one and a half episodes, is fantastic. I thought before it started that it might go through the history of a handful of individual parks, which was silly because that isn't really the way Ken Burns does things. Instead, it's taking us through the history of the formation of the National Parks and the National Park Service, which is brilliant. I have re-fallen in love with John Muir (sure, he had a semi-gross beard, but he's John Muir). It has also given me a major case of the wanderlust, which is decidedly inconvenient.

If I don't see Yosemite and climb Half Dome before I die, I shall be very put out. If I can't put a finger on a giant sequoia at some point in my life, then that's just stupid. I pay federal taxes and thus own things like the Grand Canyon General Sherman, and would like to go visit them. Say hi. Probably cry a little. It'll be great.

I haven't been to many National Parks. I camped in Rocky Mountain National Park this summer, and wish I could thank everyone involved in the park's creation so that we can enjoy it today. I have been to Gettysburg, but I was a wee child and didn't realize where I was when I was there (stupid kid!). I have, however, been to many National Forests, which are sort of similar in that they are natural areas that our ancestors decided to set aside for all of us to enjoy (thanks, ancestors). One of my favorite places on the planet is a National Forest. Going there changed my life. Does everyone have a place that changed them? Whether everyone does or not, I feel lucky that I was able to visit such a place.

Ensign Lake Campsite

The thing you can't understand from this photo is how peaceful it is. How the islands feel under your feet, and what they smell like. How tired your arms are and how sunburned you are after paddling all day to get there. The sense that getting to this place is its own reward. So really, you can't get the most important things about the Boundary Waters from looking at this photo, so you can stop looking at it now.

Does anyone else geek out when they realize that celebrities they like are friends with each other? Like when you find out that Wil Wheaton is having lunch with Neil Gaiman? On second thought, that may be too nerdy. It would be like Felicia Day having lunch with Brian K. Vaughn. No? Um... what if Bono and Barack Obama were BFFs? That's how I feel when I hear about Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir spending a weekend together talking about nature. It blows my mind, man!

Also, they shot Return of the Jedi in Redwood National Park, so clearly if I don't go there dressed in a Princess Leia cammo outfit with my Wicket puppet, I am a terrible, terrible geek.

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