On 4/24/2015 Backpacker magazine released an application for 'The Best Job Ever: National Park Scouts'. Really?! It is, I hope, the most fortuitous of things that could have happened. It feels as if I have been training for this job for years. They need public speaking skills and I've given a TEDx talk and spoken in front of large groups of people for years. I went on my first overnight backpacking trip as an 8 year old when I did the Chilkoot Trail in Alaska. Most recently I have been honing my photography and video skills with my TJ100k ultramarathon video.
It all seems to good to be true, so for entertainments sake I went on Gmail and looked for the earliest email where I declared my intention to do a National Park Road Trip. Here it is. It was sent to my dad on 8/27/2010 and it was entitled 'An Idea':
In the next couple of years, perhaps at the end of this year I think I want to do a 58-week road trip where I spend 1 week in every national park. My hope is that I would get it sponsored by the Dept. of Interior, a car company, a REI gear type company, computer company and tons of other groups. The basic idea, is that they would pay for the trip and then I would use their products during the trip to post blog entries, take pictures, and show how awesome the national parks are.
Right now I'm thinking of materials that I would need, so far I have: Laptop, Phone (w/service), Video Camera, Camera, Car, Gas, Food, Road bike, Mountain bike, Tent, Boots, Sleeping bag/pad, Kayak, Camp stove.
I'm also trying to give myself a list of things that I would have to do in every park:
1. One day awake for a sunrise.
2. One day watch the sunset.
3. One hike.
4. One full day of volunteering at the park.
5. One time in a body of water.
Are there any other cool things I could do in each park? Any suggestions on materials? Or do you know any people who would be helpful to take to on getting this idea started? I likely wouldn't plan on starting until next summer, or even later, so I have a lot of lead time on it.
Good idea? Bad idea? It's like Desert Solitaire, but every park.
When I wrote this email there were only 58 National Parks. Pinnacles had not yet been upgraded. It was 4 years and 8 months ago. It's crazy to think about something for so long. This trip, this idea is something that I have been passionate about for nearly 20% of my life. It is exhilarating to be this close to departure. It is even more inspiring and hopeful to know that there is a possibility that Backpacker magazine could employ me to do it.
Even if I think back to two weeks ago. It was looking like I would be 'Ridin Solo' - Jason Derulo style. I was at the Tomtom Festival talking with Trevor Kemp. We haven't caught up as much since the fall of the Sea Wolves. I tell him about the trip and invite him to join for the entire thing. Fast forward two weeks and he is seriously considering coming and we have an opportunity with Backpacker Magazine to be the dynamic duo that explores National Parks and engage others to join us.
So many matches in heaven are being made for this trip, but like the Hunger Games they need to start Catching Fire.