Look! I totally didn't update this blog every day last week! And on some of those non-update days, I didn't even do any research! I'm so disciplined with my obsession. But now a recent work project and a few social occasions have wrapped up, and I can't help myself.
It occurred to me at some point that I might have better luck with books if, instead of reading specific guides on national parks and hoping to find information on backpacking and camping, I should read specific guides on backpacking and camping. And the library is chock full. (p.s. Thank you, Boston/Eastern Mass's Minuteman Library Network for providing free, unlimited loans throughout your entire network and delivering them promptly to the teeny library branch at the end of my street.) I imagine that some of these will still end up in the Useless pile for one reason or another, but I'm really looking forward to titles on winter camping, camp cooking, and wilderness survival, if only to fantasize about badassness I may never achieve.
I also received (and filled out and sent back) the reservation packet for the Grand Canyon trip. I think as far as reservations go, this will be the only thing I'll need to take care of before, like, next spring. I popped on the web sites for some of the posh lodges, and not only do they only accept reservations a single year out, but they still have openings for this year during winter, which is when I hope to be in Yosemite.
Can I just say that I love watching a vague, general idea slowly acquire structure and shape and detail, until it finally becomes something concrete and specific? It's an intellectual, but also an almost artistic, sort of enjoyment.
In that spirit, here is a very general timeline. I wish I knew how to build a calendar, so I could display it all colorful-like the way I have it on a big yearly planner on my desk, but I'm only good at looking at the Internet, not making it. Consider this schedule subject to a shitlot of change:
Late July, 2011: Arrive in Seattle/Olympia. Spend a week or two buying a vehicle, completing outfitting, and visiting with friends and family. I'd love it if my dad could join me.
End of July/August: Visit Olympic National Park, with Dad, if possible.
Mid-August: North Cascades
Late August: Mt. Rainier (probably a day trip), a few days in Portland, Crater Lake (also only 1-2 days)
Early September: Glacier
Mid September: Yellowstone
Late September: Grand Teton
Arrive in Flagstaff, AZ on Oct. 5, 2011, to begin Grand Canyon trip. GC journey goes until Oct. 21st.
Late October/Early November: Arches, Canyonlands
Early-Mid November: Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase Escalante
Mid-Late November: Bryce Canyon, Zion
Late November/Early December: Skiing in Utah? Las Vegas?
December: Possibly San Francisco. I'd love to be there around the holidays (provided I don't decide to fly back home for a week or so).
Early January, 2012: Yosemite
Mid January: Sequoia/King's Canyon
Late January/Early February: Death Valley
Mid February: Joshua Tree
Late February, 2012: Arrive in Tucson, where I'll visit friends, sell the vehicle, and finish off the trip.
The national parks aren't the only thing I hope to see during each time listed; there are state parks, cities and towns, and odd sights to fit in here and there. There are also a couple of parks (Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Lassen Volcanic, for example) that don't fit neatly into a color, and I don't know if I'll get to. And I'd like to get a sense of which parks will be only a couple of days' visit (the small Arches and Crater Lake, for instance) and which I might stay in for weeks. But still. Now there's a shape, a frame, where once there was an amoeba. It's satisfying.