07 Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Join Matt and Karen as they descend 750 feet underground to explore what Karen thinks is one of the most magical places in the entire U.S. national park system: Carlsbad Caverns. Matt’s not a huge fan of dark, scary holes, but he puts on a brave face during the couple’s multiple visits to this enchanted part of the Chihuahuan Desert in southern New Mexico. You might want to have a flashlight or two close by when you listen to this episode, just in case the lights go out and you need to self-rescue your way back to daylight. That’s one of the lasting effect these cave visits had on Matt: he never goes anywhere now without at least a couple light sources with him.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The variety of cave tours offered at Carlsbad Caverns
  • Which caves Matt and Karen visited
  • Why Matt’s not a fan of caves
  • What to know if you’re planning to attend the bat flight program
  • The ranger speech that made Karen tear up
  • Why Karen is thinking about becoming a scientist

Links:

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06 Zion National Park: Hiking The Narrows

Standing in waist-deep water while looking up at the towering canyon walls, the scene was breath-taking. Or, maybe it was the cold water splashing our midsections that was taking our breath away. Join us as we hike The Narrows, one of the most magnificent areas of Zion National Park. On today’s episode, we talk about our experiences while hiking up the Virgin River through The Narrows, what to bring if you’re thinking of doing it yourself, and other how-to tips.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Why we’re wearing the same clothes in all of our National Park sign pictures
  • The best time of year to hike The Narrows
  • What to bring and what not to bring
  • Why you might need a permit
  • What we did for work before quitting our jobs to visit the National Parks

Links:

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05 RV Adventures in Arizona

Have you ever wanted to take an RV on an adventure into the National Parks? So did we, so we rented one in Arizona and toured the southern part of the state for a week. Join us as we explore Chiricahua National Monument and other National Park units from the comfort of a 19-foot recreational vehicle. Along the way, we learn about the dos and don’ts of RV life, meet the nicest people in the RV community, and lament the untimely demise of Matt’s tennis shoes.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Renting an RV from Cruise America
  • Going to a gigantic RV show in Kansas City
  • Hiking in Chiricahua National Monument
  • How to use the dump station at an RV park
  • RVing versus tent camping

Links:

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04 Our Favorite National Park Lodges

What’s it like to wake up with a view of Crater Lake from your bedroom window? In this episode, we gleefully revisit some of our favorite National Park lodges and the adventures we had staying in them. We discuss the “parkitechture” and fascinating history to each of the lodges. We regale some hilarious stories from our stays at Crater Lake Lodge and El Tovar lodge at the Grand Canyon. We also talk about how to get reservations and some fantastic places for sunset viewing,

In this episode we discuss:

  • Staying in the largest log structure in the world in Yellowstone NP
  • Watching bears from the deck in Glacier NP
  • Wintertime stay at Zion lodge
  • Ranger programs at Bryce Canyon lodge
  • Twin beds at Paradise Inn in Mt. Rainier NP
  • President Roosevelt’s stay in Olympic NP on Lake Crescent
  • An unexpected surprise at Crater Lake Lodge
  • The mule-train journey taken by Matt’s shorts in the Grand Canyon
  • The public space at the Ahwahnee Lodge in Yosemite NP

Links:

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03 Arches National Park: Getting Lost in the Fiery Furnace

Would you go into a fiery furnace on purpose if you knew you’d probably get lost, have to squeeze through narrow openings, and be forced to crab walk over sketchy boulders? Well, that’s exactly what we did, and we even waited in line for a permit to do it. The Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park is a special treat for visitors as only a limited number of people are allowed permits each day to hike through this magnificent maze of rock formations. We’ve visited the fiery furnace in Arches National Park a couple of times, and in this episode, we talk about our experiences along the trail.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Karen’s fantasy of being an off-duty park ranger
  • Our ranger-led tour into the fiery furnace
  • Returning on our own and getting lost in the slot canyons, and
  • How we live and work together 24/7

Links:

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02 North Cascades National Park: Glaciers and Boulders and Scree Oh My!

Join us on our backpacking trip to Sahale Glacier in North Cascades National Park. Along with our friends John and Lolly, we braved the treacherous trail and a few overly friendly mountain goats to camp at the base of a glacier in a truly sublime setting. It was a strenuous, magical, and unforgettable journey. In this episode, we relive our trip into one of the most beautiful alpine areas in all of the national parks. If you ever want to make this trek yourself or would just like to hear about our challenging yet humorous adventure, this episode is for you.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Why we should stop reading the reviews of our books
  • Our struggles with making it to Sahale Glacier Camp
  • Why you should never separate when hiking as a group
  • The toilet with the best view in the world
  • And address a few questions from listeners like you

Links:

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