I lost my first tooth biting into an apple while picnicking at Mammoth Cave National Park as a kid. I learned to love the desert at Big Bend National Park. I realized the importance of letting land burn naturally at Yellowstone National Park, and I pitched a tent in the most beautiful campsite I’ve ever seen while backpacking at Glacier National Park.
I’ve experienced some important life moments while exploring our country’s parks, and I want to remember them all. “The National Parks Journal” by Stefanie Payne helps me do just that.
The 208-page book is broken into two parts. The front section includes a short history of all the national parks in the United States and its territories, plus maps, tips on visiting responsibly, and a checklist where readers can mark off ones they’ve visited. (I’ve made it to 29 out of 63 – almost half so far!)
Then it explains the differences among park types, from the 63 full “national parks” to the other 423 sites that are designated national monuments, preserves, scenic trails, memorials, seashores, battlefields, parkways, recreation areas and more.
Read more: I’ve discovered the perfect camping mattress
The second section of the book features 167 pages where readers can log their own adventures at parks they’ve visited. There’s room for notes on how you planned each trip, what you packe, and what happened while you were there, from wildlife sightings and people you met to your favorite campsite.
Payne, a content strategist for NASA, writes articles and blogs for National Geographic and Lonely Planet. In 2016, she documented 59 U.S. national parks in 52 weeks.
The book, published by Adams Media, costs $15.99.
I’ve tucked my copy of the book into Vincent VanGo, my Fort Transit campervan.
My goal? Fill every page.