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My family's cross-country trips began before I was born.  When my parents were engaged, they borrowed my grandparents' car, drove out, camped in a tent for six weeks, and went to all different national parks.  Then they went one other time after they were married and then they waited.  All my life they were waiting for my younger sister to be old enough so that they could take my siblings and I on a trip like this because they loved it so much.

When I was fourteen and my sister was five, we went on our first trip and we did that when we drove out to Colorado, which took three days.  We rented an RV when we got out there.  We brought my dog with us and we were in camp sites the whole time for that trip.  And on that trip, we got all the way to the northwest corner of the country.  

Two years later, we did another trip where we drove out again but we stayed in lodges this time.  This is the trip that most of this footage is coming from.  On this trip, we did more of a southern route so we didn't get up to the northern parks.  We concentrated and spent more time seeing the different southern parks like Arches and Bryce.  

Two years after that was when we went to Alaska.  We flew out to Alaska, obviously, and rented a car.  We drove around for a week and did Denali and Homer Spit and a couple of other places.  We got onto a cruise and we were able to see Glacier National Park and Juno and Skagway and a bunch of different places that you can't really get to without either a boat or a plane.  When we got off the cruise, we were in Northern Canada and we went and saw Banff and Jasper and a bunch of other parks.   

I think a major way that these trips changed me was that they added so much to my appreciation of nature.  I also feel like I got a great understanding of the parks system and I began to understand how wonderful it is that we are protecting places that are so precious to our country.


Hannah Woodward is currently a senior studying English at Muhlenberg College.  She was a member of the Summer 2009 CPBN Media Lab Staff and is from Farmington, CT.