National Parks Depot Blog
I’ve been waiting weeks to say this: Spring is finally here!
Just let that soak in… goodbye, winter! So long, snowfall, and those chilly, barren days! No more storms, either! Or hopefully, at least a few less. Now, if the last of that snowfall would just melt…
Now that spring is here, it’s time to gear up and head outside to see the world in its new beauty! This month is hiking month here at NPD, and we can’t wait to get outside and start making new memories!
Here are a couple of my must-visit locations this spring, all across our country. Some are in driving distance for me. Others, well… I’ll just have to figure something out.
The American River Canyon – Auburn, CA
This is my hopeful first stop for this spring, and it’s only an hour’s drive away!
I’ve been the American River Canyon once in my life, when I was living in the area, and the hike was unforgettable. It was extremely intense (turns out, hiking down is easy – hiking back up is pretty hard), but the sights, the sounds, the utter quiet of the trees and the trickle of the water… they were all things that I wasn’t going to forget, anytime soon.
So, if you happen to live in California and you’re looking for a great spot to start celebrating spring, start here. This little canyon is a wonderfully quiet, fully unique experience to hike. And, since it's your first hike of the season, make sure that you have the essentials - a backpack and water bladder will both be super essential, and, luckily, we actually have a bundle on sale right now, just for this occasion! And if you just need one, well, here's the backpack, and here's the bladder. We actually have a really good deal on the bladders - we have way too many in our warehouse right now.
Zion National Park – Southern Utah
That picture below has been the background on my desktop, every day since I started working for National Parks Depot. Everything about it looks so inviting – the steep canyon walls, filled with spots perfect for climbing. The Little winding roads, begging to be driven on. The lush greenery of the forests, just waiting to be explored.
Everything about this park puts me in awe, and it’s definitely on my must-see list for this year. Can’t wait to pack a bag, rent some rock-climbing equipment (and bring a grappling hook - yeah, we sell those) and spend a weekend there.
Monument Valley – Southern Utah/Northern Arizona
Looks like I’m going to be spending more than one weekend in Utah, this year!
Do mesas fascinate anyone else? I’m not sure what it is about them that fixates me so much, but there’s just something about those enormous formations that screams “climb me!”
Monument Valley is one of my favorite landmarks in the U.S., but like Zion, I’ve never actually been there. So, this year I’ve decided that I’m going to make the trip. If the other trips are good for the body, this one is for the soul.
These rock formations even put our world’s largest buildings to shame. I can’t wait to discover and rediscover this park’s enormous majesty.
Your Local Trail – Anywhere U.S.A.
I know, I know, it’s cheesy, but I can’t really name all of the trails in America. That list would be just a little bit long.
So if you’ve got a local trail – whether it’s a city park or out of town just a ways – this is our invitation to you, to go out and explore it a little bit! We guarantee you have one. Here in Chico, we’ve got more trails running through our parks than I can be bothered to name. Back when I lived outside of Sacramento, there was a major river running through town, with trails all along either side.
If you look around, I guarantee you that you’ll find some little unexplored slice of the wilderness, even if you’re living in the densest urban jungle you’ve ever seen. An urban jungle is still a jungle, after all, and that means that you can still explore it.
So this month, get out and explore! Here at NPD, we’ll be right behind you.
Doesn't that look appealing? No, not at all? Yeah, I wouldn't want to go either.
It’s Spring Break this week! Or at least, it is here in Chico, California. We have a big college in the center of the city, and still a bit of a reputation as a “party town,” so this week has been a little bit… hectic.
Spring is still just a little ways away – officially, the Spring Equinox is next Monday (March 20), but we do our Spring Break this week because it happens to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day, just like a lot of other colleges do. Still, even if spring hasn’t quite made it here yet, the weather is finally turning fairer, the temperatures are starting to return to livable levels, and it’s about time to start looking at what we want to spend our spring doing.
In the meantime, if you’re like me and you don’t like to party, you’re probably sitting at home during Spring Break, but you don’t have to! Here’s my list of things to do, if you’re at home for break and wish you weren’t.
Take A Hike Away from It All!
I love the outdoors, I love camping, and I love having time to do it with my family. If you’re like me and have a family to go out with, though, definitely stay away from it on Spring Break. I get the appeal: it’s an opportunity to take some time off with the whole family, and go relax for a few days in the wild. That said, Spring Breakers are a rowdy bunch. When I was a kid, I spent more than a couple of Spring Breaks out camping with my folks, and, well… when you look immature by a 12-year-old’s standards, it’s maybe best to avoid that experience.
But that doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors! The wild is still a quiet, wonderful place to get out and explore with your family, even for just a day trip! So if you want to spend some time outdoors with your family this year, pack some of our backpacks, and take an easy hike to the hills!
Here in Chico, we’ve got lots of great places to go hiking, with the Sierra Nevadas an hour away on one side, and the Coastal Ranges another two on the other. Pick someplace that’s easy to get in and out of, and have some fun! Just remember… you don’t just have into hike in, you have to hike out, too.
Plan a Picnic On A Clear Day!
If you live in a cold climate, this might not be for you, but if you’re someplace more temperate, consider it!
Just because you want to get outside, doesn’t mean you have to commit to a full hike. Everyone spends their outdoor days differently, and if you’re just looking for a way to relax without having to spend an hour or two packing up and driving off, I recommend a nice picnic with your friends and family to enjoy the day. If you're worried about wet grass, we've got you covered. Literally! Thicker than a blanket and easier to carry, our little picnic mat is definitely an essential.
So, how about you go spend a simple hour relaxing on the grass, feeling a breeze or reading a book, and enjoying your lunch. Personally, I recommend egg salad sandwiches with some fresh potato chips.
But I might just be hungry.
Spend Some Time Fishing!
Unless your local fishing spot is still frozen over (in which case, jeez, sorry it’s so cold), Spring Break is the perfect time to take the kids out to the water, no matter the temperature! Fishing is good for the soul, as they say – a nice, relaxing way to spend a nice, relaxing day.
Most people don’t associate Spring Break with fishing, either, so you’re nearly guaranteed to have some quiet, private time to yourself!
Just make sure to grab a protective mesh hat before you head out onto the water – spring time means all the bugs are unfreezing. No mosquitoes for me on my next trip, thanks!
Happy Monday! Said no one ever.
One more week until spring. Just one more week…
I’ve been finishing off that list of to-dos that I posted last week. But this week, I want to take it a different direction.
See, last week I was putting away my winter clothes, and asked myself, “what am I missing?” Since I am (extremely) eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring, I’m all for doing whatever I can to get it here sooner, and that includes shopping for it.
Then, when it doesn’t get here sooner, I can incessantly complain about it!
Well, this week I decided that a new backpack was in order. In the winter, I use a couple of waterproof bags that could probably take bullets, since they’re heavy-duty and my stuff is safe from the elements. Do you have one of our big military bags? They’re pretty much like that.
But this week I decided, “you know, I’m tired of hauling these big things around.”
So, this week I asked my boss, “hey, do we carry anything that’s a little lighter and easier to carry?” And he showed me these new shoulder bags we’ve just stocked, and offered me one.
Now, I gotta say – when it comes to bag quality, this is one of the best that I’ve seen. I’m not just saying that. This is the spring bag of this season. And I know – it’s not exactly an “outdoorsy” type backpack, and I probably wouldn’t take it hiking. But I mean… I was carrying my work supplies in a military bag. It was tough, but it liked to be wrestled with.
If you need something soft, this bag’s got it. Something with some decent straps, so you can carry everything – it’s got it. My only complaint is that I have an ancient behemoth of a laptop – the bag is a little bit small for carrying that enormous brick. So if you’ve got a small laptop, you’ll probably fine. Mine’s just enormous is all.
So if you’re looking for something to revitalize your spring a little bit, look no further. This bag screams “warm weather!” every time you look at it.