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Nat Park Stories
34 minutes | 2 years ago
Alaska Interview with The Skoolie Owner Dean Chytraus
While in on the Kenai Peninsula, I parked near a big built out bus on the side of the road. It seemed like the perfect place to camp for the night, with a gorgeous view of the water and the surrounding mountains. The brown bus nearby had black trees painted on it and “The Skoolie” written on the side and although signal was hard to come by, for about 5 minutes I had signal on my phone, so I googled the name of the bus. I found the instagram account and send a message to Dean Chytraus, the owner of the bus. I asked him if he was interested in chatting over margaritas, which I had in my van. The text was so awkward to send and I didn’t think he’d respond. But a couple of minutes later, he did and invited me over. I explored his amazing bus and asked if I could record our conversation. Although we do talk a lot about National Parks, the conversation often veers into talks about life on the road, what got Dean into this life, how he prepared for his journey, and where his travels have taken him. You definitely hear more of my voice in this episode because as soon as I started talking to Dean, I felt like I was chatting with an old friend. He has such a friendly and welcoming demeanor, making even Rocky feel comfortable in his presence. Dean has since sold his bus, with the plan to buy a sailboat, but you can still follow his travels and amazing photography on instagram or YouTube at The Skoolie or @uncooldean. Want to follow along with Nat Park Stories? Join Nat Park Stories on Facebook or Instagram!
7 minutes | 2 years ago
Wrangell Interview With Arkansas Lawyer Road Tripping with 12 Strangers
“If I could tell anyone to do anything, it would just be to do an experience like this. You know, meet 13 strangers and see the world.” -Lizzy McSpadden When I met Lizzy, she was on a road trip with more than a dozen strangers, on day 9 of an Alaskan tour. Lizzy decided that she wanted to see Alaska before she started what she calls her “big girl job”, working as a lawyer in Arkansas, so she booked a trip with Trek America. She is on a quest to visit all the National Parks and on a mission to get her travel companions to start saying “y’all”. I absolutely loved the way she described the view, summing it up with the word majestic. And I’d have to agree. Let’s jump in! Want to follow along with Nat Park Stories? Join Nat Park Stories on Facebook or Instagram!
1 minutes | 2 years ago
Wrangell Interview with American Adventures Tour Guide
“It’s wild up here. You’ve got to be ready for everything.” -Ashley Gamble I am so excited for you to hear this episode. Ashley Gamble is a tour guide for a company that takes adventure seekers on ROAD TRIPS to National Parks and cities. As you will hear in the interview, she drives a 15 passenger Ford Transit full of tourists to various places all across America. Trips last anywhere from 7 to SEVENTY FIVE days. Imagine it, you and 14 strangers road tripping, camping, hiking, fishing, eating, and adventuring together for weeks at a time all through America. To me, it sounds like a dream. Midway through the interview, I ask her how she found this job and how you can join their team or take a trip with them. Here’s the link! I met Ashley while we were in Wrangell St. Elias, on day 7 of their National Park trip. She’s been to Wrangell several times and fondly told me that the Park blows her mind every second. Haha You’re going to love this. Want to follow along with Nat Park Stories? Join Nat Park Stories on Facebook or Instagram!
11 minutes | 2 years ago
Wrangell Interview with Adventure Blogger in Alaska
People often ask how long my interviews are and I ask them how long a conversation is. It can be one minute or three hours. This is a really fun episode because it gives you a real peak into what actually happens on the road… a conversation that turns into an interview, and goes off in different directions, as new people are introduced, and new conversations start. It’s only an 8 minute episode simply because at the end of it, another person I knew pulled up and soon the conversation became hard to follow as we all bonded and connected and told our stories. Before you hear that, you have to understand how extremely ironic it was that we would happen upon each other. In my month and a half in Alaska, the couple that pulls up and yells my name toward the end are the only people I saw more than once. Weeks previously, we had met very briefly at a bus stop in Denali National Park, over 60 miles into the Park. They didn’t want to do an interview at the time, but they still wanted to talk. So we chatted for over 20 minutes about their life and their adventures. It was a wonderful and memorable conversation. Then 3 weeks later, as I was interviewing Larry Williams, one of my Wrangell Rescuers, I heard my name called out and the couple and I reconnected. At the end, you hear how we all pulled over on the side of this long, winding dirt road and just talked like old friends. The recording actually went on for over 30 minutes, but like any conversation with 5 people, it took many turns and became hard to follow so I only included the beginning. Before we jump in, I also want to give you a little background about the person I am interviewing, Larry Williams, who was really quite fun to talk with. Before I started recording, he told me a bit about what brought him from Maryland, all the way to Alaska to visit his friend. He told me about his experience as an adventure blogger and about his dreams of starting his own podcast. You can follow all of his adventures at TruVentureOutdoors.com. Let’s jump in! Want to follow the Nat Park Stories journey? Join Nat Park Stories on Facebook or Instagram!
18 minutes | 2 years ago
One Man's Three Month Trek from Maryland to Alaska
“This is my first time in interior Alaska and it’s just phenomenal. It won’t be my last time, that’s for sure.” - Andrew Aughenbaugh I met Augie, in a very hilarious way… By being stuck in a ditch in the largest National Park in the country. I cannot begin to capture the relief I felt when this big truck with a towing rig right on front and Maryland plates, pulled up to my rescue. Augie had been on the road for three months, driving all the way from Maryland to Alaska, tent camping every night. I was shocked when he told me that. He has biked, canoed, hunted, camped, explored, fished and adventured his way all across Canada and Alaska, and he wasn’t finished yet. About 7 minutes in, Angie talks about what he brought with him on his 3 month trek and he’s agreed to share his contact info with you so that you could reach out to him with any adventure or gear related questions, seeing as he is WAY more experienced with the rugged adventuring than I. You can reach him on his website: AugiesAdventures.com He also reached out to me just a couple of months ago and told me about a book he’d just released about his adventures. You can find it on Amazon by searching Following The River's Current At the end of this interview, after the outro, I included a little treat. Apparently I was recording a bit about the bumpy road when I was run off the road by an RV and ended up in that ditch… it seemed pretty relevant and it cracks me up every time I hear it, so I put that short audio at the end. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this interview with my Wrangell rescuer, Augie. Let’s jump in! Want to follow Summer’s journey? Join Nat Park Stories on Facebook or Instagram!
30 minutes | 2 years ago
Wrangell Interview with Alaskan Tour Guide and Adventure Traveler
"Wrangell is often referred to as the Park without handrails." Brendon Seaholser was such an interesting interview because of his honest and blunt demeanor, as well as his love of the park and adventures of all kind. During this interview, we talk about what brought him to Wrangell St. Elias, one of the month desolate and isolated parks in the country, a story which starts in Vermont, and winds through many continents. We also talk about how unbelievably vast the Park is, and the possible consequences of going into this wilderness unprepared. You’ll hear him talk about the stories of going into the wild, about the dangers he’s witnessed, and the magic too, the unreal beauty of the largest Park in the country, and one of the largest pieces of wilderness in the world. One of my favorite things about this interview is the awe that you can hear in Brendon’s voice as he talks about the Park and especially, the mountains. You can hear how much love and respect he has for this place, and it made me feel it too. When I walked out of the tiny one room visitor’s center where I’d met him, I felt a chill of excitement to be in such an incredible place. I felt so grateful to be witness to this Park that had created such awe in this man I’d had the pleasure of meeting. It gave me a new way of looking at, and respecting, this unfamiliar place. As you hear me mention in the interview, earlier that day, I’d had a few hiccups on the main road, namely ending up in a ditch, being towed out by strangers, then later having a flat tire, which I describe at the end of the interview. At the time, I’d questioned why I was even there, in the middle of this wild and overwhelming place, until this interview that made me so incredibly aware of how fortunate I was to be there and how precious this Park really is. I really can’t wait to share this one with you! Want to see more? Check out Nat Park Stories on Facebook and Instagram or on the Patreon Blog.
16 minutes | 2 years ago
Wrangell Interview with Owner of 80 Acre Campsite in National Park
"I'm fairly well traveled and this is the best place I could find." -Jim D. As you can probably tell during the beginning of this episode, when I first met Jim, I thought uhhhh, okay this is going to be an interesting interview… And I was right. But I had no idea how much I would enjoy spending time with him. You can tell with his first sentence that he is a goofy guy, but what you probably don’t get is how he goes out of his way to help anyone and everyone that comes down that long winding 66 mile drive and finds themselves at the end of the road, at the 80 acre camp area he runs. As you can hear a couple minutes into the interview, he greets everyone the same way, with a joke and a smile, and everyone that I saw talk to him, walked away with a smile. And as a side note, I actually interview the women you hear Jim talking to, who is a tour guide that has been back many times with her groups and has a fascinating story. You also hear us attempt to chase off some bears, which is pretty entertaining. Most of the interview is just us chatting about his life on the camp ground, and you really get a peak into a typical day in his life. I got to hang out with Jim for hours that day. After the interview, he invited me into one of his buildings for coffee, he has a school bus and several little trailers all parked a short hike from the place were he greets the campers. We drank coffee and we talked about books, nature, loneliness, and life. We drove around the camp site, talked to a man that pulled a car out of a swamp, filled up Jim’s tires, and talked and talked until the sun went down. The next morning, when I woke up with a flat tire, I found a note on my window from Jim, who’d been monitoring the parking lot that morning it said, “come see me and we’ll fix up those flatties”. Oh and I got to meet his bunny, Dinner. Yes, he named his bunny Dinner. If you saw Jim, you might say that he looks like a rough mountain man with a big smile. He got extra lonely one day, living at the end of a long road in no where Alaska, and walked into a pet store (similar to what I did years ago on my 2 month road trip). Instead of a puppy that caught his eye, a bunny made him stop and smile. He picked up the white rabbit and held it in his arms. Not one, but THREE women came up to him and in horror asked if he was planning to eat that bunny. After the third time, he stopped being offended and just laughed it off, deciding to name his new companion Dinner. He is kind and goofy, and I hope you enjoy hearing this interview as much as I enjoyed recording it. Want to see more? Check out Nat Park Stories on Facebook and Instagram or on the Patreon Blog.
28 minutes | 2 years ago
Kenai Fjords Interview with an Alaskan Travel Expert
“It just makes you realize that you’re not the only person out here, you know? Think about everybody else. You’re the one person living your life but there’s so much more… there’s so many people and we’re all experiencing it.” -Heidi Goheen Heidi Goheen a really fun interview because we got along right away and were able to have a conversation about not only the Kenai Fjord National Park, where she’s visited more than a dozen times, and about the bummmppyyyy boat ride we were on, but also about the other Parks she’s been to, what drew her to the Park, why she takes everyone that visits her there, and some magical experiences she’s had in the Park — seeing bears, whales breaching, and river otters, and even swimming in glacial water on a hot summer day! About 15 minutes in, you’ll hear as we spot a sea lion and get a taste of what it felt like to see wildlife on this dense, foggy day in this spectacular and unique Park. And as I found out during the interview, Heidi is a tour guide and Alaska Travel Expert, so about 20 minutes into the interview, she’ll tell you about all the many interesting things you can do within the Kenai Fjords. Then we meandered into talking about my journey, why I’m doing this podcast, my personal take on this Park, and how I fund my travels. And at the end, I see the first whale I’ve ever seen. You can feel my excitement, and the enthusiasm of the people all around me. After we see the whale, Heidi and I say our goodbyes off the mic. This is a fun episode to give you a real taste of what the boat ride to the Kenai Fjords felt like and of all the experiences that can be had within just this one National Park. Want to see more? Check out Nat Park Stories on Facebook and Instagram or on the Patreon Blog.
9 minutes | 2 years ago
Kenai Fjords Interview with the Ship Deck Hand
"I think everyone should explore their parks... I've gotten to go to quite a few and there isn't anything quite like Kenai Fjords National Park.” -Josh Grove During the ride to Kenai Fjord National Park, I talked with a deck hand on the ship, Josh Grove, who has been working out in Seward for a few years. During the course of his interview, we talk about what brought him to this National Park, and he gives some really interesting information about what a fjord is and how the glaciers have receded just in the few short years he’s been at the Park. You really feel like you're on the boat during this interview, as the waves hit the boat and we surge more than 6 feet in the water (which is apparently NBD to Josh). Want to see more? Check out Nat Park Stories on Facebook and Instagram or on the Patreon Blog.
23 minutes | 2 years ago
Interview with Safari Leader in Alaska's Kenai Fjords National Park
“I’m from Tennessee where in the winter time, it can get to mid-80s... and I love the heat and I will sacrifice all that just to be here because it’s so impressively cool.” -Mikey Martin Mikey Martin is a Safari Guide that I met on the boat ride to the Kenai Fjords National Park. In his two summers in Alaska, he has done that boat ride about 80 times. And as hard as it is to believe, each time provides a new and unique experience. And it would have to… What else would bring a Nashville boy who loves the warmth all the way up to the icy glaciers of Alaska two years in a row? This conversation starts off a little slow, but it really picks up speed 4 minutes in when you hear Mikey talk about what draws him to the parks and to Alaska and what his favorite memories of the park are. And at 8 minutes into the interview, you get to actually hear the glacier lose a massive chunk of ice, and the crowd ooohs and awes. It still gives me chills to hear that part of the interview. You can feel like you’re right on the boat, listening to the chunks of ice hit the metal, with the wind blowing, and the ranger talking just a little bit over the interview. You can hear Mikeys excitement really build after the glacier calves, and you hear how extremely knowledgeable and passionate he is about this part of the world. Twenty minutes into the interview, Mikey describes the ice burgs (or car size burgees) that our boat literally hits as it backs away from the glaciers. As he mentions in the interview, he planned on returning to Alaska this winter and because we’re became friends during the interview, I saw that he just a couple of weeks ago, he did in fact head back up to Alaska to tough it in the winter. Want to see more? Check out Nat Park Stories on Facebook and Instagram or on the Patreon Blog.
26 minutes | 2 years ago
Kenai Fjords Interview with Family Visiting Their 402nd National Park
"We're the Parkbound Maitlands. This is our 402nd Park. We're going to all of them. It's taken about 8 years to get to this many... Our job is not to be like 'oh look at us, we've been to all these Parks', we want kids, we want more people to come visit these Parks to learn about the history of these Parks. We need to help the world because the glaciers are slowly going away. We need more people to help... to understand that these glaciers aren't going to be here that long if we don't do something about it." -Gerald Maitland The Parkbound Maitlands are a traveling family of four that have been to HUNDREDS of National Park Units, and have collected incredible stories and fascinating knowledge, over the last 8 years. I met the Junior Park Rangers Gerald and Jameson Maitland, and their parents Cheri and Jim at Exit Glacier in Alaska, because of their vests and jackets that were LITERALLY covered in Jr Park Ranger badges and patches. I asked if I could hear their story for the podcast and they excitedly agreed. Meeting the Parkbound Maitlands were one of the highlights of my entire trip. You can tell how much I enjoyed the conversation during this interview, and after I turned the mic off, we continued to chat for hours, and still keep in touch. We had so much in common, even beyond our shared love of Parks we had so many stories to exchange. Plus, they’re just really nice people! After I chatted with the kids about National Parks, I talked to their parents about stories of traveling and meeting people on the road, then we headed to their RV (with an attached trailer) to get out of the rain and talk even more. In this interview we talk about their many years of National Park travel, the things they’ve learned while visiting the units, some of their many stories, tips for travel, and so, so much more. And I end this episode in a unique way, so you won’t want to miss that. After listening to this interview, you will want to see the incredible amount of patches and badges they have. You can find a picture of the family (holding my pup) with all of the badges on the Nat Park Stories Instagram and Facebook. You can also see a bunch of pictures of them and hear a ton of their fascinating stories online, just google Parkbound Maitlands.
3 minutes | 2 years ago
Denali Interview with Patrice La Vigne About Subaru's Zero Landfill Initiative
Do you know how long it takes a water bottle to completely decompose? Take a guess, and then listen to this episode. As I was walking out of the visitor center in Denali, I saw a table with a sign about Subaru’s Zero Landfill Initiative in the parks. I’d never heard of it, so I had to stop and check it out. In this interview, I talk with Patrice La Vigne about what the program is doing and what we can personally do to lessen our impact in the parks. Being a big Nat Parks traveler herself, she also gives tips for how we can show up to the parks as prepared as possible. After listening to this interview, you’ll probably want more information about Subaru's Zero Landfill initiative, you can check out at Subaru.com/csr/environment. It’s a pretty awesome program! Let’s hear the story. --- Check out Nat Park Stories on Facebook, Instagram and Patreon for more content!
3 minutes | 2 years ago
Denali Interview with Two Adorable Little Girls
After riding the bus for 4 hours, we finally arrived at Eielson, which gives a breathtaking view of the park. While I was taking in the view, two little girls ran up to me and started asking questions about my mic. I asked their parents if I could do a quick interview and they agreed. The girls, Lacy and Tora, were giddy, and although Tora soon lost interest in the interview, Lacy gives a really fun description of the view. This is one episode where I’m going to urge you to go to my Instagram and see the picture of the two adorable girls. Not only can you see their too-cute-for words smiles, you’ll also be able to see what Lacy was describing during the interview. Let’s hear their story! --- Check out Nat Park Stories on Facebook, Instagram and Patreon for more content!
13 minutes | 2 years ago
Denali Bus Interview with Sarah Liem About the Impact of the National Park
When was the last time something was so beautiful, it literally brought you to tears? For Sarah Liem it was while we rode the bus through Denali National Park. Sarah — also comically known as Bacon— is literally one of my favorite people I met on this trip because of her willingness to be vulnerable and real, and the elegant and hilarious way she put the feelings that this park evoked for her. She came on this trip with Henry, who I interviewed in the last episode. It was both their first trip together and their first trip to Alaska. A couple of minutes in, we viewed some bears for a bit, and although I originally thought to cut it out, I decided to leave it in because it really felt like part of the experience — it should make you feel like you’re riding the bus along with us. Sarah and Henry are so easy to get along with, you can hear our friendship blossoming over the interview, which sends us off topics here and there, and they even took me out to dinner for my birthday the next day. This interview gives you a peek into why I LOVE doing this podcast. I am so moved by the parks, and although I can’t always adequately describe the feelings the parks invoke, some of my interviewees can verbalize it quite well. I also love the friendships that are formed from the strangers I meet in the parks. I hope this episode makes you feel like you’re riding the bus, forming a friendship, and seeing breathtaking sights right along with us. --- Check out Nat Park Stories on Facebook, Instagram and Patreon for more content!
7 minutes | 2 years ago
Denali Bus Interview with Henry Turner
When you think of Alaska, what comes to mind? It is a specific image is it a fuzzy question mark? Like many of the other people I met in Denali, I met Henry, traveling with his friend Sarah, on the bus. They got on later than the others, stopping the bus on its way through the park, traveling to their next camping destination with their big backpacks, holding a bear proof box — the first I’d ever seen. When the bus stopped to pick them up, Henry yelled up to the driver that their Bear Spray had blown up all over his hands and pack so they had to store their bags in the luggage area under the bus. I didn’t know if they’d want to chat, but true to my nature, I was too curious not to ask. The interview with both of them turned out to be a couple of my favorites. They both talk with palpable excitement and the same eagerness I felt when gazing on the landscape. ` We actually became friends after the interview and they took me out to dinner for my birthday the next day. It was some of my favorite memories from the whole trip and something I remind myself of when I’m questioning whether or not I should approach strangers. In this interview, Henry and I talk about Denali, and some special moments he and Sarah shared in the park that made her cry and took his breath away, as well as what drew him to Alaska, and why others should visit this big question mark of a state. Let’s jump in! --- Check out Nat Park Stories on Facebook, Instagram and Patreon for more content!
11 minutes | 2 years ago
Denali Interview With A Bus Driver Who Shares What It’s Like to Work at Denali National Park
What Keeps Elton Parks, a Denali Bus Driver, Coming Back to the Park for the Last 33 Years? And how does he describe working in Denali? You won’t want to miss this. When I was about to board the bus, a nice Park Ranger out front said to me, “Oh you’ve got Elton! He’s great. You’re going to love this.” I wasn’t skeptical for a minute, as right away the bus driver introduced himself as Elton Parks, and gave the facts of the trip, adding his humorous touch to even the instructions for the ride. Through the whole bus trip, Elton kept up the commentary, telling us the history and geography of many of the 66 miles that we drove. On the 8 hour round trip, when I wasn’t interviewing the rest of the passengers, I was sitting in the very front, peppering Elton with questions. Not only does he have a fascinating story about how he only expecting to work in Denali for one summer, then coming back for the last 33 years, but Elton also has a fascinating life and is full of wonderful travel stories. As he states in the interview, he's flown over 5 million miles with over 190 airlines, and done over 300,000 miles of rail travel. Although I found the whole conversation interesting, this interview really starts picking up pace around the 6 minute mark when I asked Elton what brings him back the Park year after year. And if you want those links that he mentions at the end, he did email them to me, so just let me know! Let’s get started!
11 minutes | 2 years ago
Denali Interview with Texan Family On a 17 Day RV Trip Through Alaska
Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be just feet away from a hungry grizzly (or 12)? In this episode, I interview a father and a son from Huston that are on a 17 day RV road trip with their family. I sat next to them on the bus in Denali and asked if I could hear a bit about their experiences in Alaska so far. Although we do talk about Denali throughout the interview, we mainly focus on their experience in Katmai National Park, where they had just witnessed a bunch of grizzlies catching salmon. Two things to note in the interviews, one is that Michael told me beforehand that he’s a little shy, so you’ll listen as he relaxes and gets excited (a tiny bit) during his telling of his love of Denali, his favorite National Park in the country. And about half way through Andrew, his son, will hop on the interview and tell some really great stories about seeing the bears in Katmai. There is also a little bit of chatter from the passengers and the bus driver, who did a great job of narrating the whole experience and who I interview later… but overall, I think you’ll find this a really interesting perspective of Alaska and it’s Parks from a Texan family. Also, after Andrew’s awesome description of the bears, you’re going to want to check out his instagram, which he gave me permission to share. Just search Andrew Shirey on instagram. Enjoy!
3 minutes | 2 years ago
Welcome to the Nat Park Stories Podcast
Fall back in love with America through stories of strangers in the National Parks. Follow the adventures of a solo female VanLifer exploring the US National Parks, and talking to people she meets about their impact. --- Welcome to the Nat Park Stories Podcast. This is a podcast that follows me, Summer Slevin, as I travel to all the National Parks in my home van with my pup and have conversations with the many strangers I met. In 2015, I went to my first National Park, the Rocky Mountain National Park, and I fell in love. I bought my National Parks Pass, and traveled in my car for two months talking to strangers and exploring Nature. A couple years later, after working the rat race and settling into the corporate world, I found myself burnt out and miserable. I had also witnessed so much division in America that I had started falling out of love with it and looking for international places to relocate. At the end of 2017, I tried to remember a time when I felt at peace and in love with the country. My mind went back to being in the National Parks and talking to people about their beauty. At the beginning of 2018, I decided to create a little home in a van, and set off to all our National Parks for the next two years, in hopes of falling back in love with America. I wanted to start it in a big way, to prove to myself and others that I was serious. In July, I hit the road from my hometown in Central Illinois, and headed to Last Frontier, Alaska. My first park of the podcast, Denali National Park, blew my mind and instantly I felt myself fall back in love with my country. My hope is that you will too, through the stories of strangers I meet in breathtaking places. Each interview will vary — every story is different and inspiring in their own way— most of the time, they will center on what it feels like in that specific national park and why others should visit these protected places. Sometimes you’ll hear my story of exploring the parks, or the people I meet along the way, but most of the stories are of the people I meet in parks. Every month, I plan to release all the episodes from one park, in the order I traveled to each of them. Every 3-6 months, I will take a break, breaking the podcast into seasons. During season one, I will talk to strangers at Denali, Kenai Fjords, and Wrangell - St Elias National Parks all in Alaska, as well as Big Bend, Guadalupe Mountains, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park in Texas and New Mexico. You’ll hear from park rangers, bus drivers, tour guides, retirees, children, friends of mine, families, couples, single travelers, bird watchers, authors, Americans, international travelers, and so much more. You can find pictures and stories of the parks, people, and my adventures -and chat with me-, on my Facebook, Instagram, and website. Just search Nat-Park-Stories. And if you want to support this podcast, receive post cards from the parks, get behind the scenes content and more, go to Patreon.com/NatParkStories. Just a note, most of these recordings are captured outside — in the parks, so you might hear quite a bit of Natural Sounds… please bare with me. I have also never created a podcast before, so I’m really open to your feedback about what you think will make this podcast even better. Feel free to reach out to me on Facebook, Instagram, or my website. I am really so excited to share this journey with you, so let’s get started! :)
17 minutes | 2 years ago
Denali Interview with Ike Waits National Park Hiking and Photography Guide Author
In this episode we’ll be talking about my first Park of the Podcast, Denali National Park in Alaska, where I went at the end of July 2018 — and we'll talk to a man who’s been coming to the park since the 60s. The thing that stood out to most people I interviewed is the vastness and isolation of the park. You can drive 15 miles into Denali National Park, the rest of the park is only accessible by bus or hiking. While I took an 8 hour round trip bus ride, I interviewed almost everyone that rode along with me, including Ike Waits (WAITs) the man who quite literally wrote the book on Denali. I honestly couldn’t believe my luck! He’s been coming to the park since 1967 and has seen a lot of changes since then. One of the big things that he’s noticed is an increase in the superficial enjoyment of the park. In 2000, he wrote hiking and photography guide that he hopes will encourage people to get off the bus and explore the park. I was so excited to chat with him about his experiences in the park, how it feels to hike the vast wilderness of Denali, why he thinks people should get out and explore, and so much more. As he says at the end, we cover a lot of ground in this interview so buckle up and enjoy, but don’t forget to get off the bus at some point!
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