Find Your Park Expedition 2015

This year has brought many wonderful experiences with it and one of those was being part of the #FYPx 2015, a week long expedition that brought eight social media influencing Millennials for a week of exploring, learning, and finding what National Parks mean to us. Following the trip I had time to reflect and look back at what an amazing experience I had gone through. Join me down below in this post that goes more in depth into my #FYPx experience.

This post originally appeared in Spanish on Huffington Post Voices on October, 29th for #FYPx2015.

Memories From A National Park Expedition

Throughout the span of a week I was able to stand beneath the Milky Way, walk through the lands of Ancestral Pueblo people, and hear first-hand stories from experienced rangers who work hard to spark the interest of the public and inspire them to keep visiting national parks.         

My week long journey began with sweaty palms and nervous thoughts. I had never flown before and didn’t expect myself to be boarding a plane at the crack of dawn to travel to Denver for the kickoff of the National Park Foundation’s Find Your Park Expedition. Upon arrival, I got to meet with the folks that made the expedition possible.

The following day our adventure started as we embarked on the drive toward Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Arriving at the park with only a few hours left in the day, we made the best of it.

The immensity of the star-filled sky above us was breathtaking. We took part in the Night Sky Ranger Program and were shown several constellations that make up the Milky Way. Without a single city sound I was able to experience an amazing quiet night at a natural national treasure.

The majority of the expedition took place at Mesa Verde National park. Throughout our time there we met with many park rangers and park staff. One of them was Tara Travis, the park museum curator who took us on a tour of the museum and informed us of the history behind many of the artifacts on display. She presented us a first-hand look at the work that takes place at the museum.

During our time at Mesa Verde, we were able to participate in several tours led by park rangers through cliff dwellings. We found ourselves trying to make sense of how the Ancestral Pueblo people were able to live and thrive in such a rigorous environment. The paths were narrow and the trails required climbing tall ladders, but all for a worthwhile view.

This trip wouldn't have been the same without the other seven participants of the expedition. We all came with different stories and practices. Bonding with these amazing artists made my experience so much more significant. Being an artist myself, it was inspiring to hear the journey and sense of adventure that led each one of them to the expedition. Coming together from all different parts of the country, I am honored to say I am friends with each of them, and am eager to see all the great things we’ll do moving forward. We all plan to stay connected and even have started to plan trips to visit each other.

Having only visited one other park prior to this expedition, I didn't have much experience when it came to national parks. However, I have left with more than I could ever have dreamed for.

From educational talks with park rangers, to bonding with the other amazing and talented expedition participants, to enjoying the scenic moments on the trip, I am thrilled to be part of the Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque movement and share my amazing experience with you and people everywhere. Now it’s time for you to get out there and find your park!

Javier Gonzalez1 Comment