Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Book Review: Atlas of the National Parks

It's the day before Thanksgiving and here in northern Wisconsin we got hit with a snowstorm. Nothing crazy by our standards, but anytime you go from zero to like five-ish inches sucks. I think we're supposed to get more and that sucks but what can you do- weather. Also, this year we are going to Matt's parent's for Thanksgiving so it's not like we're having to travel far or anything, so that's  nice. I normally cook a little turkey and a super mini dinner for us on Friday so I'm set for that. I really can't stand the holiday but I participate because other people like it, so don't @ me about being a crap mom/wife. Jackson wanted me to make a pumpkin pie, so as soon as Matt picks up my groceries I will do that.

Even though I hate it.

In the meantime, lets talk about a book that will have you itching for vacation and summer road trips.

National Geographic: 
Atlas of the National Parks
 by Jon Waterman

The first book of its kind, this stunning atlas showcases America's spectacular park system from coast to coast, richly illustrated with an inspiring and informative collection of maps, graphics, and photographs.

From the white sand beaches of Dry Tortugas to the snowy peaks of Denali, this captivating book combines authoritative park maps with hundreds of graphics and photographs to tell the stories of America's sixty one beloved national parks. Former ranger and author Jonathan Waterman introduces readers to the country's scenic reserves and highlights the extraordinary features that distinguish each: magnificent landmarks, thriving ecosystems, representative wildlife, fascinating histories, and more. With striking imagery and state-of-the-art graphics reflecting details of wildlife, climate, culture, archaeology, recreation, and more, this lush reference provides an up-close look at what makes these lands so special--and so uniquely American. A heartfelt foreword from National Geographic CEO Gary Knell reminds us how important these lands are to our lives and our national pride.

I hate always telling you how amazing the photographs are in these books because this is from National Geographic and their threshold is nothing short of amazing, always. So that's what you will get in here. I do want to tell you about the book itself because it is huge. Size huge. It won't even fit on my shelf huge. I can't hate it because the images in her warrant the extreme size because showing a photo of a mountain in a little 4x4 image doesn't do it justice. The pages are a great size that when it's an image of a person looking up as they hike through a valley, you can almost feel the emotional impact that you would have if you were right there. Just the awe of knowing you really are just a tiny speck on this planet and never in your lifetime are you going to see it all. You just can't... but this book will get you a little closer.

Also, if you don't finish this book without wanting to sing This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie, it's like I don't even know you.

The book itself is incredibly organized so if you want to go to a specific park, you can find that park easily. Each park has a map, some basic geographic information, the history of the park, why it became a park, interesting information about the park, why you should see this park, and what you should do in the park. Each section is concise and to the point so if you are trying to narrow down a vacation for you or your family, it's rather easy to compare parks.

Maybe you aren't sure which park you want to go to but you know you want something in the central plains because it's close to you and you don't have a lot of time to spend driving. Not a problem, the book is divided into sections (Eastern Coast & Forest Parks, Central Plains/Lakes & Mountains, Desert Southwest, Pacific Northwest, Alaska & Hawaii, More National Parks at a Glance) so you can compare the major parks in the area. Don't be deterred by the "More National Parks at a Glance" because they are just as amazing as all of the others, they just aren't the first ones you think of when you think of a national park, which is maybe why it's worth spending more time on those because it might be your speed if you want to avoid crowds or prefer something off the beaten path.

Interestingly, I didn't know a lot about Zion National Park other than it existed, but after going through the pages and seeing the images- it has jumped to the top of my road trip list. Maybe because it's not that far from the Grand Canyon people kind of forget about it, but it looks stunning. The photos on those pages makes me wish I could be a bird and just fly through it so I could see it.

Also, small plug for the pages in the way back because there is a list of park units, so National Battlefields, National Military Parks, National Historical Sites, Memorial Sites, Lakeshores, Preserves, Monuments, etc. Absolutely everything memorable or historical that you would want to see is in here. Even if you aren't planning to go to a specific park, you might be going on a road trip to Grandma's but want to plan a stop to stretch your legs or see something cool- this book will help you.

Overall? Obviously it has to be a 5 star book because it's beautiful but it's also educational and an absolute must for anyone planning a trip. Hand this book over to your kids and have them make a top 3 list of where they want to go and plan some trips- trust me when I say anyone who goes through this will get the itch to travel.

If you have a traveler on your Christmas list, or maybe a mom/dad who is always in charge of planning the family vacation- this is an amazing gift for them.

Thank you to National Geographic and TLC Book Tours for having me on this tour, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, this post contains affiliate links. Happy reading! 


mypixieblog said...

I have never been to Zion National Park but it had been on my bucket list for ever, too! What a breathtaking book (and oddly, I do have some traveler friends/family members this would be great for!). Thanks so much for sharing this great review and ps: I would never @ you. We are doing two dinners tomorrow and I am beyond stressed even though I am not making a thing (I did, however, preorder sides at Whole Foods and remind me never to go in there the day before thanksgiving ever again).

Xoxo and hope you are able to enjoy some family time this weekend!

Beth (Coffee Until Cocktails) said...

This book sounds amazing! I am all for anything National Geographic. They do always do an amazing job. We got snow down here too. It's done now, so hopefully you aren't getting too much more up there too!

Lorna said...

I love anything from National Geographic, I used to think it I was Indiana Jones!