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….where you discovered a personal or family history connection

While on my year-long camping and hiking trip around the United States, I visited my brother in Montana.  He told me he had my grandparent’s journals from their travels around the US & Mexico.

My grandparents were avid campers in their retirement.  They would pack up and leave for 3 months or more.  We would get postcards regularly sharing stories of their adventures. I believe these postcards and stories are what started my passion for the great outdoors (as well as my love of sending my stories to my nieces and nephews.)

Sometimes, my family and I would meet up with them at a campsite. I can still hear my parents and grandparents chatting around a morning fire as we were starting to wake up. I can see my grandpa carving an acorn pipe for me to “smoke” on the hiking trail.

And when all of the cousins would gather for a family reunion, the four girls would sleep in the camper that was nestled into the woods beside their house for summer storage.

To hear that they had a log of their travels was thrilling! I devoured them. Comparing where I had been to their nearly daily log. Making notes on what they had seen at the spots still remaining on my “to-do” list. I wanted to make sure I saw them too.  At times, I would find myself in the same campground and hiking the same trails that they had 30, 40, or even 50 years earlier.

My grandparents have passed on. They would be more than 100 years old now. Every time I head into a park I think of them. I am thankful for the love and respect of the great outdoors that they passed on to me.