On our upcoming summer trip, we searched far and wide for the best lodging options in and around the national parks. At our first stop, North Cascades, we selected Totem Trail Motel for its proximity to the park, rustic feel and reasonable price. After making our reservation by phone (the only way) the friendly owners told us they would mail some area information. Just expecting our confirmation and maybe a brochure, I was surprised to find a giant yellow envelope stuffed in my mailbox one day. Inside was a current National Park newsletter, a scenic highway guidebook, a North Cascades park map (with added handwritten notes and directions), and a two page handwritten letter detailing our reservation and other attractions they think we would like in the area. Homemade ice cream and organic berries just down the road? I know where we’ll be after our hiking: Cascadian Farm. These personal touches are why we love staying at family-run places off the beaten path. You don’t get that at the side-of-the-interstate chain hotel. Makes we wish we were staying at Totem Trail more than one night! The next day however, we will be off to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho to revel in the fantastically over-the-top “Flamingo Beach” themed room at the Flamingo Motel, another unique accommodation we found.
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- 10.10.21 : The waterfalls of Hocking Hills State Park. Pics 1 and 2: Upper and Lower Falls along the Grandma Gatewood Trail near Old Man’s Cave. Pic 3: Cedar Falls.10.10.21 : The rhythm of the campsite… night, sunrise and afternoon from our wooded oasis at Stacked Stones Retreat in the Hocking Hills.10.09.21 : Had an awesome private evening ride with Becky at Blue Moon Acres Stables in the Hocking Hills. We rode the father/daughter team of Stroker (Nick) and Mystique (Neil).10.09.21 : Took a walk around the earthworks at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park on the way to our camping weekend in Ohio’s Hocking Hills. These geometric ceremonial mounds were built by native cultures that lived in the area from about 200 BCE through 500 CE. The park is made up of six separate sites located around Chillicothe, Ohio.07.29.21 : The final big hike of our summer trip was Pennsylvania Mountain near Fairplay, Colorado. It’s not a well-known peak, but it’s a 13er and provides great views of the continental divide and surrounding mountain ranges in a quick (but steep) 5 mile round trip.07.21.21 : At 9 miles, our hike down the Grand Canyon’s North Kaibab Trail was our longest and by far the most strenuous hike of the summer. We went as far as Roaring Springs, 4.5 miles and 3,200 feet below the rim.