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Ordinary Sherpa: Family Adventure Coaching and Design

Apr 27, 2022

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Brown signs: defines a local attraction, used universally around the world as I have a listener @amyrunskncoffee on IG who has shared brown signs in South Korea.  (Referenced in Episode 041 | Adventure Potential of Brown Signs

My daughter is 10 and has a goal to visit all the national parks before she graduates high school. Here is the list of the parks she has visited and highlights from each. Even though National Park week has past I imagine many are still planning summer park visits so I thought I’d dedicate this episode to “best of national parks” ten year old edition.  

Below are the parks my daughter visited, when we visited, and her favorite memory from that visit. 

1. Gateway Arch, St. Louis (July 2013): she was asleep for the views from the top, but fireworks under the arch was a highlight

2. Yosemite, California (June 2016) all the waterfalls and climbing on the rocks

3. Cuyahoga, Ohio (June 2018) biking the towpath

4. Smoky Mountains (August 2019) the “llamas” at Roaring Forks 

5. Mammoth Caves (August 2019) the squirrel that fell from the tree after our cave tour

6. Saguaro, AZ (Nov 2019) horse camp but was a little scary too when her horse took off

7. Lassen Volcanic, CA (June 2020) hike to boiling lake

8. Crater Lake, OR (June 2020) our June snowball fight

9. Red Woods, CA (June 2020) hiking fern canyon and Lady Bird woods at sunset

10. Kenai Fjords, AK (August 2020) climbing the bluffs and memorable was the massive shift in weather…soaked!

11. Grand Tetons, Wy (Dec 2020) Seeing the moose fighting 

12. Congaree, SC (March 2021) the junior ranger scavenger hunt on the boardwalks

13. Hawai’i Volcanoes (June 2021) climbing on lava beds

14. Haleakala, Maui (June 2021) walking in the clouds 

15. Channel Islands (June 2021) playing tag in the Eucalyptus grove, seeing dolphins on the boat ride

16. Theodore Roosevelt NP (August 2021) the prairie dogs and sliding down the rocks

17. Wind Cave (August 2021) didn’t tour, the buffalo

18. Badlands National Park (August 2021) climbing up and down the cable ladder on the hike 

19. Rocky Mountain National Park (Sept 2021) The baby moose who kept running after us, and all the elk

20. White Sands National Park (Dec 2021) jumping/sliding down the dunes at sunset. The sand was really cold!

Key Takeaways

  1. While National Parks are well-known brown signs, a brown sign is a locally designated attraction worth checking out.  

  1. The 4th grade pass is a great excuse to let you children determine your national park trip.  Since it provides free entrance for the entire car for any one with the Every Kid Every Park pass from September 1- August 31st, you can even make an entire year of it. There are other National Park pass benefits for veterans, and seniors, in addition to the yearlong America the Beautiful Pass.

  1. How do you or your kids document their adventures?  As mentioned my daughter has a tradition of taking a picture with the entrance sign, has a postcard of all of the national parks (Link on Amazon to the pack) and writes a point in time memory from her experience. 

  1. Not all of her highlights were planned.  Make sure during an experience you take time to allow things to develop.   

  1. Don’t overlook the simple things.  The highlight of Yosemite for Heidi’s daughter was climbing on the rocks.  

  1. Consider more than checking the box.  What are some lesser known aspects to the park?  What makes this park unique?

  1. No need to correct their memories.  They experience things through their own filter, let that memory be theirs.  If my daughter wants to remember the llamas. Let them “Walk in Clouds” 

  1. Wildlife in the winter is a very different experience.  Consider off-season to discover elements of the park that shine during different seasons.

  1. Slow down and smell the eucalyptus trees.  Memories are not always based on what you are “doing” all of your senses contribute to the overall experience.  

  1. Nature is a built in playground, but kids don’t see it that way unless you nurture it.  Wild animals are still wild animals and all safety considerations are there for a reason.  Moose are not ho-hum animals.  

Feel free to join the conversation in the Ordinary Sherpa Facebook Group to learn from others or share some of your favorite National Park experiences.  

I want to close this episode by saying thank you and highlighting a written review.  I have not read a written review in a while and thought this was a great example of what to write.  If you have not left a written review, please do.  I have an entire tutorial on how to leave a written review on apple podcasts at

This review comes from Hitix006 and it states 

Inspirational, down to earth and energizing

Love the focus on adventure big and small. Heidi is sooo authentic and energizing as she shares her families adventure journey and brings great guests to her passionate community.

Thank you for those kind words, for tuning in each week and sharing these episodes.  It’s what makes this work so energizing.  I can’t wait to read your written review next week!