Eleven national parks

Not only does King’s Canyon/Sequoia have the biggest trees on earth and a glacier-carved valley second only to Yosemite, but it’s an automatic two-for-one on any national parks life-list because you have to go through a bit of the former park to get to the latter. Along with my previous eight, and Death Valley which I forgot to mention visiting last Thanksgiving, this means I’m up to 11 national parks. Only 47 to go!

Did I mention that I was almost eaten by a bear? I was sleeping peacefully in my tent, when all of a sudden I heard my neighbor shout “Bear! Bear! Get out of here, bear!” and similarly alarming epithets. Then like a dozen people lined up to shine their flashlights and battery lanterns in my sleepy eyes, while discussing which route the bear had taken to escape — which appeared to be directly behind my tent. I knew the bear would be coming for me.

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