Saturday, December 31, 2016

What can be done in 48 hours?

Mammoth Cave National Park
Kentucky

August 2016


From after school on a Friday to a Sunday night, below is what I accomplished with Kellisa:

1. Fly R/T from Sacramento to Indianapolis.
2. Drive 450 miles R/T between Indianapolis and Mammoth Cave National Park.
3. Cross a river on a ferry.
4. Drive a dirt road trail.
5. Hike all the accessible trails in Mammoth Cave National Park.
6. Go on the first wheelchair tour in Mammoth Cave in more than 14 years.

It all started five or six years ago when I was close to Mammoth Cave National Park while in the area for work. I stopped by the visitor center for information. Specifically, I wanted to know if Kellisa could go on any of the cave tours. I was surprised to learn that Mammoth Cave did not have a single option for people in wheelchairs because the elevator was broke. I asked how long until it would be fixed and the ranger had no idea. He went on to explain that the elevator for the accessible tour had been broke for 8 or 9 years. I was also told the park didn't have the money to fix the elevator.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Alaska





Denali National Park and Preserve
Alaska

November 2016

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: All 50!

Hawaii





Puu Ualakaa State Park
Hawaii

November 2016

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 49/50.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Illinois





White Pines Forest State Park
Illinois

November 2016

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 48/50.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Iowa





Bellevue State Park
Iowa

November 2016

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 47/50.

Vermont




Hillwinds Trails
Vermont

November 2016

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 46/50.

Monday, December 19, 2016

New Hampshire





Chesterfield Gorge State Wayside
New Hampshire

November 2016

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 45/50.

Massachusetts




Mount Greylock State Reservation
Massachusetts

November 2016

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 44/50.

New York




Buckingham Lake
New York

November 2016

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 43/50.

Utah

Bonneville Salt Flats
Utah

October 2016

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 42/50.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Nevada





Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
Nevada

September 2016

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 41/50.

Desert Trails

Saguaro National Park                            Death Valley National Park


Saguaro National Park, AZ
&
Death Valley National Park, CA

March 2016

Arizona





Petrified Forest National Park
Arizona

January 2016

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 40/50.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

Kansas





Arikaree Breaks
Kansas

August 2015

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 37/50.

Nebraska





Chadron State Park
Nebraska

August 2015

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 36/50.

South Dakota






Jewel Cave National Monument
South Dakota

August 2015

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 35/50.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Wyoming





Yellowstone National Park
Wyoming

August 2015

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 34/50.

Idaho





Henry's Lake State Park
Idaho

July 2015

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 33/50.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Montana






Makoshika State Park
Montana

July 2015

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 32/50.

North Dakota







Theodore Roosevelt National Park
North Dakota

July 2015

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 31/50.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Pennsylvania





White Clay Creek Preserve
Pennsylvania

July 2015

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 30/50.

New Jersey





Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
New Jersey

July 2015

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 29/50.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Delaware






Lums Pond State Park
Delaware

July 2015

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 28/50.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Maryland




Elk Neck State Park
Maryland

July 2015

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 27/50.

West Virginia





Cathedral State Park
West Virginia

July 2015

Kellisa and Laurel states hiked together: 26/50.

Friday, December 2, 2016

"Sometimes my dad forgets me"

Everglades National Park  (February 2012)




Laurel told her uncle, "Sometimes my dad forgets me". This was in reference to hiking trips I took with just Kellisa because the trails were too long and/or hard for Laurel at the time. I was working on getting Kellisa to each state and figured I had an extra 10 years to worry about getting Laurel to all 50 states by her 18th birthday. Laurel joined Kellisa on several trips and was ahead of Kellisa at the same age as far as states visited. Laurel never said anything and always seemed OK with staying home. But, everything changed when I heard that she was feeling forgotten.

To keep things fair, I was taking Laurel on our own trips. Some had a hiking component, but most were centered around wildlife which Laurel showed a great interest. Her favorite animal is the polar bear, so we traveled to the Memphis Zoo to see their polar bears. I'll never forget the disappointment on Laurel's 4-year-old face when she realized that she would not be allowed to pet the polar bears.

Since Laurel shared her feelings, she has been included on almost every hiking trip with Kellisa.

Last Hikes without Laurel (2011 - 2016)

Bataan Memorial Death March, NM (2012)


Laurel joined our family in October 2010 at 16-months-old. We included Laurel immediately in our outdoor adventures. However, she was too little to join Kellisa on some of our longer and more difficult hikes. We continued to hike in new states and push our limits while Laurel would join us on shorter hikes. Eventually, Laurel became a full member of our goal to visit and hike in all 50 United States. We reset the goal to have both girls visit and hike together in all 50 states. 

With few exceptions since 2014, Laurel is with Kellisa on all her hikes. 

Below are the picture highlights of Kellisa's last hikes without Laurel. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

When Hiking Became Pushiking (2008 - 2010)

Jacksonville, FL (December 2010)


It's no coincidence that our travels and hiking destinations increased greatly as Kellisa needed fewer hospital stays and surgeries. We started to push the limits of the types of trails we were attempting because Kellisa was "bored" with paved paths. I created the word "Pushiking" to describe pushing Kellisa while hiking on non-accessible trails. The rougher and bumpier the path, the more Kellisa enjoyed the trail. While I do enjoy an "easy" stroll down a trail rated ADA, I also favor the more challenging trails because they are usually more scenic.

Kellisa's Early Hiking Path (2000 - 2007)

Illinois Winters

Kellisa's Path to visiting and hiking in all 50 United States started slow, mostly because of her unstable medical condition. 

Kellisa drove through most of her early states to visit family in Illinois and Texas. Kellisa had her first dozen states visited before we started hiking in 2002. We didn't really start traveling with the intention to hike until 2006 when Kellisa was 7-years-old. 

Below are some of the highlights from the early years along Kellisa's Path.