Top 5 National Parks For Family Fun

If your family enjoys the splendor of the outdoors then fall in love with the National Parks. You can even lodge or camp in many parks. These parks are even good for those who just prefer to drive and enjoy the scenic scenery. Children can also enroll in the Junior Ranger Program by checking in at the visitors center. From beautiful landscapes, wildlife, hiking, waterfalls and so much more, anyone who is appreciates the beauty of nature will love the parks.

First let’s mention a couple of possible free ways to get into the national parks. 4th graders get in for free along with the whole family. Active duty military and dependents get in for free as well. Remember you must apply for these passes and bring the physical copies. Have fun at our national parks.

1. Yellowstone National Park

If your family could only see one park this would be the one. The park is located at the northwest corner of Wyoming and just extends north enough to get into Montana. This expansive park offers lodging and camping inside the park. Checkout the Old Faithful Inn right next to the iconic geyser. There is Yellowstone Lake, the Yellowstone Grand Canyon and the famous mud pots. At some parks you might see wildlife, particularly deer, but in Yellowstone you will see free roaming buffalo. Remain a safe distance or even in your car, and do not be like some parents and bring your small children up to a wild animal that is the size of a cow. Plus interacting with the wildlife could get you arrested or fined, so just observe and report any problems to the park ranger.

If you need more adventure check out the Grand Teton National Park directly to south. If you are up for a long drive to a park bordering Canada then Glacier National Park is an excellent choice. Look in the right place and you can observe the mountain goat.

2. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Two sister parks side by side offers giant Sequoia Trees in one and majestic canyon and river views in the other. The biggest trees in the world are here and so is the National Christmas Tree. There is even a fallen tree people can walk through. That’s how big these trees are in Sequoia National Park.

A couple of photo tricks for these big trees. Find a grove of trees and have your kids stand on one side while you take the panoramic shot with you camera. When they are off the frame have them run around the back and wait for them to come back in the frame and they will appear on both sides. Also, when taking your group photo with a Sequoia tree use your panoramic setting vertically, so the group comes out with the whole tree.

Kings Canyon offers a different setting of its own beauty as a river tumbles and at time rages down the valley. There are beautiful lofty views atop the canyon that make this easy to see why this receives national park status. Hike a trail, picnic next to the river or go for a swim and enjoy nature at Kings Canyon.

To the east of the park is Death Valley National Park, but getting around the mountains does make the transit much longer.

A point of distinction for the trees is that Sequoias are the biggest trees, but the tallest tree are about 500 miles north in California at the Redwood National and State Parks. If your trip happens to take you towards Napa or San Francisco, California, then consider the Redwood Forest of the Muir Woods National Monument. Be advised that a reservation is required. There are also tours out of San Francisco.

Hidden Gem: If you cannot make it to Muir Woods consider a drive along the Russian River a little further north. Here you can see the redwoods at the state run Armstrong Redwoods. There is also plenty of opportunity to visit wineries along the way, including Korbel that makes California Champagne. Continue along the Russian River all the way to the Pacific Coast if you desire. Leave a comment if you have any hidden gems to share.

3. Yosemite National Park

About four hours north of Sequoia is the majestic Yosemite National Park. If you are looking for stunning views then this is the right place. Consider coming after the snow melt when the famous Yosemite Falls is flowing. Later in the year the falls can dry up. There is a section of the park that has giant Sequoias, so if you cannot make it down to Sequoia National Park you can still experience some giant trees. Enjoy ice skating at Curry Village if your visit happens to be during the winter. Like most parks, some areas are closed during the winter months due to accessibility issues from weather. has some great suggestions on how to experience the park in two days.

If there is extra time to drive, check out the Devils Postpile National Monument south of the park.

4. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This is a great park with NO ENTRANCE FEE!!! Great views and wildlife are certain in this park. Most of the park is located in Tennessee and borders into North Carolina. Cade’s Cove offers a great auto tour.

The Cataloochee area offers excellent viewing of elk. Come in the morning or in the evening. Proper timing could make the difference in seeing the elk. Come as dusk is getting close. Elkmont is being preserved by the park, and is an old vacation destination of the rich that you can now go see.

Dollywood is an amusement park in the area in Tennessee. Another option is the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. See the Vanderbilt mansion and travel back in time and see what was once only for the rich.

5. Grand Canyon National Park

The wonder of the Grand Canyon can excite the kid in everyone. The views are simply breathtaking. Enjoy various tours, including hiking or rafting on the river. Check the weather before you go as elevation changes come with a changing temperature. In any hiking environment be prepared for emergencies. Emergency blankets and whistles are light weight and easy to carry. Water is extremely important, but especially here. Take pictures as you go, because everyone comes for the view.

To the west is Parashant National Monument with more views, but plan on moving camp. To the northeast of Grand Canyon is The Grand Staircase National Monument and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Again plan on breaking camp if you wish to visit these amazing places. Keep on going and you will find more national parks.

We hope you enjoyed the list of the 5 best national parks to visit with your family. What parks would you pick? Tell others your recommendations and tips in the comments. We here at BDG love our parks and would like to hear what you have to say.

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That’s Just Roy (Enabling Toxic Behavior)

Have you ever questioned the motives of someone in the workplace and you get an answer that is something like, that’s how they have always been. That is a validation and dismissive answer. This person can be someone who’s physical contact seems to get excessive, has excessively dirty mouth or many other reasons that take away from the workplace environment.

There was a guy name Roy who suffered a debilitating disease almost 30 years ago. His speech and motor functions were severely impacted from that point, but he was well enough to sort mail. Maybe his disability prevented him from being the fastest or the best at his job, but he could handle it. The effects of the disease left him single and never able to be a husband or a father. People felt genuine sympathy for Roy.

Roy also had a dirty mouth. He spoke of suggestive content in front of female employees and often directly to spectate individual females. Many people felt sorry for Roy, so despite making people feel uncomfortable there was an uneasy tolerance of this toxic behavior. A female should not feel comfortable in this environment. This language is not normally allowed in the workplace, but that’s just Roy everyone would say.

Ann was giving training one day talking about appropriate behavior in the workplace. Megan brought up Roy and his inappropriate comments. Ann did not work with Roy, but she knew about him. “That is just Roy,” she said waiving off the notion of accusation. The person not satisfied pointed out from the training they just received that the response was enabling bad behavior.

Ann paused for a moment and seriously pondered Megan’s objection. Ann looked at Megan and said, “You know what… You are right.”

That is what it took to get Roy put on notice that either his behavior had to change or he could no longer be employed. Roy was given a chance, but eventually let go.

The excuse of that’s just Roy no longer worked. Female employees got their workplace back by not accepting bad behavior and courage to stand up.

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Burn Out

Have you ever lost motivation and felt burned out. I have! Doing the smallest task was hard and so was helping people. Why had I hit this plateau? I worked; a lot. I spent half of my time at work, literally. My life was centered around work. I started going to school and that half of my life that was off work was spent getting my Associates Degree. I was single and had no family, but I had no time just to be me either. On top of that my boss wanted us at work more and he only supported my education because he had to support it publicly, but behind the scene he was very opposed to my education.

He made it clear I was not do school work on duty. That was strange, because he did not count duty hours as work hours until someone higher up finally told him if a person is on duty they are at work. Having an unsupportive boss makes life difficult and is a big contributing factor to burn out.

The result was emotionally devastating. I was spent. Fortunately for me I transferred to a new workplace and I also finished my AA at the same time. That help me get out of the hard place I was at mentally and on with my life.

In another post I talked about work-life balance. If you are feeling yourself begin to burn out, check your balance and make sure your resiliency is built up. If things are out of your control then get help, because you are worth it!

One other point, to make sure you do not burn out is to make sure your career is advancing. If you are not going any further in your organization then your motivation can drop. It might be time to check your options and look elsewhere.

Have you dealt with burn out?

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Ban Open Carry For Guns In Businesses

Should a business have a right to ask customers not to open carry in there stores? The answer is yes, because that is there store. Footwear and clothing are required and a business should have a right to refuse a voluntary transaction to anyone, although they would have to justify the reason.

Of course, there should be an exception for professionals required to carry a gun as part of their job. There may also be sporting areas or gun ranges where a gun openly carried is acceptable.

This is not a second amendment issue, because these are businesses asking customers not to open carry and not the government. The government already bans guns from many facilities anyway for security reasons. There are also concealed carry laws customers can follow. In order to be a legal concealed carrier the person has to prove responsible gun ownership. A responsible gun owner does not want to show off their piece. On thing a gun owner must protect themselves against are gun grabs. Proper concealment is the best way to protect against this problem.

Guns can be used for non lethal purposes like target competitions. However, the reason for guns existence is to lethally harm. That is the purpose of concealed or open carry. The weapon is on standby should the need arise.

Anyone can carry concealed, but only those permitted can do it legally. What is the point of open carry except to show off the gun. Regular citizens are not to use the gun for fashion or intimidation simply by displaying a gun on their hip. A responsible gun owner knows the gun comes out when it is intended to be used. That means no gun is visible if there is a dispute about a parking space or anything else. People should be intimidated seeing regular citizens carrying guns in a dispute.

There are rightfully gun laws that prohibit certain people from carrying a gun, such as felons. If open carry is fashionable and everyone does it, a store cannot question each person to find out if they are a legal gun carrier and check all of the information. The only thing they can do is ask anyone who open carries to leave the store so there is no ambiguity.

If a person is concealed carrying by law then the store does not know and the gun owner assume liability of the firearm. By allowing open gun carriers in the store, what is the liability of the store? Accidental discharges and abuse of firearms are a reality and there is no way to know if everyone open carrying is responsible.

As a supporter of the second amendment and a gun owner, I think open carry is a bad idea for responsible gun owners. Open carry is for the professionals. I am open to arguments opposing my point of view in the comment section.

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Trade War With China: Cold War II

The next Cold War hinges on the next presidential election in the United States. If President Trump is re-elected the trade war with China has the potential to heat up and bring on the next Cold War. If he loses the next president will have the choice of continuing to challenge or enrich China.

The United States could be a little wealthier without the second Cold War, but consider the first Cold War. The Soviet Union wanted to destroy freedom and democracy. Communism began to spread under their influence and blessing. China has become more aggressive as it has become the world’s second largest economy with similar aspirations as being the world’s leading communist government with a goal of being the world’s model and dominant government.

Consider this, the free world is based on the government of the United States. That is why there are American flags at the protest in Hong Kong, but America shares wealth and that is something communist societies do not do, because the only wealth is power held by few. If China became the premiere power then other countries would follow their form of government and the freedom of humanity would be cut off by a government aimed on power. Communism centers around power and people opposed to that power are a threat to the system.

The United States has gotten along fine with Europe and other freedom accepting countries and shared the wealth, while China has sat back building their economy and using the wealth generated in the west from trade enough to keep the United States economy rich enough to largely ignore human right violations.

They have also held down their currency unfairly to favor their economy. Most importantly they use companies who want to invest into the large Chinese market to give up or steal trade secrets. This helps them create and develop an advanced culture, which in turn helps get them what they want, which is power.

Every government wants power. In the United States there is the balance of power, which is intended to be a check on the government getting too much power and ruling over the people instead of serving them. That is a great difference between communism and democracy.

President Jingping of China, who is President for life, which is a power grab in itself, has promised more power for China. Power wants power. This can already be seen by the power grab in the South China Sea and the bullying of Taiwan. The Chinese ambitions will not stop there.

The world becomes a reflection of the dominant powers. These powers control the world’s resources. The real threat is not competition, but the threat to humanity. Communism does not value life the way democracy values life. A democratic government at the very least must think twice and be called to account for taking life if the press and the people uphold their duty with the power given to them in the democratic system. Communism does not care about life.

Resources give power. Right now the westernized countries share resources. China is working with countries right now and building itself into a global controller of resources. Economic deals are being accepted by other countries that essentially give their economic future to China. China is building a new communist bloc.

The democracies of the world can renew their bonds right now and update NATO to take on the threat. These democratic allies must continue to trade fairly with each other and share the wealth. Muslims might even find an ally in the west where they are treated much better than they are under communist China. These democracies also need to innovate together. The democracies collectively can beat China in innovation, because China wants to be singularly the greatest power. The democratic nations want to share wealth. These countries have a wider variety and diverse talent compared to China, because they share power.

China does not want a share in the global market, they want to control it and place their version of communism at the forefront of power. Now is the time for democracies to take a stand and stop making them more powerful. This can be the new golden age for freedom and democracy.

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Global Warming Favors Russia

Arctic ice is melting. A simple look at any map of the Arctic Ocean and you can see how much territory Russia has along the ocean front. Under international law they also have rights to the resources 200 nautical miles from their shoreline, which includes any islands offshore they own. This does not count for any claims for extension that might be made to control the resources over an even greater area. The reason of why the United States wanted to buy Greenland is clear, which is as part of an Arctic strategy that competes with Russia and to have a bigger claim to the abundant resources.

Russia is clearly the main player in the Arctic. Every major country, including China, has an interest in the Arctic. Why is this such a big deal?

The untapped resources are certainly a big deal. Trillions of dollars worth of resources are here. According to CNBC, “At play is between one-fifth and a quarter of the world’s untapped fossil-fuel resources, not to mention a range of mineable minerals, including gold, silver, diamond, copper, titanium, graphite, uranium and other valuable rare earth elements.” There are a lot of resources and potential jobs in the Arctic. The world economy will grow as this area develops and so will Russia.

There is also faster shipping between Europe and Asia that Russia wants to offer. According to Business Insider, “The Northern Sea Route from Europe to Asia takes only 35 days, compared to a 48-day journey between the continents via the Suez Canal.” This would mean a major traffic lane that would develop major ports across Russia. If the ships can operate in the cold water then less operating hours reduces expenses and the time saved reduces the time inventory sits unsold.

Global warming is leading to the economic boom Russia wants and the United States wants a piece. As the ice recedes infrastructure will continue to develop. As technology adapts to the demands of the extreme cold climate perhaps the Antarctic is next.

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Your Family Has a Right to You

Growing up many of us heard we could be whatever we want. How many of us ever heard we could be a spouse or a parent? Does our measure of success only include what we accomplish at work or do we measure the impact of love we devote to our families? Not the feeling of happy bliss, but the action of love.

There is a desire to be productive and reproduce for many in society. Work and family are good at fulfilling these things. Work accomplishments are good and so are family accomplishments. The one thing that challenges us greater and stretches love past the limits that we previously knew are children. That experience is exemplified through our spouse and the shared experience of family.

Everyone in our family has a right to us. They have a right to our love. Whether it’s the sacred bonds of marriage to the spouse or the actions that resulted in a human life, we have a responsibility to each of them and they have a right to us.

Work is important. Our coworkers should know us professionally. Our family should know us intimately. The question is, do they?

4 Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited,

5 it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances.

6 Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth.

 7 It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes.

1 Corinthians – Chapter 13

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