So Many Bugs, Freezing Water, Cuts On My Legs, and Why I Loved It

Unit #24 / 412 - Voyageurs National Park Andy has two bug bites on his leg which have been slower to heal than we hoped. Though I've kept an eye on these bright red dots to make sure they don't turn into some massive wolf spider wound, they had Andy's mind focusing on something different. "I can't remember the last time I had a bug bite," Andy said. "I must have been a kid, because I've forgotten how annoying they are!" But Andy's bug bites were a window into something bigger. Why do we get bug bites? Because we were outside in nature. Why hadn't Andy had any bug bites in years? See above. More than just annoying itches, these bug bites were a reminder of what happens when we become adults.

Where the U.S. Meets Canada, England and France

Unit #23 / 412 - Grand Portage National Monument During my time at the national parks along Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, I've been in awe of the way Native Americans lived in these areas. As many of these parks are best experienced by boat--and the majority of time I spent on their waters included waves burdensome for modern chunks of metal--I can only imagine what it must have been like to travel a gusty Great Lake in a canoe made from birch bark. Though many of the towns anchoring these parks are named for Native culture, none have really told their particular park's story from the perspective of Native Americans. That is, until I visited Grand Portage National Monument. Driving to the

Caving to Wisconsin's Sea Caves

Unit # 22 / 412 - Apostle Islands National Lakeshore: Did you know if Lake Superior was drained it could cover the entire lower 48 United States in three feet of water? Or that it's also the world's largest freshwater lake? It makes it all the more impressive that shooting out the top of Wisconsin, 23 islands staked their claim as floating land oases. Well, it used to be 23. Mother Nature had her way with one of them during a storm and afterwards, the Apostle Islands counted only 22 land masses in their ranks. I love this story about the island being obliterated into the lake, because it is so indicative of what the Apostle Islands are known for: They are a park shaped by weather. Or to be m

The Transformation of Vanny McVanface

(If you can't watch the NBC video embedded above, watch the clip on Hulu) Do you know the above clip? The one of Chris Farley from Saturday Night Live which birthed the legendary line: "I live in a van down by the river." Growing up, I idolized Chris Farley. Yes, though he would say he was too fat and clumsy to be anyone's hero, I was set on becoming the next "Tommy Boy." His timing, his commitment, and yes, even his grace (did you ever see him high-kick in "Lunch Lady Land"?) were comedic perfection that I aspired to one day become. Funny how life works out. Despite my membership in improv troupes like Door #3, the only Farley-esque status I've been able to reach is that of his famous char

There's Gold...er, Copper in Them There Hills!

Unit #21 / 412 - Keweenaw National Historical Park When we hear of boom and bust towns in America, gold and the American West likely come to mind. But what if I told you that same history existed east of the Mississippi? Such is the story of the Keweenaw Peninsula. A peninsula, within a peninsula, within the peninsula of Michigan. "Have I been pronouncing the city correctly?" I asked a tour guide in Houghton. "I guess that's how people knew I wasn't from here." "Oh, they knew you weren't from here long before that!" he chuckled. It's true the "Yoopers" have a pride for their Upper Peninsula reminiscent of the way Texans love Texas, but the Keweenaw seems to be the Dallas of that love. Proud

Untamed Wilderness: Your Ticket Back to Summer Camp

Unit #20 / 412 - Isle Royale National Park Looking down upon an island covered in thick trees and cut off from the rest of civilization, I wondered what I was doing by agreeing to take this flight by myself. Two hours later, hiking through those thick forests and singing outwardly to ward off the wolves I heard existed and the moose I heard somewhere in the forest around me, I wished I had delayed my arrival for the boat Andy and I were planning to take one week later. But life doesn't always work out the way we plan, so when the chance came to use the leftover space on a chartered flight--saving the $150 of a normal boat fare--I jumped on it...even if that meant leaving behind my travel com

The Color Purple...On The Rocks

Unit #19 / 412 - Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore "It had to rain the day I enter the Upper Peninsula and have zero cell service," I thought as I drove through Michigan's densely covered Hiawatha National Forest and turned the A/C to "defrost" for perhaps my first time in July. Following a week of near perfect weather (highs 80s/lows 50) in the northern tip of "The Mitten," almost as if scripted, after crossing the Mackinac Bridge onto Michigan's Upper Peninsula, it began to downpour. After two hours of cutting through the forest, Andy and I arrived to the town of Munising (pronounced Muni (like municipal) - Sing) and escaped the cold rain via the hot tub at the generously donated Pictured

The Legend of the Sleeping Bear

Unit #18 / 412 - Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore We saw lots of sleeping animals on the side of the road on the way to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Sleeping dear. Sleeping raccoons. Sleeping possums. When we arrived, and didn't see any bears, we thought perhaps this park was named after a similarly sleeping bear. However, despite our road trippin' theories developed while listening to Serial Season 1 (very helpful on a few long drives) Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was named for something far heavier. This 71,000 acre national park was so named because of an Ojibwa legend, one which this photo story from South Manitou Island does a far better job explaining than I

Suburban National Park Paradise

Unit #17 / 412 - Cuyahoga Valley National Park "What can't you do here?" Andy asked as we crossed over a glade of grass filled with weddings, runners, dogs, bikers, and--after hiking a one mile loop that includes two ecosystems--caves and a scenic overlook. ...and we drove past a golf course inside the National Park on the way to this diverse Shangri-La. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, as was explained to me by Ranger Paige at the Boston Store Visitor Center, started out as a National Recreation Area in 1974, then became a National Park in 2000. At the beginning of my day in the Park, after doing two hikes to popular Brandywine Falls and Blue Hen Falls, I wondered why this area had earned s

Shattering Glass Ceilings One Dress at a Time

Unit #16 / 412 - First Ladies National Historic Site Is it sad that when I heard the title of this national park, my initial thought was: "I bet there will be lots of dresses." The reason I felt guilt for such a thought likely has to do with my three older, incredibly feminist sisters who trained me well while growing up (you do not want to know what happened the first time I used the word "bitch" in their presence). But that's what we expect of First Ladies, right? They are there to be pretty, to smile and wave, and have "initiatives"--less political and less hard-hitting focuses that endear the public to their husbands. That last part is what bothers me the most. These women are remembered

Life Growing Out of Death

Unit #15 / 412 - Flight 93 National Memorial Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001, when you first heard of the planes hitting the Twin Towers? It's one of those cultural moments that, like the Kennedy Assassination, has become ingrained in our collective memory. I was a 15-year-old sophomore at the time, and had just walked into 3rd period choir at my high school in Lincoln, Nebraska (aka, far from the East Coast). Having read an interesting bit of news in the newspaper's sports section that morning, I was quick to reply to my classmate Brittany when I took my seat and she calmly whispered, "Did you hear the Twin Towers were hit?" "Who cares! Michael Jordan's coming back to b

Marylander's Secret Getaway

Unit #12 / 412 - Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park I never knew it was so dangerous. For the past four years I've hiked the Billy Goat Trail with dates, friends, out-of-town visitors, and even students from my boarding school job. The trail is one of the most popular attractions of Great Falls National Park, part of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, and includes not only a stunning view of the falls, but hikes ranging from flat and easy to rocky and difficult. Averaging about four hikes per year at this, my "local national park," I've often come across people soothing their mid-hike heat in the Potomac River. What I never knew is that an average of seven sw
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    © 2015 - 2020 Mikah Meyer

Professional Speaker - Motivational Speaker - Travel Show Host - Travel TV Host - Gay Speaker - Best College Speaker - Best High School Speaker - Best Corporate Speaker - Travel Expert - Road Trip Expert - Gay Travel - Travel Influencer - Influencer - Travel Show - Best Motivational Speaker