Explore the vast country

Two months. That’s all Matthew Lin and his family needed to visit 25 national parks.

Lin and his family traveled over 5,000 miles by car through vast deserts, pine forests blanketed with snow, grasslands, canyons and mountains. Within 60 days, Lin and his family circumnavigated North America, including part of Canada, and stopped at parks such as Glacier National Park, Yosemite and Yellowstone.

“We went during the summer because we had nothing to do. My parents really wanted us to see the world in its entirety. They wanted us to explore and discover the country not just by what we see here in Walnut, but America as a whole,” Lin said.

Lin’s family planned to bring three pairs of everything─shoes, socks, pants, shirts, jackets and sweaters─to change into everyday. The family purchased food at local grocery markets in every state they went to, since it was impossible to prepare 60 days of food. They drove six hours a day traveling between parks.

“We made a lot of preparations. As for the schedule, we didn’t really follow it on the trip. If it was a park we liked, we’d stay there longer, and if we didn’t, we’d move on as soon as we could. It was more of a improvised schedule than a set schedule,” Lin said.

Lin visited Yosemite National park first, where he encountered a realm of cliffs and waterfalls.

“To be honest I did feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of trees, but there were wild animals like bears and deer, which I thought were really cool. I knew it was something you couldn’t experience sitting at home. Everything just felt so real,” Lin said.

After hours of driving, Lin and his family arrived at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. At first, they watched wild animals like the bison from afar and eventually reached the Yellowstone Hot Springs.

“I can definitely say that my favorite moment was at the hot springs in Yellowstone. When the hot spring erupted, I could feel the heat and the power of mother nature. I was thrilled, but at the same time, numb from the excitement and surprise,” Lin said.

In Canada, Lin and his family visited the snowcapped mountains of Glacier National Park. While enjoying the tranquility of the ice and snow, they hiked through steep trails and watched the passing scenery.

“I have to say, Glacier National Park was by far my favorite because there was snow. Living in Walnut, snow is something you don’t see every day. I love snow, especially since it snowed almost every day in Glacier Park, even in the summer. As we walked through the snow, it felt so quiet and tranquil, but alive at the same time.” Lin said.

Lin strived to spend a short vacation doing something with his family that he’d remember for the rest of his life: a summer filled with hours of driving, long nights in the car and not being in the same state for more than four days.

“From how I see it, I learned that the things you learn in school are nothing compared to what you could really learn if you just stepped outside. Some things are just impossible to learn when you’re sitting in a classroom or staring at computer screen.You don’t get the full experience,” Lin said.

By Richard Zhang, Staff writer

Photo courtesy of Matthew Lin