This week we are getting the scoop on the National Parks from someone who has been to quite a few of them! Ford Cochran from National Geographic Expeditions shares his top five parks and National Park travel tips — plus we have a fun book giveaway!
ON THE PODCAST
:34 Kim tells us about Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival
4:10 Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party
7:49 Kim’s adventures in South Carolina’s Low Country
13:05 About Ford Cochran from National Geographic Expeditions
15:06 National Geographic’s books for kids
17:58 Ford’s top five National Parks for families
29:21 Visiting more than one park on a trip
33:29 How to plan your time in the parks
38:00 National Park travel tips
39:32 Ford’s favorite travel gear
42:49 Book giveaway
45:02 App of the week
45:41 Next week: Grand Canyon!
ABOUT FORD COCHRAN
Geologist, journalist and educator Ford Cochran is director of programming for National Geographic Expeditions. Cochran is responsible for selecting the expert scholars, writers, photographers, explorers, and staff the Society sends along on its educational expeditions around the world. Over his more than 20-year career with the Society, Cochran has written for National Geographic magazine; served as principal contributing writer for the Historical Atlas of the United States; helped launch the National Geographic website as well as directing content development and programming for it; and documented numerous Society-funded research expeditions in the field.
Cochran blogs and lectures regularly for National Geographic and has traveled as a Society expert on numerous National Geographic Expeditions, including National Parks of the American West. His work online has earned multiple Webby, CODiE and People’s Voice awards, along with the American Association of Museums’ MUSE Gold Award.
Cochran is passionately devoted to the creation and protection of national parks, and he knows that visitors often become powerful, lifelong champions for the parks they visit. He’s joined National Geographic field teams working in a number of national parks and marine sanctuaries, and has participated in Society projects that have supported the creation of terrestrial and marine parks in and outside the United States. In 2015, Cochran scripted and recorded a 36-lecture college-level lifelong-learning course titled Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America for The Great Courses and National Geographic.
After graduating from the College of William & Mary with a degree in English literature, Cochran did graduate work in geology at Yale and was an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky. He conducted field research in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and at Mt. St. Helens National Monument with a focus on biogeochemistry and climate change before joining the National Geographic staff.
You can follow Ford on Instagram.
NATIONAL PARK TRAVEL TIPS
- Favorite National Parks for families:
- Yellowstone has hot springs, geysers, wildlife (called America’s Serengeti), and history. You can spend weeks in Yellowstone and not see it all. It should be on every family’s bucket list.
- Grand Canyon — photos and videos can’t capture the enormity and beauty of the Grand Canyon.
- Great Smoky Mountains — most visited National Park, easy to get to for those on the East Coast. The biggest portion of preserved Appalachian Mountain range.
- Glacier Bay — a disappearing landscape that we should see before they are gone. You can see marine life and glaciers calving into the Bay. On land, you can hike and see brown bears and grizzly bears.
- Mammoth Cave in Kentucky — you can take a historic cave tour or do some spelunking.
- Zion National Park — on the Narrows trail you can walk in the river through a narrow slot canyon. Angel’s Landing is for the brave, but has amazing views in every direction.
- National Parks to pair together:
- Grand Tetons and Yellowstone
- Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion National Parks
- Death Valley, Sequoia, and Yosemite
- Olympic National Park and Mt. Ranier
- Planning your National Park trip
- Utilize the National Geographic guide books
- National Geographic National Parks App — people can vote on their favorite activities
- TripAdvisor — see what others recommend
- Talk to the Park Rangers when you arrive
- Consider taking a National Geographic Expedition trip or use their itineraries as a reference point in planning your own trip
- Looking on photo sites (Instagram hashtags) to figure out what you want to see
- Make sure you bring the right gear for shoes, jackets, maps, Camelbak hydration packs
FAVORITE TRAVEL GEAR
Ford likes quick drying hiking shorts or convertible pants from Patagonia. He like smaller, lighter hiking shoes called Approach Shoes. Now he is wearing a pair of Scarpa Zodiac shoes that he got in Iceland. For water shoes, he likes Keens or Tevas. He recommends using a long-sleeve Columbia or Patagonia field shirt and a good rain jacket from L.L. Bean, Arcterx, or Patagonia.
We are giving away a prize pack to one lucky listener that contains:
- National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide
- Junior Ranger Activity Book
- National Geographic Funny Fill In
- Buddy Bison’s Yellowstone Adventure
- National Geographic Guide to the National Parks
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only. Enter before October 31, 2016 at 11:59 pm.
APP OF THE WEEK
Ford recommends the National Geographic National Parks app for families looking to adventure in some of the U.S. National Parks.
MENTIONED ON THE PODCAST
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