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National Park Service Anniversary: Switchback Kids Plan to Visit All 59 Parks [VIDEO]

Dec 03, 2015 05:39 PM EST
Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park, in east-central Nevada, is on the list of all 59 national parks that a married pair from Kansas City, the Switchback Kids, intend to visit in the next year. They set out in August to bring notice to the parks as we head into 2016, the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
(Photo : Flickr: Frank Kovalchek)

A married pair from Kansas City saved up money, quit their jobs and dubbed themselves the Switchback Kids for their love of hiking and the outdoors--and in mid-August set off to see the 59 national parks in the United States within a year, in time to bring attention to the 100th anniversary of the National Park System in 2016.

If you want to follow Cole and Elizabeth Donelson--also known as the Switchback Kids--they will share their adventures on social media. "We know that not everybody can have the huge, year-long adventure, but we want people to pledge to visit at least one park -- at least one park -- in the national park service anniversary, and together we can just really enjoy the beautiful and historic places that are just all across our country." said Cole in the video below, which explains their trip and their purpose. (Please scroll down...)

So far they've seen Great Smoky Mountains; sunrise at Maine's Cadillac Mountain; Zion National Park and clear pools there; Niagara Falls; Great Basin National Park and autumnal aspen trees; and the Everglades from a kayak, according to an article in the Kansas City Star.

They also went to many parks they'd never heard of before the trip, such as Congaree National Park near Columbia, S.C., which is known for serene swamp and tall trees.

"One of the big goals of our trip is not just to have a personal adventure but to share our adventure with everyone we can," Cole said in the article. "People hear that you're going off on a year of travel, and they immediately think, 'I could never do that.'

"Honestly, we were really lucky with how things fell into place. But I challenge people to at least consider that whatever your dream is ... think about it. It might be more possible than you think."

In order to take the trip, they both worked second jobs--Cole drove for Uber on weekend nights, and Elizabeth refinished furniture and sold crafts online. They shopped bargains for gear and adhered to a budget. In order to reach the national parks in Hawaii and the Virgin Islands, they signed up for credit cards to garner bonus miles that decreased their plane ticket costs, confirmed the article.

You can follow the pair at @switchbackkids on Twitter and on Facebook. They're also at their website and Instagram page .

Or you can watch them backpacking in the Great Smoky Moutains:

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

-Follow Catherine on Twitter @TreesWhales

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