Magazine article National Parks

National Park Math

Magazine article National Parks

National Park Math

Article excerpt

For three years running, various illnesses and a government shutdown derailed my family's plans to go on a school camping trip to Catoctin Mountain Park. But finally, this year, the stars aligned, and we set out on a cold October morning. We drove under some menacing clouds, but by the time we arrived, the sky had cleared, and the yellow and orange leaves around us practically glowed in the sunlight.

Within minutes, my kids, ages 4 and 6, were running through the woods with their friends. Later, they donned way-too-big gloves to yank out invasive plants, played board games in the campsite's lodge, and roasted marshmallows at a roaring bonfire. The temperature dropped precipitously that night, but we hunkered down in our cabin, cozying into sleeping bags. My son announced, unprompted, that it had been a great day. The best day. Then they both immediately fell asleep.

Just one night. …

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