We did a guest blog for our friends at 59NationalParks.com.

A National Park Family

by Bill Goldstein, National Park Enthusiast

As a close family who had recently lived four generations under one roof traveling on the weekends and when the kids had off from school was a must. Unfortunately, great grandma passed away a couple of months ago. Now there are five of us living in the suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina. Grandma is retired and is always hanging around the house. Alisa, the mother and my patient wife, works as a daycare teacher full-time and is always wondering when our next trip is. Luke is a 16-year-old sophomore in high school and continues to shine in his work. Winston is almost 15 and is trying everyday to mature and make good decisions.

I have made plenty poor decisions as a father, husband and man. However, one mistake I did not make was to spend as much quality time together with my family as possible. I figured that as a dad to my boys the greatest advantage I could provide them with was my time. Therefore, as they were growing up and we were going on these weekend and holiday road trips, I discovered something. I noticed that the boys were bonding. Also, I saw that on the way home their eyes we glazed from laughing and being happy. Moreover, when we got home and I sat on the couch to watch TV the boys would sit next to me and I would put my arm around them as they rested their head on my chest. This pattern of behavior created a strong desire for me to do this more often.

In 2009 we flew to California to visit with some friends and we visited Yosemite. It was our first national park hiking experience. It was such a magical place and the thought that is was ours as Americans was even better. Since then every extended weekend or vacation from work we have been going to the national parks. We were addicted to the exploration of the most beautiful landscapes in the United States.

This wonderful family adventure became so obsessive that we created a quest called 58 before 18. We developed a website (http://www.59before18.com/), incorporated a business, filmed over 65 YouTube Episodes of our experiences (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWeXSrQhiJS01jWQh_w_N0g) and began to inspire others to join the fascination.

Two months after we incorporated on January 10, 2013 Pinnacles National Monument was upgraded to a national park. We purchased www.59before18.com, were written up in several newspapers and magazines, got on a few TV shows, and we are currently working with The Wilderness Society and Land & Water Conservation Fund to help promote the our national parks.

When you visit a national park it is called a cancellation. Therefore, when we go to a new park we say “canceled”. So far we have canceled 51 out of the 59 American national parks together as a family. As an added bonus during this expedition we have been to every state in America except Alaska. However, Alaska with the remaining eight national parks is were we are going next. During an extensive three week vacation this summer is when we expect to accomplish the quest.

All of the experiences that we are sharing together as a family is precious. Soon the boys will have jobs and other priorities will prevent them from spending extended periods of time with us. The memories we have will be all that we will be able to share. Therefore, I continue everyday to cherish every moment because I much rather create a memory then remember it.