Through a rather circuitous route, via another blogger, The Trad, I found out that one of the segments on the Ken Burns documentary, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, features an old friend of mine. When I lived in Baltimore before, I lived on a peninsula, at the end of which sat Fort McHenry National Shrine. It’s the where the Star Spangled Banner was written and the Superintendent of the park (and of Hampton National Historic Site) became a very close friend of mine. She is the fourth generation of her family to work for the National Park Service. Her great-grandfather worked at Grand Canyon, as did her grandfather. He was Superintendent there and is buried there in a grove of ponderosa pines. Her father was head of all of the National Parks west of the Rockies, so she had to work in parks east of the Rockies until he retired. She was raised in National Parks including Denali in Alaska and Hubbell Trading Post in Arizona. It was 10 years ago this month that she moved to Arizona to take over at Glen Canyon National Park, a 1.2 million acre park in Utah and Arizona. We took five days to drive out there, having adventures along the way, including a stop at Graceland, a creepy night spent in Clinton, OK and a rare early fall snowstorm in New Mexico. Lots of laughs and great fun on the way.Stops to visit a few National Parks along the way, including Hubbell, a real working trading post, Navajo restaurants to try traditional frybread and green chili, views and vistas of mesas and buttes all helped me learn about the American West. A birthday spent at the Grand Canyon was a highlight for me. She’s married to an old friend of mine now and has a son who wants to be a ranger. Five generations of one family serving our nation through our National Parks.Congratulations to John Cook and to his daughter, my friend Kayci Cook Collins. Thank you for a job well done.