The sun peaks over the edge of the Grand Canyon, painting the sky in varying shades of pink and blue. Six thousand feet below the edge of the orange rock, sits the Colorado river, glistening in the rising sun. This is the best sunrise junior Delaney Liebelt has ever seen and is one of the 22 national parks she has visited.
“I really liked the Grand Canyon National Park because I felt like I was living life on the edge when I stood by it. It’s also crazy to think about how far down the canyon actually is,” Liebelt said.
The Grand Canyon is one of her favorite national parks but is closely followed by Yellowstone National Park. “I also really liked Yellowstone National Park because of the wildlife that you could see in the park. Although it is kinda crowded, the wildlife is unmissable,” Liebelt said.
Although her favorite parks reside in Arizona and Wyoming, her favorite state is far from them, over 2,000 miles away. “One of my favorite states is Florida because I enjoy that you can see water from almost anywhere. The beaches are also very nice and the beach towns are really fun to walk around,” Liebelt said.
Sure the parks and places she goes may have fun activities such as geyser hot tubs and wildlife encounters but that’s not the only reason Liebelt enjoys going on all these adventures.
“They really have shown me how beautiful the Earth can be. It is so hard to imagine the scenery that you see in photos but when you are actually there, it looks even better. I think they have also shown me to spend more time in the moment,” Liebelt said.
Sadly, not all the trips she goes on have such favorable realizations. She has been to the Glacier National Park located in Montana two times in the span of three years and was devastated by the change she saw. “The first time I went in 2017, it was a lot greener and you could see a lot of the glaciers. When I went in 2020, just three years later, you could already see some of the glaciers melting and becoming more minute than they were before,” Liebelt exclaimed.
On a more lighthearted note, she has had multiple exciting experiences on her trips.
Like when her family was visiting Yellowstone and they, “got stuck in the park because of a landslide that came down on the entrance. We had to sit there for six hours before it was cleared up,” Liebelt said. Or the time that she went to Las Vegas and got to pet a bottlenose dolphin behind a casino.
Needless to say, Liebelt has had a very adventure-filled life up to this point, but it doesn’t end here because she will be visiting Hawaii in the near future. There the sunrises and experiences will surely be unforgettable just like the rest of her trips.