Susan J. Demas: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz declares new war against America's national parks

(Susan J. Demas)

(Susan J. Demas)

"The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom." -- Teddy Roosevelt

There's nothing more American than hitting the road for a trip to Yellowstone, Yosemite or the Grand Canyon.

As I was hiking through the snow-dotted 20 lakes basin on the edge of Yosemite last week, I felt far more patriotic than I did listening to endless fireworks experiments over the July 4th weekend.

There's a wildness to America. You can feel it peering into the pastel hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, hearing the Pacific Ocean's waves thunder at Point Reyes or driving on Glacier's impossibly narrow Going-to-the-Sun Road.

But if you venture off the road, trekking even a few miles in the mountains, through the desert or along the rivers, you lose the crowds. And you can feel the stillness, the splendor and maybe hearken back to an untamed time in America's past.

I never feel freer than hiking all day and setting up camp miles away from any human beings. I try not to disturb the land and no one disturbs me.

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