10 of the Best Free Historical Sites in America

Old aircraft beacon and generator shed at the Medicine Bow Airport, Wyoming

Old aircraft beacon and generator shed at the Medicine Bow Airport, Wyoming

I don’t necessarily seek out historical places to visit – it’s often an outcome of being in the area and on a whim stopping by (like the Flume Trail or Warren Peak, both in Wyoming).  Other times we do go out of our way to see historical sites, especially if it’s free and it looks really interesting (for example, the Boston Public Gardens in Massachusetts or the Medicine Bow Aircraft Arrow in Wyoming).  Either way, I often enjoy the local history and it’s a nice change of pace from (hopefully) fantastic views.

Aladdin Tipple in the Black Hills of Wyoming

Aladdin Tipple in the Black Hills of Wyoming

At any rate, in honor of today being free museum day (which honors the Smithsonian Institution and all of its free museums), here are 10 of my favorite (always) free historical sites in America!

 

 

10 of the Best Free Historical Sites in America

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Finishing the Butte 9000 Loop High on Mt. Shasta

Lupines grow on the lower above-treeline slopes of Mt. Shasta below Butte 9000, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

Lupines grow on the lower above-treeline slopes of Mt. Shasta below Butte 9000

Last week, we talked about taking the Brewer Creek Trail, then continuing up a social trail to Butte 9000 high on the side of Mt. Shasta (Butte 9000 isn’t its official title – in fact, you probably will have trouble locating the butte on a topo map – but it’s quite easy to see while hiking on the mountain and so much cooler to hike to a destination than just some-ol’-GPS-coordinate).  We hiked up to the north side of the butte, but thought it would be easier (no snowfields) and more fun to hike down the south side of the butte to make for a loop hike.  It turned out to be a great idea, as an old Jeep road runs most of the length of this valley, so it’s not a very difficult hike (save for some elevation gain!)  And the views – wow!

 

 

Who wouldn't want a view like this? (That's the old jeep road; easy to see and follow, but returning to its initial state.) Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

Who wouldn’t want a view like this? (That’s the old jeep road; easy to see and follow, but returning to its initial state.)

We headed down the south side of Butte 9000 – if you’re hiking up this way, it’s much more difficult …Read More

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The Trees of the Field will Clap Their Hands!

Tree tunnel en route to Amphitheatre Peak in the Flat Tops Wilderness of Colorado

Tree tunnel en route to Amphitheatre Peak in the Flat Tops Wilderness of Colorado

You will go out in joy…

Jumping waves at the Great Salt Lake, Utah

Jumping waves at the Great Salt Lake, Utah

and be led forth in peace;

En route to the Montana Beartooth Range's Mt. Rearguard

En route to the Montana Beartooth Range’s Mt. Rearguard

the mountains and hills…

Views from Gray's Peak, the highest point on the Continental Divide in Colorado

Views from Grays Peak, Colorado

will burst into song before you,

Atop Butte 9000 on the side of Mt. Shasta, California

Atop Butte 9000 on the side of Mt. Shasta, California

and all the trees of the field…

In the sequoias of Yosemite National Park, California

In the sequoias of Yosemite National Park

yes, all the trees of the field…

Early morning in the Redwoods, Lady Bird Johnson Grove, California

Early morning in the Redwoods

will clap their hands!

Autumn tree at the Willowood Arboretum in Chester, New Jersey

Willowood Arboretum, New Jersey

Isaiah 55:12

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Brewer Creek Trail to Butte 9000

Wildflowers in a rock along the Brewer Creek Trail below Mt. Shasta, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

Wildflowers in a rock along the Brewer Creek Trail below Mt. Shasta

I’m convinced that most of Mt. Shasta’s trails aren’t trails at all, but rather routes that more or less might take you to someplace that might be exciting to be.  Maybe it was just the directions I had, but they’d talk about landmarks definitely, and I’d miss the landmarks all together, because they looked just like the rest of the landscape.  But then again, I think the directions did the best they could considering the situation.

 

 

Views from Butte 9000 of Mt. Shasta's cone, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

Views from Butte 9000 of Mt. Shasta’s cone

At any rate, our trek along the Brewer Creek Trail ended us up someplace I don’t think the author ever intended, yet was so strikingly awe-inspiring I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t …Read More

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The Mountain Peaks Belong to Him

Views from Sahale Arm, North Cascades National Park, Washington

Views from Sahale Arm, North Cascades National Park, Washington

Psalm 95:1-4

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;

let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

Let us come before him with thanksgiving

and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,

the great King above all gods.

In his hand are the depths of the earth,

and the mountain peaks belong to him…

Mount Hood from Cooper Spur, Oregon

Mount Hood from Cooper Spur, Oregon

and the mountain peaks belong to him…

String Lake Trail, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

String Lake Trail, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

and the mountain peaks belong to him…

Brewer Creek Trail, Mt. Shasta, California

Brewer Creek Trail, Mt. Shasta, California

and the mountain peaks belong to him…

The Tetons from Mt. Leidy, Wyoming

The Tetons from Mt. Leidy, Wyoming

and the mountain peaks belong to him…
Mt. Stewart from Long's Pass, Washington

Mt. Stewart from Longs Pass, Washington

and the mountain peaks belong to him…

Climbing Reynolds Mountain in Glacier National Park, Montana

Climbing Reynolds Mountain in Glacier National Park, Montana

and the mountain peaks belong to him!

Skyline Divide and Mt. Baker, Washignton

Skyline Divide and Mt. Baker, Washignton

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Visiting Big Machines at the John Deere Pavilion

Front End Loader - which you can climb into - at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

Front End Loader – which you can climb into – at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

The John Deere Pavilion on the Illinois / Iowa boarder not-that-far from I-80 is certainly an attraction worth seeing!  It’s what little boys dream of and maybe we’ve all secretly wanted to do for most of our lives: You get to climb into half a dozen or so big machines.  Like, a bulldozer, a front-end loader, an enormous combine, tractors – it’s amazing they even let you near those things!  And there are many more tractors and other machines just for display, but they’re pretty cool, as well.  The best thing?  It’s totally free to the public!

The entrance to the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

The entrance to the John Deere Pavilion

We visited around noon one Saturday in July.  There were plenty of other visitors; you could …Read More

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Ooooh… Aaaah…Woooww!

Southern Cascade Peaks are beautiful!  (High above Brewer Creek on the slopes of Mt. Shasta, CA)

Southern Cascade Peaks are beautiful! (High above Brewer Creek on the slopes of Mt. Shasta, CA)

This post was written by one of my group members.  Enjoy!

To this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away… But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 2 Corinthians 3:14-16

This summer I had the opportunity to spend significant time hiking in the spectacular Southern Cascade Mountains. The vistas were the “Ooooh… Aaaah…Woooww!” kind. During that time, we saw many. For view-junkies like my family, it was perfect.

Our final days were spent hiking in and around Mt. Hood. Its signature pointed peak is one of the most beautiful in the Cascade Range. The views on our first day were gorgeous, though clouds rolled in in the afternoon and obscured the peak at times. The next day provided a few good views but most of the time the peak was in the clouds.

Hey!  We can see the summit of Mt. Hood! (On Gnarl Ridge)

Hey! We can see the summit of Mt. Hood! (On Gnarl Ridge)

As we gained elevation the third day we found ourselves literally in the clouds, themselves. So much so that we could barely see twenty meters in front of us; just thick, gray, soupy fog. We had reached McNeil Point, the place of spectacular vistas. They were right in front of us. We knew about beauty. We could imagine the grandeur, but…we couldn’t see it for ourselves. No “Oooohing and Aaaahing and Wowing!” for us that day.

Had we been able to wait it out, the fog would have broken up. The vistas would be crystal clear again. But we didn’t wait.

This is what we should have seen from McNeil Point, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon (Photo courtesy of Nathan)

This is what we should have seen (Photo courtesy of Nathan)

That’s what happens when we aren’t able to see the beauty and wonder of our Lord. The beauty of God is right in front of us. But blocking that view is the fog— that’s all we can see. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting beyond the worries, busy-ness or whatever that are clogging the eyes of our hearts.

But so many Christians settle for the fog. They languish along knowing Jesus is in beautiful but He’s inaccessible to them and they settle for a sterile and perhaps dutiful platonic liaison with Him and they never get beyond that point and that’s tragic.

What we saw in the misty meadows below McNeil Point, Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

What we actually saw

Worship time comes and they just go through the motions, parroting the words that others are singing “Oo… Ah…Wow”— words, but with no real meaning. How can their the words of worship mean much when they can’t see the beauty? The fog is too thick. No wonder they’re bored.

But if we “long for His appearing” (2 Tim 4:8) we can out last these feelings. If we will wait on the Lord, it’s just a matter of time before the wind of the Spirit starts to blow, the fog starts to break up, we see the beauty of God revealed in Christ —and we worship in spirit and in truth.

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The Natural Bridges of Samuel H. Boardman

An over-and-under exposed picture of a sea arch or natural bridge we saw on our way to a headland viewpoint near Thunder Rock Cove in Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, Oregon

An over-and-under exposed picture of a sea arch or natural bridge we saw on our way to a headland viewpoint near Thunder Rock Cove

Perhaps one of the most scenic areas of the Oregon Coast (which is pretty nice anywhere you end up) is the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, just north of Brookings, and about 10 miles north of the California boarder.  I recently traveled the length of US-101 through Oregon (all the way from California to Astoria, which is nearly in Washington), and this was definitely one of the gems.  There are tons of sea stacks, beaches, headlands, sea arches, and so much more.  It’s actually more scenic (to me at least) than the more northerly sand beaches with their occasional massive sea stack.  And one of the good things is that you can explore the corridor by car or on foot, so you really can tailor your trek to your fancies!

We were sort of low on time (we’d done a few trails in Redwood National Park in the morning), so I thought we’d just see the Natural Bridges, maybe …Read More

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I am the fullness…

Wildflowers in Bonneville Pass, Wyoming

Wildflowers in Bonneville Pass, Wyoming

“I am the fullness in the waft of the breeze

I am the fullness of the scent of the wildflowers

Held gently in your trembling hands

I am the fullness of the warmth in the sunshine

I am the fullness of the perfection in a sunset

Of every good and perfect thing

 

I am what makes the fullness perfect …Read More

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Sneak Peak: A Land of Volcanos and Oceans

Waves crash on the ancient lava flows at Cape Perpetua, Oregon

Waves crash on the ancient lava flows at Cape Perpetua, Oregon (btw, that kid isn’t as close as he looks)

So if anyone’s been wondering where I’ve been (or why I haven’t been) on social media over the last month, we just got back from a 3 week adventure to the Pacific Northwestern US!  It was pretty amazing, filled with volcanos, volcanic formations, and the Pacific Ocean.  The weather was really quite good, too, except that it was 115 in NorCal and Mt. Hood decided to hide its head in the clouds.  But, hey, you can’t have everything, and I think we made out pretty well considering.

 

Wildflowers on the side of Mt. Shasta, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

Wildflowers on the side of Mt. Shasta

We started out by visiting the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, IL (almost in Iowa).  Here we got to see big machinery, climb into a bulldozer and …Read More

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