Review of lassoing the Sun by Mark Woods
In August of 2016, my wife and I visited Yellowstone National Park. We didn’t know it when we planned the trip, but our visit coincided with the one-hundredth anniversary of the National Park Service. We found the experience to be so profound that we decided that every vacation from that point on would be to a different National Park. The book Lassoing the Sun was published to also coincide with the one-hundredth anniversary of the Park Service. The idea was for the author to visit a different National Park each month for a year.
The resulting book is not a travel guide or a must-see list of the top National Parks in the country. Instead, it’s a memoir of sorts where the author describes the past, present, and future of the National Park Service while also delving into his family history.
I won’t go into detail about each of the National Parks the author visits. The descriptions of the Parks themselves were minimal. Big Bend National Park, for example, seemed to be more of an afterthought on a drive across the country. The best moments in the book involve the author’s interactions with the people he meets along the way: Park Rangers, Park Superintendents, and fellow visitors.
If there is a message in the book, it’s that our National Parks are best experienced with others. As one person described it, “When you go into a new land or foreign place, your senses are heightened.” I can remember almost every minute of our trip to Yellowstone. The sights and memories of that visit are seared into my brain. The fact that I shared that experience with my wife makes it an even more special place.
My one complaint about the book was the lack of images. How can you write about National Parks and not include one or two pictures of the places you visited?
Note: The two images gracing the home page of this website were taken on this year’s visit to King Canyon National Park. The featureed image in this post was taken on our trip to Yellowstone.