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Leave Only Footprints : My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park

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From the Emmy-winning CBS Sunday Morning correspondent, an entertaining chronicle of his year spent traveling to every one of our National Parks, including his experiences with some of the most beautiful places--and most interesting people--that America has to offer. When Conor Knighton decided to spend a year wandering through "America's Best Idea," he was worried the whol From the Emmy-winning CBS Sunday Morning correspondent, an entertaining chronicle of his year spent traveling to every one of our National Parks, including his experiences with some of the most beautiful places--and most interesting people--that America has to offer. When Conor Knighton decided to spend a year wandering through "America's Best Idea," he was worried the whole thing might end up being his worst idea. But, after a broken engagement and a broken heart, he desperately needed a change of scenery. The ambitious plan he cooked up went a bit overboard in that department; Knighton set out to visit every single one of America's National Parks, from Acadia to Zion. Leave Only Footprints is the memoir of his year spent traveling across the United States, a journey that yielded his "On the Trail" series, which quickly became one of CBS Sunday Morning's most beloved segments. In this smart, informative, and often hilarious book, he'll share how his journey through these natural wonders, unchanged by man, ended up changing his worldview on everything from God to politics to love and technology. Whether it's waking up early for a naked scrub in an Arkansas bathhouse or staying up late to stargaze along our loneliest highway, Knighton goes behind the scenery to provide an unfiltered look at America. In the tradition of books like A Walk in the Woods or Turn Right at Machu Picchu, this is an irresistible mix of personal narrative and travelogue-some well-placed pop culture references, too-and a must-read for any of the 331 million yearly National Parks visitors.


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From the Emmy-winning CBS Sunday Morning correspondent, an entertaining chronicle of his year spent traveling to every one of our National Parks, including his experiences with some of the most beautiful places--and most interesting people--that America has to offer. When Conor Knighton decided to spend a year wandering through "America's Best Idea," he was worried the whol From the Emmy-winning CBS Sunday Morning correspondent, an entertaining chronicle of his year spent traveling to every one of our National Parks, including his experiences with some of the most beautiful places--and most interesting people--that America has to offer. When Conor Knighton decided to spend a year wandering through "America's Best Idea," he was worried the whole thing might end up being his worst idea. But, after a broken engagement and a broken heart, he desperately needed a change of scenery. The ambitious plan he cooked up went a bit overboard in that department; Knighton set out to visit every single one of America's National Parks, from Acadia to Zion. Leave Only Footprints is the memoir of his year spent traveling across the United States, a journey that yielded his "On the Trail" series, which quickly became one of CBS Sunday Morning's most beloved segments. In this smart, informative, and often hilarious book, he'll share how his journey through these natural wonders, unchanged by man, ended up changing his worldview on everything from God to politics to love and technology. Whether it's waking up early for a naked scrub in an Arkansas bathhouse or staying up late to stargaze along our loneliest highway, Knighton goes behind the scenery to provide an unfiltered look at America. In the tradition of books like A Walk in the Woods or Turn Right at Machu Picchu, this is an irresistible mix of personal narrative and travelogue-some well-placed pop culture references, too-and a must-read for any of the 331 million yearly National Parks visitors.

30 review for Leave Only Footprints : My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mark Baker

    When Conor Knighton’s fiancée left him, he wasn’t sure quite what to do until he saw a promotion talking about the National Park’s 100th anniversary. Soon, he was making plans to visit all of the official National Parks in 2016, reporting on some of them for CBS Sunday Morning. After experiencing sunrise on New Year’s Day in Acadia, he crisscrossed the country numerous times in his quest to experience all of them. When I first heard about this book, I was intrigued. I’ve long wanted to visit all When Conor Knighton’s fiancée left him, he wasn’t sure quite what to do until he saw a promotion talking about the National Park’s 100th anniversary. Soon, he was making plans to visit all of the official National Parks in 2016, reporting on some of them for CBS Sunday Morning. After experiencing sunrise on New Year’s Day in Acadia, he crisscrossed the country numerous times in his quest to experience all of them. When I first heard about this book, I was intrigued. I’ve long wanted to visit all of the parks myself, not that I’ve done much more than think about it. When this book focuses on the parks and some of their history, it is fascinating. The writing is excellent, and it is easy to feel you are right next to him as he experiences the parks. However, at times he gets distracted trying to push an agenda on us, and when that happens, the parks get shafted. A few of the parks he barely describes, focusing instead on the bad he feels needs to be fixed or pointing out the bad in the past that has been fixed. Even when I agreed with his point, I found this frustrating because it’s not what I wanted to read about when I picked up the book. He definitely made me want to visit several of the parks as soon as I can. His brief stories about his life and his stories about the people he met along the way were fun and fascinating. There are two inserts of pictures from his journey; I would have loved more, but I enjoyed what we got. I wish the book had focused more on the parks themselves. Then it would have been fantastic. Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Highly recommend!!! Oh my gosh it left me energized and excited to adventure and jealous of his nomadic lifestyle and career. Left me wanting to read more about every one of the 56 parks he went to -- and experience them myself. Definitely not the kind of hard-core adventure book I was expecting; it's more in the vein of A Walk in the Woods and reads like a series of short articles. Knighton is a romantic and an engaging storyteller.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    I had the lucky chance to pick up an advance copy at work. It was on our shelf, and something about it called out to me. It was the perfect book for me to read right now. I'm currently going through a challenging part of my life, and have set a goal for myself- travel the country and see many of our amazing national parks. I will admit, I'm not aiming for EVERY one in a year, like Conor achieved, but I do have 19 stops on my list (and counting.) This book is not what I expected. I thought it woul I had the lucky chance to pick up an advance copy at work. It was on our shelf, and something about it called out to me. It was the perfect book for me to read right now. I'm currently going through a challenging part of my life, and have set a goal for myself- travel the country and see many of our amazing national parks. I will admit, I'm not aiming for EVERY one in a year, like Conor achieved, but I do have 19 stops on my list (and counting.) This book is not what I expected. I thought it would be more of a guide- here's each park, and what I did there! If you're looking for that, there are other books. No, this book is a story- both of Conor's personal and physical journey, but also of some history of the parks, and the different elements that connects them. It was unexpected, but incredibly moving. Conor perfectly weaves a beautiful narrative, that was motivational, and moving to read. I could hardly put it down.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Burnett

    In this non-fiction gem, Knighton chronicles the year he spent traveling to every national park in the United States. The parks are grouped by theme instead of location which works surprisingly well, and the book is interspersed with humor and intriguing details about each of the parks. Knighton highlights the importance of our national parks, how various parks received their designations, and how climate change and over-visiting is impacting many of these beautiful places. In the Epilogue, Knig In this non-fiction gem, Knighton chronicles the year he spent traveling to every national park in the United States. The parks are grouped by theme instead of location which works surprisingly well, and the book is interspersed with humor and intriguing details about each of the parks. Knighton highlights the importance of our national parks, how various parks received their designations, and how climate change and over-visiting is impacting many of these beautiful places. In the Epilogue, Knighton discusses how the National Park System continues to expand and quickly reviews the three parks that have achieved the designation after 2016 (the year Knighton made his journey). Most importantly, Knighton demonstrates that “national parks have become our collective sanctuaries”; this book is such a fascinating and beautiful read and will certainly make my top ten list for 2020. For more reviews, check out my Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/thoughtsfro... and my newsletter: https://www.cfapage.net/subscribe.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Really enjoyed this book. I’ve always been a huge National Parks fan and truly believe they’re right when they say the National Parks were America’s best idea. Teddy Roosevelt found himself in American wilderness when it seemed as though everything was lost. So many of us go to nature to help us persevere when we feel like we cannot go on. I certainly do. Knighton provides a beautiful look into American National Parks. He interweaves his own outlooks and experiences, such as grieving the breakup Really enjoyed this book. I’ve always been a huge National Parks fan and truly believe they’re right when they say the National Parks were America’s best idea. Teddy Roosevelt found himself in American wilderness when it seemed as though everything was lost. So many of us go to nature to help us persevere when we feel like we cannot go on. I certainly do. Knighton provides a beautiful look into American National Parks. He interweaves his own outlooks and experiences, such as grieving the breakup with his fiancé and staring down the barrel of unemployment. He is definitely a hopeless romantic and it brings an unexpected element to the storytelling. We all wish the moments of nature could be a little bit longer and Knighton allows us to revel in them through his eyes.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    We forget, but there are lots of ways to read a book. I read a book last week. It was an immersive experience. The book is Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park. It was written by Conor Knighton who undertook the journey to visit all fifty-nine* American national parks in a year. He filmed segments for CBS Sunday Morning along the way. Happily, I found all twenty-four of the segments available online: On the Trail: CBS Sunday Morning. I'd read a chapter, and t We forget, but there are lots of ways to read a book. I read a book last week. It was an immersive experience. The book is Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park. It was written by Conor Knighton who undertook the journey to visit all fifty-nine* American national parks in a year. He filmed segments for CBS Sunday Morning along the way. Happily, I found all twenty-four of the segments available online: On the Trail: CBS Sunday Morning. I'd read a chapter, and then I'd watch a segment. National parks I've visited, like Yosemite and Yellowstone and Bryce Canyon and Crater Lake and Big Bend. Many more I wanted to visit and hadn't yet, like Smokey Mountain and Everglades and Glacier and Arches. Even more that I'd never heard of and didn't realize I wanted to visit, like Congaree and Dry Tortugas and Indiana Dunes. What a great way to read a book. What a great way to visit all the national parks. I didn't even leave any footprints. *Note: There are now sixty-two national parks, with the addition of three new parks since 2016 when this book was written and the segments filmed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laura Hoffman Brauman

    What an absolutely perfect way to spend an evening. Knighton visited 59 national parks in a year and wrote about the experience. I loved the way he structured it - not in the order he visited them or their geographic location, but by themes that connected them. Mystery, God, Sound, People, etc -- it was a really effective way to highlight how connected places that might seem dissimilar can be. For the parks I have already visited, it brought back wonderful memories. For the ones that I haven't, What an absolutely perfect way to spend an evening. Knighton visited 59 national parks in a year and wrote about the experience. I loved the way he structured it - not in the order he visited them or their geographic location, but by themes that connected them. Mystery, God, Sound, People, etc -- it was a really effective way to highlight how connected places that might seem dissimilar can be. For the parks I have already visited, it brought back wonderful memories. For the ones that I haven't, I got to do a little armchair travel as I added them to my bucket list.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bronson

    This book was a pleasant and happy surprise. It was given to me as a gift and I’d not heard of it or the author before. It happened to coincide with a couple of stormy rainy days that provided hours of uninterrupted reading time and I was happy about that because I had a hard time putting it down. Conor spends a year visiting all 59 national parks. I love the parks I’ve visited and the outdoors and nature in general so I was intrigued by the premise. There are a few things about the execution of This book was a pleasant and happy surprise. It was given to me as a gift and I’d not heard of it or the author before. It happened to coincide with a couple of stormy rainy days that provided hours of uninterrupted reading time and I was happy about that because I had a hard time putting it down. Conor spends a year visiting all 59 national parks. I love the parks I’ve visited and the outdoors and nature in general so I was intrigued by the premise. There are a few things about the execution of the novel that I really appreciated. He’s a normal guy, he’s not a scientist, geologist, or biologist. He sees the parks and nature in a normal, relatable way. He doesn’t bog it down with too many statistics or too much history. He gives some, enough to provide context but he points out an interesting thing or two about each place he visits and its so enjoyable to be brought along on his journey. I love the way he organized the book. Its not alphabetical or in a specific order. He groups 2 or 3 parks into each chapter with a theme that ties them together like “sound” or “trees” or “Light”. I loved that approach. It’s a personal journey for him, he’s healing from a recent heartbreak and he’s open in his telling about that experience and he works his personal experiences and history into his journey. The book feels personal and light and fun and happy. It’s a very solid 5 star book for me, it’s one I’d recommend without reservation. If you’re interested into a video preview of his journey, take a look at this YouTube clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S62yI.... Some of his experiences were shared on CBS Sunday Morning where he works.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    This is exactly what I needed right now and pretty much what I wanted Wild to be but wasn't. Yes, there are feelings but there are also lots of facts about national parks that I look forward to boring everyone around me with for some time. Each connected chapter has a reasonable theme and could easily serve as a stand alone essay, which is pretty much how I want my fun nonfiction books to be written. If you are missing travel right now this is the book for you!

  10. 5 out of 5

    J. Lee Hazlett

    4.75 stars. Beautifully written, poignant, and funny. Not only does the author give glimpses into the history of the parks, he also shows many different reasons why they still matter - or ought to - to people now. I was disappointed by the very small amount of time that was dedicated to certain parks, however. There were a couple of instances in which a particular park showed up for about two paragraphs, just long enough to act as a segue between longer segments on two other locations. This was 4.75 stars. Beautifully written, poignant, and funny. Not only does the author give glimpses into the history of the parks, he also shows many different reasons why they still matter - or ought to - to people now. I was disappointed by the very small amount of time that was dedicated to certain parks, however. There were a couple of instances in which a particular park showed up for about two paragraphs, just long enough to act as a segue between longer segments on two other locations. This was jarring, as you'd just be settling down to read more about X N.P. only to have the focus immediately shift. This was the reason why I didn't rate this a true 5-star book. Still an excellent and inspiring read, however, and one that I'm glad to have purchased a hard copy of.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lesa

    This beautifully written book, Conor Knighton's Leave Only Footprints, is subtitled My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park. It manages to be personal, while at the same time an introduction to all the national parks in the United States. At a time when we're all forced to be armchair travelers, it's a perfect getaway. In 2015, Knighton's fiancee called off their wedding when they had even ordered the "save the date" cards. Months later, while he was still struggling with the pain, This beautifully written book, Conor Knighton's Leave Only Footprints, is subtitled My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park. It manages to be personal, while at the same time an introduction to all the national parks in the United States. At a time when we're all forced to be armchair travelers, it's a perfect getaway. In 2015, Knighton's fiancee called off their wedding when they had even ordered the "save the date" cards. Months later, while he was still struggling with the pain, he saw an article saying the National Park Service was planning a year-long celebration of its 100th anniversary in 2016. That was the inspiration for Knighton's own journey, a plan to visit all the national parks. He suggested featured stories to CBS Sunday Morning. He was shocked to learn the park service manages over 400 units. But, he thought he could get to the 59 official parks in 52 weeks. CBS Sunday Morning agreed to take some stories, but they didn't think they'd take stories about every national park. Knighton's fortune cookie read, "As a chapter ends, you will find yourself on a road to discovery." And, in 2016, he kicks off his quest to see every national park by seeing the first sunrise on the first day of the year in Acadia National Park. He has so much to learn. "There's no such thing as an average national park." Some parks are dedicated to trees. Some to volcanoes. There are caves and dark parks. The parks cover deserts and prisons on islands. No matter where he is, Conor Knighton is able to describe the landscape, the parks, with words that bring tears. His book is a monument to what man has saved, and what man still needs to preserve. While I teared up over a number of descriptions and places, Redwood National Park, with it's 159,000 moved me because of the age and immensity of the trees themselves, trees so sacred that scientists actually have to keep them secret because man will destroy them. A tree named Hyperion was measured at 579 feet in 2006, and it's still growing. But tourists could destroy the soil around it, so biologists kept its location secret. California is also the home of the world's oldest tree, Methuselah. It's been confirmed to be over five thousand years old. "It started growing before the Pyramids were built. It had already turned two thousand by the time Christ walked the earth." There are rumors of a tree in the White Mountains that is even older. Man isn't always kind to nature. The bison were almost extinct, down to three hundred, when Theodore Roosevelt took office. Due in part to protections he put in place, there are over three hundred thousand in North America today. Light pollution has made dark parks important, places people can see the stars in the sky. Saguaro cactus are stolen from Saguaro National Park in Tucson. Knighton's book serves as a tribute to the parks, but also as a warning. I read an ARC, an Advanced Readers' Copy of Leave Only Footprints. If you appreciate poetic, descriptive writing to go along with your travels, pick up an actual copy of the book. I'm sure there are photos you'll want to see that will take you to gorgeous locations we cherish as national parks.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Danielle DellaCamera

    This may be my favorite book of the year so far. I could, however, be completely biased, because it is my dream to do what Conor Knighton did. This book is part memoir - his fiancée leaves him, which is what kicks off his entire journey and desire to be on the road. It’s part history and educational too though. The reader learns about the National Parks, their history, their inhabitants, sights, etc.. as the journey goes along. Each chapter is a topic and Conor choose Parks from his visits to ta This may be my favorite book of the year so far. I could, however, be completely biased, because it is my dream to do what Conor Knighton did. This book is part memoir - his fiancée leaves him, which is what kicks off his entire journey and desire to be on the road. It’s part history and educational too though. The reader learns about the National Parks, their history, their inhabitants, sights, etc.. as the journey goes along. Each chapter is a topic and Conor choose Parks from his visits to talk about that encompass that topic. It’s not a linear exploration, but I found I enjoyed learning why specific Parks were chosen for the topic they were tremendously. Additionally, the people he meets along the way, whether Park Rangers, fellow travelers, or natives to the area really added to the narrative.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Ullrich

    The author’s humor and unpreparedness was refreshing amongst the gads of travel books that tend to be overly serious and make the experiences seem unobtainable. He almost reads like a millennials’ Bill Bryson.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jquick99

    I would have preferred If the author told us/mentioned just once, about his break up. Don’t care about his love life...his Tinder dates, his serendipitous meeting with beautiful women. Don’t care what vacations he took as a 10 yo. I wanna hear about his National Park experiences, and the history behind the parks. As I reflect back on the book, I realize that I don’t think I learned anything, or anything much. The author really doesn’t write much about a park. He mentions some just in passing (Oly I would have preferred If the author told us/mentioned just once, about his break up. Don’t care about his love life...his Tinder dates, his serendipitous meeting with beautiful women. Don’t care what vacations he took as a 10 yo. I wanna hear about his National Park experiences, and the history behind the parks. As I reflect back on the book, I realize that I don’t think I learned anything, or anything much. The author really doesn’t write much about a park. He mentions some just in passing (Olympic), but really just mentions the name. Tetons...what did he do there (besides, hunting down a beautiful woman)? I already know all about TR (and if he’s going to tell TR outdoorsy stories, wish he’d have told my favorite), know about Dr. Mudd, about Muir...and know or have been to most all (that are accessible) in the western half the the US. I don’t mean that as a brag, but my point is...this book is for people who aren’t outdoorsy, who haven’t traveled to Parks and/or people who don’t know history.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    I liked this book, even if it just made my wanderlust and claustrophobia from being stuck at home that much worse. There are tons of interesting stories and tidbits I picked up, like the pioneering parkitecture of Mary Colter at the Grand Canyon or the mysterious"Old Man" of Crater Lake. And of course, like any American outdoorsy book, it is peppered with plenty of John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt quotes. Some of the stories are quite funny too, especially the bears at Katmai. But I didn't love the I liked this book, even if it just made my wanderlust and claustrophobia from being stuck at home that much worse. There are tons of interesting stories and tidbits I picked up, like the pioneering parkitecture of Mary Colter at the Grand Canyon or the mysterious"Old Man" of Crater Lake. And of course, like any American outdoorsy book, it is peppered with plenty of John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt quotes. Some of the stories are quite funny too, especially the bears at Katmai. But I didn't love the book. Some parks got interesting stories (whether historical, ecological, or Knighton's personal), but many parks received short shrift. Acadia is mentioned for its claim as the "first sunrise of the year", but otherwise nothing. Olympic is only discussed in relation to a story about needing a cell phone, which turns into a longer piece on cell service and connectedness throughout the parks. Interesting, but I still wanted to hear about Olympic itself. With 56 parks to go through in one year and one book, it's understandable that there just isn't enough time/ room to go into every park in detail. But disappointing nonetheless. Overall, the humor and writing style had more misses than hits for me, filled with pat jokes and bad lines (like "America's parks really do shine from sea to sea"). After every section, I can almost hear him saying "Now back to you, Tom!", like the TV reporter he is. Knighton is definitely not the next Bill Bryson. His writing at times feels heavily influencing by blogging and on-air TV personalities, in that carefully calculated confessional style that makes you think they're being open and honest about their lives, but feels like another mask. It's the "trying to appeal and seem relatable to the largest audience possible" that makes him feel a little fake and, honestly, boring. Travel books like this one that are centered around the person traveling, rather than the destination, needs a narrator who isn't afraid to be unlikable, foolish, and neurotic at times. It makes for better stories. Otherwise, it feels like watching your friend's vacation photos and hearing their anecdotes, fun for a bit, but not riveting.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    The author continually strikes out with women and gives few pages to the parks themselves. The parks will always love you back, Conor. You owed them more with this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ken Lindholm

    This is a lovely book that vastly exceeded my expectations! We watched many of Conor Knighton’s segments on CBS Sunday Morning as he visited the National Parks, and I looked forward to reading about it. First, this book is not a guidebook to the National Parks - there are many of those, and one more would add little to those already available. Instead the book is much more personal, relating the author’s life to the places he visits. He also presents the parks, not in a chronological sequence, bu This is a lovely book that vastly exceeded my expectations! We watched many of Conor Knighton’s segments on CBS Sunday Morning as he visited the National Parks, and I looked forward to reading about it. First, this book is not a guidebook to the National Parks - there are many of those, and one more would add little to those already available. Instead the book is much more personal, relating the author’s life to the places he visits. He also presents the parks, not in a chronological sequence, but by tying individual ones together through common features that stood out for him based on his visits. For examples, some chapters might be as simple as “Volcanoes” or “Trees”, but then another will be “Sound” (which touches on Great Sand Dunes and Katmai national parks - I was not even aware of the latter park). This personal approach on the author’s thoughts and recollections was, in my opinion, definitely the right choice. It also reminded me of the Martin Scorsese quote referenced at this year’s Academy Awards by South Korean Director Bong Joon-ho. “The most personal is the most creative”. One chapter in the book “People” also struck a personal chord with me. Knighton relates the story of visiting Zion NP on a family trip in July 1995, and how they didn’t finish the hike to Angel’s Landing. At the time, Knighton was the age of our sons - we also visited Zion NP, but in June 1995. We did the same hike with some of the same concerns. My sons and I finished the final portion, but my wife and daughter stopped prior to reaching the final “landing” (and the 1500 foot drop offs!). I read the book in short bursts, usually no more than two chapters at a time, so that I could enjoy Knighton’s observations at a leisurely pace. I’ve been fortunate to have visited many of the parks, and I have fond memories of those visits. I was sad when I reached the last chapter... and the journey ended.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    This was quite bland, pretty much what you expect from a television show turned into a travel book. Knighton takes care not to offend anyone, almost entirely omitting mention of climate change on the parks. (How is that even possible?) I liked the organization, by theme rather than chronology, but that choice also limited the author in several ways. For example, it would be disconcerting if the season were to jump from winter to summer and back on the same page—so Knighton generally avoids menti This was quite bland, pretty much what you expect from a television show turned into a travel book. Knighton takes care not to offend anyone, almost entirely omitting mention of climate change on the parks. (How is that even possible?) I liked the organization, by theme rather than chronology, but that choice also limited the author in several ways. For example, it would be disconcerting if the season were to jump from winter to summer and back on the same page—so Knighton generally avoids mentioning the weather. This itself, though, can be disconcerting when he is trying to describe National Parks. He also wants to have a personal growth theme through the book, but this is also hard when the stories are out of chronological order. The personal growth elements therefore felt tacked on and just weird. (He's flying from one park to the next every few days, and swiping on Tinder for local dates everywhere he goes?) Knighton presents himself as a dumb, out-of-shape, city guy. After any short hike he is aching for days, and he has minimal curiosity; any sort of geology is just earthquakes and volcanoes. Instead of trying to learn anything about nature, he aims more for interviews of weird people. I expect/hope this persona is just to help your typical TV viewer to identify with him. We book lovers expect more! :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tori Goebel

    I am writing my very first review on here because I loved this book and was concerned by how many people said they wish it "talked more about the actual parks." This isn't a travel guide, and I think that is what makes it so special. Yes, the parks are beautiful vistas and trails, but aren't they so much more? They are history. They are people. They are who we are when we arrive, and the lessons we take us with when we go. That is precisely what this book is about, and it was a true joy to read. I am writing my very first review on here because I loved this book and was concerned by how many people said they wish it "talked more about the actual parks." This isn't a travel guide, and I think that is what makes it so special. Yes, the parks are beautiful vistas and trails, but aren't they so much more? They are history. They are people. They are who we are when we arrive, and the lessons we take us with when we go. That is precisely what this book is about, and it was a true joy to read. If you want to learn about which trail to take or how many hours it takes to climb a mountain, hop on Trip Advisor. If you want to read personal stories, learn the often dark history of parks, and hear from the people that make up gateway communities, then this book is for you. It really focuses on the human element of the parks, and I left inspired. I learned so much, and can't wait to hit the road someday to visit new and familiar parks.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Rakestraw

    Loved reading the book. I was hoping it would be more interesting than what I could find out by using Google. He gives some very interesting commentary from his viewpoint along with Park Rangers and people he meets within the parks. He shares some of the cooler places to see while visiting the parks. There is always so much to see, you know you miss some good stuff. While he gets a little sappy about his broken off engagement, it’s tolerable and you feel for the guy. I highlighted lots of stuff Loved reading the book. I was hoping it would be more interesting than what I could find out by using Google. He gives some very interesting commentary from his viewpoint along with Park Rangers and people he meets within the parks. He shares some of the cooler places to see while visiting the parks. There is always so much to see, you know you miss some good stuff. While he gets a little sappy about his broken off engagement, it’s tolerable and you feel for the guy. I highlighted lots of stuff I want to see when I visit. New Bucket list has added more National Parks I need to see!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    Knighton’s nature memoir of traveling to each of the National Parks has something for everyone- an overview of each park (sometimes too brief), a recovery tale of a broken heart, an adventurous itinerary to explore many unknown corners in our country, and a motivation to act towards saving these American treasures. There’s a lot happening at once, but I enjoyed the split into different themes or topics that readers from various backgrounds can connect to and enjoy.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dani

    It should come as no surprise to anyone that knows me that I loved this book. My love for national parks runs deep and this book did not disappoint in paying tribute to them and all that they are and can be.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    When it is snowy and cold outside, superspeed readers like me can read 150 - 200+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. LOL I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. The Emmy-winning CBS Sunday Morning correspondent chronicles his year trave When it is snowy and cold outside, superspeed readers like me can read 150 - 200+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. LOL I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. The Emmy-winning CBS Sunday Morning correspondent chronicles his year travelling to every one of our National Parks, discovering the most beautiful places and most interesting people that America has to offer. When Conor Knighton decided to spend a year wandering through America's "best idea," he was worried the whole thing might end up being his worst idea. But after a broken engagement and a broken heart, Conor desperately needed a change of scenery. The ambitious plan he cooked up went a bit overboard in that department; Knighton set out to visit every single one of America's National Parks, from Acadia to Zion. Leave Only Footprints is the memoir of his year spent travelling across the United States, a journey that yielded his "On the Trail" series, which quickly became one of CBS Sunday Morning's most beloved segments. In this smart, informative, and entertaining book, he shares how his journey through these natural wonders ended up changing his worldview on everything from God and love to politics and technology. Whether he's waking up early for a naked scrub in a historic bathhouse or staying up late to stargaze along our loneliest highway, Knighton goes behind the scenery to provide an unfiltered look at our country. In doing so, he reveals the unforgettable stories behind the often beautiful, always fascinating lands that all Americans share. My mom and I the only indoorsy members of our family - - the rest of them have done fun things like, say, backpacking around Baffin Island for 90 days sot his is the perfect book for them. (In fact, my one brother is getting and "IOU this book" coupon for Christmas as it does not come out until April of 2020.) He plans to visit every US (61) and Canadian (48) National Park during his newly retired life - he and his wife managed to do 19 of the 109 the summer of 2019 alone and got a major dose of altitude sickness along the way in Utah. THEN they are going to hike the Appalachian and other trails with their kids, spouses and grandkids They are an exhausting family! If you have a hiker or outdoor fan this is the perfect book for you - if you are a "hot house plant" (as my mom calls me) this is a nice way to read about and vicariously visit the parks with this book. It comes out in time for spring thaws and hiking being made easier for you or those outdoorsy type people in your life As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🥾🏔🥾⛺🥾 NOTE: I changed the release date here on Goodreads as it was wrong ...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Krista Lindgren

    A very enjoyable book. The author takes you all over the US exploring national parks. He has an interesting way of overlaying other topics like love, god, technology, and diversity on to the national parks.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amber Spencer

    I really loved this book and the perspective the author takes on visiting national parks and how being out in these places changes us and changes how we look at the world.

  26. 4 out of 5

    charlotte (moerreads)

    This book is the author's account of his year spent traveling the national parks of the United States, starting with his first sunrise on a mountain in Maine and ending with his last sunset in San Francisco. While I read this book, I pictured keeping a dog-eared, worn-out copy of it in my glove compartment as some other, cooler version of myself traveled the country to different national parks. I pictured pulling it out to read a chapter at a time when I was in the Badlands, or at the hot spring This book is the author's account of his year spent traveling the national parks of the United States, starting with his first sunrise on a mountain in Maine and ending with his last sunset in San Francisco. While I read this book, I pictured keeping a dog-eared, worn-out copy of it in my glove compartment as some other, cooler version of myself traveled the country to different national parks. I pictured pulling it out to read a chapter at a time when I was in the Badlands, or at the hot springs in Arkansas. I don't know that I've ever had that experience before--imagining myself reading a book in places I've never been. The chapters are split up by category and theme, each one covering a handful of parks, the people he meets along the way, and stories about his own life. You can read the chapters out of order, whenever you feel the urge to remind yourself what's really important in life (nature), or you can read the whole thing through. I took this book very slowly, reading it mostly before bed at night, because I found it so soothing and calming that I didn't want it to end. If you like nature, if you like funny and down-to-earth writing, if you like travel memoirs, if you enjoy national parks, if you need something soothing to remind you during this time (or any time) that a lot of good still exists in the world, you should pick up this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I’ve just been enjoying this one chapter at a time over a couple of months. I love the National Parks so much— a wonderful legacy from my father. This book has provided some lovely escapism.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Derek Hoeksema

    Fantastic book. Although just makes me anxious to get out there and explore during this pandemic - which obviously is impossible.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book took me a while to read because I could not stop googling all of the amazing places he wrote about. I may have even tried to plan a trip or two while reading. So sad that at the moment all National Parks are closed. I really enjoyed this book, though it was not what I was expecting. The chapters were organized into different topics and highlighted parks related to those topics, which was interesting and brought to light things I never would have thought about. To make it 5 stars for me This book took me a while to read because I could not stop googling all of the amazing places he wrote about. I may have even tried to plan a trip or two while reading. So sad that at the moment all National Parks are closed. I really enjoyed this book, though it was not what I was expecting. The chapters were organized into different topics and highlighted parks related to those topics, which was interesting and brought to light things I never would have thought about. To make it 5 stars for me, I would have loved to read more of his actual experiences in each park (best hiking trails, etc) but there are other books about that, I’m sure.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    "It occurred to me that part of the reason I’d seen so much debate about the year’s first sunrise, and not its last sunset, was that our beginnings always seem more important than our endings. In life, we can often control how things start. Endings are elusive and amorphous and uncertain." I loved this book. My word of the year this year is "wild" which is about being in the wilderness more. In 2002, I did a cross-country trip with my husband where we went to 30+ national parks and promised each "It occurred to me that part of the reason I’d seen so much debate about the year’s first sunrise, and not its last sunset, was that our beginnings always seem more important than our endings. In life, we can often control how things start. Endings are elusive and amorphous and uncertain." I loved this book. My word of the year this year is "wild" which is about being in the wilderness more. In 2002, I did a cross-country trip with my husband where we went to 30+ national parks and promised each other to rent an RV when we retired so we could do more of that. So when I saw this book I knew I wanted to read it immediately. I wanted to revisit the parks I'd seen in person and find out about all the ones I hadn't. "I don’t know what, if anything, comes after this life. But I can tell you this: If there is a Heaven, I bet it looks a lot like Yosemite." And the book did not disappoint. It is the journey of the author over the course of a year as he visits every National Park in the United States. The book has parts that are informative, parts that are funny, and parts that are poignant. For me, it struck the perfect balance between the three, managing to make it a really enjoyable read. "In a cave, you are simultaneously outdoors and indoors, protected from the elements and yet exposed to all sorts of new dangers." I will admit that more than once, I wished the book came with photos. I wanted to be able to imagine what the parks looked like as he told stories about being in them. Some are very briefly mentioned, while the others are longer. But I wanted to see photos of all of them. I spent time going between my book and internet searches so I could see the photos of the mentioned places. "When I saw the pile, I couldn’t decide if it was depressing or beautiful. It’s probably a bit of both. It’s a monument to our desire to do the right thing, but it’s also proof that, sometimes, doing the right thing doesn’t matter. Sometimes it can be too little, too late." I know the author has live video segments, I haven't seen any of them, but I will definitely go looking for them so I can enjoy all of this once more. Thank you to netgalley and Crown Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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