Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

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Big South Fork National Recreation Area

Entrance to the Big South Fork National Recreation Area

Every time you enter a national or state park you see these geeks taking pictures in front of the adventure travel entry sign. Usually they are families with fathers with cameras slung around their necks wearing Hawaiian shirts, fanny packs, and wide brimmed hats. People familiar with the park drive by and shake their heads at these morons. I am one of the geeks.

Each time I enter a new park, and often times when I am visiting a park for a second or third time, I make a habit of stopping at the entry sign and taking a picture of it. Most of the time, I am by myself, so I do not have pictures of myself in front of the sign, although I may start making better use of the self timer.

Quetico Provincial Park

On a recent trip to Quetico, I actually went with someone, so no self timer needed

When I stop, I can feel the gaze of other cars as they pass by. “What is he doing?” “Why is he stopped there?” “What kind of dork would take a picture of the entrance sign?” These are some of the thoughts and conversations I sense that people in their cars are having when they pass me by. I do not care though, and without shame I throw on the hazards of my car, get out, and take a picture of the entrance sign.

I take pictures of this sign for several reasons. First of all, I do it for my blog. It makes a good opening shot on my blog when doing a new piece on a new park. I try to bring my readers on the trip with me, and the excitement of passing the entrance sign is a major rite of passage to any destination.

I also take this picture, so I can organize my photos in my folders when I upload my digital pictures.  Sometimes when I am on the road, I visit several different parks on a trip or even in the same day. It can get confusing remembering where each picture was taken; however, if my first picture is from the entrance sign, then I know all subsequent pictures will be from said park.

Badlands National Park

National Park entrance signs are especiall bad (bad pun intended)

Even if I did not have a blog, I would still take the picture of the entrance sign. The Great Smoky Mountains was the first national park I visited as a child. I remember my Dad stopping at the entrance sign and getting the family out to take a picture there. I still feel this child like excitement each time I visit a new park or when revisiting old friends. When I am excited, I take pictures.

Bach Ma National Park Vietnam

Bach Ma National Park – Vietnam – Great aspect about hiring guides is someone to take the dorky entrance sign picture

There is something almost Cartesian here. I take pictures of entrance signs, therefore, I am. Next time you stop in at a new park, pull over and take a picture of that entry sign. You know you want to. If you are too cool to pull over then instead of mocking the goofballs pulled over doing what you secretly want to do, honk and wave. If the geek has a wide brimmed hat, a fanny pack, and a pair of sun glasses, it just might be Traveling Ted.

Khao Yai National Park Thailand

Khao Yai National Park Thailand

Richard Bong Recreation Area

Not really an entrance sign, but I wanted to include it anyway

Richard Bong Recreation Area

Excuse me, but it is Richard Bong Recreation Area

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

One more from my home state of Illinois

Stay tuned,


The goal of Traveling Ted TV is to inspire people to outdoor adventure travel and then provide tips on where and how to go. If you liked this post then enter your email in the box to get email notifications for each new entry. Daily travel photos are excluded from your email in order to not flood you with posts. There is no spam and email information will not be shared. Other e-follow options include Facebook (click on the like box to the right) or twitter (click on the pretty bird on the rainbow above).