A Year In America's National Parks

Aug 17, 2016

  Many childhood summers, Mark Woods piled into a station wagon with his parents and two sisters and headed to America's national parks. Mark’s most vivid childhood memories are set against a backdrop of mountains, woods, and fireflies in places like Redwood, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon national parks.

On the eve of turning fifty and a little burned-out, Mark decided to reconnect with the great outdoors. He'd spend a year visiting the national parks. He planned to take his mother to a park she'd not yet visited and to re-create his childhood trips with his wife and their iPad-generation daughter.

But then the unthinkable happened: his mother was diagnosed with cancer, given just months to live. Mark had initially intended to write a book about the future of the national parks, but Lassoing the Sun grew into something more: a book about family, the parks, the legacies we inherit and the ones we leave behind.

Mark Woods is the Metro Columnist for the Florida Times-Union, the daily newspaper in Jacksonville, FL, and recipient of the Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship. He lives in Jacksonville, FL.