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Publication: Sunset
Date published: October 1, 2011

Good times, good eats, great parks

The August issue arrived just as my family and I were embarking on a national parks tour to the Southwest. Your gourmet camp food article inspired me to buy a dutch oven (page 78). Never having cooked on one, I was both intimidated and skeptical. My family and I are so glad I did! The dutch oven really expanded my ability to cook foods we'd never had on previous trips. In Yosemite, we had potatoes with bacon and sautéed onions (my first attempt). In Grand Canyon, I got more daring and made chili first, then baked golden brown cornbread. In Bryce Canyon, we had chicken and tofu stir fry, with lots of veggies. My son said it was almost like eating at home! -JACQUI SAXON, SAN FRANCISCO

"All Yours" (August, page 54), inspired my husband and me to take a roadtrip through Nevada and southern Utah. Our first stop was Great Basin National Park, where we spent three days hiking, fishing, and stargazing in the super-dark evening sky. We found a glorious, primitive campsite in the aspens up Snake Creek Canyon and shared the entire canyon with only one other person. We headed to Utah and spent the next eight days camping, hiking, and logging many miles on unpaved, uncrowded dirt roads with mindblowing scenery, -JOHANNA GOOD AND CAL SIMON, NOVATO, CA

* I opened my August 2010 copy of Sunset last summer and instantly fell in love with Glacier National Park. It was too late to go then, but I made reservations for a week's stay (per your advice) for this July. It was everything you said and then some! The pictures aren't doctored - the lakes and rivers are actually that color green and blue! We hiked many trails, drank a lot of wine, had tea at the Prince of Wales and pie at the Park Café, and ate at the Two Sisters restaurant. Thanks for inspiring the vacation of a lifetime! -LAURIE McGHEE, EDGEWOOD, WA

PLAN A NATIONAL PARK GETAWAY." sunset. com/parks

Posts from our Facebook fans

"What's your ideal fall vacation?"

* Mountain biking through the aspens in Steamboat Springs, CO, with the leaves crunching under the tires, bluebird skies, and not a soul around! -SUE HANSEN

* Camping in New Mexico's Jemez Mountains. The trees, mountains, Rio Grande, wildlife, everything is breathtaking. -KATIE WILSON MALLERY

* San Juan Islands. Rare skies for photography, whalewatching, excellent hiking, beachcombing, and some of the best food in Washington. -WENDY RAE

* Exploring the area between Eureka and Crescent City, CA. Antiquing, seafood, and architecture in Eureka; sea stacks and beaches near Trinidad; wineries (and breweries and cheesemakers) here and there; and Redwood National Park, where the bigleaf maples are turning brilliant yellow, -BRET S. BEALL

* A quick getaway to Laguna Beach, CA. Running through the water barefoot with a winter jacket to keep warm and no one else in sight. -AMANDA ST. LUCAS

* Biking, wood collecting, and wine around the campfire in Williams, AZ. Maybe a surprise snow. -LAURA CARTLIDGE

* Going over the Sonora Pass in the Sierra before winter snows close it. East on 108 and then south on 395. The cottonwoods and aspens are spectacular. Take a day trip or spend a week checking out the spectacular nature and the history. Everything from ghost towns to "castles" rising from a lake, -ROSEMARY BLISS

* Yosemite! It smells like heaven in the fall! -DANIELLE ASKAY-SAILER

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