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An International Visitor from the Great White North

How exciting to be a new addition to the Hello Ranger community! My name is Alyse and I currently reside in Alberta, Canada. I was born and raised here, though I also lived abroad in Asia for two years after university. When I got back from those two years, my first thought was to escape the hustle of the city and head straight for the quiet of nature in the Rockies. That still and crisp air flowed freely and engulfed me in a feeling that I could not shake. The feeling was so refreshing—I knew it had to be a regular occurrence in my life. Thus, the goal-setting began. Little did I know it would culminate here—at Hello Ranger—sharing my stories, experiences, and research about hikes and mountains, biology of ecosystems, and the geology of these areas. As your humble neighbor from Canada, it is my pleasure to share my understanding of the U.S. national parks through an international lens, and also my expertise of the Canadian national parks system. There are so many different perspectives on the parks here in Canada, but one thing is for sure: Canada hosts some of the most pristine landscapes in the western hemisphere.

Photo courtesy of Alyse Huynh

Canada has 48 National Parks and National Park Reserves, without even accounting for the National Historic and Marine Conservation Areas. The beauty of the Parks Canada system is that there are so many unexplored and beautiful sights to see everywhere you turn. Even though the secret is out about some of the most famous locations, like Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, their notoriety still does not do them justice! In my own province, there are a total of five national parks. Many have heard of Banff and Jasper, but Alberta is also home to Yoho, Waterton Lakes, Elk Island, and Wood Buffalo National Parks, which means there is so much to share! Your introduction to the Canadian parks might be like a crash landing into the wildest viewpoints, the craziest cliffside scrambles, the frosty cold, and the summer wildflower blooms. Imagine you were planning your first trip to Alberta; I would also want me as a guide!

All kidding aside, there are many hats I wear in my life, including things like a science teacher, a person of color, a cancer survivor, a slow-but-steady hiker, a painter, and always an outdoor enthusiast. Mashing all of those together gives me a unique perspective on nature. The differing experiences I have had in my life have given me an appreciation for things that people might look past, meaning I’m sometimes unconventional with my advice. When planning my trips, the first thing I do is to get rid of any actual plan I have; the carefree way of experiencing life that I adopted after beating cancer (YAY, ME! 10 years cancer-free this past June!), paired with my desire to hike and be outside has really brought me here. Right here, typing this article, trying to find the words to convey my excitement and my motivation to share. Let’s get right to it! Time to see nature—and the world of travel—through my lens!

Header photo: By Alyse Huynh

As the first international ambassador for Hello Ranger, Alyse Huynh looks forward to sharing her experiences as an out-of-country visitor to U.S. national parks, preserves, and monuments. Her trips are never planned or organized, so along with her experiences hiking, she hosts a podcast that is essentially a “what not to do” guide to travel.

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