Book Review & Recommendation (book available from CR Public Library)

Leave Only Footprints by Conor Knighton is part travel monologue, part heartfelt, and part healing memoir. It is essentially a love letter to America and to himself. Following a broken engagement, Knighton decides to take his mind off his pain by visiting all of America’s national parks, taking a single year to do it. It is an admirable endeavor for anyone, particularly someone nursing a broken heart. But, Knighton rises to the occasion, ultimately gaining the inspiration to move on with his life through the “healing strengthening power of nature.” Instead of lumping parks together by state or region, Knighton creatively organizes the chapters into themes such as canyons, food, people, and animals. Throughout his road tripping, he finds little nuggets that encapsulate America’s distinctiveness and beauty, such as Oregon’s vibrantly blue Carter Lake (deepest in the U.S.), Death Valley’s Devils Hole pupfish (a very rare fish species, found only in one water-filled cavern in the middle of the Nevada desert), and Michigan’s Isle Royale (a group of islands so remote that they’re only accessible by seaplane or boat). Throughout his travels, he weaves bits of history, science, geography, statistics, and little-known fun facts. This entertaining and inspirational book appeals to anyone who wants to learn more about America’s best idea and how challenging yourself can help with spiritual, emotional, and personal growth.

From your Health & Wholeness Committee