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Thank You, Teddy!

America has always been defined by the comparative, if not the superlative. The New World, the Great Experiment, Manifest Destiny, etc. In some ways, it’s ironic that our first president and leader is the face of the paltry (every day moreso) one dollar bill. No one could ever question George Washington’s connection with American heritage. However, Washington’s steady and humble demeanor seems to fly in the face of the bold and braggadocious bravado of the America we look on with pride as we salute the fifty stars and stripes flag rippling over our country.

Theodore Roosevelt is the representative of the ostentatious and grandiose side of American Greatness. The Great White Fleet, African Safaris, Walrus Mustaches, and the Rough Riders define the youngest and brashest president. He was the “Trust Buster” who carried the “Heaviest Stick”.

Washington may be the inaugural leader and founding father. Jefferson may be the original statesman and the architect of all we hold dear. Lincoln may be the culmination of American values and the arbiter tasked with upholding the sacred rights of all Americans. But Teddy is the iconic, all-American original who belongs on Mt Rushmore just as much as the other three.

Teddy was also a fan of copious amounts of coffee, with some reports stating that he drank over a gallon a day! As a child, he suffered from asthma and took to drinking coffee and smoking cigars to improve his health. The founders of Maxwell House credited Teddy with coming up with the iconic slogan “Good to the last drop!” when trying out their coffee during his presidency. While that turned out to be a somewhat apocryphal marketing ploy, his actual quote at the time was even better: “This is the kind of stuff I like to drink, by George, when I hunt bears.”

At Verso L’ alto, we like to say

“This is the kind of stuff I like to drink when I climb mountains.”

Sam and her sister road tripped across the US this summer. Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion and Mt Rushmore itself were all on the journey. More recently, Sam and some close friends hiked the long and arduous trail to summit the highest peak in the contiguous USA, Mt. Whitney. Some pictures are worth more than a thousand words!

Often, we take our majestic National Parks for granted. They were here for our grandparents and generations before, and they will be here for our grandchildren and generations after. We complain about the parking and the bureaucracy, but no one can deny the grandeur. Which leader is primarily responsible for instituting and preserving this beauty and heritage for the American people? It is none other than Theodore Roosevelt, the protector of the National Park system and lover of all that is grand about our great country.

Thank you, Teddy!

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

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