Taking My Breath Away

A prior post bubbled over with the joy and amazement Linda and I experienced in our December journey through some of the most famous national parks – the Grand Canyon, Death Valley and Yosemite.  Yet I was no less awed by others that I didn’t know as well.  In fact, the surprises that lurked around each curve of the road added to my excitement and appreciation.

The experiences in these state and national parks are so far removed from my day to day life in an urban setting.  In a matter of six hours while traveling through one park, I saw road runners, an antelope jackrabbit, armadillos, a herd of goats, a squadron of peccary or javelinas, coyotes, deers and birds too numerous and varied for anyone other than Audubon and his followers to catalogue.  I was inspired to undertake long daily hikes that always left me breathless and exhilarated.

Whether hiking or driving, the vistas changed as each moment and mile passed.  As I was driving on small local roads early one morning on the way to Big Bend State Park, I saw mountains ahead blanketed in haze.  As I wondered where this pollution could come from, my eyes grew in wonder as I realized I was staring at a Georgia O’Keefe painting with an amazing blend of blue and gray color tones. Whether from dust or morning clouds, nature had painted a scene for me that would only last an hour or so.  Although less transitory, I felt the same wonder as my eyes struggled to take in the widely varied color tones of rock faces, cliffs, canyons, peaks and mesas throughout the West.  Rudyard Kipling captured it eloquently as he gazed at Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon for the first time. . .

All I can say is without warning or preparation, I looked into a gulf 1,700 feet deep with eagles and fish hawks circling far below. The sides of that gulf were one wild welter of color—crimson, emerald, cobalt, ochre, amber, honey splashed with port wine, snow white, vermillion, lemon, and silver gray in wide washes. So far below that no sound of its strife could reach us. Now I know what it is to sit enthroned amid the clouds of sunset.

Here are some of the parks that I haven’t included in prior posts.  There are so many more in my reams of photos and so so many more in the ramblings ahead.

Parks - Big Bend
Big Bend National (and State) Park in Texas
Parks - Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree National Park
Parks - White Sands
White Sands National Monument
Parks - Saguarro
Saguaro National Park

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