Living in the US gave us ample opportunity to travel and experience the beauty of its natural wonders.
America has some truly spectacular national parks to explore and enjoy. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to visit as many natural wonders as we hoped, but the ones we did see are really worth mentioning to inspire you to visit and enjoy some outdoor activities while you are there.
This is the first in our series of posts on US natural wonders and this post will concentrate on Canyons.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
“The majority of the 5 million tourists that come here each year, stay for 15 minutes. That’s enough time to jump off their tour bus and take their obligatory ‘I was here’ shot.”
My mouth dropped in complete shock when our park ranger told us this statistic on our sunset walk. We had already spent 2 days hiking in the North Rim and now we were to do the same in the South, and I never wanted to leave. I could not believe that the majority of people did not stay to really appreciate the Canyon’s impressive beauty and power.
I’d sit transfixed, in total awe at the power of water and how over millions of years it was able to create a sculpture of such grandeur and epic proportions; humbled by just how small and insignificant I really was.
We had followed the Colorado River down from her beginnings in the Rocky Mountains and saw how she grew and widened, her twists and turns leaving total magnificence in her path. Don’t stay here for 15 minutes. Camp at the North and South Rim, and hike down below where you will experience two vastly different yet perfect worlds.
There are plenty of trails for you to choose from and the truly adventurous can walk rim to rim. Prepare to do this over several days. It gets extremely hot in the canyon so start at sun up and come prepared with plenty of water.
You can also ride mules down if you prefer not to get sore legs and blisters on your heels. We highly recommend eating a salmon burger and having a beer at the restaurant at the edge of the canyon on the North Rim. Truly spectacular.
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Bryce Canyon is the fairy tale kingdom of every young girls dream. A kingdom of bright orange and pink pastel spires and towers, archways and paths leading into enchanted forests to get lost in. We spent a day hiking and exploring her trails, nooks and crannies, surrounded by a sea of orange.
One of my most memorable travel experiences ever was horse riding into the canyon with our cowboy guide Jake. Jake was a real cowboy complete with studs, leather pant protectors, a cowboy hat and whiskey jokes spewing forth from a heavy cowboy western accent.
We trotted down into the canyon, in and out of ravines, and under natural formed archways, in total awe at what we were seeing. What a magical day we had. It is really worth getting up at sunrise and heading to the canyon for some quiet solitude and a chance to get some beautiful photos of the canyon.
Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah
A vicious thunderstorm erupted as we were driving from one part of Canyonlands to another. As I was driving, a jagged bolt of lightning smacked into the ground about 5 metres to the left of our vehicle. Light radiated from all directions as the bolt zapped and lit up the darkened area.
It was the most spectacular display of natural power I have ever seen and underneath my terror lay a deep sense of awe and gratitude for witnessing first hand this natural phenomenon and teaching me one of life’s most powerful truth- never mess with Mother Nature.
Canyonlands is not as popular or well known as the Grand Canyon, but could be considered just as spectacular.
The storms that rip through here during the summer months are worth the trip alone. The Colorado River and its tributaries have divided the park into three separate areas, each having its own distinctive character and opportunity for exploration.
There are plenty of hiking and bike trails to take advantage of, as well as areas to raft on the river. Be warned that traveling between the areas of the park can take several hours due to the indirect roads that join them.
Dead Horse Point State Park, not far from Canyonlands is the place to visit for an absolutely stunning vista of Canyonlands. Grab a couple of beers and sit and watch as the sun sets, casting a soft glow over the sculpted pinnacles and buttes, carved by the winding Colorado River below.
Kiss your beer and send cheers to the Universe for allowing you the opportunity to witness such a magical panoramic.
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