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All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child. – Marie Curie
When I was very young, about four or five, my uncle would tell me all about the national parks. He gave me a viewfinder with many disks of different national parks and other natural places. Carlsbad was one of our favorites, second to Crater Lake (visited there in 2005). It was exciting to visit this park and to remember him.
I didn’t know much about this little park until I was teaching about the national parks. I didn’t get here on my last trip west. Just too much out of the way. I’m grateful to be able to visit this time
Catalina State Park, Coronado National Forest &Tombstone
The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do. – Galileo
I do live my sci-fi. Yes, a sci-fi movie was filmed here. Know which one? Independence Day. Besides my love of science fiction my reasons for visiting White Sands go a little deeper. I’ve had a rough week and I’m ready to relax. Can’t think of any place more relaxing than the desert; warmth, beauty, peace & solitude are just what I needed. There’s still a kid at heart here, playing in the sand, sand sledding and making sand angels are so much more fun than in the snow.
Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. Luke 4:42 (NKJV)
When I arrived at Socorro, New Mexico I saw an ad for VLA (Very Large Array) and when I realized what I was looking at I became excited. This was the location where the movie Contact took place. I do love that movie.
I’m impressed, no overcome, by the enormous size of these sand dunes. Not the beautiful tan or white I’m used to, a daunting grey, but yet this park is a stunning beauty.
Canyon de Chelly was definitely worth the trip. Beautiful canyons, friendly people, cliff dwellings, desert beauty, warmth, peace and solitude; God had just the right prescription for a miserable week.
And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” Mark 6:31 (NKJV)
The first time I visited this park my daughters and I were driving south from Yellowstone. I was in the passenger seat looking out the window, jaw dropped, breathing rapidly. I had never seen such a site. The mountains appear shoot out of the ground effortlessly. It was amazing. I’m from the east coast where 4000 feet is considered a good size mountain. We were already at 8000 feet and these peaks shot up another 7000. This was a spiritual experience, the force it took to create these massive peaks can only compare with the power of God. I decided then to change my geographic focus from cultural to geomorphology. Everywhere you look, this earth is filled with his glory.
I had to come back. No the experience wasn’t the same, the wild fires put a damper in my enthusiasm but I realized it was just as amazing and a new experience. It didn’t have to be the same. This time Jesus was with me.
How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! – John Muir
I am beginning to realize that time in the desert with Jesus is a time of refreshing and renewal. Deserts, the wilderness, are often thought of as a place you don’t want to be, that it is a place of hard times. But in fact, it is glorious. Soothing warmth and deadly quiet are conduits to the almighty. The bible speaks of the challenges Jesus faced in the desert but what most fail to understand from the verse is that he was there with the Father. There is nothing more restful than the desert when you are there with the Father.
Fossil Butte National Monument, Wyoming & Caribou National Forest, Idaho
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sego Canyon. I took this little detour to see the pictographs left by ancient cultures and found a quiet desert landscape that captivates the soul with a sense of peace. It draws you in and the warmth makes you want to stay…but there is more desert to see. On to Arches.
Arches National Park. This place is amazing, but be warned, if you take a trail that will keep you hiking for more than 15 minutes…don’t forget the water. I missed hiking to Delicate Arch from heat exhaustion from lack of water on an extended hike.
Canyonlands National Park. Unfortunately I arrived late in the day so I was only able to spend a couple of hours. There’s a few trails I would have liked to take, perhaps there will be a next time.
“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” – George Washington Carver
Got up at the crack of dawn, I wanted to spend the whole day at the parks, Arches and Canyonlands. I ran into a local man at the rest stop I stayed at and he told me of another cool place to go, the Sego Canyon pictographs at Thompson Springs. The eerie loneliness is a comfort to the soul; alone but not really alone. The memories of those who came before haunt the canyon in the form of ancient pictographs.
Arches National Park was certainly a treat, what beauty unveiled. I must come back. Delicate and ancient landscapes gently carved by water and wind. It’s hard to imagine this desert place was under water at. I hiked all day, in and out of the car to the next trail. But when it came to the Devil’s Garden Trail I was completely unprepared. I only intended to hike to the Landscape Arch, not the whole 4+ miles. The route was hillier than the previous trails, not to mention is was mid-day in the desert and I didn’t think I’d be gone long enough to need water. Boy was I wrong. By the time I got back I was dehydrated and beyond exhaustion. I was saving myself for the hike to Delicate Arch, the one I had longed to see, but I couldn’t make the hike and had to settle for a distant view. I will come back and complete the hikes I missed and get the close-up of Delicate Arch.
Well, its late afternoon and I need to go to Canyonlands National Park before sunset. I’m only 30 miles away and would regret not going. So exhausted I begin the drive through the park marveling at the wondrous sculpted landscape which was also carved by water but vastly different than Arches. No hiking this time. I could barely get out of the van to photograph the landscape. As the sun set my body was slowly setting too. I found a truck stop and crashed at about 8:30 – PM not AM if you can believe that of this night owl.
“…our geography exists only in the instant in which we descend upon it, on our two feet.” Cees Nooteboom, Nomads hotel
All the earth belongs to the Lord; go climb Mount God… Psalm 24:1-3, paraphrased from The Message