The Southwest – For the First Time Again
For the First Time…Again!
Anyone who knows me, knows I love the Southwest. Utah is my favorite state in the USA. In the southern part of the state, there are five national parks and numerous state parks showcasing the most magnificent geological formations in brilliant colors of red, orange, yellow, and white – all contrasted by the bluest sky you’ve ever seen.
I have photographed all the parks, scenic highways, peaks, valleys, and everything in between many times. I usually visit Utah every year or two. I never get tired of it. Every time I visit, I see familiar places that I’ve slept, ate, stopped by to look around and so on. I feel like I know it like the back of my hand. Yet I return again and again because it is such a special place.
On my most recent visit, I brought my brother along. It was his first time to see Utah in all its glory and beauty, other than Moab which he visited years ago. We started out in Vegas and traveled south to Monument Valley on the Utah/Arizona border. Along the way, we stopped at the world-famous slot canyons, Antelope Canyon. From there, we visited Canyon de Chelly in eastern Arizona before heading north to the national parks of Utah.
Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Capitol Reef NP, Zion NP, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument were in our bulls eye. While we didn’t get to explore each park in depth, it was a good primer for his next travel expedition. The area is so vast and diverse, it is easy to spend an entire week in only one or two parks. I’ve had the honor and pleasure to explore each individually, and it’s worth every minute.
Each park is unique in color and type of rock formations – red rock in Canyonlands, orange in Bryce Canyon, all of the above in Zion! The region ranges rom 4,000 to 9,000 feet in elevation which creates different weather patterns and temperatures. While it’s hot in Arches, it is moderate to cool in Bryce Canyon. Not only is southern Utah a visual feast, it tickles every sense to maximum effect.
I feel like I am visiting the area for the first time although I’ve been here about 10 times. I am seeing the parks through my brother’s eyes. As I experienced the first time, he is mesmerized and overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the region. Just when he thought he saw something that couldn’t be topped, there was another amazing sight. And another, and another.
Every time he proclaims his amazement and disbelief in the otherworldly rock formations, the brilliant colors, the lovely weather, the good home-cooked food, I am reliving my first experience in the Southwest. I am as excited as he is! I suppose it is like parents taking their children to Disney World for the first time. They relive their first visit to the parks. I totally get it. The emotions are the same. It is pure unadulterated joy and contentment.
I am always eager to return again with a new pair of eyes. Anyone interested?! I would love see the Southwest for the first time…again! And again!