Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fascinating Nature: American South-West in a Winter Robe

I have traveled many times through the American South-West, but this last trip was my first winter trip to the region.

To my great surprise, winter appears to be a great time to visit the South-West, possibly better than any other season. The key reason behind that is that tourists seem not to like cold weather and, subsequently, there were hardly any of them in most places we visited (with a small but notable exception of Grand Canyon, which is popular year-round).

The lack of tourists translates to a better overall experience, as witnessing the beauty and splendor of the South-West in solitude is bound to enhance your appreciation of the forces that stand behind the creation of this world's most amazing natural wonder.

Solitude encourages contemplation, introspection, as well as it enhances senses and brings closer the examiner and the subject of examination. In my case, it also led to a realization that American South-West is a Playground of Nature, a place where Nature experimented with all possible rock shapes and forms, before deciding how the rest of Earth should look like.

My second big realization was that this Nature's Playground is My Playground too. I've been very fortunate to be able to travel multiple times through South-West, with time getting to know it as well as my own backyard. This growing intimate knowledge of the region allows me to probe it further and deeper with each subsequent visit, leading to even deeper fascination and admiration for the Nature and its ways.

During the next few weeks I'm going to blog about my favorite places in the South-West, and the way they look during winter.

Here's a list of places I'll rave about:
  1. Valley of Fire State Park
  2. Monument Valley Tribal Park
  3. Gooseneck State Park
  4. Valley of Gods
  5. Canyonlands National Park, The Needless Area
  6. Newspaper Rock State Park
  7. Arches National Park
  8. Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky Area
  9. Dead Horse Point State Park
  10. Goblin Valley State Park
  11. Colorado National Monument
  12. Hovenweep National Monument
  13. Valley of the Ancients National Monument
  14. Mesa Verde National Park
  15. Aztec National Monument
  16. Chaco Culture National Historic Park
  17. Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim
  18. Rainbow Bridge National Monument
  19. Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
  20. Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
  21. Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness
  22. Bryce National Park
  23. Kodachrome State Park
  24. Pink Sand Dunes State Park
  25. Zion National Park