Beautiful sights: THE NATIONAL PARKS
During our Tour through the Southwest we saw some of the big National Parks. Here are some photos
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
Here you got a domination of rocks between very much green.
One of the most famous rock of Yosemite National Park is the El Capitan (left side). It's a paradise for mountain-climbers. In conjunction with the high and upright rock walls there were high waterfalls. The Yosemite Falls were nothing really special at this time of year (end of july). There was just a little stream of water dribbling down from the mountain and the river bed was almost dry. There are still black bears in that area. But we didn't see one. But there were loads of curious squirrels and birds.
From the Glacier Point we had an amazing view over the whole mountain range. Next to the El Capitan you could see the so called Half Dome. You can only reach the Glacier Point in summer. It's closed in winter. In the National Parks the forest fires burn unimpended. No one cares to put them out as long as there's no danger to roads or houses. Therefore we saw a lot of burned areas already sprouting green again. Just the burned tree-trunks still reminded of the fire.
This National Park (and actually all of the other too) were really worth seeing .
DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
You could spend days in Death Valley. We were far from seeing everything.
The first Stop on the tour to Death Valley was the Zabriskie Point. The different colors of the rocks were very interesting. From Zabriskie Point you could already see the salt lake of Badwater in the distance.
We had our lunch-break at the Furnace Creek Ranch, an oasis in the middle of Death Valley. They actually had a golf-course down there. There you could see the sharp difference between the irrigated area and the desert. Outside the oasis grew nothing.
After that we visited the salt lake of Badwater, the deepest point in the western hemisphere (86 meters less than zero). At this point sunglasses are highly recommended, otherwise you might become snow-blind from the reflection of the sun on the salty ground. The temperature was about 110°F and there was no shadow in sight. The sun burned mercilessly from the sky. Would have been great to have a hat. There was still a little puddle of salty water and when we dug a little hole in the sand it would fill itself with water too. Of course you couldn't drink that. Therefore you couldn't see any signs of plants or animals.
Here's a tip for Death Valley-tourists: Take a hat with you. I didn't have one and that canceled my plans for the second evenening in Las Vegas. Instead of exploring the city I spend the evening in bed with a sunstroke. :-(
ZION NATIONAL PARK
The Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park are in the mormon-state Utah.
Shortly beyond the border from Arizona to Utah the landscape started to get colorful. Even before we reached the visitors center of the Zion National Park we passed some huge red and white colored mountain ranges. Partly it looked like a giant scratched the rocks of the mountains.
In Zion National Park the nature revealed many different colored layers of rock. Even shapes like the "bridge" on the left picture were made by nature. As we drove on the winding roads between this gigantic rocks I felt very small and insignificant. I remember the german mountains where the rocks were covered with a net of steel to keep them from falling onto the streets. Here was nothing like this. Just the warning signs. But to be honest, it would be a shame to cover this beautiful mountains under a steel net.
The visit in the Zion National Park reinforced my respect about nature considerably.
BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Sometimes nature really manages to do astonishing things.
On our way to the Bryce Canyon National Park we had a short stop at Red Rock Canyon. Those shapes of rocks were a little foretaste of what lay ahead of us. Those two rocks on the right side are called salt- and pepper-shaker.
The rest of our way to the Bryce Canyon National Park was not so spectacular. You could only see the breath-taking shapes of the rocks of Bryce Canyon when you stood directly on the vantage point.The view of the amphitheatre of Bryce Canyon just leaves you speachless. Especially on a bright day you can't get over it. The Inspiration Point (left side) was quite the most impressive vantage point of the Bryce Canyon. Here you could see how big that canyon really is.
Very amazing for me was the red and white colour of the rocks. We walked from Sunset Point to Sunrise Point along the edge of the canyon. The trees which clutched themselves on the edge of the canyon were amazing too. You could see a lot of small squirrels with a line on their backs.
This canyon is definitly a must when you're in that area.
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
One thing is undisputed: The Grand Canyon is one of the greatest wonders of nature this earth has seen. But the weather during our visit could have been better.
I made the picture on the left from the vantage point Desert View on the eastside of the Grand Canyon. I waited vainly for the sun to break through the clouds. But even without sunshine the view was gigantic. The Colorado River looks so small down there but it's wider than a football field.
We had the best view during our short circular flight with the Grand Canyon Airlines. We flew into the sunny spots. Taking the length of 200 kilometers the weather can be different along that distance. I didn't get many of the explainations we got through the headphone cause I was busy being completely stuck in amazement. I just couldn't get over the beauty and size of this canyon. These colors and rocks! And partly there were so many trees and plant in between.
Never underestimate the power of water. The Colorado River looks quite peaceful from above, but it has a heavy stream. They even offer rafting-tours on the river. The canyon has some dangerous rapids. And on the right side you can see what kind of furrows this powerful river can cut into the stone.
I do have to see the Grand Canyon again... on a very bright day. *lol*