One of my top priorities with each new country I visit is to seek out the highest mountains, richest natural parks and features where I can commune with nature. During my one year staying in the United States, I have had the opportunity to meet a wonderful and diverse group of people from all over the world. With them, I have had the pleasure to travel and laugh, and sometimes cry amid these varied experiences.
With the prospect of connecting with nature, a plan was set to travel around with friends in national parks of Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. My flight landed in Vegas, the gateway city to many natural wonders. I spent the first night there and then blasted off to Sedona, crossing route 66 to enjoy the countryside and the authenticity of the rural ambiance.
The following day we planned to visit the Grand Canyon. We stayed speechless in anticipation of our arrival at the grandiose Canyon designated ‘a world heritage site joining a select list of protected areas around the world whose outstanding natural and cultural resources form the common inheritance of all mankind’. The day ended beautifully with Horseshoe, a nature masterpiece.
Day 3: heading to Utah to explore Bryce national park, an exceptional hike into the heart of Canyon
Day 4: Angels Landing hike which is one of the world’s most renowned hikes: the views of Zion Canyon’s 270 million-year-old rock, was an unforgettable short adventure
Day 5: finish with beauty snow canyon in Utah to valley of fire in Nevada.
Remaining grateful after this trip for the gift of nature transporting my sensibilities far away from the chaos of our daily lives and technology, I reflected on these national and state parks as a great experience to get close to nature’s heart. I was impressed by their legal designation and organizational structure, a credit to President Roosevelt, who was known as the champion of conservation. As president, he established five national parks, signed the landmark Antiquities Act, and used its special provisions to create 18 national monuments, including the Grand Canyon, 51 federal bird sanctuaries, four national game refuges, and more than 100 million acres of national forest. There are more National Park Service units dedicated to Roosevelt’s life and memory than any other American, including Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the Badlands of North Dakota, where he shot his first buffalo and set up a ranch.
This national wealth is now threatened by the Trump administration’s decision to destroy national parks by deregulating oil and gas extraction on public lands, firing National Park Service employees, and empowering Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to sell off any public lands.