Blogging Challenge: For Posterity – National Treasures

Are you aware of what a gift we have in the State and National Parks in this country?

The Blogging Challenge

As an attempt to improve on my blogging skills, I am trying out a series of challenges provided by WordPress University.  The first of these was titled “For Posterity” and the challenge was to present something that you felt was very important to preserve.

In May, my wife and I went for the first time to experience some of our National Parks in Utah and Colorado.  To say that I was amazed would be a huge understatement.  These national treasures are so special that there are literally no words that do this justice.  At the same time, if we don’t speak out about things as important as this, we are failing to do our duty to make people aware of how glorious a gift we have here.

Becoming Aware

Awareness may be the most important thing that I could hope to pass on to posterity.  Not just to my children but to all children of this world.  This is something that seems to be missing in today’s world.  People go through their day’s in a haze.  A million messages flashing before us on screens small and large and every surface we pass by.  And yet, how little we are aware of.

While in the National Parks, I could see how some people were awed by the grandeur and beauty.  At the same time, I saw careless tourists who raced for spot to spot, climbing over delicate natural formations to make silly faces and take selfies.  Some people were aware while others were not.  Some, like me, felt a grateful reverence for everything from the incredible vistas to the tiny wild flowers.  Others, seem to think this was an amusement meant only for their passing fancy.

If we can not be aware and appreciative of that which is around us, the importance of things passes us by.  Life becomes a progression of titillations.  Always looking for the new thrill but never being satisfied.  This is evident in the “entertainment” that we view now.  Each new show must be more spectacular, more shocking, more ludicrous and by doing so, each thing that was previously unacceptable becomes more common.

A challenge for all of us

I had a challenge to discuss something that was important for posterity.  So here it is: a challenge to all of us.  Can we become more aware and more appreciative of the treasures that surround us in nature and in the people who fill our daily lives will we continue to follow the downward spiral of voyeurism that drives today’s world?

Visitor’s Center Overlook
Dead Horse Point State Park
Moab, Utah, USA

Nikon D7000
Nikkor 18-105mm lens
18mm at 1/125 sec – f/16 – ISO400

#DeadHorseStatePark #Utah #MoabUtah #UtahStateParks #canyons #nature #photography #landscape

Dead Horse Point State Park

After a bit of research, I found an answer to a question that was bugging me.  Why is it that Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park are right next to each other and are not part of the same park?  You can easily see from one park to the other.  The answer?  Dead Horse was established as a Utah State Park in 1959 while Canyonlands was not made a National Park until 5 years later, in 1964.

Dead Horse Point is the centerpiece of the state park.  The point is a plateau standing 2000 feet above a gooseneck turn of the Colorado River.  The name of the park is derived from a legend about cowboys herding wild mustangs onto the point.  There is a narrow pass that leads to the point which the cowboys often used to drive the wild horses through so that they could corral them and take their pick of the best steeds.  The legend holds that on one of these round-ups, for some reason they left the un-chosen horses out on the point where they died of hunger and thirst.

RMNP_May 08 2016_0749
Hikers admire the view at the Visitor’s Center

The State Park is a very nice place to visit with spectacular views at many overlooks.  We combined the visit here with a drive over to Canyonlands which is only a few minutes away.  There is actually only about 30 miles distance separating Arches, Dead Horse and Canyonlands.  A paradise of canyons, mountains and high-desert nature!

Desert flowers

Claret Cup

Claret Cup (Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. melancanthus)
Dead Horse Point State Park

The areas we visited in Utah are all locations that are considered high-desert but that does not mean that there are no plants.  This cactus was blooming at all three parks we visited (Arches, Canyonlands and Dead Horse – where I got this image.) along with numerous other wildflowers.

With an average annual rainfall of 10 inches, the plant life has to be adapted to the hot, dry climate and if you visit this area in the summer I’d be surprised if you see alot of flowers.  Since our trip was in May (Which appears to be just the beginning of Spring in this area since we got snowed on several times!) we, and the plants, were treated to a fair amount of rain.

Good side of visiting this time of year – No crowds in the parks and not too hot.
Down side – Fair chance of rain and possibility of cool/cold temps

Nikon D7000
Nikkor 18-105mm @ 66mm
Hand-held
ƒ/10.0    1/250 sec   400 ISO
Processed with Adobe Lightroom

Bonsai gardening in the desert

RMNP_May 08 2016_0787

There is so much to see when visiting the National and State Parks in Utah that I hardly know where to begin.  This image is a pinyon pine at one of the overlooks at Dead Horse State Park.  These trees are dotted all over the landscape in this area and are so interesting because the trunks look like twisted knots of driftwood.  If you didn’t see the green leaves on it, you would think the tree was dead.  As you can see from this shot, they grow in the most unexpected places, like a crack on the side of a cliff or a boulder.  Nature is amazing!

Dead Horse State Park
Moab, UT

Nikon D7000
Nikkor 18.0-105.0 mm @ 48mm
f/18    1/160 sec   ISO400