Today is a real travel day, with a nice big airplane ready to take us back to New York City from our basecamp here in Denver.
It seems like our work here is done and we feel we can now claim some familiarity with the American West. During the last three months, we have seen a dozen national parks and many of the cities and much of the landscape in between them. The variety has been vast – from ocean cliffs to giant redwoods to deserts to mountains – with three seasons of weather along the way. In truth, I have often felt that my vocabulary was not up to the task. When a view takes your breathe away, it’s impossible for the words at my disposal to summon up the same image for others to experience. The poetry of John Muir often said it best, but it didn’t seem fair to steal too much from him.
But perhaps you will be inspired to go and see for yourself what an astonishing range of landscapes we have in this country. And when you do, don’t forget to thank the people in our past who often fought long and arduous battles to preserve those very vistas for you to enjoy.
It’s a truism, but worth repeating: You can destroy something just once, but saving it requires constant vigilance, and the fight is never over. John Muir did talk about the American tendency to “dollarize” everything in sight, and that compulsion is very much alive and well. The Grand Canyon would look like poor Niagara Falls if not for a few resolute preservationists and conservationists. Beware, and be grateful.
In addition to those who went before us, I am also very thankful to Don, my intrepid and resourceful companion, who planned every moment of this trip. There were many days I credited him with even coordinating the sun and rain, just to perfectly accommodate our driving and touring times. Yes, he is that good.
The rest of our American journey will continue in the fall, but stay tuned for the occasional adventure in New York. As I recall, there are some sights to see there too. Go know.