America the Beautiful

Posted 20 October, 2007 by graham in usa

…is the name of the multi-agency park access card we bought for $80. In practice this means we can go to any National Park, National Forest, State Park, Country Park, anything owned by the Bureau of Land Management, or any of a variety of other conservation / management agencies. There’s a lot of land protected out here. In fact there’s a lot of land full stop.

We drove up from Pasadena to Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Park to see the most massive trees in the world, particularly the largest organism in the world, General Sherman. Then up to Yosemite, where we got snowed in. They closed the access road we camped off of. In practice this worked out great because they salted the road but didn’t officially re-open it, so it was only accessible from our campsite: Yosemite just for us!

Next we drove down into the Eastern Sierras valley, to enjoy some hot springs (clothing optional – it’s California innit) and see the oldest living organisms, the Bristlecone Pines. The tallest tree is up in the North of California and the widest in Oaxaca, Mexico, so that’s the end for the records. We drove through Death Valley, which really is as dry and dusty as it sounds, through Vegas, and we are now in Zion National Park, Utah. I’m writing this from the Springdale library, a lovely new building with over 12 computers, charging $1 a day for Internet access. And some books and stuff.

The amount of space out here is amazing. We’ve driven for hours on a straight road, with just dusty scrub-land on either side. Luckily we have a 40 hour / 32 CD audio-book of Don Quichote to listen to. Gas is cheap, our S.U.V. is massive and comfortable, the food is plentiful, filling and cheap, the people are friendly and helpful, the landscape is amazing, the local beer is good, and just cos I can, I might just go out to a range in the desert (which is everywhere), and fire some really big guns. God bless America the Beautiful!

This post has (2) comments

2 comments to “America the Beautiful”

Anthony Hunt, October 20th, 2007 at 11:12 am:

  • Hey Janette,

    Just wanted to say I enjoyed the photos of your flight across the Victoria Falls you sent to the office.

    Does this Journey ever end? ;-)

    Take care,


Paul, November 17th, 2007 at 4:54 pm:

  • Wow looking at your pics of America reminds me of my trip through that remarkable country. I have been so long in Colombia that I’d all but forgotten about those distant beginnings of this trip, those wide open roads and huge blue skies, the incredible freedom to go anywhere, the ease with which you can be alone with nature. Once outside of America it’s all too easy to judge it on its foreign policy, its strip malls, family and societal breakdown, its Hollywood movies, and the rest of its cultural imperialism. I would stop short of saying “America’s the greatest country on Earth man!” but: it’s definitely got something.

    I’m home for xmas; will you be? Will we meet up and swap stories? I hope so!