Are you looking for a little family adventure while you’re not yet comfortable with a return to full-on traveling? Maybe finding a new trail to hike in Nature’s exquisite surroundings can satisfy that yearning while inspiring a little awe. From prior posts, you know that I love hiking, and I thought it’d be fun to share a few of my favorite trail scenes.
Canyonlands National Park, near Moab, Utah, is one of the first parks I visited in the American Southwest. I’ve heard it called the Little Grand Canyon, and at the time of my visit, it was one of the least-visited National Parks. From various trails, I saw unforgettable colored canyons, interesting rock formations, various wildflowers, and trees with roots growing up to a foot above the ground. There was even a big, bushy flowered plant that smelled like chocolate cake! (If ever I learn its name, you can bet I’ll be planting a few around my house!)
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn. ~John Muir
Mt. Rainier, Washington’s tallest peak, topping out at 14,411 feet, is about 60 miles south of Seattle. The region around the mountain is thick with evergreen trees and wildflower meadows, and has several rivers running through it. Weather in the area is generally rainy, but I was fortunate to catch a couple days of sun and royally blue skies.
In southern Colorado, much to my surprise, I saw sand, and lots of it. Great Sand Dunes National Park encompasses 30 square miles of sand dunes, including the tallest ones on the continent, reaching heights of 750 feet. The area also has its share of 13,000 foot mountains, creeks, cedars, spruce trees, vibrant wildflowers, and diverse wildlife.
Southern California’s Mojave Desert is host to the Joshua Tree (see more about that & other uncommon trees here.) This tree always makes me smile, due to its formation: sometimes stick straight, but most of the time, twisted with branches going willy-nilly. The surrounding shrubs, sparse multi-colored wildflowers and heaps of small boulders are a perfect backdrop. If you like deserts, this one is a beauty, but be sure to take lots of water!
Ansel Adams, the American landscape artist and environmentalist, gifted us with an amazing photograph of the Grand Tetons overlooking the head waters of the Snake River in Wyoming. This breathtaking area is home to lots of amazing wildlife. During hikes there, I saw wolves, moose, bison, elk, and deer.
The red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, are one of my favorite winter hiking spots. High temperatures are usually in the 30’s or 40’s, but at 4000 feet in elevation, the bright sun and low humidity always make it feel much warmer. There are various rock formations with names like Snoopy Rock, Coffee Pot Rock, Chimney Rock, Bell Rock, and Devil’s Bridge. The red earth is dotted with vivid green in the form of oak shrubs, sugar bush, junipers and cypress trees. Nature’s striking contrast of colors could be a reason this area is so popular with tourists.
Hiking can be a thrilling experience offering magnificent beauty and an opportunity to feel closer to Nature. The scenes I’ve witnessed on hiking trails have awed me, and serve as constant reminders of just how incredible our planet is. At a time when pandemic uncertainty prevails, exploring new hiking trails may be the perfect family adventure.
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. ~John Muir
Blessings on the Trail,
The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.