I guess I like the West--as I've visited it 46 times. My first trip was a one-month trip in 1946, going out through SD, WY, UT, NV to San Francisco. (Though only four, I remember about ten places.) Then down to San Diego, crossing into Mexico at Tijuana. We came back via Route 66 (no freeways, as I did again in December 1961, both ways, by hitch-hiking all the way to LA). I mainly like the West because of all the natural beauty, evidenced by the large number of National Parks there (I've been to every one) plus even more National Monuments (been to over half of them). I worked in the West for two summers: 1961 for the US Forest Service in the Black Hills; and in 1964 as a fire-patrol worker in Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington (not many fires, as the previous winter provided enormous snowfalls--so I tobogganed on slopes with four feet of snow on the Fourth of July). Not done, I guess, I have two West trips planned for next year, one in January and another in February. While I'm "young."
In June my grandson, Braxton, and I took a ten-day trip to Colorado and Utah. This was our third out-of-state trip together. He is a good companion and shows a lot of interest in all the sites we have been to.
Utah is my favorite state. I have visited it 13 times, the first time in 1969. I mainly travel in the lower third of the state, which has five amazing National Parks (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches) plus six National Monuments. All have highly colored and eroded rock formations. I distinctly remember reading about them while in grade school, then telling myself that I had to visit them someday. Well, I did--for 13 times now. And more to come.
I hope you can see that these photos, which just begin to illustrate the staggering beauty of (eastern) Utah, shows what a fabulous state it is. In 1962 Dorothy and I toured the Upper Dells on the Wisconsin River. We were awed by the rock formations and the colors. In 1969 we made our first of many trips to Utah. In 1966 we again toured the Upper Dells. After a while, the boat began its return to the city. I asked the captain why we were returning, saying I was hoping to see the colorful rocks I remembered from 1962. He said we already had seen them. I guess I got jaded in Utah. It reminds me of an old saying used in Japan: "Don't say anything is beautiful until you have seen Nikko (a temple built on steep terrain in a forest)." I've been to Nikko, in 1985, and it is, indeed, incredible. I rank all the places I visit on a scale of 1-10. Many places in Utah reach a nine or a ten. To my tastes, none in Wisconsin rank more than a six or seven. Sixes and sevens are often beautiful--but the only people they blow away are those who have not seen nines or tens. That is what the author of the Japanese saying meant. It also holds in the US, I believe. So, if you have not yet visited Utah, consider doing yourself a huge favor by doing so.
Part Two of my Utah and Colorado trip will feature Colorado. Braxton and I did three major things there: visiting Mesa Verde National Park, taking a historic train ride through the mountains, and visiting Great Sand Dunes National Park. Don't miss it!