Now, I’ve only been to Utah a handful of times – once when I was moving to Seattle in my twenties, and this time during our road trip, when going back to visit family – but I have to say, the views are honestly unlike anywhere I’ve ever seen. The red-rocky oasis with mountains, steep plateaus, desert flora and fauna is truly breathtaking, and I would recommend a trip to Utah at least once in your lifetime to truly expand your imagination.
We stopped a few times along the road, even though we were short on time, because we just couldn’t wait to take in the views any longer. Check out what I mean in the photos featured below – Benny and Earl of course scared us to death with their fearless trips to the edge of the mountains, but thankfully we wall survived, and got a nice lunch in too.
We were tempted to stop in Moab on the way to Salt Lake City, and check out the infamous Arches National Park (https://www.nps.gov/arch/index.htm), but tragically, we decided to visit another day when the sky wasn’t filled with smoke from the wildfires in the West.
While I have not so far, nor will I focus much time on the impacts of climate change that changed this journey today from the one we took just a few years ago – traversing the same path – it would be imprudent not to spend some time discussing it here.
In each state we saw after leaving New Mexico (in order: Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, and then back to Colorado), there was at least some part of our journey that was shrouded by smoke-filled skies. Yes, America, we have a “smoke” season now, and it occurs in the west from June-August. This is certainly not to say that this problem was uniquely curated by the states they occur in, however it is happening with more frequency and devastation each year (https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-wildfires).
It’s fair to also note here that we also saw evidence of wildfires that were deemed ‘good’ and were a naturally reoccurring phenomenon of Yellowstone National Park, helping to re-grow the forest and diversify plant life each year (check out more about this process here: https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/fire.htm). However given the statistics on naturally occurring vs man-made fires, I think it’s a fair assumption that the smoke we saw was from near-by fires in California and Montana. A quote I found particularly interesting was this one, from the National Geographic website:
The reason I mention this here, was that we agreed we should probably come back to visit Moab (I mean seriously, check it out: https://www.discovermoab.com/) on another National Parks tour in the future – perhaps in June – when we can visit our friends in California and hit up little-known areas like Yosemite National Park (https://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm), Joshua Tree National Park (https://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm), or Tahoe National Forest (https://www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe). Of course, the much larger and scarier implication is that we also need to do everything we can to tackle the major problem that is climate change, which is undeniably hitting our shores. Climate change, more than any other factor, is my main drive in learning about solar, however I am in strong support of any type of energy-saving and/or greenhouse-gas-emission-reducing technique used! This doesn’t imply perfection, simply a reduction in the amount or type of energy we consume, and while that may be a scary concept to some, the really clever and creative among us have already started to develop smarter ways to thrive. All we have to do, is install it.