Your exciting description of Colorado reminded me of a short trip we made this summer, and given the fact that our National Parks are closed right now, I thought I'd post about what is now unfortunately unavailable to the public:
August 12, 2013
My husband and I just took a couple of days and visited King's Canyon and Sequoia National Parks (they're right next to each other) here in California. As a California native, I was embarrassed to think I had never been there before. The vast vistas were stunning. In fact, one brought tears to my eyes it was so amazing. We learned that the Giant Sequoias, the world's largest trees, had been severely endangered from human carelessness and ignorance. People were literally loving them to death back in the early part of the 20th century, building cabins and roads that disturbed their roots and the ecological balance of the forest. Eventually, scientists figured out that these huge trees weren't as sturdy and indestructible as people thought, and the National Park Service has been instituting all kinds of remediations to bring the park back to its former health, including controlled burns that prepare the soil for new seeds that fall from the cones and keeping out plants that aren't native to the area, among other things. They long ago took out all the buildings that were interfering with the health of the forest, limiting people to just certain paths so they won't trample tender plants. We still see plenty.
This all reminded me of DQMW, of course, and Sully's efforts to work with the government to save these wonderful wild areas for the future. We should all be grateful to former Presidents like Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, among many others and Congress as well, for having the foresight a long time ago to save places like this like Yellowstone and Yosemite for the future.
One of the things we did was ride horses today. I asked the woman in charge of the stable if she had ever watched DQMW, and she said yes! So I said, "Well, you know, Cloud Dancing said when you ride a new horse, you should look him in the eye and thank him for the gift he's going to give you. Then I did just that, and my horse was perfectly behaved, which was a good thing since I haven't ridden in at least 30 years. Even though we were just walking, not trotting or galloping, I have some really sore legs (quads) and God only knows what my abs will feel like tomorrow, but it was a cool experience. We got to see parts of the forest we never would have, like one area where a burn had been done several years ago and it was full of new growth as a result. And I could pretend I was on an adventure in the woods with Sully. Eventually, I relaxed so much I didn't even have to hold onto the saddle horn.
Friends, please take the opportunity to visit a National Park when this shutdown is over. You might even try riding a horse! You will meet people from all over the world come to see the beauties of nature our country has to offer. You'll learn so much about our environment and what we can do to help preserve it, how our forests help to regulate the climate and clean the air and water, and you'll feel refreshed and inspired. It couldn't hurt!