Friday, May 29, 2009

The Mighty Colorado Plateau

From Wikipedia:

The Colorado Plateau, also called the Colorado Plateau Province, is roughly centered on the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States. The province covers an area of 337,000 km² (130,000 mi.²) within western Colorado, northwestern New Mexico, southern and eastern Utah, and northern Arizona. About 90% of the area is drained by the Colorado River and its main tributaries; the Green, San Juan and Little Colorado.[1][2]

In the southwest corner of the Plateau lies the Grand Canyon of the Colorado. Most of the Colorado Plateau's landscape is related, in both appearance and geologic history, to the Grand Canyon. It is a landscape unlike any other. The nickname "Red Rock Country" suggests the brightly colored rock left bare to the view by dryness and erosion. Rugged canyons, towering cliffs, winding rivers and soaring arches combine with other natural features to impress the eye. Domes, hoodoos, fins, reefs, goblins, river narrows, natural bridges, and slot canyons are only some of the additional eye-catching features typical of the Plateau.

This has led to the creation of the greatest concentration of national parks in the United States. Among its parks are Grand Canyon NP, Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Capitol Reef NP, Canyonlands NP, Arches NP, and Petrified Forest NP. Among the national monuments are Dinosaur NM, Hovenweep NM, Wupatki NM, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, and Colorado NM.

I was raised in the Southwest. It's what I really know. I have lived other places, but no other location has ever captured my heart the way this place has. There are beautiful and majestic landscapes all across our planet, yet somehow I can't imagine another place as inspiring and varied as the Colorado Plateau.

Here is a land raised by volcanoes and massive uplift, chiseled by water and wind, and mostly empty because of extremes of climate and geography. There are few places left in the lower 48 where solitude and splendor combine to create such a visually stunning and spiritually enriching place, and I am fortunate that it's right out my backdoor.

This blog is my love letter to the Colorado Plateau. You won't have to read my rants or opinions on politics, religion, or society in these pages - the world doesn't need another talking head. I want to share the places that inspire me to a deep appreciation of the natural world, places that restore and nurture my soul.

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