Utah’s National Parks, Las Vegas, Nevada and the Grand Canyon, in Arizona
This trip was a wonderful experience that has led me to appreciate more and more the vastness of the USA and the beauty of the country in its variety. What is interesting with the USA is that when someone travels by land, he can pass easily from one landscape to another, from a luxuriant forest to an empty desert, in an indescribable display of the richness of the country.
Most of the trips I undertake are determined by events and circumstances. This time the visit of a friend of mine, Fr Paul Vanderbeke from Brussels, offered me a great opportunity to discover the States of Utah, Nevada and Arizona. The lot was set to visit the National Parks of the Colorado Plateau to which we added the city of Las Vegas.
With Andy and Bev Lake, Paul and myself we took a Motor home for the West. After a peaceful night in Grand Junction, we headed to Utah at Capitol Reef National Park where everything started. It was great to discover the massive cliffs of the Capitol Reef where the antic inscriptions of Indian Tribes on the rocks remind us of the vestiges of the past when America was still empty and native Indians were masters of the land.
From there we headed to Bryce Canyon National Park where we spent the night. Bryce Canyon resembles a complex of castles in ruin, some small, others big, but all lining up on the horizon for the pleasure of the eyes. Here, the eyes never get tired as they are delighted at the sight of these natural forces sculpting the Canyon. When someone sees a work of nature like that, the pleasure of the eyes is such that silence becomes the speech of the heart. That is what I felt at the discovery of those monumental rocky castles displaying themselves like a wide amphitheatre.
Coming from Bryce Canyon we drove along the Scenic Byway 12 through the Red Canyons. The panoramic view of the Red Canyons mingled with the beautiful wild flowers offered us an extraordinary charm as though they saluted us on our way to Zion National Park. When we left Zion National Park in the afternoon, our destiny was Las Vegas, Nevada. It is there that we spent the night after having discovered the city born in the desert with its casinos and places of entertainment. Hoover Dam and Lake Mead reminded us that, although human beings are often surprised by natural disasters, they are however capable of transforming nature, making it hospitable according to their needs.
Now it was time to be in Grand Canyon, in Arizona. What a fantastic site than the landscape of Grand Canyon. No words can explain the spectacle of what is seen in Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is not only overwhelming by its size, but also leaves anyone who sees it with a feeling of smallness by its immensity. In truth, the Grand Canyon seems to be an uneven immense hole made up of arid plateaus whose wideness, length and depth are just terrifying at the human sight. But as humans have the ability to transcend themselves in the presence of the indescribable, what remains is just silence and admiration.
On our way back to Colorado, we drove through Monument Valley before stopping in Moab, Utah. The natural sandstone arches in the Arches National Park are phenomenal. They combine all the possible figures capable of giving a charming landscape to a visitor: colossal sandstone fins, massive balanced rocks, soaring pinnacles and fantastic spires. What one needs to do is just to go, see, and admire the work of nature over the years of the existence of human history.
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©2006 Father Felicien Mbala
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