SOUTH WEST – THE CHARM OF CANYONS AND DESERTS
Leaving Los Angeles and finding the desert. Sun-drenched streets that seem never ending. Wide spaces and a freedom sensation that leads to a particular euphoria.
Here’s the first national park: Joshua Tree National Park, situated at the boundaries of the Mojave desert, which name comes from the typical plant, the Joshue Tree, a peculiar Yucca tree variety.
Colorado river intermits the harsh desert and a huge dike forms one of the great artificial lakes in western USA, Lake Havasu, that attracts many young californians who practice any kind of water sport.
The image of old west finally starts to show itself reaching Arizona and Flagstaff, walking part of the notorious Route 66, the most famous road in the United States which once linked Chicago (in the Mid-West) to Santa Monica (on the Pacific Ocean).
And then again immense and desolate landscapes, incredibly straight streets that lead to charming places such as Meteor Crater, a huge crater generated almost 50.000 years ago from the impact of a meteor and Petrified Forest National Park where there is a large concentration of huge petrified tree trunks and the wonderful Painted Desert, a desertic upland with incredible colours.
A detour through the north leads to the sensational Canyon de Chelly, a natural protected area who is situated in the navajo territory, but once was occupied by the first native americans, Anasazi among them, who buildt their homes in the natural caves of the Canyon.
Even more norther, at the borderline between Arizona and Utah, there finally is the Monument Valley, one of the US symbols. The desertic plateau is covered with many rocks named “butte” or “mesas”, magistrally represented in each John Ford movie.
Going west, here’s Colorado river again, whose course is interrupted by another huge dike that forms the wonderful Lake Powell, an artificial lake with a length of almost 300 kilometers that seeps into the branch of what once was Glen Canyon.
And finally the Grand Canyon, the most famous national park of the US, a wide gorge created by Colorado river, almost 450 kilometers long, that shows millions of years of planet history with its stratifications.
If your desire of desert doesn’t stop, you can find the Death Valley National Park a hundred kilometers away, where you can find the lowest point of the whole us territory – Bad Water – 86 meters below the sea level.