Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Echo Effect

I remarked last week to my husband as we slogged up the Esplanade in the Grand Canyon, how the Escalante canyons could look like this without the cows.
We can drive to the pristine North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 2 hours SW from Escalante. Grand Canyon is a national treasure with it's untrampled cyptrogamic soil, indigenous plants and critters, and relative low tourist impacts. Yes, the springs that spout from rock walls have visitor damage from the Colorado River's easy access. Five days of hiking in and out the North Rim is only the tip of the Grand Canyon.
To the north of Escalante (hour and half away) the girls from Colorado and I road biked though another National Park - Capital Reef. The Fremont river cuts through sheer stained walls with its own set of canyons. Capital Reef is surrounded by pinnacles and castles and a few gargoyles. I broke my personal fastest record riding down to the visitor center: 40.9 MPH. I almost fell off my bike going up the same hill, pedaling too slow: 3.5 MPH. At least I was slow enough to see blooming Desert Paintbrush and Penstemons.
Bryce National Park surprised me last winter to have been able to skate-ski through vast pine forests. Only 45 minutes west of Escalante, Bryce's red canyons and forests are obtainable year-round. This is the most photogenic park with its endless hoodoos.
I'm listening to the echo effect from the other national parks as the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument develops it's own voice.