In some ways, this may be the most difficult blog post I’ve ever had to write. You see, we’ve just spent nineteen days in Arizona, a place for which I had no (or low) expectations. And we’ve been completely blown away. This state is frickin’ beautiful. It’s gorgeous. Oregon is gorgeous too, and I love it, but Arizona has a different kind of beauty.
But how can I convey that beauty to you, the reader? I can’t. And even though Kim and I have taken nearly 2000 photographs here (!?!) they can’t truly show you just how awe-inspiring the scenery is in this state.
Still, I’m going to try. I’ve sorted through our images and I’m sharing those that I feel best capture the beauty we’ve seen. (Remember: You can click on any photo to view a larger version.)
What makes Arizona so beautiful? It’s not a lush green sort of loveliness, the sort to which I’m accustomed. Instead, it’s mostly a barren beauty. It’s a beauty composed of stark lines and large rocks and improbably combinations of color. It’s a beauty forged by millions (or billions) of years of erosion.
Wind and water have carved this country’s rocks into crazy shapes: towering mountains and plunging canyons, vast deserts and flat-topped mesas and plateaus. These landscapes are on such a grand scale that it’s nearly impossible to photograph them in a way that conveys their majesty. They have to be seen in person to truly be appreciated.
I remember when I was a boy, my grandparents brought us a bunch of Arizona Highways magazines. I was fascinated by the strange landscapes and beautiful scenery. Same thing when I watched Road Runner cartoons. Were these weird landscapes for real? Turns out, they are.
At the Utah border, Glen Canyon Dam (which took fifteen years to fill)
harnesses the power of the Colorado River.
Antelope Canyon is a crazy kaleidoscope of shapes and colors.
Between the two of us, we took over six hundred photos!
Here’s the thing: I’ve only shared twenty photos of the hundreds we’ve taken. And these photos only capture a tiny fragment of what we’ve seen, which in turn is a tiny fragment of the state. There’s so much more to see here.
Plus, this is but one of four states in what is sometimes called “Indian Country”. We now know that each of these states is filled with crazy beautiful scenery. We could spend an entire year just touring this region, let alone the rest of the United States. Seriously.
I know we aren’t even two months into this trip, but I’m going to make a recommendation. Before starting out, I barely knew anything about this region (sometimes called “Four Corners”). I suspect it’s a blank spot on most people’s radar — except for Grand Canyon. Do yourself a favor. If you get a chance, take the time to explore NE Arizona, SE Utah, SW Colorado, and NW New Mexico. I promise it’ll be the trip of a lifetime.