Gee, you would think I burned the flag or something. I thought that most readers would understand and forgive my overstated nature by now—that when I "pee" on something it is to be taken with a shaker of salt. Be it satire, sarcasm, and/or my tongue-in-cheek attempts at comedic drivel, it all relies on some elemental basis in fact in order for it to work. To exaggerate is human, if you don't believe take a look at your resume. We laugh at cartoons because they are an exaggeration of ourselves, and sometimes, it's not a giant leap.
Looky here, our Parks are natural and scenic wonders. I'm glad they are there and would sign any petition to lock up more such land so fast it'd make Dick "Drill Baby Drill" Cheney shoot his hunting partner…again. The problem is the "truth," that our National Treasures are overcrowded, especially during "prime time." Please note Exhibits "A" through "D:" Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier, and did I say Yosemite? It has to be among the worst of the "main corridor" offenders. We are loving our Parks to death in greater and greater quantities, and, for some of us, it is at the expense of quality.
Perhaps my take on the state of the NPS in the previous post was a tad too acerbic, but I've stood in the lines, hiked and camped alongside overbearing loudmouths—listened to their rap music till the wee hours—as well as paid extortionate prices for gas and grub, and came away disenchanted, if not disenfranchised. Maybe it's because I'm old enough to remember the fairytale days when one could show up without a reservation in Yellowstone in July (we did) and have their choice of campsites, and the days when people were a little more considerate of "others." It's down to this, I'm afraid: We either need more space or more Parks or both, if the true, solitary wilderness experience shown on the brochures is to be re-realized. In younger days we went farther than everybody else in order to experience separation and quiet. But that's getting harder to do now that I'm on the cusp of Medicare.
The point of my last post was simply to point out that it's still possible to have a less crowded experience by avoiding the turnstiles to midway attractions during peak season, and even then only go on tuesday through thursday. The other point I tried to reinforce is that most National Park perimeters can usually be accessed from Forest Service back-roads, and is a great way to boondock in a dispersed setting, as well as have a more solitary experience—the way T. R., and other tree-hugging naturalists envisioned. Last year we camped near Zion (again) for the entire month of November and barely made into the park's Main Drag; maybe only once or twice, tops. Instead we probed and explored the less popular perimeter zones, and most of the time our "gang" had it all to themselves. Will I hike in Zion this year? Probably, but it will be off-season come November, and it will likely be on a tuesday, wednesday, or thursday.
I believe everyone should see the Bucket List Icons in our National Parks at least once. If it happens that your vacation falls in July or August it will likely be an "in masse" experience, unless it's raining and/or blowing. It's still a good value, you get to "check it off," so to speak, and you are outdoors, after all, getting some exercise.
Now that I've defended my honor and immoderate, if not acerbic, tendencies, I'll show you a few non-National Park postcards from yesterday's outing when Bobbie and I went looking for Ms Autumn in our own backyard. We are fortunate to live in the west in a place that has National Park amenities and postcards without the turnstiles and hoards. I can see the future, though, as the noose tightens around aloneness. It is a finite commodity, which soon renders it as popular and scarce as "gold."
As it turned out, yesterday, we should have gone up higher as most of the aspen snuggled up to the base of Mount Sneffels were greener than golf course grass. We did manage to stumble across a few Autumnal "teasers" to whet appetites.
In other news, Goldie is out of mothballs and sits in our driveway!!! We will go to work on getting her road worthy, maybe even do a test camp nearby, and then begin counting down the days till we head west. :)) I received a Facebook P. M. last night that we will be joined by some dear Wise friends for a week or so!!!
|Crossing Miller Mesa above Ridgway|
|Bobbie, dwarfed in a grove of aspen competing for sunlight|
|The "Overlook." Mount Sneffels, among her court of lesser surfs and jesters.|
|If you look ever so close, you can see the 1l,000 foot La Salle Mountains, right of center and waaaay off in the distance. Moab is on the far side, so that's the territory and distance one must bike to do the Hut to Hut system.|
|Looking into Blaine Basin, left and down from Mount Sneffels peak, a dry glacier of talus creeping ever downward. Climbing Sneffels from the north face is a technical climb…class 3 and 4.|
|There are climbers on Mount Sneffels "nipple" of a summit. Can you see them??? ;)|
|A "Full House"|
|And the storm moves in as we move away|
|One of the Huts in the San Juan System...|
|Chinese for dinner...|
|From our deck and Imax windows...|