There is much of Arizona I’ve not seen. There’s much around Sedona I’ve not seen. So why travel far?
There is the secret way to Winslow. There’s the Perkinsville road from Jerome to Williams. There are the Bradshaw and Superstition Mountains, and the Tonto and Apache forests.
And you know how green Arizona is now? Well, it’s not Ireland. But the monsoons have been a godsend. All wildfires are gone. These August days in Northern Arizona are only topping out at 90, which is nothing compared Houston.
So, again, why travel far?
Because, dammit. I can see all this in fall. And I have almost three weeks off. And the older I get the less I like the sweating profusely all day long. And Northwest Wyoming’s landscapes are some of the most renowned on planet earth.
So I will go. Below is my projected route.
I plan to pass through Provo. Haven’t been there in 25 years. Wanna see BYU’s football stadium where the Cougars kicked the hell out of us Rice Owls on the day I turned 20. I also wanna pay my respects to a man I grew up with but is no longer with us.
Then I plan to pass through Idaho. Never been in that state. My route may not be that exciting. But the thrill of the open road in a new land can cause me to take unexpected detours. Just to be on I-15 through Pocatello will be fun. Gauranteed.
Then, Wyoming. Been here before. Played a football game against the Cowboys in Laramie, on the other side of the state in ’98 (we lost that one too). Also passed through Fort Bridger in June of this year, going from the Wasatch Range to the Flaming Gorge.
But those parts of Wyoming are not the Yellowstone. Those landscapes did not inspire the creation of the first national park on Earth. Northwest Wyoming did. The mountains, lakes, rivers, elk, bison, bears, geysers, hot springs, and colors of the Yellowstone Country did.
And I want to see it.
Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Yosemite are the three crown jewels of America’s national parks. I’ve been to Grand Canyon hundreds of times. Been to Yosemite only once. Though, the allure of thousand-foot waterfalls flowing out of glacier-polished granite comprising the Range of Light is almost as tempting as Yellowstone right now, I don’t want to deal with maskholes in Commifornia just yet.
Yellowstone is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some. The featured image of this post Thomas Moran’s “Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone”. I want to stand where Moran stood to inspire this painting. I want to see what inspired the national park system.
I want to see those northern lands in the waning seeks of summer. I want to see wildness.
Such a trip as I’m about to take has been on my mind for decades. Now is the time. Seize it. Like Morgan Freeman said on his way to Mexico towards the end of The Shawshank Redemption:
“I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain.”
Of course, all this is according to God’s providence. I can say “I will do this” or “I will do that,” but whatever comes to pass is through the Grace of God. Whatever happens I’ll be grateful for, as men I once knew, but now are gone, have helped me be more grateful for the fact that I still get to experience good things in life.
But, yes, I’m so excited that I can barely sit still.
Heading north now.
Featured image from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1b/Thomas_Moran_-Grand_Canyon_of_the_Yellowstone.jpg/1200px-Thomas_Moran-_Grand_Canyon_of_the_Yellowstone.jpg