Monday, July 6, 2009

America the Beautiful

As the nation celebrates its independance, it seems that most Americans attempt to express their patriatism by blowing things up. I know fireworks are popular in other countries too, but blowing things up has always seemed very American.

I'm not a huge fan of blowing things up, and this year skipped out on the fireworks scene all together. Instead, I have been camping. For me, emersing myself in the natural splendor of the rugged United States feels far more American than watching the rockets red blare, the bombs bursting in air. Oddly, not very many American's share this tie to nature.

I am actually writing this post from my aunt and uncles house in Colorado. To get here, I spent July 2-5th on the road. Along the way I made stops at Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho, Antelope Island State Park (in the center of the Great Salt Lake in Utah), Dinosaur National Monument on the Utah/Colorado boarder, and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

I think I saw more Moose on the side of the road in Rocky Mountain NP than I saw people in Craters of the Moon and Dinosaur National Monuments combined. I expect that parks like Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, and Yosemite were crouded on the 4th of July weekend. But I can tell you from personal experience, many of our national treasures were completely empty.

There were thousands of people crouding the shops in Estes Park Colorado, just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. But the park itself had a limited number of sight seers. I guess it is more important to buy the proper mountain gear, than to actually see the mountains.

In a way, this is probably a good thing. If people were flocking to our natural areas by the thousands the wild places would quickly disappear. I still think it is sad. That so many Americans can rush to outlet malls and movie theaters, and have their closest encounter with nature the waterfall screensaver on their computer.

Still on this celebration of our nations birth. I am proud to be a citizen of this beautiful land filled not only with subdivisions, but also with buffalo.

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