So much raving about the desert. In reality, our excitement waned pretty fast. Being beach people, we got desert fever after barely a week. There’s only so much rocks and stones you can look at before they start to blur together into a reddish hue under the unrelenting sun. At Arches, we barely had any energy left after lunch whereas before, we would hike from sunrise to sunset. We decided to hit the gas pedal and bolt out of Utah. desert primitive camping, Escalante, Utah

road trip, America, Utah, open road Our time in Idaho was short but rather eventful. I wanted to head north to check out the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness. I had no idea what is there except that the name sounds badass, but all roads up north were blocked due to forest fires. We camped at a small park by a dam outside Boise before moving onto Oregon, and witnessed an unfortunate accident of a car falling into the dam that resulted in a dramatic helicopter rescue.

Shoshone Falls, Niagara of the West, Idaho

Shoshone Falls, advertised as Niagara of the West

In Oregon, we made a quick stop at Bend for me to go on the Deschutes factory tour and then headed to our last national park of the trip: Crater Lake. The cool air was a nice welcome after the desert and forest fires. There were still patches of ice covering the ground, in the middle of August. We actually didn’t have high expectations for the park since neither of us had heard much about it before. As it turned out, the main attraction of the park enchanted us as much as the desert did before. It’s the bluest of blue. I’d never known that blue could be so unyielding and mesmerizing, and I doubt any photos could do it justice. We later learned that Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the US, the second deepest in North America, and the 9th deepest in the whole world. Not a bad record. Another reason for the water clarity is that it has no inlet or outlet and is refilled by direct precipitation.

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, hiking

Crater Lake

Our trip concluded with leisure hiking and rafting with friends in southern Oregon and northern California.

whitewater rafting, Trinity River, California

On the Trinity

Goodbye national parks! You are what I admire most about the US, preserved undisturbed wilderness that is open to anyone with the time and energy to explore and enjoy and cultivate the love for nature, for the Earth.

But the love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need — if only we had the eyes to see. Original sin, the true original sin, is the blind destruction for the sake of greed of this natural paradise which lies all around us — if only we were worthy of it … Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself. – Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey.