National Public Lands Day

24 Sep

About five minutes after arriving at Petrified Forest National Park my brain short-circuited.

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This was my first glimpse at the Painted Desert, and all I could do for fifteen minutes was stand there with my mouth hanging open. The landscape of rocks and badlands was so bizarre, so unexpected, and so beautiful that I had a hard time believing that I was still on the planet earth.

I had a similar experience a few days later watching a rainstorm blow into Mohave National Preserve.

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Both of these experiences weren’t very different from the overwhelming experience of seeing Yosemite Valley for the first time.

Today is National Public Lands Day. I admit that as someone who works in a National Park, I spend a lot more time thinking about parks than the average person, and I spend a lot of my time in a place that is beautiful beyond words. But standing there stupefied in the middle of the Painted Desert I was reminded why we really need parks. We need places that leave us in awe, and make us wonder at the beauty of the planet.

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It’s good to be reminded that because of the hard work of concerned people, both in the past and today, I can still go to places that make my jaw drop.

~Robin

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