Monday, February 1, 2010

1001 Natural Wonders I Need To See Before I Die: 50 Down 951 To Go

I am reading a book called 1001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die.

When I got the book I figured I'd likely seen at least a few of the 1001, thinking the usual suspects, like the Grand Canyon would be on the list.

When I looked through the 1001 Natural Wonders, that I need to see, I guess I was pleased to learn I only have 951 Natural Wonders to go. That means I have seen 50 of the 1001 Natural Wonders.

Lists like this always have a few goofy elements. Which is understandable. Coming up with a list of 1001 of anything would be daunting. To get to 1001 the authors stretched things a bit. Or so it seemed to me.

For instance, Yosemite National Park is one of the 1001. Also among the 1001 are Half Dome, Sentinel Dome, Glacier Point and Bridalveil Falls. All inside Yosemite National Park. Why not add El Capitan? I don't recollect Sentinel Dome, but El Capitan leaves a huge impression.

In my old home state of Washington I was not surprised to see Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens on the list. But the Upper Skagit River Valley? I lived in the Lower Skagit River Valley. It's very scenic. But one of the 1001 Natural Wonders one must see? Both Grand Coulee and Dry Falls are on the list. Grand Coulee is described as a stark canyon, with Dry Falls being in the middle of Dry Falls.

Well, I may be wrong, but my memory of the Grand Coulee is it is now filled with Lake Roosevelt, that lake being the reservoir behind Grand Coulee Dam. Dry Falls is at the end of a coulee, but I do not believe it is the Grand Coulee.

Badlands, in South Dakota, is one of the 1,001. I've seen it. Wouldn't look at it a second time. Wall Drug, near the entry to Badlands National Park, that I would visit again. But Wall Drug is not a Natural Wonder.

If I were visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota, since I was in the area, I would go see Natural Wonder, Devils Tower in Wyoming, again.

Bryce Canyon National Park and Thor's Hammer, inside the park, are on the list. Bryce Canyon is a place I never would grow tired of seeing.

Both Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse State Park are on the list. Dead Horse SP is on the road that leads to the Islands in the Sky section of Canyonlands. Dead Horse SP being on this list makes no sense to me. I've seen Dead Horse SP once. Islands in the Sky is similar and much more impressive.

Zion National Park, in Utah, is on the list, of course. One of my favorite places I've ever seen.

The list of 1001 Natural Wonders, you have to see, would make absolutely no sense were Arches National Park not on the list. Delicate Arch, inside Arches NP, I could see pointing it out separately, it is an impressive Natural Wonder, all on its own. As is Fiery Furnace. But, neither is mentioned as its own wonder.

Natural Bridges National Monument is one of the Utah parks I visited after maybe having seen one too many arch. I was not all that impressed. Not like I was with Rainbow Bridge, which is not on the list.

The Painted Desert in Arizona. Well. It's scenic and fun to drive through. But a Wonder of the World?

Monument Valley and The Mittens in Monument Valley are on the list. The need to pad to get to 1001 explains having both, to me. I've been to Monument Valley 3 or 4 times and would go again if I was driving by.

White Sands National Monument and Carlsbad Caverns, in New Mexico, are a pair of Natural Wonders I would love to see again.

The Columbia Gorge? And Multnomah Falls? But not Beacon Rock? I believe Beacon Rock is the world's second biggest rock monolith, after the Rock of Gibraltar. It sits beside the Columbia River on the Washington side.

Mount Hood is also near the Columbia Gorge and is also on the list. But Mount Shasta and Mount Baker are not. Mount Lassen in California is though.

Also in California, and on the list, is Mono Lake and Craters. I've driven by, but did not feel the wonder. Joshua Tree National Park, the Giant Redwoods and Kings Canyon National Park, all in California, and on the list. The Redwoods and Kings Canyon, but not Sequoia National Park, with its groves of huge old trees and Sierra Nevada mountain scenery?

Lake Tahoe, which California and Nevada share, is one of the Natural Wonders you need to see. I agree.

Death Valley National Park is definitely a wonderful Wonder to behold, but the San Andreas Fault? As long as we are still in California I'll mention the that the Beaches of Southern California are on the list. I have had a lot of fun on those beaches, but I never thought of them as a Natural Wonder.

Crater Lake National Park,, in Oregon is one of the 1001. Deservedly so. One of the biggest volcanic eruptions ever to shake the world came from this crater.

Glacier National Park is not on the list. But St. Mary Lake and Lake McDonald inside Glacier National Park are on the list.

Yellowstone was the world's first National Park, obviously it is on this list of 1001 Natural Wonders of the World. So is the Vernal Pools, Mammoth Hot Springs, Grand Prismatic Spring and Firehole River, all of which are in Yellowstone.

Grand Teton National Park is on the list. This would not be on my list.

Great Salt Lake, in Utah? I've swam in it, well actually floated. It was fun. But a necessary to be seen Natural Wonder? I don't know.

As for the last on the list of 1001 that need to be seen, that I've seen. It is not in the Lower 48, it is up in Alaska, just outside Juneau. I've seen it once and it left a lasting impression. Mendenhall Glacier. Definitely a Natural Wonder.

Now, that was fun. I don't know if I managed to mention all 50 of the Natural Wonders I've had the pleasure of seeing. Somehow I think I'll be a really lucky guy if I manage to see 50 more of the 1001 before my die time arrives.

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