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West coast: a travel around United States National Parks

Unique landscapes dreamed as a child. The idea of freedom, of wild and generous nature, of danger and adventure... All of this is what has always awakened in me the thought of the mythical American West. A myth grew up watching Jonh Wayne's movies, listening to the memorable soundtracks of Ennio Morricone and admiring hundreds of photographs taken in those boundless landscapes ... And now the dream become reality. Fifteen days! This is the short period that I have given to myself (along with three other friends) to make a loop that lead us to discover the great national parks in the far west of the United States. Point of departure and arrival is set in the chaotic city of Los Angeles. Amid, immersion in the wilderness and majestic of large parks, departing from Grand Canyon, passing through the Monument Valley, Mesa Verde, the Archies N.P., Bryce Canyon, Yosemite N.P. .. During one stage and the other, some stops in the city to resume contact with the diverse mix of races that is the American people: first, shocking Las Vegas and then, relaxing San Francisco.

Los Angeles - Grand Canyon N.P.

After a long transfer by plane we arrive in Los Angeles in the early afternoon. Here it expect us our car hire, whom we decide to abandon the metropolis to immediately move towards the east. After a pause that makes us immediately know the infamous outskirts Americans motels, the morning of the day after we abandone California to enter in Arizona. We spend all day on Route 66, which cuts throughout the United States from Boston to Los Angeles. We reach the Grand Canyon NP just in time to enjoy the sunset in this magical place. The rocks are filled with thousand pink-orange feathering despite the sun appears only for a few minutes between the threatening clouds that cover the sky. The next morning we wake up early and spend the day to visit the southern part of the canyon, a giant hole in the rock created by the Colorado River over millions of years. Leaving the park we swear to return for a longer time to discover its wonders, perhaps with a trek on its slopes or with a raft down rapids on the river.

Grand Canyon N.P. - Monument Valley N.P.

Still few hours travel and, entering the Indian reservations in these territories, we are nearing long valley made famous by the western movies: Monument Valley. The "monuments" that has led this place one of the most visited of the world were not created by the skillful hands of a sculptor but much more prepared and experienced artists. The nature and the wind have eroded the rock and continue to do so shaping spectacular figures that the sun at dawn and dusk makes it unforgettable! We have just begun to get used to the colors of this part of world that we must leave for the next destination and already begin to realize that to enjoy fully the wonders of this trip it is not enough the time at our disposal and it may not even be enough a year. 

Monument Valley N.P.- Mesa Verde N.P.

After an immersion in the most complete nature, this stage includes the arrival at Mesa Verde National Park where it awaits us a meeting with the story: on the slopes of a long canyon arose several towns dug into the rock between 600 and 1200 AD. The accessibility of these agglomerations is difficult and we are forced to climb and descend stairs rather inaccessible. {mosimage} Once again, the human genius can marvel and we wonder how did the inhabitants of this land to build villages and even a tower in this impossible area even to the present day. The car awaits us once again and in the long and straight Americans freeway will accompany us until the next goal.

Mesa Verde N.P. - Archies N.P.

The town of Moab has hosted us for the night and at the sunrise we are ready to cross the Colorado River and head towards another wonderful park of this area of the United States: the Archies NP As you can guess from the name its main feature is the presence of numerous arch formations. The artist who created these wonderful works of art is the nature and the material used the rock. The most spectacular arches are certainly the Delicate Arch, a symbol of the state of Utah and Landscape Arch, thin strip of rock that defies the laws of physics to remain on guard this earthly paradise. For bikers, among other, this is a land of conquest: there are hundreds of kilometers that you can ride with MTB never returning to places already crossed. What longing of beloved bicycle ...

Archies N.P. - Bryce Canyon N.P.

Even this time the time to visit the park seems to be flown and countless wonders are not discovered. Melancholy for the departure from this superb place leaves immediately way to curiosity for the umpteenth novelty that awaits us: Bryce Canyon NP. This that looks like a child between older brothers parks of the west United States, is actually a pearl of rare geological beauty. Endless rocky spires created during millions of years of erosion, are a show that we believe has nothing to envy to the Grand Canyon or the massive solemnity of Monument Valley, especially when the sun turns on of thousands of colours the entire valley. The Indian legends that have been told to us, give a touch more magical to the landscape that we have in front of our eyes. Perhaps it sounds a bit repetitive but every departure in this trip is always painful.

Bryce Canyon N.P.- Yosemite N.P.

After a week of travel immersed in nature our arrival in Las Vegas shows us the enormous contrasts this nation is able to. The city looks like a huge Christmas decoration and the clear night sky in the desert accentuates even more the feeling of escape from reality when you cross its doors. Day and night blend together here and the life follows the rhythm of the casinos. Our journey continues instead, to one of the hottest places on the planet: the death valley, a depression in the desert whose lowest point down almost a hundred metres below sea level and where it exceeds 50 ° C. After passing through this valley and be cooked a little to reach the vantage lookout of Zabriskie point we drove towards Californian park known to mountaineers from around the world for the presence of El Capitan, a rocky wall of about 1000m completely vertical. Most people have already understood that we are referring to the Yosemite NP and to that valley. Since then we returned at high altitude from desert and now around us are immense wooded stratch among which are thousand years old and imposing trees like giant sequoias of Mariposa Grove. It seems nearly to be back in one of our parks in Trentino. Unfortunately, even here the fires have devastated thousands of hectares of forest (the Americans among other leave that they turn off themselves not wanting to interfere in any way with nature ... perhaps not wrong!) and one of them is active even when we pass on the bottom.

Yosemite N.P. - San Francisco

After all these days past in the interior of the country we are happy to see the Pacific for the first time in this travel and to visit one of the most beautiful city of the states: San Francisco. The magnificent position has been unveiled just before crossing the Bay Bridge that leads us straight into the heart of the city. San Francisco is not a chaotic and polluted metropolis like many American cities and welcomes us immediately with a breathtaking sunset on its bay. The next day a visit to Alcatraz is a must but reached Pier 39, where once they board the most dangerous criminals in the country and now long lines of tourists are waiting to be able to get on those boats, we discover that there are no more seats available for more than a week! Then we decide to grant a full day of relax in the center, we walk along the port and towards the Golden Gate. The mythical red bridge symbol of the city shows itself in all its spectacle and the skyline behind it is a worthy contour. A walk to the campus of the University of Barkley and a crabs based dinner in Sausalito are the best conclusion of our visit.

San Francisco - Los Angeles 

We started from the city of angels pointing straight eastward and now we return along the coast through legendary beaches like Santa Barbara, Malibu, Santa Monica and stopping for a swim in Venice Beach. Los Angeles, unlike San Francisco is the typical metropolis ipertrafficated and ultrapolluted but we still give a brief tour of Beverly Hills, run along the sidewalk of the stars in Hollywood Boulevard and we find ourselves, directly from the window of the motel, spectators to an American style arrest, fortunately without shootings or clash.
Our journey ends here but... many more stunning places are waiting for us!
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Leo

Slow bicycle traveller with a passion for writing and photography. If he's not traveling he loves to get lost along the thousand paths that run through the beautiful mountains of Trentino and Lake Iseo surroundings where he lives, both on foot and by mountain bike.
Eternal Peter Pan who loves to realize their dreams without leaving them too long in the drawer, has devoted much of his life to cycling, traveling in New Zealand, the Balkans, Norway Argentina and many other countries. Lately he spent ten months by bike in South East Asia and crossed the Andes by bike.

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