On days that I feel trapped in my citygridscape–dodging blasts of wet and heavy air and effectively hibernating through what surely must be the last days of the longest winter in memory (a winter that has included both a coldpocolypse and a snowpocolypse)–I need reminders that these United States include stunning natural wonders that I could get to for the mere price of one large burrito, one all-day drive, and one subsequent oil change.
The Badlands, South Dakota
More like the BESTlands.
White Sands National Monument- Alamogordo, New Mexico
Only the largest gypsum dune field IN THE WORLD. And it’s in AMERICA’S BACK YARD. WHY DO WE NOT ALL LIVE ON A GYPSUM DUNE RIGHT NOW?! Excuse me while I buy an VW bus.
Grand Prismatic Spring – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
The most beautiful pigmented bacteria microbial mats that you’ll ever see.
Old Faithful Geyser – Yellowstone National Park, Teton, Wyoming
Can we all just take a minute and think about how crazy geysers are? Water. Shooting out of the Earth. This one does it every 91 minutes, to boot.
Mount Gould – Glacier National Park, Montana
A hydrological divide that separates the Atlantic and Pacific watersheds. WHAT?!
Mount Grinnell – Glacier National Park, Montana
I can’t even.
Lake McDonald, Montana
Just look at those pebbles. Look at ’em. The leaf is a little dramatic, if you ask me.
Antelope Canyon – Page, Arizona
It’s a freaking masterpiece.
Slot Canyons – Escalante, Utah
What the heck.
Devil’s Bridge – Sedona, Arizona
It’s just the largest natural sandstone arch in the Sedona area. NBD.
Paria Canyon, Coyote Buttes- Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Coconino, Arizona
This one’s called “The Wave.”
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Holy freakin’ heck.
Fly Geyser – Reno, Nevada
Remember that time when we meditated on geysers? It’s water. Shooting out of the earth. Out of nature’s blobular supersoaker.
Sailing Stones – Racetrack Playa, Death Valley, California
Scientists can’t figure out how the stones move. Well, they think they’ve figured it out. Maybe. I like to believe it’s magic.
Firefall – Yosemite National Park, California
Okay, so get this. There are two weeks in February where the evening light catches Horsetail Fall on El Capitan just so and it looks like the waterfall IS ON FIRE. WHAT THE HECK.
Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California
Remember IT from Looney Tunes? That’s all.
Underground Garden, Lava Beds National Monument – Tulelake, California
Now you’re just showing off, California.
Glass Beach, Mendocino, California
WHAT. It looks unnatural, BUT IT IS. NATURAL.
Thor’s Well – Cape Perpetua, Oregon
If you ever want to kayak into The Underworld (or the WONDERWORLD), here’s the entrance. PS, don’t actually do that.