In the midst of the chaos of modern life, it can be easy to forget that nature has so much to offer. And sometimes, we need to return to it, to put our lives into perspective, whether we like to admit it or not; which is why we have decided to present to you 5 natural wonders of the United States.
North America as a single continent has vastly different ecosystems, so much that one sometimes wonders if they are even on the same planet. What better way to appreciate all of life’s wonders than with a continent-wide roadtrip?
If you needed ideas for your bucket list, let us give you a few:
1. Redwoods National Parks (Northern California)
Massively spanning across 133,000 acres, this joint national park is home to some of the tallest and oldest trees on Earth, together with other kinds of plants and animal life. The fascinating thing about this wildlife preserve is that it contains different ecosystems within itself, including a coastal area, river, prairie and densely forested zones. Dolphins, hawks, squirrels, sea lions, black bears and pumas are just a small fraction of the fauna inhabiting the forests and beaches. While they serve as a national preservation center for the redwood trees (some of them being over 1,000 years old) the parks are open for visitors. Whether you decide to take a morning hike, or even camp among the thousand-year-old trees, you can witness firsthand the once pure, untouched wilderness of the American continent.
2. Crater Lake (Oregon)
The breathtaking Crater Lake rests in a collapsed volcano, called Mount Mazama, in the Klamath County. The snow-covered mountainous rims of the crater frame the deep blue water within it, giving it a widely recognizable view. Two small islands of quite unusual names emerge from the center: Wizard Island and Phantom Ship. Rainfall and melting of the heavy snow covers ensure that the lake keeps its water level, and despite its chilly appearance, in the summer, the lake is good for a relaxing swim. Crater Lake is definitely a site not to be missed on a roadtrip, with its deep blue water, crisp air and stunning view.
3. Death Valley (Mojave Desert)
This massive post-apocalyptic-looking ecosystem of an equally frightening name covers a jaw-dropping area of around 5,000 square miles. As a part of the famous Mojave Desert, it is the driest and hottest area in the US, located near the border between California and Nevada. Even though the valley is surrounded by mountains, the temperatures within the desert itself can get as high as 100° F. Still, despite the insufferable heat, Death Valley is one of the most sought-after tourist attractions. Famous for cooking food with sheer air temperature, Death Valley is a site reserved only for the most resilient. Just make sure to bring a lot of water.
4. Everglades (Florida)
The Everglades are primarily a marshland found in the south of Florida, also called “the largest subtropical wilderness” in the US. It covers the area of less than 2,000 square miles, but once spanned over double its current size. It has two seasons – wet and dry season – so the weather alternates between short bursts of heavy rainfall and drought, only enabling the wild growth of the plant life. Despite the amazing tropical appearance of the Everglades’ endless river system, perhaps the more interesting and frightening aspect are the animals that inhabit it. Pythons, alligators, and bobcats are just some of the animal varieties one can find during their visit.
5. Hubbard Glacier (Alaska)
The glacier set in the Alaskan east is one natural wonder that leaves every visitor speechless. This massive glacier has been “travelling” down the bay for about a century, and has nearly reached the sea, where it is expected to create a natural dam. The Hubbard is six miles wide, and known to “calve” (break off) enormous pieces of ice, primarily due to global warming. As another favored tourist attraction, the glacier is visible from a large cruise ship, where one can listen to the chilling thundering of the ice as it cracks moments before it splashes into the fjord. The crisp blues and whites of the ice and water, along with the sound of the wailing glacier, make this a true natural wonder and a necessary item on everyone’s bucket list. One can hardly remain indifferent when faced with one of nature’s cold, harsh faces that remind us how small we really are.