Natural Wonders of the USA

Many countries in the world are gifted with natural wonders and rich displays of nature, the USA being one of them.

Visiting some of the natural wonders can be accompanied with danger, but that doesn’t make them any less awe inspiring.


Death Valley

It was January 24, 1848 when gold was found in California. A man named James W. Marshall first discovered the metal there. Thus began the gold rush, and more than 300,000 people descended on this land. It was after about a year when a group that was seeking a shortcut to the gold fields stumbled into what came to be known as Death Valley. One member of the group died there.

Justifiably named, this is the hottest place on the planet and a major tourist attraction today.

This vast valley stretches across both California and Nevada, Death Valley has one of the largest National Parks with around 1,600 kilometres of roads that take you even to some of the remotest locations.

It may sound unbelievable, but to this day, about 300 people live in Death Valley, mainly Native Americans who speak a language called Timbisha that is said to go back to prehistoric times. 

There is also some vegetation here. It is mostly extremely hardy trees and shrubs such as creosote, desert holly, Joshua trees and pine.

There are seven ghost towns and settlements that you can visit in Death Valley, some with structures and buildings that still stand today.

When you go on a safari into the valley, on a good day you will see rattlesnakes, mountain lions, coyotes, boas, desert tortoise and cottontail rabbits.

This national park has so much to offer, and remains unforgettable to many a traveler.


Grand Canyon

This third largest canyon in the world in Arizona is another monumental, and once in a lifetime experience.

On the western side of the canyon, hundreds of volcanic eruptions have taken place since prehistoric times and have created natural dams that made the Colorado River impossible to flow through.

The canyon as seen today has been created by erosion caused by the river, and it offers some of the most magnificent landscapes that take your breath away. Archaeologists go there for fossils and the extensive archaeological history. Geologists go to the canyon for its myriad of geological features. The tourist visits the canyon for an awe-inspiring experience.

The gorge on the south side is more than 400 kilometres long and in some parts is as deep as 1,500 metres. Tourists travel there to see this unbelievable sight by land, water and air. 

Although many believe that the canyon is in seven states, it’s actually entirely in Arizona.

Going to the Grand Canyon is not free of dangers. On average, 12 visitors die each year due to carelessness or accidents from air crashes, people falling down the canyon, drowning, and heat.

It was by chance that the canyon was discovered by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and his soldiers when his army travelled there from Mexico City.

Many Native Americans live in the canyon and let you explore their world. In fact, there is the Hualapai Indian Reservation which has been recognised as a sovereign Indian nation for more than a century. In all there are more than 300 reservations and 600 tribes living in the canyon.

At the bottom of the north side of the Colorado River is the Phantom Ranch that you can reach on foot, on a mule or using a raft on the river.

Many of the waterfalls are within the national park.

For those not willing to exert themselves, there is still the staggering experience waiting for them if they take the Grand Canyon train that travels the South Rim for nearly 100 kilometres. And for those not afraid of heights the canyon has one of the best skywalks in the world. 

Plan on spending at least 3 days to make your trip worthwhile.


Florida Everglades

Just a 90 minute drive from Miami takes you to these wetlands of the Everglades National Park that covers around 600,000 hectares. You will find hundreds of animal and bird species in these wetlands including panthers, manatees, flamingoes, spoonbills, cranes and many more.

Canoeing among the alligators you will experience a real thrill!

Keep in mind you are visiting wildlife, hire a good guide or obtain complete information from the tourist office and you will be safe. The water is mostly less than 2 metres deep so there’s no fear of drowning.

On a quick visit you can drive through and still see some of the wildlife. The roads are excellent.

There’s much on our planet to experience and feel joy. As the Native Americans say, “We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” 

Picture: Shutterstock / ID: 1325112503

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