View through the Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park in Utak/USA

 – Amazing Canyonlands
In touch with beautiful and intact nature

Canyonlands National Park/Utah/USA. (2008 ). – Mother Earth is our biggest treasure. To protect it as well as we can and leave to the next generations to come in the best possible condition should be our greatest goal in life. It's time for us to realize how beautiful our environment still is and that we should consider it a privilege to have a place in it. "Look! Look! Look deep into nature and you will understand everything", suggested also no one lesser than Albert Einstein. But we seem to take it for granted and don't care very much. We are so sidetracked, so consumed from our task to sail through life with only our goals in focus that we disconnect more and more from nature. We all should give nature a chance to reset our consciousness and do what Einstein asked us to do. I did it in one of the most beautiful National Parks in the United States of America, in the Canyonlands. I couldn't have chosen a better place to get in touch with beautiful, intact nature. 
Cnayonlands National Park in Utah/USA
Canyonlands is so wide, so impressive
I'm not easy to impress but my God, it's incredible, how much beauty Canyonland has to offer. My attempt to get in touch with raw nature and capture some of it as good as I can lead me to places I never thought I would see. Canyonlands has a surprise waiting literally with every degree you spin around. The beauty of nature in it is like the size of the park - overwhelming. And it's intact and pure. At times I felt I am walking on a different planet. Only the tourists I met and the fellow photographers brought me back to reality again and again. Standing next to the pothole arch in Canyonlands, the Mesa Arch, – an absolute tourist magnet in this National Park – and not just looking deep into the nature laying there in front of me but spiritually sinking into the wonderful piece of land, as Einstein proposed, set me straight. I felt so tiny in the middle of this huge great land, so insignificant. Canyonlands is so wide, so impressive. I touched a rock next to me and stared for a while into the wide open land. And I imagined hearing the drums of the tribes of the Ute, the Paiute and the Navajos, cultures who populated the Canyonlands thousands of years ago and are still occupier there today.

The weirdest, wonderful, magical place on earth
The Canyonlands National Park is located in the southeast of Utah. The park is actually in the neighborhood of another great US National Park, the Arches. Talking about it, the Arches might be the reason that it took me so long to finally find and arrive at Canyonlands. I was in love with the Arches, the magical light there at sunset always lured me back to the park. It took a stranger at the Arches National  Park visitor center one day, to stir my interest into the direction of the Canyonlands. "If you are a photographer", he said to me, "you might want to see also the Canyonlands National Park. It's literally around the corner from here." He told me about his visits there and gave me a list of suggestions on where to go and what to see. I am still thankful for that. I will never forget the look in his eyes when he told me about the park, it was, what poked my interest to check it out at the end. Author Edward Abbey described the Canyonlands as "the weirdest, wonderful, magical place on earth - there is nothing else like it anywhere." A statement I fully agree with after having seen and experienced this beautiful piece of land.

From "Island in the Sky" to the "Needles",
from the "Maze", to the rivers "Green River" and "Colorado River"
"Canyonlands" is divided by its rivers into four so-called districts: the "Island in the Sky", the "Needles", the "Maze", and the rivers themselves, the "Green River" and the "Colorado River". Most visitors frequent only "Islands in the Sky" and "Needles", I guess it is because these areas are easy and comfortably accessible by car and the sights beautiful to overlook from so-called viewpoints. To explore the "Rivers" district and the remote "Maze" district one has to put more effort into it and also hiking boots, a mountain bike or even better a four-wheeler, a tent or at least a sleeping bag with it.

Hiking boots, a bike, a sleeping bag and a tent
Canyonlands is dry land. Fauna and flora have to make a living with only nine inches of rain per year, so I learned in the visitor center. I must have had 3 of these inches when I visited. Crazy or not, as a photographer I kind of liked the change of weather, the dark clouds, the shadows and finally the washed down shiny rocks. As a park visitor not so much, because the heavy rainfall tight me up in the car and was pretty scary at times. But because the rainy weather had left as fast as it had come, I was okay with it. There are plenty of campgrounds within the park, half a million visitors frequent the park every year in search of the "Islands in the Sky", the "Needles", the "Maze" or the "Green River" and the "Colorado River". Or just to get in touch with an amazing piece of nature and with its history. People use parts of the park for recreational purposes. Hikers and backpackers are to find everywhere on the remote parts of the park, also mountain bikers or even four-wheelers. The Green River and Colorado River are the preferred territories of rafters and kayakers. People enjoy Canyonlands since 1964 as a National Park.

Come prepared and bring lots of time with you
Don't get fooled by the map when planning this trip. As I've said already, Canyonlands is huge. And the fact that there are no roads that directly link the districts with each other makes traveling between the strategic points very time-consuming. A one day visit gives you an overview of the most, a few hours is not much time if one would like to see and feel the park. Also not for a photographer as I know out of experience now. Unfortunately, when I visited I had no idea what to expect and came unprepared. I didn't have a lot of time, plus I wasn't going to shoot much anyway, all I wanted to do was to check it out for a later visit and use my time to get in touch with nature, to walk in the footsteps of these very old cultures. For my next visit – and I will be there for sure again – I will prepare as a photographer and hunt down all the knowledge I will need at first. Then I will have enough time, also to wait for the sunrise at the Mesa Arch! 
Heavy rainfall at the Canyonlands National Park in Utah/USA


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