I've spent much of the last week out of breath. To start with I've been in the high deserts of Nevada and Utah. Normally I live just barely above sea level. I'm not sure the elevations I've been at have air that much thinner than sea level, but I remember having to lean the engine of a Cessna at 4,000' during flying lessons due to the thinner air. But thinner air is just a tiny part of it.
Utah is one of the most beautiful and scenic natural places I've ever seen. One thing I'm starting to learn about appreciating landscapes is in order to get the best view, you're going to have to hike a bit. And by the way, it's uphill. So a portion of my breath being taken away comes from a long term relationship I've been in with my couch. You combine a more sedentary lifestyle than I'm proud of with 500' or 1,400' of vertical gain on a hike and you have one sweaty out of breath dude.
Then to make it worse this out of breath dude is now standing in front of a scene that is sure to leave you breathless. Even the most mundane of landscapes in Utah are spectacular. In a week of Utah we were in the Great Salt Lake Desert, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Escalante National Monument, Capitol Reef National Park, and Arches National Park. Every one of these parks was full of the most photogenic geology you could ask for. Between the parks are landscapes that would surely be worthy of being a national park in any other state. If I were Utah, I'd change my state motto to "Oh wow!"
In an effort to catch our breath for a minute we've headed to Colorado. Oops. Today we're at 8,750'. To get here we drove over a mountain pass at 10,222', and speaking of learning to fly small planes, I know the FAA would require supplemental oxygen or a pressurized cabin if we went 1,888' higher.
And while we're higher and out of breath, Colorado is the first state where a person can legally buy marijuana for recreational use. I'm neither confirming nor denying if I will be imbibing like a gentleman, but I promise not to do anything illegal while I'm here in Colorado. Rest assured, if I do decide to get "Colorado Rocky Mountain High," the only danger will be to a snack that gets in my way.