Farther West

The second part of our journey took us through Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and finally California. This part of the passage took two days, one of which my wife and I drove for 900 miles on route 80. The views were spectacular and worth the agonizing hours stuck in the car. Traveling through these states mid-April offers a unique change in temperature, habitat, and scenery in just a short period of time. In Nebraska we experienced a sunny mild day, in Wyoming we ran into wind gust over 50 mph and light snow only to have it clear up to a sunny day again. The terrain changed from vast flat lands to dominant snow covered mountains. These changes became fun to observe throughout the journey.

Utah is one of the prettiest and varied states in the U.S. The northern part of the state offers extensive mountains and salt flats. We also witnessed the reemergence of trees which had disappeared at some point in Wyoming. From Coalvile to Salt Lake City the views are fantastic.

Driving through a rural town in Utah

The mountains still had snow on them but the grass in the valleys was green and some of the deciduous trees just beginning to bud. The evergreens where far greater in number and covered many of the slopes that were very obviously used for skiing and snowboarding. After Salt Lake City we passed The Great Salt Lake and then the salt flats that stretch for more than a hundred miles.

Another part of Utah

The mountains on almost all sides were ever looming in the far distance. Knowing that Utah shares a border with Arizona in the south including part of The Grand Canyon, I know that Utah has much more to offer and I would love to return and explore a little more.

The other notable region of our trip was California and Oregon. Our route took us from California, north into part of Oregon, and then back south into California once more on route 199. In California we watched as the barren mountains of the Sierra Nevada turned from brown to green. Our road brought us up amidst snowy peaks and we were soon surrounded by pines with snow still heavy on the ground. Reservoirs passed occasionally by, one of which was still partially covered in ice.

Mount Shasta

In other parts of the mountains the snow had melted leaving fields of scattered pines and marshland. When we passed into Oregon we stayed in the mountains but the vegetation changed significantly and became more broad-leafed. The snow was completely left behind and spring dominated southern Oregon. Daffodils could be viewed along with budding and leaves on the trees. Turning southward for California again we began a rather precipitous decent. Eventually we found ourselves winding slowly through a mossy pine forest with a blue-green river to the side of the route. The trees grew taller and wider until we saw some of the redwoods so famous for their enormous height and girth. The forest had a mysterious appeal to it, being dark green and mossy as if its sylvan depths hid some enchantment within. We hope to explore the redwoods in greater detail in the near future.

The final chapter to this part of our journey came with our arrival in Crescent City, California a coastal town where we hoped to find a good view of the Pacific Ocean. We were not disappointed and explored the rocky beach in the town, climbing on the black rocks, watching the waves crash upon them, and investigating the various shore plants scattered about at low tide.

The Pacific shore in Crescent City, California

I felt a sense of accomplishment and completion looking out on the Pacific Ocean after driving so many miles from Bennington, Vermont to Crescent City, California and for the first time saw the sun set on an ocean.


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