We found 11 Reddit comments about Desert Solitaire. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.
The problem with the East is, except for the state and national parks, it is all private land -- fenced, keep out -- no trespassing. When the western states applied to the Fed for statehood, the Fed kept a large chunk of the land in trust for the American people. The fed owns around 50% of the land west of the Rockies; that means you own them, too. Hell, the Fed held more than 80% of Nevada.
The desert lands of the West, what used to be called wasteland, are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM isn't like the National Park Service; you can do pretty much anything you want within reason. On BLM lands, yes there are fences but only for livestock -- not to keep people out. If the gate is open, pass right on through. If the gate is closed, close it again behind you.
Protip: when you come out west, check out as much as you can of the Colorado Plateau, a 130,000 square mile red rock sticking out of the desert. This is among the wildest, most remote places within the lower 48. OP's photo is likely of the Grand Canyon which is the very southern tip of the Colorado Plateau. About half of the Plateau looks just like that; not quite as grand but every bit as colorful and beautiful.
The Secret Knowledge of Water
Correct. The book is Desert Solitaire.
All right. Just went through my library and the following stood out to me:
Desert Solitaire (1968) by Edward Abbey: One of the best American voices for conservation spent some seasons as a park ranger in the desert southwest. Here are some brilliant, funny, and soundly critical musings inspired by his time there.
A Continuous Harmony (1972) & The Unsettling of America (1977) by Wendell Berry: In my opinion, Wendell Berry is the best cultural critic we've ever had. He's 86 now and still a powerful voice of reason in a chaotic society. Dismissed mistakenly by fools as someone who just wants to go back to the old days, he offers much-needed critiques on our decomposing relationship to the land and what it's been doing to our culture.
Night Comes to the Cumberlands (1962) by Harry M. Caudill: This Kentucky native saw what the predatory and morally bankrupt coal industry had done to the people and land (and the relationship between the two) in Appalachia and outlined how it all happened in powerful inarguable detail. This book serves as a stern warning about what chaos and destruction industries can bring forth when profit is their only concern. Anyone wondering why Appalachia is full of depressed drug addicts can find the roots of those issues in this book, which inspired The War on Poverty.
The Big Sky (1947) by A.B. Guthrie Jr. : A classic novel about a young kid who runs away to join the fur trade in the frontier days. It tells a very believable story, rather than chasing the overblown myths of the West like most novels dealing with that subject.
Shantyboat (1977) & Payne Hollow by Harlan Hubbard: He and his wife Anna built a truly rewarding and pleasant life together almost entirely independent of modern industrial society in the 1940s and 50s, first floating down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers on a shantyboat they built, living from temporary gardens and trading with people they met along the river, and then settling into Payne Hollow where they lived a realer-than-Thoreau existence together for decades. True love, and true meaningful living.
Of Wolves and Men (1978) by Barry Lopez: Rogan seems to think he's some kind of authority on wolves and I cringe every time I hear him start talking about them. It doesn't begin and end with "These are savage fucking predators that need to be controlled!" He seriously needs to read this book, which is a beautifully-written and exhaustive look at the history of the relationship between human and wolves. Like most interesting things, it is a complex issue.
My Life With The Eskimo (1909?) by Vilhjalmur Stefansson: The accounts of an ethnologist traveling through the arctic before much contact had been made between Europeans and Natives. Incredible stories of survival and the inevitable interesting situations that occur when two vastly different cultures meet.
The Marsh Arabs (1964) & Arabian Sands (1959) by Wilfred Thesiger: This dude went deep. Deep into the marshes of Southern Iraq and deep into the Empty Quarter of Arabia. Both books are amazing accounts of voyages through incredible parts of the world whose geography and people have since been changed forever.
The Mountain People (1972) by Colin M. Turnbull: This anthropologist lived with the Ik in Uganda as they went through a complete cultural disintegration brought on by starvation during a drought. Reading this, one sees how quickly complete tragic anarchy takes hold when basic resources are in desperate need. Humanity went out the window.
Let me know if you ever read any of these, and how you like them. I would bet they provide anyone with good food for thought and discussion.
Encounters with the Archdruid
Tongass: Pulp Politics and the Fight for the Alaska Rain Forest
No probelm dawn_weiner aka morning_wood! Just living vicarously through you so hard.
ehhhh "so hard" is a poor choice of words.
First off, I second what /u/kickstand said about doing the jenny lake trail in Grand Teton's. I hiked it with my GF and it was pretty much like hiking through a postcard if the weather is right. if you do this hike make sure you get back in time for the last ferry or you'll be adding another 4 or so miles onto the end of your hike!!! we caught the last one and it was the saddest thing to have pulled away from the dock and see hikers running to catch the boat to no avail.
/u/tibataw is also spot on about making your reservations ASAP. some campgrounds at the National Parks won't do reservations and are first come first serve so make sure if you're just going to wing it and try to grab one of those sites make sure you get there extremely early to ensure you have a spot. i would talk to your spouse and prioritize what you want to see and accomplish while in the parks as some campgrounds are better suited for certain goals due to their location and intended campers they plan to serve.
If I could be so bold to give you some more personal suggestions...
We camped here and loved it. Stay at Cedar Pass Campground and if possible get campsite #2 as it's on the side of the campground facing the badlands and gives you a good amount of privacy. This is a place that you need to see sunrise and sunset at. It really brings out the colors of the rock and is what really took my breath away while here. Also, you'll see 10000000000000000000 (no exaggeration) of signs for Wall Drug. It's funny and a tourist trap, it is one of those things that if you go into it knowing what a joke it is you can enjoy it for the 20 minutes you decide to spend there. Make sure you get your free glass of ice water!!!!
Head to Lamar Valley, bring some post cards, snacks and drinks and park your cars on one of the pull outs off the side of the road. (the ones with no bathroom, like just a patch of pavement with nothing around it) My GF and I spent 3 hours just relaxing, writing postcards, reading, listening to music and enjoying doing nothing while not being around any of the crowds. after driving so much, trying not to tackle a hike or site see was exactly what we needed. also Lamar Valley is where a lot of animal watching takes place in the park, so its a great place just to sit and do nothing. People run around the park to see the animals but if you just stay still they will reveal themselves! Get a pair of binoculars before you leave Chicago, can't stress this enough!!!!
For Grand Teton...
See sunrise from the top of Signal Mountain, you can drive up and the road is windy so leave early. It provides sweeping views of the mountains and the plains. An amazing place for photos!
I posted this the other day but still stands true. You should stop at Thunderbird Restaurant east of Zion off of Rt 9 while you're traveling between Bryce and Zion. Pretty much a standard diner but i'm not joking, the best slice of pie I think I've ever had. The reviews on Yelp seem to say the food is hit or miss (i don't remember since I visited about 5 years ago) but I do remember the pie. Maybe best course of action is to get a slice or two to go (if possible) to help pass the time while you're driving.
Also in Zion Canyon, if you're super adventurous and in good shape I would look into hiking up to Observation Point from the Weeping Rock trailhead. It's a steep hike but sooooooo worth the view. When I went there was also pools of cool water off the trail to soak your feet in after the hike. worth it! worth it! worth it!
Can't really say much as I only stopped there for an hour or so while going between Arches and Zion. It was amazing and I would love to go back to see more.
I know that this literally came on your radar about 30 minutes ago...but it's amazing. I can't describe how breath taking it is. One of those places that make you realize how diverse and beautiful the US is. If you are a reader and have some time I would suggest a book for you by Edward Abbey called Desert Solitare (I would say a Bible to geologists who are into nature). He wrote it while a NP ranger at Arches before it really transformed into what it is now. While it focuses on Arches, he does an amazing job with descriptive imagery for the surrounding area and Utah as a whole. Made me really appreciate what I saw and helps you get excited for the wildness/emptiness/beauty of Southern Utah.
Not sure if you're a baseball fan (cubs or white sox?) but even if you're not I would suggest going to a Rockies game if they're in town while you're there. The stadium is really really nice and if you select your seat accordingly you can have amazing views of both downtown Denver and the Rockies (those seats are in the upper decks right of the first base line). My GF and I aren't huge baseball fans (but still happy the red sox won this year) and we had a great time. Nothing like a couple of beers, a hot dog, a bag of peanuts and a good crowd. After the game there are a lot of bars to walk to in the surrounding area too which kept the good times rolling.
As a suggested sound track for each part of your trip...
bruce springsteen - badlands (DUH!)
Swamp Dogg - Synthetic World
For Grand Teton
fleet foxes - ragged wood
Fleetwood Mac - Dreams
Rolling Stones - Wild Horses
Jonathan Wilson - Desert Raven
Afroman - Because I got High
I would also just load up an ipod of 60 hours of classic rock for the road but that's just me, my gf says I'm 'nostalgic'. I think she might be right...
if you have any specific questions just let me know!
Leaves of Grass
One Man's Wilderness
Into the Wild
Call of the Wild
Walden Shocking huh?
I would recommend packing a copy of this. It's one man's 300 page love letter to the desert.
If you're interested in environmental issues at all I suggest Edward Abbey, "The Monkey Wrench Gang" and "Desert Solitaire" are both excellent.
Additionally, I feel like it doesn't even need to be said but "The Hobbit" and the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien are amazing.
His subtle sexism and borderline racism aside he was a great man . . . a giant flawed great man.
If you haven't read "Down the River" or "Desert Solitaire" definitely pick up a used copy of these books somewhere. If you can't find them, let me know and I'll send you copies.
I'm interested in the Basic Kafka and Thus Spoke Zarathustra, unless you have anything else you wish to offer (my collection is skant and what I offer is all to give).
The editions are here and here.
I've never done this before and should have said earlier: I am in the continental u.s.
Also, Desert Solitaire and Cadillac Desert.