It can be hard to see in these times of stupidity, just how lucky we are. Trump just led the charge to reduce the size of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument — a place that has been protected for the past 21 years, the majority of my life. National parks and monuments, I had assumed were to be forever protected, and it is, I guess for lack of a better word, a bit of a shock to learn that even our protected places with grand labels and national park or monument status aren’t really as untouchable as we thought.
We are lucky though, since we do have a fair bit of land protected (for now), and are lucky to have had people before us with the forsight and will to get places protected.
Surrounded by over 20 Million people, it’s incredible that you can find quiet places without people (I’ll say mostly quiet, since the only real issue with this hike is that you can occassionally hear loud booms coming in from Camp Pendleton to the south). This hike was my first time exploring the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness, and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I loved the area. Great views of the rugged landscape, nice meadows, and some lush side canyons made for a great hike. I’m looking forward to exploring the area further over the coming years.