Perspectives on the American West

Northern California

The Lake as Art (1)
Lassen National Park, glistening in late July snow and bubbling with mud pots.
Monitor Pass
California State Route 89 after passing the summit at Monitor Pass, heading toward Highway 395. At an elevation of 8,341 feet with a 9% grade from Markleeville, Rte. 89 and Monitor Pass is considered one of the most hazardous roads in California.

Southern California

Mojave Desert
Owens Valley, California, nestled within the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the White Mountains, and the Inyo Mountains, is one of the deepest in the United States. On the southern end of the valley is Owens Lake, which was drained in 1926 to give water to Los Angeles, and is now a dry endorheic alkali flat.


Utah's Dixie
Utah’s “Dixie” rests between St. George and the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park. Although the Virgin River Anasazi were the first residents, the area became home to the LDS Church cotton mission during the Civil War. Rumor says it was named the “Dixie” to commemorate the cotton production.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Dramatic shadows contrast upon unique sandstone rock formations within Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.


Sawtooth Scenic Byway
Idaho’s Sawtooth Scenic Byway passes through fertile farmland and alongside vista points of lava and wind-blown sage.
Salmon River Scenic Byway
Idaho’s Salmon River Scenic Byway parallels the Salmon River from northeast of Sun Valley, until the Montana border. Few towns dot the landscape, but horses watch on as I take a break from the road and the cliffs.


Phillipsville, Montana
Phillipsville, Montana, is a surprising tourist village along Montana’s Highway 1. It’s well-kept historical downtown is quaint, and good for a quick break and walk.


Bighorn National Forest Tundra
The 1.12 million acres of the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming includes two mountain peaks that rise over 13,000 feet, and both forest and tundra ecosystems. This gravel road through the tundra ends at the trail head to hike Medicine Mountain. The Lakota, Crow, and Cheyenne people all consider the Bighorn mountains to be sacred spaces.
Deer Family in Grassland Bighorn National Forest
After a chilly and exhausting night camping in the Bighorns, I stumbled upon this family of deer grazing in the meadow. Some sources suggest that the deer is a symbol of intuition, regeneration, and the ability to move gracefully through life’s obstacles.
Buffalo, Wyoming
Downtown Buffalo, Wyoming. Groups of bikers were passing through alongside me, heading eastward toward the annual rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.
Devil's Tower National Monument
According to the oral history of the Crow people, the grand monument now called Devil’s Tower grew from a rock that sprang into the sky to protect two young girls from becoming bear food. The deep groves on the side of the monument are bear claws. The Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Lakota people all have versions of a legend as well, and the bear is a common thread between all the histories.

Published by amandalynnbarker

Healthy intentions. Conscious adventure. Systemic change.

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