During an artist meet-and-greet today, I had someone ask if I mostly capture western U.S. landscapes and if they would have to travel to those far away locales to see beautiful natural features. While there are certainly big vistas and unusual geological features in the west, I think it’s unfair to declare nature’s best work stuck in one region. Naturally beautiful places are all around us, tucked away in nooks and crannies of state and municipal parks, nature preserves, and wildlife sanctuaries (and likely right in your own backyard). Their locations fall into places where one’s mind does not often associate, but a little research, digging and exploration can assist. Here we have a sandstone canyon with an overhang at Starved Rock State Park in Illinois, where you can walk through over a dozen stunning canyons with waterfalls connecting to the Illinois river. For other great places, seek out the black sandstone canyons of Hocking Hills in central Ohio, the natural arches (second in numbers to Utah) of Red River Gorge in Kentucky, the big canyon of New River Gorge in West Virginia, the shale gorges of the Finger Lakes area in New York, and the cave systems of Virginia; among many others! No excuses this year – get out and explore!
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