David Brower, chairman of Friends of the Earth and a board member of the Sierra Club, has been climbing mountains and exploring the wonders of the world since his late teens. At 71, Brower says age and "too much chocolate-chocolate chip Haagen Daz ice cream" prevents him from going on any more really rugged camping trips.
But Brower still loves to travel usually with his wife and wants to return to the Himalayas in Nepal whose vistas are "simply the mountaineering climax of the earth. It's a magnificent spot and one of the most rugged of all mountain ranges."
Brower says it's hard to single out a special scenic spot, but his favorites include:
* Cathedral in the Desert, Colorado: "This area is in the Escalante River branch of the Colorado River; it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to. There's Navajo sandstone that entirely closes over the Cathedral and inside there's a flat area with a waterfall and pool about the size of a football field surrounded by ferns and flowers."
* Darwin Bench, Sierra Nevada: " . . . one of the most beautiful resort parts of the Sierra. Darwin Bench is 11,000 feet in elevation and in the middle of the wilderness of Kings Canyon National Park. Up at the timberline tiny waterfalls surround your campsight. I carry a map of the High Sierra around in my head and have been going into the canyon for more than 60 years. The longest trip I took there was a 10-week backpacking trip in 1934. Also, I've led Sierra Club camping trips into that wilderness area for some 14 years, too."
* Elvs Chasm, Grand Canyon: "You can only reach this spot by riding the rapids of the Colorado River. You also have to do a little rock climbing to reach the two chambers above the chasm. The chasm is a pristine place--really suburb. You have gardens in the most unexpected places. There's about 30 to 40 species of plants that grow near the water and back a bit you'll find desert plants. Above the chasm is a steep, inaccessible wall that's constantly evolving because the stone is slowly changing shape. Part of the pleasure of this area is that it's hard to get to."