You can’t really appreciate the great state of Texas until you’ve gazed at the mountain majesties of Big Bend. So how about making a South Rim hike a high school diploma prerequisite, or maybe an “I’m a real Texan” license plate designation? The dramatic scenery from this fourteen-mile loop along the southern edge of the Chisos Mountains rivals that of Arizona’s Grand Canyon. Aside from the obvious health and anti-obesity benefits, such a requirement would nurture a love of painted skies, colorful birds, and spiritual, wide-open spaces ever after.

Willey is the editorial page editor of the Dallas Morning News.

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