Thursday, October 11, 2012

Arches National Park

Three Gossips

Natural wonders envelop Moab, Utah.  The area is one red sandbox filled with giant toys.  Huge stone sculptures set against enormous red cliffs make up the landscape.  This is high desert; hot in the summer and frigid in winter.  Although rivers do stream, collecting thunderstorms, channeling their precious fluid to oases like Moab, the local splendor is rocks.  Geological forces made these rocks, heaving them up through tectonic plates shifting and setting them into place, while extreme weather: wind, rain, and snow,  polished and sculpted them into their latest form.

Arches National Park is most amazing of all.  The scale is monumental and it's first magnificent monument is the Three Gossips seemingly discussing the latest political intrigue and passing judgement on their hapless subjects.  They might be robed choir members but for their chiseled aspect and austere demeanor.

Balancing Rock

Balancing Rock is an enormous egg-shaped rock atop a red pillar; a Jurassic vision ensemble resembling T-Rex on the prowl.  The prehistoric predator sizes up and seizes its prey, if only it could...

Double Arches

Arches National Park, not surprisingly, has a few arches.  Naturally formed and varying in size, these red portals dot the landscape.  Sometimes they're grouped into compounds, other times isolated and discreet.


One major grouping is the Double Arches compound.  It is expansive, requiring quite a bit of walking to get a taste of the place, or vigorous hiking for hours to fully take in its scope.  Here a formation, there a sculpture, everywhere a climbing adventure.  All red.  

Spring Arch

One attraction juts out of the ground springing up and over head like an arcing liquid extrusion petrified in mid air.  Another, is a conglomerate of shapes scattered and piled into an arch-like castle.  Much like sandcastles, these sandstone piles evoke a playful hand sparking the imagination.

Picnic Area

Life makes a go of it wherever it can. Hardy trees take root in the unlikeliest of places, requiring the rare thundershower and runoff to survive.  These micro oases resembling landscaped parks prove that "life imitates art"... and make perfect picnic areas too.

Surrealist Rocks

At times, vegetation and sandstone take on a surrealist look as if rocks and trees had been Terra-formed by Salvador Dali for a Southwest Disney theme park.

Rock Faces

Rock faces really start looking like faces and pillars start resembling animated creatures.  Animism is alive and well in the desert heat.

Arches Crows

Crows thrive and eagles soar, jack rabbits hide from the full sun and lizards bore into cool sand under cover of rocks.  It's a minimal, conservative existence of economic simplicity.  A Darwinian laboratory for the survival of the fittest.

Greatest of all gems in this vast collection of jewels is Delicate Arch.  It stands alone and aloof from the rest, quite far from any other attraction.   In fact it's practically inaccessible.   Hiking uphill for two miles over slick behemoth boulders in the desert heat at high altitude seemingly conspires against anyone ever reaching this isolated landmark.

Pathway to Delicate Arch

The anticipation built while getting to the arch is like potential energy released at first sight.  A fantastic feature on one continuous rock surface stands there, impossibly, pointing skyward, and downward, marking an undisclosed passageway.  A portal to another dimension? A divine whimsy?  A giant's project?  Certainly a testament to nature's varied splendor.  A skeptic might believe, however briefly, that a cosmic Architect, or the hand of God gently carved out an arch so exquisite its only purpose could be to signify majesty; for no other purpose than to inspire, to leave you standing there, agape.

Leaving behind scientific buzz-kill words like erosion, tectonic upheavals and the like, it is so much easier to let go and wonder...

Delicate Arch


  1. Te leo al regreso de mis vacaciones. Besitos

    1. Que la pases bien, bella. Despues me cuentas. Besotes ;)