Friday, December 16, 2016

Arches National Park (Utah)

After leaving St. Louis in mid-September, we headed west to Moab, Utah, for a week-long stay to visit Arches National Park, and Canyonlands National Park. Moab is a charming small town in Eastern Utah that merits attention in its own right, but the main draw is its proximity to the National Parks, and we were among the many tourists who had the same idea we did – the crowds were impressive, to say the least.

The first half of the week we spent hiking and sightseeing at Arches National park. Located on the Colorado river, Arches has over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-famous Delicate Arch which reaches 60 feet into the sky. The park contains the highest density of natural arches in the world spread over 76,679 acres. Over 1.3 million visitors a year come to see these amazing formations, and it’s no wonder why. The shapes, colors, and impossible angles of the rock formations seem to defy explanation and suspend belief, and to walk among these wonders of nature is like stepping into another universe.

As you gaze at the incredible stone creations, you can’t help but see the resemblance to animals, humans, and creatures, and the names given the various formations reflect this natural tendency to anthropomorphize the natural world. Names include Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock, Broken Arch, Skyline Arch, Double-O, Navajo Arch, Eye of the Whale, and Skull Arch. We saw many of these during our three full days of exploring the park, but not nearly enough to satisfy our curiosity. Another place to put on our list of “Places To Return To”.

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