An Unexpected Finale – Arches National Park, Utah


Balanced rock, Arches National Park






Landscape Arch, Arches National Park

About a month after the photos in this post were taken, i’m sitting at home in my office/art studio with graphite pencils scattered all over my floor, three sketchbooks open to various projects and a reheated cup of coffee that tastes just this side of too sweet. In my head i’m composing letters to penpals I really need to send and coming up for excuses as to why i’ve yet to finish Gödel, Escher, Bach by D. Hofstadter though i’ve no problem buying still more Byzantine empire history books. In short, my heart is content to be at home, but there is always a part of me that longs for the promise of adventure that the open road holds and the way my hands itch for a camera and an interesting landscape. 

By the time we had finished up at the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint it was around 9:30 and while we turned the car back around with enthusiasm to head back deeper into the park, there was definitely the sense that the relative peace we had been experiencing was well on it’s way to being over. The day before, after getting drenched to the bone, we had arrived back at the park around 10:30 to stop in at the visitor center so I could stock up on postcards and other souvenirs for friends, coworkers and penpals and it had been a surreal experience to wait in a long line of cars for about half an hour just to get inside. There had been loose plans to possible do the Devils Garden trail, at least as far enough to see the Landscape Arch section but after seeing the overflowing parking lot we decided to save this part of the park for another trip.

Before you get wilting with sadness with me,I should point out that this is something I like to do almost everywhere I go. I like this idea of leaving behind pockets of unknown adventure for myself to look forward to on a return trip, something wholly new and unexpected to come back to and explore. (Also,I can be such an anti-social SOB that the idea of knocking elbows with dozens upon dozens of people while trying to find a way to enjoy something outdoors is bristling to me. Drop me into a city and i’m fine, but the crowded outdoors is a jarring dissonance.)

On a more positive note, I’ve got to mention the Sand Dune Arch as one of my most favorite parts of the park- there’s something utterly magical about the area and the way the light filters through the rocky passages and spills itself onto the warm sand below that is not to be missed. After leaving Sand Dune Arch, if you head up towards the Skyline Arch, there’s a bit of an unmarked offshoot dirt road you’ll see on the lefthand side of the road and if you happened to take that, you’ll end up in the valley bellow, wondering where the heck you’re going but also hopefully enjoying the unexpected views. This actually takes you towards the Tower Arch trail….and if you keep going, dumps you rather unceremoniously out of Arches. About 45 minuets after that, just when you’ve begun to despair that you’ve really gone the wrong way and you think the road couldn’t get more rough and bumpy, yet again you’ll be unexpectedly dumped off the road, this time back onto the main 191 highway.

And so, that’s a weird way to say goodbye to Arches that I wouldn’t exactly recommend unless you’ve got some kind of Jeep/high clearance vehicle but hey, the surreal-ness of the adventure was definitely enjoyable.

~m

2 comments

  1. Erin · November 10

    Wow, such massive rocks, and I love how you’ve captured this.
    I totally get you on leaving little places un-explored, so there is something new when you come back (that and crowded outside places, it’s not cool).
    erin | the creation & the passion

    • FablesandCoffee · November 10

      Oh man am I glad you agree with me, I feel like such a gigantic dud for not enjoying being in crowded outdoor places so let me virtually fistbump you for that :) I need to go catch up on your blog btw, so watch for a liking spree from me this weekend!

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