Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Millenial Arches

Early on our western trek at Yellowstone National Park, a camper acquaintance said, "Don't forget to include the national parks in Utah. They are absolutely stunning." My wife and I are glad we heeded his advice. Arches National Park is the fifth and last park we visited in Utah. This park is literally the most dramatic example of nature's shaping hand over the millenia.

The imposing brown sandstone structures of the park have been sculpted through eons of rain, ice, wind, and gravity. They slowly ate away at the surface of the rock to create inspiring and, sometimes, other worldly images. We arrived by mid morning to enjoy the interplay of light, shadow, and colour on the rocks. Then as we left the park at six we noticed totally new vistas with the setting sun. We talked to some people who have come back multiple times to enjoy its vistas. (That's my wife in the picture above.)

The hike to see Delicate Arch (that's yours truly in the picture below) is quite an invigorating three mile trek. You do not see the famed arch until you round a dizzying bend in a massive cliff face. Once there, you can sit atop at a lofty elevation of the park to see this inspiring work of nature's hand. The arches are so breathtakingly large, and yet so vulnerable to eventual collapse. Indeed, several arches have been severely eroded in the last twenty years, and one has collapsed.
Meet 'the gossips' who stand very tall.
And nature's counterpart to Rodin's 'Thinker'?
And that's my wife under the double arches. (Click on photo for more detail.)
Finally, how did we have the chance to pose alone under these imposing structures? How fortunate that we could travel in the off season when visitors are beginning to wane.