Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Visit to Arches

Delicate ArchAs one of our summer ideas this year, Heather and I wanted to go to Arches National Park in Southern Utah. After other plans fell through, this past weekend turned out to be the perfect time to go. The weather was a little warm, but not too hot, and we were both able to get Friday off of work. Plus, Heather's pregnancy is not to the point which precludes us from doing active things.

Arches National Park is just north of Moab, Utah. I have driven past it many times during the course of family vacations, but never had the chance to stop and see it. This time, we decided to make the three hour drive south and we were rewarded. We left Provo around 11am on Friday, and made good driving time. We arrived at Arches around 2pm, and stopped by the visitors' center. Finding a place to stay the night was a priority, but unfortunately, the campground in the park was full. Instead, we managed to find a lovely spot along the Colorado River just outside the park.

Campsite along the ColoradoWe spent most of Friday afternoon and evening working out way through the park, admiring the giant stone monoliths and arches. Along the way, we stopped and read all the interpretive displays which describe the process of arch formation, the kinds of rock which are currently visible and the other geologic processes at work. We ended the evening by hiking out to Delicate Arch, the unofficial symbol of Utah.

After a restful night, we again went back to the park to see more arches and formations. After seeing Broken Arch, Sand Dune Arch and Skyline Arch, we finished our stay with a hike to the extraordinary Landscape Arch, which spans over 300 feet. The sign at Landscape Arch, which is only 6 feet thick at its thinnest point, shows a picture from 1991 when a 60-foot slab of rock broke off. The arches in the park are still forming, and geologic processes continue.
Dead Horse Point

On the way home, we stopped at Dead Horse Point State Park, just a few miles out of Canyonlands National Park, and admired the views. The point overlooks a sweeping turn the Colorado River over 2000 feet below, and, according to legend, was used as a corral by cowboys in the 19th Century.

All-in-all, the trip was well needed and a great time for both of us.

1 comment:

John Pruess said...

Brilliant trip, I must say! We recently went and visited Fort McHenry, which was cool, but nothing like the natural vistas of the West. (I'd still recommend the fort and the harbor there in Baltimore, though.) I absolutely love southern Utah and the national parks there. I couldn't live in southern Utah, but it's simply amazing to visit there. I have many great childhood memories, as well as a honeymoon trip in southern Utah. Enough of me . . . your trip sounds awesome, I'm glad the pregnancy for Heather seems to be going well, and I hope you took lots of cool pictures.