Hello hello! First, a few pieces of housekeeping:
- I’ve created a new page on the blog called Roadtrip USA so that all of these posts are organized and easily accessible in one place. It even has a fun clickable map like the London page, so you can follow along and watch our trail progress! I’ll be adding posts to the map as they go up, but if you want to see our entire itinerary, you can find it HERE.
- I did a little interview feature with a travel community site called Bohemian Birds – check it out here.
Now back to the good stuff!
I know I waxed poetic about leaving the desert for the mountains when we entered Colorado, but we had one last desert adventure up our sleeves! After our jaunt through Telluride and a much-needed steam in the hot springs of Ouray, we dipped our toes back into Utah for an afternoon.
Destination? Arches National Park, a “red rock wonderland” outside of Moab and home to over 2000 naturally-formed sandstone arches. It was hot and dry without a cloud in the sky (rhyme – heyo!) and, as was the pattern during this off-season trip, there were very few other visitors in the park with us.
We meandered our way (in Kokapelli, of course) along the twisting main road, stopping for quick side walks whenever something struck our fancy.
Though the arches are the namesake and the main draw of the park, the place is home to plenty of other amazing geological features carved into the red sandstone, named imaginatively for more familiar structures they resemble. The National Park Service website has a great explanation of the science behind the formation of arches here.
The Three Gossips (center) and Courthouse Towers (right):
I’m told (by Wikipedia) that the upper rock is about as big as three school buses!
The natural sandstone structure is so precarious that, inevitably, it will someday fall (as will all of the arches). There’s something sort of poetic about understanding and accepting how temporary everything in this park is (cheesy but true?).
North and South Window (confession time: I don’t remember which is which):
And of course, the main event – Delicate Arch, a.k.a. Cowboy Chaps:
There is another hiking trail which will take you right up to the base of Delicate Arch and give you a vantage point to get those epic NatGeo-esque photos (see here), but we had plans to get back across the Colorado border before nightfall (and the sun was pretty blistering), so we had to opt out of that side trek.
We did make a little friend in the Delicate Arch parking lot, though.
Though there are literally thousands of arches and features to explore throughout the nearly eighty thousand acres of the park, the main impression I got was of vast emptiness.
I love the contrast of the flat red plains with snowcapped peaks way off in the distance. The epitome of “wide open spaces,” eh?
The last view we had as we approached the exit was of the Fiery Furnace, growing redder as the sun dipped lower.
Another win for the NPS, I’d say! Next time, we’re back in Colorado and on to more mountain adventures.
The Details: $10 entry fee per vehicle | Open year-round | Website HERE