Arches National Park, Part 1: An Introduction to the Incredible

I didn’t do a whole lot of route planning or destination-related research prior to this trip other than a general idea to stay ahead of the cold weather by starting off in the north and of course to be there for Andrew’s swim on the appointed dates. There was also some minor scheduling involved for Carrie and Rachel, who joined me for parts of the trip. But mostly I figured I would just explore, just see and do, just be, and see what happened. That being said, one of my “must-see” parks was Arches. It all started with a reading of Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire. I was enthralled by his descriptions of unspoiled wilderness, of emptiness, of space, broken up by fantastical rock formations. I knew I wanted to go there. Then, I saw pictures and suddenly I needed to go there – as soon as possible.

Of course, Arches isn’t the same vacant backcountry it once was, but space it still has. And a lot of red rock, which happens to be one of my favorite things. The park did not disappoint. We started our visit by driving around, viewing the some of formations and arches that were popular and close to the road. We weren’t able to get to them all that day but we finished the short hikes and viewpoints on our last day there.

Park Avenue Trail, Arches National Park, Utah

Park Avenue Trail, Arches National Park, Utah

Balanced Rock, Arches National Park, Utah

Balanced Rock, Arches National Park, Utah

Fin, Arches National Park, Utah

Fin, Arches National Park, Utah

Turret Arch from behind, Windows Trail, Arches National Park, Utah

Turret Arch from behind, Windows Trail, Arches National Park, Utah

North and South Windows, Windows Trail, Arches National Park, Utah

North and South Windows, Windows Trail, Arches National Park, Utah

Double Arch was particularly cool because after about 10 minutes the half dozen or so couples or groups of people left and we got to recline inside one of the arches we had climbed into and look at the sky through the double curvatures in the rock.

Double Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

Double Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

Double Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

Double Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

View from inside Double Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

View from inside Double Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

I think this is Cove of the Caves but I'm not sure though I just like the picture.  Arches National Park, Utah

I think this is Cove of the Caves but I’m not sure though I just like the picture. Arches National Park, Utah

Sunlight streaming over Garden of Eden, Arches National Park, Utah

Sunlight streaming over Garden of Eden, Arches National Park, Utah

Skyline Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

Skyline Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

Looking out over Fiery Furnace, Arches National Park, Utah

Looking out over Fiery Furnace, Arches National Park, Utah

The pastels of Salt Valley, Arches National Park, Utah

The pastels of Salt Valley, Arches National Park, Utah

Another View of Salt Valley, Arches National Park, Utah

Another View of Salt Valley, Arches National Park, Utah

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