Moab, Utah is a must-see target for most outdoor enthusiasts. And for good reason. It is a rare area that combines natural beauty, with almost complete freedom to explore it. By Jeep, bike, water, foot or air the Moab area provides some of the most spectacular natural wonders the planet has to offer.
There are two major National Parks right outside of Moab, Arches and Canyonlands. We will break Canyonlands in to its own blog and focus on Arches for this one.
To provide a taste of Arches National Park lets go straight to one of the most well known natural wonders, Delicate Arch. It is quite a hike back to see it and we got there right at sunset, a favorite time for photographers. There were likely 75 people there to witness the sight and grab photos. Here is our offering. It is amazing these natural structures survive. Long term they will succumb to the wind, rain and ice that will cause them to collapse. But that will likely be long after we are gone.
And let's take a video look at Arches from above and on the ground.
There are a few different sections of Arches. The section near the entrance is more about rock formations that are similar to Monument Valley.
This is where formations such as Park Avenue, Courthouse Towers and the Three Gossips are found.
The middle of the park presents more Windows, Arches and balanced Rocks. These are created by the erosion of rock causing Fins to develop. As these fins deteriorate they leave holes through them.
A little further back in the park is where Delicate Arch can be found. It is not easy to identify from the air as it tends to blend in to the background. But from the air it is easy to see how unique it is as it stands completely alone in an amphitheater that seems almost created to view the formation.
At the back of the park is the Devils Garden area. This is where the fins are most pronounced and create arches and windows everywhere.
Some of the arches are hidden within the fins, such as the Sand Dune Arch.
Just down the road is the Fiery Furnace. This is not Yellowstone, so it is not actually any hotter than the rest of this desert. But in the evening the sunsets really make the area come alive.
Other arches are more open to see. This is the Landscape Arch. It is really amazing that this formation is still standing. And it likely won't be for much longer. In September 1991 hikers heard what sounded like thunder and then watched as 180 tons of rock broke away from the arch. It is constantly eroded by wind and water and will eventually fall. But not today!
Hiking past the Delicate Arch requires some Mountain Goat skills as the paths get steep and narrow. But the views are worth it to see what became our favorite, Partition Arch. It was difficult to get the right location to take the picture, but in the upper right of this photo the small window can be seen. What a view from that window!
It is also important to point out that Karen was doing all this hiking with what we now know was a torn ACL in her knee from the bike wreck in Polson, MT. What a trooper!
For those who have not visited Arches National Park, better make plans! We never know when those Arches might come tumbling down.