We spent a day getting closer to some of the wonders nature has created in the Arches National Park. It was definitely an interesting episode. We saw people hiking and climbing everywhere, all sizes and ages and nationalities of people. The uniquely shaped formations in this park seem to demand that they be climbed. Parents climb with children, photographing them at every juncture. We even came across these climbers who brought their mountain climbing gear. The fellow at the bottom kept calling to the girl on the top in what sounded like French and she kept raising her arms for photos.
There are more natural arches here than anywhere in the world. One of the most popular to see in the park is Landscape Arch. It is over 300 feet long. About 15 years ago a slab of rock about 60 feet long and 4 feet thick fell from the underside so no one is allowed to walk beneath it any more. Here is a photo of that arch. Who knows how long it will last due to its very thin structure. The hike to see Landscape Arch is 1.5 miles and the trail continues beyond it to other arches. On the day we chose to be there a hiker broke her ankle while at the furthest point of the trail and had to be helicoptered out. Nature can be dangerous.
The arches were created over 100 million years by underground salt movement, extreme temperatures and erosion by water and ice. The picture here shows some of the "fins" created by pressure forcing rock layers upward. This natural passageway is actually a part of the trail leading to an arch called Sandstone Arch. It's in the middle of a group of these fins and children were having lots of fun using it like a playground.
It rained for a couple of days and afterwards the flowers in the park were blooming everywhere. I don't know what these beautiful deep crimson blooms are but they dot the sandy hills throughout the park.
And here's a prickly cactus sprouting its first brilliant bloom with many others just ready to burst. These are examples of the many purples, oranges, reds and yellows decorating the landscape.
Our stay in Arches National Park is over, but we've moved only about 30 miles away, south of Moab. For now we are boondocking in a beautiful valley with a few RVer friends and some cattle. Looks like we won't be here too much longer though since we had a visit from the State of Utah Trust Land Dept. telling us we need to move on. It's one of those "long stories" that will be told another time. But we will find a place close by. To be continued.