Road Trip to Utah - Part 6 - Arches

Our last-but-one day in Utah and to change things up we decided on breakfast at Denny's rather than Love Muffin. Should have stuck with Love Muffin. Pretty much the usual Denny's food, but the service was less than desirable. It took a while to be seated even though there were a number of empty tables which were just waiting to be cleaned. Several employees were standing around looking at customers standing in line for seating, but evidently only one person can clean off the tables and he was in no hurry. Love Muffin will get our business tomorrow.

Heading north on Hwy 191 again, which by now we know every business along the way by heart, we arrived at Arches National Park just five miles after leaving Moab. Breaking out my Senior National Park Pass at the entrance booth, the nice Ranger gave us our park materials and waved us on through with a smile. Have I said lately how much I love having a Senior National Park Pass? After stopping at the visitor's center for more information on the park and to buy my usual souvenir t-shirt and cap, we headed in and soon found ourselves in another world.

According to geologists, about 300 million years ago, the land here was covered in a salty sea. When it was cut off from replenishment, the water eventually evaporated and left behind a layer of salt more than 3,000 feet thick. Sediment then covered the salt, but it did not settle evenly and over a few million years, unequal pressures caused the salt to flow upward in some places which created tall, dirt and rock covered rises with hard upper surfaces. Groundwater from rain melted the underlying salt which opened the way for erosion to form freestanding fins of rock. With continued erosion, holes formed in some of these fins. The result? A collection of natural arches, huge sandstone fins and a stark landscape unlike anywhere else in the world. 

Courthouse Towers
Not far past the visitor's center is the formation known as Courthouse Towers. When we parked and walked up to the overlook, there was a husband and wife taking each other's picture with the Courthouse Towers in the background. As is rather customary in such settings, I asked them if they would like me to take their picture together. After taking several, I handed their camera back and we started a conversation. Of course, one of the questions asked was, "Where are you from?" Now first, let me tell you I currently live in a very small community in the state of Arkansas. It's a pretty place, quiet and friendly, but it's so small that very few people have heard of it. How small is it? (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) It's so small that it's one stop light short of being a one stop light town. So imagine our surprise when we discovered we live about 3 miles from each other on opposite sides of our town! We didn't know each other, but here we were, over 1,220 miles from home basically in the middle of nowhere and we met each other. A little more talking, and we found out their daughter is two grades behind mine and they go to the same school! One of those weird coincidences that life throws together sometimes.

The Three Gossips
In the words of the writer and naturalist Edward Abbey, "This is a landscape that has to be seen to be believed, and even then, confronted directly by the senses, it strains credulity." I can't argue with that and since pictures can convey things so much better than any words I can string together, I'll just let some pictures do the talking for me. 

Balanced Rock

Double Arches
View along a hiking trail
Your intrepid blog author

(click here for Part 1)