Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Golden Arches

As I began to explain a couple posts ago from SLC I ventured south to Arches National Park before heading to Phoenix. I arrived in time to hit one short canyon trail called Park Avenue. It was just before dusk and the low-lying sun set the red canyon walls and prehistoric rock formations on fire.

I hurried to leave the canyon in hopes of finding a free Bureau of Land Management campground. No luck. Thus I ended up sleeping in my car at a rest stop 10 miles outside of Moab along with a gaggle of weary truckers who constantly came and went. They don't call it a rest stop for no reason, I just took it literally and managed to rest until about 4:30 a.m. when I couldn't fight the cold any longer. I fired up the car, cranked the heat, left for the park and made my way to the Delicate Arch trail head, you know, the famous arch from the Utah license plate. Despite my night blindness I hobbled by flashlight the two or so miles in the dark to a bluff overlooking Delicate and the sunrise. There I waited about an hour for the sun to makes its appearance, took photos of the vista, meditated, tested the echo and ate a granola bar.

As the sun slowly peaked above the horizon I journeyed from the bluff to the cliff where Delicate stands. Suddenly my solitude was disrupted as I saw a hooded man with expensive-looking camera equipment stop directly in front of the arch. How he beat me I wish I knew. It was then that I quieted down and refrained from entertaining myself with the echo, oops. The park suggests visiting Delicate Arch at sunset, the light is supposed to be best then for picture taking, but I think I did alright with my early morning visit. The arch was glowing from the inside out and the photos are some of my best.

Meanwhile Hooded Man spoke. "I do not know vhat I vas thinking, but I expect sahmthing so different." Who would've guessed he was German? Certainly not I. "I'm tie-ud of stone, I have visit so many park and see nossing but stone" he loudly and disappointedly exclaimed. Why is it that the Germans speak so loudly? The views and peace that I had enjoyed quickly vanished as the loud German continued to aggressively and loudly chat me up for 45 minutes or so, turns out he worked in Portland for a year, "the food vas gut but the city is so small comped to Hamburg." The next stop on his American Southwest National Parks Tour 2008 was the Grand Canyon, but don't worry I was a courteous American and warned him that he would probably run into a few more stones down there.

My day didn't stop at Delicate, I managed to see just about every labeled arch in the park and had an incredible full day.

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