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Well, we have discovered something that all National Parks
have in common. Each time you
finish visiting one you say, “That is my favorite National Park.”
Then on to the next park and sure enough when you finish seeing it you
will say, “That is my favorite National Park.”
Right now, as we are leaving Arches National Park, we feel like it is our favorite National Park. The above 90 degree heat was a bit oppressive. We tried to start our day early and hike while it was a little cooler. We hiked a 1.5 mile trail, in full sun, mostly uphill to get a close look at Delicate Arch. We couldn’t believe the sight that awaited us as we came around the mountain ledge and found this huge arch on top of a red rock bowl. It is the arch on the Utah state license plates and we can see why. This hike led us to plan a longer one to more arches the next day. We viewed 7 or so arches and when we reached each one we couldn’t believe how different and beautiful each one was. Double O Arch is my personal favorite. We loved the fact that you could get so close to these arches, in fact climb through them and that at times there was no one else around. The primitive loop trail on the return was grueling and took us through a series of landscapes, including just plain desert.
The overall landscape at Arches is rugged red rock formations which are left standing as a result of uplifting and erosion. These red rock formations are gigantic. Also, due to the uplifting much of the red rock has been flipped up 90 degrees and the softer layers between the harder rock has eroded leaving "fins" of red rock standing on edge. These fins are the genesis of the arches. In certain situations water began eroding the side of a fin and, after many years, wore through the fin to begin the arch. As soon as there is a hole, the roof of the hole begins to fall away, one grain or one chunk at a time, to enlarge the arch. Eventually every arch will collapse.
We got close to and studied as many arches as we could. That's where the hiking came in. The severe temperatures did limit our stay somewhat, but we do believe that we saw all but one or two of these natural beauties. We took over 100 pictures and had the most difficult time cutting it down to 50 for the Arches National Park Album.