Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Arches National Park in Utah

Well our first day in Moab did not turn out like planned.  Instead of heading out early to hike around the famous red rock arches of Arches National Park our destination switched course dramatically and we were on route to the auto mechanic for a new battery for our towed car.  Ugh!  Two and a half hours later, countless dollars in change, a couple cups of coffee and a breakfast burrito and then we were fixed.  Since we only had one full day to spend in Arches, we wanted to make the most of it.   Oh well, things happen!

"Skyline Arch"
Betsy framing "Skyline Arch"
We grabbed Spirit, chicken salad, a couple of water bottles and beamed over to the park.  The visitor center exhibits and movie provided us with a simplified explanation of the geological wonder that defines this park.  For those who like to hike, there are plenty of opportunities and you can stand under one of the glorious arches that have been evolving for millions of years, so they say.  Or, you can take the driving tour and get great views of just as magical scenery.  Over 2,500 natural arches have been discovered and dot the fiery landscape providing viewing amazement and making this the largest concentration of natural arches in the world.

"Balance Rock" perched perfectly on its pedestal.
So how did this landscape form?  The park lies on top of an underground salt bed that was deposited over 300 million years ago (so geologists say) and is the main cause for the mecca of arches, spires, balanced rocks, sandstone fins, and eroded monoliths.  Residue from extinct oceans left debris that was compressed as rock layers.  This thick cover of rock compressed the salt layer below which shifted, buckled, liquefied and thrust upwards in the form of domes which caused deep canyons.  Time allowed water, ice, extreme temperatures, and underground geologic movement to erode layers and create this remarkable scenery.  A landscape which is constantly evolving.  (Click here to see a video about the geological history and arch formation from the parks webpage.) 

Sandstone "Fins"
"Salt Valley"
"The Fiery Furnace."  Not named because of heat but because of the fiery color when the evening sun hits it.
"The Three Gossips"
"The Great Wall"

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