Exploring Arches National Park
After only two days of driving, our world was transformed. The hot and dry climate in southwest Utah was nothing like the dense rainforest of the Pacific Northwest. There were vast, open spaces and sandstone was everywhere. It was surreal at first. I had never been to the desert, so I needed a couple of dips in the hotel pool and a plate of nachos for lunch to realise just how much I wanted to get outside and explore. We took a quick drive through Arches National Park, and at a spot that had a lot of small sandstone arches, I stopped the car. I got out and stood there, surrounded by the glowing sandstone illuminated by the setting sun. Quiet. I hadn’t known the real reason why we chose this spot on Earth to explore up until this moment. It was the exact opposite of the land we call home, and it was awesome. The idea to come to the southwest had been Christine’s, so I thanked her with a smile.
We drove uphill a bit, in order to get a view of the park. I parked and unpacked the guacamole from our cooler and we chowed down as the sun set. Tomorrow, we would come back to the park and explore it more in the daylight.
As the name implies, Arches National Park in Utah is home to countless sandstone arches. Delicate Arch (above) is one of the larger arches. Climbing is not allowed on any of the named arches nowadays, but Delicate Arch has been climbed—there are mysterious rope marks near the top of it. Christine was not a fan of the idea, but I managed to sneak around the narrow basin to the base of the arch for this photo. I’m glad that I did. The photo she snapped was the closest I got to climbing it.
As I say, this was my first desert travel experience. At first, I thought the heat was going to kill me, but in the end I learned to love it (and now I miss it!). Just make sure your hotel has a pool and air conditioning.