I had been at Arches once before, in 2002, driving a huge van of campers from my ranch where I worked, Orme, in Arizona. I have memories of long games of Mad Libs and singalongs to some song about tomcats (called “Look Me Up” by BR549, my co-counselor Addy just reminded me on Facebook!) but not much else.
This time, SVV and I detached the trailer and left it at the visitor’s center—the ranger suggested we do so with as crowded as the park was the day we visited—and with Ella in tow (naturally), we drove the 36-mile loop through Arches National Park at leisure, pulling over to take photos whenever the inspiration struck.
Arches is one of the most photogenic spots I’ve visited of anywhere in the world, even if the formations are at times, er, a bit questionable!
More than 2,000 sandstone arches, big and small, occupy the park. If you haven’t visited before, it’s definitely a sight to behold.
On the first day, we only tackled a couple short hikes, the first of which was out to the Windows.
This one is one of the louder spots in Arches, as it’s an easy walk (about a half a mile) and, thus, a lot of families do it with small kids (and screaming babies, as we found).
Still, who knew big piles of rocks could be so interesting?
I could have pulled over and snapped a shot of every last one of them.
But the weather wasn’t having any of it. After an hour or two in the park, the ominous clouds on the horizon started spilling over the park and rolling right toward our direction. Once we saw a few cracks of lightning, we knew it was time to leave.
But we came back. The nice thing about having the national parks pass is that we can leave and revisit the same park as many times as we want and not have to pay again. (Though your $10 entry to Arches is good for seven days anyway.) It’s a pretty steep mile-and-a-half hike out to Delicate Arch, but then coming back is nice because it’s all downhill.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t say the oddest thing we’ve found on this trip is just how rude people can be toward perfect strangers. Sure, there are many more friendly people who stop to say “hello” or wave as they pass us on trails, but multiple times, we’ve had snarky comments made toward our direction—people adding their two cents about anything and everything—by (always) grouchy, old, retired Americans. What gives? I’ll mind my business, you mind yours. Everybody’s happy, and then I don’t have to sick my ferocious pooch on you. But the rudest we’ve encountered thus far was a German woman who was determined to get her perfect shot of Delicate Arch.
We reached Delicate Arch—a three-mile, round-trip hike—about an hour before sunset to find dozens of amateur photographers with their tripods set up and their cameras pointing toward the most famous of the park’s formations.
We joined the pack.
While we were waiting for the light to change, this sprightly Chinese girl who didn’t speak much English ran up to the base of the Arch so her boyfriend could take her picture. This was not a big deal; she had every right to have her picture as those of us with our cameras set up did. But one disgruntled German woman was having NONE of it. She stood up and starting shouting at the girl: “NOT NOW! GET OUT OF THE WAY!” in a very abrasive manner. To which SVV responded, “if you don’t have your shot by now, you’re not going to get it.” Seriously, the lighting was the same for a solid 45 minutes, and the setting didn’t change any. Was there any need to be such a witch? No, no there was not.
I’m only glad that woman wasn’t American. Lord knows, we don’t need help with that “ugly American” image in the global eye! I saw the girl later, and I apologized for the woman yelling at her and made sure to clarify: “she wasn’t American! We’re not that bad!” But given the language barrier, I’m pretty sure that she thought I did the yelling and, therefore, was apologizing. Oh well. From now on, I’ll just keep my trap shut.
SVV and I got ballsy ourselves and jumped out and took our picture on timer. Nobody yelled at us. I’d like to think they knew better.
We stayed for half an hour and then made our way back to the car. It sure is beautiful, but I mean really, there are only so many pictures you can take of a rock that doesn’t move!
Due to the weather, we held off to hike Delicate Arch on the final of our five days in the Moab area, and I’m sure glad we did and that Mother Nature was on our side for a change.