I loved this National Park...everything about it was amazing. I arrived around three o'clock after the beautiful, beautiful drive from Colorado and pitched my tent. There was only one other person when I arrived so I got the most incredible site.
The drive from Colorado was one of the best yet. I took scenic Route Six out of Boulder which offered me plenty of views of big horned sheep and more elk. I have seen so much wildlife on this trip that I've never seen before - last on my list is a Buffalo - I'm hoping I see one from the Zephyr. The drive also took me over the continental divide, through a snowstorm and through surreal red rock scenery. Anyone making this drive should take Route 6 and go through Grand Junction, Colorado.
The first thing I did when I got to Arches was to scout out a good hike for sunset. I set out to find Landscape Arch the longest known arch at two hundred and ninety feet and ended up going further than I expected. At one point I was happy to have my In Case of Emergency card in my back pocket. Red Rock is really easy to climb, not as easy to get down.
That middle section that looks like an accordion is where I had my bit of panic. Usually it wouldn't have been a big deal but it was after sunset, and I was the only one on the trail...so there. The next day I hiked out to Delicate Arch. I am pretty much on a sun schedule during this trip. I get up for the sunrise, watch the sunset, and then go to bed. There is a lot of hiking, eating and fire building in between those steps. Anyway, I hiked out to Delicate Arch and was happy to find myself all alone with my thoughts. I sat for a good thirty minutes before a group of people came up. While I had found a rock outcropping to sit on they were walking all around the bowl the arch is set upon and taking photos under the arch. It's a somewhat steep incline and because my issue on the hike last night I felt perfectly content to just sit and stare at this beautiful formation. After about an hour total of sitting, staring and loving, I hiked back down to find my next destination. I had been in my car for about five minutes when I started wondering why I didn't stand under the arch. If someone asks me "Did you stand under it!?" I'd have to say no, and I'd have to say it was because I was scared. I don't ever want to say I didn't do something because I was scared. I never want to have to say " I wish I had done such and such." So I hiked my butt back up to Delicate Arch and had my damn picture taken under it (and it was no where near scary).
I spent another hour with the arch and realized that it holds the answer to every painting I've ever had trouble with (all of them). Everything I could ask of a painting is embodied in this natural formation. Really. Spending time with Delicate Arch has been one of the highlights of this trip.
I have taken nine hundred photos so far on this trip. Some of them are for blogging, some are to show my parents, some are to frame for myself and others are inspiration for paintings. I've been obsessed with cairns and have enjoyed photographing them for inspiration when I get home. Sometimes though I need to remind myself to put my camera away and just enjoy the scenery and the hike and soak everything in. The alone time I am able to have on this trip is really helping me shape my own thoughts and goals - and being surrounded by some of the most beautiful things in this country, and seeing some of the ugly, really puts things in perspective.
I love ending the evening writing in my journal by a fire.