Saturday, May 2, 2009

Arches and Chopsticks

Informational brochures state that there are over 2000 arches in Arches NP.

But I still am caught up in the formations with rocks that seem to defy gravity as they stand watching over the Park visitors staring up at them.

Equally intriguing are these fins--the long, narrow walls of sandstone that stand in groups or alone in silence.

But on to the arches.

Soon after entering Arches NP, we turned onto the road leading to the Windows Section of the Park. The trail leading to the Windows is wide and consists of steps framed in wood. The North Window is the first stop on a half-mile round trip hike.

I don't know if it is my physical condition or the fact that we're walking up stairs, but the hike at an altitude of 5000+ feet seemed strenuous. I think that walking up stairs requires more work than walking up a hill without steps.

I am always looking up at the arches wondering if they're on the verge of collapse. The crack on the North Window arch left me wondering how this piece is still attached.

A short hike brought us to the South Window, which is 65 feet high and 130 feet long, roughly the same dimensions as the North Window.

Directly opposite these two windows is the Turret Arch. Trails take visitors to the arches, then people will climb over the rock floor to see the arches from different angles.

I liked the tree growing out of the small space at the base of the Turret Arch.

Returning from the hike to Turret Arch, we headed to the picnic area at the end of the road into the Park.

Hoping that I wasn't intruding on the Asian party of picnickers, I snapped this photo. Several coolers contained the food items for this party of 15, and judging from the sights and smells, the food was varied and delicious.

No grilling, but a picnic fit for chopsticks.

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