Moab’s a strip mall of tourist traps, a confused merge of hippies, climbers and folks that wear teeshirts to prove thve been there. But if you drive north on the 191, on the mountain desert towns back door step is a perculiar place. A large cliff hangs like a veil, the holy grail a twenty dollar passing fee, a collective of drivers amnesty out to see the arches passes, they’ve managed to turn a dried up ocean of rock formation to a natural wonders drive through. A couple more years Ill collect my map and a ranger will ask “would you like fries with that?!”.
300 million years ago when homosapians rolled dice with aliens. Colorado was beach front realeastate, sea to summit, kick your feet up lifestyle property. Joseph Smiths tablets hadnt been scrawled and his stomping ground schooled fishes. Utah an un-recognisable underwater oasis. They say it took millions of years but eventually the sun evaporated the ocean unveiling a miles’ high worth of salt deposits. The conspiracist in me opts for the solar flare option, an ultra light beam that Kanye West never saw coming. Alas the flats were waterless, and time bent them even more out of shape, whistling winds, coloradan snow melts and unfortunate faultlines carved the many arches the park now boasts.
As iterated the park is more of a drive thru than a vast land of exploration. A single road in and out with a number of pull-ins to get your feet coated in red sand. Collect a map and cross arches off parchments and dont forget to visit the gift shop. I tease this side of tourism like Im a casual observer, like the parks ive visited makes me an exception to the rule. But humility has its clutches and makes crutches of us all. Were all foreigners in these strange lands, whether we kick the seat back to sleep 200 nights on the road or unfold deck chairs, next to our winabago and say hey-ho from under the visors of our headless hats. Humility! And in all honesty, I rather enjoyed Arches breezy layout, lets toast to a few feats I enjoyed.
An early morning stroll, clutching my otterbox tumbler full with 20oz of hot black juice, the Jenga recloose, stuck out like a moose in Manhatten. Towers rise to the skyline, a tumble waiting to happen, as the complex geometries un-ravel as the sun gives definitive angles too the beholder. No two men must have witnessed this path a-like. My mathematical brain, drives me radically insane, as I miss a step or two, with my eyes transfixed on toppling towers of time.
Delicate Arch – 5km / 3.1mi
Ive come to appreciate maps, running my finger along paths and calculating topographical lines running circles in my mind. So when a ranger handed me a spare I thought Id start collecting, another hobby of mine. Ive digressed, but flicking back on my notes this piece of information seemed of great importance, caffeine levels pinging this morning and insightful revelations rhetorically resonating. Treading on Navaho rock, high fives too the passing flocks, smiles beaming as they’ve witnessed Utahs finest. An arch of grandiose and not a snippet but the full dose! What can only be described as Goliath standing, cut down at the waist from Davids razor stones, all that remains are his cargo trousers. The highest arch, stretching towards the heavens, luminescence flows as angels descend. I imagine a teleportation transcendence, if only I was to conjure up a alchemists elixir and pass the through the holy gates, instead I snap a picture next to the flurry of other snip snappers.
Satanic beasts toast goblets at botanic feasts, the spirit of David Bowie goblin king, can be felt under the arches. This labyrinth of timeless sandy trails, unveils giant thrones, carved from stones and pillars of weather endured relics. But this quest wasnt endured alone, surrounded in thunderous clashing clouds, Ryan and Joe added to the caffeinated flow. We slipped on big rocks, no tick tock, just ticked off slam poets with rainbow flag agendas. We played like kin-hearted kindergarteners, new friends, carving like gardeners, with the skies swirling above like Faulkor the luckdragon, children of the 90s play as the never ending story unfolds. What began as desolate surrounding mountain ranges, cleared and unveiled a white tipped mantle of snow.
As the sun lay rest, in its bed in the west. Coyotes begin to yip in the faint moonlight. We rolled into camp and watched wood kindle alight, flipping burgers with our new pals. We all agree there is no greater feeling than a primitive one. Friendships, the warmth of the flame, the prolonged cook time and the laughs along the way. With sticky fingers, settled stomachs and smiles brighter than the now smouldering ashes, I feel life’s s completeness colour between complicated lines, there I go thinking in mathematics again, and then as sleep overrides ecstatics, I fade to black.