Monday, December 14, 2015

Arches National Park

Arches National Park has been on my bucket list for years. Seeing those sunset-colored arches has been the cherry on top of a sweet 2015. You can take in the splendor of the park even if you don't have time for much hiking, but schedule some time for exploring if you can. Now that I've had a taste, I need more. I plan to return to Arches for more hiking as soon as Graham and I can.

Arches is outside of Moab, Utah, a cute town with tons of dining options. It's easy to incorporate Canyonlands and Newspaper Rock State Park into your Arches trip, too. The scenic drive starts at the visitor center, where you'll pay a $25 entrance fee per car. You can see the impressive rock formations as soon as you drive into the park. The park map shows points of interest and trails, along with information about the length and difficulty level of each hike. We were pressed for time so we only went on the shortest hikes. If you look to the north, you can spot the snow-capped La Sal Mountains. 

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah
 
Give yourself time to stop often to look out and reflect on the age of the rocks your are seeing. It made me feel small, much like my recent trip to the planetarium. You could easily fill your camera memory card with photos. I tried to force myself to put down the camera at times and really look around, although I almost had no choice but to only take mental photos. When we started our drive through the park, I asked Graham to stop so we could take a picture of us with the beauty of the land behind us. I carefully set up my tripod, changed my lens, and set the self-timer. The screen read the last message I wanted to read: I didn't have enough battery life to use the self-timer. I had forgotten to charge the battery the night before. After years of talking about Arches, I finally had made it, but my camera wouldn't work. I could have cried. Instead, we went back to the visitor center so I could plug my camera charger in for a while and get at least some of the pictures I wanted. Sorry, Graham, for throwing a mini tantrum! 

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah
Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

You can see many of the arches on the drive, but to see the more famous and large spans, you'll need to hike. You could do some yoga, too! I couldn't help myself.

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah
I'm sure Arches is beautiful year-round, but we liked that the park wasn't crowded in the late fall. Stay for sunset to capture amazing photos.

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah
And here it is: my favorite photo taken with my tripod.

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah
Graham and I checked out the campgrounds, too, and I definitely want to return. (We won't be taking Taylor and Capone, though, because most of the park is off-limits to dogs.) I can only imagine what it's like to wake up, climb out of the tent and see the morning light illuminating the rock formations. Sounds like a dream!

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