What’s in a Name?

Arch, bridge, window, hoodoo, spire, tower, fin……these are all names given to sandstone rock features.  I sure have been spending my fair share of time among some of these amazing, wind created rock formations.

Sand Dune Arch

Sand Dune Arch

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock

From the Colorado National Monument to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, I’m awed by the shear beauty created by Mother Nature….. I might even say “awed by Mother Natures wrath” after the repeated sandblasting I received.  While enduring short hikes in whipping wind conditions in Arches and Canyonlands, I’m sure I’ve ingested my daily allowance for minerals….at least that’s what the grit in my mouth is telling me.  And don’t even get me started on all the other places I’ve detected sand 😉

So what’s in a name?  To qualify as a stone “arch”, a hole must have an opening at least three feet (1m) long in any one direction and is created by wind.  It doesn’t matter if it’s width or length.  Some arches are small and some are HUGE!

Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch….visitors are no longer allowed to stand beneath this spanning Arch. It could collapse at any time or not for the next 50 years…no one knows!

A natural bridge is formed by running water and spans either a present or former waterway.  Arches National Park has very few natural bridges as the majority of arches are formed by wind and not water.  Natural Bridges National Monument in southern Utah is loaded with natural bridges…..evidenced by the name 😉

Double O Arch

Double O Arch

Then of course there are the names given to some of these unique rocks.

Three Gossips

Three Gossips

Double Arch

Double Arch – look close…there are 2 arches.  Can you see the people in the bottom of the photo?  Gives scale as to how huge some of these arches are.

Fiery Furnace

Fins and spires of Fiery Furnace

However, sometimes the most entertaining aspect of exploring this area can be the shapes themselves…. do I see a face or thing?  Hey, doesn’t that look like…….

FYI:  We are currently staying at the Pueblo El Mirage RV Park & Resort in Phoenix AZ until the end of December.  I am experiencing some of the worst internet connectivity on our journey to date.  Sometimes I can’t even respond to emails….grrrh.  Please know that I am still reading your posts but may not be able to comment or even hit ‘like’.  Trips to McDonalds or Starbucks may be in my future 😉  Oh, and if you’re in the area, do stop by and say hi!

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Exfoliation, natures way!

Al and I are off to a slow start this morning. Last night’s rain and wind made for a rather restless night. Although neither one of us slept well, I’m on a mission today. I pack us a picnic lunch, don the hiking boots and it’s off to Arches National Park for a day of hiking and sightseeing.

Delicate Arch

Hum….where have I seen Delicate Arch before? Looks so familiar.  Oh yah, Utah license plate!

I have a hike to a famous, well-known Arch all picked out for today’s adventure. It’s a three-mile round trip hike. Not too difficult but we’re told to plan 2 hours. I can’t wait. Arches National Park is truly unique and a one of a kind place.

Moab Utah

Delicate Arch as seen from the scenic overlook – opposite direction as featured on the Utah license plates.  So I guess you could say, my photo is backwards 😉

Last night’s winds have not let up, but I refuse to allow the wind to curtail my plans. Hubby, the practical one among us, recommends a few scenic stops before setting out on that hike. You know, to test out the weather first. Well, he didn’t have to recommend we stop along the way more than once, as I was eager to snap away at this amazing scenery.Moab Utah

Moab UtahAfter a couple of stops and battles with the wind, we arrive at the “Delicate Arch” scenic overlook. From this vantage point we see the famous Arch in the distance perched on a large sandstone rock other wise known as slick rock. We can’t hike to the Arch from this point as a rather huge canyon separates the overlook from the Arch.  The trailhead leading to this iconic Arch is up the road a short distance, allowing hikers to wander near and under this towering Arch.

Delicate Arch

Al, seen in the center with the burgundy colored shirt, waits patiently for me at the scenic overlook, while I hike around on slick rock photographing Delicate Arch

It’s a half a mile uphill to the top of this scenic overlook. The wind is whipping. I continue past the end of the trail hiking out on the slick rock in pursuit of the perfect shot of Delicate Arch. I’m being sandblasted by the ever-present red sand while hiking on sandstone. This isn’t the kind of skin exfoliation method one hopes for. This is anything but Spa like.  The sand whipping around is almost uncomfortable on my bare legs.  I should have worn pants.  Thank goodness I just so happen to have a pair in the vehicle.

Delicate Arch

Me climbing around in search of the best shot of Delicate Arch seen in the distance

Moab Utah

Scenic point – Delicate Arch in background

Al and I quickly return to the vehicle. We are duly impressed with our speed and agility as we traverse the trail downhill all in an attempt to seek shelter from the driving winds. I work to remove grit from my eyes before driving off.   As we sit in the vehicle enjoying a short reprieve from the blasting winds, Al in a rather chiding tone of voice asks, “So are we still going on that 2 hour hike?” Head slung and in a defeated tone, I respond, “No. Not today”. The wind wins!Moab UtahBut just because we don’t do the hike to Delicate Arch does not mean the day is ruined. Plan B; take in some other sites. We opt for short hikes with breaks from the wind back in the vehicle.

Moab Utah

Dramatic skies as weather rolls in

Arches

Arches National Park, Utah

The La Sal Mountains in the distance are getting hit with weather ….probably snow. The weather front adds drama to an already dramatic landscape.

La Sal Mountains

The La Sal Mountains in the distance receive a fresh dusting of snow

The winds do settle as the day progresses, but not without leaving in its wake some cool temperatures and a fresh coating of snow on the La Sal Mountains. Snow? Yikes! The thought of snow has us in the mood to move south. Arizona here we come!Moab Utah

Moab Utah

I may not have made it to Delicate Arch but I did make it to Windows. That’s lil’ole me standing under North Window Arch

The above event took place last week.  We are currently in transit on our way to Phoenix, Arizona.  Our short visit to the Moab area was indeed too short.  That said, I do believe a revisit is in order next Spring.  I know…. it’s a tough job, but I’m up for the challenge!