See them in the whispering light of a gently warm sunrise, or the blaze of a fiery sunset: the spectacular configurations of Arches and Canyonlands National Park conjure up a sense of the incredible, and the enchanted. The particulars of plants, animals, and traces of human presence pale in the desolate, overwhelming splendour of gigantic and impossibly sculpted rock formations. Sandstone archways, gorges, spires, domes, crags, conspicuously isolated hills and plateaus tease and fire our minds, stimulate reflection, and virtually beg for protection.
Delicate Arch is a secluded reminder of a long-gone geological epoch. It soars above the edge of a canyon, and stands framed against the stunning background of the La Sal range of mountains on one side, and against the deep blue sky on the other. It has become an iconic sign of the park as well as the close-by town of Moab. In fact, it has become a symbol of the entire Canyon country, and the state of Utah. Towering spires, pinnacles, and massive rocks precariously balanced on the brink of incredibly inadequate foundations, compete with the arches as stunning displays of nature’s idiosyncrasies.
Don Alney is a freelance travel writer and photographer, seeking the ‘forever moment.’ Email don d at vsnl.com.