Where nature is the architect
There are thousands of beautiful places on earth, with landscapes painted in variety of tones, places that in your mind you would consider as ideal. They can have multiple forms, different smells, sounds and colours. Some of us would prefer a cabin on the shore of a lake in spruce and fir country, for others with less demanding sensibility, the world to be seen from an apartment high in the tender and velvety smog of New York, Dubai or Tokyo. There is no limit for human sentiment for an ideal place.
Archers National Park is located in the wilderness of Utah, dead centre in the Colorado plateau, and might not sound as an ideal place, but this park is a wonderland of rock formations that will stagger your imagination.
Arches National Park is not big park, its boundaries are not very large, but its horizons are tremendous, extending far beyond the park boundaries. In Arches your eyes and imagination will stretch while trying to take the vastness of the landscape.
(Garden of Eden)
In this wilderness, you will find the most extended collection of natural arches on earth. Shaped and carved by erosion over thousands of years. They rise into the vast desert sky, looking like the ruins of a lost civilization of giants that once walked on this planet.
(Landscape arch) - 88 m across
It is said that there are more than 2000 arches in this region. Yet, each one differs in size and form, and they are ever, ever changing. Through an endless process of erosion, winds and water, give them shape, chiselling and cherishing them, but slowly and unwearyingly, one day will destroy them. Until then, the shapes of these arches will challenge the imagination of most creative architects and structure engineers. Some are magnificent, massive in size, others graceful and fragile.
(The spectacles or windows - West view)
(North window - East view)
(South window - East view)
What makes Arches a unique place is the type of rock that can be found in this region. Most of what you can see is sandstone, a porous rock, where water can trickle through and slowly, dissolve it over time. In addition, Arches has the right amount of rain, because if it would rain too much, the arches and the rock formations would dissolve.
(Pine tree arch)
(Sand dune arch)
Not all in this park are archers. In this harsh land, erosion is constantly at work, carving the landscape in unique forms. Men imagination, when looking at something that does not have a clear shape and form, tends to look for resemblances with the silhouettes impressed in our brains, maybe for this reason, all these gigantic rock formations seem to have a fancy name.
(Tower of Babel)
(Balanced rock - stands a staggering 39 m tall)
(The organ and behind the tower of Babel)
(The turret - on the ground the light coming through the north window)
In one of the far ends of the park, there is an arch that works as a magnet to hikers, families, photographers, and others alike. Its name symbolizes its appearance. A play with clay sort of arch, that seems too fragile to stand, yet it has probably been there for more time than mankind. Delicate Arch is the unforgettable memory, that every visitor will recall when talking or remembering this magnificent place.
Delicate Arch is the icon, a landmark, the treasure and emblem of Arches National Park, seen everywhere in the Utah state, including in automobile license plates.
Visiting Arches reminded me that we live in a living planet. Many generations before me, and many generations after me, will visit this incredible place and hopefully appreciate what it has to offer. However, when looking way back, hundreds of thousand years ago, these rocks were not even exposed, hundreds of thousands years into the future, they will no longer exist. Today we have the privilege to appreciate and enjoy these natural sculptures; this is what makes Arches so special.
(Parade of Elephants)
(Parade of Elephants)
Visiting Arches can be an incredible experience if you do not rush through the park. Slow yourself down. Try stepping away from a trail, look for a comfortable place and sit down. Try to step out from the human time scale, into a rock time scale and soak it in, what it means to be hundreds of millions of years in the making. If you do so, you might uncover an all-new level of meaning in this place.