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Journeys Through America is a nonprofit organization providing educational material for all school-aged children across the country. The program will form partnerships with local school districts to provide children with a new, interactive, educational experience integrating the history of America and its National Parks. Journeys Through America's goal is to foster a fun and adventurous learning environment that will promote altruistic growth within our children and our greater community.

Moab Pt. II: Arches National Park

By Nov 3rd 2010 No Comments »

Our visit to Moab, Arches and Canyonlands was influenced by one huge factor – we were in our last week of travels and sickness had finally trumped Karianne, and slowly but surely, I was starting to get sick too.  While we were lucky enough to be in good health throughout the majority of our trip, long days, inconsistent sleeping schedules and constant physical exertion were bound to take their tolls on our bodies, and they finally had.

While we were still able to visit and spend time at both parks, one thing I wish had been different was that we just weren’t able to do much hiking at all – at least not beyond 1 mile, which was our cap. In fact, the same was true for Capitol Reef, and looking back at it now, our last hike was in the Narrows at Zion – albeit a great way to end our hiking regimen of the trip, I wish I had known it was probably going to be our last.

But if there’s anything I took note of while in Utah, it’s that the hiking there is amazing and there is just so much to offer any visitor.  Southern Utah is home to some of the most renowned hiking trails – the beauty is seemingly unparalleled – and I look forward to going back and being able to really explore the area on foot.

Anyways, our second day in Moab was spent at Arches.  We drove from end to end, stopping at all the major scenic attractions and overlooks.  Arches NP is well-known for it’s, well, arches.  The unique rock formations are found all over southern Utah and the tremendously popular Delicate Arch can even be seen on the Utah license plate.  The park preserves over 75,000 acres of land and is home to over 2,000 remarkable sandstone arches.  Like many parks however, Arches is experiencing the natural downsizing of their unique features – like Glacier NP is slowly losing their glaciers to the effects of nature, Arches NP has seen over 40 arches collapse since 1970 to the powerful influence of mother nature. Since I’m no scientist, trying to explain and paraphrase how the arches, spires and unique rock formations came to be on this land would be impossible – all I know is that they are there and they are quite wonderful to see.

The most impressive of the arches that we were able to see was Landscape Arch.  Landscape Arch is found in the Devil’s Garden area of the park and spans approximately 290 feet.  Unfortunately, Landscape Arch is becoming victim to mother nature and since 1991, has lost 3 large sandstone slabs from its thinnest section – making most question how much longer Landscape Arch will be able to withstand the forces of erosion.  After seeing the arch and reading about the unfortunate incidences of what has occurred, I felt quite lucky to have been standing there in that moment – looking at what could quite possibly be the longest natural arch in the world – knowing very well that it may be gone the next time I visit Arches National Park.  It’s moments like those that I found I had the most appreciation for.

Overall I thought Arches was very impressive – and I’m not sure if anyone would leave the park feeling differently.  It’s so amazing how unique land formations seem to pop up all in the same spot – it’s as if the world was created for the sole purpose of establishing National Parks.

Despite limiting our activities to those things only accessible by car, I still felt as though I saw a huge portion of the park.  But, it will never cease to amaze me that after seeing a day full of arches, there are still hundreds and hundreds more for those willing to explore a little deeper.  I think that Arches National Park is a great example of what you will be rewarded with once you stray beyond the designated paths travelled by so many tourists.

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