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Arches 3 October 2014

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After we got ourselves settled in Moab, we had time to pop over to nearby Arches National Park for a sunset drive. Arches is known for its monumental rock obilisks and standing stones. One might call it a "drive-through park" like Bryce. One drives into a convenient parking lot, parks, climbs out, walks a trail, and finds oneself surrounded by something large and extraordinary ... surrounded by many things immense and various. 


In the distance, beyond Moab, the Manti La Sal range presides over it all. 

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

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<p>Arches with the Manti La Sals beyond</p>

Arches with the Manti La Sals beyond

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<p>Main Street facade, Balanced Rock</p>

Main Street facade, Balanced Rock

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Tell me again, Why is this place called Arches?

There are many, many, of all imaginable forms, Delicate (and bound to fall soon), Landscape, Pine Tree are all I remembered, but there must be a hundred named Arches. 

Those tiny specks are the people and Yes, Virginia, that is the moon barely visible through the arch.

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Geologists speculate that to make an arch in sandstone like this, you need a stream or in any case seasonal water running under the rock. This suggests that this was once on the edge of the ocean, at the threaded mouth, perhaps, of a river bed when the sandstone was first solidifying. 

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<p>As the sun drops toward the horizon,...

As the sun drops toward the horizon, the light gets juicier and juicier.

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<p>Skyline Arch, Pine Tree Arch</p>

Skyline Arch, Pine Tree Arch

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Driving back across the park, the sun was sinking into the desert like a ship, and the light was bathing the monuments in luscious red light.


We finished our drive down the mountain in twilight, and as we drove into Moab, the lights were coming on, an island of civilization in the midst of a magnificent natural world. 

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