Sunday, May 2, 2010

Don't be lazy! Turret Arch, Double Arch, the North and South Widows are all visible from a paved parking lot in Arches National Park. Many visitors take advantage of this, taking their pictures only a few yards from the start of the trail, just enough to hide the fact that they're standing next to the sign-post announcing the beginning of the trail. People generally don't enjoy long car rides but wide open national parks seem to make them crave the confines of an automobile, I even saw one family photograph this entire area drive-by style except they didn't roll down their windows to shoot.

What that family did miss was this little tree, half dead, growing in a mud pit below the grand turret arch, but somehow even more impressive than the arch itself. It seems like such a perfect place for a little tree to grow that I can only imagine that this spot has been occupied by a long line of trees for as long as this arch has been in existence. So while the family on wheels was probably already rolling past balanced rock I was slipping down rocky slopes and landing in muddy potholes, climbing up to get a better view and running across narrow passes trying not to fall 30 feet to the ground below.

In the book Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey laments the attempts by the Government to make Arches more accessible with paved roads to every attraction. Well, even those roads failed, they'll have to pave the trails and rent out ATVs if they really want to force those ungrateful to see the outdoors.

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