#16 Arches National Park, UT
This section of the journey is very personal. We took Anna on this very trip when she was 5 years old. She had such a great time! For us, it is bittersweet to relive this exact trip. We see her happy smile wherever we look...and we grieve.
We were joined at Arches by many friends who love us and love Anna. We all share in the joy she brought to our world and the great loss of that light being taken from our world. I will be integrating pictures of the present and the past into these blogs.
Fred & Davis Benedict Thanks Cindy Lovelace for the zebra ears!
L to R, me, Davis Benedict, Debbie & Eric Klotz, Fred, Nancy & Joel Brown, Gaylene & Don Bruskotter
Arches is one of the truly special places in this country. Everywhere you turn is another jaw-dropping, gorgeous view. I don't think there is a bad view anywhere in the park. But what else would you expect in a park that has over 2,000 arches. That was not a typo...over 2,000!
We started our hike at Balancing Rock.
Utah Juniper Rock Formation
Brave girl! September, 2001
We hiked around this area and then it was off to The Parade of Elephants, North & South Windows, & Double Arch.
It doesn't take too much imagination to understand why this group of rocks is called The Parade of Elephants.
The North and South Window Arches are massive. It's difficult to wrap your brain around how big they really are.
Those are people standing in the arch!
Then it was off to Double Arch over by the Parade of Elephants. Double Arch is stunning! Anna's presence was very strong in the rock cathedral made by the double arch formation. Others in the group felt it too. Davis climbed up into the west side of the double arch and said it felt like the Window to Heaven. Maybe the veil isn't as impermeable as we think, maybe she was right there with us. It sure felt that way.
The walk up to Double Arch
Davis sitting in "The Window to Heaven"
View from up in the Double Arch
Have I piqued your curiosity for today's geology lesson? If not, just skip to the final paragraph and pictures.
The rock in this area has been dated back as far as 320 million years. Most of the rock is petrified sandstone called Slick Rock, which used to be rolling sand dunes.
Imagine this: Underneath Arches National Park is a giant salt bed. This was formed when the Colorado Plateau was a big sea bed. The sea evaporated leaving the salt bed which was more than 1 mile deep in places. If the water is gone that leaves a lot of blowing dirt and debris to gather on top of the salt. The dirt and debris became compressed into rock, which weighs a lot, especially since some of this compressed rock was over a mile deep. Salt beds can't handle that much weight and become very unstable. When the salt bed began to shift and buckle, it pushed the rock layers up into domes. Faults & erosion caused "fins" to appear. Chunks of rocks would flake off the fins and voila...arches! I like this illustration in the Park brochure that shows how the fins became arches. The arches and rock formations that we see today are mostly made of Entrada & Navajo Sandstone. Go see this incredible park! You won't be sorry.
Just outside the park is a giant cliff near the river. Out of the base of this cliff is a spring. It's been producing yummy water for travelers for centuries. Anna was thrilled by the idea that you could get water out of a wall of rock! Couldn't help myself, had to get a picture of Fred and Davis, 17 years later, getting water from the rock too.
happy little cherub