Arches National Park and Natural Bridges National Monument are in close proximity, both near Moab, Utah, which, according to the ranger at Arches has been “discovered” as a destination. Driving through Moab we noticed no fewer than a dozen different adventure and sports related businesses for mountain biking and river rafting and hiking. It also had a resort area feel – with scads of little shops and eateries.
All this resort style activity meant that, for the first time on our journey, we encountered throngs of people at a National Park.
This is not to say – “don’t come here” or anything like that. It is a wonder worth seeing. Just get an early start on the day (we didn’t) and beat the crowds – or travel here way off season. There are folks of all ages, and of all nations… (some by the busloads). Particularly well represented were the Aussies, the French, and Japanese. It’s easy to see who has plenty of vacation time and disposable income.
We rented a park CD again for the drive around the park– it is a really good idea and well worth the $5 rental fee, as the CD provides so much background on natural history and geology. The interpretive signs do a great job as well. Here is the general geology overview for arch formation:
Here were a few of the more notable sights in this park… see if you can spot Ric in the picture of Double Arch. Hint: these things are huge!
We had lunch underneath this excellent example of what happens to the Arches over time – and why they will all become piles of rubble someday:
We didn’t do as much hiking here as at Natural Bridges – just some short treks to get to vistas. Nevertheless we were weary by the end of the day and had developed a considerable thirst – one best quenched with a good brew. So we headed on in to Moab and found the Sports Bar and enjoyed some local beer – a Porter named “Polygamy”. We pronounced it poly-gam-y and the bartender laughed. Then we remembered where we were. Ooops.
One final note: Moab also has a little gem of a radio station named KZMU (FM 90.1). It is an amazing feat of volunteer DJs with block programming and a kick-ass signal that we enjoyed for a long way to the Colorado border.