Before and After the Sunset

It just so happened – as it often does with these stories – that I couldn’t fit everything I wanted into one post last week. Or rather, I could, but by the time I got to the final element I didn’t want to anymore. There are some things that would simply be wasted if I were to jam them at the end of a post as a “by the way”.

Which is why today I’m starting off with the highlight of the previous day and moving on to another part of Arches National Park.

It turns out, to little surprise, that the Americans are quite fond of the divine, even if they’re not always unanimous as to the number of the deities. After visiting the Garden of the Gods in Colorado, we have now found ourselves in a sandy Garden of Eden just north of Moab, Utah. Ever wondered how to get to the Garden of Eden? Easy, just turn right at Balanced Rock, past Ham rock, and you’re there! 🙂

The sun had started to sink while we were still at Delicate Arch, so our heavenly walk was not as leisurely as you’d think. There are hills in Eden! And atop those hills, there are windows. Big windows:

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North Window

And what do windows go on?

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Turret Arch

OK, I know this is technically an arch, but you can’t tell me it doesn’t look at least a little bit like a house? Come on, use your imagination. Seeeee? Told ya 😉

I didn’t put these two together the way QT Luong has managed to, though:

After we had looked through all the windows, there was just one thing left for us to explore – Double Arch.

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Sun setting behind Double Arch

Doesn’t look like much, does it. Well, take another look:

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Find the tiny human (hint: he’s not in red and white)

This arch must have been the highlight of our day. Not only is it a double arch, which on its own makes it unique, but it is huuuuuge. Also, there were only a few people still in the area at that time of day.

I did not climb up to see the sunset through the window forming to the west (and maybe I regret that a little), but what I did do was sit down for a while and just… be. For a few minutes, I was my tiny lone self underneath this magnificent vault of warm sandstone, and it was the most serene experience of this trip so far.

It was also incredibly beautiful (see the post image at the top), and a professional photographer would have a field day with that light. Us, we did what we could.

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I don’t know what you’ve heard of the desert, but it’s a fact that as soon as the sun dipped behind that horizon the temperatures dropped with it. So we left the as the Windows were darkening behind us to come back the next day.

The next day we moved from an arch with a great view of the landscape to a great view of the Landscape Arch:

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How this survived so many years in this state, I’ll never know, but it was quite impressive.

But I have decided not to ponder much on the formation and durability of the arches and just admire the views and interesting shapes without the usual amount of research notes and curious trivia. I’ll only say this much – erosion can be fascinating! 🙂

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It was quite high and very windy on that rock, but I thought I needed a moment to look at where I’m coming from before I head into the Devil’s Garden. Yep, they’ve got a Devil’s garden too, just up the road from the one of Eden 😀

Follow me, if you dare! 😉

What you’re seeing ahead of me in the picture on the right are the so-called fins that form a good part of the Devil’s Garden and offer some interesting terrain to navigate. Also, some pretty spectacular views.

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Fin Canyon

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A path down from a fin

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Navajo Arch from “within”

Climbing up and down these rocks could prove to be a challenge if you’re not wearing proper shoes, so keep that in mind. The stone has a nice grip on its own, but being careful never hurts. In my case being careful involved more looking where I’m going and not gaping around at the view or into the brochure to read more about the view.

Enjoy the view, but with steep and narrow pathways like the one to the left here one should really be careful where they step.

Last hint about the arches – most of them were fins first 😉

Others were caves first. Like the Navajo Arch, which I just loved!

I am still tempted to call it a cave, and you can probably see why.

I can’t find the panoramic photo and, unfortunately, I couldn’t capture the whole arch (or entrance, as you don’t know it’s an arch until you pass under it) even with my back pressed against the rock.

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@ Navajo Arch

If you’re wondering why I didn’t take the picture from the outside – I did:

You can sort of see here which side of the cave fell through at some point creating this arch. I wonder if Navajo people really used to live in that cave at some point, but I rather doubt it.

It did look like a very nice spot – sort of secluded, not exactly on the main trail. I’d even say it was way more private than Private Arch, which was a small disappointment and I’m still not sure it warrants the detour.

It was a nice spot to have a quick lunch, though. Apparently most people either found it of little interest or just nipped ’round to take a peek and left straight away.

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Private Arch

So we had a bite, rested for a while by Private arch, and started on our way again, because, first of all, it was quite warm despite the cool wind; then again, you wouldn’t want to get stranded in the Devil’s Garden, now would you?

It was a long way back, especially after we took a detour to see the Dark Angel: rising lonely a good stretch away from the main Garden, a sentinel on the edge of the park.

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We had already spent a good few hours walking around, but we didn’t want to backtrack our steps, so we took the “primitive trail”. It really was quite primitive – walking along the dried-up bed of an unknown river, the head of the Devil’s Garden trail and our car seemed days away…

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View from the Primitive Trail

This guy, however pretty he was, P1060469was not the most encouraging sight either, hahaha.

The arrows made with pebbles in the sand of the riverbed were a nice touch, tough, and the most encouraging part was meeting a German family at 2/3 of the way back. They had started only half an hour or so ago and – in my opinion – the wrong way around as going down the tall rocks we had just passed just seemed like a much better option than having to climb them.

P1060482All in all, our spirits were high for most of the way back. Except maybe for that one moment of weakness Nikola had when he wished he was an arch himself. Or an egg, I’m not sure.

The important part is, he got over it and we got out of the Devil’s Garden successfully.

As I didn’t manage to include this one earlier on, I will mention one  last arch upon leaving the park: The Partition Arch. Not a great name, but there was a great view.

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And lastly, because I did promise sunsets, there is one last photo I’d like to add. This was all of Arches National Park from me. I’ll be back next week with a story from the border.

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Last sunset in Arches

xx, y.

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About Yoanna Novakova

Yoanna is a reader, writer, traveller, concert goer, hiker, drinker, thinker and, of late... a blogger. She's currently doing a lot of travel writing (obviously), but fiction, fantasy and life-writing all have a representative in her portfolio. A reader of varied tastes, she's even been called "strange" for enjoying Stephen King and Terry Pratchett alike. In her pre-teen years, she used to be the kid who'd re-read her favourite books over and over again. Now she knows life is just too short for that. Always reading more than one book at a time, always writing more than one project at a time, she is yet to find her perfect pace. But she's working on it!
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