After consuming amazingness from Buds in Salt Lake City, our next stop was Moab, UT for a much needed visit to Arches National Park. We try to visit Moab once a year, since it’s ridiculously beautiful & has felt like a second home to us since our first visit together back in 2009. Driving down from SLC to Moab seemed faster than prior trips. Maybe it’s because of highway upgrades, maybe it’s because the route seems second nature… or maybe it’s because we just wanted to get there fast. Watching the landscape morph before us is always a joy to watch. The beiges grow more orange and eventually deepen into a gorgeous red. When we see the terrain change we know that Moab is just a bit further down the highway. Driving down the stretch of road that turns slightly left, along the train tracks we see Arches National Park on our left. Huge smiles creep across our faces as excitement builds up.
Buying our park entrance & guide book, we drive up the familiar road along the rocky outcroppings that jut out of the barren terrain. No longer needing to reference the guide book, we name off the formations like seasoned park rangers. Everything is vivid, bright… alive… and yet prehistoric at the same time. I take a handful of photos as Devon drives down into the Windows Section of the park, we’re looking for one arch in particular, the arch we always stop at first.
Double Arch presents itself majestically before your eyes. The third largest arch in the park, it stands out as the only conjoined arch. We circle the area & find parking near the arch. Having seen a handful of people in the arch we walk up to the restroom & take in the beauty of the park around us. Walking back down the path toward Double Arch we see that the crowd is thinning out. Slowly walking up the trail, we take a few pictures of the surrounding area, the cacti, twisted Junipers, some burnt from lightning strikes, each one speaks to us differently. Noticing that there are even less people around, we start walking a bit faster along the trail. We stop & take a few pictures of Double Arch, standing there tall, striking a picture perfect pose every time. She has no bad angle.
Just before we walk up into the arch Devon notes that we might be lucky to have it all to ourselves. The last two people walking past us, back down the trail toward the parking spots. It’s raining lightly so once we hit the slick rock, the red rock dust covering every surface makes it difficult for our flip flops to take hold. We decide its best to go barefoot. Climbing up into the lower arch (it’s impossible to reach the upper arch as it’s a pothole arch) we take seats on either end & enjoy the 360 degree view. It took Devon all of a few seconds before she pointed out that we were the only ones in the arch. In all of the times we’ve visited, this has never happened. We sit there and enjoy something that has never happened for us… the quiet. Both of us not wanting to jinx it by talking about it, we sit silently, taking in all the energy the arch has to offer us. When we finally do speak, we’re both whispering. It starts to rain a bit more & a few people start down the path toward the arch. That’s it for our solo time, for sure. Maybe it was the rain, but they stop and take photos from a distance. Never walking more than 10 feet down the path.
Taking photos inside the arch, we manage to capture the beauty of the park & some decent photos of ourselves enjoying it. Another group of people start to make their way down the trail toward the arch. We’re certain our time is up. There’s an unwritten rule in national parks, don’t monopolize the attractions. There’s one specific to Arches: don’t Bogart the Arch. Figuring our alone time had passed, we watched in amazement as this group stopped at the base of the arch, took a bunch of photos then turned & started back down the trail. The odds of this are astronomical. Now certain that the universe, the desert or the arch itself is trying to tell us something, we quietly enjoy the time afforded to us. A third group of people, this time, roughly numbering ten start down the trail. We say our goodbyes to the arch & thank it for energy and time, all told, a staggering 30 uninterrupted minutes then start to make our way back out of the lower arch and on down to the trail.
Arches National Park receives over one million visitors annually, the odds of not having another random human being in any of your pictures while there are impossible to calculate. We both feel unbelievably fortunate to have such a solid chunk of time to ourselves in our favourite arch. We arrived at the right moment, with the weather lending us a hand too. The stars were all aligned on that one. We came away from Arches with some great photos & a wonderful opportunity to truly take in the magic. Climbing back into our car we make the slow drive back out of Arches, onto the highway & eventually down to our campsite for the night.
Thank you universe, thank you desert & thank you Double Arch.
See you soon, my friend.