I really, really love Utah. That’s probably not a cool thing to say. People love to love cool places like New York or California but not Utah. Well whatever. I love Utah, so to say I was excited to be heading back to southern Utah/northern Arizona is probably an understatement. I saw all the big names in the area when I was there five years ago with my good friend Kate so I knew what to expect. Plus I was excited to show one of my favourite places in the world to someone I love (ew, gross).
Moab is the closest town to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park and after a few wrong turns exiting the freeway we made there and it to our campsite. The next morning we rallied kind of early to hit Arches before the heat.
Arches is best known for Delicate Arch, the large rock feature that takes pride of place on Utah license plates, but the whole park is spectacular, including the drive in:
Apparently the park is home to over 2,000 natural arches. Do one thing and do it well I say, and Arches clearly nails it. We stopped by to check out Balancing Rock:
And visited plenty of other arches too.
After getting almost arched out we left the park to return later that evening for a hike.
With hiking boots strapped on we headed up the 2.5km trail to Delicate Arch with hundreds of our closest friends.
Up this path:
Around this bend:
It was heartening to see people from all over the world form an orderly line to have their photo taken under the mighty arch. It was less heartening to see some people cut the line and then pretend they hadn’t seen it. But it was downright disheartening when the sun came out and people started yelling and screaming at those who had waited patiently for their turn under the arch to get out of the way so they could take a million photos. Serious angry mob behaviour.
Some people turn into total jerks upon entering National Parks, stopping their cars anywhere, feeding the wildlife, walking on delicate ground. It irritates me to no end.
Anyway. Sitting near Delicate Arch made for excellent people watching. One guy even proposed to his girlfriend underneath the monolith. I’m not sure how I feel about public proposals, you?
We had our turn:
Still a complete failure at GoPro selfies:
The next day it was on to Canyonlands. It looks very Wild West.
I can see John Wayne here.
Like Arches, Canyonlands has a famous arch. One that you might recognise as a Windows screen saver.
Know the one?
Just as we left Mesa Arch a huge rain storm rolled in. So we jumped in the car (cursing ourselves for having not yet replaced the windscreen wiper blades) and went to one last view point:
An excellent start to the Utah/Arizona onslaught. Still to come: Monument Valley, Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon. Phew!