Wednesday, 11 July 2012

arches, no not McD

There's been a heatwave in the US in the last couple of weeks.  There are some who are enjoying the sun... (Tea took this photo on one of our walks)

Others need a little cooling off...

For this last leg of the US, we are at Arches National Park.  Obviously it is so called because there are more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches at this park, more than anywhere else in the world.  Not so long ago, like perhaps 150 million years ago, soft red sandstone deposited at Arhces formed large domes.  A few million years later, groundwater dissolved the underlaying salt deposits which caused the sandstone to collapse and form vertical rock walls or slabs we now term 'fins'.  Water, that untamable force, together with wind and erosion and gravity, wore through the fins creating 'arches' or 'windows'. 

Shaped a bit like Penang, don't you think?

Moments of reflections during hike breaks.

An open window to the sky.

The window at the top of the stairs.

The desert is alive.  Its mostly unseen inhabitants include bighorn sheep, coyotes, jackrabbits, kangaroo rats, lizards and mountains lions.  There's also the soil which is biological soil crust, retaining moisture and keeping the desert alive.

This cabin was lived in for almost ten years by a disabled civil war veteran and his son in the late 1800s, farming cattle.

Amongst the landscape of soaring pinnacles and giant rocks are formations which often resemble animal shapes.  This one is Sheep Rock.

Balanced Rock ... I could imagine this setting for a Dr Seuss story.  The precarious rock is the size of three school buses.

The long strenuous uphill trek to get to Delicate Arch, probably the most famous arch in the US.

Delicate Arch is the unofficial symbol of Utah and is a towering height of 20 meters.  Its on the edge of a cliff.  Well worth the hike.

It probably is the most photographed arch in the world too.

Tea prefers to keep track of other formations... papa's beard!

And then there's the return hike back to the car...

Sunset view from our campground Devils Garden.

Landscape Arch is the largest at Arches; it is longer than a football field.  In 1991, visitors resting underneath heard a crack and seconds later, part of it collapsed.  New arches are constantly forming (called baby arches) while others are slowly eroding and giving in to gravity and erosion.  It is an ever-changing landscape.

Here are some of the impressive arches we saw.

We are off to Canada, where we will see JB's brother and his family.  The girls will meet their cousins practically for the first time, and are very excited.  We pack up our walking shoes for now... thanks for following us on our trip!

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