Day Five ~ Arches
Moab Travel Blog› entry 8 of 20 › view all entries
After our late evening ride through Arches the day before, we knew a little about the Park and what we wanted to see. We decided to try and get a rather early start, so we ate a light breakfast and checked out of our motel. There was much to experience before we left Moab, and we were anxious to get started.
Arches occupies only a tiny corner, 119 square miles, of the vast Colorado Plateau. But within this relatively small National Park there are over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, some of the most beautiful nature wonders in the entire world. Unfortunately, we were limited to viewing only the formations that were closest to the road.
The road inside the Park has a nice and easy grade, it is well maintained and offers plenty of pull-outs. At every stop we noticed signs beside the trails that warned hikers to Stay on Marked Trails Only. We learned that the barren landscape was actually very much alive. The soil crust consists of lichens, algae, mosses, and microfungi and it is of great ecological importance. In this harsh desert environment, the sparse vegetation needs all the help it can get. If hikers carelessly break a well developed patch of soil crust, it can take up to 250 years for the disturbed area to again become fully functional.
We stopped and pondered over Balanced Rock and wondered just how much longer it would be able to maintain this position. Each and every rock formation within the Park boundaries are in danger of collapsing or breaking at any given minute. Of course, the entire thing wouldn't just fall over, but small pieces can break loose and tumble, surprising or even killing anyone in it's path. The warning signs serve to remind all visitors to exercise caution when climbing, sitting or walking around any of the arches, walls, hoodoos, or towers.,
The road inside the Park isn't a loop road, so after we reached "the end" we turned around and made the ride back to the exit/entrance.
Exploring the town of Moab was next on our agenda. Of course, Jan and I needed to do our shopping. All you ladies out there can appreciate what I am saying. I was looking for an art gallery and spotted a sign, Tom Till Gallery, that caught my eye. Inside the little shop were wall-to-wall hangings of every scenic spot in the entire state of Utah. These weren't just photographs; every image had fully captured the beauty of the place. This was fine art at it's best. I finally made my choices, gathered up my treasure, and joined everyone else outside. It was time to hit the road again. We needed to make Bryce Canyon before dark and time was a-wastin'.