PrologueWhat we are doing, and why we're doing it!
There is a natural wonderland just north of Moab. Arches National Park is whimsy executed in sandstone. It's littered with fins, spires, slots, and lofty arches of stone.
Hundreds of millions of years ago, ancient seas repeatedly flooded and evaporated leaving a bed of salt thousands of feet thick. The sea was eventually replaced with sand dunes. Layer upon layer of dunes eventually turned to stone. The weight of the stone forced the salt to migrate to thinner areas, cracking the sandstone above into a geological playground.
It was the interplay of salt, sandstone and time that gave rise to the fins that are the breeding grounds of natural arches. Towering above the gaps in between, the fins parallel one another until they are interrupted by ancient shifts in the earth's crust. The thin sandstone formations flake off slabs as they erode, occasionally meeting in the middle forming an opening. As arches age the stone continues to fall in huge flakes. Near the end of their lives they become the frail, beautiful formations exemplified by Landscape Arch. The arches are still evolving, still growing and dying. We are witness to only a glimpse of their legacy.
While the arches are the focus of attention, the cliffs and fins that they came from are the real attraction. An area of the park known as 'Fiery Furnace' is choked with the rust red formations. It is a labyrinth of stone that is best seen with the aid of a park Ranger. There are gems to be seen that you'd never find on your own. There is a way out of the maze that you would never find on your own.
Arches cries out to be seen on foot. It's a place for day hikes and leisurely strolls. It's a place we'll return to someday.