Sunday in Moab.
We got an early start to catch the Arches bathed in dawn light. It was a beautiful trip out with the soft light.
We went to The Windows first, rising sun making for some fun shots.
These are two “paired” arches opposite the Turret Arch—a three-fer.
In case you’re wondering, arches are formed much differently than the natural bridges (that are formed by flowing water). The 2000+ documented arches in the park are in this area because of unique conditions…an underground salt bed deposited 300 million years ago (from an evaporated sea), was covered with a sand residue from intermittent floods, winds and oceans, leaving thick sandstone deposits. The weight of the sediment caused a shifting in the salt bed, resulting in rock layers being pushed up in domes and collapsing into cavities. For more mayhem, faults added to the instability and resulted in a 2500 foot displacement in Moab. The fault caused cracks in the porous rock; freezing and thawing water and wind erosion then attacked the formations and arches were formed.
The North Window was spectacular with the rising sun. A few early risers helped show perspective. These are massive!
The Primitive Path was a scramble over rocks and down slides but well worth the view from the back of the arches, the South Window was packed with clouds.
Signs told us stay on the paths, such as they are, because the dark, lumpy clods in the natural area are actually a biologic crust called cryptobiotic soil. It’s alive! And it keeps the desert alive! It’s composed of living organisms—cyanobacterium, lichen, algae, and fungi—which stops erosion, holds moisture, and provide nitrogen and other nutrients for the plant-animal food chain.
Next we went to the Double Arch, formed by a super pothole, with water eventually cutting through to the layers below. It was like a cathedral.
On the way out, we came upon free rock climbers sitting cross-legged on top of a 100 foot pinnacle in the Garden of Eden. Showboats! Not being fond of heights, these guys just take my breath away!
It’s hot now—no more heaters at night—so the pups stay in the RV during our long trips in the dinghy car. Back at camp, we took them on a long walk along the Colorado River.
Not many squirrels or bunnies to chase in the shank of the day, so they have become formidable lizard-hunters. Fortunately, the desert iguanas are a lot quicker than they are!
This has been a real treat to stay in one location for three full days. We “pull up stakes” tomorrow and move on to the home of the John Wayne western, Monument Valley. (Actually locals say he shot several movies in Moab, too.) Bless the guy who invented digital cameras!