Posts Tagged ‘red rock’

Delicate Arch at sunset. -- Photo courtesy Wikipedia

 “It is foolish to postpone enjoyment of your ordinary life until you are more successful, more secure, or more loved than you are today.” Timothy Ray Miller.

Balanced Rock can be seen in the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Red Rock Wonders  

I’ve taken the short hike around Balanced Rock in Arches National Park every time I’ve visited this fantastic land carved by Mother Nature. The red-rock formation of a 55-foot tall egg-shaped object sitting off-balance on a 100-foot tall pedestal intrigues me.

I guess it also intrigued Steven Speilberg because he used it in his opening scenes of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” which is my favorite of the four tall Jones’ tales.

When I lived in Utah, Arches was only a four-hour drive away from my home. Often, on early Saturday mornings, I would throw an overnight bag together, and just take off down the road. And it wasn’t unusual for that road to end at Arches.

Almost always, the first order of my visit would be to take the short loop around Balanced Rock before choosing another trail or two to hike.

Delicate Arch was occasionally one of these. It’s a three-mile round-trip hike that starts out on a well-worn trail that dissolves into a mild scramble over slick red rock and ends beneath a formation that looks sort of like a pair of cowboy chaps.

This free-standing arch might actually be the most photographed one in the world. I was fortunate enough to stand beneath it for the first time in the early 1970s, when I had the trail and the view mostly to myself.

Landscape Arch -- Photo courtesy Wikipedia

The arch’s fame, as Utah’s own personal symbol, however, has made it a very popular hiking venue.

Another popular trail in the national park is the one that takes you to Landscape Arch, the longest natural arch in the park. You can’t stand beneath this one as you once could, however. The Park Service only allows you to ogle this arch at a distance because three huge slabs have fallen from it in recent years.

The truth is all three of these formations – Balanced Rock, Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch – will one day be overpowered by gravity, just as New Hampshire’s “Old Man of the Mountain” fell from his high perch on Canon Mountain in 2003. I missed seeing him by three years.

Hopefully Arches National Park’s wonders will still be around for many years – although if seeing them is on your bucket list, sooner might be better than later.

 “You may delay, but time will not.” – Benjamin Franklin

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