The sheer scale of Arches National Park leaves you awestruck. Even after a bombardment of beauty over the course of a week bouncing between national parks, you still find yourself staring in wonder at the precariousness of nature. With the bright blue sky and snowcapped mountains as the backdrop, it truly is a wonder to behold.
As we started to feel overwhelmed by the endless desert, Arches proved to be a capstone to the week. We arrived in the afternoon, setting off with our map to explore by car. At this particular park it is difficult to find a campsite at the best of times, so we had no chance turning up mid afternoon. We did have time to explore the park, and drove the length of the road. Ideally, it would have been nice to do a hike – perhaps next time.
Like all of the National Parks we visited, Arches makes it easy to appreciate the beauty of America. Exploration and interaction are encouraged, while there is an emphasis on the importance of respecting the natural environment. This is done by offering public talks, providing easy to access information, and the continued presence of park workers who will chat with visitors. The National Park system offers a visitors the opportunity to get a taste of what is available, and encourages those who want to do more to plan a more elaborate adventure.
All up, we were in Arches for only a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. It was a fantastic chance to round out our journey in the American Southwest… However, it was time for a new adventure. After leaving the park we had an interesting situation to ponder: what to do tomorrow? Up till this point, we had a pretty clear plan of what we wanted to see. Canyonlands National Park was just down the road and is one Ashby particularly wants to explore at some stage. Alternatively we could hightail it out of there. Out came the map book (a particularly cool wedding gift from dear friends of ours) and we pondered where to next. Result: we’re off to Colorado. That evening we drove across the border and climbed into Colorado Springs. The tent stayed in the car and we booked into a cheap hotel room. Our next stop would round out National Park Week with a dose of snow – Rocky Mountain National Park!