My Utah of today still evokes countless imageries of the wild West. Thanks to Hollywood, this love affair will probably never die. Driving through scenic Highway 191, it’s impossible to miss infinite remnants of the past that seem to thrive without interference from modern society. The ghost of the time gone by alternates between the form of sleepy towns like Bluff and breathtaking geological formations. Barring erosion and entropy, this picturesque scenery could remain like this for a long time. I know it’s impossible, but I’d like to dream that it will be frozen in time, there for the generation of my children and their children to feast upon.
Although these national parks appear to be overrun by tourists all-year round, there are, surprisingly, space aplenty for everyone. That’s because everybody leaves after mere 5 minutes of picture-taking (which is such a shame). During my most recent visit there, I noticed that the number of Europeans is surprisingly high. I don’t really blame them for loving the West. I mean, look at her. Who can resist her seduction? Certainly not me, even when an encounter with obnoxious tourists who have no respect for the tranquility of the place threatens to ruin the experience.
Utah compelled me to hike in order to get the elusive shots I desire. Tit for tat, I get it. I wasn’t really looking forward to it but I found myself wanting more after seeing how rewarding it really is. What a tease! The low investment, high reward hike to Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park has to be one of my favorites. Once there, we found the perfect spot for enjoying the view in moderate isolation. There, sitting on top of a rock that overlooks the heart-stopping canyon view, it felt like I’m on top of the world, quite literally and figuratively. There was nothing but silence, a gust of wind and the occasional influx of visitors. As I listen to the fragile beating of my heart and the reminder of my mere mortality, a crow started circling above us, as if on cue. What else can one do at this point but kneel in front of this enthralling display and give thanks for the privilege to drink in her fountain of beauty? I am but human. It’s a long way from my humble beginnings and yet I feel so much at home here. Today, I can still close my eyes and be intoxicated by this imagery.
Delicate Arch, Arches National Park is yet another trail that stirred me. Besides the fact that it’s sacrilegious to visit Moab without a trip here, the hike is very blissful so there really is no reason to skip it. The total distance is only 3 miles both ways but it seems farther because it’s mostly uphill. And just when you’re about to throw in the towel, the trail plateaus and a big boulder comes in view. Around the bend is the most dramatic reveal ever.
The first sight of the Delicate Arch simply takes your breath away so, not surprisingly, the first word that came out as I was gasping for air was “wow”. Indeed it was a wow moment, for there in front of me is the symbol of the state of Utah. It hangs so precariously on top of the windy mountain range as if somebody meticulously and deliberately placed it there. I tried to take it all in but its enormity confounded me. How much longer until the elements topple this down? I have no idea but I’m exhilarated that I got to see it.
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