Arches and Needles

2008-08-02

Been to four more places since Grand Canyon. The first, Monument Valley is actually part of the Navajo nation. It’s got a famous skyline, but it’s not been that well developed and not that great as far as I can tell.

The big surprise of the trip was the Navajo national monument — managed by the federal government, but named after the Navajo. It’s not that big, but you can walk down short trail which overlooks Betatakin. This is Pueblo settlement, maybe 800 years old. It’s hidden in a large cave, shetlered from the elements. I only saw it from a kilometre away, but it was a wonderful experience.

Next, came a brief stop in Moab; they have a small museum there, with most of the exhibits appearing to come from a few families whose descendents were or are compulsive collectors; one of the items was a trunk from a chap who came from "Trimely, Worcester". I suspect this was Grimley in reality, but it was strange to come around the world to find a peace of home.

The Arches National Park has lots of, well, arches. Truely amazing place, you can stand under fins of rock weighing millions of tons. Hot as hell, though. It must have cleared 39C.

Finally, today was Bryce. As far as I can tell, it’s made of very similar stone to Arches, but it’s higher up (about 3000m!) and wetter. It’s been formed by freeze-fracture rather than gentle (and very rare) water. As a result, the rock formations are spikier, rougher and stunning. They have formed a wonderful canyon; in many ways this is more impressive than the Grand Canyon as you can easily walk into it, feel the sandstone and, most of all, look up.

Originally published on my old blog site.