Sunday, December 4, 2011

Arches National Park in Winter

“Men come and go, cities rise and fall, whole civilizations appear and disappear-the earth remains, slightly modified. The earth remains, and the heartbreaking beauty where there are no hearts to break....I sometimes choose to think, no doubt perversely, that man is a dream, thought an illusion, and only rock is real. Rock and sun.” 
Edward Abbey (1927-1989) may be southeastern Utah’s most well-known spokesman.  He traveled and worked in canyon country before paved roads, before Arches became a national park, before the mining town of Moab transformed itself into a tourist mecca.  Ed Abbey despised industrial tourism; ironically his non-fiction book, Desert Solitaire, received critical acclaim and introduced countless travelers to the magic of canyon country. 
         Arches National Park in southeastern Utah is a geological treasure.  A vehicle-friendly park, its wind-carved arches and brilliant red rocks may be viewed without leaving the comfort of your car.   But... if you'd rather not cheat your senses, leave your 4 wheels behind to walk beneath massive spans of rock, to breathe the sage-scented air, to gaze at the azure sky.  
         The park is heavily visited much of the year and hordes of tourists can detract from the eye-popping scenery.  Tim and I visited Arches one snowy, fog-shrouded day and, in our own Desert Solitaire moment, had the park to ourselves.  These are the images from that January day:

Park Avenue.

The view from Park Avenue overlook.

Juniper in the snow.

Striking a pose in front of balanced rock.

Don't try this in May—you're likely to be flattened
by bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Clearing skies reveal the contrasts between snow and rock.

Have you been to Arches National Park?  Do you have a favorite hike or cherished spot in the park?  
Learn more about Arches and the town of Moab by visiting these websites: and

When in Moab be sure to visit one of my favorite independent bookstores:  Back of Beyond Books.  

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
Earth Apples: The Poetry of Edward Abbey (1994)


  1. OMG Rita!! Those photos are simply and utterly spectacular (and that is an understatement)!!

    Also, I love the quote at the beginning of your Blog posting. Regardless of whether " . . . man is a dream, thought an illusion, and only rock is real . . .", your photos capture beauty that is "real". And if perchance it isn't "real" and is only an "illusion", I don't want to hear about it!

    As always, I thoroughly enjoyed this posting, and look forward to your next one!


  2. Hi Rita,

    It's so great to see more of your wonderful photographs - in this post and your Photo of the Week.

    These are giving me the travel bug! While I've not had the pleasure of visiting Arches, it reminds me a bit of the Valley of Fire, just outside of Las Vegas: the sandstone, the wind carving, the stark beauty of the desert.

    Thanks for sharing this wintertime view!

  3. Hi! Moab Travel Council here. Nice depiction of Arches in winter. I'd like to add Moab has a growing Meetings & Conference effort which we think will be quite suitable to winter, with lower hotel rates, sightseeing the blanketed red rock in full glory, as you have shown us.
    Are those shots from last winter? Moab hasn't yet had a substantial snow in the valley.

  4. Seeing Arches, all orange and umber, covered in snow is so special. Thanks for the pictures.

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  6. Hi, Rita! Followed that link and I must say that that your pictures have become better and better!

    That bit of poetry about mountains rising into and above the clouds is what our dreams are made of, isn't it

    1. Thanks for the compliments on my evolving photography skills!
      And that poetry about the mountains, yes, it's definitely what our dreams are made of. I wish I could phrase my thoughts as eloquently as Ed Abbey!