JadeRider Journeys

Tag: sandstone

Day 6, Living your life in one day

by on Sep.24, 2009, under 2009, Adventure, Motorcycle

The number seems unreal. I am exhausted. I spent the whole day at Arches National Monument. It started a bit cold so I had to ride with long sleeves. Between the campsite and the park, I started getting a bit colder than I expected, and stopper at the Dollar General to get another long-sleeve shirt. I figured I might as well do it, since I am only half way through, and the t-shirts remain mostly in their space-saving vacuum-sealed bag. When I walked in the store, I was struck by the fact that the name of the business is actually accurate. In general stuff is a dollar, shirts though are not. Still, it was quite a deal, and on top of it all, it had motorcycle print.

I then stopped at the gas station next door to get some hot chocolate, bananas, and more apples. As I was checking out, the guy in front of me coughed a couple of times, and I had this vision of a scene in a movie, where you know that this casual cough by a no name character will spell the doom of the entire planet. A plague is being unleashed, and I was next to the vector at the gas station in Moab. But heck, the planet infected with an unstoppable virus? That does not matter. How will the impact my riding plans? Stay tuned for more.

In the mean time, trying to see all of Arches, and take it all in, in less than 12 hours, is like living your life in a week, and hitting all the important things, like birth, baptism, your first fight in the sandbox, or, in my case, on top of a leaf-cutter ant hill, your first bike, and your first baseball hit. I mean the first time you get hit on the left eye with a baseball.

To escape the foolishness of the above, I picked my targets. Delicate Arch was the first thing I did. It is quite a strenuous one-hour hike, starting at Wolf Ranch, The first part is fairly easy, but soon enough you find yourself climbing a steep, tall sand stone ‘boulder’. Heck, I do not know what the geological term is, but it is huge. And yes, it seems like ‘heck’ is the word of the day. The ascent is marked by cairns, and remembering my old German physics teacher saying “Wehniger Kraft, mehr Weg” (less force, more distance) I started switch-backing my way up. When I looked back, a half dozen people were following my trail, and wouldn’t you know it, they were Germans.

I got my first peak of Delicate Arch, fittingly, through another arch. Just before you turn a curve on the rock face that leads to the famous Utah landmark, you can climb a sandstone rock to an arch whose name all forget, since it only serves as a window to the such natural wonder. Its sort of like when people say, “Oh yea, you are Sandra’s husband”, not “Oh yea, you are Carlos”.

I spent about an hour of the day, just taking it in. This giant upside-down U sitting precariously at the edge of a bowl. God had fun in this place, and it feels like the scene in scripture when Jesus was drawing in the sand with His finger, except the Father came to Moab, stirred up ice, water, wind, sand and seismic forces with His index, and Arches National Monument came into being.

After Delicate Arch, I started looking for the familiar and the unfamiliar. To name all the places I saw would take a while, and I should do it when the trip is completed. I will say though, that I found a new place to be put in the ‘Favorites’ catalog. Sand Dune Arch is magical. Hidden away from most people, and being so accessible, it is a gem in the park. You get to it through two narrow fins of sandstone, The climb is short and through fine powdered sand. When you finally get to it, it is unassuming. Probably no more that 15 feet tall. Yet, because of the relatively narrow aspect of the space, the sand, and the erosion patterns, this has the potential of generating light effects that remind me of Antelope Canyon in Arizona. I would come back here for a day long study in light.

Tomorrow, it is off to Wendover, the farthest westerly destination of this trip, and a bed, pillows, and a hot shower.  The departure is bitter sweet.  I loved that a vision I had so many years ago has come to fruition; riding to Arches from Houston.  The image planted in my mind became very real today.  This, as a part of a more recent dream, the ride to Wendover.  However, the park was inundated with people.  Tourist from all over the world were there, and therefore, finding soliture and quietness was not an easy thing to do. I depart with treasures, and feelings of thirst.  I hope that tomorrow will bring a new gemstone.

P.S. If you are wondering why there are no pictures in most of my blog entries, the answer is technical. Most places provide WiFi access, but only the downstream is decently functional. Upstream services are very limited, and therefore, uploading photos becomes a mind-numbingly slow process.

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