29 October 2022

Utah: arches national park — park avenue

Maybe thanks to the exhaustion of getting here, I slept early and woke up right at 6AM after what felt like the best sleep I've had in a long time. The three of us went down to eat breakfast in the hotel, then got ready for our full day in Arches. Our first stop was the visitor center and the park avenue viewpoint.
Our car was completely frosted over!
We stopped by the visitor center to check out the displays and any further information we may need before continuing our drive.

the arch installations ramped up our excitement!!
the view outside the window.
We learned yesterday that from the Navajo Sandstone to Chinle Formation there have been many dinosaur fossil discoveries.
Found some friends! To our pleasant surprise, we discovered ravens are incredibly common around Utah and were frequently seen all throughout our trip. 

Breathtaking view of Route 191 in the early morning as we made our way up the cliff.
All throughout Moab we were surrounded by cliffsides bursting with rich browns and reds. Every turn, every angle there were natural formations that captivated us.
Upon reaching the park avenue viewpoint, we couldn't help but stay at the lookout for a good while. In the distance you can see the Courthouse Towers, which is connected to Park Avenue by a primitive trail. We decided to walk down the trail for about half of it.
Stone stairway leading down.
Cairns created by park rangers to guide visitors along the primitive trails. It's important to stay on the designated paths due to the nature of the terrain. It takes significantly longer for life to grow in this arid climate, and stepping on the living soil can set back growth by years, even decades. 

Under the best circumstances, a thin veneer of biological soil may return in five to seven years. Mature crusts can take 50 years to strengthen. Lichens and mosses may take hundreds of years to recover. — National Park Service 

You can read more about cryptobiotic soil here.
The sun peeking out from the overcast morning.
The view from the bottom of the stairs. It's quite steep!
Textures of the desert.
The twisting bark of the juniper trees along the path felt very appropriate for our late October trip.
Further down the path.
We decided to stop around here and head back, since our day was just beginning! It's important to bring lots of water and salty snacks in general, but even moreso for a national park in the desert. Stay hydrated! Stay safe!

Thanks for reading!

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