"We are obliged, therefore, to spread the news, painful and bitter though it may be for some to hear, that all living things on earth are kindred" - Desert Solitaire
I recently traveled to Moab, Utah to hike through the mind boggling geographical timescale of Arches National Park. Throughout the three days of my visit I had to repeatedly reference my informational pamphlets in order to wrap my head around what I was looking at or rather how it came to exist. Established in 1929, the park contains the highest density of natural arches in the world. Over millions of years, the earth has sunk, been pushed and molded by the elements. Even in that moment, although invisible to the eye, it was still being transformed.
Visiting the park in November granted my travel partners and I the opportunity to be in certain places, at certain times of the day alone in the landscape. During the high season, the park can see around 2000+ vehicles a day and is currently reaching 1.4 million visitors a year.
As Edward Abbey sarcastically stated some 40 years prior "Progress has come at last to the Arches, after a million years of neglect. Industrial Tourism has arrived." - Desert Solitaire
Edward Abbey had no issue with the rising population of visitors to the park, he welcomed man's growing interest in connecting with nature. He did however despise the four wheeled chariots they rode in through the park. The fact you don't have to set foot on the earth of a national park to see some of it's natural wonders is something to consider.
My travel companions and I chose both modes of exploring the park. Hiking to areas you can only reach on foot and booking a guided off-road vehicle tour to harder to reach vistas.
Below are the sights we could have only seen on foot.
For some, Arches is a destination to check off the list of places visited. For many others, the desert landscape is a worldview, figuring "more as a medium" as Abbey puts it "than as a material". It evokes a deeply primal sense of home, freedom, and purpose. "The discovery of something intimate---though impossible to name". - Desert Solitaire