I was up in the dark this morning, heading for Arches National Park, just a ten-minute drive north of Moab, to the pay station which was closed, and another twenty minutes to the trailhead. I wanted to complete the two mile hike to Delicate arch in time for sunrise.
The morning air is dry and clear and cool, perfect for hiking. I arrive before the rays of the sun first strike the cliffs, my camera clicking before it happened. Suddenly it comes, the flaming globe, blazing on the pinnacles and minarets and balanced rocks, and touching the top of the arch for which The Arches are famous. All of the next pictures show Delicate Arch from different angles as the sun was rising.
I walked back to the road over this trail, and came in again on the other side to view Delicate Arch from across the deep Winter Camp Wash.
I returned from Arches National Park around noon and found myself facing a gush of cars, RV’s and motorcycles coming in. Early this morning I had seen nobody. Edward Abby, writer of “Desert Solitaire” would be unhappy to see his worst fear become reality. As a park ranger here in the fifties, he did all he could to stop mechanized tourism, which he said was ruining the parks. At least there are solitary places to hike.