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         Lake Powell, AZ - Tubing Oasis
         Arches National Park, UT (July 2009)
Overall Rating: A-
Clouds Through Arch
    Arches National Park definitely lives up to its name.  If you want to see stone arches, this is the place to go.  

This was our last national park on our marathon tour of the parks in the Grand Circle.  Thus, our nerves were a little frayed and we spent quite a bit of time letting the kids swim in the motel pool rather than tromping around the arches.  However, it is a spectacular park.  The kids enjoyed climbing the rocks at the base of the arches.  I found it a great place for photographs.


Photography has its challenges in this park due to the cryptobiotic soil crust.  If left undisturbed by footprints for decades, the desert soil will collect a thin crust of  biotic materials, lichens and mosses.  This thin soil crust greatly reduces erosion, but can be damaged by a single footprint.  Therefore the photographer faces the challenge of finding unique vantage points but can't just go trapsing through the desert.  If you leave the marked trails you must walk on sandy washes or over hard stone surfaces.  I found myself hopping from stone to stone to try to get a shot of the moon through an arch.

The next time I visit Arches, I'll definitely give myself more time to explore the park and do some serious picture taking.


-  Brian



 

 
Gotta Go!
1) Windows Area





Crow Against Sunset

Kids on Sheep
Arches at Sunset

Family Grades
Toni (Mom) - A -  "IThe arches are surreal and form windows to the sky."

Sean (10 yrs) - A - "It was really fun climbing the big stone walls."

Kyle (9 yrs) - A - "It was really cool to climb around inside the arches."

Emi (5 yrs) - A+ - "I got to sit on a statue of a sheep, but it was burning hot."

Details
Windows Area
Rent a Boat on Lake Powell
Why Go
1)  If you only have one hour in Arches National Park, this is the place to go.  It is a circle of several arches all easily accessible and within walking distance of each other.(park map).  .

Getting There
Arches is located in Moab, Utah (Google map).
Advice
1)  Be careful climbing the rocks.  It is easier to climb up than down.  Though you'd have to be pretty reckless to get seriously injured, we came across several people afraid to come down like treed cat.
2)  Get into the park for sunrise and sunset (i.e. magic hour) for some great photos as the low sun cast an orange hue and long shadows.





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