Saturday, September 17, 2016

September 17 - Arches National Park

I arrived at Arches National Park just after the admissions boxes were closed, but the park is open 24 hours so I was able to enter. Despite my joking around about getting in for free on Facebook, my intention was to buy an annual pass here, so even though I did not pay today, I fully intend to still get the pass. I want to support the National Park system and all that they do.

I felt like I was racing the sun to be able to see as much as possible by the light of the setting sun, yet it was a race I was not really feeling all that competitive about.

I went through the first few formations, then got to the Windows. There was a primitive trail that went all the way around and I was the only one who walked it, so it was very peaceful. I think a lot of people had come to see the sunset and the moon-rise from sitting in the arch. They all looked like little ants crawling up there.

It could have been a rather confusing trail, but they did such a great job marking the path with cairns, branches and an occasional sign. It got dark just as I reach the parking lot.

I went on to Delicate Arch and hiked it under the full moon. Plus I have an awesome headlamp that is as bright as a car headlight which made me very popular with the bats. It also drew the attention of a little fox who was blinded to the fact that I was behind that light until it got about 8 feet away. It was so cute because he was trotting right up to me light he was so glad to see me, until he had on oh shit moment and darted off to the left. He then stopped suddenly and looked back. I spoke to him and when he was satisfied that I was no harm, he trotted off like nothing happened.

I did not realize how long of a hike this was going to be. It ended up being 3 miles and I think it ended up taking me about 3 hours. Tons of people were hiking back down and it looked like a distant trail of cars going through the mountains. There was an old ranch and some petroglyphs on the way up. It pooped me out but it was totally worth it.

Next up was the Sand Dune Arch and the moment I knew why I was called to come here, even in the dark. This magical place....
Imagine walking into a 3 foot wide crevasse between two huge rock formations reaching for the sky and after about 50 feet it opens out to what feels like a courtyard. As you continue back it is about 25 feet wide filled with the softest red sand. The view of the sky is a dramatic slip of stars.

Eventually you will come upon a large arch running parallel to the walls. A warm breeze blew through. It was absolutely spectacular and the energy here was ancient and powerful and I had it all to myself. I laid down in the sand and watched the wonder of the night sky. I believe ritual practice should be kept private so I'll suffice it to say some healing work was done here then I sang a song of thanks to the spirits of this place and the acoustics were amazing. A strong resonant sound without being echo-y. I thought it would be a great place to have a drum circle.

I wish I had photos and yet at the same time I am glad I do not. I even tried to google some and you can certainly find them, but none are of the way in which I experienced it tonight. I will treasure it always.

I laid there for some time wondering if this had ever been used as a refuge by Native Americans. Could they have stopped for shelter from bad weather? Could ancient ritual have ever been done here? Was it a sacred site of First Peoples? Was this part of its power?

Guided by moonlight alone I left and continued on through the sagebrush flats to Broken Arch, then back to my car. I left around 12:30 am and found free camping about 15 minutes down the road. It was sliprock and probably more intended for RVs so I spent another night in the car.

No comments: