Arches (Post 1)

Moab. Snow crab. Low jab. Not only is Moab fun to say, but it’s quite beautiful. Mmm yes quite. Indubitably. Fantastic. Tremendous. Rich. Absolutely rich. Good, clean fun for the whole family. What am I even saying? Whose couch is this?

Ah, yes. Moab. I had the best time in Moab, it was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip so far. I woke up in Joseph on Tuesday, packed up the Subaru Crosstrek once again and off I went! I decided to go straight to Arches National Park before checking into my hotel and oooeeee what a place that is. The drive into the park takes you on a series of switchbacks straight up a hill, so you can immediately get a pretty sweet view of the land. It’s $30 to enter the park with a private vehicle, which is definitely worth. It wasn’t like Zion where I had to pay $35 and then I couldn’t even drive into the actual meat of the park.

Arches was a much better experience for me. It was way less crowded and way more open. I pulled over about a mile into the park to check out an overlook and “park trail.” I was struck by the scene as soon I pulled up. Check this chunk of land out.

I spent a great deal of time just staring at these rocks and saying “how?” and “I don’t understand” over and over again. Standing underneath these things makes me feel so small. Looking at the pictures is pretty neat but it doesn’t encompass the overwhelming feeling of the landscape when you’re standing beneath hundreds of feat of rock. There was nobody on the trail either and you can see it was cloudy, so there was a slightly ominous feeling to the hike. It wasn’t fear-inducing, it was mostly just cool beyond belief; but I don’t think I’ve ever felt so small. 

After my hike, I drove around the park a bit and then checked into my hotel, where I proceeded to lug all of my belongings into the room, once again. That’s definitely part of the trip I won’t miss, and I can’t wait to take another adventurous trip with just the bare essentials, as opposed to everything I own. 

A stunningly crisp shot of the Adirondack Mountains on a dewy Spring morning.

Once I got my hay bales and horses into the room, I wasn’t feeling like going out so I ordered a Domino’s pizza. Now, if you know me well, you probably don’t believe that this actually happened, but it did. It was eight dollars and it was pretty gross, but that’s just the way the dough crumbles. Literally. The dough was crumbling. I questioned everything I’ve ever done while eating this pizza, but it was fine. Everything was fine. 

The next morning began one of the most joyous days of my life. I found my groove traveling alone and was feeling extremely comfortable and free. The freedom is the best part about solo traveling, especially when you don’t have any set plans. Waking up in the morning knowing there’s nothing but possibility is an amazing feeling. 

I’m getting more and more put off by formal society the more freedom I have. All of the appointments, all of the bureaucracy, all of the rules and regulations… most of it just so unnecessary. What have we done with our lives? Why do we live like this, relegated to our homes living in fear, busying ourselves with meaningless tasks? Why do we have so much stuff and so little satisfaction? These… these are the questions.

Anyways, I got up in the morning and headed right back to Arches. I decided to do the hike up to “Delicate Arch” and son of a slut was it cold. It was about 42 degrees with 40 mph winds, which only increased the further I hiked up the mountain. It wasn’t too bad once I got moving, but it was pretty intense once I got to the top. A woman offered to take a picture of me below the arch, and a mammoth gust of wind decided to penetrate my soul, almost sending me into the valley like a thin bundle of twigs.  

The hike was otherworldly. It really felt like I was on Mars, which you can understand from the pictures. The arch itself was absolutely mesmerizing and is a miracle to witness on its own, but the views surrounding it push the whole experience into a new realm. The view standing under the arch itself is something I’ll never forget. 

After I sought refuge from the wind and soaked in the sights for a while, I hiked back down to the bottom and checked out some of the native rock carvings. It’s pretty crazy to think about people living out in the wild here. I couldn’t imagine waking up to these views or going to sleep under the stars here. I’d love to come back here and go camping, that would be a hell of a time. 

After the three-mile Delicate Arch hike, I drove to another area in the park to view the “Windows” and the Turret Arch. It was here that I found my space. I laid down on a rock for an hour or so in a sheer state of ecstasy. 

Jason Brendel
Jason Brendel

Jason Brendel is an author, poet, and comedian living in Austin, Texas. Navigate the buttons below to follow him on social media, make a donation, or purchase his collection of laugh-out-loud poetry on Amazon.

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