Arriving at Arches National Park, which is located in the beautiful state of Utah, Shawn Henry Baybutt prepares himself for a geographical treat. His research taught him that Arches National Park located in eastern part of the state has over 2000 natural sandstone arches. He cannot wait to see these impressive formations for himself.
Shawn first heard about the amazing park by reading “Desert Solitaire” written by Edward Abbey. Mr. Abbey based his book off journals he kept while working as a park ranger at Arches National Monument. Because of his book, many adventurers including hikers, off-road enthusiasts and mountain-bikers have made an effort to visit the park. A record one million visitors entered Arches in 2010.
As Shawn Henry Baybutt begins to walk around the park he is thankful he remembered to bring sunglasses, sunscreen and plenty of water. To say that the park has the propensity to become hot is a severe understatement. With temperatures reaching over 100 degrees in the summer months, Shawn knew he better be prepared.
Knowing that he is ready for his day, Shawn sets out to see the most popular focal points in the park. He decides to take the Delicate Arch Trail winding from Wolfe Ranch up the sloping slickrock ending under Delicate Arch, which is the most well-known rock in the world. The natural formation of Delicate Arch takes his breath away as he comes upon it. The lone-standing arch that has become synonymous with Utah, was named the Schoolmarm’s Bloomers by cowboys due to its distinctive shape. The arch’s current name did not come about until Frank Beckwith, the leader of Arches National Monument Scientific Expedition, gave it its current name in 1933.
Shawn moved on from Delicate Arch and made his way to the Balanced Rock formation. This large balancing rock has a total height of 128 feet with the rock on top measuring 55 feet. The big rock balances seemingly precariously on top and is the size of three school buses. How it remains anchored in place after all these years, is mind boggling to Shawn.
Other formations within the park include Landscape Arch, a long thin arch spanning 290 feet, the Devil’s Garden, a group of multiple arches and columns scattered along a ridge, the Dark Angel, a free-standing 150 foot sandstone pillar, and the Courthouse Towers, a collection of tall stone columns.
Shawn feels his trip to this astonishing park is well worth his effort. The desert landscape full of cactus is bursting with mystery and intrigue. He cannot help but wonder what early settlers and Native Americans thought when they passed through the region and viewed the mighty formations. Perhaps they assumed some great being placed them there for humans’ enjoyment.
Regardless of how the formations got there, Shawn was duly impressed with their presence. He has seen many artificial structures and quite a few natural ones as well, however, Arches National Park is by far the most unusual groupings of formations he has ever encountered. He longs to come back with his camping gear and try a few of the park’s multi-day trails. For now, he will return home knowing that he has seen with his own eyes the beautiful and mysterious formations of Arches National Park.