I know I shouldn’t but I really want to push the little shits who have climbed up the arches at Arches National Park off the arches, I really really want to. Problem is that their deranged parents would frown on it, and it would interrupt their hooting and hollering support of their moronic offspring.
Nowhere does it say please climb all over the fragile rock structures, in fact if my english serves me correctly the signs I did see asked us to please stay on the trail and then at around a 100ft before each arch was a useful sign saying end of trail (even if you don’t speak the damn language the implication is obvious).
Yet they continue to do it and snap shitty pictures on their crap cell phones, what the hell happened to cameras, at least with a proper camera you could get a decent picture of Jimmy and Janey accelerating the destruction of a natural wonder, but instead you will sadly have to explain to friends and family that the two out of focus orange blobs were in fact your precious little cherubs.
By the way if you have not noticed this is a rant. After spending weeks in the mountains with like minded people who will walk up to their knees in mud to avoid stepping an inch off trail and potentially damaging the mountain flora* to come to a park with hoards of tourist thinking that they had the run of the place was a culture shock.
We knew it was going to be a busy park, but busy shouldn’t mean what we found. Not a single one of the turds climbing all over the arches would be capable of actually climbing a real mountain, if they were they would be out there taking advantage of the countless rock faces and boulders in the vicinity.
All of this hostility boils down to two things, it is a privilege not a right to be able to see these beautiful formations, and secondly get the FUCK out of my photo you little knuckle dragging troglodytes.
Fortunately the trail we were on became a lot more challenging, and the intrepid climbers all seemed to disappear. Unfortunately I had paid zero respect to the technicality of the trail, I wore very inappropriate footwear, which led to me sliding down a boulder on my ass with no means to stop myself before it dropped off. Fortunately Heather, in proper foot attire had made it to the bottom and was able to catch my feet before I impaled my bottom on a rather large and nasty looking log. She will tell you I screamed, I will counter that it was an excited giggle.
Despite the obvious, the park is stunning, the formations are other worldly*** and change as the sun hits them to reveal more shades of red and orange. A word of warning, we usually ignore any suggestion to book a camp site in advance, but these guys really mean it, the site was full before noon, meaning we had to find other accommodation, which with Moab a stones throw away is not a difficult task.
The following day we steeled ourselves for the hoards at Canyonlands National Park, Arches next door neighbour. We knew we had neither the time nor the perpetration to go deep into this park, the vast majority of it can only be seen via the backcountry, either several days hike or 4×4 drive would have been required.
To our surprise the park was bustling but not overflowing, and even though we were only doing the short popular hikes I never once had the urge to launch anyone’s offspring into the canyons. The area of the park we visited is called Island in the Sky, and that pretty much sums it up, all around you the floor falls away into stunning canyons that scar the ground below.
I didn’t have any particular expectations for this park, only really visited because it was next to Arches, but the scenery was spectacular, I think a backcountry jaunt may be in order in the future.
*Many plants only germinate every three years so damage can take a long time to fix, and in that time erosion can damage the mountains we treasure.
** editors note: Landscape Arch
*** like I know what the bloody hell other worlds look like, but it is one of those throw away phrases that implies that you don’t see a lot of place that look like this.