Saturday, April 4, 2009

Wonders of the West

The Delicate Arch

Its over. After 3 long, tiresome months, our semester is finally over. To say we learned a lot would be a gross understatement. I still have not fully processed all the techniques I learned while attending Gnomon, they are all scribbled in my notebook waiting for a time I can internalize them properly.

On Monday the 30th, I began my drive home to Maine. The first stop was Zion National Park, located in Southwest Utah. It was an amazing place. The entire park is literally located in the belly of Zion Canyon, a sweeping trench of beautifully colored walls, with a green-blue river running through its heart. It is a truly majestic area, forcefully shoving the wonders of nature into your face at all times. While I was there, I decided to hike the 'Angels Landing' trail, a steep climb up a 1500 foot cliff face. The trail begins as a series of switch backs, eventually giving way to a series of narrow rock path ways that cause you to hop and climb along the top of the mountain, all the while facing 1400 foot drops to either side of you. The last mile or so of the trail has you holding on to chains for dear life, as you scramble up and over steep rock faces all the while facing certain, erm, discomfort should you misstep. All of the sweat blood and tears (well maybe not tears) are well worth is once you summit. Angels Landing provides a 360 view of the Zion Canyon, a truly breathtaking sight.

From there I made my way to Arches National Park, located in the Southeast area of Utah, near the charming adventure town of Moab. While not as much of a hiking park as Zion, the views were no less, if not more impressive. The park is filled with iconic Arches. The size and beauty of these arches cannot be portrayed through photographs or video sadly enough, although I tried my best. They are a monument to the power and artistry of mother nature, cementing her position as the worlds greatest sculptor. The sunset is an especially magical time in Arches. The dipping sun causes the rocks to glow an intense red, which contrasts nicely with the pure blue skies of the west. The La Sal mountain range provides a constant backdrop for the majority of the arches, adding yet another layer of beauty to the scene. This is a place I can only hope all of you get to experience at least once in your life. I intend on returning to the area as soon as I can so experience the rest of Arches, as well as Bryce and Canyonlands National Parks which are also in the area.

I am currently staying with my Aunt and Uncle in Crested Butte, Colorado, a small but charming ski town that I visited as a young boy. It is always interesting to return to places from your early childhood to see how much you can remember.

From here I am traveling to (?), Kansas, and then to stay with a friend in Ohio,then to another friend in Mass, and then finally back home to Durham, Maine, which hold a unique beautiful landmark of its own, my bed.

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Northern view from Angels Landing

Trail down from Angels Landing

Zion National Park


J.Winkfield said...

Awesome photos Matt, glad to here your still alive lol.

J. Masse said...

I wish I could say the same...

Violet said...

NYC is probably out of your way a bit, but you're welcome to stop by and/or stay a night or two if you're in the area!

Matthew R. Dale said...

thanks cuz, but my route actually takes me way north of you, through buffalo and syracuse. but i do want to come visit sometime!