As you’re mapping out your 2017 travel plans, keep in mind our national treasures; our national parks.  I’ve often said I would love to pack the car, plot a map course and just take off to explore each and every national park.  We have definitely visited our share but we still lag woefully behind.  And, I don’t remember a more relevant time than right now to pay attention to our parks.

It’s been 3 years since our visit to Arches National Park in March of 2014.  It was by far one of our most memorable road trip experiences.  And, because we were there in the off season and it was cold and snowing, we nearly had the park to ourselves, making it all the more spectacular.

I decided it was time to dust off this 2014 post and share it once again.

March 2014

There is an area of this country that is like no other.  I should preface that statement by saying that I have – of course – not seen every single speck of this country, but I do feel pretty safe in saying that the area in northern Arizona, southern Utah and western Colorado, is like no other.

Raise your hand if you agree!  That one big spot on the map offers the road warrior the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Mesa Verde, Monument Valley and Arches National Park – oh and the Canyonlands and the Grand Staircase and the Canyons of the Ancients and the list goes on – and on.  If you add in the northwest corner of New Mexico, well than you can experience what is known as the Grand Circle.  It is by far some of the most incredible examples of Mother Nature you can ever hope to experience.  We are slowly, but surely, visiting them all.

Not Enough Adjectives

Sometimes, there just aren’t enough adjectives.  Amazing, awe-inspiring, beautiful, spectacular, magnificent, they’re all good words, good describing words and yet they become tiresome when over-used.  But what other words will suffice?  I mean, come on, take a look at this and I dare you to find the appropriate adjective.

What's the perfect word to describe such a scene?

What’s the perfect word to describe such a scene?

But before reading further, please take a short drive with us through Arches National Park while listening to the hauntingly beautiful music of Mary YoungbloodBeneath the Raven Moon – the first Native American woman to have won a Grammy.  I think by riding along with us for a few minutes, you’ll get a sense of how special Arches truly is despite our bouncy video.

At times, you don’t even realize you’re driving along the top of a high plateau until suddenly the earth opens up and sets before you another spectacular canyon.  Talk about going out for a Sunday drive!  I wonder if the people who live scattered along the plateaus realize what a back yard they have?

Hiking in the Snow

We pretty much had the park to ourselves, the day we visited Arches.  You can see from our photos we didn’t see much of the sun though and at the higher elevations we hiked in snow flurries, but we decided it just added to the overall experience.  And the fact that we enjoyed spans of up to an hour without seeing another car or human being, made it well-worth bundling up for.  Because after all, how many people can say they went hiking – in Arches National Park – in the snow?!

see what we found!

…see what we found!

There are moments in our lives – if we’re paying attention – when just for a moment, something very special happens.  There’s no happy dancing about or shouting out, it’s just a peaceful quiet epiphany if you will.  While I stood on top of a mountain in Arches, it turns out I was paying attention and had myself quite the moment, which you can read about here.  Besides being amazing, awe-inspiring, spectacular – and all of those other words – there is something beyond words when you stand in the overwhelming silence of a place such as Arches or Monument Valley.  It’s something bigger than you and you find yourself grateful just to be in the moment.

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Pin a Spot

So as you plot your road trip course for 2017, definitely pin a spot on your map for Arches because there isn’t a better time than right now to pay attention to our national treasures; our national parks. And, I hope you find your mountain top and I hope you stop to embrace the moment.

To learn more:  Arches National Park

Pin it!     photo credit:  spreadshirt.com

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