Reminiscing About Arches

As winter begins to wind down and adventure season dawns before us, my mind is wandering to some favorite past trips. This is what I do when I’m itching to travel but not able to go just yet.

The Wandering Canadians’ account of their visit to Utah and Arches National Park made me nostalgic for the glorious week I spent wandering through that area with my western adventure friend. That was back in 2018 and still stands up in my memory as one of my best trips ever.

This place is drastically different from my Ohio home. The red rocks, wide open skies and desert climate are like the surface of the moon compared to the lush, green hills of home. Here in Ohio, forests grow thick and tall. In Arches, the trees are small and gnarled curiosities that have fought to survive each passing year. Arches features spires, giant stone arches, balanced rocks and monoliths.

Maybe it’s the drastic difference in landscape that makes it so appealing. When you find something growing here like a cactus flower, a tree or an insect, it seems so miraculous that anything can survive in the sand and heat of this place.

This is why we travel – to understand the world beyond our daily reach and to better appreciate the places where we do live. It encourages us to ask questions and drives us to seek answers about the world and ourselves.

Traveling feeds a curious mind and a wandering soul. My feet itch just thinking about it!

Four Corners Monument

The Navaho Nation operates a number of parks including Four Corners Monument Navaho Tribal Park.

This park sits where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico meet. They call this a quadripoint and it’s the only place in the US where four states meet like this. It also marks the boundary between the Navaho Nation and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.

This is part tourist trap but it’s also a special place. There’s a granite medallion that marks the exact quadripoint and people line up to have their photos taken here.

On site, you’ll also find Ute and Navajo people selling food, T-shirts and handmade items including some gorgeous jewelry.

I liked it because, for once in my life, I was finally able to be in four places at one time!

This kid had a great approach.

There is an $8 per person admission fee and you are still required to wear a mask in public places on the Navaho Nation Reservation. Get current hours, admission and advisories at their website.

Beyond The Horizon

We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Desert sunrise, Arches National Park, 2018

These Shoes

These shoes. I love these shoes.

They’re nothing fancy. Just some New Balance trail runners I found cheap on clearance. But they’re comfortable and sturdy and they have good grip for climbing and hiking. Yet they look like a tennis shoe so they transition well to walking around town too.

They’re like old friends, these shoes. We’ve been to a lot of places together. In these shoes, I followed my friend Johnna up giant boulders in Canyonlands National Park and waded through ankle deep sand at Utah’s Great Salt Lake. If you look close they’re still stained red from Utah’s sandy terrain.

I’ve worn them lots of other places including the gritty streets of Pittsburgh and the muddy trails of Ohio’s Hocking Hills.

I like to think that I’m carrying with me a little piece of all the places I’ve been when I wear these shoes.

Alas, their days are numbered. They’re getting enough miles on them they will soon be too worn out to be useful or healthy even though the tops still look good.

One of these days I will be forced to replace them with a shiny new pair that I hope will take me on even more grand adventures. But I’m hoping to wear them on one more big adventure to Wyoming this summer.

By the way, I’m also grateful for the feet inside these shoes that take me everywhere I want to go and occasionally some places that I’m not sure I really want to go. If you’re able to get out of bed every day, walk around and do things for yourself, count yourself lucky.

Regardless of the shoes you wear, you are lucky.