Mesa Arch in Canyonlands

One of the iconic features of the Island in the Sky section of the park is Mesa Arch.

Many readers have no doubt seen photos of this place in travel magazines with the arch bathed in the light of the newly risen sun (captured by professional photographers).



Let’s start at the beginning.



A hearty, desert flowering plant struggles to survive at high elevation.



Low lying clouds accompany us as we hike out to the arch through sand and over slick rock.



To our right, we see a large rock promontory.



The hike to the arch is not long.  We can see that other park visitors are closing in on the shared or common goal.



Mesa Arch.  Older than the pyramids, we are humbled as we approach this singular rock formation.



The arch is located in the eastern portion of Island in the Sky; and from it, one looks to the east and towards the Colorado River.  Distant snow-capped mountains appear in the distance beyond the nearer canyon walls.



Another view of the windswept arch.



Moving to the right, we snap this photo.



Standing near to the cliff edge at the arch, we look down to see the land dropping off hundreds of feet to the mesa below.



From a slightly different location, we capture this downward or descending view.  We did not alter the color in this image.



A tortured landscape baked by sun in summer, frozen in winter, and scoured by pesky winds in the spring.



The Colorado River lies below the rock walls in the distance in this image.  (River is not visible in image.)



We catch our breath in a timeless land.  Upon reflection, we realize that our human lifespan is but the blink of an eye in eternity.  We recall the words from the 1970s song by the group, Kansas, Dust in The Wind – “all we are is dust in the wind”.

Yet, even these ancient landscapes will not last forever.  The Sun itself is in middle age now.  The only constant in the material universe is change.



A nearby view of the rocks we are walking on and around.



A look through the arch.



Panning now to our left, we get this nearby view.



Another peek through the “window” of the arch.



Lucy asks another park visitor to take our picture together.  The wind blows dust and fine sand into our eyes, and plays with our hair at times.



Let’s look straight through Mesa Arch.  Shall we?



The clouds cast shadows upon the land below.



Another view.



Let’s not get any closer to the edge.  This is good enough.  (If we were to slip and fall, how would these images make it to the blog?)  This is an impressive image.



From a different angle, we get this view.



Glancing back, we see others at the arch – a popular attraction.



The natural lighting changes rapidly as the wind-driven clouds pass by overhead.



A view to the side of the trail on the return hike.



A final look back as “we may never pass this way again” (recall the 1970s song by Seals and Crofts).



Now, with the visitor parking lot in sight, we bid you farewell.  But, the day at Island in The Sky was only beginning.



copyright 2018 –


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