A delicate and beautiful arch


As winter’s grip tightens here in Maine, I’m sure like many cold-hatin’ photographers do, I recently went mining in the archives for memories of warmer times and photographs that had not yet been processed. Delicate Arch is one of 2,000 naturally preserved sandstone arches that can be found in the small, but incredibly interesting and aptly named “Arches” National Park. Located just outside the funky little town of Moab in Utah, I had the good fortune of exploring and enjoying this little gem of a place a few years back when I was attending a work-related conference out west with my buddy Steve.

I remember making the 1.5 mile round trip hike to Delicate Arch on a warm summer evening, huffing and puffing as we tried to reach the 52 ft tall icon before the sun had set. I also recall being absolutely mesmerized by the red sandstone landscape, and even though this is one of those picture postcards that many other people have photographed, I still got quite a buzz from being there in person and seeing it for myself – hiking back down the trail in the dark was also a pretty neat experience. Those are the La Sal Mountains in the background, rising higher than 12,000 feet along the eastern edge of the Utah state line and above the Colorado Plateau, and it never ceases to amaze me how “open” and “big” this landscape is.

The third photograph in this post was made on a different day… actually in late morning light, and from another trail and angle across a deep canyon. If you look closely, you can see a person standing under the arch, perhaps giving you a sense of just how big this structure actually is. It’s always good to explore new places, and I have to admit, the slickrock and surrounding landscape of this unique area made a huge impression on me.

12 thoughts on “A delicate and beautiful arch

  1. Fun Fact: The La Sal Mountains were named by Spanish explorers who visited the area in the blinding heat of summer. When they saw the white-capped mountains in the distance they decided there was no way they could still have snow on them as the valley was over a hundred degrees, the explorers assumed the mountains were made of salt. Hence, “La Sal”, The Salt Mountains.

    Gorgeous photos.

  2. Great job with these Delicate Arch photos! I was just here last weekend and got to this arch just as the sun was going down so it was too cold to see these views in person. Thanks so much! I am glad to have discovered your blog and will follow from now on.

    • David Patterson

      Thank you. That’s quite a hike to the arch, isn’t it? I can remember coming back down in the dark… good job we had our headlights otherwise I’m sure we would have become lost!

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