Off to a Rocky Start: Arches NP… The Backroads Series

It looked a bit like Snoopy at first glance, making a sarcastic comment to Woodstock. But it wasn’t Snoopy. It was the famous Balanced Rock of Arches National Park. Someday it will come tumbling down. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

We’ve started our journey around America traveling over the country’s backroads while wearing masks like bandits. The beginning of the trip was in Fallon, Nevada, which might seem strange given that we live in Oregon. Getting to Fallon, however, involved traveling over I-5 and I-80, two of Americas busiest freeways. Freeways are to be avoided and ignored in this series— even though Peggy and I have to use them on occasion.

It’s scary out here in America’s hinterland as Covid-19 makes its way from state to state. The lack of a clear national policy is apparent. Peggy and I, as well as our traveling companions, Bone and Eeyore, are all wearing our masks. So far, we seem to be the exception. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

In Fallon, we climbed on Highway 50. Its claim to being the ‘loneliest road in America,’ gives it genuine backroad credentials. I’ll get back to it. There is much to tell about the legendary highway I grew up near. But given Covid-19, our two to three month backroads exploration is off to a rocky start— and there are few places in America rockier than Arches National Park. Peggy and I know. We took 572 photos of rocks there. Peggy promises you won’t have to look at all of them. But there will be quite a few. Grin. I love red rock country.

Today, I am going to start with just one, the famous Balanced Rock. Its total height is 128 feet. The boulder on top makes up 55 feet of its height and weighs in at 3500 tons. If you have been to Arches, the odds are you have a photo. Millions of tourists have stood and stared up at it in awe.

It stands as a testament to the fact that there is much more to see in Arches than just arches. A lot more. Geology is the reason for the park’s unique look. The rocks that make up Arches have been layed down over hundreds of millions of years under a wide range of circumstances ranging from deserts to seas. Their different makeup impacts how fast they erode and that leads to the fantastic rock sculptures and monuments seen through the park. There will be more on the geology in coming posts.

In addition to its unique look and geology, the thing that fascinates me about Balanced Rock is how its look changes drastically from different angles as you walk around it. And that is the subject of today’s photos.

The mushroom look.
A more traditional look of Balanced Rock with a companion. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
A modified ‘Snoopy’ look.
Side view.
A long view including Peggy. She’s safe, but is she balanced. (Grin) Another rock stands behind.
A more human look. Possibly a thumbs up with a thumb ring? (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
I’ll conclude with this view of looking up at Balanced Rock from its base. It gives a perspective on how massive the sculpture is.

NEXT POST: We’ll start at the beginning of the park with Wall Street, the Organ, and the Sheep.