We chose to spend our Labor Day weekend exploring the incredibly strange and beautiful landscapes of Arches National Park. The park is secluded in eastern Utah and gets its name from its over 2,000 natural occurring sandstone arches. To get there we flew into Denver rented a car. I wouldn’t be discouraged about the 5-hour commute from Denver to arches. The rocky mountain drive along the Colorado River is a breathtaking adventure all in its own. And what a better way to see the Wild West than in a convertible Mustang. Entering arches is like landing on another planet with strange geologic formations straight out of looney tunes or The Flintstones. Many of the formations got their names by resembling something. Here’s one that kind of looks like Queen Nefertiti. Here’s one that looks like three dudes hanging out. here’s one that looks like… Yeah Moving on. We’ve been here all day and we’ve only knocked out two arches. Every ten steps, there’s a new encyclopedia of photograph opportunities just open up for you. We’ve been walking around this rock, on top of this rock, through it, underneath it and Same with the other one right over here. But we’re gonna have to start moving a little quicker and do a crash course in Arches National Park if we want to see this thing. You alive? For whatever reasons most people start leaving around sunset. But we recommend selecting a favorite location to not only watch the magic our colors change but to also kick back and stare at the multitude of stars. After dark, we had Double Arch all to ourselves. Cheap hotels at Moab are not cheap. You can spend $200 a night for a Motel 6 if you made a reservation. Or you could do like we did and drive 1.5 hours back to Grand Junction. We got a motel 6 there for 60 bucks a night. The next morning on the way back to arches we took a couple extra hours to explore the spectacular scenery along Highway 128. We highly recommend you do this too if you have the time. Hard to believe you can still experience scenic beauty like this with no one else around. Inside arches… parking is provided close to many of the sites and surprisingly we didn’t have to hike far before we were all alone. Then again, It was a hundred degrees. Here we’re pretending like we’re not wandering off and leaving our camera and tripod behind. To lighten the hiking load on this trip, we bought a cheap travel tripod for only 20 bucks. Here I’m trying to do a slow, smooth pan with a cheap $20 tripod. While out exploring we got an email from Spirit Airlines that our flight home was cancelled due to weather… That was non-existent. Rather than argue with them, we embraced having an extra day off work and decided to give Canyonlands National Park a whirl. We called Budget rental car and let them know we were keeping the Mustang an extra day. They said “No problem” and then charged us $260 for that extra day. Canyonlands is located right across from Arches. To see as much as possible with the little time we had, we drove the Grandview point road stopping at several jaw-dropping overlooks only a skip hop and jump from the pavement. One of the main attractions is Mesa Arch. Here we got to hang out with some Indians. The rest of the overlooks we stopped at had few people if any. Then again, it was a hundred degrees. it’s hot. He’s perspiring. Here I’m trying to do a slow smooth pan with a $20 tripod. The highlight for us at Canyonlands was the one-mile hike to Grandview Point overlook where we took in the panoramic evening scenery. Though you can see for miles and miles in all directions, there wasn’t another soul in sight. What are you doing right now? I’m being Simba the Lion King. Are you afraid of heights? I’m still shaking. What are you doing up here? Because you asked me to do it and I wanted to challenge myself. Is it steep down there? Yeah How steep how steep is it? You wanna take a peek? It’s pretty much straight down forever. Three days is hardly enough time to explore these extraordinary landscapes but it is enough time to have an unforgettable long weekend vacation. If you have never been to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks We strongly suggest you put them at the top of your list of places to visit. until next time friends happy trails.