In Time for Arches

Leaving Salt Lake City early, it was gloomy. Rain and snow lie ahead of us. I've never driven in snow in the mountains so I was a little bit intimidated. It went from rain to snow very quick, the snow started to fall heavier and heavier, which meant everyone driving drove slower and slower. The more east we went the worse it got, signs started popping up and flashing "Unlawful to proceed with out chains", people started pulling over and putting chains on their tires. I specifically remember seeing an elderly woman get out of her PT Cruiser with chains and proceed to put them on. I got quite a kick out of that. But with 4 wheel drive engaged we didn't have a problem, what worried me most was the cars and 18 wheelers spinning in place or sliding backwards with no traction. But we made it through the snowy mess relieved and ready for Arches National Park. It was about 3 hours before we made it out of the snow, the sun came out and the clouds cleared, it was like an invitation to Moab, Utah. We arrived at Arches a little bit later than I wanted to because the snow turned a 3 hour trip into 5 or 6 hours. I remember speeding down the 2 lane road that takes you to Arches passing people left and right, I couldn't wait to get there. We arrived and took an hour long ride around the park stopping and going, checking the wild rock formations and arches, it was beautiful. A national park i'd love to  camp in, no cities around so you know the so stars shine so bright.  Standing under one of those arches makes you feel so small, it puts a lot into perspective. We had to leave so we weren't looking for a ghost town and indian petroglyphs in the dark. The first stop was a indian petroglyph site that lie way off the highway in between a bunch of plateaus. I found the right exit, passing through a soon to be ghost town named Thompson Springs, the census in 2010 was 39, it looked a lot less than that now. I ended up on a very narrow road with nothing but plateaus all around me. It looked like something out of The Hills Have Eyes, it was definitely creepy not knowing what lies ahead. Slowing down I see another vehicle, it was a couple doing the same thing we were, just searching for cool things. I got out of my truck and asked how they were doing, they said great, and told me it was perfect lighting to shoot right now and pointed out where the petroglyphs were.  What was spooky were the petroglyphs, hundred of thousands of years old, dating back to A.D. and B.C. Some looked like aliens, some looked like animals, some looked like people with weird features. I can only imagine what the native americans meant and what they saw back then. We stayed for about 30 minutes walking around and observing them. Before we left I went back in the corner of this canyon to get a wide angle shot of some of the bigger markings, they must have been over 6 feet tall. But as I took the photo I had this cold sensation run down the back of my head and down to my feet. It wasn't very cold out either, I found that feeling odd, I've never felt anything like it. So needless to say I got us out of there very quick, speeding back up the road to the highway, a family in a mini van were heading back to where we just were. One cool thing was seeing the pioneers graffiti near the indian petroglyphs some dating back to the 1800's with their names next to it. (If you look closely in some of the petroglyphs you can see bullet holes) There was a ghost town deeper in the canyon, so I'm assuming the people who settled that town saw the writings and wanted to leave their mark as well. I would have gone back and looked for it but we were loosing light. It must have been wild to be a pioneer back then and stumble upon these markings, not having a clue of what these markings meant. Now there are so many interesting theories. We still have one more ghost town left and a blizzard that almost left us stranded in Colorado. Stay tuned!

In the gallery below are some photos from Arches, the indian petroglyphs and the town of Thompson Springs. Enjoy!