Mesa Arch at Canyonlands

The final day of our week-long adventure began well before the crack of dawn in hopes of viewing and photographing the sunrise at one of the most popular arches in Utah:  Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park.

And when I say up at the crack of dawn, I mean around 4:00 a.m., and out the door at 5:00.  We had explored enough national park areas to know that when officials and fellow outdoor enthusiasts consistently said things like, “heavily trafficked” and “get there early”, they weren’t joking!

A forty five minute drive later, we found ourselves in a parking lot already humming with activity.  It was cold out, and sunrise wasn’t happening for at least another hour, so I decided to enjoy the warmth of the car while Kurt made the less than half mile trek to stake out an optimal spot, which, even as early as it was, proved to be a bit of a challenge.  In fact, by the time I ambled down, folks were lined up shoulder to shoulder in front of this pothole arch, which spans about fifty feet in width.

Expectations were high; internet photos had illustrated that, when the sun starts to peek over the horizon, its rays will hit the underside of the arch, transforming it from a sandy brown to a brilliant orange.  The only thing that was necessary for this event was a clear sky.  This is the desert; the skies are always clear in the desert, right?

Wrong.

A front had blown in, painting the brilliant blue sky with patches of white and grey fluffy clouds.   Disappointed, many of the photographers fell away fairly quickly, opting for coffee and a new desination.  Kurt persevered, and, though he did not get the orange glow he had envisioned….

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…he was able to capture the beauty of that day, on that moment!

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