28 Dec An ode to red rock: Arches and Canyonlands national parks

Source: Charlene Winfred

I’ve been trying to write this post for a very long time, finding it difficult to articulate the hold that Arches National Park has over my imagination. It is the one national park that I could swear, knows me by name. It’s a ridiculous thing to say, particularly for someone who’s a city slicker to the core. If the park did have a voice and addressed me by name, I doubt I’d hear it. I am equipped to parse urban environments, but the outdoors fill me wonder for more than just their magnificence; my utter unfamiliarity with the code of natural environments is also rather awesome.

Flemming and the moon, dwarfed by the enormity of sandstone.

The park is, appropriately, full of natural sandstone arches – it has the highest density of these peculiar, majestic formations of anywhere in the world, along with spires, fins and other varied geological forms.

I first visited Arches with Flemming in April 2013, and enjoyed a couple of solid days hiking around unbelievable vistas, some of which made it into the movie we were filming at the time: Beyond. We returned in 2014 for more, and yet again this November, spending a whole week in Arches and nearby Canyonlands National Park.

I made a picture almost exactly like this one back in 2014. It was impossible to resist making it again, with so many obliging, if unsuspecting, models. Arches National Park, Utah.

I’ve never encountered a place quite like Arches.

Nowhere else can I clamber onto fins of flaming rock and survey the world, elevated in body and spirit. There’s…

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