Rattlesnakes, red deserts and snow covered mountains. America’s vast and different landscapes sometimes makes you feel like you are travelling across a different planet – but what a journey!
Watch out for the snakes!
We stopped quite a few times on the side of the road to capture the natural wonders of isolated red mesas and buttes surrounded by the vast flat red desert. Amazingly some of these buttes rise over 100 metres into the air. One of the photo stops was very memorable as my wife Inger jumped out of the car all excited by the scenery only to jump straight back in with a panic look on her face. It turns out that we’d parked right next to a sign warning against rattlesnakes! That said during our journey we never saw any snakes, much to the disappointment of my kids.
At times it did feel like we were driving on a different planet as the wide flat red desolate landscape surrounds you as far as the eye can see in every direction. Just over the Utah state border we came to a small town called Mexican Hat, named after the balancing rock formation near the town that looks like, you guessed it, a Mexican hat! The Americans are very original.
The wild, wild west!
We finally arrived at our destination for the night, Moab, Utah, the gateway town for Arches National Park. The backdrop to Moab is the snow covered Rocky Mountains, in state of Colorado, just 30 kilometres away, which are a real contrast to the desert landscape we had travelled through earlier in the day. Moab is a real frontier town built on adventure tourism in the nearby mountains. Activities on offer include hiking, mountain biking and river rafting.
We woke early the next morning to explore the Arches National Park, which is located about 15 kilometres to the north of Moab. Arches National Park is unique as its home to over 2,000 natural sandstone arches in a range of sizes as well as balancing rock formations. The park is a lot smaller than most of the other National Parks in North America, however what it lacks in size it makes up for in natural attractions. We took a few of the well marked walking tracks to the best lookouts to get a good feel for this wonderful place.