I returned to Island In The Sky in Canyonlands National Park recently. It had been some years, so I wanted to get back up there.
Early February, the offseason there. The Visitor Center was closed until March. Perfect. Not that I don’t enjoy visiting Visitor Centers in our incredible parks, I do. It’s that I avoid crowds, and winter affords that luxury. Unless you’re a downhill skier, which I’m not.
So, north out of Moab, past the entrance to Arches National Park (the even more heavily visited one around here). Climbing up to I-Sky. A high mesa above the rest of Canyonlands. So good to be back.
I walked out to Mesa Arch. for the first time. Such an easy hike, how could I not have done this before?
Every photo published of Mesa Arch seems to be of it at sunrise, the low sun lighting up the underside of the arch with a reddish glow. I had no urge to repeat the conditions, it’s been done to death.
So, when I’d finally trudged out the sandy and sandstone path to the arch, I was rather glad that it was late afternoon. And dull light, too. I was alone there, so I could take my time to inspect it.
It was much smaller than I’d expected. But being on the rim of Island In The Sky mesa, it was amazing. Maybe even moreso because it was small. A gem. Hanging out there on the edge.
Photo locations: Canyonlands National Park, southeast Utah.
© 2015 Stephen J. Krieg