For the first seven days of the government shutdown, the park remains open thanks to funding from the state of Utah.
I’m still glowing from accepting my first “permanent” position with the NPS after being a seasonal for so long. Even though the shutdown has halted my paperwork from going through and I’m in that weird in-between place of having accepted their offer letter but not officially hired back yet. I still feel a deep peace at finally having some stability. And deep joy at having work that is meaningful and feels valuable.
I’m not supposed to start working for a few more weeks anyway. Once the students are back in school from the winter holiday.
So I celebrate. Seven days of dayhiking in "my" park. Venturing into the familiar but overlooked. Finding the surprising and the new-to-me.
Most people don’t think of Arches when they go looking for solitude and wildness. Most visitors concentrate on the instagram-worthy iconic sites. I know I did when I first started volunteering here three years ago.
Before I learned how to follow washes and slickrock. How to travel without leaving any lasting footprints.
|Just following the slickrock.|
|Along the washes.|
|Though I've driven that road down below countless times.|
Stumbling upon water in unlikely places.
|Perched up high.|
I find the delightful contrast between the expansiveness of seeing miles in all directions and the narrowness where you can’t even turn your head as you squeeze between the fins.
|I love squeezing through and not knowing what will be on the other side.|
I stumble on an arch that’s not on my maps. Get a taste of discovery. (Even though it’s just re-discovery.)
|Another not-so-famous arch.|
|Going with some new friends to the Fiery Furnace.|